Gymnastics Spring Fling

Petra participated in the spring fling at her gymnastics center this weekend. She loves gymnastics. Jasper does too, but he was a great sport about sitting in the audience this time and cheering for Petra. At this age, everything is still very much assisted. Here are some photos of her on the obstacle course. You can get a pretty good idea of the performance from these photos. She also had a small floor routine – if they video turned out OK I will post it later.

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Jasper’s Allergies

Its been a while since I posted on Jasper’s allergies – actually come to think of it all the posts might be on my old blog Needlepoint Family Planning. His eczema as a baby was horrible and it took us quite a while to figure out it was detergent. You can easily see it if you look to see how red his cheeks were in some of his baby photos. We think he may be growing out of his detergent allergy – I’m not exactly going to test it. But after his hospital stay a few months ago for asthma – we had a pretty good idea that his constant runny nose, and new and continued asthma had something to do with allergies.

After a pretty awful visit to his primary where we had to insist he get allergy tested, and then waiting months to get an appointment, he finally had a skin test this month.

He laid completely still has they did the test, and had to continue remaining still (laying on his belly) for another 20 minutes. Thomas gave him his Iphone to look at and promised him a lollipop at the end – and that sealed the deal. He didn’t cry and didn’t move.

It turns out he is:

1) extremely allergic to dust mites

2) very allergic to cats

3) allergic to cockroaches

4) allergic to trees and pines

5) allergic to dogs

We don’t have carpets, rugs, cloth furniture, or many curtains – so that is good –  leather furniture and wood floors is the way to go. The doctor suggested we take the following steps for the time being. Encase his mattress and pillow with allergenic casings. We ordered them this week for the children’s bedroom. We also have to wash all his sheets, blankets, stuffed animals, etc weekly on the HOT wash cycle (sanitary wash). We also have to keep the dogs out of his room.  Plus there is keeping the house cleaner, vacuuming more often, etc. If this isn’t enough to help stop the asthma, we will have visit whether we need to kick the dogs out of the house.

Tot School Activities

DSC_0813We were busy this week with activities. Honestly, tot school has merged into preschool much more than I probably realized. Meaning we have moved to more advanced activities than you would expect to see with a toddler – mainly because the children are getting older. Petra will be 3.5 years this month, and Jasper was 2.5 last month. This may very well be my last or one of my last tot school posts – and I will be moving on to preschool / pre-K posts.

Jasper was busy this week with puzzles, mazes, and tracing in these photos. He is learning to do the Kumon mazes! We can’t figure out if he is left handed or right handed. He did one side of this maze below with his left, and then turned it over and did the next side with his right hand. He breezed through letter identification on the Leap Frog toy. We also worked with picking up objects with tongs and tweezers. The day I took these photos he jumped from one activity to the next and couldn’t seem to get enough. The rest of the week was pretty similar – he still loves his boxes and hates to see me take things out of his boxes. If you notice below, the Kumon worksheets are in page protectors – so that both Petra and Jasper could use them…and any future children we have.

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We also made homemade playdough this week. This stuff is so much softer and better than the store bought stuff. I would highly recommend it if you have never made it. I didn’t get too many pictures of the making of it because I was too busy supervising around the stove!

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Petra has been working hard at a few topics – counting and recognition of numbers, handwriting, phonics, and reading. Which is definitely more in the preschool category. For some reason her number recognition is just not that good. I have no idea why. So we are working at this. However, she is great at counting. And she knows all the letters, sounds, and understands phonics. She is amazing us daily with her ability to recognize beginning sounds in words, and we are moving towards listening for ending sounds. She is breezing through this Phonics for Kindergarten book. Plus we have been working on http://www.starfall.com.

For the first time, we were really able to enjoy these “learn words flat fish!” They were so much fun! We spelled out several sentences – “I see a dog, I see a fish, I see a girl” and read them together. Then I had Petra read them to us and replace the last word with a word I would call out for her to find and add to it. I’ve also been teaching her “at” words – pat, bat, fat, cat … and “an” words – pan, can, fan…. mostly. Along with a few sight words. And some other things here and there. I remember learning phonics myself and I keep thinking I want some of the charts I used when I was young. (I have really fond memories of learning phonics =)

We also found Level 1 reading Bob Books at Sams! This set of 18 beginning reader books we picked up for $10 about two weeks ago. She read the first one twice this week. And while she struggled a little bit, and tried to play dumb a few times, she did great. I know she understood it because I watched her show Jasper how to do – holding his finger and making him point while she helped him sound out the words!

She also loves to cut and paste.She really enjoys her Kumon Cutting and Pasting book (from the Play and Grow series). The pictures are so colorful and fun!  I haven’t been able to find ways to enforce her reading skills, but I just knew that cutting and pasting her sight words would probably be fun for her. So I made up a sheet that had the words that she is learning, as well as pictures. She had to cut them all out and match the words and pictures together and paste them together on another piece of paper. I’m planning on continuing this unless I can find other options. And if I do, I will post them so others can download.

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It is unfortunately already in the high 90’s here in Tallahassee. It was over 100 degrees according to a sign on the road. So you could say it is hot. We played in the water most days. Jasper wants to get in the pool all the time. Petra likes it – but also is really girly about it. She doesn’t like getting wet, dirty, or touching bugs, or anything of the sort. But dad and I even joined in on the fun.

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And here are some my favorite other photos from this week.

Petra making funny faces for the camera. I have no idea how she does that “mean” face – it looks like a creature from star trek the way she is able to fold down her forehead skin.

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Jasper is addicted to our Iphones. He LOVES looking at pictures and videos. He could easily spend an hour each day doing this. We are having to restrict phone usage already!

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Jasper is also beginning potty training. I kept walking through the room seeing this picture of his diaper and pants laying on the floor and figured I better give it a try. I’ve been too busy at work the last few months and knew it was time. So we are starting. You can be praying. I would appreciate it. He is very weird about it – he is very good at going potty but just likes the easiness of the diapers.

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The garden is growing veggies! I have a zuchinni plant that probably 4 ft wide! And the tomoatoes are starting to turn red! YAY! These were from the garden this week…the first of the crop. Petra insisted on cutting up some squash for dinner.

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I visited with Destiny this week and her new baby Aiden. If you follow my blog you know she is back home. I’ve been very careful of posting photos of her. But she is and has definitely been part of our family and I want to share her with all of you. I wish I could see her more often. It’s hard to see the children that come into your life for a time… leave.  But she is doing really well, and he is so cute.

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And here are the last of the photos from this week. Playing at Lake Ella tonight. The children were wild. It is really wonderful to see how happy they are all the time.

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Sine Die–Back to Life

040My crazy weeks wrapped up at work this week with Sine Die at 2am Saturday morning. I’m very thankful for my job, and also very thankful for the 2011 Legislative Session to have come to a close. I think I put in close to 250 overtime hours in the last 3 months – which is not as much as some others have done – but enough to keep me busy. I finally took a nap today – 3 hours and honestly it could have easily been another 2 hours had not the children woke up.

Over the next several weeks I will have time to relax, spend time with my family, catch-up on the housework, and get prepared for prekindergarten with Petra! I can not believe she will be turning 4 years old this fall.

I was very blessed this week to receive a new awesome camera from my dear husband. It was more than I ever expected and it is SO COOL. He bought me a Nikon D7000 and it is really great. It can take 6 shots a second! Which means I can get great photos of the children as they move and run! It came in the mail a little later than expected and I didn’t receive it until Monday night. I hated that I didn’t have the chance to take any photos of the children until today. So during the week I took a couple pictures up at work to try it out. Including the picture above of the capitol. And these two below of the House Office Building and a rose bush outside of the House Office Building.

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So how did I spend my first day off after the end of session?

Well, it started with some volunteer work at 8am. This morning we woke up bright and early to set up the Heart Gallery at the fairgrounds for KidsFest. I don’t have nearly the time that I would like to help with the Heart Gallery’s mission of helping find forever homes for children in foster care, but the little help we were able to put in today goes a long way with teamwork. The Junior League in Tallahassee has been an incredible partner for us and is able to help provide us a larger volunteer base. And KidsFest is so much fun for the children. All the vendors are required to have activities for children – so while parents stop and learn about safety, or banking, or adoption, or literacy, or just about anything – the children also stay occupied with arts, crafts, and games.

At the event today the children met Leon a small ambulance who can drive around, wink, spray water, wink, and generally entertain just about anyone. They were a little surprised to see him wake up. They also played with sand, water, jumped in bouncy houses, made crafts, picked up way too many lollipops, received a couple free books, had a piggy bank race, and we picked up some information on a ballet school I have been wanting to look into for Petra. A lot of fun for some volunteer work. But the Heart Gallery was well manned by others while we took the children around to all the fun.

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After our naps (which were very much needed) we met our friends the Clark’s at Starbucks for a little impromptu visit. Petra and Jasper love Kacy.

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And you may be a little shocked by this, but at 7pm tonight we let the children get in their new small swimming pool. They had a blast. The weather is already in the 90s here most days so it wasn’t too cold. The water was fresh out of the hose though, and the sun was getting low in the sky so it was a little chilly. They had a blast!

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What I didn’t do today was any work. No housework, no in-depth cooking or cleaning. And I have to admit: it was nice.

Thomas did snap this photo of me today taking pictures on his Iphone.