Sunday, December 18, 2011

Neven's 3rd Birthday

December 18 -- Neven's Birthday. The anniversary of my first BIRTH day. 

So many thoughts in my head I'd love to reflect on, but I don't have the focus to completely do so. Why not? Well... life gets in the way again. ;) We had a fabulous birthday party for Neven today, complete with friends, family, a dragon cupcake cake, balloons, ladybug fruity snacks, yummy soup and food! 

At the front of my mind I'm remembering and feeling grateful for my amazing midwives (I almost feel guilty calling them "amazing" because in my mind, they are SO much more than that!):  
    Bobbie, her reassuring and comfortable presence
    Marva, beside me every step of the way, chatting, comforting (both physically and emotionally!)
    Nicole, encouraging, patting my forehead with a cool washcloth between contractions
    Kiersten, sitting quietly on a stool toward the sidelines, knitting, making me feel like no one in the world was waiting for me
    Dorothy, sitting in the corner with her clipboard to keep track of my/Mango's stats during labor
    Joan's reassuring face appearing in the last few minutes of pushing before Neven's birth

NEVEN'S BIRTH STORY, December 18, 2008
10:00 pm (Dec 17) – We went to bed at our normal time. I couldn't fall asleep, and around 11:00 I started having contractions about 12 minutes apart. These contractions were different than the BH contractions I had been having – these were much more uncomfortable. I couldn't sleep through them, and lying down was pretty uncomfortable. Around 12:00, I woke Matt up and he started a fire so we could hang out in the living room. We dozed on the couch throughout the night. Whenever I'd have a contraction, I'd mumble to Matt "Another one..." and he'd half wake up and mark down the time. 
Me, in early labor.
6:00 am – We called the midwife on call, and let her know that my contractions were five minutes apart. We finished getting our things together (no doubt in my mind, getting ready and being so mobile at this point in labor helped things progress significantly!) and drove the 15-minute drive to the birth center. On the way, I remember being stopped at a red light. As if that wasn't bad enough, we had some guy trying to sell us a paper or something, very forcefully. In hindsight... ha! 
7:00 am – Arrived at the birth center. Bobbie and Marva were there. They checked me, and I was 7 cm dilated! I later heard that Bobbie had expected to send us home, as she wasn't convinced I was far enough along because of my calmness through contractions when we arrived. I spent some time in the bathtub, chatting casually with Marva, making it through the contractions by closing my eyes and turning inward, and breathing through them with a low hum when they hurt. 
Marva rubbing my back during a contraction. 
At Marva's suggestion, we took a short walk outside. Snow was falling, and the coldness felt amazing! I remember these contractions being the first that I didn't feel in control of. After some time (no clue how much time passed), I wanted to go back inside. I remember walking through the room of midwives and apprentices, wishing I was invisible. I wanted to retreat into a private space. Back inside and on the birthing ball, I began having involuntary contractions of my stomach. During these few contractions I had the "I don't know if I can do this!" thought, as I couldn't find any way to relax through the contractions like I had been able to so far. In hindsight, I'm pretty sure this was transition for me. 
9:30 am – 9 cm dilated! Bobbie told me that I could start pushing whenever I was ready. I had this grand idea that the birthing stool would work wonders for me, so that's where I started. No luck. On to squatting, with Matt supporting me from behind (in between squats, I'd stand up and roll my pelvis, which kept the contractions coming on and helped baby move down). By this point, we could see the tip-top of Mango's head and his dark hair, but he still wasn't moving down. Then came pushing on the bed, both on my side then on my hands and knees. (Pushing for me lasted 2.5 hours, during which I became thoroughly exhausted but lost ALL sense of time!) At one point after a long pushing contraction, I remember the words "I can't!" slipping out of my mouth. They were greeted with a chorus of "Yes you can, you're doing great!" and loving support from the room of loving midwives, a moment that I will never forget! After 2.5 hours of pushing, Mango's heart rate was just beginning to drop ever so slightly, and there became an urgency to get him out. After a few long, hard pushes, the midwives had be lunge on the side of the bed. I think it was two pushes later that Mango's entire body slid out and into the world. 
12:06 pm – Mango was born! 9 pounds, 21.5 inches. 
Minutes after birth!
What a proud dad!!
Dressed and ready to go home, just 6 hours after birth. 
...and I've been falling in love ever since! 

Monday, November 28, 2011

Schedule? What schedule?!

I know a few posts ago, I promised a school schedule that was working out for us. 

7:00 - Kids wake up, at the same time
7:30 - Neven works on his preschool workbook with Dad
8:00 - Breakfast, then get dressed for the day
9:30 - Daria takes a morning nap, and Neven and I do some sort of focused activity or art project
11:00 - Free play together, or maybe time for a quick walk
12:00 - Lunchtime
1:00 - Maybe an afternoon outing, like a trip to the library
3:00 - Daria takes an afternoon nap, and Neven and I head outside to play and explore
5:00 - Dinner, complimented by learning a few signs (sign language) 
5:30 - Neven works on a lesson from while I clean up from dinner and Daria plays happily by herself
6:30 - Bathtime and books
7:15 - Bedtime

Neven and Daria take turns waking up at 5:30, and so one is inevitably woken up by the other (before they are ready to wake up). Daria has been taking 20 minute naps, and waking up tired (fussy!). The past few weeks, we've been on countless playdates, nurturing new relationships, to meetings, on walks, and visiting with family. Oh, and then our 13.5 year old dog escaped last weekend (for the first time ever in the 7+ years we've had him), and was gone for 3 days and 3 nights (with lows in the 20s!). Talk about life grinding to a halt for everything except searching for our lost dog! We ended up finding him, thanks to an amazing community and a tip from a neighbor who saw him. 
And because LIFE is more important than sticking to a schedule (something I need to remind myself sometimes!), we haven't been doing much home-preschooling lately... but we're HAPPY. 

>> Here are some of the activities we have fit in the past few weeks. As always, I'd LOVE to hear your thoughts! <<

Do they sink or float? Use cold water to fill up the balloons, and another sensory dimension is added - which is colder, the balloon or the bathwater? If you're feeling brave (I wasn't!), add a few drop of food coloring and let them cut or pop them open into the bathwater. Neven decided there was a baby fish in his balloon, and insisted on rocking it to sleep before he could get out of the tub. Another idea from Play-at-Home-Mom... 

Simple idea: Fill balloons with different materials - I filled one with (dry) beans, another with flour, and a third with sugar. I don't have a funnel, so I cut the top of a milk jog off and used that! Neven had fun talking about how the balloons felt (he compared the flour-filled balloon to a cloud) and guessing what exactly was inside. 

What we did: Taped a large sheet of paper onto a wooden serving tray (or cookie sheet). We added a few drops of fingerpaint, then rolled a glass marble around trying to roll it through the paint. Next a plastic monkey walked through the paint and left behind him footprints, and then we used a car to drive through paint and make tire-tracks.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Our YES Day

*** PLEASE comment!! I need support on this one... ***

Neven had a rough day yesterday - he was easily upset by the small things, being rough with Daria, testing limits. I often think these days area result of me being distracted, in this case a non-napping Daria. I actually ended up on the floor of the kitchen in tears for a few minutes, frustrated with myself that I couldn't summon an endless supply of patience for my kids in need of just that. 
I decided a "YES" day was in order. I heard about this idea about a year or so ago when a blog I was following (maybe Peaceful Parenting?) suggested seeing how many requests of your child's you can answer "yes" to (of course, dangerous requests don't count!). I expanded this idea to include me not saying "no" any more than I absolutely had to. In other words, if they aren't doing something that really needs not be done, let them be! Hopefully it will break Neven out of whatever phase he's in (or at least, was in yesterday) and remind me about priorities in life. 

Our Day
Neven started out his day with a snack of Goldfish crackers, while watching Finding NemoThen he requested a bagel with mustard for breakfast. Of course, he stayed in his PJ's all day. We built forts out of a cardboard box and the couch cushions, jumped from pillow to pillow on the floor, made handprint turkeys with fingerpaint, baked cupcakes (a test run for his 3rd birthday party) and licked the bowl. We ate lunch in a tent in the middle of the living room, and had a cupcake for an appetizer. After lunch, Neven wore his snowsuit to get the mail. While Daria napped, he and I read books and played at The afternoon was filled with a bit of bed-jumping, kid-led independent play (which gave me some time to write this post!), some whining about me not letting him sit on Daria to "play", and some time curled up on the couch under a blanket watching some more TV (oy...). Neven ate dinner on the couch, then chose to do bathtime and bedtime normally. After the kids were asleep, I spent some time cleaning up, since I didn't enforce putting toys away all day. It wasn't nearly as bad as it sounds, and really only took me a few minutes. 

What did I learn from this? 
1. SURRENDER. To the idea that I AM a mom, and this is what I do. Unfortunate as it may be, my interests and to-do list needs to be on the backburner now - I'll get to it eventually (in 3 years?). I need to surrender not because I have to, but because that is the kind of mom I want to be. I want to take advantage of these years, soak up as much of my kids' childhood as I can, so I don't have any regrets! 
2. He'll eat, eventually. Neven will usually sit at the table for literally an hour and hasn't yet finished his meal. No complaints to get down or that he doesn't like the food, he's just that SLOW. Today, I left his mostly-eaten bagel on the table after breakfast. A few hours later and after taking a few licks of the cupcake bowl, he decided to sit down and finish his bagel. 
3. As a friend of mine once said: CHOOSE YOUR BATTLES. Wise words, indeed. I need to learn to let the little stuff go. 

Sunday, November 13, 2011

There's a Baby in the House?

Just in the past week or so, Neven has really taken to one of his baby dolls - the same one we got before he was born to introduce our dogs to the idea that a baby was going to be joining our family. Neven's "Baby" gets to go for most car rides with us, sleeps with Neven every night, and is with him first thing in the morning. She takes multiple naps a day (Neven has to nurse her to put her to sleep), she gets hot and cold (sleeper off, sleeper off...), and she likes to have books read to her. It's like Neven just realized there's a baby in the house, and is copying all that I do with Daria. I'm loving seeing this sweet side of him! 

It just so happened the same week, a good friend of mine asked me to make a baby carrier for her 2.5 year old daughter. Lucky for Neven, I got the design wrong on the first try, and so he ended up getting one for Baby. 

Do-It-Yourself Baby (doll) Carrier
For those of you that might be interested, here's how I made the carrier. REALLY simple to do! If you're not a sewer or a do-it-yourselfer, but know someone who might like a baby doll carrier for the holidays, let me know! ;) 

1. Cut fabric. You'll need two pieces that are 13x19 inches that will make the body of the carrier, and four pieces that are 3x36 inches (the length is pretty approximate!) that will be the waist and shoulder straps. 
2. With wrong side facing up, fold in the fabric about 1/2-inch on all sides and iron. Do this for both body pieces. 
 3. Place one body piece with wrong side facing up. Position the two waist straps at the bottom corners and the two shoulder straps on the sides about 1/3 of the way down as shown and pin in place. 
4. Place the second body piece on top of the first, wrong sides together. Pin into place. 
5. Sew around the edge, about 1/8-inch from the edge. For this carrier, my sewing machine was broken and so I did the sewing by hand. Although it took a lot longer, I prefer the look of the result! 

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Dragon Wings

Turns out, we did get a visit from the Pumpkin Fairy. She ate all of Neven's candy, except for a box of raisins and two lollipops that she left for him. 

As a thank-you for all the great candy Neven shared with her, she left him some fancy dragon wings that she had made (here is the website she used). Neven hasn't mentioned his missing candy once, and has been happily running around the house with his dragon wings on, trying to take off! 

We've had fish before. The tank was in Neven's room, and he seemed to not notice it at all. Just another thing I had to take care of, and it became frustrating for me. A few weeks ago, I moved the tank to the dining room. And there-- it's a HUGE hit! Both Neven and Daria love it, and spend lots of time watching the fish (three guppies and two catfish) swimming around. Plus, Neven helps feed them every day. 

What we used: cartoon printout of a turkey, parts of a turkey printout, crayons, scissors, construction paper, glue, contact paper
We colored a "Happy Thanksgiving" picture of a turkey, then cut it out and pasted it to a piece of green construction paper. On the flipside, we did the same with a diagram of the part of a turkey. Then we covered it with contact paper. Simple and festive placemat... MADE! 

I'm making a blanket for a friend of mine, using her son's baby shirts and blankets (more on that in some future post). I used some of the leftover material to make an entertaining pull-box using an empty baby wipes box (similar to this idea, but using scraps of fabric instead of ribbon). Neven found an intermediate use for the fabric strips - he wanted me to tie them on him. The result looked something like a receiving-blanket-wearing ninja! 

Now something about ME... 
I did yoga today for the first time in months. If you don't count prenatal yoga, I think it may be closer to a year. I didn't even have to leave the house. I signed on to YogaToday and watched their free class of the week. Not quite as engaging as a class at a studio, but definitely better than nothing. I could literally feel blood flowing to parts of my body, rejuvenating my mind and well-being. It was FANTASTIC!!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Halloween and the Pumpkin Fairy

A summary of some of the projects we've been working on in October -- 

What kid doesn't like to put things into other things? That's why I loved this idea from Play at Home Mom. Only downside is that it requires a bit of setup, but nothing much (and can be made with things you already have around the house). In addition to the activity of the box itself, I also used it as a chance to be completely child-led exploring and learning - letting him play with it as he saw fit. 

We ended up with a big piece of blank, white paper. What to do with it? I had Neven lay down, and I traced his body (which was fun in itself, since he kept thinking I was tickling him!). Then we added shoes, gloves, shorts, a shirt, and some hair. We hung the finished piece on the wall! 

A simple story to share, along with props that turn into a pumpkin mask! 

Today I had one of those Aha! days... Neven can play GAMES now! We played Memory (a kids version, and we only used a handful of cards at a time), then we moved on to Go Fish! (not too successful following the rules, but we did have lots of giving practice and also used the game to introduce the concept of PATTERNS). 

I thought the thrill of a non-toy cardboard box would last a day or two -- I think we've had this one for three weeks now! Neven's "room" now has a couch, snacks, TV, bookshelf (with titles decided by Neven on the spines, like dragons, ghosts, bats, rhymes, ducks...), a porch and yard, and dragons flying around outside. The box has been torn multiple times now, and yet, it's still usually the first thing both kids go to in the morning... The lesson I learned: Never underestimate the power of SIMPLE. 

This activity was simple - pumpkin carving. I had these grand ideas that the activity would be great for "sensory exploration" and generally fun because it was an excuse to get messy. Surely Neven would be interested in digging out the pumpkin guts and playing with them, maybe tossing them around (we were carving outside), right? Not exactly. I cut off the top of a pumpkin for him, and he'd reach in and get ONE seed at a time. Then it pretty much took him until I cleaned out two pumpkins entirely until he was sticking his hands into the slimy bowl o' seeds like the picture below. Some days, his lack of enthusiasm (SO like his dad in many ways!) frustrates me. I'd love to see just a bit more emotion from him, or know that something I do as a "treat" to him is something he truly enjoys. But then there's the flipside - on the days when he's content people-watching while other kids run around like crazy (like kids do), I'm grateful for his wallflower personality. Anyone else have a kid like this? 
Daria on the other hand, is in the stage where she's willing and determined to explore anything and everything!... so we distracted her with a pile of drying leaves. 

Before Halloween (week) started this year, I read about The Pumpkin Fairy and hoped she would consider a stop at our house. The legend goes something like this: The Pumpkin Fairy visits houses after Halloween, and eats any candy that may be left out for her (except for a few choice pieces set aside). She's known to leave a token of her appreciation in exchange, typically some small gift. 
Halloween #1 for us came in the mail on Tuesday from Salt Lake - a handful of candy from Meme and Papa. Neven ate a pack. Then we made pumpkin cookies for trick-or-treaters (pumpkin-shaped and frosted, with candy corn eyes, not pumpkin flavored), and he ate one of those. 
Halloween #2 was on Thursday night, in the form of trunk-or-treating with the Santa Fe Mommy Meetup Group. The treats were great - a fair mix of small prizes, gummy candies, lollipops (I think he managed to eat TWO the night of), cookies, and some chocolate. I was excited when we got home, and the one thing Neven wanted out of his bucket was the skeleton notepad. Maybe we won't have to feed our kid a white lie after all?  
But then the next morning came. He asked about candy within minutes of getting out of bed. And so we started off the day by going back and forth, and back and forth (5 thousand times!) - Neven asking if he could please have a piece of candy now, and me calmly explaining we'd have it for a snack after we ate breakfast. As the the roller coaster of our day went on, Neven had more meltdowns than he's had in weeks. I'm talking about lip-out, wailing about trivial things upset. Not listening, pushing limits, telling me NO to anything I said. In between fits, he'd be laughing and having a great time. 
It's not about having to deal with a hyper child for a few hours. It's about how I imagine he must feel a little out of control. I hate seeing him like this! I actually suspect it might be the coloring dyes, NOT the sugar. Since we've moved to Santa Fe, we changed our eating habits and tend to have no artificial coloring of any sorts in the food in our cupboards. Maybe he developed a sensitivity to it? Anyone have experience/thoughts about this theory?
I think this afternoon's activity will be writing a letter to The Pumpkin Fairy.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

"Nevermind, do whatever you want..."

I've been trying to let go a little, and to not care so much about the things (rules) that don't really matter. Some examples of what I'm talking about:

  • Neven was painting with watercolors. He started mixing them all together. My OCD personality makes my whole body start to twitch a bit and I reactively start to tell him "no, no, no... don't mix all the colors together!" But then I catch myself - "Nevermind, do whatever you want!" Really, who cares (besides ME)? I bought the paints for HIM (probably just a few dollars at the store), and he's having fun experimenting. Turns out, he only mixes for a few seconds, then is done anyway! Happy kid... happy mama... and paints that can still be used. 
  • Daria was sitting outside on the front porch with Neven and me, half-chewed biscotti in hand. All is good until she starts tapping it on the ground. I grab for the biscotti, and so she gets mad and screams. I look at the biscotti in my hand - "Nevermind, do whatever you want!" A little dirt never hurt anyone, right? I had a friend once make the comment to me that sometimes, she'd rather her child eat a little dirt than chew on plastics. Interesting way to put things into perspective. 
  • Neven was playing in his cardboard box house pretty roughly. Instead of saying "stop, you're going to ruin it!" I told him "If you are too rough, you might tear the sides. But, do whatever you want!" If his idea of fun is tearing apart his box house, what's it matter? We'll get him a new one! 

Your turn - What can your child do today that you can answer "Nevermind, do whatever you want!" to? I'd love to hear your stories!!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Back to it...

Whew, what a busy few weeks...! 

After Deb and her girls left, a friend from grad school visited for a quick overnight trip. He lives in NC now, but visits NM every fall to re-supply his green chile. On top of that, my cousin Dawn and her family were visiting from Hawaii (I haven't seen her since I was pregnant and we were on our last hurrah vacation in Hawaii in 2008). We were able to spend a lot of time with them, which was fantastic. We really, really enjoyed our time with them, especially Neven who proclaimed "cousins are cool" after we had seen them one day. 

We're trying to get back into a routine after our busy weeks (during which we did no structured learning). To make things easier for all of us, I set aside an area in our family room with Neven's desk, kid-themed wall hanging, and a place to hang recently-colored pages and monthly activities calendar. Hopefully this will help set the stage for a more focused environment. Another improvement: I've enlisted some online help from ABCmouse and Preschool ExpressIt's been easy for me to find suggested activities, but hard for me to come up with what I felt was a balanced plan of attack. Hoping these sites will help! I'll post an update in a few weeks in the form of a typical day as thing settle into a relaxed and fun pattern that works for all of us. 

Here are some of the things activities Neven has been up to the past few weeks: 

Not sure where I got this idea, but it turned out to be a really fun activity. Using just a set of blocks, the idea is to build matching structures. To get started, I'd place one block at a time and have Neven follow. Next, I had Neven close his eyes (which added to the excitement!) while I built a tower, then he copied it. Finally, I closed my eyes and Neven built. Of course, getting to knock it down at the end was the best part. 

SEARCH FOR ORANGE the produce section of your local grocery store. Oranges, clementines, grapefruit, carrots, pumpkins. What did we miss? 

Setup: Cut out shapes (squares, rectangles, and triangles) of various colors and sizes out of construction paper. Put out three containers to use as bins. 
To start, I asked Neven to find me a red triangle, a red square, then a red rectangle and we talked about the differences. Then we moved on to finding two orange squares, etc. By the end, Neven was picking out a shape of his choice and telling me the color and shape, then sorting it into the correct bin. 

This idea came from Play at Home Mom. I LOVE the ideas on this website, but one problem I have is using so many materials. Unfortunately, a lot of Neven's crafts will end up in the trash, especially if we're doing something new every day. I love using things that are trash-bound anyway (like oatmeal containers, coffee cans, blueberry containers). PAHM uses a picture frame and gems for this activity; we used the plastic lid from a package of spinach and leaves. The day before, we wandered through the yard, collected leaves, and left them in a heavy book overnight to flatten and dry a bit. Today, we covered the plastic spinach lid with craft glue, used fingers to spread it around, then stuck leaves all over it. We propped up the end result in a window (another perk of using plastic instead of glass, non-breakable if it falls!). It adds some great fall color to our living room. 

We recently visited Wagner's Pumpkin Patch in Corrales, NM on a perfect fall day. We wandered through the corn maze, picked out pumpkins (Neven picked a "baby" one and a yellow one), went on a hayride, braved a scary pipe-slide, and got up and close with llamas, mini-horses, and chickens. Lots of plans for the pumpkins we got at the patch - painting, carving, sensory exploration of pumpkin guts, roasting and counting seeds... Any other ideas?

A few weeks ago, we went to a new park in Santa Fe. After a while of playing by themselves, the kids there (4 yr old boy, 4 yr old girl, Neven, and two 2 yr old boys) started playing together. Their activity of choice? Picking up handfuls of woodchips and throwing them, all of them laughing and having a blast. Situations like this often leave me feeling a bit torn as to what I should do - Should I correct Neven for throwing, even though the other kids are doing it? Should I let him go until someone is unhappy? Should I pretend like I don't see what's going on? (Obviously the last option isn't a good idea, but yet SO tempting...!) One of the other moms* calmly reminded her boys that it is ok to throw, but suggested they throw the woodchips in the opposite direction at the (unoccupied) play equipment. It was a great reminder to me that throwing needn't always be labeled as "bad" and that sometimes it IS ok to do. Where my responsibility lies is in making sure Neven directs it properly. I need to remember that he has a LOT of energy and isn't exactly sure what to do with it, and that he is exploring what his body is capable of doing. I need to help him grow and learn this way, too! *Yes, SA - I'm talking about you... and THANKS! :) 

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Refreshing Inspiration

A very dear friend of mine and college roommate (for all 4 years), Deb, visited this past week with her two girls. As luck would have it, her older daughter is one week older than Neven, and her younger daughter is three weeks older than Daria. What are the chances?! We had a FANTASTIC visit together, truly stress-free! On top of just having a generally good time, I also received some REFRESHING INSPIRATION from her. As a mom, she's unbelievably patient and compassionate with her (all!) kids, and very PRESENT with them. She seems to have a limitless amount of energy to keep up with engaging an infant and a preschooler - singing, rocking, nursing, hiding, playing make-believe, teaching, showing, drinking "tea"... Her kids are such happy little girls, no doubt a side-effect of her parenting style. I hope to be able to carry over some of her attitude and approach to parenting -- To remember that my children are only this age for such a short time, and to ENJOY them, each and every moment I possibly can! 

Just a few months after meeting as roommates! - Fall 1997

 Springfest - 1998

 Halloween - 1998

 1,000 Steps Hike - 1999

 "Under the Sea Party" - 2001

Juniata Graduation - May 2001
2011 (yikes, 14 years later?! how'd that happen?!)
More from Deb's Visit... 

Neven shared some of his home-preschooling activities with Addy. I was flattered that the ideas were new and fresh to Deb, and she plans on carrying them home with her. 

Face painting, dress up, puppet shows, water play, and sand play... all in one place! 

We revisited the short, kid-friendly hiking loop through Eldorado's community preserve that we discovered a few weeks ago. Neven and Addy were like pros... off they went on the trail!   

How can you go wrong with something as simple as swings?

** We miss you girls!! Come back and visit again SOON! xoxo **

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Me Time (well, kinda...)

I haven't been as focused on Neven this week as I intended -- I've been a little distracted with my own projects. Feels amazing to get in some me-time!! 

...bananas (as good as candy!!), sweet potatoes, apples, peaches (huge, juicy, organic ones from a neighbor), apple fruit rolls. I've realized that since I got the dehydrator, Neven is a super-healthy snacker! He eats homemade yogurt and granola for breakfast most days, grilled cheese for lunch makes his "unhealthy" meal of the day, and he snacks on dried fruit almost 100% of the time. Makes me a happy mama. :) 

We took down the bi-folding wooden doors on Neven's closet and our laundry closet (where our washer and dryer are), since they were hardly ever closed anyway and just seemed to be in the way. Neven went to the fabric store with me, and picked out blue sharks (luckily for me and my OCD personality, this matches his room which already has a 'fish' theme). 
Along the sewing lines -- I've been commissioned to make a baby quilt for a mama in Santa Fe, using her son's baby blankets and onesies. Pretty excited about this!! 

For a few years now, I've been working on setting up and populating a basic database for the Birth Center in Taos. And yes, I like -- no, LOVE -- data entry. Such a black and white task. No (or at least, not much) room for interpretation. With each keystroke, you're technically making progress. Aaahhh... :)

Neven's Activities this Week

Back to it! We did many basic signs with Neven when he was around one to two years old. As he started learning to say words, signing took a back seat. We've recently re-discovered the fun of learning though talking with your hands, and have been picking out a card each day (ok, most days!) to learn. We have flashcards that I really like, but when I need to look up a word, my favorite website to use is Signing Savvy.

STACKING BLOCKS (Gross Motor Skills)
Yep, another simple activity that was entertaining for a while -- making a "castle" for the guy in blue (not Neven, the plastic guy!). 

On Saturday, Matt and I took the kids to the Albuquerque Aquarium. They both *loved* looking at the fish, especially Daria! 
We took the train to the Zoo... 
...had a picnic lunch in the park there, then headed back to the Botanical Gardens. We made it a point to not rush to see everything, and rather we tried to let Neven set the pace. It seemed to pay off -- although at the end of the day he was tuckered out, he was still a happy camper!