Posts Tagged ‘book list’

When the Cat’s Away

Steven has been traveling frequently – I think I’ve counted 13 days/nights without him in the last 3 weeks – which makes it increasingly difficult and less motivating to clean, cook and keep normal routine. Getting out the door in the morning is harder than ever. It’s not like Wes and I have been lazy, though; in fact, we’ve been plenty busy:

12809601_10103279786348868_651774396093999713_nCatching up with friends and family. A few weeks ago, we met Rachel for dinner and then brought her back home to hang out for several hours. Wesley so desperately wanted to have a pajama party and was disappointed that she didn’t think to bring some to change into.

And at least twice in the last month, we’ve met the Reynolds clan at the mall food court because the indoor playground is like the kids’ mecca. Wes loves to play hard with B & J, and Julia and I get to hang out while kids are entertained.

I’m including FaceTime chats in this category because there’s been a lot of that recently, too – with friends far away, birthday greetings to cousins and giggles from Wes’ bed to Daddy’s hotel room before lights out.

Being crafty. Move over, Octonauts! Wes now requests to watch Amazon Prime’s Creative Galaxy on repeat. When we’re sick of TV, we get out crafts supplies to make our own projects. It’s great that he understands basic terminology (“that’s called action painting!”) and finds freedom in artistic expression. He usually adds commentary when painting or gluing something together. “This is a chocolate tornado that used to be a tree, and I changed my mind about this thunderstorm – it’s actually a white, fluffy cloud.”

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“Isn’t this SO COOL?! Daddy’s gonna love it.”

Finishing projects. It took me 20 hours, but I’m finally at a stopping point in the Family Room. Over the last handful of weekends, I painted the trim, crown molding and walls to match the entry and foyer. Whew.

Making music. Wes keeps finding random, small instruments I’ve collected: jaw harp, harmonica, recorder. And he wants to learn how to play them all. He actually has pretty good rhythm for guitar/ukulele strumming, and he doesn’t hammer piano keys like many kids do. We like to make our own “garage band” in the Living Room. And if we’re not playing instruments, he likes to pop in old cassette tapes of mine and my sister’s that were left at the house by my parents.

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Snuggling and lounging. Yes, lots. Especially on weekends without Daddy. It’s fun to rent a RedBox movie or find one on Netflix and share a blanket together. The dogs, Jake and Lucy, are professional snugglers. They’re the best at keeping us company (especially me at night).

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Reading. We keep visiting the library and bookstore to add to our collection. Our current favorites on rotation are Officer Buckle and Gloria, The Kissing Hand, George and Martha, Caps for Sale, Mary Alice Operator Number 9 and Tikki Tikki Tembo. Sometimes when it’s just the two of us at home, we’ll read more than our normal 3-books-before-bedtime because why not?

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When Wes goes to bed, I read until an atypical hour and kick myself in the morning for staying up so late.

Playing. Dance parties, board games, being outdoors. On Saturday we invited my parents to join us for an Easter egg hunt at Broad Ripple Park. Though the weather was bad and the “hunt” turned into picking eggs from a large tub, it was still a perfect time. Once we went to see Zootopia for an extra special treat. Speaking of treats, it’s best to partake in ice cream as much as possible.

While we do know how to entertain ourselves, these little “mice” are always anxious to welcome Steven home from his travels.

Posted: March 21st, 2016
Categories: Leah
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Bedtime Rituals

photo (10)My favorite time of day is pre-bedtime. This is after dinner is cleaned up and the dogs have empty bladders and we all hunker down to see what Brian Williams has to report. I feel like Steven and I do at least one good thing well together – leaving work behind while we’re together as a family. Granted, there are times where we both must do something here or there after hours or click-clack on the computer for a little while, but generally we try to wait until Little Guy is in bed.

Because it’s been so darn cold this winter, we have mostly hibernated in our 3rd bedroom-turned family room, or as Wes calls it, “the TV Room.” We’ll play Trains for a while, then color, all while listening to NBC Nightly News. Then Steven turns it to PBS’ Nightly Business Report (which I can’t stand), so Wes and I will get the bathtub ready. This consists of proper drain-stopping (since our tub is ooooold and the drain stopper thing is broken) by stuffing a washcloth down the drain, pouring in the bubble bath gel stuff and swishing the water around to get a good supply of bubbles and then dumping in all the bath toys while the water fills up.

Wes used to hate HATE taking baths. I had to hose him down with a damp sponge while he stood in the bathtub. He refused to sit down in the water and cried forever about it. Thankfully we turned a corner somewhere in the last few months. Now he asks to take a bubble bath, and it’s one of his favorite things to do.

Once he’s dried off and into clean pj’s, we head back to the TV Room for Jeopardy! He really doesn’t enjoy watching the show, but he certainly loves the music and sound effects. Somewhere between Double Jeopardy and Final Jeopardy, Wes gives Steven a goodnight hug and heads to the bathroom to brush his teeth. Afterwards, he picks out a story (“‘dory”) or two, and we both crawl into his tiny toddler bed for snuggles and reading.

WES’ FAVORITE BOOKS
Bear Snores On, Karma Wilson
Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site (“Truck Book”), Sherri Duskey
The Jesus Storybook Bible, Sally Lloyd-Jones
Popcorn (or “And Ate and Ate”), Frank Asch
The Snowy Day (“Peter Book”), Ezra Jack Keats

Following the books, which on rare occasions he likes to mix it up and read something other than the above list, we launch into a few songs. Usually this takes longer than the book reading does, but it’s likely my absolute favorite part of the day. I don’t mind singing 10 songs with his little off-key, breathy toddler voice.

WES’ FAVORITE SONGS
Old McDonald Had a Band (he refers to the Raffi rendition, but we sing “Farm” at home because who can really mimick a guitar and fiddle?)
Jesus Loves the Little Children
The Wheels on the Bus
No More Monkeys Jumping on the Bed (not really a song, but he mumbles this all day long)
Jesus Loves Me
My God is So Big
I Just Caught A Baby Bumblebee

We also sing some of Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood (new PBS cartoon. The Make Believe puppet characters from Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood have grown up and now have their own preschool-aged children.) songs and usually make up silly words to additional verses. I’m so pleased that Wes enjoys books and songs. He really is from my own blood. It makes me even happier that he considers this time to be “Mama Time.” It’s truly a special bonding experience every evening.

By the time we’re finished singing, he’s turned over on his side and ready to drift off to sleep. We say a goodnight prayer, thanking God for all his blessings and for our health. Out of habit from my own childhood prayers, we ask that God keep away bad dreams to wake us at night.

The projector comes on with a rotating light display of fish, moon & stars or monkeys & birds, and he’ll tell me if he wants a new scene. The sound machine is turned on with soft white noise, and the lights are turned off. As I’m nearing the doorway, Wes sometimes will start singing Daniel Tiger’s song, softly:

I like you
I like you
I like you
Just the way you are

“I love you, honey. Goodnight.”
“Goodnight, Mama.”
“See you at breakfast!”

Posted: March 11th, 2014
Categories: Leah
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A Book A Month

I’ve decided that one simple way I can encourage Wes to enjoy reading is to give him a new book each month. As a child, I liked books, but I didn’t really discover how amazing they are until late middle school and early high school. I feel like I missed out on some great stuff. Of course, now it’s one of my absolute favorite pastimes. The way Wes studies every single thing, including books – this could be the start of something wonderful we share in common.

I’m starting a new list of books each July around his birthday. So, here are the winners for this year!

August: Wes is beginning to make basic signs, so this will help encourage him along in a cute way.

 

September: Our Hilton Head vacation starts over Labor Day! I hear there are dolphins everywhere.

 

October: We live in Irvington. This BabyLit series is awesome.

 

November: Touch and texture books are Wes’ favorites right now. And getting him into art at a young age is fantastic!

 

December: A simple, sweet texture book of Jesus’ birthday.

 

January: This is really for me. A Pantone book for babies?! Heck yes! Wes will certainly know what PMS 165 looks like.

 

February: Who doesn’t love Boynton? And a lovable song involving puppies is perfect for Valentine’s Day.

 

March: I had to throw in a classic. Richard Scarry is a favorite, and this is great for Easter!

 

April: A fun Haiku talking about the different seasons. Winner!

 

May: Uh, yes! June: I’m surprised we don’t own this one yet. A must! Especially with all the zoo trips over the summer. July: I call Wes pretty much every foodie nickname in this book. Fun!

Of course, there are lots others that I may sneak in for Christmas and birthday presents… and I’ve started lists for ages 2, 3 and 4, haha. What are your favorite infant and toddler books? Is there anything I should make sure to include on this list?

Posted: July 25th, 2012
Categories: Leah
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