Monday, June 30, 2008

Happy Birthday, Little One!

Our little guy turned two yesterday. Here are a few things you may or may not know about him:
  1. His first sign was "please." His first spoken word was "star."
  2. He potty learned at 21 months.
  3. His first name means "Who is like God."
  4. He has his father's Italian coloring, but his hair color his closer to mine (blond/brown/red).
  5. His favorite activity is reading. 20 books a day, or the same one 20 times.
  6. He loves, loves, LOVES playing in water and playing outside. If the two are combined, it's a good day.
  7. He has a little boy's knack for minor injuries and close calls (e.g. cayenne pepper in the eye).
  8. He is already more than half my height. 36 inches at the last official check-up.
  9. He is extremely affectionate and especially loves giving silly kisses.
  10. In five weeks, he'll be the BIG BROTHER!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Montessori at Home

I wrote in a previous post about the beginnings of our journey as homeschoolers. Here is another glimpse as we embark. Several aspects of Maria Montessori's philosophy appeal to us, and thanks to Barbara Curtis's book Mommy Teach Me and her fabulous websites I have been working with DS on some "small beginnings." We are not true Montessori practitioners in that while DS often chooses his "work" and how long to focus on it, at times the activity is much more parent directed.

I did some rearranging in my kitchen to accommodate DS's "work." My cookbooks have a new home in the pantry and I replaced my three-shelf bookcase with an empty five-shelf. (As an aside, can you believe I had an empty shelf around??) I moved all of our art supplies to the top two shelves and then set up two shelves worth of small beginnings/practical life exercises for DS. These will rotate as needed. Right now I have bean spooning, rice pouring, sponges, and small tongs in place. I also have the supplies on the shelf below for basting, funnels, clothespins, and...some others that escape me. His lockbox is also there for practice (a lot of fun when river rocks or spools are hidden inside!) and in the playroom our version of the pink tower is on a shelf (with Waldorf-inspired toys).

I also moved our child-sized table and chairs into the kitchen to accommodate DS's work and more messy art projects.

I haven't captured a good picture of DS at work, but when I do you'll see it here!

Any Ideas?

When we returned home from the zoo this afternoon, we found this guy on our screen door:

I have no idea what kind of moth (?) this is! He wasn't at all disturbed by DS and I going in and our over the course of the afternoon and seemed very content to sit and look leaf-like.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Commitment to Loveliness, June 8

  1. Try out a new recipe for potential use for DS's second birthday.

  2. Celebrate our anniversary (yes, a week late).

  3. Sit outside and relax with a cool drink.

  4. Have my hair trimmed and eyebrows waxed.

  5. Try wet-on-wet watercolors with DS.

A Sneak Peak

One of our house projects this spring has been to fence in part of our yard. We have about 5.5 acres, and at least half that is "yard." Quite a large space to keep track of a very active toddler, especially on a busy road, so we decided to create a "play yard" of sorts to help manage outdoor playtime. We will be able to step right about the back kitchen door (being careful not to disturb the robin and hummingbirds)! It's actually quite a large space-- twice what we had originally planned-- and I think it's going to be a great help supervising our young children! My DH has done all of the planning and work himself!

Here's a look at our progress on Memorial Day weekend... he spent Sunday afternoon after church and on-and-off (between rain showers!) Monday working on it. Since then it's come along quite a bit and should be done this week.

(This is the front facing the road. The fence starts right at the front porch.)

(The section immediately following the one above. This has since been filled in.)

(The posts on the third side behind the swing set. See my new clothesline? DH built that early in May after the old one blew over and bent in half. I didn't take a picture of the back posts since they're mostly hidden by the maple trees.)

From there, the fence makes another turn to face the driveway (the gate will be in that section) then borders the deck before meeting the house. This is a great area because some or all of the yard is shady all day!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Our Big Backyard

Last fall, I didn't do much with the hanging basket outside our kitchen door next to the hummingbird feeder and instead let the flowers (mini wave petunias) shrivel and dry over the winter. Lazy, I know.

Last Sunday when our hummingbirds returned and I refilled the feeder for the first time (I've had to make more nectar 3 times already!), I took the hanging basket down and moved the feeder over so DS could see it from his chair at the kitchen table.

Several hours later, I was talking to DH through the screen door as he was working on the fence (a post to come on that project soon) and happened to look down. In my dried out basket of flowers was a robin's nest with four eggs in it! Uh-oh! I knew that if the mama bird sensed humans had been disturbing her nest, those eggs would be abandoned. DH and I both agreed, though, that we had better move the feeder back to its old spot and rehang the flower basket. Hoping for the best, we did so.

Fortunately, our tampering didn't deter the mama robin because the next day (Memorial Day) she was perched in her nest and has barely moved from that spot. She blends in with the dried leaves and flowers, that it's almost impossible to see her. She isn't even perturbed by our frequent use of that door! She hasn't come after us-- though the hummingbirds like to divebomb us!

(See her tail feathers in the middle of the picture?)

(Her head is just visible in this shot.)

DS has been thrilled watching the hummingbirds feed and buzz about all day, but he can't quite distinguish the robin in her nest. Maybe we'll get to see the babies, though!