Sunday, August 30, 2009

Creative Play

Just wanted to share an activity I did with the boys today and that we have done before that they both enjoy. We call it "Mail Man".

We started off by making a mail carrier bag for each of them. I found this in a book - you just cut a strip off the top of a brown bag, fold it in half, fold down the top part of the bag, and staple the strap on. Then the boys got to decorate their bags with markers and stickers.

Next we made mail. I use junk mail that I've received, reply cards from inside magazines, and then we make our own mail by putting pictures or other "writing" in envelopes. I even gave the boys some address labels and let them stick them on. We addressed the mail with names and numbers.

We each had a mailbox. I got out some letter stamps and let the boys stamp their names and a number on them.

I brought our little bikes inside and let them ride them around as their mail trucks. I divided the mail between the two of them and spread out our "mailboxes" and the boys rode around and delivered the mail. Calvin did a little better at matching the names and numbers - Luke just wanted to put all of his mail in his own box.

Sorting the mail.

And finally, we each got our own box and opened up our mail.

This is a good one to one a half hour activity, especially if you make the bags first. We actually made our bags about a year ago, but I just folded them up in my closet and we use them over. My kids really enjoy it.
We also made "oobleck" the other day (there's a Dr. Seuss book about this). I did this project with my third graders when I was student teaching, but thought I'd try it out on the boys. You just mix corn starch with water until it's a little runny, then you can add some food coloring. It makes the neatest stuff - you can pick it up and shape it like a solid, but then it turns liquidy again and runs off of your fingers. Calvin and Luke loved it!! They probably played with it for 30 minutes or more, which is pretty good for my kids, and Luke keeps asking to play oobleck again. Just a note - it makes a pretty big mess, but is easy to clean.
Anyone else have any creative activities they would like to share??

A Few More

Just had a few more pictures to share. Luke in his "nest" as he calls it. I still have my pregnancy body pillow (I love that thing) and we have used it as a nest before when we played baby birds. The other day Luke told me "I need to go read in my nest" and this is where I found him.

Dave's squadron had a dining out last week, which for the non-Navy folks, is a formal dinner. It was at the Corpus Christi Town Club which has a beautiful view of the water, but not the greatest food, but it was fun getting all dressed up and seeing everyone else dressed up as well. We had a great time at the dinner - I actually had to drink the grog (they said I brought multiple cocktails to the table???) We went to two clubs afterwards, and ended up having to take a taxi home! Didn't get home until after 2 in the morning, which didn't bode well for the 6:20 wake up call we got from Luke. Let's just say it was a very lazy Sunday with a "movie morning" (that's probably the most t.v. my kids have ever watched at one time), but we were back into the swing of things by Monday.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

August Happenings

Another cross country weekend means.... time to catch up on the blog. Can't believe its been almost two months since I wrote. This summer has flown by. We've had swimming lessons, Vacation Bible School, two trips to my sister's in Austin and a trip to Missouri to visit Nana and Papa.
The Missouri trip was the first two weeks of August. It's about a 14-15 hour drive to Dave's parent's house, which we split up into two days. Reallly, I could not have taken another minute of "When are we going to be there? I want to see Holden (cousin)." It was actually a nice, relaxing vacation for me, as the boys spent most of their time playing and with grandparents. I actually read three and a half books on that trip! So we drove to MO, spent a few days at Nana and Papa's, then we went up to St. Louis for two nights, then back down to Nana and Papa's for a few more days before the long haul back. The first day in St. Louis we went to a great Children's Museum called The Magic House. Here we are at the museum - looks like Holden could be one of our sons, huh?

The construction zone.

Being newscasters.

Fishing. You could catch little "minnows" then go release them in a pond on the other side of the room. They would then float down a little river and back into the big pond.

Our little mechanics learned how to work on a car.

The next day we went to Grant's Farm, which was land where Ulysses Grant once lived, now owned by the Anheuser Busch corporation. There we took a tram ride through some of the land and saw deer, longhorns, and other various animals. They have a bunch of different animals on the farm and we got to feed goats and camels, ride a carousel, see Clydesdales, watch an awesome elephant show, and other fun things like that.

Waiting for the elephant show to start. Missouri was warm, but NOTHING like south Texas!

My other new niece - Kelsi.

The amazing elephant. He picked up that piece of wood from off the ground with his tusks and carried it over to stand on the stump. I never realized how smart elephants were.
This was kind of interesting - they were feeding him peanuts before the start of the show.
Feeding the goats.

And the camels. I was actually surprised Calvin did this. He's usually a chicken and won't go near animals like this.

That afternoon we went to a place called the Incredible Pizza Company, which was sort of like a glorified Chuck E. Cheese. They had a huge pizza buffet with four different themed dining rooms. In the arcade area, aside from the usual games, they had a mini-golf course, a mini bowling alley, bumper cars, and race cars. It was alot of fun.
The start of mini-golf (which only lasted about four holes for Calvin and 1/2 of one for Luke, who preferred to climb all over the obstacles).

Go-kart racing. I think Calvin was a little nervous because he clutched his seatbelt like that the entire time.
The mini bowling alley. Notice the size of the balls. It was perfect for my boys.

Enjoying some ice cream afterwards (maybe a little too much).

The last day we went to the science center, where all of the boys were very frightened by a life-sized t-rex. The neat thing about St. Louis is that alot of their attractions (Grant's Farm, Science Center, zoo) are free - you just pay for parking which is $7-10 a car and that's it. Pretty nice. Dave and I were also lucky to get two nights out up there - to a casino and a comedy club - so we had a nice time.

The terrifying dinosaur! (That's Dave, trying to get Calvin closer). Luke refused, and even my nephew, who's 7, wouldn't go near it.

We went to two wineries while in MO. They had quite a few and I'm sure we would have enjoyed stopping at a few more, but of course, that's no easy feat with small children. We also spent a night at Dave's sister's house. They have a lot of land and raise cows, so of course the boys had a blast there.

Our last afternoon in MO. Nana and Papa have the perfect yard for playing outside in, and the boys sure took advantage of it.

It was a great trip but it's always nice to get back home again. When we got back, my sister was down visiting for my mom's birthday. My other nephew spent a night with us and had fun helping Luke play dress up.

My grandmother also came down and we had a nice birthday breakfast for my mom. I even got to use my china (for maybe the third time)!

Mimi tried on her new apron and Luke had to put his on too.

Calvin is starting preschool next week! I can't believe it. He will be going two days a week from 9-2. He's very excited. I'm a little worried about how he's going to deal with naptime, but we've talked about it so hopefully he'll be okay. He will also be starting soccer on base. It's crazy to think that they are big enough for all this.
Our other news is that Dave is getting orders to Everett next summer. Hard to believe that we are already thinking of where we're heading next, but it will certainly be nice to feel some cooler weather again!

July Pictures

I'm a month behind, but here are pictures from July. Didn't realize I had so many!

The boys doing an afternoon paint project.

Look Mom, no hands!

Notice my younger son still insists on eating the paint.

Calvin did an "Itty Bitty" sports clinic at the YMCA this summer. It was six Saturday mornings and they spent two sessions each on baseball, soccer, and basketball. It wasn't the most organized thing, but he enjoyed it. Here is his last day of basketball.

An unforgettable moment: the praying mantis I found in my salad from the grocery store. I screamed when I realized the piece of brown lettuce I was plucking out of the package actually had eyes and legs... Luke thought the bug bit me and neither one could get over it. Luke still mentions the praying mantis from time to time. (I don't buy this salad anymore after finding a ladybug in one package, this, and then a multitude of little aphids in another).

While up in Austin for my grandmother's birthday/family get together, we went on a Duck Tour, which was alot of fun (although VERY hot). If you've never heard of this, its a bus tour that takes you through downtown, and then drives right into the water and floats around like a boat.

The duck "quackers" we got, with which we would randomly quack at people as we drove by.

My family took up half the bus. These are aunts, uncles, and cousins from my dad's side of the family. What a bunch of "quacks"! (HA! I think we had too much fun with those quackers).

My brother and his baby.

Luke showing off his "hawk" (as he called it). "Mommy, you give me a hawk??"

At the children's museum in New Braunfels, TX.

Calvin was excited to see R2-D2.

And of course, the space area was a big hit.
This is my nephew, Gunner. What a cutie! He reminds us of Calvin in many ways.

A jet Calvin made with his Tinker Toys, that he could actually get in and fly around.

A trip to the Ringling Brothers Circus. I had not been to the circus in years and it was quite a show!

With older cousins Kathryn, Collin, and Grady.

I love these two pictures. The kids got all dressed up - Cady even let Calvin borrow her "soccer" shorts. Then they found shin guards and socks to wear and went out back and played soccer together. (Luke's shinguards are actually a pair of pink princess knee pads)

Best cousins. I think it won't be too much longer before Calvin is bigger than Cady though!

Wow, I guess we had a busy July. Now I have to get on to those August pictures. But my blog is driving me crazy - I used to be able to click and drag the pictures, and now I can't. I can move them a little bit, but not past any other picture. The pics on this post just had to stay in the order that I uploaded them. Any ideas on how to move them around? Help me!