Thursday, February 28, 2013

Insider's DC: Artworks Studio School

There are endless free things to do in DC.  From the many Smithsonian museums to the Arboretum to good old storytime at the library, one can stay pretty well occupied around here with just a Metro card.  Therefore, when I say that a trip to the toddler open studio at Artworks is well worth the $5 price of admission, it means something.  Also, the $5 cost only applied to Elijah, not me (or Isabel) which is logical but frustratingly not always the case with kid-oriented activities.  We've never visited the Playseum, even though it looks fun, because parents have to pay the eight dollar admission fee for themselves as well as for the kids.  Blech.

Anyway, back to the fun.  We dropped our five bucks in the coffee can and had a look around.  We were the first ones there on a rainy Tuesday, but we were soon joined by three other tots and their grown-ups.  The program runs Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 9-11, and apparently Fridays and Saturdays are quite busy.  There is an art project set up that changes weekly, plus tables with crayons, markers, paper, glue and scissors.  Elijah, of course, bypassed both of these layouts in favor of the toy corner. 

I thought I might have to try out the art by myself, but Juliana, the artist-in-residence, didn't give up, and eventually enticed my little man to try out some watercolor techniques.  He gave each one a shot, but his favorite, which he unsurprisingly invented himself, is best described as "paint drumming". 

Artworks now tops my list of best places to go on a rainy day, and Elijah seconds the motion.  The day after our visit, as we were leaving the house, he said, "Can we go to art school?"  That, my friends, is music (metaphorically) to my ears.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Bean counter

Elijah was never a big eater-of-non-food-items, and let's hope that Isabel is much the same, or Elijah is going to have to seriously rethink some of his favorite toys.  The latest addition to his collection of nostril-sized playthings?  Dry beans.  They were my idea, of course.  For some reason, Daddy opposes the use of tiny, rolling things as manipulatives.  Something about stepping on them in the middle of the night. 

I admit that they are not the neatest (as in tidiest) toys around, but I can see why Elijah loves them so.  He has been a longtime fan of putting things into other things, so he has been making a lot of "bean cupcakes" using muffin tins and his play oven.  Then, there is the super-satisfying clink-clink that comes from pouring them into a metal bowl.  As he gets older, I can see the many directions that dry bean play might go: sorting, counting, gluing...and so on, and so forth.  Assuming, of course, that we can keep them on the table, away from Daddy's feet and out of Isabel's nose. 

Monday, February 25, 2013

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Vidi-o the Week: Izzy's Song

So, it seems like it won't be long before Izzy is competing with Elijah for loudest kid in the house...or maybe they'll just start a band.

Friday, February 22, 2013

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.
Thank you to Amanda Soule of Soule Mama for the words and inspiration.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Word of the Day: Magpie

magpie: noun 1. A long-tailed crow with boldly marked plumage and a raucous voice.  2.  Used in similes or comparisons to refer to a person who collects things, esp. things of little value.
Ex. Elijah's magpie tendencies result in interesting modern art and a shortage of clean forks.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Montessori Monday: The Apron

As an amateur Montessorian, I have found the child's apron to be an essential item in our home.  Elijah is an expert mess-maker, be it while cooking or just, well, doing pretty much anything.  My mom lovingly made this apron using the Montessori Child's Apron pattern by Meg McElwee.  According to Mamo, it was a great pattern, and I love, love the finished product.

Aside from its extreme cuteness, the best feature of the apron is the built in self sufficiency.  With an elastic neckband and wrap-around waist strap,  Elijah can take it off by himself, and I imagine will soon be able to put it on without help, too.

The glorious tactile experience pictured above was brought about using the "cloud dough" recipe by TinkerLab.  Yes, it was crazy-messy, but that's what the Dust Buster is for, right?

Today I am linking up with LivingMontessoriNow for Montessori Monday.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Vidi-o the week: Same and different

It's true that Elijah and Isabel look alike.  It's not hard to find pictures of Elijah at four months that bear a striking resemblance to the baby girl we all know and love.  When I watched this video again, though, I realized that already, there is a divergence.  Also, upon comparison, Isabel does not look nearly as much like Grandpa Buddy as Elijah does.

Friday, February 15, 2013

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.
Thank you to Amanda Soule of Soule Mama for the words and inspiration.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day!

(Amazing how much fun can be purchased for a mere $3.99, no?  I think maybe we have found a new tradition.)

Monday, February 11, 2013

Word of the Day: Illusory superiority

Illusory superiority: Adj. A cognitive bias that causes people to overestimate their positive qualities and abilities and to underestimate their negative qualities, relative to others. This is evident in a variety of areas including intelligence, performance on tasks or tests, and the possession of desirable characteristics or personality traits.  The is also know as the Lake Wobegon effect, named after Garrison Keillor's fictional town where "all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and all the children are above average".

Ex. The poll shown below is an example of parental illusory superiority.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Vidi-o the week: Just Iz

I have already apologized for the lack of Izzy pictures around here some days.  The lack of videos, though, that was not so much an oversight as a lack of, well, doing stuff, on Izzy's part.  She will be four months old on Monday, however, and recently has started to become considerable more animated.  And chatty.  So, today, for your viewing pleasure, I present Isabelle's first solo video performance.  Enjoy!

Friday, February 8, 2013

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.
Thank you to Amanda Soule of Soule Mama for the words and inspiration.

Thursday, February 7, 2013


There has been some talk up in here lately about...dun  That's right, you heard me.  In Washington, DC, a child must be three years old by September 30 to access the city's somewhat complex and quite varied selection of traditional public and charter schools.  Which, for those of you playing along at home, means that Elijah will make the cut by a whopping 16 days. 

At first, I was mom-set against it.  How could I bear to part with my big boy for so many hours each day?  But then, I went to an open house here, and I started to think, well...maybe...

But then I found out that the school gets about 600 applications a year, and spots are determined by lottery, so it seemed like, well, maybe not.  So the bottom line is, who the heck knows?  I'll keep you updated.

That, however, is not the point of this post.  The point is, I was discussing all of this with an old teacher of Brittany's, and when I mentioned that it would be fine with me to wait to send Elijah to school for a few more years, she said, "So, would you homeschool him?"

At first, I thought she meant, you know, forever.  But this did not make sense in the context of our conversation.  No, she was talking about preschool.  As in, will I preschool Elijah at home?  And I think, by her definition, the answer is no.  To me, the answer is, No more than usual.   After all, we spend probably 30 minutes or more a day reading, and a lot more time than that talking.  Then there's the cooking, and the singing, at the going, and the building. 

On a day like today, there's the cutting, and the ripping, and the gluing, and the talking about gluing, and the unsticking, and the've got the pictures. 

And next year, if Elijah and I are still a full-time team, I don't see why we'd mess with the good thing we've got going.  It seems to me that at his tender age, he's getting all the school he needs. 

Unless the lottery says otherwise.  Maybe.  Hmm.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Variety is the spice

If you have tried to talk to me on the phone lately, or worse, on the webcam, you may be wondering, Does Elijah do anything else with his time besides play the drums?  Of course he does. 

There's also rhythm sticks...
...and the clacker...
...and the triangle...
...and the occasional lead vocals with the aid of an ice cream cone microphone.

Yep, there are basically two volume levels around here...loud and nap time.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Sleeping like a baby: Izzy edition

There is no doubt about it: Isabel is a better sleeper than Elijah was at this age.  I don't remember too many details about Elijah's first few months, but a few things have stuck with me.  One: I could not believe how in love I was with this tiny blob of a human.  Two: That kid did. not. sleep.  Every day, from 3-6 a.m., he was awake.  And he was not happy about it.  As a matter of fact, this explains why I don't remember much about his first few months.

So, the bar was set pretty darn low, and Isabel has manage to sleepwalk over that bar with ease.  Sure, she still wakes up every three hours all night long, and after five a.m. she much prefers our bed to hers, but the girl sleeps during that magically horrible hour (or two or three) when a new mom is absolutely sure that she is the onliest person awake in the entire city. 

The worst/best part about Isabel's particular sleeping habits is that when it comes to naps, she is kind of lame.  Fortunately, as I reflect back on Elijah's early days and read my old blog posts, I am reminded that the main source of my frustration is my own expectations.  And so, I must once again, let them go.  This time around, the thoughts that I must release are mainly along the lines of, "I am going to get so much done during naptime!" 

Notice that I said that this is also the best part about Isabel and sleep.  Why?  Well, it happens that she naps much better when she has a mommy nearby to snuggle.  Which means that to avoid frustration, sometimes the dishes may just have to wait, and I may just have to climb into bed myself.  Oh darn.