Friday, November 30, 2012

Christmas Stories at 2:30 in the Morning...

Last night was so much fun, figuratively speaking, of course... I am getting over a sinus infection, and trying to wing my son off his nightly bedtime cup of milk. Which resulted in him waking up five times, with complaints of extreme thirst. After a long sleepless night, and a very long day at work... It's no wonder that I look in the mirror and see deep dark circles under my eyes... Ahh, the hidden joys of motherhood. I wouldn't trade it for the world!

It seems to me that everything we have experience thus far is a step. We went from quitting nursing at one, to quitting the bottle at two. (The bottle weening was the worst for me, I cried like a baby, because I knew that the "baby" stage was over.) Now at three, I think it is time to stop the nightly cup. I seriously think this will be the hardest for him, even harder than quitting the bottle.

My son has always been somewhat of a night owl, some nights he does not go to sleep before eleven at night. Plus, he wakes frequently in the middle of the night, sometimes, two or three times a night.

There have been many times that I have been awakened in the middle of the night with a little voice asking "mama will you read me a story?" Trust me, no matter how tired I am, and sometimes I am really tired, I do my absolute best to read him his story. Do you know that one book usually does the trick, and he is back to sleep in no time. Every once in a while, it may take two stories, but this is rare.

Last night, we had one of those nights. Except this time, he asked specifically for The Berenstain Bears Trim the Tree by Jan & Mike Berenstain. This is a cute little lift the flap book I found at the thrift store this summer for .99 cents. My son loves this book. We read it for the first time a few days ago, and since then, have probably read it about fifteen more times to him. 

So I spoil my son, but since he is the most precious thing to me in the world, I feel I can lose a few winks of sleep to read him a story. Especially if it leads to him going back to sleep, which means this mommy can sleep too. 

Thursday, November 29, 2012

We Love Christmas...

Sorry for the absence yesterday, I was really sick, but feeling better today. December 1st is on Saturday, and my little guy's third birthday is next Friday! He is going to be three!!! Where did the time go? I feel like it was just yesterday that I was nine months pregnant, uncomfortable, and ready for my son to enter this world.

We saw Santa on Sunday, my son was very nervous, but did splendidly well. He sat on Santa's lap, got his picture taken and got his candy cane. He didn't say a word until daddy helped him off Santa's lap, then he gallantly turned around and said very quickly, " Santa, I want a blue train." Cute right?

As you can see, Sunday was very warm, hence my son wearing shorts while having his picture taken in front of the Christmas tree. I think this is the warmest November that I can remember!

Anyways, I want to tell you about a wonderful Christmas Treasury by Jan Brett. It contains seven of the most lovely written and illustrated Christmas stories. The stories are as follows: The Mitten, The Wild Christmas Reindeer, Trouble with Trolls, The Twelve Days of Christmas, The Hat, Christmas Trolls, and The Night Before Christmas. We usually read this treasury in one sitting, though when my son saw it in the book bin, he asked if we could read The Mitten, which her remembered from last year. It is a huge book, and quite heavy, but that is what makes it so wonderful.

I hope you are able to read this with your little one's this Christmas.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Read It Again Mommy....

Once again the high in Phoenix was around eighty degrees... My heart says it's time for Christmas, but my mind says no, how could it be when I am still wearing shorts? Weather aside, I brought out all the Christmas books I have been gathering all year and placed them in bins around the living room. As I was sitting on the couch, my son was searching the bins, and came across a favorite from last year, Duck & Goose It's Time For Christmas by Tad Hills.

So I read it once, which lead to " Mommy, read it again." Which then lead to about fifteen re-reads.

Then after fifteen re-reads.... he decided we need to make snow angels in the "snow". (I promise you this was all his idea, and not staged for your blog entertainment. I was lucky to grab the camera just in time before he stopped.)

Then after making snow angels, we had a few more readings, in which many questions were asked...

"Mommy why is it snowing?"
"What's that goose doing on the hill?"
"Why is that snow castle doing there?"
"What is that bird and duck doing to the tree?"

I absolutely love the conversations that a book with beautiful pictures, and simple sentences will spark. I love that even though it's seventy five outside, we can still imagine the beauty of snow at Christmas time.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Five Reasons to Read Aloud To Our Children

Thinking about reading aloud to your children? Excellent, you have came to the right place. I want to give you five good reasons why reading aloud to our children is so important.

  1. Reading aloud sparks children's imaginations.
  2. Explore the world through the pages of a book, and watch a child's face light with delight at new discoveries.
  3. Foster current interests, and watch as it grows and flows into other interests.
  4. Reading a picture book will not only expose children to a wonderful story, but to a whole world of art.
  5. Childhood is fleeting, and in a blink of an eye it's gone. Reading to our children, not only makes memories, but fills their heads with wonderful stories that help them to know the world is really bigger than their own back yard.
Here are a few books that have opened our worlds:

Happy Reading!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Vintage Farm Stories, and a day at the Farm

The day after Thanksgiving, we didn't hit any stores, instead, we headed over to my parents house for an afternoon visit. Now let me tell you, my son loves to go to my parents house! They have a huge property with a field, a food garden, fruit trees, three yards, and a flower garden. They also have wild cats, chickens, and three dogs. Needless to say, there is lots to do there!

As always, we had a wonderful time, gathering eggs from the chicken coop, and running around exploring! Sometime soon, I will post more pictures.

I know that most people are starting to post about all things Christmas... but I want to hold off, at least until later this week, as, I am sure, we will be seeing a whole lot of things that are Christmas! Oh, and we didn't totally miss out on a big holiday excursion this weekend, because Daddy dragged us out today! At least it wasn't black Friday....and we did get to see the big guy in the red suit....

Anyway, enough rambling. I want to introduce the book of the day.....

This book is so awesome! It was written by K. and B. Jackson, illustrated by Gustaf Tenggren. It contains fifty original stories and poems, some of which are a little quirky (think Margaret Wise Brown, whom we adore), but most are just awesome!

As you can see, this book contains both color and black and white pictures. My copy is a third printing, and pretty fragile. A lot of the bottom pages have been torn, and were loving repaired with tape, which has browned with age. I wanted this book for a long time, and finally found it on Amazon for a fair price.

My hopes are that you find this gem, and read it to your children. In the age of electronics, I think our children need a little bit of old fashioned...

Saturday, November 24, 2012

A Pleasant Saturday, Sunny and Warm with No hint of Fall....

The high in Phoenix today was 82 degrees... Yes I know, other places are cold and snowy, while we are basking in the sunshine!  We enjoyed a day at home today, no travel or adventures. Just relaxed, played, read stories, and watched a few Christmas movies (and Charlie Brown's Thanksgiving, which will probably be deleted off the dvr by daddy tomorrow. I know one little boy who will be so very disappointed, as we have watched it probably 8 times since it aired Thanksgiving eve.)

Since the day was so beautiful, I decided to make cornstarch and food coloring paints, which not only painted the most vibrant colors, but got us outdoors as well. We painted for a while, but my son seemed more interested in washing his paint brush after about ten minutes, which then led to water play.

It was great to just relax, and be......

As for the book of the day....We read quite a few stories from this little gem today. The Little Book of Farmyard Tales by Heather Amery, illustrated by Stephen Cartwright is a book perfect for very little people, or beginner readers. It contains eight short stories in which Poppy and Sam help to solve troubles that always seem to happen on Apple Tree Farm.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Homemade Paint Fail... Or not?

So I had this crazy idea of painting with homemade scented paint on Thanksgiving day... So I found a recipe, made it, and let it cool on the counter due to a flurry of cooking that took precedence over painting with my son. Needless to say, it got extremely clumpy as it cooled. Running out of time, I put in in the refrigerator for painting with this morning....

When I took it out and dumped it over spices of cloves, nutmeg and cinnamon, (Of course we talked about how it smelled as we added fall colors of red, orange and brown...) the mixture was very, very lumpy. I tried adding water to it to smooth it out, but it didn't help.

Fortunately, my son had an idea of painting with his cars, so we went with it. It didn't matter anymore that it was lumpy. His exact words, as he put his car in the bowl of paint, were "look mommy, it's stuck in the muck."

Of course, the painting then led to a car wash which kept him occupied for at least an hour. It was great. I love it when he is so engrossed in play that I can sneak off to get a few things done....

I am thankful to have four days off to spend with family. I am also thankful that I have learned not to stress about perfection or mess. Everything washes, and I love watching my son create, and having the conversations that messy play sparks.

We have done lots of crafting and reading this month. I just took back ninety five books to the library to make room for our Christmas books I have been buying all year. We even read a few tonight while Daddy was making turkey noodle soup for dinner.

This brings us to our book of the day... Or should I say, the book of the month? I have read, Thanksgiving on Thursday by Mary Pope Osborne, at least ten times this month at bedtime. It takes me about an hour to read, and is full of Thanksgiving facts that probably led to my almost three year old to ask me yesterday "if the turkey was on the iron spit?" I love the things children say...don't you? 

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving full of family, friends, laughter, love, and of course wonderful food.