Friday, March 19, 2010

Seven Quick Takes



We spent yesterday kind of scrambling to get things together for this weekend, and it looks like what free time we have today will be spent doing the same. Family is here from out of town and most available free time is going to be spent seeing them before they head back to Utah and New York and Nebraska.


I have a few posts bouncing around in my head for next week- one about children's book art, another about observation and modeling, and some knitting of course- so I'll be back next week with more.


 Ezra is making every effort to use full sentences. It's quite aweseome.



 My February Lady Sweater is about 5 inches from finishing the body. I'm really enjoying this pattern.


 Even though the Feb. Lady Sweater is undoubtedly fun, I'm taking a brief timeout to work on Easter things for my boys. A little lion and a little elephant are working their way off the needles. I'm using Susan B. Anderson patterns and they are so easy to work with!


Leprechauns paid us a visit on Wednesday! They turned our breakfast milk green, and the purple jello we made the day before somehow turned green. Mysterious, right? They did leave Ezra and Ender each a gold dollar for their piggy bank, so I guess it wasn't all bad.


Ender discovered word searches this week. His grandfather found a word search where you look for the same word several times ("find the word HORN 5 times in this puzzle" kind of thing) and it has been so interesting to watch him figure this out. It will also be easy for me to make extras for him if he runs out.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Toddler Alphabet Work

Ezra recently hit a sensitive period for letters and sounds. He started pointing out words to me about a week ago. Everywhere he sees letters, he announces that there are words to read. He also pretends to "sound out" words like he has seen Ender do so many times, except  in Ezra's English all words begin with "k-, k-, k-". (as in "k-, k-, k- dog".)


Ender has patiently been telling him what all the different letters are called, while I tell Ezra the sounds when he asks. He loves the letters W and X and can find them just about anywhere those particular letters can be found. I added language work to his shelves a few days ago, and he's choosing to spend much of his morning with the alphabet.


Ezra's favorite alphabet works:


:: The Leap Frog Fridge Phonics. He puts a letter in the slot and it sings a short song about what sound each letter makes.


:: Felt letters. I cut big felt letters for Ender when he was three and I pulled them out again for Ezra. Ezra sometimes treats them like shapes and builds with them, but I've also put out just a few letters some days (like just the vowels some days, or just the letters in his name, etc.) and he likes to ask the names/sounds of each letter. In following with Montessori I give him the sound right now.


:: A name place mat. I printed his name on a piece of cardstock and laminated it. Ezra can trace over his name with marker over and over, or we can use dough to shape into letters- tracing is really fun for him right now, so he's using this work quite often.


:: In the same vein as the item above, I made a few "trace mats" for Ezra that have a dotted line to follow from one object to another. He can use a marker on these, but usually he just traces with his finger or with a paint brush. Whatever medium he'd like works for me!



This past weekend Superman had two days off in a row for the first time since Christmas.


The boys hardly knew what to do with themselves because of all that wonderful Daddy time. All I know is that they hardly acknowledged my existence (except for meals and bedtime) because they were so busy soaking up the time with their daddy. And I couldn't blame them one little bit. His very presence was the most important thing in those two days.


It's hard to keep saying "soon" to them, because soon means 10 minutes from now if you're a four-year-old boy, and maybe 2 minutes if you're only two. It certainly doesn't mean "in May". But before we know it, May will be here and Daddy will be done with school and suddenly he'll be here every evening for dinner and his one precious day off every week will be spent entirely with our family instead of bits and pieces between frantic study sessions.


We walked together last night before bed. I love this time change because it is light so much later. It was a little cold, but the boys kept warm the best way little boys do- running and laughing. Superman and I walked together talking about plans for summer and somehow it came up that Ender will officially be a Kindergartener this fall.


When did that happen? We wondered this together. The last 4 1/2 years have been a happy blur. Wasn't it just a few months ago that we brought him home bundled and small?


And it won't be long until Ezra is ready too. If I've learned anything about children since having my own it's that they grow a year when you blink. That's the primary thought on my mind these days- that we only have so much time with them before they are on to the next stage and the next, then off to college and adulthood.


I wrote earlier this year about the importance of presence for me right now. I suppose it might seem like a simple thing- maybe it's just me and my particular personality, but my mind is constantly thinking about all the things that should/could be done and the temptation to constantly multi-task means that I can do a few different things at once, but none of them with my full attention and none of them done well. For some things it doesn't matter (folding laundry, anyone?) but for my children? Full presence is definitely required. Every day I'm reminded of this and make the constant decision to be fully present, to be an intentional mother, even more while we are in the days of very little time with Daddy.


We are counting down the days until May 8th (54!) when time will be able to stretch for us again and an integral member of our family is home for every dinner conversation and bed time cuddles. His presence for these little things is what we miss most of all.


Soon, boys. Soon.


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