Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Art class- igloo and jacks

Today was art class day and Kylie made an igloo. This is how she did it. We took a syrofoam cup and glued it to a paper plate. Then, with a popsicle stick, Kylie smeared vanilla icing from a can all over the cup. Then she stuck sugar cubes in the icing. Ta-dah! Igloo.

It's days like today that I'm so glad that she's in an art class. I never would have attempted that creation at home. But she had a great time making it.

She also made a painting by using jacks. A bit of paper, paint, jacks and a ball all set inside a box and then you simply shake the box. Kylie and I took turns shaking the box and then looking at the tracks that were made.

I finally wised up and remembered to take her art smock with us to class-along with baby wipes to clean her hands. I particularly wanted her clothes protected because Kylie is wearing a brand-new Fall outfit. Hurray for Fall tights!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


I was inspired when I saw this quick video by Chase Jarvis. His tagline is "the best camera is the one that's with you". He's a professional photographer but he takes pictures for fun with his iPhone. If you have a minute, check it out. I love that he's talking about seizing the moment and capturing the pictures that get his attention. I got his book and admire his images.

In his book, he writes "the dirtiest secret in photography: shoot a hell of a lot of pictures to get the ones you want".

I've had many ups and downs this year with my 365 photo commitment. Yet day after day, I pick up the camera and fire off some shots. Some days, it's 5 pictures or less. Other days, I get carried away and take more than 50.

So I was pleased to read that quote from Jarivs because I believe the only way I'm going to get better at photography is to keep studying and to keep taking a hell of a lot of pictures.

It helps that I have such a lovely subject.

Sometimes I like to keep a picture just as I shot it instead of cropping it to the rule of thirds.

This was my favorite shot of the day. I knew when I clicked that I had something I would like. Check out that cool shadow made by the leaf she's holding.

I never ask Kylie to look my way or smile or pose. I try to stay unobtrusive when I photograph her. Yet when I nabbed this lucky shot, I breathed a big ole "Yes". Kylie looked up at me and smiled.

I also try to catch little bits of Kylie's personality and moods with my camera. Here, Kylie's been playing for over an hour at Burke Lake Park. She's resting against this lovely dolphin statue and watching the kids play on the playground. She's doing that suck-in-her-bottom-lip thing that she does when she's tired or overwhelmed.

Break time is over. She's ready to rejoin the others. She stops and gives the dolphin a kiss good-bye. That's my darlin' girl.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

10 things

This beautiful scrapbook template went on sale this weekend at my favorite digital scrapbooking store, Designer Digitals. Throughout the weekend I've watched Designer Digitals fans post their pages into the gallery. Some of the pages were of their kids, some of themselves or spouses. And some were of things like their hobbies.

Always the joiner, I wanted to play along. So today as I ran about, I made a mental list of 10 things about Kylie right now:

1. You want us to call you by your name. If we say something like sweetie or darling, you’ll say, “I’m not sweetie; I’m Kylie”.

2. Your favorite stuffed animal is your pink Nanna bear. You play with her throughout the day and she always sleeps with you at night. Dress-up bear is your second favorite.

3. You are obsessed with The Little Mermaid. Several times a day, you want us to chase you in a circle as the song “Poor Unfortunate Souls” plays from Mommy’s Itunes library on her computer in the family room. You want us to laugh like Ursula. You quote lines from the movie all day.

4. Your favorite tv show is Little Einsteins. You like Sesame Street as well. And you just started watching, My Friends Tigger and Pooh.

5. You like to serve pretend tea with your tea set- always with cream and sugar.

6. You like to play the “wrong guess” game, especially with colors. Is this red? No. Is this black? No. You know your colors quite well but sometimes you confuse blue and purple.

7. You’ll drink a Capri-Sun juice box in the car after we finish one of your classes- swim, art, music or gymboree class. You call it it your special juice. You never spill it and you usually say, “Ta-dah” when you finish it.

8. You are polite; you say please and thank you all the time. You can be quite bossy too.

9. You like to hold your head under the bathtub faucet as the water runs out. You saw a video of a cat do that on and thought it was hilarious so you do it now too. You’ll also pour a full cup of water over your head in the tub.

10. As we dry you off from your bath, we recite the “Now I lay me” prayer. You know about half of the words and you like to say “Amen” with emphasis. We sing Barney’s “I love you” song as we tuck you in to sleep.

So there we go. Just a quick list of 10 things but one I bet we will look back on in the years to come. What are your ten things right now?

Here is another scrapbook page I finished this weekend. It's from some pictures I took back in April.

I plan to take our huge pile of library books back and pick up some new ones. Thank you for your book recommendations. Kylie loved:
Caps for Sale by Slobodkina (this one is on our buy list.)
Knuffle Bunny by Mo Willems
Sheep in a Jeep by Nancy Shaw
Silly Sally by Audrey Wood
I'm the Biggest Thing in the Ocean by Kevin Sherry
Kylie asked Karen and I to read her these books over and over.

She liked these books too but but got a bit distracted as I read them.
Olivia Saves the Circus by Ian Falconer
What time Is It Mr. Crocodile? by Judy Sierra
Paddington by Michael Bond
Corduroy by Don Freeman

I think the books (Spoon, Little Oink, Yes Day, It's Not Fair) by Amy Krouse Rosenthal are quite clever but they didn't hold Kylie's attention at all. We'll try them again later.

I suppose that's enough lists for now. I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Acorn bags and art

I met a very nice mom at Burke Lake Park today. She was the mother of seven children (can you believe it!). She had her 2 yr old son and her 3 yr old daughter with her. She had adopted both of them from China. And the daughter was adopted just a month ago.

I usually have my headphones on and listen to an audiobook when I'm at the park. But I'm so glad I took them off and just hung out with this mom. Hearing her speak lightly of her trials as she talked about this 3 yr old girl who doesn't speak English and who is thrust into this new family made me oh-so-grateful for my family. And hearing how many groceries she goes through each week (over a gallon of milk a day) put my weekly grocery store runs into proper perspective.

She had an empty ziploc bag with her. Kylie kept bringing me handfuls of acorns so this mom offered me the bag. What a miracle this bag turned out to be. Kylie loved it! She carried around the bag, putting acorn after acorn into it until it was almost full.

Kylie certainly got an arm workout carrying around her acorn bag. She was tickled to pieces with it. I really hope I see this mom again. I liked her immensely. And she certainly had me counting my blessings.

Kylie's schedule is filled to the brim for Fall. She's started her new swim school, her new Gymboree play class, and I've enrolled her in both an art class and a music class at our local Rec center. I really appreciate the art class. Kylie gets to make fun things like this:

(this elephant hat fits over her head like a crown)

(this is a fishbowl with fish stickers)

The art eacher focuses the art on two letters of the day. In these pictures our letters were "E" and "F". She also reads a few stories and has some dancing to music to fill up the 45 minute class. I love the art projects. I love that all the supplies are cut up and ready for us. And toddler art just seems to be more fun with a group of kids. Looking around and seeing her peers get into their art projects keeps Kylie focused on doing hers. I put her artwork for the week on the refrigerator. And as we eat our meals, Kylie will look over and say, "Look at my art! Look what I did!"

I'll sign off now with this last picture of Kylie at Burke Lake Park.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Sing a song

You know, toddlers can be just a wee bit bossy. Check out this video.

Kylie's imagination has really blossomed these past few days. Yesterday was full of putting different stuffed animals and figures onto the couch which became Kylie's airplane and rocket. Kylie then brought everyone blankets, plastic food, books to read, crayons to color and more. I think flying back in August made a pretty big impression on her. Here are a few recent photos:

I'm so behind on my scrapbooking. I'm still working on pictures from April-including Easter.
Egg Hunt

Easter basket

Monday, September 21, 2009

Moments when

Don't you love those moments when your little one finds the perfect playmate at the park? Yesterday there was an older girl at the park who just delighted Kylie. They chased each other, they spoke to one another, they traded acorns and such. And I was able to stand back and snap away as Kylie beamed some awesome smiles.

Don't you love it when your little one makes you feel proud? Also at the park, there was a mom who asked Kylie, "Who are you?" and Kylie replied, "I'm Kylie (and her last name). It's nice to meet you." Oh! I was so tickled.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Rainy day

A rainy day here in Virginia. This morning Kylie had a music class at our local rec center. It was more moving to music than actually playing instruments but it was nice. And this afternoon we had some rainy day activities. Kylie colored using her dot markers and then her crayon rocks.

And then she practiced some lines.

I took a page from this book and put it in a sheet protector. That way, Kylie can use a dry erase marker and we can use the pages over and over. We also did a file folder game from this book.

But eventually we found ourselves playing in our backyard in the rain.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Monday, September 14, 2009

Just a quick post; I'm tired

Whew, it's 8pm and I'm seriously considering going to sleep; I'm pretty dang tired.

I spent most of Kylie's nap time slaving over Boeuf Bourguignon.

Yes, I finally got to see the movie Julie and Julia. I read the book when it first came out and adored it. And Meryl Streep was perfection in playing Julia Child. Watching Amy Adams make the beef dish made me want to give it a try. "Just once" I told myself. "I'll just make it once to prove to myself I can do it." And armed with my new Le Creuset and a two-page recipe, I got busy.

Boeuf Bourguignon isn't hard but it IS time consuming. My sweet wife cheerfully ate two helpings and then said, "This is awesome. When will you make it again?"

Anyway, I wanted to give a shout out to Virginia friends Tara and Julie. We met them for the first time this past weekend and just loved them. Kylie had a big time exploring a new park during our visit.

And I wanted to thank you dear blog readers for the book recommendations for Kylie. I've maxed out my hold limit on books at the library. Thank you, thank you and keep 'em coming!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Tracing the grooves in trees

Yesterday morning was cool enough for jeans on Kylie. Hurray!

She traced the grooves of the tree bark with a stick yesterday. Just look at that absorbed expression on her face. She didn't even notice that I was snapping away.

This kiddo delights me and I love watching her learn.

Here are two pages I finished this week: