Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Winter Weekend Activities

The hardest thing about the winter is the fact that we're stuck indoors for so long. I'm definitely an outdoor person. I want to be outside as much as possible and I hate it that the girls spend so much time sitting around indoors. I spent my childhood in Corpus Christi, Texas. We were outside in shorts and t-shirts year round. We made mud patties, climbed trees, rode our bikes around the neighborhood, played on the swing set. But times have changed and the climate is quite different here. Fortunately, there are often free activities in the area. I found a couple of good ones in the last couple of weeks.

Gustafer Yellowgold
A friend texted me that Gustafer Yellowgold would be putting on a show at her church. I looked at the website and thought it seemed interesting. It was a free show benefitting Dayton Children's. We gathered some of the girls' old Melissa and Doug wooden puzzles to donate and headed over not sure what to expect. As the crowd arrived we noticed all the kids holding their Gustafer and Slim dolls - some were quite dirty and looked very well loved. One kid even had a homemade Gustafer hat. These kids were BIG fans! The show ended up being a combination of concert, story-telling, and cartoon all rolled into one. I was concerned that it would be too babyish because Solana was one of the oldest kids there. But the music is really catchy - it's sort of like kids idie rock. I have to admit that I actually like it a lot and find myself singing the tunes to myself often. Of course, we bought the two dolls and one of the dvd's on the way out. The dvd's are basically a collection of music videos that tell the story of Gustafer and his adventures. They love it and are quickly learning the words to the songs. I have a feeling we'll be collecting the other dvd's eventually, too. It was great to get the girls out of the house and I'm glad we went.
Before the show.
I told Solana to get a good seat so Chloe could see. They're right up front - hard to see because of their dark hair and dark clothes. Chloe is sitting on Solana's lap.

Pete The Cat
I was checking out the library activities and noticed that Pete the Cat was coming to our library. Chloe's teacher introduced us to Pete the Cat and she loves his books. They're lots of fun and there's a video on YouTube of the authors performing one of the books (Pete The Cat Loves His White Shoes) at a library that Chloe really loves. The library activity we attended was really cute. First, the librarian read the White Shoes book and then Pete made his big entrance. Each family received a number on the way in and they had us take turns entering the special room to meet Pete the Cat. I really liked that because I didn't have to worry about pushy kids knocking Chloe down to get to him. As we waited they had several crafts for the kids to do.
Before the Show
Solana made Pete the Cat and then gave him bows so he became Pete's friend, Petunia.
Chloe was very excited to meet Pete. She talked about how she'd give him a big hug and hold his hand. When we got in there she was still smiley and excited. She talked to Pete but was a little nervous about getting close to him. This video cracks me up.
 I turned off the camera and walked with her to Pete. She was so happy. She touched his paw and talked about how soft it felt - "just like my [stuffed] kitty, Blackie!"

Dave goes to Lowe's just about every weekend. He's always working on something around the house. The other week I decided we'd all go with him. Of course, when Dave goes to Lowe's alone it takes him 5 minutes to get out the door. When we all go it takes me a good 40 minutes to get myself and the girls ready and then another 10 minutes to get out the door. But Dave was very patient and we all arrived at Lowe's for our shopping adventure. He was shopping for a new vent/light for the girls' bathroom. It took a while to get to the bathroom lights because we had to climb all over the riding lawn mowers on the way. After picking one we wandered upon a free kids clinic on building monster trucks. We learned that they have these "clinics" regularly and all we did was grab a couple of packets, pick a table, and get to work. They loved it! Dave guided Solana while Chloe worked on her own creation. I tried to keep Chloe interested and happy while snapping some fun pictures. This was way more fun than sitting at home!
Dave says he stuck his tongue out just like this when he was a kid. 
 Solana was very serious.
 It was difficult to hammer on the flimsy tables but they found that hammering on the corner worked well.
 A good visual and hand/eye practice.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

First Tooth Cleaning

Notice I titled this post "First Tooth Cleaning" and not "First Visit to the Dentist." This is actually Chloe's fourth visit to the dentist but the first time the dentist was able to get in there to clean her teeth. Her insane phobia of things that make noise kicks in as soon as they turn on their little cleaning contraptions. She's completely terrorized.

This time I asked the hygienist to clean Chloe's teeth the old fashioned way. She suggested her little hand held contraption that's much more quiet. She turned it on from across the room and Chloe ran behind my leg. She doesn't behave that way for most things. Chloe, like Solana, talks to adults easily and happy makes friends with other children. Most of the time she's pretty fearless. So much so, in fact, that Dave and I sometimes wish that the one with limited vision was just a tad more tentative. But certain things that make sounds completely freak her out. Not all things, mind you. Vacuum cleaner is ok. Little battery operated piano is ok. But battery operated guitar no way. Singing Elmo forget it. Electric toothbrush uh uh. The hygienist tried to get Chloe to hold it and touch it to her own teeth. She was very gentle and spent a long time with us. I was grateful. In the end she brushed Chloe's teeth with a toothbrush.

Then the dentist came in and used his tiny little hook-shaped scraper for a long time to scrape the "sugar bugs" off Chloe's teeth. She did a great job and opened her mouth wide for a LONG time. The hygienist offered to babysit for us and spoiled Chloe with 4 toys from the toy box. She's one charming kid - even when she's being a tough case at the dentist's office.

Chloe is practicing saying "Ahhh" before the dentist arrives.

"Good job, Chloe! You're a good opener," says the dentist.

Blue Jean Bin

I got a sewing machine for Christmas. Unfortunately, I haven't had much time to play around with it. Close a hole in Dave's pocket here and make a feather pillow smaller there but no real projects...until now. I found the instructions for making a bin out of old blue jeans and decided to give it a shot. My friend, Donna, is a sewing pro and came over to help me understand some of the instructions. As it turns out, sewing a circle isn't as easy as it looks. In the end I made a bin! It's not beautiful but it works and I'm pretty proud of myself! I hope to do more. I still have a couple pair of severely raggedy jeans waiting to be repurposed. Solana asked if she could have it and already invented a new use for it.