Halloween 2014

I’m also calling this year “The Disney Halloween” because the girls each chose to be different princesses, and Wyatt (still willing to be put in a costume of my choosing) will be a perfect prince. Introducing,

Belle, from Beauty and the Beast (aka Alyssa)

018The princess who loves to read…

019Snow White, from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (aka Kylie)

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Watch out for that apple, my dear!

015And Prince Charming, from Cinderella (aka Wyatt)

336I did sew all three costumes again this year. I did not buy any patterns specifically for these costumes. For the girls’ dresses I used the bodice from their frontier dresses I made earlier this year, both with modifications to the sleeves and neckline.

For Alyssa’s full Belle skirt I wanted 8 bands of elastic going down, roughly 8 1/2 inches apart, so that is how I calculated my width, and for the length I just measured the length on her that I wanted, cut my bands of elastic to match and then stretched them as tight as possible and measured that. That gave me the length of the skirt to cut. I am still going to search around for a headband I like better for Kylie’s costume and then make the red bow to match. For Kylie’s sleeves I used this tutorial, and I used this one for Wyatt’s. His buttons on his jacket are real working buttons, but the belt and top collar are secured with velcro.

Finally, Russell and I will be joining in the theme and going as two of the seven dwarfs. Russell will be wearing a shirt with the name “Sleepy” and mine will say “Grumpy”. Pretty fitting for our family I think ;)

Gymnastics Day 1

I finally decided with my little climbers, tumblers, balancers, etc that it was time to try the girls in gymnastics.

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I found a beginner class offered through the city for a decent price so I signed them up. The girls were really excited and wore their gymnastics outfits that were handed down to us by a fellow twin mom. We got there a couple of minutes early and I snapped this photo in the parking lot.

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We went inside a saw the gymnastics room. The girls had fun looking at all the things inside that they might get to do. A trampoline, balance beams, tunnels, and slides were among the things there. We watched the instructor set up for their class.

Then… things took a turn. 

When it was time to go in, two little girls that the instructor already knew ran in and started playing with some ribbons. They called the rest of the kids names to come too, and of course our girls were called first. I was told to make them go in but stay outside myself (not outside outside, but on the other side of the glass window) The girls got a little upset about this because they weren’t expecting it and so they were nervous. When they started to show some tears the instructor told me that at this point I needed to go around the corner where they wouldn’t be able to see me anymore, so as not to distract them. I told her that would make it so much worse but she insisted it was their policy. I obliged and after about 5 minutes the director of the gymnastics program came and told me she thought it would be better if I sat where they could see me. Geez, you think?! I told her I had tried to explain that to the instructor. She brought the girls out and sat with us while they calmed down. Then they decided they wanted to go back in and try again, this time with me watching. She took them back in and they were still shy but much calmer. We had been watching the other kids do somersaults and Alyssa wanted to do one too, but by the time she got over to them they had started doing them from a sitting position and she didn’t know how to do it. They offered her a turn to go, but no one gave her any instruction so she didn’t participate.

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Kylie hung out by the wall, but was in the room without me, which surprised me after the way things had started out. Neither girl cried at all at this point. The class then went to the opposite site of the room to do the balance beam. My girls were offered no encouragement to join them. After about 10 more minutes (near the end of the session) the instructor came by (to get some equipment) and coldly asked them if they were ready to join, and then simply walked away. At this point the girls sat down in some chairs against the wall and watched. After the last activity finished all the kids ran over and filled in all the chairs around the girls. The instructor walked down the line giving everyone a hand stamp, deliberately skipping over my girls. All the kids, on both sides of them got hand stamps and they were passed over. Now I know they didn’t participate the way the instructor would have liked, but they took a huge step going back in and trying to overcome their fears, and I think that should have been acknowledged and encouraged.

I also know that the instructors (there were two) couldn’t just sit with my kids the whole time and try to help them feel comfortable, that wouldn’t be fair to the other kids in the class either, but we paid the same as those kids did so I feel at least some effort should have been made. The girls were basically ignored. A simple wave with a “come join us, we’re having fun!” still might not have brought them over, but at least it would have been something.

The girls want to try again next week now that they know what to except, and with me watching, so I hope it goes better. Either way I think I will be letting the director of the programs know my concerns so that hopefully other little kids don’t have to have a similar experience. Let me say again, this was a beginning class for 3-6 year olds.

Published in: on September 3, 2014 at 2:16 pm  Leave a Comment  

Kylie’s Preschool Interview

Here is Kylie’s interview. I found it so interesting to see what the girls answered the exact same with no knowledge of what the other one had said. I also love what Kylie wants to learn this year :)

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Published in: on August 20, 2014 at 7:49 am  Leave a Comment  

Alyssa’s Preschool Interview

I did a little interview with each of the girls (separately so I could get more authentic/individual answers, although they did answer some things the same) to find out what the like and don’t like at the time they are starting preschool. I think it will be a fun tradition for us. I had to make my own since all the premade ones I found online said “My First Day of…” and since we kind of all-the-time homeschool that wasn’t really applicable to our family. Here are Alyssa’s answers:

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Published in: on August 19, 2014 at 8:25 am  Leave a Comment  

Preschool Curriculum

So basically I am just going to post once in a blue moon. You’ll just have to deal with that. Today I wanted to talk about the curriculum we have chosen for our girls this year. Age wise they should be in preschool, but they are ready for closer to kindergarten curriculum, we believe. Here is what we have picked!

English: Happy Phonics and Explode the Code (book 2)

We chose a combination of programs to try to give them a full range of learning activities. Happy Phonics has a lot of games and activities while Explode the Code is work books. We went with book 2 because the girls already have a knowledge of all the letters, capital and lowercase, the sounds they make, and how to blend letter sounds to make words. They also prefer to be more challenged than review old information.

Math: Math-U-See Primer

I am so excited to try Math-U-See. It is a multistory, mastery math program. There are manipulative blocks, work books, and a DVD instruction to basically help any type of learner. Being mastery based it does not correlate to a specific grade, more the complete understanding of each skill. The levels are named for letters in the Greek alphabet. We started with primer, which is the first level. It does not assume learners know anything and starts by introducing numbers 0-9. This will be review for the girls, and we may end up skipping forward a little bit. Not everything will be review though, which is why we selected this level. Here is what the book covers:

  • Counting objects and developing numeracy
  • Understanding place value
  • Recognizing number names and symbols
  • Reading and writing numerals
  • Understanding addition and subtraction with concrete and representational models
  • Understanding and writing the symbols +, – and =
  • Addition and subtraction of select numbers
  • Telling and writing time by hours and minutes
  • Recognizing & drawing rectangles, squares, and circles
  • Measuring length by repeating units
  • Introducing halves and fourths
  • Counting by 2s, 5s, 10s, and 100s
  • Reading, writing & interpreting word problems

Science: Clifford The Big Red Dog Science Kits

Science for the kids actually happens everywhere, from our garden and yard, to the Springs Preserve, to our kitchen, but these kits are fun little experiments for them to begin to learn some basic science skills. A favorite part for me of all the curriculums is that between Clifford, the blocks of Math-U-See, and the games of Happy Phonics most of their learning involves playing, which is so appropriate for this age.

Arts and Crafts is an easy one because my kids draw, paint, play with play dough, sidewalk chalk, etc. everyday at least. All of this is supplemented by the many, MANY books we check out from the library and own at home. And that’s it! That’s what we’ve picked for this year. I’ll try to post some updates along the way and let you know what we like or don’t like about all of the programs. We plan to start on the first Monday in September, but the girls have been seeing everything arrive in the mail and keep asking to start using it. I wonder how long this excitement will last, for all of us!

Published in: on August 13, 2014 at 12:17 pm  Leave a Comment  

Kitchen Science

The girls received a subscription to Green Kid Crafts as part of their birthday present this year and the first box arrived yesterday. This morning we sat down after doing our daily calendar time and did the first craft.

Soap Making

Step one was putting in little erasers as a prize inside each soap. Then I microwaved the soap to melt it and poured in the fine glitter. The girls stirred it all in.March 2014 216

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Lissie even let Wyatt help her stir.

Then it was time to pour it into each mold. They mostly did this themselves and did a great job.

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Alyssa

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Kylie

Then we waited for them to cool. After about 1/2 hour we had our finished project!

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I tried to convince them to save the other crafts for another day, but they were just too excited we had to do one more.

Fizzy Bath Balls

For this one we used baking soda, citric acid, one tea bag, coconut oil and an 1/8tsp water.

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The girls with the instructions and supplies.

They helped stir all the ingredients together and then packed the mixture into easter egg halves for the mold.

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Wyatt got to help me pack it down too.

The finished project for this one has to dry and harden overnight so we put them on a plate with a towel. They had a lot of fun and I think the girls will be really excited to use their new crafts the next time they take a bath.

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Published in: on March 13, 2014 at 2:33 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Caridologist

First, let me give you the good news. Despite being woken up early from their nap, everyone was very well behaved at the doctor. Even Wyatt who thought sleeping for only 1/2 hour was a good idea. We went into the first room and they did the EKG. Quick and painless.

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Alyssa went first.

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Kylie and Wyatt watched.

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Kylie went next and managed an almost smile.

Then we went into another room and waited for the doctor. It was actually the same doctor who checked the girls out when I was pregnant, in the NICU and saw Kylie for her two month follow up. She had a PDA that wasn’t closed all the way at birth. Just another thing that wasn’t fully developed a month and a half early… go figure. Anyways, he didn’t remember us but I have liked him every time I have met him, and he was great with the girls.

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Alyssa was a little nervous in this room so Kylie went first.

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When it didn’t hurt Kylie, Alyssa was ready to go.

On  the other wall there actually was a kids movie playing, but I love that my kids were more interested in watching what the doctor was doing.

Now for the great news. Their hearts are perfectly fine. Just an innocent murmur that may come and go as they grow up. Nothing to give a second thought to again. Whew. That feels great.

And look what Alyssa asked how to write when we got home.

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Needless to say I am feeling very thankful today.

Published in: on March 12, 2014 at 5:30 pm  Leave a Comment  

A Trip To The Doctor Times Three

The kids birthdays are only 20 days apart, so this year I opted to schedule their annual checkups all together. The girls usually insist on going with Wyatt in case he is scared and needs his big sisters anyways, so this basically saved me a whole trip. In the past he hasn’t really “needed” them, but when I took him to get his pictures taken he would not even go into the room until his sisters got there, so for now I appreciate their help. Russell took the morning off to help so it was a whole family affair. I scheduled the appointment for as early as possible to help minimize the wait time. My policy is when flying or going to the doctor the earlier the better! Less chance for things to get thrown off.

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The girls got weighed, measured and had their blood pressure taken. I missed all of that because I was with Wyatt trying to get his height and weight. He was not having any part of it and I actually had to step out of the room because he kept jumping off the scale towards me. Even if I was not near him! As soon as he was done he stopped crying and we all went back to the room. The girls each made a trip to go pee and then the doctor was there. Pretty short wait this morning. Wyatt went first since he was the trouble maker and I had to hold him down, while Russell held his head, while the doctor checked him out. He was not interested in helping at all. The doctor said afterwards “any kid that can put up a fight like that must be pretty healthy.”

Kylie went next and demonstrated for the doctor how she could balance on one foot. Other questions he asked were “Can she identify at least four colors?” “Can she stack blocks at least five high?” “Can she draw a circle?” “Can she draw a stick figure with at least three body parts?” The answers were all yes, and actually the questions made me sad. Other than kids with physical or mental disabilities or delays, I really just ache thinking that there are four year olds who can’t name at least four colors.  Anyways, Kylie was not shy and did everything the doctor asked her to do, and talked to him as well. We were curious what the little light he used to look in their ears was called. An otoscope. We were right about what to call the tool they use to bump the knee. A reflex hammer. And we learned about the light he used to look at their eyes (different than the ears) called an ophthalmoscope. Russell and I love using the correct terms for things with the kids any chance we can, so this was great to learn. Alyssa went through the same routine and was really brave and helpful as well. No shots were needed and our doctor, who I really like, was supportive when we told him he were going to homeschool. I asked if we should be concerned about childhood illness that they wouldn’t be exposed to  by not going to school and he very casually said “They will still be around other kids. They will be exposed just fine.” I love not feeling like I ever have to defend our decisions to our doctor. He was also very supportive when we chose not to circumcise Wyatt.

The only other thing that happened was that he heard a heart murmur in both girls. He didn’t seem concerned at all and told us heart murmurs are extremely common in kids and they often there is nothing wrong. He is referring us to a pediatric cardiologist just to have it checked out to be sure. Kylie saw a cardiologist once when she was about two months old because she had a PDA that wasn’t closed when she was born. At that time everything looked great and we haven’t had to go back since. I am not especially concerned, but it will be nice to know everything is 100% with them soon.

Published in: on March 10, 2014 at 2:33 pm  Comments (1)  

The Bed

I told you we were going to try a little gardening this year, and since Las Vegas soil sucks, we decided to go with the “above ground planter box” route.  Russell built the box (thanks to some plans from Sunset magazine) out of redwood last week, and this week we finally selected a spot and filled it with some nice organic soil specifically for growing vegetables.

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Wyatt in the before picture

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The girls helped move the rocks

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It’s important to stay hydrated!

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Sorry for anyone dealing with those extreme winter temperatures. But this is when it is nice to live in Las Vegas! 65 and sunny in January!

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Who else thinks this should be an ad for Carhartts?

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filling the box with soil

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It was very exciting

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We took a minute to learn about compost and the cycle of our food. The parts we couldn’t eat become food and nutrients for our plants, which we will then get to eat.

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Mixing it all up! They had so much fun trying to pick out what foods they saw in the compost.

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The girls showing off the bed in the after picture.

Published in: on January 21, 2014 at 1:21 pm  Leave a Comment  

A New Sprout

No, we’re not pregnant again if anyone wondered that. For any new followers, we called Wyatt “Sprout” while I was pregnant with him since we didn’t find out his gender until delivery. The sprout I am talking about is the more traditional sense of the word. We decided we are going to try out our green thumbs and see if we can grow some of the food we eat. I like it because we will be able to control more what goes into the kids’ bodies and Russell likes it because we become less dependent on others to provide for our family. The only trouble is that I stink at keeping things alive, especially in plant form. I think I both under-water, and over-water so not matter what I try I end up killing everything. I just can’t seem to find that middle ground between dehydration and drowning. Nevertheless our journey has begun. Russell is building an above ground planter bed (just one for now but hopefully many more in the future) and we started some seeds inside in egg cartons. We have had a few little guys poke through already. Currently we have one cherry tomato sprout and 3 1/2 cauliflower. I am calling one a half because it may already be on the verge of me killing it. It just isn’t as perky as the others. We also have started seeds for carrots, green beans, peas, lettuce, zucchini, and squash. I’m all about honesty over here so I will definitely try to post about our successes and failures along the way.

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If anyone has experience with this please send some tips my way. I think I’ll need all the help I can get!

Published in: on January 15, 2014 at 1:14 pm  Leave a Comment  
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