Sunday, November 29, 2009
I bought a gingerbread house kit at the store this afternoon. The one we got was pre-cooked but not assembled. I mixed up the icing and built the house while Grace was eating dinner so it could set before she decorated it.
From the minute Grace saw the house and decorations she was all about eating the candy. She even tried to sneak some pieces when she thought I wasn't looking!I finally convinced her that the candy was for decorating the house and we got down to business.And the final product....drum roll, please!Our dentist, Dr. Greg, will not be happy about what happened next.
Saturday, November 28, 2009
Friday, November 27, 2009
But none of this makes Christopher as happy as the days between Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve when Santa lets him visit children in their homes all over the world. The more homes Christopher gets to be in, the happier he is!
Christopher knows that just before Thanksgiving kids will hear his story and then he gets to "pop in"for a visit! Christopher loves to play hide-and-seek almost as much as he loves little children, so watch out! Every night Christopher Pop-In-Kins finds a new hiding place somewhere in the house. He loves nothing more than to watch children race around looking for him. But, even when you find him you can't touch Christopher or he will lose his magic!
We started this tradition with Grace last night by reading the story and "hiding" Christopher in the house after she went to sleep. When she woke up and came downstairs I couldn't wait until she discovered him sitting on the kitchen light over the breakfast table. But, she was more interested in the SNOW outside (yes, snow) and Grace hasn't noticed him yet....I guess we will read the story again tonight and "hide" him in another place and see what happens tomorrow!
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Sunday, November 22, 2009
Saturday, November 21, 2009
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Sunday, November 15, 2009
Saturday, November 14, 2009
One of these things is music. I am not musically inclined. At all. I don't play an instrument, I can't read music, and while I like to listen to music now and then, I am not one of those people with an iPod attached to my ear 24/7. But Grace really likes music. My mother noticed this when we first met her at 4 months old. And at 6 months old she sat on my dad's lap and tapped a pattern with him on the restaurant table. Even then, it was obvious how the sound of music - any music - captured her attention. I have no basis of comparison, so I don't know if she has a talent in this area, but I am going to continue to expose her to a variety of music, performances, and instruments as she grows up.
This week, we went to the public library for a fantastic music and story time. This has been going on all fall, but I just discovered it. The gentleman who led the class played songs on his guitar and read stories. But the best part was at the end when he allowed the children to come up and touch the guitar. Grace was fascinated. I watched her look at him and the guitar in awe and she touched it so gently. He handed her the guitar pick as he did to all the kids ahead of her (about 15 of them) but she preferred to touch the strings with her hand. So cool!The photos are not great (point-and-shoot camera and a pretty dark room) but I wanted to share them because they really demonstrate the wonder and discovery of this evening.
Friday, November 13, 2009
As I was typing the Philanthropy post, I was reminded of "The Starfish Story".
Thursday, November 12, 2009
The alphabet has been a big thing in our house for the last several weeks. Grace loves singing the alphabet song and choosing letters to put into her "Fridge Phonics". She knows M is for Mommy, B is for Ba, A is for apple, G is for Grace, etc.....So, for today's post, I decided to highlight P for philanthropy.
I really admire companies and their founders/CEOs who define a cause and give (or give back) to others. One of these is the Wendy's Corporation. Dave Thomas, the founder of Wendy's created The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, a non-profit public charity dedicated to increasing adoptions of the more than 150,000 waiting children in North America's foster care system. This foundation was created in 1992 by Dave Thomas, an adopted child, who believed that every child deserves a permanent home and a loving family. The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption focuses on increasing adoption awareness while supporting model adoption service programs. Their latest program, called "Wendy's Wonderful Kids " has a goal to place 8,000 to 10,000 foster care children by 2010 through grants to local adoption agencies. Wendy's Wonderful Kids is the first nationwide program that partners a major corporation with a national foundation in an effort to place local foster care children in permanent homes.
You have to give a lot of credit to someone who recognizes a need and finds a way to make a difference. Sure, as the CEO of a multi-billion dollar company, Dave Thomas had the means to create this foundation. But it is not just about money. There are thousands of causes he could have chosen to support. He chose something that impacted him personally - something he was passionate about - and focused his efforts and resources there. By creating a foundation with a clear mission his goal will continue to affect children for decades after his death.
I'm impressed and inspired. How about you?
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
I laugh and smile so much more now that Grace is in my life. Being a parent is like being a kid all over again. There is a new discovery and something to laugh about every day.
In the spirit of sharing some laughter, here are some of my favorite quotes on the subject:
- A house without a dog, a cat, or a little child is a house without joy or laughter. - Scottish Proverb
- Laughter is an instant vacation. - Milton Berle
- Many families are built on laughter. - Indian Proverb
- Laughter is the shortest distance between two people. - Victor Borge
- The most wasted of all days is one without laughter. - e.e. cummings
- Where there is laughter, happiness likes to be. -Japanese Proverb
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
I always laugh inside when someone we don't know looks at Grace and me together and then says, "She looks just like you." Maybe it is our dark hair and brown eyes. Or maybe it is just that we laugh and play together so easily that it is obvious we were made to be together. But, in reality, we don't share any DNA, so the question is how much are we really "alike" and if we are similar, is that due to the environment in which Grace is growing up?I always wondered about the strength of "nature" and the influence of "nurture" in the development of a child. "Nurture" has historically been referred to as the care given to children by parents, but the definition of "nurture" really should be expanded to include the influences on development from extended family and peer experiences, the media and marketing, exposure to formal education, and socioeconomic status. With all those factors, shouldn't "nurture" have a greater role in the ultimate development of a child?
There have been countless twin and adoption studies done trying to determine whether "nature" or "nurture" has the greatest impact on human development. Some traits are definitely genetic - blood type, hair and eye color, certain diseases, and probably IQ, for example. But current thinking in biology discredits the notion that genes alone can determine the most complex attributes such as The Big 5 personality traits. In other words, genes set the bar but the way in which a person develops is largely affected by the environment in which she lives.
At least that is what I want to believe. I can't hep but wonder how tall Grace will be or if she will be right- or left-handed. But in the end, I know that those things are predetermined and I can't change or influence them. What I can do is help her learn and grow. I choose to provide her with a rich life full of love, patience, stability, and exposure to new experiences.
So, in our world, "nurture" wins out over "nature".
Monday, November 9, 2009
Thursday, November 5, 2009
- A 24 piece floor puzzle like the kind from Melissa and Doug . They are available on websites like Amazon.com or www.sensoryedge.com for around $15 (plus shipping) but TJ Maxx usually sells them for less (around $8).
- Books - Any books! It is great fun to go to the bookstore or the library and see old favorites or discover new titles. We are always reading and Grace loves to "read" aloud to me, too!
- LeapFrog Tag Junior books to go with the Tag Junior that Santa is bringing. If you are not familiar with the Tag Junior, it is a little hand-sized device that is programmed to recognize the book you are "reading". You put the little man on words or pictures in the book and it will read and talk to you. It can even be set up to know your child's name so when you turn it on it says, "Hello, Grace". Cool, huh? The books cost $10.99 each but the tag device can only hold five books in its memory, so she doesn't need every book they offer. These seem to be good ones for what Grace is learning now. I saw these books on sale this week at Toys R Us for $7.99 each!
· Curious George Color Fun
- Art supplies - we have lots of crayons, but there are so many other creative art supplies out there, especially those made by Crayola. I have always been a big fan of new crayons, colored paper, and sharp pencils (maybe that's why I became a teacher!) so when I go into the art section at the toy store I want everything! And then I leave the store with nothing because I can't decide. So no recommendations here...we love it all!
- A kid-sized table and chairs set would be perfect for art projects and tea parties with human and stuffed friends like Elmo, Big Bird, and Abby Cadabby. We have a small space for it so this KidKraft one which is about 24" square is about the right size. Toys R Us carries them, too.
- A doll hairbrush (www.americangirl.com) They recommend a wire brush for the American Girl doll's hair and this one is reasonably priced at $7.
- A diaper bag set with wipes, a changing pad, pretend diaper rash cream, etc. American Girl sells one, and I am pretty sure Target. Toys R Us, and WalMart do, too.
- A doll bed or cradle such as any one of the following:
o Pottery Barn Kids Janie doll bed ($49.00) or
o Our Generation doll bed with drawer and accessories from Target ($51.99) or
American Girl trundle bed and bedding Item # F6207 ($68)
- I started to create a play purse for Grace with a phone and some money but then I found My First Purse from International Playthings on Amazon.com ($9.99). It got great reviews and seems to have all the things a little girls would need when she takes her baby out shopping, including play lipstick for those last minute "touch-ups".
The Gift of Exploration
- I can’t help but think of the Fisher Price Smart Fit Park (about $40) as a Wii Fit for kids. The system comes with a mat that connects to a TV. Kids get to walk, run, jump and stomp while at the same time learning about letters, numbers, shapes, colors and more via encounters, games and races. The system boasts 6 games, each with 3 levels of play. I am sure this is something Grace will enjoy, especially during those winter months when we can't get outside to play after work because it is cold and dark!
- The CD/DVD combo packs from the band "They Might Be Giants" either Here Come the ABCs or Here Come the 123s. Amazon.com has them for $13.99.
- My friend Melody recommended we add some jazz to our collection. The repetition of sounds is similar to what you find in classical music. She said Miss Ella's Playhouse (all original music from Ella Fitzgerald) is one of their favorites. (Amazon.com $12).