Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Christmas Recap

 Hello ! I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and are snuggling down warm and cozy with your loved ones to welcome this coming new year.
 Christmas morning came with glow and wonder. We keep things small, but the smiles were big.
There are some things a camera just can't quite capture. For those moments we have our hearts. We are blessed with the family we were able to share Christmas with this year..
This little guy turned 2 months old this past week. Having him join our family has been a gift indeed.
Christmas night there was one more magical surprise. SNOW! 4 inches fell that night and now we are in the middle of a winter storm expected to dump anther 6-10 inches. Now I will snuggle back down and hold my dear wee ones close. In the morning we will walk out into a fresh new world and see what wonders await.
Merry belated Christmas, and a very happy new year.
Shine on!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Toddler Tuesday: Nativity

I apologize in advance for all the photos, but this has been a stellar week. This week is nativity themed. I made this nativity for Panda stealing borrowing heavily from this woman. Panda LOVES it! I've been putting the pieces in straw for a sensory bin this week. The straw gets absolutely everywhere in the house, but it's worth it. As I finished the pieces I set them out for Panda to find. Each morning he rushed out to see if there was a new piece. I'm a little sad it's done, but he has been playing with it daily... Just maybe not the way most people would....
 This lovely mosaic was his idea and he did a good 97% of this. I helped with the animals. We've also had airplanes dive-bombing the nativity and this morning viking raiders descended. But my personal favorite....
 was the day dinosaurs took over and a T-Rex made off with baby Jesus.
Instead of one book we have four for the next two weeks. Panda likes all of them for different reasons. Some he likes the pictures and will sit perfectly still for, others he likes the rhythm of the words. It looks like he is ignoring me till I stop reading and then hewill come over and insist I continue.
 We pretended to make gold bars out of legos and then wrapped them as gifts in a wet wipe box. But the actual activity I found on Pinterest (what DID we do before Pinterest?)
We made a Camel run with stuffed animals. Panda had to jump his donkey over the animals and say "Jump" each time. We also worked on the words "Over" "under" and so forth. He had a lot of fun and it really worked on his language skills.
 Lets not forget crafts! Panda touched GLUE! I'm so proud of him. Our Angel hand print wings didn't turn out quite as perfect as I had hoped, but I am rather fond of them.
He had fun painting.
and wrapping a cardboard star in yarn, this was a bit tricky, but he really focused on it.
 This was an invitation for play that I set up for Panda. The picture of him playing with Bear was to cute not to add in. This was another attempt to pull more words out of him and let him just have time for creative play. 
 Dress up has also been big lately in preparation for Panda's first Christmas Pageant.
Panda would be the lamb that refused to wear his ears (or sing, or walk) on the left. The poor lil guy wasn't feeling well, but it was a good night.
A bit long of a post, but a lot of fun. Now that we are stretching our play out for two weeks at a time there are more activities. Happy Winter Solstice and Merry Christmas.
Shine on!

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Letting Go

I need to get something off of my chest. I have been blessed with two beautiful quirky boys. They in turn have been blessed with many people who care about them; and a grandfather.. My father.. who does not care about them.
Since my mother died last year he has done everything in his power to abandon and reject his family. I don't understand this. My boys are young enough that they will never know him, but my niece and nephew have been hurt countless times by this abandonment. He has left a trail of broken promises and our hearts hurt. 
Birthdays and holidays pass (heck, even the birth of Badger) and he chooses to spend his time with his new wife and her family.  He replaced my mother two months after she died and made it official seven months after she passed. He didn't even give himself time to get to know this new woman before rejecting his family for her. Heck, he didn't even tell us he was getting married. She moved in and threw a garage sale throwing out my mother's things without letting us know or asking if we wanted any of it.
We've been replaced.
 Badger is six weeks old. My father lives half an hour away and yet he has not once asked to meet his newest grandchild. How can someone reject a new born child? Especially their grandchild?!
Our pastor  (his good friend) said it best,
he's "an idiot".
He's asked twice if he can come over and "drop something off" (my birthday gift... My birthday was in October). I asked if he only wanted to drop things off ? Twice he has answered yes... No other reason. Just a quick drop off.
Had he said he wanted to see my boys and meet his new grandson I would have moved Heaven and Earth and all the stars in the sky to make time for him to come over.....
But he hasn't...
Mum died 477 days ago. Over a year... It's time to face the fact that he does not care. 
Can't care.
Wont care.
 I have been blessed with two beautiful quirky boys.
I 'm sorry that my father does not care or understand what he is missing.
I'm sorry that my children are being denied by him the chance to have their grandfather and can never have their grandmother.
I'm sorry that one day I will have to explain that their grandfather just doesn't care.
No reason given,
He chooses to love someone else's grandchildren in their place.
But that's all on his shoulders.
I'm not going to kick him out of my life. The door is open. I'm just not going to stand waiting in the doorway anymore. 
I don't have time for people who don't have time for my family.
I wont try to keep a one sided relationship with my father just so my kids can see him.
It's not fair to my children.
If you have to FORCE someone to be in your life, it's not love.
So I'm letting go.
We face this New Year clean.
We will surround ourselves with those who do care;
and those who do not care have no idea what wonderful treasure they are missing out on.
In this new year I turn my face towards the sun.
I have cried all my tears and have no more left.
In this new year we turn away from the darkness,
and we will shine.
I have been blessed with two beautiful quirky boys.
~Shine On~

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Toddler Tuesday: The Snowy Day

A while ago I talked about "Before Five in a Row".which is described as "A Treasury of Creative Ideas to Inspire Learning Readiness ". A book is read for five days in a row with several corresponding activities... Basically what I've been doing with Toddler Tuesdays already. However this past week we used "The snowy Day" by Ezra Keats, which is on the 'Before Five in a Row' reading list.
Our sensory tray was made with blocks, a Waldorf star doll made to look like Peter, a cardboard street light, a stick, for making tracks, and sparkling, mint scented Better Than Salt Dough.  I posted the recipe "Here".
There was a lovely snowfall at the beginning of the week. Bear took Panda out for a nature walk every day till it was gone to make tracks in the snow.
We made animal tracks in the dough as well.
A well loved activity. When we are done with this theme we will be using the dough to make ornaments for our friends.
We worked on counting and hand eye coordination with pony beads and pipe-cleaner snowflakes.
We also have been having indoor snowball fights to help get the energy out.  At the suggestion of Panda's therapists we will be stretching these activities out for two weeks at a time to help him with predictability. There were a few other activities we didn't get around to so I'll see if we can work on those this week and report back later. What are some fun wintry indoor activities you've used to keep the peace? 
Till next week. 
~Shine on~

Better Than Salt Dough

This past week we had a Snowy  theme in or "School". I made a batch of better than Salt Dough for our sensory tray and thought I would post the recipe I used here.
To make the dough you will need :
1/2 cup corn starch
1 cup baking soda
3/4 cup water
Mix and heat all the ingredients in a pan over medium heat . Stir so it does not burn until it is the constancy of mashed potatoes. Remove from the pan and put in a bowl. Cover the bowl with a wet washcloth till it cools down. Once it is cool you can add 3 teaspoons of fine glitter and peppermint oil for added sensory play or just use as is. If it is sticky add more corn starch till the desired consistency. 
I stored this in a plastic container for a week. We skipped sensory play one morning and the next morning it was sticky and no amount of adding corn starch would fix it.. So I think it's good for about five days. Our plan is to make ornaments for friends with it and bake it in the oven once we are done with it. To do that, roll out the dough like you would cookie dough, and use cookie cutters for desired shapes. Make sure to put a hole in them for hanging later. Preheat your oven to 175 and bake for half an hour, flip ornaments and bake for another half hour. Tie on your ribbons and enjoy!
Shine on!

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Saint Nicholas Day Recap

Happy Saint Nicholas day. I hope your day was filled with  love, joy, and wonder.
It was a misty and magical morning. We started our day with a warm fire, a lit tree of twinkling lights, wonder, and handmade goodness.
Panda received a set of peg people vikings and a dragon boat made out of a shampoo bottle I scavenged liberated from the recycling bin.
 And Badger received his ornament to add to our family set on the tree.
The boys also received matching pairs of happy Jingling ankle bells
After a yummy breakfast of sticky cinnamon rolls and pancakes it was off for our annual visit to a local historical farm.
There was a sweet goat that really wanted Panda to feed him.
There were also chickens, sheep, and a bashful cow, but it was the goat that followed us everywhere.
Last of all we ended our visit with our version of a "Mall Santa photo" with Saint Nicholas. It was a full beautiful day. I know my boys wont remember these days, but this early year work sets the tone for the future, and I do hope their futures will be filled with wonder, joy, and light.
Good night, and Shine on!

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Toddler Tuesday: Autumn Happy

 Happy December Everyone! We made it and are back to finding our new normal. For the past two weeks we've been trying to restart our weekly themed "School". This is the sensory bin we've been using. It is filled with bird seed, three bears, paper and silk leaves, a rake, some pumpkins, a spoon, and a small cup. Panda was Very happy to have a sensory tray again. They have been missed.
This is the book we based our activities and tray off of.. Its about a little bear and the things that make him happy.
 I've been saving this puzzle that a friend gave to us when Panda was born. The puzzle is a bit  frustrating for Panda still.  The bear heads look like they should all fit in any head space, but they don't so we put the puzzle away....
 And used just the heads instead.  I would put down a "happy" face and then ask Panda if he could find the other two. It was a great talk about emotions and learning to recognize other people's feelings.
In the book the baby bear kicks leaves through a tunnel of trees with his Poppy; so I made a tunnel of trees with things I had around the house and we kicked and rolled a ball through the "tunnel".
Panda's rake was lost, but this cinnamon broom worked nicely for this activity. I scattered a basket full of silk leaves in the living room and had him "rake" them up. The broom scented the room nicely, and it was a good energy using activity that made him use his whole body. He really loved sweeping and throwing the leaves around. The hands above are part of his therapy. When he gets stuck on something or is getting to overworked we have him go hit the hands and then redirect him to something else. It works pretty well.  
And last of all (even though it's not in the book), we've brought baking day back. Panda gets to help with stirring and pouring, but his favorite part is putting the cupcake liners into the trays.
I'll try and do another post later about Badger and Panda and our new normal. I will also try to visit some of you, but right now I hear two littles calling and it's time to start our day. Till my next stolen moment...
Be well and shine on!

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Special Delivery

Hello and sorry for the delay. Badger has arrived. He joined us October 22 at 7:10 am. He was 9lbs 4 oz and 21" long.  I've rewritten this post so many times. The truth is his birth was riddled with scary moments. He was floppy, blue, and lifeless. It took six lifetimes before I heard his first cry; and it's a bit hard to talk about...
 So instead I'm going to talk about the little things that mean so much. Like his tiny hand in mine.
Two tiny feet beginning their adventure in this world
two tiny ears, already listening to everything we say,
And one sweet tiny face, that still fits in my hand.
Welcome my sweet Badger.
Shine on.
~Love Mum~