I thought this photo of Si was so cute. He's always on the move away from me.
Our second trip to the Botanical Garden (by car) was much more fun. I spent most of the time keeping the kids on the path. Cate kept reading the sign "Please Stay on the Path" while Si wondered off of it. While we checked for trolls under a bridge we bumped into a couple strolling through the park. As they started to walk away I said, "oh didn't you hold the door for us at the library yesterday" (Us being Mom and the super wide side by side double stroller) and in a sweet Irish accent he said while looking at the children, "why, yes." I stood talking with them for several minutes until a nearby water sprinkler caught the attention of my wayward wanders. It was a nice early morning visit. Cate again found the Jack's Frost ground cover and a lovely succulent plant called Jovibarba heuffelii 'Wotan'. We printed a photo and searched the rock garden for the plant. Below is a photo of her holding the printed picture. The only problem with this exercise is that I really can't expect a four year old to recite the latin names of plants. What would you call it, a Jovibarba. Oh I have a lot to learn.
I should add that all of the photos were taken before Cate and Si decided to stomp in a huge puddle of water left over from the morning watering. A man came by and started turning off the sprinklers. He looked at me as if to say "Your welcome." But the puddles still remained and they were so much fun for the kids. I personally was aggravated by their insistence and lack of cooperation but as I look back on it I need to remember to be less controling and let them have a little fun.
I've been fiddling with the look of my blog all week. Cropping and resizing photos or even taking them isn't a strong area for me as you can see the sizing is a bit off. My children aren't that short. But I finally got the banner centered thanks to Jennifer who, of course, takes awesome photos. I think the look is a lot cleaner and I took my inspiration from the new to me blog MommyCoddle. I've also added a sidebar for books I am reading to Si. He will now sit and listen to the books I am reading to Cate. Also, Cate is reading some books to him! So if you have a nearly 2 year old boy or a four year old girl keep checking the sidebars. I often wonder if the book sidebars are useful. I think they freshen the look of the blog at least to me but I wonder do you find them useful? Do you come to the blog and notice the changing sidebars? I often wish other bloggers would change their books selections more often because I find great books through other blogs.
Two more questions, do you think the comment note is too cheesy? And does the shade of gray for the shared items fade too much into the background? All the other colors clash with my sensibility.
Sometimes I think I should write a post about books we didn't like. We read a lot of books that go immediately back into the library bag. One thing I have realized is that just because my child enjoys a book from the library for 12 weeks it doesn't mean we need to purchase it. Somehow I want to get better at recording the books we do enjoy. Here's quick peek from last week.
I have to thank Kate for mentioning Sophie's Knapsack in one of her ever dependable Tuesday Book Posts. This book published in 1988 could so easily go unnoticed in the rush to read all the new books that are published. It is a gem and Citcat has been carrying around her backpack calling it a knapsack, saying "Sing Ho for the life of a bear" (Kate, I suppose you are the only one who will get that) and wondering when we will climb a mountain. Citcat's going to be a little disappointed when she discovers that Mommy isn't too keen on sleeping outdoors.
I adore In a Blue Room. Blue is my favorite color and the blue depicted in this book fills me with happiness. Alice, the little girl in this story, isn't able to fall asleep. Her mother brings first fresh flowers to her bedside, then a cup of tea, a quilt and then lullaby bells. And all the time Alice is asking for the "blue." And then her mother says "here it comes" and the lights are turned off and then the room is awash in blue. This loving bedtime routine will make you long for a quiet wind down with your little one. All the while I am wondering if ever I will be so relaxed and refreshed at the end of a day to offer such sweetness.
If you enjoy Tricia Tusa, the illustrator of In a Blue Room check out this wonderful interview at Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfastt.
Albert the Fix-t Man is wonderfully illustrated and the story of a kind old man who enjoys fixing things for his neighbors. When the paperboy discovers that Albert is sick in bed all his neighbors create special treats to help him feel better. The end pages have nice images of tools in silhouette. We really loved this book. Citcat made connections to other books where the characters were ill, Nutmeg and Barley and Frog and Toad.
Gander's Pond is delightfully easy to read aloud and has lots of repetition for a beginning reader to read aloud again and again. In the story the goose is wishing for a pond on a hot day. Panda and Gander collect bowls, pots and a tub to catch rain in order to make a pond. There isn't enough rain and they resort to more and more receptacle to gather rain. Citcat noted with all seriousness that they should come to Seattle. You know where it rains at least once a day or at least it did while we read this book.
When I checked Google Maps the Bellevue Botanical Garden was only 2.4 miles from our house. I figured it would be a nice walk in the stroller. Little did I know that the last three-quarters of a mile was seriously uphill. I was exhausted from pushing two 30 pound toddlers up the hill and our trip was a bit slower than expected. To say the least we were all a bit grumpy by the time we arrived. ;)
Once we arrived I unbuckled Cit and Si from the stroller and they immediately ran for a garden water fountain. While they were swishing their hands in the water a docent walking past with a group of school children and their ever so chic mothers admonished me and said that I should really wash their hands after splashing in that recirculated water. Yea right, I'll drag these two into a public restroom to wash their hands only to pick up more germs before we leave. Si's favorite thing to do is swish his hand in a public toilet every time his sister has to go to the potty which of course is every time we go out of the house.
The visit wasn't a total loss. Cit identified the hostas, ferns, and we found Jack's Frost in the Ground Cover Garden. I'm planning another trip tomorrow morning. This time I'll drive.
In case you didn't notice my little girl had a haircut. I literally cried flowing tears watching my baby be transformed into this darling little girl. Too bad the hair cut didn't nip a bit of that spunk. You might notice that she is sticking out her tongue.
No matter how often I try to find another way to contain our home learning material, I always return to this simple plastic basket shown in the photo below. It is just the right size to hold the material for a week. I haven't planned a learning week in a while but as most of you know, little kids learn even without planning. Also, I think I've discovered a perfect time to dedicate to reading new learning material. My dh is out of town this week. Instead of struggling to keep Citcat in bed and not running in and out of her room, I sat down with her and we worked on some new materials I have in the basket. She was most delighted to have my full attention at a time when I'm usually insisting she go to bed. ;)
This probably isn't interesting to anyone besides me but this is what I have in the learning basket for the week ahead. Also a healthy dose of playing outside with a friend down the street, coloring, play dough, and blocks.
Practice number recognition to 100 Circle the numbers on a laminated sheet
Practice writing the number 4
Try grouping experiment, items smaller than 6 inches, items larger than 6 inches-Thanks Sara
Visit Bellevue Botanical Garden-Plant Recognition
New Word List from the following books
A few of the fun new books we have from the library