Sunday, June 19, 2016

Tater Tot, age 4.5. Thoughts on goalie gloves and gas.

I grabbed a quick sandwich for lunch after picking up Tater from summer camp.  While we waited for the food, she munched on a cookie and watched a soccer game.  This conversation ensued, causing the woman sitting next to us to convulse with laughter and possibly snort her iced tea up her nose.  I really just can't do her justice though, because she has an intangible element to her voice that makes everything about 30x more hilarious.

Tater:  What is in his mouth?  Is it a teether?
Me: No, it's a mouthguard.
T: Why does he have a mouthguard?
M: It protects his teeth.
T:  Cause if the ball hits him in the mouth, all his teeth might FALL OUT!  And then, and then, he couldn't eat anything or drink anything EVER AGAIN! (her eyes are saucer size imagining the horrors)
T:  Why is that other boy wearing gloves?  Is it because he has to be fancy?!

The temps are rising, and t-ball games are becoming a sweaty, mosquito-ridden experience.  Not that I'm complaining.  Tater always insists that we, "Feel my back!  I'm sooo sweaty!  Feel me!"  Then she tries to cuddle me, the little sweatball!

Tater may look like a little forest fairy but she belches like a trucker.  We have this silly little exchange in our family, where the burper says, "Excuse me." Then we respond, "Nice one."  This came about accidentally with the Nugget, when it happened a couple of times.  Then the next time I forgot to congratulate him on his burp, he looked at me with sad puppy dog eyes and said forlornly, "You forgot to say, 'Nice one,' Mommy."  Anyway, flash forward and Tater prefers to skip the, "Excuse me," part and just goes straight to patting herself on the back.  After swim lessons, she belches repeatedly and exclaims, "Nice ones!"

Speaking of burps, this just happened.
"What are we having for dinner?...Oooo, I love that so much. I'm going to eat so much of that and burp five times. Maybe six."

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Memorial Day beach trip, belated

"Mommy, make me a mermaid!"

"I surfin."

"I'm building a canal."

"Mommy, let's go back in the water!"

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Strawberries 2016

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Time for this family to migrate to the strawberry farm!  10 pounds of berries, all eaten or frozen already.  We traditionally wear red to hide the strawberry stains, but I think those days might be coming to a close.  The kids are so big, they are no longer very messy!

Traditions are all about the memories, so here are the children discovering the wonders of this farm for their first time.  All photos are hilariously indicative of their personalities.

Tater 2012, 18 months

Spork 2012, almost 2yo

The Nugget 2010, almost 3yo

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Sensory Summer Fun

Ever since being introduced to sensory play, our world has gotten a lot more fun!  I am often asked for ideas about how to incorporate sensory diets in a fun way, so here are some summer suggestions!

The easiest ideas are often the best.  My cousin gave Chinese Lantern seeds as wedding favors several years ago.  These things will take over your yard, and the kids love them!  Here are Tater, Spork, and buddies collecting, shucking, and using the wheelbarrow.  They played this way for over an hour.  If you don't have the pleasure of Chinese lanterns, perhaps there are pinecones, fallen twigs after a storm, or rocks the kids can remove from your garden.

Somewhere, I came across the line, "We're raising children, not grass."  It really speaks to me and my lazy child-centered landscaping.  I remember being a kid and squishing berries from the front bushes on the brick walk for hours.  Spork and the Nugget like to mix up a batch of mud paint, and the brotherly camaraderie is worth the mess.

We have hot, humid summers, and our area has many wonderful free splash pads.  I bring buckets for Spork to use to double the fun into heavy work too.  The Nugget also likes the challenge of balancing a playground ball onto the water jets!  Similarly, pool time is fantastic for sensory play.  The calming sensation and pressure of the water make it ideal for vestibular and proprioceptive input.

If you can get to a local farm, take advantage!  New sensory experiences like rope swings, hay lofts, bumpy tractor rides, and animal friends await you.  I have always loved u-pick farms, and now I know why my children do so well there - wide open spaces and heavy work from carrying the buckets!

Playgrounds are a sensory mama's best friend.  Our summer sunny day routine involves slathering the kids with sunscreen, filling water bottles, packing a picnic lunch, and playing at the park all morning.  It's amazing how they gravitate towards the equipment that fulfills their needs.  Tater loves the gentle rhythm and thrill of the swings.  Spork zooms to the teeter totter for that bumpy crashing sensation he needs.  The Nugget seeks balancing and climbing challenges. If it starts to get boring for them, I just start asking neighbors and friends if I can borrow an extra child for the morning.  A peer comes with their own creative ideas and fun!

What about rainy days?  You can sign up at for 2 free games of bowling per child, per day.  I just watch them and help them take turns and save the money.  Bowling balls are great heavy work!

We are lucky enough to have both a SkyZone and a House of Bounce locally.  They are like Spork's mothership.

Say what you will about Pinterest and unrealistic goals, but it is my go-to on a rainy day.  We try out a lot of creative art projects for tactile input and fun!  Below is one of my favorites - tape bubble wrap to a rolling pin, squirt paint directly on top and roll!  Use a real adult-size rolling pin to make it heavy work.  Spork also loves "smack" painting with flyswatters and dish brushes.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

A Ladder or Some Onions

Tater was worried when big brother got her hula hoop stuck in the tree.  She shouted for Daddy, "My hula hoop is stuck in the tree!  We're going to need a ladder...or some onions!"  She proceeded to munch a handful of green onions from the garden while Daddy got the ladder.

Tater loves to be barefoot.  It is always a struggle to keep her shoes on, especially if she sees a fellow barefoot child!  In the struggle to re-shoe her at a playground, I reminded her, "We wear shoes at the playground, because there could be sharp rocks..."  She quickly jumped in to add, "Or broken glass!  Or porcupines!"

When playing with a Lego Bionicle, Tater had him say,
"I am a snowman.  I use this pointy thing to poke dead things.  Like dead people, dead squirrels, and dead chipmunks."

Tater and the Nugget are very much alike in many ways.  In the car the other day, they were imagining aloud.
T:  I'm a baby enchilada, and you're a big brother enchilada.  You're a spicy, huge, big brother enchilada!
N:  Yes!  And I am so spicy, I can breathe fire!
I'm trying to encourage them to co-author a children's book over the summer.  Preferably about an enchilada family and not a terrifying snowman who pokes dead things, but I'll take what I can get.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

First and Last

Older.  Taller.  Sillier.  Enjoying some first day/last day photos with my coffee and maybe a few tissues for sappy mama tears.