Well, summer has officially begun here in the Hart household. We kicked off our summer camp season tonight with a dinner for our counseling staff at camp, which means my Hubby will be busy serving at camp for the next nine weeks, and I'll be hanging out with the kiddos (at home and at camp each day). Baby #3 is due in about 5 weeks, so everything will change then for sure, but for now, we're enjoying summer fun & excited to see our staff friends (old and new!) and be involved as we can at camp!
We finished our school year about 3 weeks ago, and moved on to summer fun! We've been doing a lot of learning these last 3 weeks, though we haven't 'had school'. And I've been spending a lot of time planning for our fall preschool curriculum - I'd like to have it all done before Baby arrives! I have up through letter G's activities planned, and all the games and activities that need to be laminated or cut are printed out, so I am working on those as time allows.
And here's what the kids have been up to! We had a few hot days, and so to keep the kids cool (until I could get to the store to buy a new kiddie pool, since our old one had a hole in it), I set up a water table - this is an under-the-bed storage box resting on 3 chairs and filled with water. Hey, it works in a pinch! :) I was definitely feeling the heat and enjoyed having them splash me as they played. :)
Then I got to buy a kiddie pool, and we have enjoyed that several days. :)
One morning I caught them both sitting next to each other on the living room floor, reading books. But Nat saw me coming & is starting to get up in this picture. :(
Zachary is reading the board book version of Go Dog Go. Another book that we have LOVED lately is a treasury of 7 original Curious George books - 400 pages of Curious George - we have read a story from it almost every day since we checked it out from the library 5 or so weeks ago! Z will be disappointed when we've reached our limit of renewals on that one. :)
We have taken lots of walks outside, too! Here are the kids walking down the driveway (I just love this one for some reason):
We got some new toys from the consignment store, which the kids have been loving! Zachary's 'treat' for being good while I was shopping for Baby Boy's 'coming home from the hospital' outfit was this Barney Banjo (only $1.50, with batteries!)- it is very cool - it has a red 'laser' light & sensor inside the circle & only plays the tune when your hand or other body part or object is in the way of the light. Z is playing it with his face, while Natalie waits a little grumpily for her turn. :)
I also got these blocks - the whole set for $2, because I remembered playing with some as a child, and thought they were cool. I didn't even realize that they were educational, other than a small motor skills activity, but they came with these little green pieces & I realized that each block has a picture & corresponding letter on it & each one has a little green piece that goes along with the picture to teach what starts with the letters! Here is the lion piece with the lion block:
A friend gave us some gifts for the kids & included was this book about shapes - the pages are magnetic & the little shapes are magnets - so fun! It is by Priddy books, I think (I love their stuff!)
Natalie is doing awesome eating with a spoon - she is definitely ahead of where Z was at this age with small motor skills, though she's slightly behind him verbally, I think. Here she is eating some yogurt with a spoon all by herself!
And we took a family outing to the zoo! The kids enjoyed seeing the animals - Z more than Natalie of course, he said his favorite was the gorilla, but he talked a lot about the giraffe, too. :) Here he is with Daddy riding on the carousel. Of course my 'daring' boy is riding on the bench instead of any of the animals. :) :)
And here's Daddy, Natalie & Zachary all ready to ride the train around! We had a great time together. :)
Zachary and I sometimes play games together while Nat falls asleep at naptime (otherwise we read books for about a half hour and then he lays down for his nap and they usually wake up about the same time). We picked up a great educational game that I've wanted for a while - $2 at the consignment store - it is called Hi Ho Cherry Oh. You have to count the cherries, but there are only ten for each person and you never have to count higher than four, so it didn't really challenge him in the counting area. But where it did challenge him is in the 'following directions' area - and I wouldn't let him cheat & pick '4 cherries' every time with the spinner, so that was a challenge, too. :)
I also taught him how to play Uno - I wasn't sure if he was thrilled with it, but he said later that he had a good time, so maybe we'll try it again soon. :)
I love this picture because the expression on his face is so perfect - he is disappointed that he can't 'match' anything! :)
So that's what we've been up to - oh, and potty training!!!! #1 is still going pretty well, most days he can stay dry even when we're at camp or church, even if he's in a pull up, so I'm really proud of the progress he's made in that. #2, however.....oh, boy. This has been a rough weekend in that area, I was actually in tears at one point. He just does not WANT to go #2 in the potty, so he just refuses. Any tips would be appreciated, and I just want to say I really appreciate all the advice & help everyone's been sending my way - SO encouraging to hear stories from friends & moms who have been here (and aren't anymore)! :)
As far as Natalie, she'll be 18 months on Wednesday, and she is definitely quite the little personality. :) I love this age, but she is definitely starting to show a stubborn streak at times. She's still a little sweetheart, though, happy most of the time, and loves cuddling & being tickled. And she loves my belly button. She just thinks my belly button is hilarious. :) She and Zachary have started this thing where they scream back and forth at each other for fun and while it's loud, it's also really funny to watch, because they're screaming & laughing hilariously. :) It's great. :)
Well, if you want to see any more creative ideas about what to do with your tot, head on over to the Tot School homepage at 1+1+1=1! :)