Portrait of a Princess

Kaia may be able to take a dozen fire ant bites, a mean bike crash, a muddy hole, and a gymnastics class, but she is still our princess.  

She turned four a few weeks ago, so I wanted to make a snapshot post about our princess.

** Kaia is creative.  She loves to create projects, games, and art.  She makes fancy cards by gluing, taping, coloring, writing, cutting cardstock, and then adding stickers and other embellishments that she finds.  She finds new solutions to problems all the time. 

** Kaia is a fabulous cook.  She can read picture instructions that you see on the backs of brownie mixes and loves to pull out the ingredients.  Today she cracked eggs for the first time!

** Kaia loves to experiment.  She mixes foods on her plate all the time.  This morning she wondered what applesauce would taste like with her dry cereal, so she tried it.  She had a wonderful time mixing the egg dyes at Easter time, and she loves to mix paints.

** Kaia is an amazing big sister.  She loves her baby brother and knows just how to help him feel better and play safer.  

** When Kaia gets stressed out, a cup of water always helps her calm down.  

** Kaia loves chocolate.  Chocolate cake, chocolate ice-cream, chocolate candy, chocolate cookies, chocolate chips, chocolate shakes, chocolate anything.  This girl will tell you it's her favorite.  

** Kaia is a great friend.  She looks forward to seeing her friends each day and even misses them on weekends!  She shares her toys and worries when they're sad.  She is just full of love.

** Kaia is a whiz on the computer.  She loves the PBS Kids and Nick Jr. websites and can navigate them easily.  She also likes the Paint program, sending emails (with help) and sending E-cards (with a little help!).  She tells me that the computer games help her get ready for school time!  She gets to play the computer in the evenings during Harry's bath (about five minutes) and when I tuck him in (if she took a nap that day!) and on Saturdays during Harry's naps and on Sunday mornings. 

** Kaia loves flowers.  She loves smelling them and sharing them.  She likes to grow other plants too.

** Kaia is happy to have Oatmeal Surprise for breakfast six days a week.  Sometimes when  I make her have something else, she has to fight to keep the tears back.

** Kaia is a Drama Queen.  Besides acting out favorites like Cinderella and The Wizard of Oz, she can be very dramatic when events do not go as planned or when she is not happy with changes.  

** Kaia is very smart.  She knows her alphabet, most of the letters' sounds, numbers up to 30 or 40 (I lose track of how high she can count!), she can add and subtract, she predicts patterns with three elements, she knows more than ten different colors, dozens of animals, the days of the week, and she has a fabulous vocabulary.

** Kaia loves music.  She likes to put on "Rock and Roll" performances, sing sweet songs, and make up all kinds of music.  She loves the piano, maracas, drums, and microphones.  I think we need to get a guitar.  
** Kaia is a great dancer!

** Kaia needs her room very dark to sleep.  She likes the door closed too.

** Kaia loves going outside.  She digs in the dirt, builds with mud, rides her bikes, waters plants, plays at parks, and runs.  One of her favorite places to visit is "the forest."

** Kaia likes to dress up and look pretty. 

** She likes to recycle.


** She builds large, elaborate, and fancy houses and castles out of blocks.  

** Walking around cars or trucks on a street makes her nervous.

** She can identify an ant hill from ten feet away.  

I could go on for a very long time about how wonderful Kaia is.  She is absolutely delightful and brings so much joy to our lives.  We just love her!  We are definitely blessed to have her in our family.

11 Months Old and Taking on the World

Harry is now 11 months old, and despite all the many things I need to post about (including Easter, Kaia, and much more!) I absolutely have to take a moment to highlight this little guy before he stops being a baby and becomes a big boy!  I'm starting to wonder if I'm already too late.

Do babies chase their sisters around the house or rock out on stage with them?  This guy and his sister can put out a 120-decibel performance while dancing on the treadmill.  No exaggeration!  
Do babies drive their own cars?  Harry climbed onto a toy car today by himself for the first time.  Even more impressively, he climbed off too!

Do babies feed themselves?  Okay, I'll admit this is extremely messy, but it sure is cute!  I wipe a lot of food off his face and off the floor each time it happens, but he is so pleased to put his own food in his mouth.  (No, he still doesn't have any teeth.  Not one!)

Do babies feed other people?  He thinks putting crackers in my mouth is about as funny as an elephant dancing, and he can do it over and over and over...

Do babies clean?  Harry will copy everyone else by putting toys in their buckets...for about fifteen seconds.  Then he happily dumps the bucket out again!  He also likes to sweep and do dishes.

Do babies know sign language?  This little guy will wave, give "five," clap, lift his arms for "up," and do the sign for "more."  Of course, it's never "on-demand."

Do babies play jokes?  Harry has such a sense of humor!  Yesterday, my brother visited us.  Harry walked down the hall, looked at me, touched my brother's luggage with one little outstretched finger, and then ran back laughing so hard he almost lost his balance!  He also thinks it's hilarious to race me to the trash can or bathroom.  Yikes!

Do babies insist on going outside every time anyone in the house does?  or know that shoes mean outdoors?  Do babies like to visit new places?  or play in showers?  or in the mud?  or stacking blocks?  My "baby" sure does.

On the other hand, do big kids put every thing possible in their mouths?  Even more importantly, do big kids think their mommy is the absolute most wonderful, caring, perfect, infallible, source of love, inspiration, and confidence ever?  Yeah, that's what I thought.  So, I'll just snuggle my baby a bit longer...while he's still a baby.

Our Best Bike Crash Yet

One second she was flying down the road--so fast that even running I was behind her--the next second the bike was on top of her.  

She has been getting so good at riding her bike lately that I just let her take off.  It is fun, after all, to make yourself go so fast on a bike.  Then we approached a corner with a drain by the sidewalk.  She turned too abruptly and flipped.  

The side of her head hit first, then her out-stretched hands and knees absorbed a lot of impact.  Then her momentum threw her face into the street as her bike pinned her down.  Yikes.

I picked the bike up off of her and asked her if she could get up.  She did, and we inspected her injuries: 

** Head?  Fine.  
** Elbows?  Fine.  
** Knees?  Fine. Her knee pads (which I had strapped on tightly!) were shoved down about four inches. 
** Hands?  Scratched.  
** Face?  Scratched.  
I am so very glad she had all her little protective gear on. 

She rode her bike back home so we could doctor her up.  She didn't like seeing the scratch on her hand.  I thought it was all very impressive...I was so proud of her!

Kaia's Flying Bird (or Levers for Preschoolers!) and an Online Science Class for Preschoolers!

Ready?  Go!  We talked about levers today and the kids "launched" a Flying Bird.  We used a ruler as the lever and experimented with different fulcrums and different positions for the fulcrum.  The kids loved it!  After a while, Kaia wondered what would happen if she used her foot (instead of her hand) to stomp on the lever.  Of course, that started a whole new set of experiments!

I've really enjoyed following along with Pineapple Paintbrush during the last month as Dani posted a preschool art class four days a week.  More than once I thought, "This is so neat.  Here is a woman sharing a skill she is passionate about in a fabulous way!"  It made me want to contribute more to the blog-land community.  I do lots of crafts with my kiddos, but my expertise really isn't in art.  It's in science.

So, I'm going to host an online Science Class for Preschoolers this summer!  I'll probably just use this blog, though I've thought about making another one just for the class...I haven't completely decided!  I'll target the activities to 4-year olds, but they will be adaptable for 2-6 year olds.  I'm going to plan it out in May and post it in June.  Each day will include a little lesson plan/project outline for a science class with your kiddo.  I'm already getting excited about sharing the ideas I've had! 

What do you think?  Are you excited?  Is an online Science Class for Preschoolers something that would be helpful to you?  Are there any subjects you'd particularly like to see included?  I'd love to hear some feedback!  I'll be posting more about it as the weeks go by!

Things That Last Forever

Some things seem to last forever.  Pregnancy.  Colds.  Summer when you're six years old.  Dishes when you're eleven.  Christmas Eve when you know all you have to do is fall asleep.  Forever can be good or bad.  I never thought I would include these awesome balloons in a list of things that lasted forever.
 They really were amazing.  The kids shook them, squished them, colored on them, rattled them, and rode them.  Yes, rode them like a pony.  It looked so fun I wanted to try, but I was sure they wouldn't last forever if I sat on them! 
 Jon brought them home for Valentine's Day.  Everyone has loved them for the last two months.  These balloons were loved even when they were only half full of air and couldn't float.  I almost felt guilty when I snipped the last bit of air out of them and sent them on to their next lives in the "round file." 
Don't tell the kids.  They haven't asked about them yet.  Sometimes forever goes by very fast.

My Blog, The War-zone

Sad.  So, obviously, if you're visiting you can see the drama on the blog.  Sorry!  It seems like the creator of the template I was using has exceeded her limit on photobucket.  Some pictures remain...I've personally used very little space on photobucket.  I don't know if she'll be upgrading her account or not.  I'm not sure if I should give her a few days or (ahem!) take matters into my own hands!  Maybe it's time for a new look?

We'll see how much time I have.  I suppose it's always possible that everyone will take brilliantly long naps today.  If I do get brave and start experimenting, please "pardon the dust!"

Kaia's 4th Birthday Party

We celebrated Kaia's 4th birthday party on her birthday:  April 1st.  She has been looking forward to it for weeks!  She was thrilled that her grandma and a few friends came to her party. 
I had two games for the kids:  A Treasure Hunt and Save the Penguin.  For the Treasure Hunt, I "hid" gold around the living room and the kids searched for it.  For Save the Penguin, I stranded the poor stuffed penguin on a high shelf and the kids took turns climbing a step ladder to save him.  The kids were all 2-4 years old and they loved saving the penguin!  They liked the Treasure Hunt, but they really liked saving that little bird!
What's a birthday party without cake?  This year it seemed particularly important as Kaia requested a "chocolate cake with flowers and people and grass and a sidewalk."!  She was clearly describing our yard, so I added the house for good measure.  She also said Strawberry Shortcake would be acceptable for the people.  I let her put them on the top.  She loved it!  Yes!  Cake = Success.
Meanwhile, Harry enjoyed a graham cracker.

After the cake, Kaia opened presents.  I was quite entertained by her needing scissors to get into this one! 
Yes, she is one happy four-year old!  We are sure lucky to have her!