Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

Kids sure make Halloween more fun! Elizabeth had a brief (and grumpy) stint as a sweet pea before crashing for the night, and Henry had great fun trick-or-treating as a builder. Not a construction worker, not Bob the Builder, just "a builder", according to him. It took a little persuading to get him to wear Greg's running safety vest, but it really made the outfit!

Henry only trick-or-treated on our block, but thanks to some generous neighbors, he still had quite a haul. Perhaps even more fun for him was passing out candy. Every time a kid came to the door, he'd sprint to the door and carefully put a piece in each bag, even pressing candy on the adults.

In other news, Elizabeth is continuing to do very well with a combination of nursing and formula. We're starting to get into the rhythm of making formula and washing bottles.

From 2010-10-31

School this week was pretty low-key as we got into our new feeding routine for Elizabeth, although we did do our usual workboxes and activities. Henry's been really enjoying this simple calendar that I made for him that shows our weekly activities. It's a lot of fun for him to be able to anticipate all of his activities during the week and to know what special events are coming up.

From 2010-10-31

One activity that I haven't mentioned on the blog yet is "Jesus Friends," the preschool program that meets at our church on Wednesday night. It seems to be Henry's favorite activity of the week. He loves being part of a group--he's in the orange group, as he reminds us regularly--and adores the puppet show and singing. I'm so glad we decided to have him go. It runs until 8:00, which is well past his bedtime, but his enthusiasm and the quality of the program makes it well worth it. Here he is showing off some of his Jesus friends crafts from this week: a stop sign to remind him to obey God, and a cloth collage based on an Old Testament prophecy where a coat is torn into pieces to symbolize the twelve tribes of Israel.

Lastly, a couple of pictures that are too cute not to share. Have a good week!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

More fall fun

Things are starting to get back to normal after we discovered last week that Elizabeth didn't gain any weight for a month. So far, it looks like my milk supply isn't sufficient (and isn't improving), so we're now supplementing with formula. Thankfully, our dear little girl is gaining weight well now and is quickly progressing forward with some of the movement milestones that she hadn't reached yet. It's such a relief to see her more active after an anxious week.

She's lifting up her head much more and even propping herself on her arms sometimes.

And she's started to grab at toys and really examine them.

Apparently we didn't get any good pictures of her smiling this past week, but she's been so sweet and smiley (and has much less fussy afternoons, now that her little stomach is full!) It's a joy to have our happy little baby back.

In other news, we've had lots of fall fun here the past couple of weeks.
We had a great visit with Mom and Mike and enjoyed a beautiful weekend with them. We went to the nature center's fall festival (and didn't take enough pictures). Not only did we go for a horse-drawn wagon ride through the forest, we also saw a blacksmith, an owl presentation, made rope and apple cider, and got to eat caramel apples.

Henry had lots of fun having Grandma and Grandpa to play with, especially when he got to play in the fall leaves with Grandpa.

And Elizabeth enjoyed lots of extra cuddles.

Henry loves making applesauce.

And we got crafty and made a fall leaves decoration for the dining room.

We also did a family hike that was supposed to be an easy mile and a half--but Greg's GPS informed us that we actually walked over three miles. Henry was quite a trooper.

And of course we've been doing some more "academic" things--but they're not nearly as fun to photograph! I did get a picture of one our school times just to give you the flavor of it. On this day, Henry's four workboxes contained a sheet on identifying similarities and differences, a workbook where he identified the beginning sound for some words, a speech game for practicing saying the letter "f", and colored rods to practice comparing lengths (although they eventually became a town of skyscrapers and trucks.)

Friday, October 8, 2010

A beautiful fall week

We've had a week of glorious fall weather and have taken every opportunity to get outdoors and enjoy it.

On Sunday afternoon we went to Meijer Gardens to catch the Artprize sculptures featured there. Before looking at the sculptures, we took a short walk through the wetland area there and came across a flock of swans. The contrast between them and the Chihuly glass art installation was breathtaking.

Henry enjoyed stopping at the mock farm and using the hand pump.

We had a zoo playdate with a neighbor on Monday. The boys enjoyed the animals, but the wooden train was the main attraction.

We also took advantage of the nice weather to do some outdoor science activities. Henry was quite excited about his new magnifying glass, but a three-year-old attention span doesn't exactly lend itself to much close observation.

We also took a walk to the Garfield nature center (which is next to the park). Henry loved climbing on fallen logs and stumps and squishing berries in between his fingers. After he commented that the squished berries looked like paint, it occurred to me that we could use them for an art project. So, we took a couple bunches home and Henry did some berry painting.

You can see Elizabeth generally doesn't mind getting schlepped around to all our activities! She has been a bit fussy in the afternoons lately, but other than that continues to be very easy-going.

During our at-home academics, Henry had a lot of fun playing with his number puzzles this week. He's become quite proficient at the numbers up to ten, both counting and recognizing the numerals.

And he blew me away this week with his letter knowledge. I knew he knows the alphabet pretty well, but he was able to connect all of the lower-case letters with their upper-case match--and even draw the lines himself.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Week 4

This week was pretty low-key, as I had a cold all week that kept me from having much energy. Our theme right now is all things fall, so we've been reading books about leaves, apples, pumpkins, etc.

Making leaf rubbings was kind of a dud art project, but it did get Henry looking at the veins of the leaves. Cutting open crab apples and pine cones was a much bigger hit...

... and making apple pie was even better!

Henry spends an hour each day having "rest time" in his room, when he gets to bring one toy to his room and play quietly for an hour. (Since he has mostly stopped napping, it helps us both to have a bit of a break in the middle of the day.)

It seems like having this focused time has made his pretending more sophisticated, which has been very fun for Greg and I to observe. This week, he started using his little people to act out fairy tales. We did The Three Little Pigs and Goldilocks, as well as a book about some mice that get caught in a glass jar.

The real highlight of the week was the weekend, when Dad and Jane came to visit. We went downtown to Artprize on Friday afternoon and saw several of the highlights of the competition. (Although apparently we didn't take any pictures of the actual art.)

While we were downtown, we of course had to stop for a carousel ride at the public museum.

Last, Henry began his music class this week. I had heard rave reviews of this music class from a friend but was still surprised by how excellently it was taught and by how much fun we had. The class is a mix of singing, dancing, and playing with simple instruments, and the instructor had Henry completely engaged before the end of the first song. The class is for kids up to age 4, so Henry's one of the bigger kids in the class. I think it will be good for him to be one of the "big kids" since he often is the little kid tagging along in our neighborhood.

As part of the class fee, we received a CD of the songs we'll be singing. When I popped it into the CD player on the way home, Henry said, "Mom, this is the best DVD (CD) ever." When I asked why, he replied, "Because it has the songs from my music class." Pretty good endorsement!

Elizabeth is holding up her head more and more, and devouring her fingers. Thankfully, being able to suck on her fists seems to help her soothe herself, and she's been continuing to sleep through the night. (Hallelujah!)