Monday, January 30, 2012

Movin' On Up!

New Year's day meant moving the girls from downstairs up. We decided early on, even though we have a 4 bedroom home, we wanted them to share a room. So far, it's been a success! I remember being little and sneaking into my sister's room and we would sleep in the closet. Crazy, but it fun. She had a Puff the Magic Dragon sleeping bag, and we would make forts with it and dream. I'm hoping for the same sweet memories for my girls to share. Here are some pictures of their girly, nature-infused oasis. Between the two twin beds, is a cherry tree full of cherries, birds and squirrels.
Shannon's aunt Nita gave this painting to us for the girls. I love how it brings our love of storybook rhymes into their room. Pyper and Raegan both love it, too.

Raegan's little bed for now. With the wooden letters my sister, Joshua and Jackson painted for her.

Going into the closet. They have a wonderfully large closet that is cubby-like. They will play in there for sure!

Since Pyper can't read yet, I thought that putting pictures of what goes in the drawers would help with her attempts to put away her laundry. She loves to help in anyway she can. So, I allow her to do so.

These signs have been quite successful so far. She is able to pick out her own play clothes (I pick out the more important outfits for church and such), and she feels very accomplished!

We finally used these cute little brass piggie hooks Aunt Nita gave the girls. They hold their winter coats in their closet.

I hung some coordinating ribbon to hang up Pyper's bow collection. It keeps things nice and organized, so I'm not searching frantically for matching hair accessories!
Besides, Pyper's not fully dressed without a bow!

We have decided to keep toys OUT of their room, because Pyper is too tempted to play with them when she's supposed to be napping or sleeping. But, Shannon found this fun stacking toy in the hallway and we couldn't help but play it right then and there!

Itty-Bit (Raegan) loves her new room. Here, she is doing her required Tummy Time. She's so precious. Please keep us, I mean her, in your prayers. She's teething and no one, except for Pyper has gotten any sleep! EEEKKK!

Pyper in her "Big Girl Bed." It's really a bunk bed that we have separated into two twins. The idea of her climbing up to the top bunk unnerved us a bit, so we thought we'd assemble it later...but this one is perfect because it has the side rails already on it. She sleeps like a log and enjoys her room!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Drain Cleaning Fun!

I had read somewhere that an environmentally safe drain de-clogger (is that a word?) was adding baking soda and vinegar to the sink and the miraculous bubbles do all the work for you. Sans the harsh chemicals found in Drain-O and other commercial products. Plus, it's a lot cheaper! I was giving Raegan a bath, when Shannon suggested letting Pyper unclog the drains. What a great idea! She loved it! He pulled the Learning Tower up to the sink and introduced her to science. She loved the bubbles formed by the carbon dioxide gas produced by combining these two common household ingredients.

Pouring more baking soda....

More vinegar....

Being as tactile as she is, she HAD to feel what the bubbles felt like! By the way, it unclogged our drain beautifully! Maybe because we used a full box of soda and a HUGE tub of vinegar? Who cares! It was an inexpensive science project. This is a clear example of how you can teach your kids everyday lessons and life skills inside the home. Did Shannon the pharmacist discuss the chemical reactions and the production of carbon dioxide gas? No. But she learned at 2 when you combine these two items, fun bubbles appear and fizz. Keep it simple. Keep it fun. I'm so blessed to have a great hubby and the girls to have a great dad like Shannon to teach them their first chemistry lessons!

See how happy my hoodlums are? ha! Pyper is OBSESSED with hats lately, and wanted to wear Raegan's, so Raegan wore hers. Love my babies!

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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Moon Sand and Dancing

Since Pyper is so sensory driven, I thought I'd make Moon Sand for her. All I needed was a 5 lbs bag of flour and baby oil. I mixed the two ingredients and VIOLA! Moon Sand. Moon sand is really neat because as you mix it, it has the consistency of sand in that it can be molded (makes balls, mountains, packs down really well, etc) but without the irritating scratch of sand.

Pyper mixes it up. We put it in a Rubbermaid tote with a lid to contain all the fun (mess).

Pyper loves to dip, pour, and stir, so I provided all the tools for her to do this to her heart's content.

Pyper pretends to wash her hands after playing.

Then it was dance time. I put in some fun tunes, Pyper put on her fairy dress, and 'round and 'round she went while Raegan, Hannibal & I watched.

Pyper loves her sissy. She is always doting on her. She gets it honest...because we can't control ourselves either!

Friday, January 20, 2012

What, What, Chicken Butt?

As I was letting the girls (and guy) out the other day, I noticed Gloria (pictured below) had something red on her bottom. I got closer, and yep, everything I read was true. If you have laying hens, you will have one or a few with a prolapsed oviduct. Man! And I didn't have my camera handy!!! Basically, the hole the egg comes out was turned inside out--and sticking out of her body! Sounds pretty traumatic, and I guess it is. Especially for the chicken. It's dangerous for several reasons. One, the other chickens will start pecking it, naturally attracted to the color red (ever notice poultry waterers and feeders are red???), and if the hen has an egg stuck, it could kill her. No fun. So, Shannon grabbed the camera, and I grabbed the bird.

I'm turning her upside down to put her to sleep. Chickens, when turned upside down, go into a hypnotic trance. It's cool. Hannibal thought so, too. Luckily our dogs are not in the least interested in hurting our feathered friends.

The prolapse had apparently already corrected itself. I had a happy chicken, and I was a happy momma.

In case your wondering, I had called my friend, Frances, who is a vet, and asked her what to do. I had read that you wash the area, and with Vaseline, gently put the bulge back in. I was prepared to do this, and not grossed out in the least. Frances said that sounded right, but her specialty is more of the 4-legged kind. That's ok. I got on the Backyard Chicken forum, and sure enough, I was right. I was a bit disappointed it had corrected itself because I felt as though it would have been good practice. I've been going out and keeping an eye on Gloria. She's so sweet. I did feel for the presence of a trapped egg, and felt none. I think she'll be ok. I've read though that once they prolapse, they will likely do it again though. We'll see.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Is it ME, or HER?

I was reading a friend's blog, and was so taken back by one of her musings. Are the Terrible Two's a cultural phenomenon? She states that she thinks often times it is the attitude of the caregiver, not necessarily the child. Wow. That punched me in the gut.

That is soooo true. I've realized it's truth before now without ever actually putting a title to it.

Pyper is very schedule driven. She thrives off of routine, her routine, or her rhythm. If her schedule is altered, even in the tiniest way, she acts out. It's not tiny to her. It's BIG to a tiny one. I've noticed this with Raegan, too. Over Christmas, we were with my family in Northern Virginia. We had planned on leaving Raegan with mom and dad for a few days so they could have some exclusive Raegan time as they had with just Pyper. Raegan had other plans. At 3 months old, she knew she was in a different house, with different people, smells, sounds and a different bed. Our little baby that went from sleeping through the night (which I bragged about to my family) woke several times during the night crying. Basically, she made me out to be a liar. Her rhythm was off. She was used to sleeping with us. She didn't when we were at my parent's. So, we decided collectively, that Raegan wasn't going to stay. Pyper said SHE wanted to stay though. We left her for several days. My mom is VERY good about respecting routine and our parenting styles. Even if she doesn't agree with it, she will do it. I love that about her. However, even though Pyper's rhythm at my parent's was similar, it wasn't the same as here. When she got home, she acted out. I call it the Terrible Two's. Tantrums, screaming, hitting, pouting, etc. You get the lovely picture. We know it's because she was off her rhthym. Within a few days, she was back to our sweet child. Then both girls went to Shannon's family for a long weekend. Pyper and Raegan did ok, both were sick, and I'm sure my mother-in-law was exhausted by the time I picked them up on Monday. Pyper, again, acted out when we got her home. Nothing like Chuckie or anything, but just not her bubbly self. I then come to realize that we are the ones that are contributing to her meltdowns. Well, maybe not US, but the interuption of her rhthym. I can always tell when Pyper is stressed out. That is why we strive for organization, having a set routine, and preparing her in advance for any interuption. Shannon and I desperately need to have those weekends sans children. Now, we know to prepare Pyper for them in advance. When I am rushed, or feeling frantic, I try hard to tell myself to be calm because my children pick up on it. She picks up on my anxiety. She picks up on my moods. Our fights. Our happiness. Our chaos. Our life. She is a mirror to what is going on. Makes you really pay attention to what you say and what you do. Otherwise, Pyper and Raegan pay for it. Just my 2 cents on the matter...

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Egg-Ceptional Size

Tonight when I went to collect the eggs, I found this big ole honker! The egg on the right is an average sized egg from our girls.
I have tiny hands, but still...that thing is HUGE! I feel sorry for the lady that laid it. I'll know which chicky popped this one out tomorrow. She'll be walking funny, I'm sure. :)
In the egg crate-- can you spot it?
What about now? We are still averaging 6 eggs a day. Tonight I got 7. This is just 2 days worth. I love all the different colors. Some have little speckles, some are oblong, some very round, some pointy. I read an article that Cornell University did a study to sex eggs. If it's a pointy egg, it's a boy. If it's rounded, it's a girl. I can't wait to test this theory out. I have lots of girl eggs.
Can you spot the boy eggs?
I'll have to ask my sister in law, Kerry, her opinion. She went to Cornell's Vet school...She's a smart egg. I'm sure she'd be a round one. :)

Thursday, January 5, 2012

New Year, New Arrangements

We decided to turn Pyper and Raegan's nursery downstairs into the playroom. They were using it as such anyways, so moving the crib out and reorganizing the setup was logical since 4 kids under the age of 4 use it daily (our nanny brings her two boys ages 2 and 4). We moved the girls upstairs into their "big girl room." So far, it's been a success.
We moved Pyper's clothes upstairs and Shannon bought some shelves for toys.
Raegan's clothes were moved upstairs as well and her side became the craft closet. I like to have the crafts accessible to each child. It's a great way to instill trust and the concept of cleaning up.
The music corner. Pyper loves to play the piano and sing "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star..."
The reading corner.
Today, we played with water beads. Have you ever heard of them? You get them in the floral dept of Walmart. $2 a bag for these tiny beads of fun! Add water, and they grow. Pyper is very sensory driven, and anything with texture, color or sound thrills her. In this picture above, I set up all her "toys," pulled up her Learning Tower to the sink and waited for the introduction (after her nap.)
These are the water beads close up after sitting in water for about 5 hours or so. These are pink and turquoise. They grow to the size of marbles and are squishy. Great sensory integration!
After the introduction, Pyper decided to make "cupcakes." She's big into pouring things from one container into another and loves water play.
Getting her hands into the mix. She did try eating one, and realized they weren't very tasty.
Here, she's dropping them one by one into a jar. She likes the sounds of the "plopping," telling me about each step she did and what she liked about it. She played with the water beads for 2 hours while I made dinner, paid bills and fed Raegan. I feel VERY comfortable leaving the room while Pyper plays in the sink...the Learning Tower is very sturdy and has a large platform so she can move about. I think I'll add some water beads to her bath next time!!!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Frozen Chicken(s)

I can't help but chuckle every morning when I come in and see the chickens roosting underneath the red heat lamp. I think of the popular fried chicken chains that keep their chicken warm under their heat lamps. Except mine are still alive...
Mable had just laid an egg, and stood up and let me get it out from under her. She's so sweet.
Anna eating her breakfest.
Goldie eating the left over hay...
Snow birds