Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Fun With Cornstarch

I have been pulling out some old favorites activities for the kids to do while the weather is getting colder.  Specifically, we have made several craft recipes from cornstarch that are quick, easy, and fairly simple to clean up.  Although not tasty, cornstarch is edible, which comes in handy when your toddler is playing with it. The first was making oobleck, although this time I just called it slime.  To make, mix 2 cups of cornstarch with one cup of water.  William wasn't so sure about this creation at first, but Laney was really excited.  It was all fun and games until she started putting the bowl on her head.  Then it was off to the bath.

Notice her licking it off of her face. Yuck!
The second recipe with cornstarch is "snow." I couldn't believe how long this kept the older two occupied!  They played quietly together at the kitchen table for over an hour.  I also realized that when they were done, I could just dump the snow in a ziploc baggie and we could play with it again another time.  The recipe is 2 cups cornstarch plus 1/3 to 1/2 cup oil.  Or in our case, the entire container of cornstarch plus just enough oil to get the right consistency.  They wanted a lot of snow!! Then they put some of their toys in the snow to go sledding or make "snow dinosaurs."  Laney missed out on this activity because she was sleeping.
Will was very curious about what would happen if we put this snow in the freezer.  He reasoned that since snow is usually cold, if we put this cornstarch snow in the freezer, it would change.  I explained that real snow is made out of water but that this "snow" was made out of cornstarch and oil, so it wouldn't be the same.  He wasn't quite sure what to make of the whole thing.

Snow on his face!
You might notice in the above picture that William has a bandaid on his chin.  Strangely enough, both he and Eliana fell of the kitchen chairs (totally unrelated to the snow activity) and busted their chins open on the table.  Eliana must have really smacked her chin hard.  I was in the living room at the time, and heard a big crash.  I came running back in the kitchen and found Eliana on the floor.  She looked quite startled, but told me she had fallen on purpose.  That's what she says when an accident happens and she thinks she is going to get in trouble.  She said she was fine, but then went to the bathroom.  A minute later she comes running to tell me her chin is bleeding.  And boy, she wasn't kidding.  She had quite the gash and for a little bit I was afraid I was going to have to take her to urgent care for stitches.  The problem was she wouldn't let me touch her chin to hold pressure to get the bleeding to stop.  After bleeding through a few bandaids, she finally let me put a steri-strip on her chin.  I think she only let me touch it then because I threatened to call her father and have him come home from work to put in stitches himself.  She seemed quite surprised that he could do such a thing, but I assured her that, as a doctor, he most definitely could.  At that point, mom's "special bandage" didn't seem so bad.
Even though she didn't get stitches, I wouldn't be surprised if she had a little scar there on her chin.

Then, less than 24 hours later, Will did the same thing.  I said, "What happened? Did our kitchen chairs turn into ice? Why are you guys falling out of your chairs?!" He was just eating a snack at the table and, bloop, feel right out of his seat, banging his chin on the table.  Eliana was quick to check out his chin and declared that he had a boo-boo just like her.  Luckily, his wasn't quite as deep, so I was able to just put a regular bandaid on it without threats of stitches by daddy.  Both of their chins are on the mend and looking fine.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Gymnastics Class

One of the perks of half day kindergarten is that the kids are still able to do some fun classes together.  This fall William and Eliana have been taking a gymnastics class.  We have graduated from the "Mommy and Me" class to an actual class where I sit in the hall with Laney and watch. 

They start out on mats stretching and learning new skills.

The favorite of both - the forward roll.  You start out in Pencil with hands above the head.  Next is Mountain with hands on the ground.  Then...


Pencil, Mountain...

Roll! (this is a pretty common thing heard at my house lately).

Some of the other things they work on are swinging on or over the bars, handstands, frog jumps (or Dinosaur jumps in William's case), log rolls, and the balance beam.  There is also a lot of jumping on the trampoline.  That's where Will spends a good deal of class time.
Laney just walks around with me outside of class from one window to the next.  It is a great way to spend the morning and burn off some energy!

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Will Learns to Ride a Bike

Eliana got a new bike this summer which means that Will was given her old Dora bike (or the Vamanos bike as he called it).  After a bit of practicing, Will really got the hang of pedaling!  At first he had a tendency of steering the bike into whatever direction he was looking.  But that has gotten better.  He also has learned how to use the brake, which is good because while he found running into the van an effective means of stopping, I didn't think that was quite so funny. 
We attempted some family bike rides at the end of the summer in which Eliana and Will would ride their bikes and I would push Laney in the stroller.  We would do pretty well going down the slight hill to the end of the street.  However, when it was time to turn around and head back up the (very slight!) hill to our house, there was usually a lot of me pushing a stroller and a kid on a bike.  I have high hopes for next year though!  We might just make it to the park and back with two kids on bikes!

Look at that big kid! Wearing his Spiderman helmet.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Summer posts to brighten your day

Did I tell you about that time I bought a giant pool on clearance at Target in September?

Eliana asked me all summer long when we could get a big pool.  The bigger one we had had an issue with the side collapsing.  So I had my eye on this pool, just waiting for it to go on sale.  Finally, in September, it did!  And wouldn't you know, after I bought it, we had a week in September of 90 degree days.  So I blew up the pool and the kids had a blast!

Eliana diving for rings

This crazy kid climbed on top of the kids' picnic table and laughed at my concern.
And a bonus picture - Laney really loves climbing.  This is a pretty common place to find her - sitting on something she's not supposed to be on.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Happy Halloween!

Despite the cold temperatures, we had a great time trick or treating tonight for Halloween.  Poor Will has been sick nonstop since starting preschool, and currently has a nasty cough.  Then Will has shared all of his preschool germs with his baby sister, so Laney also has been sick nonstop since Will started school.  Laney also has that nasty cough as well as a runny nose and a bad case of the grumps.  She cried all day and didn't want me to put her down.  Somehow the excitement of costumes and friends was able to cure her grumpies though and she rallied strong this evening, making for a fun time for all.
We hosted the Halloween party this year, and Eliana spent all morning putting up decorations.  We made several ghosts, spiders, and pumpkins, which William and Laney both loved.  Adele, Hannah, and Gianna came over plus our neighbors Violet and Xavier.  William was practically beside himself with joy.  He was dressed as Red Claw, the T-Rex from Land Before Time.  He was roaring and showing his teeth to everyone.  David said he ran up to every house, said "Trick-or-Treat" and thank you, and was going strong even to the end (quite different from last year). Eliana was dressed as a leopard witch.  She has been some type of cat for the last couple of years, so I was hoping that she would try out something new this year.  At first she said she wanted to be a witch.  Great, I thought, something different! But then she wanted to be a leopard - which, as she pointed out to me, is definitely not the same as a cat.  Finally she decided on a combination of the two and became a leopard witch.  Laney, lucky girl, got to wear Will's skunk costume from a couple of years ago.  She was quite adorable as a little skunk, even with her runny nose.  She sat with me to hand out candy for a bit and really enjoyed seeing everyone walking by, especially when they were walking with a dog.  We lasted about 30 minutes handing out candy but then had to go inside because it was too cold.  When Eliana brought home her candy bucket, Laney had a blast dumping the bucket out and then putting the candy back in, over and over again. With as cranky as she had been all day, I didn't think she would make it through the evening without a meltdown, but in the end, she had a wonderful time. All the kids in fact had a blast!

Little skunk, waiting for the party to start

I think she's adorable!

Most of the crew. Note Will roaring in this picture.

Family picture

Eliana and Violet

Red Claw!

What is this skunk doing? I caught you!

Skunk stealing my candy! Laney - 13 months
Does that costume look familiar?  Who wore it best?
Will - 4 months - 2014
I love all of my stinky kids!!

Thursday, October 26, 2017

William's first day of preschool

Will had a big change this year - he started school for the first time!  He is going to BEARS preschool two days a week in the Panda class (3 year old class).  This is what Eliana did a couple of years ago.  I was really nervous about how Will would do with school, as this is his first experience outside the house. (I even called the preschool director to talk about my concerns! You would think he was my first child by the way I was acting!)  Eliana was in daycare at 8 months old, but Will has always been at home with the nanny.  He seemed somewhat ambivalent about it too.  Some days he would be excited about picking out a new backpack for school and other days he would tell me that he was never going to school and wanted to stay home with me forever.  They had a meet and greet day at preschool the week before he started.  Kids could meet their teachers and play in the classroom for an hour while the parents stayed too.  Will was really excited about the dinosaurs and zoo animals and played happily the whole time.  However, when it was time to leave, Will got upset, threw himself down on the floor in a full blown tantrum, and had to be carried out of the room!  To top it off, he had an accident as we walked out of the school building.  So that sure didn't help with my nervousness about him starting school... I kinda had to laugh though as we were leaving because the whole situation was pretty ridiculous. 

The following Monday on the first day of school though, he did great!  At drop off, there were several kids crying in his classroom.  I was afraid that would get Will upset, but he just walked in very confidently and started playing with the dinosaurs again.  I stood around watching him for a minute or two, hoping a little that he would look up or need me.  But he didn't.  He's a big guy, older than I think sometimes.  His teachers, Mrs Mel and Mrs. Stanhope then asked if I needed something.  No, I said, I'm just simultaneously hoping that my son needs me and doesn't need me.  Just watching him for a few more seconds as he grows up before my eyes.

He continues to be a bit ambivalent about school.  Most preschool mornings he declares that he is not going to school that day.  But when it actually comes time to go to preschool, he happily grabs his backpack and will run into his classroom.  He has made a couple of friends, Parker and Asher, and seems to be having fun.  I'm really excited for my big guy.  I love hearing him tell me about the things he has done in school and the adventures he is having.  It's exciting for me to hear about the things he is doing outside the house and watch him change!

First day of Preschool

Eliana wanted to be part of the pictures too.

Laney didn't request to be in the pictures like Ana, but I thought she was pretty sweet that morning too.


Finding his leaf, which just so happens to be his favorite color: blue!
(P.S. There is another William in Will's class, so my son is Will B. and the other one is Will T. We have already gotten Will T's coat sent home in my son's backpack once.  Another time at pick up, probably the second week of school, the teacher sent Will T. out to me when I came to the door.  I said,"You're close, I am Will's mom, but not that Will!")

Eliana's first day of Kindergarten

A little bit of background on last month and this month: I have been very busy at work lately (I'll give you a hint why - I work with newborns and you know what happened about 9 months ago? The Holidays...). I have been staying late most days that I work, picking up extra shifts, and working all of my call shifts.  David has also moved off of his easier, lighter schedule of research block and now is in his busier clinic block.  Laney then decided that after mostly sleeping through the night for several months, now that she is a year old, she should start getting up at 3am every night thus making me very tired.  In case this wasn't enough to keep me busy, I crazily decided to make both Eliana's and William's Halloween costumes from scratch.  Like taking fabric and transforming it into a pair of pants - which up until about two weeks ago I had no idea had to do that.  So this overambitious project of mine has left this blog sadly outdated.  Now I will try to back track.  I feel like first day of school pictures have lost some of their appeal since it is ALMOST NOVEMBER! But please indulge me because I still think they are pretty cute.

Way back in August, Eliana started kindergarten at Windermere Elementary.  My big girl is growing up! She is in Mrs. Salmon's PM kindergarten class.  I requested the PM class because the afternoon is when Laney naps and Will sometimes naps, so it can be quite boring at our house around 1pm.  This way we could do fun stuff together in the morning and then while her siblings nap, Eliana could go do more fun stuff at school.  As an added bonus, we get to avoid the morning rush for another year.

Eliana rides the bus to and from school, which made me very nervous at first, but she absolutely loves it.  Originally, she was to be picked up from the end of our driveway to go to school (since it is only kindergartners on the bus at that time) but dropped off at the end of our block on the corner bus stop.  For the week before school started, we practiced walking home from the bus stop.  We would walk to the end of the street, and I would pretend to be the bus driver dropping Eliana off. Then we would all walk home together (Eliana leading the way) while I questioned her about different scenarios like what she would do if a dog came by or if a stranger approached her, or if our neighbor invited her over to play.  She knew just what to do - come straight home and not stop for anything.  Plus I could also see the bus stop from the end of my driveway and would be able to watch her the whole time she walked home.  The first day that she rode the bus home, Will and I met her at the bus stop (David was home that day with Laney), and we all walked home together.  The second day, I stood at the end of the driveway planning on watching her walk home from the bus stop.  Except when the bus stopped at the corner, no one got off. Eliana was actually the only kid at that bus stop, and I thought, "Oh no, either she forgot to get off because she didn't see me or the bus driver is not going to let her off without me at the corner." Sure enough, the bus continued down the street then stopped in front of my driveway and let her off.  Her bus driver said that since she was the only kid at the stop anyway, she would just change the stop location to my house.  Perfect! One less thing to worry about.  I was pretty excited about that.

So since starting kindergarten, Eliana says her favorite part of school is recess.  Her best friend is Maddie M.  And her favorite "special" is Library.  We've already had our first parent/teacher conference which went great.  I hope she always enjoys school this much!

First day of school!

Waiting for the school bus on the second day of school (kindergartners have to be dropped off on the first day).

There she goes...

The first time Eliana rode the bus home, Will rode his bike to the bus stop (thus the helmet) and we waited for Eliana to get dropped off.  When Will spotted the bus, he started clapping for joy at Eliana coming home.  So cute!  These two fight a lot when they are together, but boy does he miss her when she is gone.

She made it home!

For a while, Will wanted to be at the door every time the bus picked her up.  Once he was playing in his room and I said "The bus is here!" to Eliana, and Will came shooting out of his room to the front step.  He did not want to miss saying goodbye!!