Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Liar, Liar, Underpants on Fire

Emma makes my job as a Mama very easy. Yes we butt heads a few times a day, and her attitude can sometimes drive me crazy, but for the most part, she is very easy to please and get along with. We almost never have to punish her for anything. 

Which is good, be cause I hate to punish and don't really feel like it serves much of a purpose for the most part. 

There are, however, a few things I absolutely will not tolerate- the top of that list is lying. Every since Emma first entered the phase where kids have a tendency to try to get out of trouble by making up stories or by lying, we have explained to her that though she may get in a little trouble for telling the truth if what she is doing is not ok, she would get in much bigger trouble if she lied. 

Mostly the "little trouble" constituted a, "That's not ok, don't do it again" speech and that's about it.  

Lying, however, gets a person in a lot more trouble as Emma found out last Wednesday. 

As I am sure you may have noticed by now, in our house we tend to lounge in pj's most days.

In our pj's working in the tent

Sometimes those most days happen to be in a row. Last Wednesday when Emma and I were getting ready to head up to Gramma's, I had asked Emma to get changed (out of the pj's she had been wearing for the last 2 days). I came back from doing something and she was still wearing her pj's. 

Mama- "Why didn't you change?"
Emma- "I asked Da if I could wear my pj's again and he said yes."
Mama- "Ok, did you at least change your undies?" (with a skeptical look)
Emma- "Yes."
Mama- "So you took off your pj pants, changed your undies, and put your pj pants back on." (still highly doubtful)
Emma- "Yes."
Mama- "Ok, I believe you." 

And we headed out. When we stopped at our usual place for a potty break (Gramma lives 3 hours away), I noticed that Emma's undies had not been changed. 

When I pointed that out to Emma, she said, "Oops, I forgot. I am really sorry." Right and I was born yesterday. So I explained to her that I really do not like being lied too, and that for lying to me there would be some serious consequences. I asked her what she thought they should be.

Emma- "No t.v. at Gramma's?" We were only going to be at Gramma's for 3 days and with all the "new" things to play with, I doubted that would get the point across. 

Mama- "How about no t.v. for a week."
Emma- "A WEEK!?" (This coming from the child that loves t.v. so much, she will take pictures of what she is watching)
Magneto from X-Men

Mama- "Lying is a serious offense. It really is not ok to lie."
Emma- "Ok. I am really sorry."

So, this week has been... easier than I expected. She did mention a few times that she wished she could watch t.v. and we talked a bit about why she couldn't but she managed to survive. She has even managed to discover/rediscovered some new and exciting things to do.

Dancing on the bed to Taylor Swift. 

While we are not big on punishments, and being punished is never fun, I feel like Emma got the point and will remember (for a while anyway) that lying only gets her in bigger trouble. 

Sunday, January 29, 2012

What Time Is It?

No, it isn't Tool Time. Emma has recently started showing interest in figuring out the time according to the analog clock. On a recent trip to Duck Worth Wearing, where we have something like $36 dollars in consignment money, I spied a cool watch. When I asked Emma if she would like it, the answer was yes. 

Did you guess that the watch has horses on it? You would have guessed correctly :) I have been meaning to take some good pictures of the watch, but it hasn't happened. 

This past week, Emma and I went up to Gramma's house just 'cause. One of the mornings there, Emma decided to pull out the box of Legos (mostly from when Jared was little, some from Gramma's teaching years). For some reason the watch was on my mind (possible because it was laying next to me on the couch), and I really wanted to take some pictures of her wearing it, but I didn't want to interrupt her play. I asked if she would mind wearing the watch for a bit so I could take pictures, but that she could just pretend I wasn't there and go about her Lego play. 

Here is what I got. 

I love that the horse is running around the watch, acting as the second hand. I also love that the minute hand and hour hand are different colors. About the only thing I would change is instead of having "1,2,3,4,5..." repeated on the frame of the watch, I would have put, "5,10,15,20, etc." so that Emma can more easily translate the minutes.

"Mama, I don't have any Indian horses at our house!"

This was the Harry Potter Lego section.

Mama- "Emma, what time is it?"

It sure was :) 
But really, it was time to leave her be so she could get lost in her world of Legos.

(As a side note, Gramma and I were just chatting about Legos, and wondered where they were made (they are made in Denmark), which led me to discover that there are free games on the Lego website. Emma loves them. )

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Disappointment and Discovery

If you have the desire to purchase Crayola's Glow Explosion Paint kit, I would save the money. Emma received one of these kits as a gift recently, and she was pretty excited to give it a try. 

I didn't have high hopes, as we have tried one of the other specialty Crayola kits (the Color Explosion 3D one) and Emma really didn't like it. 

Well, we decided to give this one a try. The package states something to the effect that the paint glows for, "up to 4 fantastic hours." Upon reading more, I realize that is all it glows for. It does not recharge in the light. So, basically once you mix the paint up (one each of red, blue, yellow, green), you have 4 hours to paint all of the pictures (maybe 4 or 6, I can't remember). 

All by your self. 

Unless of course you happen to have friends over, which might make the activity a little more fun, but still. You can't save the paint to use at a later date. Once you mix the paint with the activator stuff, it has to be used within 4 hours if you want your picture to glow. 

The stuff does glow really well, and that part of it was cool, but that was about as far as the cool factor went.

. Emma attempted to paint one of the pictures provided, but it was kinda tough. 

 Why was it tough to paint the picture?

The paint had the consistency of snot. It was thick and sticky and didn't spread out on the picture very easily.

She did manage to paint a bit of the picture

before she decided to move on to better, more exciting things.

Gramma- "Emma, would you like to go outside and light some Sparklers?"
Emma- "Mama, is it ok, can me and Gramma go outside?!?"

I had planned to take photos from the nice, warm house, but the pictures wouldn't come out and Gramma and Emma looked like they were having too much fun. I didn't want to miss out. 

Emma- "The sparklers are almost all done. Can we go in now?"
Mama- "Sure, why don't you stick the tip of your sparkler into the snow to put it out..."

"Mama, the snow is glowing!"

Who knew sparklers would still sparkle under the snow?

Saturday, January 21, 2012

This is not a lesson!

One of the greatest things about being unschoolers self-led learners life learners who we are is the fact that we do our learning every minute of every day. Very rarely do we sit down to do worksheets, lessons, or any sort of formal learning. Yes, sometimes it happens, but not usually at my suggestion, and often times by accident. 

For some reason lately (possible because I have no control over most of what is going on right now- or so it feels), I have felt a need to actually "teach" Emma. I know she is learning all day every day. I am aware enough that I can see her mind absorbing, processing, and utilizing all that she soaks up. But sometimes, I feel like I should do more. Yes, I need to get over it. 

In the mean time, I think we are going to have some fun with a program called Five In A Row. Here is my interpretation of it, for those that may not have heard of FIAR (I hadn't until just recently). 

The "manual" for the program is just a book (actually there are 4 volumes) with a list of classic children's picture books in them (such as "The Story About Ping," "Madeline," and "Katy and the Big Snow.") For each book, there are suggested activities that can be done that teach different subjects (math, geography, art, etc). The basis of the program is that we read, say, Madeline once a day for 5 days in a row. After each reading, we do one of the activities suggested. 

Today we read Madeline after which I suggested we try out one of the activities. Emma declined. 

As I have stated, we don't typically sit down to do formal lessons. One reason is that Emma really hates to be taught to. It might have something to do with the fact that she already thinks she knows everything. 

Anyway, a bit later I was looking through the activities and I found a math one that I figured she would enjoy. It was about grouping, multiplying, and dividing using the number 12 (because that is how many girls there are in the story). I mentioned to Emma that I found an activity I thought she would enjoy. 

She still wasn't super thrilled about the idea.

So, to sweeten the deal a bit I bribed suggested we use mini M&M's instead of the suggested blocks or marbles. Emma decided giving the activity a try was worth it for some mini M&M's.  

Here is the activity we did: Math: Beginning Grouping and Dividing Skills

"Take forty-eight blocks, pennies, clothes pins or marbles. 

I started off with Emma counting out 4 groups of 12 mini M&M's (which she quickly realized meant two of each M&M color). Then using pencil and paper, we worked out what 12+12 was. When she saw that each 12+12 = 24, she immediately knew what I would ask next- 
E- "So we have 44 M&M's!?" 
M- "Super close! Lets look, how much is 4+4..." I thought it was pretty awesome that she got that close in her head. 

Using the first twelve to represent the girls, see how many groups of girls you would have if Miss Clavel divided the girls up into groups of two to walk down the stairs. 
6 groups 
(please ignore the random group of three off in the upper left corner)

Now, using the second twelve items, see how many groups would be required if Miss Clavel makes the girls go to the sink in groups of three. 

4 groups (now also color coordinating them)

Now, using the the last dozen, see how many groups Miss Clavel would have if she has the girls eat in groups of four. 
3 groups 
("I am picking the colors that go best together.")

Finally, line the "girls" up in two straight lines of six. How many groups are there? (two groups of six)"

2 groups
"Now can I eat them?"

As Emma was working through the activities, I had her make some guesses about how many groups she will get for each step of the activity and she was correct most of the time. 

Lucky girl seems to have a math brain. She surely did not get that from me.

All in all, the activity was pretty quick (10-15 minutes) Emma did have fun. We will see what we see about the whole thing tomorrow, but I'm sure I can come up with something enticing enough to get her to give it another try. 

Have a great day!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Perfectly Imperfect Quilt

One of the bloggers that I follow, over at Inditutes, recently wrote a post about a family quilt that needed mending. It was a beautiful post that made me think of the "quilt" that I started making for Emma a few years ago. 

Now, I put quilt in quotes because, well, when I think of quilts, I think beautiful works of art with tiny squares in intricate patterns, perfectly stitched. My quilt is more haphazard, and well, less than perfect. 

Emma's quilt is made up of bits of our lives. 

As I look at this picture, I realize that there are actually 3 blankets on this bed that I made - makes me happy to provide for my family this way :)

When Emma was 14 months old, she got Rotavirus, which hit in the middle of a flight from Iowa to AZ (Emma, Icky and I had just spent a few months in Iowa with my in-laws while Jared was deployed and were headed home). We landed in Phoenix, where we were suppose to spend a few days with my mom, who lives in Phoenix, and my 2 sisters and nephews, who had flown in to visit. Emma and I ended up spending 3 days in the hospital. This was her gown. A scary time, but it reminds me how strong she was and still is.

 This is Emma's art. When we first started playing with freezer paper stenciling, Emma drew this. The green star above it came from a shirt and says "My Aunt Loves Me" in little gems. She received it from her Auntie Sara, but it applies for all 3 of her Aunts :)

This is the shirt that Emma wore in the hospital when she was born. I held on too it for years knowing I wanted to do something special with it. For a while it was a doll/ stuffy shirt, but I like it on the quilt better.

A lot of the items on here have no particular story, just that when we purge Emma's closet, she gets the option of donating the item or getting it on her quilt. She has a love for all things equine.

This little butterfly was once part of a very cute shirt. The polka dot fabric behind it came from a horse shirt that she loved.

This piece use to be a t-shirt. Emma's very first friends were two boys named Michael and Gavin. We met them (and their moms Judy and Erin) through the breastfeeding support group offered by the hospital where Emma was born. We spent a great deal of time with Judy, Michael, Erin, and Gavin. This shirt was from Gavin's second birthday.

Just a much loved shirt.

This was a fun shirt, worn at a stage when she was getting into everything. We have pictures of her wearing this shirt on the day we bought Jared's Jeep and she got the nickname Cool Breeze. A fun day and cool pictures.

This plaid square is from a shirt of Boppa's. I had made a dress for her out of one of Boppa's shirts (that she only wore once or twice). It was a fun dress, and it is fun to have a piece of Boppa on here as well.

This is a needle felted horse made by Emma.

The back of the quilt is just plain yellow. The fabric itself is in good shape, but my less than stellar sewing has left it all puckered. I think, with all the stitches and such, that it looks a little like the farmland here in Iowa. 

The middle layer of the quilt is a ratty, thread bare blanket that is full of holes. I am not even sure how it managed to survive long enough to make it into Emma's quilt. Once upon a time it had a beautiful pink satin binding, special powers of keeping away the scaries, and the ability to keep a person warm or cool, depending on what was needed. I have had this blanket since I was born, and I have loved it well. I hope that, despite the holes and such, that it will continue to keep away the scaries, provide warmth, and fill Emma with the knowledge that she is loved.

I was showing this quilt to a friend yesterday and I said to her, "It really isn't perfect, but-" when Emma interrupted me to emphatically state, "It is perfect!"

Thanks, Emma. I love you too :)