Friday, January 27, 2012


So this stay-at-home mama has a new plan. First of all, Wyatt loved going to school when I was teaching. He loved his friends, loved the activities, and all the toys. When I decided I was going to stay home I made a schedule, got my preschool lesson planning books out (I taught preschool/pre-k during college), and thought I had a good plan. Well, as teaching goes, with one kid or 20, plans change, the kid(s) change, and life gets busy and things just don't work out as you plan. As you can tell I'm a planner but I'm also a "if it's not working - change it" kind of girl. When teaching I spent a lot of time reflecting, usually on my morning drive to work talking to my teacher friend, Karrissa EVERY morning. Well, the teacher-mom in me came out AGAIN this week and I reflected, after several meltdowns full of tears with my mom, about how I can make things better for Wyatt. Maybe he was bored? Maybe he's just 3? Maybe we needed a different structure? Etc. So, first things first what is working and what is not... (You can skip all this if you are totally bored, but I'll be looking back at this one day.)

What we love? We love getting out for stroller strides with my friends and Wyatt's friends. He loves that playtime and outside time. He loves games, crafts, and activities. I love our flexible schedule - sometimes we stay after workout to play, sometimes we have playdates, sometimes we go shopping, or go to Grammy's, and so on.

What wasn't working? Wyatt needed some time without Mommy where he got to play with other kids and listen to other adults. Because our schedule is so flexible the "lesson plans/activities" I was planning didn't get done or weren't always ready or I flat out didn't think of them because we weren't really following the schedule I had planned.

So here is the new and improved plan... for now:

If you haven't seen the blog Confessions of a Homeschooler, you must check it out! It has great ideas, organization tips, dinner ideas, and so much more. Be warned, it's an addicting blog and I've spent hours on it! I'm not homeschooling, but I do have a kiddo at home and she happens to have a little one, too (she has 4 kids and she needed ways to keep the toddler busy while her big kids did school). Now, I'll probably butcher her ideas because I tweaked them to work for me, so if you want to know all the great things she does go check it out. Here's what I stole from her.

Workboxes. I happened to have these drawers and I then chose 9 subjects/areas to work on with Wyatt - Bible, Reading, Letters, Numbers, Counting, Colors, Shapes, Logic Skills, and Fine Motor Skills. Anytime we have free time or Wyatt is bored, we will get a workbox out and it will be pre-filled with an activity. Perfect! It's ready to go, we can do any one, anytime, and we don't have to follow a strict schedule such as do numbers after lunch. Then I'll just fill them after we do that activity. Easy! One thing, among many, that I love about this is that some of the activities are simply games that we have but forget about.

Side note: This is in the closet under the stairs. When we moved in we loved how big this closet was and decided right away that it would be the downstairs play room.

And because I'm super excited about my workboxes, I'm going to share what's in them with you for the first time. I promise not to post what's in the boxes again, but just this time. I made Chris look at my boxes AND open them and he wasn't nearly as excited as me. Maybe someone else will share my excitement. :)

Bible: I got this great book from Mardels awhile back called Instant Bible Lessons for Toddlers (there are several, but we started with the one subtitled God Takes Care of Me) and I love how easy it is to use. There is a story for each chapter and you can choose to read the version for 2 and 3 year olds or 1 and young 2 year olds.For each chapter there is also a craft, songs, visuals, action verses, themed snack idea, and more. Instead of this book sitting on the counter I now have the first chapter story and craft in the drawer. It's Noah's ark to cut and color and then stand up animals to cut and color to put in the ark. So then after we do this I'll put another activity for chapter one in the workbox. I still need to add markers to the drawer, but see the scissors (for me) and tape are ready to go.

Reading: I just put the Leap Pad that needed batteries and had been sitting on a shelf forgotten into this box. Wyatt will love to play with it. And it will be even more special because it came out of his special workboxes. Why is this so exciting to ME?! I have no idea, but seriously it is. Organizing anything makes me feel so relaxed and puts a smile on my face (doesn't mean everything in my house IS organized so don't expect that).

Letters: I stole the idea from the Confessions blog, but I think she sells her pages or I just couldn't get it to open so I made my own. You use Bingo dobbers on the circles to "trace" the letter. Fun!

Colors: I put Wyatt's color and shapes Mickey cards in there. I'll have him sort them into groups.

Counting: Muffin tin and pom poms. I'll tell Wyatt how many to put in each hole.

Shapes: You've seen these at school once upon a time, right? I did, the teacher always had them and we never used them. Well, we are going to use ours. You just use the shapes to make the picture.

Logic Skills: Just a puzzle. Wyatt is learning how to do puzzles and he loves this one.

Fine Motor Skills: I made a cutting template that has lines for Wyatt to follow as he practices with his scissors. This boy LOVES scissors. Luckily these are super safe ones, because he is not a safe scissor user yet.

And since I'm sharing, I found this on the Confessions blog, too. I whipped it up and here it is on our fridge. There's something about getting to put a velcro piece on that kids love. I still remember loving doing the calendar routine in kindergarten every morning. Do they do that in kindergarten anymore? They probably just say open the weather app on your ipad. :)

Oh and this little thing is the BEST. I got this idea from Cindy Keil (I did her nutrition class last year and she had great ideas for getting the kids involved in healthy eating). I lost her template or it's stuck in my email somewhere so I made my own. The top says "Wyatt likes to eat all the colors of the rainbow." After meals he gets to put the color of fruit or veggie he ate or tried on his rainbow. Yes! It really works! He may not always like whatever it is, but you can totally convince him that it's worth trying to get a ____ color sticker to put on his rainbow. Genius!

Wyatt has seen me making the workboxes and has been anxious to get to open one. I'll update after a while on how it's working for us and I promise not to post all this stuff about what's in each box again. Chris just got home for lunch and I made him go look again (because I just got it set up in the closet and last night he just saw them on living room floor)... still not as excited as me. hmmmm.....

Oh yeah, I just proofed this and forgot to mention how we are attempting the needing to be without Mommy time. My mom and step-dad got a family membership at Cooper Fitness Center and I got to be put on their family plan. Score! So now Wyatt gets to go play in the daycare place while I workout on Tuesdays and Thursdays. He even gets to do little classes. So that works on that.

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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Just Hanging Out

What Kenley's been up to lately.

Big brother put his hat on her head.

She got to play with play doh toys, too.

Just hanging out like a big girl.

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Wyatt got an ant farm for Christmas and has been waiting every day since I ordered the critters to arrive in the mail. Finally, when I checked the mail there was this...

And inside was this...

Wyatt was so excited. I LOVE LOVE LOVE watching kids 100% engaged in something and learning. It's hard to explain this look, but this picture says it all...

He carefully made 3 starter holes in the gel for our ant farm.

Getting ready for transport...

The ants are in their new home...

LOVE this picture, too!

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They're baaaack...

Yesterday morning was like Christmas morning all over again at our house. Elfie brought Wyatt's toys back because he had been listening (better) again. He was one excited little boy!

And shortly after it looked like this in the living room...

Some how or another we will make it through this not listening stage. Wyatt gets an A+ on understanding opposites lately, because most of what I say he does the opposite. So.... what's this mama to do? Try something new. Again, I'm not always a fan of what I'm about to tell you, but again every kid is different and sometimes you do what works at the time. Before meeting my mom at Target today we made a little pit stop at the dollar store for reward cards and little stickers. Wyatt got to pick them out. Then I carefully explained that in order to get the new Thomas train he and Grammy were about to pick out at Target, he would need to fill up every square with a sticker and every time he listened he would get to put one on. Before we left the aisle he was on the floor pushing a toy and I asked him to get up and walk... no response... I said if you get up and walk you get to put a sticker on for listening and he jumped up ready to go. Here's hoping this lasts for a while. I'd much rather him do the right thing because it's the right thing, but hey... we will get there.

The great thing about having a 3 year old is that he finally understands things like this. He didn't even throw a fit when he didn't get to open his new train today. He understood he has to wait. Now Grammy on the other hand, was crushed. I wish I had a picture of her face when she said "How are we going to fill ALL those spaces TODAY?!" and I said, "We aren't, he's not getting it today." But look Grammy, I don't think it will take him too long...

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Friday, January 20, 2012


I'm hoping we will look back and laugh at this one day. Our sweet boy has been acting up quite a bit lately and having a very hard time listening. Yes, it would be the teacher's child that's acting up, right?! There have been a lot of changes for him in the last few months and I'm sure that plays a large part... well, and that he's 3. We've been working hard with him to get him to listen and get back on track.

Friday, was an especially tough day of listening and Wyatt was not staying on his time out mat, which he thought was really funny. So I kept taking up toys until he decided to stay put for the timeout. First was the Thomas trains, then the tracks, then the box of cars, then the rocket ship... :( We called Daddy and told him what was going on and told him to give Santa a call. And we set the toys on the porch.

While we were in the middle of reading a book the doorbell rang. No one was there, but look what we found...

We read the note together and we've been talking about it a lot. I sure hope Wyatt will start listening so he can get his favorite toys back.

And I know posting this there will be people thinking we are too tough on him and others thinking we should just spank him and get his attention. So here's what I'll say:
1. He was not traumatized by losing his toys. He's working (I hope) to get them back. He cried for a bit and then played with other toys, but sure doesn't want to lose any more.
2. I'm not necessarily opposed to a spanking and not necessarily a fan of them. We've tried them and he thinks it's a game and it makes our problem worse.
3. As a teacher, I learned all kids are different and you have to find what works for each kiddo so here's trying to find what works for him. Wish us luck and tell me if you have the answers.

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Thursday, January 19, 2012

3 Months {Kenley}

At 3 months old Kenley is...

growing, growing, growing, but we don't have the stats because we didn't have an appointment this month

still sporting the cloth diapers (which are making this outfit look super tight) and loving them

holding and shaking a rattle without much control

smiling and giggling

still being swaddled at night and sleeping through the night

still eating about every 3 hours with long stretches through the night

Her favorite things to do are...

watch her brother

catch a glimpse of any TV that she finds on

make bubbles with her mouth

cuddle with Mommy and Daddy

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Sunday, January 15, 2012

Bunny, Aunt Maddie and Aunt Kenzie Visit

Chris' mom and sisters came in from North Carolina for the long weekend to visit. We had so much fun. They got in Thursday evening and stayed at Jessie and Gene's house. Friday night we went over to Jessie and Gene's to hang out with everyone. Then Saturday morning everyone met us at Lowe's Build and Grow to watch Wyatt build a castle. Saturday night was game night and our night to have Bunny and the girls at our house. It was fun all being together.

Uncle Gene, Aunt Jessie (Chris' sister), Baby Tripp, Chris, Aunt Maddie (Chris' sister), Bunny/Sue (Chris' mom), Kenley, Wyatt, and Aunt Kenzie (Chris' sister)

Teaching Kenley early because this family doesn't mess around when it comes to games. ;)

Sweet girls. We celebrated birthdays (the girls and Chris have the same birthday, Feb 2nd, just 17 years apart).

I was taking pictures and I tried to get Chris to get in a picture with me and this is the best I could get. He was on a stool and I was sitting on the floor.

We all hung out Sunday and then snapped some pictures before everyone left.

Can't wait til Summer when they get to come back!

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Thursday, January 12, 2012

3 Years {Wyatt}

Wyatt had a wonderful birthday weekend. I know I say this every year, but I can hardly believe he's three already. It has been, without a doubt, the best 3 years of mine and Chris' lives. Wyatt is such a fun-loving, happy, easy-going, kind, stubborn, and mischievous at times little guy. He's 100% ALL BOY who loves to get dirty, play with anything that has wheels or is fast, play with water, his family and friends, being outside, building, destroying, and playing til he crashes. He still loves Elmo and Mickey Mouse and has added Thomas, Handy Manny, Jake and the Neverland Pirates, and Snoopy to his list of faves this year. This year's most special moment was becoming a big brother. He LOVES his baby sister and already protects her, makes her laugh, and plays with her every chance he gets. He's a boy who knows what he wants, knows how to tell you, and isn't afraid to tell you. Even though we often have to work on doing this in the correct way it's neat to see him learning independence. Wyatt, Mommy and Daddy love you so much and watching you grow this year has been such a blessing.

We had a small friend party this year and had it at our house for the first time. The theme was Bouncing and Building - two of Wyatt's favorite things to do. We had the bounce house upstairs and we got build-and-grow kits from Lowes for the kids to build in the garage. Decorating was easy. I just got out the tools bucket and put them all over the house - and ta-da...

We had pizza, homemade cupcakes (using a bundt cake recipe from the Mix and Match Mama blog and I don't know how to link it, but check it out from my blogs I like to visit on the right), and then the kids got to build ice cream sundaes.

I have to say the kids were so good and played so well together. During the picture below it was almost quiet and I got nervous that it was too calm for a party (I know... crazy... but I'm used to a classroom full of kids and that's never quiet) but my good friend, Helen, who is also my friend that always tell me the truth said that just meant it was a well planned party. I hope she was right. :)

I didn't get any pictures of the building and bouncing, but Chris did.

This birthday boy was having fun - I swear - I just managed to get a bad picture and almost forgot to take this so he's probably thinking "come on mom, take the picture already so I can blow out my candles."

After nap, we headed to Parker Brothers Trail Dust on 380 for the family party. The pictures are really dark, but they have this HUGE slide that Wyatt says makes you go "soooo faaaasst." We ALL had a blast sliding and hanging out. Yes! We had races and the kids rode, the mommies and daddies rode, and even the grandparents.

Pap cheering on Wyatt. Aunt Sarah and friend, Maddie catching Wyatt.

Daddy holding Wyatt as they sang for him and brought him ice cream.

Loves him some ice cream. :)

And since all this partying took place on Sunday the 8th Grammy had to get a cake for Wyatt on Monday the 9th. Aunt Lisa (my sister who is preggo) is actually the one that insisted we have cake. So after I got back to my mom's from tutoring she, Lisa, and Wyatt had gone to the store to get a cake. And we celebrated again...

Happy 3rd Birthday Wyatt!

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