Thursday, October 30, 2014

October Silliness

Amelia had crazy hair day at school last Thursday, so I put her hair in tiny little pigtails all over her head.  I think she had 24 pigtails when I was done.  She thought it was great fun!

Amelia and Megan played Cinderella one day last week, and both of them wanted to be Cinderella.  Here is how they chose to dress up:

I got to be the wicked stepmother, which was fantastic, because I got to order them around for a while, getting them to comb my hair, polish my shoes, sweep the floor and dust the table.  It was great fun for me!  They wanted Nathaniel to dress up as the ugly stepsister, so here's what he had to wear.  He was not happy to be dressed up.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Nathaniel is 11 months old!

Nathaniel has two big things to share this month: he's getting his first tooth, and he's finally sleeping through the night!  He got the tooth about three weeks ago, at 10.5 month; it's the bottom left one.  He started sleeping through the night about the same time, although he wakes up sometimes at 5am and decides that it's time to be up for the day.  That's a little early for me!  Unfortunately, I haven't been able to sleep through the night very often, because Megan got sick right after that, and was up coughing at night for about a week.

One of Nate's favorite toys is this big soft ball that he got from Great Grandpa Jim last Christmas.  It plays music when it is bounced on the floor and it has a big tag that Nate can use to pick it up and carry it across the room while he's crawling.  He loves to roll the ball back and forth with someone, although he usually bats it way off to the side.  I love the expression on his face as he crawls after the ball so determinedly.  He came up with a new game where he would bring the ball to Megan at the quarantine wall, Megan would throw it away from him, and then he would go chase after it.  Megan told me that it was just like playing fetch with a dog.  :)

Nathaniel also loves to play with block towers.  He gets very excited about knocking towers over, so much so that he will often knock the tower over as soon as I start building it.  If I want to get a tall tower built, I have to enlist Megan's help to hold him back so he can't destroy it until I'm done.  Nathaniel is not a fan of that!

Just recently he has also started trying to stack the blocks himself, although he can't actually do it without knocking the whole tower over.

He still likes to ride on his little musical car, but he is also interested in turning the car over and playing with the wheels.  When Natalie and Rosemary were here last weekend, they had fun giving each other rides on the car.  Nate could push it across the room if Rosemary was sitting on it, and I think Nate got to ride while Natalie pushed him.

He was not very happy when we put the quarantine wall up in our living room, but he did like standing up on the wall and trying to chew on it.  I really liked having the wall in the middle of the living room, because it prevented Nate from being able to reach the computers, the remotes and all Ben's stuff.  His side of the room was completely child-proofed.

Nathaniel is crawling around really fast now, and he is starting to try to climb on and over things, including Ben.  Ben was trying to block Nate from getting to the chair, so Nate decided to go through Ben's legs.

I've put the fridge magnets back up; my fridge has been so nice and clutter-free for the last two years!  Right now, Nate pretty much likes to just pull the magnets off the fridge, but he does enjoy it when the girls set the gears up in a chain or make the animals make noise.  As much as I dislike the magnets, it helps keep him from trying to get into the cabinet under the sink to eat the soap.  I put him there the other day while I was getting his bath ready.

What else does Nathaniel really like to do?  Well, he especially loves to try to drive the car!  Sometimes I let him stand in the driver's seat while we are waiting to pick someone up.  He tries to chew on the steering wheel occasionally, but mostly he just likes to hold on and bounce up and down.  Thankfully he won't be learning to drive any time soon!

Another thing Nathaniel enjoys is bath time in the kitchen sink.  He likes to splash in the water and make a big mess, and he especially likes it when Megan helps out.  Sometime soon I will try giving him a bath in the bathtub with the big girls, but this is so much easier on my back.

Nate is not a big fan of wearing his sisters' sunglasses, but he looks awfully cute in them!

Nathaniel also loves to play with Megan's friends and the girls in the neighborhood; he doesn't seem to have stranger anxiety around other kids.  The older neighbor girls are fascinated by babies, and love to pick him up, carry him around, and help him play with toys.  Megan's friends fight over who is going to push him on the swing, so sometimes he gets pushed by all of them at once..  These photos kind of reminded me of David's harem. 

I'm afraid he's turning into a picky eater, he doesn't seem to want to eat anything new lately.  He still likes any kind of fruit, peas, carrots, bread, crackers, and white string cheese, but he will no longer eat ham, orange cheese or green beans, all of which he used to enjoy.  So he doesn't seem to get a lot of variety in his diet right now.  He has also not been very interested in drinking whole milk from a sippy, but we'll keep working on that this month.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Swimming Lessons

Yesterday the girls started their second session of swimming lessons this fall, and I was able to take them to the pool to observe.  Amelia was terrified before her lesson started; she came home from school in tears and tried to get out of swimming by saying her tummy hurt.  But she had a new teacher this time, and she cheered up once she was actually in the water wearing a floaty belt.  She swam to the end of the pool all by herself and then jumped off the diving board and swam back.  I was really impressed that she did all that!  When her lesson was over, she ran over to me and told me that she loved swimming.  And then she got to play in the kiddie pool while Megan had her lesson.  She practiced her front glide, front crawl and front float and then played with another little girl.

This may not seem like much for people whose kids love swimming, but this is a pretty big deal for Amelia to be able to do.  And even more, to do eagerly!

Megan likes her swimming lesson, and she seemed to participate eagerly.  Her class didn't get to do as much as the bigger kids, but I did see her practicing her kicking on her back while the teacher helped her float.  She had a big smile on her face.  She enjoyed playing in the little pool while waiting for her lesson to start; she was content to run around the pool and go down the slide.

Megan loves to watch videos on my phone, so she asked me to take a few videos of her playing in the pool.  She especially wanted videos of her going down the slide and landing silly ways.

I asked Amelia if she wanted to make a video for her to watch next week before swimming telling herself that swimming is fun, and she thought that would be a good idea.  And of course Megan wanted to make one, too.  So here's what the girls had to say about swimming in their own words.

Nine hundred thousand million billion trillion thumbs up is amazing!  I'll take it.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Gibraltar Rock

The kids and I went exploring at Gibraltar Rock yesterday afternoon, on the recommendation of Mrs. Besler.  The girls said that they didn't like it as much as Devil's Lake, because they prefer climbing up rocky steps instead of a gradually sloping trail, but we still had a great time.  I thought the trail was a lot easier while carrying Nate than the steep and slippery steps at Devil's Lake, and the fall colors were certainly beautiful!  We heard and then saw a woodpecker, and we also saw squirrels, blackbirds, ladybugs and a caterpillar.

We took the easy paved trail through the forest, and we were surprised to arrive at the top and discover that we were at the top of a steep cliff.

I was a mean mom and wouldn't let the girls go to the edge of the cliff to look at the view, instead I made them stay on layer of rocks above the edge of the cliff.  I never used to be afraid of heights, but I'm definitely afraid of them where the kids are involved!

At the top were some really interesting trees;  I wish I'd had my camera, but it was nice to carry only Nathaniel and our backpack with snacks and water.

Since I wouldn't let them play near the edge, the girls had fun climbing up tree roots and following little paths.

We took a different trail back to the parking lot, and the girls took turns leading the way.  The second girl got to spot all the yellow marks to make sure that we were staying on the right trail, which interestingly was part of the Ice Age Trail.  Megan was so excited to get a chance to be the leader; she loved to skip and run down the hill.

About halfway down, Amelia said she had to pee really badly, so she got to experience squatting behind a tree.  She thought it was kind of cool after the fact, and of course Megan had to try it just a few minutes later.  They were too embarrassed to tell Ben about it when we got home though.  Towards the end of the trail, Jeff texted to ask if we wanted to facetime; we sent him the following photos instead.

As we drove back to the highway, we stopped on the side of the road to take a look at the cliff we had climbed.  Do you see the rocky cliffs on the top right side of the hill?  The sun was setting, and the colors were just beautiful!

We stopped at A&W for dinner on our way home; the girls chose blue raspberry slushies as their treat, but I had a float.  Nathaniel ended up eating chicken fingers, bread and ham from my sandwich.  He really seemed to like the ham.  Other than a few instances of whining (Megan), complaining (Amelia), and arguing about whose turn it was to go first (both), we had a lovely time!

I realized I hardly mentioned Nate, poor guy.  He rode in the Baby Bjorn, and was content almost the entire way to just look around him and eat a graham cracker.  He's such a good baby!  He loved it when people would pass us walking their dogs; the dogs always made him giggle.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

4 and 6 year old writing

Megan is starting to be interested in writing letters and words.  She knows how to write her name pretty well now, and the other day she asked me to help her spell some harder words.  Did she pick words like cat or mommy?  Nope, not my independent Megan!

She picked Pachycephalosauraus!  For those who aren't up on their dinosaurs, a pachycephalosaurus was an omnivorous dinosaur from the Cretaceous period, most well-known for the bony hump on its head, which was used for butting other dinosaurs in the flank during combat.


Once she finished that word, which took her an entire sheet of paper (the first photo), she wanted to write Iolambia, Triceratops, Pteranodon, Corythosaurus, and Tarchia.  She is still very interested in dinosaurs.  Megan loves to watch videos on my phone, so she asked if I would take this video of her writing:

The last few days Amelia has been writing stories outside with her neighbor friend Aiden.  The two girls told me they were writing a series of nature stories called "Sad Squirrel".  Here are Amelia's first and second stories:

Here is a video of Amelia reading her first story, titled "Sad Squirrel's Friend." 

Here is the (corrected) text of the second story, for those who don't want to decode first grade spelling.  By the way, I asked if they wanted me to tell them how to spell squirrel, and they said no, because they knew they had spelled it correctly.  :)

Sad Squirrel's New Life

Once upon a time there was a squirrel named Olaf who just married a chipmunk named Gwen.  A while after they had married they had two kids, a girl chipmunk named Gwenith and a boy squirrel named Parker.  One day they were driving to the kids' grandparents' house for the week.  Their grandma and grandpa's house was in Colorado.  When they got to their grandma and grandpa's house, their grandparents took them to their favorite clover patch where they can find lots of four leaf clovers.  When they got there, they started looking for four leaf clovers, even the grownups were looking.  They found hundreds of four leaf clovers.  They each got one hundred clovers.  When they got home, they went to bed.  The End.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Devil's Lake

It was such a beautiful fall day today that I decided we should go check out Devil's Lake state park, about 45 minutes north of us near Baraboo.  Apparently, lots of other people had the same idea, because we had to wait in line to get into the park, then we had a hard time finding a parking place, and there was a lot of traffic on the hiking trail we chose.  Before we started, the girls had to check out this fun sliding rock and log balance beam:

We did the Balanced Rock hike up the bluff on the south side of the park (a 500 foot elevation gain, entirely up rocky steps), then came down the Pothole and Grottos trails.  We had to step to the side pretty frequently to let other people pass us, but Megan was by far the youngest person we saw doing this hike, and she had to tackle some pretty tall rock steps.

Megan did a fantastic job hiking and even got a few compliments from some of the other hikers.  I stayed pretty close to her because some of the steps were a little slippery and the trail was steep in places with a bit of a rocky drop to one side.  I caught her once when she started to slip, but she did very well the rest of the time.  I don't think she was nervous at all, it was just me worrying.  Periodically I would say something like "Great job, Megan!" and she would say "I know.  I'm a good hiker!"  When we got to the end, she said her muscles felt stronger because of all the good hiking she did.

Amelia was a very good hiker, too, and enjoyed being the leader of our group.  She was responsible for following the trail (which was usually easy because we could see people in front of us), but she took her responsibilities seriously, and would announce which way the trail went at tricky switchbacks.  While we were waiting for people to pass us, the girls had a good time checking out the cubbyholes, although they called them fairy caves.

There was a short stretch of trail at the top that was paved, flat and wide, and the girls enjoyed walking side by side holding hands on that stretch.

Ben carried Nathaniel up in the Baby Bjorn, and he was a good little traveler.  He got fussy at the top because he didn't get much of a nap in the afternoon, so I carried him halfway down in my arms (which was tricky when the steep stairs started again!) and then Ben took him back for the last part.

We spent some time on the beach after we finished our hike.  The girls wanted to wade in the water, which they said was very cold.  There were some tiny little fish in the water, but they didn't have any luck catching them.

Then the girls played on the playground equipment, while Nathaniel had a bit of snuggle time.

As we were walking back to the car, Amelia said "This was the most fun thing I ever did in my whole life."  Wow!  I'm glad that everyone in our family had such a wonderful time exploring the outdoors together on this beautiful fall day!