Tag Archives: Family Celebration

four generations

Ok technically the photos are only three generations.  I (the missing generation) and not in any of the photos.

Grand Pat and I took the boys to see MY Grandmother, Grandma Bea.  My Grandmother, their Great-Grandmother.  See four generations (them, me, Grand Pat / my mom, and Grandma Bea)

The boys loved on her, and talked to all the residents they met in the halls.  The both gave her a hand massage and worried about her not getting to go outside, and also about her blankets.  Big Brother told Grandma Bea that ‘her playroom had the same toys has his, but no ball pit’.  He had noted their OT / PT room had many of the same toys and tools that the OT room he goes to has, but sadly no crash pad or ball pit. 

It saddens me greatly NOT to be able to take my boys each and every week to spend time with Grandma Bea.  If it was not a 7 hour drive we’d see her at least once a week if not twice.  If it, even, was only 2 hours we’d make the trip weekly.  I miss her, and the boys love to see her so much.

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Big Brother’s Last Day of Pre-School

Big Brother is 5 years, 6 months, 1 week and 4 days old!!  

Big Brother is blessed to have a late birthday (Nov) and thus by age he is not legally required to be enrolled in kindergarten till this upcoming fall (fall of 2011).  Thus, this school year Big Brother has gone to the local district pre-school classroom 3 hours a day, twice a week to meet the Speech Therapist (Miss Emily) and work one-on-one with the classroom teacher Mrs. Cramer.  This classroom time also allowed for peer interaction, his biggest challenge currently with regard to his speech IS peer interaction and being understood by strangers. 

He, and his class of 70 peers, “graduated” from pre-school Tuesday night.   

Looking at these photos I can not believe this is my little tiny, almost blue, 5 pound baby boy.  I remember the fear, the day we were to bring him home, because he weighed exactly 5 pounds, and 5 pounds was of course the bottom weight limit of the pumpkin car seat we had.  I was so worried they weight him again, or refuse to let us take him because of how small he was in the seat. 

He is a big boy now:  46 inches tall (one of the tallest in his class, course one of the oldest too) and a full 41 pounds. 

 

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Mother’s Day Picnic 2011

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Easter 2011

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Momma’s Bithday 2.19.2011

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Making salt dough ornamentation for Christmas

We have done this for years, at least 3 now.  Big Brother remembers and loves it; he was excited to start talking about it weeks ago.  Such a simply thing, salt/flour dough.  If you search SALT DOUGH on the Net it is amazing how many hits you get.  So many great craft sites out there; here are a few of the new ones I found that I marked to look at more – for other projects ideas.  Can’t get enough arts and crafts here, and momma is not creative or crafty.  I do ok after I have an idea, especially as my “workers” are 3 and 5, but getting the ideas is hard for me.

I do find it frustrating that the recipes vary so much for the “same thing”.  The ratio of flour to salt is all over the place:  from 4:1, 2:1 and 1:1.  That makes no sense to me.  I mean, ok I get that there is room for variation, but that seems like a big variance.  Not being able to find my tried-and-true recipe from last year (that made over 20 batches).   I have been forced to go back to the start and try different ratios.  White flour works so much better, the whole wheat stuff makes the dough so much more dry and hard to roll and crumbly.  I bought a new bag of cheap all-purpose, bleaches white flour for using in the dough.

Monday we tried the one I thought was what I remembered:  2 cups flour, 1 cup salt and 1 cup water.  Nope, not right.  The boys were all excited to jump right in (see photo) but the dough crumbled while still being sticky.   I managed to roll some of it out, but could not get it thin enough.  Just did not work out.

So Yesterday we tried again and things went much better.   4:1:1 ratio seems to be working for us.  The dough took a long time to form dough, but it rolled nicely.  I should have rolled it thinner, the first batch of decorations I left too thick and I am worried they did not dry all the way though.  I set our oven as low as I can, 170, and then just let them sit all afternoon and into the evening.  Tomorrow afternoon we are set to make more and I will try to get them roll out more.  I save, each year, a couple of each boys best decorations and a couple of his brother’s best decorations and label them with the year and pack them up.  So for 2009 I set back 2 great ones of Big Brother for him and 2 good ones of Little Brother’s also for Big Brother (so Big brother got 4 decorations, 2 his and 2 brother’s creation).  I set them back, year after year, and when the boys are adult they will have 20+ years of their own art and also their brother’s work.  When my boys marry I want to be able to give them their history.  With this in mind, I make sure the decorations are well “glossed”; I am hoping that will preserve them; I don’t really know and this may all be wasted effort and sillyness as in 5 years I may have to throw everything out, but I really really hope not.  So I need to make sure the decorations are nice and thin and totally dry and hard; so I am going to try to make the ones tomorrow thinner.

Since we have done this craft for gifts for the past couple of years, I wanted to somehow make it a little different this year.  So when we pulled out our tubbie of cookie cutters, we left some of the standard Christmas images in the tub and I let the boys choose some different cookie cutters to use this year.  The 2010 decorations will include ducks and bears.  I want an angel and a Santa, neither of which I have, but I have looked in 3 stores and can not find them; I also want a snowman with a hat one, and can’t find that either.  I get frustrated with so many of the cookie cutters being so small, honestly for cookies to decorate rather than decorations to paint and hang, I’d still like a nice big 3 to 4 inch image. 

Big Brother put for real effort and concentration on rolling out and cutting out his own decorations.  He understands the process and while he can’t fully make his hands corporate he attends to it and is doing the work.  He made 6 all his own.  Little Brother was frustrated with the rolling process.  Big was last year too, but Big didn’t have a brother he saw being successful so he kept at it.  Little got more flustered watching Big Brother being able to roll the dough (struggle though it was, and Big still needs a lot of progress on that) so I rolled and let Little brother help “cut”.  He chose the cookie cutters and put them on the flat dough and helped me push them in, then relished pulling them off and seeing the cut out shape.  The joy on his face was heart warming; there are some momma moments that nothing can touch.  Both boys not only really put forth a real effort, but took their time (as much as you can, when you are 3 and 5 and excited) and took the work seriously.  They had so much fun, and the light in their eyes and the joy shining when they “created” the shapes was amazing.

Here are some recent photos of their shineing faces: 

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Advent starts tomorrow

Advent starts tomorrow.  Sunday Nov 28, 2010.  Advent serves as a reminder both of the original waiting that was done by the Hebrews for the birth of their Messiah as well as the waiting of Christians for Christ’s return.   

Today the boys and I started our Advent Tree.  It is just another example of momma winging it. 

I desire to do a Jesse Tree with the boys; but I am not going to frustrate all 3 of us.  A Jesse Tree is based on Isaiah, 11:1. A pictorial representations, the Jesse Tree show a symbolic tree or vine with spreading branches to represent the genealogy of the Christ child in accordance with Isaiah‘s prophecy.  Starting on December 1st with an empty banner or tree, a reminder ornament is hung each day until Christmas Day when the Christ child in the manger and star are placed at the top. A Bible verse is read, and the story reviewed daily. These devotions allow time every day for sharing and meditating with God’s Word.  I have momma friends who’d kids have been able to follow the Jesse Tree at ages younger than mine, but I just do not see the boys being mature enough or having the attention to follow the process and make all the connections necessary.  Maybe next year. 

So this year we will stick with our “play with” nativity and our ‘momma Created Advent Tree’.  Practicing the story of the Birth of Christ and counting the days down at the same time.  I am really hoping to engage the boys in more service activities this year, and we may “post them” to our tree. 

So to start the boys finger painted big pieces of paper green to make the “tree”.  I just had them cover big pieces of paper in paint, and then Momma cut out a very basic triangle evergreen.  Earlier today I took down the handprint leaves off our fall tree, and the pumpkins and apples from the base of it.  That same trunk then became out Advent Tree.  I thought finger painting the green of the tree would let the boys take a more active role in it, not just something Momma put up on the wall.  I like them to have some ownership, a vested interest, in the things we make and use, if at all possible (though I admit to enjoying my post-bedtime “completion of task” time too)

I  am thinking; after Advent making some kind of winter tree, then  next spring a spring tree, and so on to allow the boys to have a full year of seasons – then we can put all the pictures together and see not only how the tree and seasons changed over the year, but also how they have grown.

Finger painting is such a great sensory activity, for both boys but especially for Big Brother and sensory awareness.  Little Brother was not too interested, and only painted for a few minutes.  Once Big Brother got ‘in to the activity’ and was “slapping” the paper Little got interested and joined in for a bit, but never really put much time in.

I asked Big Brother was the paint felt like and he told me “cold, wet-ish” he told me it was “really tickle-y” and “the globs mix”.  As he got into he seemed to be noting it on his hands as he scooped it out of the tray.   He loves to mix paint, loves the colors changing.  He swirls the paint and watches it so closely.  He begs to mix colors every time w paint.  I tried to point out to him that the paint got tacky as it started to dry and he said “it gets sticky” so I was glad to see he did notice the change in consistency. 

I cut circles (basically) out of scrap paper and numbered them 1 to 27.  The idea is to count down the number of sleeps until Christmas / Jesus Birthday.  After we know the to the father. Who denyed anything wrong was happening to Lily in his home. Lily was murdered a week ago today, after being repetedly raped. In her father’s home. By his wife. The wife is in jail, but the father and the judge are not. They were the ones ultimately responsible to keep her safe, and they chose to do otherwise. date of other things, like Grand pat and Pa Pa’s arrival, Aunt Candy’s arrive, and so on, I’to the father. Who denyed anything wrong was happening to Lily in his home. Lily was murdered a week ago today, after being repetedly raped. In her father’s home. By his wife. The wife is in jail, but the father and the judge are not. They were the ones ultimately responsible to keep her safe, and they chose to do otherwise.ll note them on the correct circle .  That will also allow for some sneaky math practice.  If there are 15 sleeps till Christmas, and Pa Pa arrives 2 sleeps before Christmas there must be 13 sleeps till Pa Pa and Grand Pat arrive. 

The idea, again, momma winging it, is to take down the number each morning after we have “slept that sleep”.  We have our box of Advent books out, and we’ll be reading them.  We have our action figure Naivety set out and have already acted out the Christmas Story a few times and Big Brother hid the baby Jesus un the Virgin Mary figure “he is not born-ed [sic] yet.  His momma still has him in her” and then tried to balance her on the donkey.  🙂 That he remembers from last year / knows all on his own.  When we got the set out of storage Grand Pat sat down with the boys, they both dove into it and story right away.  Little had the angles flying around, but Big did the whole process of having The Virgin Mary and Joseph arrive and then the animals gather then the baby go into the manager; and he remembered everyone name and brought in the shepherds last.  The tree I hope will keep us on track of “time”.

Next we have to start our Christmas decorations for gifts; gonna be a lot of them to make this year with the boys in church activities and in classroom and more services at school.   

 To read more about Advent:

 To read more about the Jesse Tree (including directions and history):

 

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