Sunday, July 31, 2011

The Wright brothers have their best day EVER!

Aside from being born, the recently birthed Wright brothers experienced their best day ever yesterday!

Could it be because Benjamin is now off his feeding tube and has taken a bottle for over 24 hours now? Nope!

Could it be because they are both gaining weight like champs and are now both a little over 5 pounds? Nope!

It's because..... Auntie Jojo came to visit them! They are so lucky! Their day started out so average, so hum-drum, so unexciting. But when Auntie Jojo is in the room, it's a party!

I let him know that his adopted Grammy Pat was going to be watching. Ben is a hoot. Always moving, wanting to see what's going on. He also has monkey arms and long fingers. I have decided that he is going to be one of two things... a pitcher for the Braves, or a concert pianist.

I can hear Grammy Pat now, "Why can't he be both?" Well, I guess he can, but that's a lot of training time. And he has plenty of time to decide; we can wait till he's 3.

So, after bring cleaned up a bit, he got to eat first. He's a hard-core bottle drinker. He also has a slight drinking problem that hopefully won't carry on to adulthood.

He did ok in this position, but it wouldn't let him express himself as an individual.

"Um, Mom? It's about me now..." Lots of drooling and forgetting to breathe. (I can understand that. Breathing can be sooo difficult sometimes.) Don't worry, he always remembered after a second. Besides, I'm pretty sure he was doing it as an attention getter. :)

So, after a diaper change to wake the kid back up, Mom (Melissa, aka Aunt Kitty) thought he might do better sitting up. Surprise! He did! Melissa also gave him the job of holding his own spit-up cloth. As it turns out, that was all it took. He just wanted to have a more active role in this "eating" business! And, he's already following directions! That bodes well for later!

So, what was brother doing during all this excitement?

Well, to be fair, it wasn't his feeding time yet, so he had no reason to be entertaining. When the clock hit 8:00pm he woke up ready to go! Which was good timing because Benny had just finished and was ready to have a chat with Auntie Jojo.

We discussed all the important topics; world trade, religion, pop culture, future friends in the neighborhood, the female population available to them...the good stuff.

Then it was Matt's turn to be impressive.

One thing you need to know about Matt, he's an opportunist. He knows he's got a good thing going. Sleep all day, flirt with hot nurses, new rotations of cute girl babies almost every day, food on demand... it's a baby's dream! Basically, he doesn't see the need to get gung-ho with the bottle just yet.

He'll get it eventually when Ben gets to go home to play with his furry brothers. (Racer, Bender and Jasper; cats for those of you who don't know) But, for now he's a happy camper.

Melissa tried bribery, but he might have to be older for it to work. He did do well, and he tried hard. After I turned off the camera he cheesed big time, the punk.

With Matt being the shorter and rounder of the two, and with his facial expressions and impeccable timing, I see him as a future politician or a cattle rancher. I think he would be too cute with a cowboy hat! And I can see him giving important speeches that would save the world. (like enacting President Bartlett's secret plan to fight inflation!) :)

With Matt taking all of Mommy and Aunt Jojo's attention, Ben decided it was his turn to take a break.

I have a feeling this one is just like Abby. The only time he's not moving is when he's sleeping.

Eating turned out to be too tiring for little Matty. He finished his bottle through his tube and went back to sleep.

Thus concluded their best day ever. I like to think this day will stay in their memory for years to come. And if it doesn't, at least I can show them this blog.

Keep growing little guys!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Day 11- Last day of summer school

Ummmm... we didn't actually do anything. But I did start a project that will be included in their Delk School experience.

To start, today I went through our DVD collection and my 5 book shelves upstairs and came up with 3.5 bags of books and 1 HUGE bag of DVDs to take to McKays. I have to re-do my "bookstore" at school since the books I currently have are 2nd-3rd grade level books. I need stuff my new little babies can read! So, summer cleaning is going to help my babies. (at home and school)

While at McKays, I will be looking for easy books, hopefully ones that have easy recognizable rhymes, like Itsy-bitsy Spider, for my home project. If I can't find any in book form, I can print them off from the Internet. No biggie.

My big plan is to make the kids some Reading Baggies that include a book, or rhyme, some manipulatives (like stick puppets) and a game. (comprehension, or matching, etc)

What am I going to need... well, let me show you what I have done so far...

We finished off a roll of aluminum foil, so I yanked the cardboard core away before the kids could tear it up. (or turn it into a wand, sword, beating stick, etc)

Andy had his speech therapy today (he did exceptionally well) and one of the activities he did was read an Itsy-bitsy Spider book that Ms. Jamie had; hand motions and all. So, I decided to turn the cardboard core into a rain stick!

Cardboard core, foil (for the ends), beans (gotta have some rain!), extra scrapbook paper (from the owl wreath), glue, scissors, computer (playing my Broadway station). Ready Freddy!

Beans inside and ends covered! (Kids upstairs getting baths- I did this late tonight)
Cut scrapbook pieces, glue and tape the ends...

Ta-da!! Rain stick! Actually, it looks like a big thing of Mentos. (remember that candy?) I showed it to the kids before they went to bed and everyone got to play with it.

All I need now is a gallon sized baggie, the book or rhyme, puppets, game and the rain stick. Everything goes in the bag and PRESTO! A fluency/ comprehension/ fun baggie the kids can play with, while learning at the same time! (under supervision and tutelage.)

I'll do a new post when the baggie is complete! Hopefully tomorrow. I'm already planning an outing early in the morning to get everything. Don't know what Joe is going to do, but I think baseball might be included. (big surprise, right?)

OH, and one more thing!

New wreath! :)

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Day 10- A day at the gym

My church friend, Jennifer Brewer, had the genius idea to reserve the church gym today for a few hours. It big, it's open, it's AIR CONDITIONED! Jennifer has 2 little boys. Cole is between the twins and Isaac in age; Cooper is still a baby.

We had a great time! Jennifer brought her riding toys, and the church has basketballs. We all brought lunches so we had a 'picnic' lunch on the floor. We ended up being the only ones to show us, everyone else had other plans. It didn't matter. The kids had a great time and the moms got to hang out with another adult.

After lunch, Mr. Steve came for a visit. Mr. Steve is the head of the Children's Ministry at East Brainerd C of C. He is also GREAT with kids. He is the 'baby whisperer'. I have yet to meet a child who doesn't like Steve. He joined in the fun and had a great workout... just watch the video!

We'll have to plan better for next summer and do this more often!

Isaac giving a wave. He didn't eat lunch, whined like a baby at the thought of a nap, and is passed out upstairs as I type this. Sigh.

Little Miss Diva. You can imagine how much she liked being the only girl. She was thrilled when Mr. Steve came to play with her.

Caught his face between a smile and a... something else.

Baby Cooper. I think he had fun pretending to be a big kid. :)

A happier look at Andy, and Mr. Steve is getting tired!

Just one more day at home! I'll have to think of something good!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Um... Kristy might have created a monster...

Now I'm addicted! Once my brain latches on to something, it will stay there; at least until it latches on to something else.

So, here are my new creations...

Cute huh? I was going to use a butterfly, but the flower looked cuter.

Now, the next one was a brain fart. I had planned on using the little turtle I have, but the colors didn't match right so I had to be creative all on my own. You know that doesn't always go well. So here it is...

It's.... different. Interesting.

"Interesting" is also the code word Joe has to use when I make him a new dish for dinner and he doesn't really like it. Maybe someone artsy-fartsy will see it and fall in love.

I know what you're wondering, "What is she going to do with these?" The answer is, I have no idea. I'm really just making them for the hay of it. If you want one, let me know. It would be really easy to get some little wooden letters, paint them, then put them on the wreath.

Maybe one day I'll branch out to other things, but until then you're stuck with me making wreaths!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Thanks to you, Kristy Godbout!

I am not crafty, never have been. I even managed to fail my bulletin board assignment in college. I suck at crafts. The spirit is willing, but the mind is disoriented. Enter my fabulous friends...

I have wonderfully crafty coworkers. They are the MacGyver (Joe told me how to spell that) of crafts.

Take my Kindergarten teacher friend, Kristy Godbout. She just recently started her blog Pocketful of Poise and already she is a huge hit! She shows easy tutorials on how to be crafty for cheap! (You know me; fast, cheap, and easy!)

One of her first crafts was how to make a scrapbook paper wreath. Hers was so cute, I just had to give it a try. Check out hers HERE...

And now here is my first attempt..

Pathetic, I know. I didn't trace any circle, so it is lopsided. Just not a pretty sight. No need to spare my feelings.

Well, you know what they say- If at first you don't succeed; skydiving is not for you. I figured I could try this again. If I sucked the second time, I would throw in the towel.

I used a box that Joe had brought home from Aldi today, and I traced around a plate. I wanted some good circles this time! I found some cute animal thingies at Walmart, and owls are very popular lately, so I went to work.

I had already done one of the circles before I remembered to take pictures.

See?! Cute owl thingy! And a piece of peel and stick foam and special craft glue. I probably didn't need the special glue, but it made me feel more crafty.

And now... Drum roll please......

Ta-da! Much cuter, right? Practice makes perfect!

So, thank you Kristy for starting with something even a creatively-challenged brain could handle! I am a big fan, keep up the good work!

And, if you are looking for even more craft ideas, check out Paper Wings. Paper Wings is done by another teacher friend of mine named Tracy Crosby. She taught 5th grade at CHES with me.

Day 9- Dr. Tyner comes for a visit

Dr. Beverly Tyner is a reading specialist that gets paid $1,500 just for entering my school building. She specializes in small group reading strategies for grades K-3. She is a lovely woman who deeply cares for students and their learning, while also managing to look out for over-worked teachers. I adore her.

So, who would be better for my youngster here at home, than Dr. Tyner? I have had Tyner's instruction crammed down my thr... um... guiding my small group reading time for 7 years now. I've created a 3 in. binder for each of her reading stages; there are 6. I have color coded, laminated, copied, cut, and created all of the manipulatives she had provided and recommended. I know this woman's work. I also have it saved on my flash drive since most of that work had to be done at home.

It's a good thing I have it here at my disposal since today I decided to test my child to see where his reading level lies. I am pleased to report, he ranks between a Fledgling and Beginning reader. (Level 1 and 2) What does that mean? He knows some sight words, but not all; but he also has the skills to start sounding out word families.

Today we tested over sight words, and worked on Emergent Readers cut-up sentences.

This chart has the 100 most frequent words in children's reading. There are words on the back as well. You can kind-of see that some of the words have stickers next to them. Those are the words he could read without prompting. These are not the Dolch words that you can find here...
Most people know of the Dolch sight word list. There are similarities. Flash cards will be made of the words he did not know and we will go over them a small group at a time.

Next we went over the cut-up sentences. He recognized some of the words, and noticed the repetition of the first set of sentences. Repetition helps a lot for kids his age. I did make sure to color code things so he knew which words went to which sentences. We will keep working on those as well. :)

Abby and Andy, not to be left out, worked on spelling their names. A combination of letter identification and matching. And I had extra scrap book paper that needed to be used. Isaac had to get in on the action too of course.

The best part was they were so happy with this game, they played while I could get lunch ready.

Now, you know me. I'm not going to let Isaac get away with merely doing the same thing as the twins. We pushed it one step further. I took away the paper that had his name on it and he had to form his name by himself. It took him 3 tries. That surprised me a little since he has recognized his name in written form for over 2 years now.

Well, only a few days left of Delk summer school. Sigh. Then we'll see just how advanced Isaac is in Pre-K. His school starts in Sept. but I am going back next Monday so he will have a month of daycare before "school" starts.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Day 8- Revisiting the ABCs

We got the ABC picture charts back out today. I decided that Isaac was the only one that really needed to be working on it. He is the one that knows his letters and letter sounds, so he got the chart.

But never fear! The twins were not left out! Each of them got a piece of construction paper and a stack of pictures. They didn't have to tell me the beginning sound of the pictures, but they did have to identify the picture before I let them glue it to their page.

Since no one was having to wait a long time for their turn, we got to work for a lot longer than we did previously. Andy enjoyed himself and didn't drop out as early as he usually does. These kids love to glue!

Abby working on her pretty yellow paper. She was picky about what pictures she allowed on her page. Only the pretty pictures for Abby!

Andy on his black paper. He was funny to watch. As I gave him more pictures, he focused more on making sure there were no holes between pictures than on identifying the pictures. No blank space for Andy!

Isaac did a great job! He didn't get tired of it and was interesting in his naming of the pictures. In some cases he didn't choose the picture I cut out, he turned the picture over and used what was on the back.

After a while he started to notice that some pictures were similar (snowy day, snowman, snowflakes) and he automatically went to the page that matched the pictures. Connections!

Believe it or not, we still have lots more pictures to go! Here are the not-so-finished products!

After they got tired gluing, we got out the picture cards and working on making sentences. They identified the picture and had to tell me about it, then we would make a complete sentence with what they told me and they had to repeat the sentence. Here's how they did..

Isaac- Fabulous! He was able to tell me animal sounds, where we could find different objects and animals in the house, or in the outdoors. The biggest problem we found was his constant use of the work 'on' instead of 'in'. Example: The horse was on the barn. We worked on that a lot. But I was very impressed!

Abby- She didn't want to stop with a sentence. Surprise, surprise. "I see the tree in the grass. A bird is in the tree too! Do you see it, Mommy? Look, it's out there!" I see a lot of creative writing in her future.

Andy- picture identification- check! Sentence repeating-nope! However, he did repeat the beat I used with the sentences I made. I used rhythms when I said the sentences to help them find a 'flow' for when they repeated it. Example: The cat... is on... the mat. (tap with the words) Andy might not have said the sentence, but he got his taps!

All in all; today was a success!

Daddy Dance Studio

Where Daddy, Joe Delk, teaches the kids the highlights of ballroom dancing. Daddy learned from the Master Dancer- Neville Longbottom. You can see and hear the instructional video in the background. (Harry Potter #4)

After teaching the children the finer points of leading and following, he allowed them to practice with each other.

After practicing their spins and twirls, they decided to make their own instructional video. In this video, they are teaching you how to perform the "Couch Crash". Watch and learn...

I'm sure this dance will become wildly popular, it already is in my house! You will be lucky enough to say that you saw it here first!

Happy Birthday Gommy Petty!

My family got together this past Saturday to celebrate Gommy Petty's birthday. You know my kids enjoy a good birthday! I packed up the kids and we stayed Friday night with Grammy Pat and Papa Joe then we traveled to Dickson on Saturday. I think we all had a good time, and we got pictures to prove it!

Abby stopped to enjoy the flowers.

I had to tell her to stop enjoying the flowers so much since she kept picking them. :)

Andy had fun playing with Julia's tricycle.

Then he had fun playing Cinder Andy.

Grammy Pat had the amazing foresight to bring the water table. Everyone was drenched by the end, but no one cared. (except Isaac who had to strip down to his underwear because he couldn't handle wearing wet clothes)

Andy LOVED getting wet! If the water table needed refilling he would follow the person with the hose so he could get sprayed. Julia was the opposite, she ran as far from the hose as she could get.

Aunt Boo enjoying the shade.

Now, I don't usually pit pictures of myself in the blog, but I had to make an exception here. My new haircut is too cute! And Joanna is looking pretty ok too! :)

Grammy Pat and Grand Aunt Susie. (Aunt Susie, notice I got the name right!)

Once we finally got the kids back inside, it was time for cake! I didn't get video of us singing, but I did get the blowing out of the candles!

The adults got to enjoy the coconut cake, made by the fabulous Aunt Sandy, while the kids had cupcakes. Not just any cupcakes... Cars cupcakes! Blue and green- stain your teeth cupcakes!

Andy jumped right in! He didn't care about the wrapping, he just ate around it. Isaac started his and then would pause for dramatic effect.

Joshua had to have a green cupcake since green is his favorite color. Julia got to eat big-people cake cause she's special.

No picture of Abby. Not sure why. She ate her cupcake the way Grammy Pat eats her dinner.... s...l...o...w...l...y. Everyone else had left the table and were cleaning up by the time Abby finished her cupcake. She also finished some other food that was left on the table. So, I guess she's like her Papa Joe too. :)

Gommy's birthday party was a success! Happy birthday, Gommy!