Tuesday, August 28, 2012

So long, summer!

I know that for a lot of you, this time of year means more running around and hectic scheduling so I'm sorry to rub this in your face, but aaaaaaaaaaaaahhh.....this may be the last year that the start of school makes me feel this way, so I'm soaking it up as best I can.  Zoe goes to school in the afternoon, so we don't have to rush out of the door in the morning to get there on time. That coupled with the fact that most of her friends are in school in the morning makes it even easier to just hang at home and make our own fun.  We had a great summer, but surprisingly it was very hectic for us.  We had some amazing trips and did a TON of swimming but it's a bit of a relief to be back into more of a consistent schedule.  Last year, Zoe and I spent the mornings working on  projects while Owen napped and I've been bummed for a while that we'd both somehow lost interest in doing that.  I thought it might have something to do with the fact that there was always somewhere more exciting or fun to be than at home. I hoped we might rediscover our imaginations once school started again, but I was also a little worried that it would be hard to do that with Owen no longer napping in the morning.  I love involving him but he's at a hard age for that kind of stuff.  He wrecks other people's stuff, grabs at things and screams if he can't have it...in other words, he is fully embracing his soon-to-be-two-year-old-self.  We will still have some swimming adventures and outings in the mornings for sure, but for now I'm forcing us all to slow down and relax.  There's plenty of time for rushing around.

Speaking of Owen embracing his age: W.O.W.  He is still the sweetest little guy, but man can he throw a fit.  I'm grateful that this is the second time around for me so it doesn't all seem so shocking.  When Zoe was in this phase (although I'm not sure her tantrums were quite so....volatile) I would worry that every tantrum was a sign of my life to come and that soon I'd be dealing with that kind of behavior all day every day.  Now I know how quickly they go from stage to stage and that even when they are in a difficult one, the days are an intricate blend of impossible tantrums, melt-your-heart sweetness and hilarity.  Also, what I didn't have that first time around was an older sibling that is more than willing to play and surprisingly really great at helping quell those impossible tantrums.  Yesterday as I was unsuccessfully and literally wrestling Owen to get his diaper on, Zoe was the one to come along and figure out a way to get him to stop screaming and hold still long enough for me to get him dressed.  I felt so grateful and told her that about five times in a row.  I even stopped her, crouched down, looked her straight in the eyes and said "Seriously Zoe, sometimes I don't know what I'd do without you.  I'm so grateful for your help--THANK YOU."

Anyway, so the kids and I have really been enjoying our quiet mornings together at home.  The absolute best thing I've found for the kids to do together is sensory play.  This link is a good example of what I mean, but basically to us it just means making a huge mess.  I try and come up with a new or different material for them to mess around with, but when in doubt I fill containers up with water or dirt or just let them go nuts with paint.  It keeps them busy all morning and although it is admittedly a lot to clean up, I feel like I have the time to so I don't mind.  We will have to be a little less free with the mess when it's not so warm out but we're making the most of the weather for now...we'll figure winter out when it gets here.

Here are some pictures of the fun we've been having:

This morning's sensory bin material was oatmeal...

Playing with oatmeal made them both want to eat some so we took a break to do so....don't worry I used the oats I had tucked away in the kitchen.

Another reason I love playing out back at our house is that we are inevitably joined by neighbor friends who happen upon our mess.  Ruby is a regular at our place and we always love when she has time to stop and join in...

With my kids, no matter what we are doing outside, water usually becomes a part of the equation...like it or not.  I'm happy to oblige though..today, Zoe had a lot of fun making the oats into a dough and forming it into shapes and adding color with chalk...

I just love the peacefulness of this kind of play..they both get so sucked into what they are doing...

I don't remember where I originally saw this idea so I don't have a link but I've seen it in a couple of places...you can easily make a little river with tin foil and experiment with how different materials make their way down...also, the kids can play around with changing the course of the river.  We were going to make boats out of newspaper, but we didn't really need to...it was interesting enough for them to send leaves, acorns and sticks down.

 Another day (although I just realized the kids totally have on the same clothes as they did today--weird!) we started with some flour that had been sitting around in the kitchen for too long...soon, we added baby oil and then (you guessed it) water and then, I think our rainbow rice, although I can't find the pictures I took of that so I'm not sure if that was this day or another day...eh, it's all one big mess so who cares anyway, right?

"Birthday Cake"

...finally, potting soil.  I had a huge bag of it that I wasn't using so we dumped it into the water table.  It was a chilly morning so I, for once, said no to the water.  They didn't stay interested in this one for as long as I expected (maybe because they weren't allowed to add water) but we've kept it around on the patio and they've been having fun with it here and there...

So, if you are in the neighborhood one weekday morning, feel free to stop by--just make sure the kids aren't dressed in their Sunday best!


  1. um, yes, we would LOVE to stop by!!!
    ... *sniff*

  2. This looks so insanely fun! Yes! We want to stop by sometime and make a big mess with you! - Maggie, Henry and Maya

  3. We'd love to have you guys anytime! XO