Monday, January 24, 2011

Crayon Making Part 2

Since the previous crayons were a partial fail, I went with the old standby: muffin tins.

 Baz helped by eating a teething biscuit. (And the weird light is because it's super nice today so we had the kitchen door open.)

 Step one: DON'T OVERFILL. 

Helpful tip: use a paring knife to slit the crayon wrapping - it just flips off then. Otherwise you're peeling all these irritating strips that just rip apart. You know what I mean.

 Right out of the oven.

 Dried but not entirely cool.

They just slipped right out of the muffin papers - funky spikes and all. 

 I rolled them around to remove the spikes and then flipped them upside down to show you the bottom effect.

In their little tin (thanks, IKEA!)

They're stored in the tin by the finger paints, card stock (which we got from our nice neighbor and - being thicker - is a nice starting paper for baby art.)

That's the sensory tray on the right. It's "asleep" for now because he decided it was more fun to take handfuls and drop on the floor. One day next week we'll pull it back out and try again. For the record - he doesn't get "in trouble" for "bad behavior" (all in quotes because he's 12 months old, for cripes sake) - we simply say "ok, all finished!" after a few warnings, and then put away whatever he's having a hard time with. A few days later it comes out as though nothing happened and we start over. I'll let you know how that works out.

And now - since he's *actually napping* I'm going to do the dishes.

I found a dollar in the washing machine today. I'm fairly certain it was mine to begin with, but it was like being paid to do chores. I got a little thrill. A WHOLE DOLLAR! I'm RICH!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Crayon Making Part 1

 Silicone Mold + ancient crayons + our most abused cookie sheet (and parchment for easy clean up)

Helpful Baby

 De-paper, break, over-fill

Melty-goodness (after being in the oven at 250 for 15-20 minutes)

I'm thinking this was an ice mold...and not meant for the heat.


 But look at how cool!

The yellow one is my least favorite out of my top 4 successful crayons.

The boneyard.

Tomorrow - we'll do them in muffin tins.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Sensory Tub Take 1

I keep reading about the importance of sensory tubs/tables.

There aren't a lot of "activities" available to the under-2.5 crowd these days, so we take what we can get.

Mine was easy peasy to make. I happened to have a cake tin collecting dust with my other (not disposable, but also collecting dust) cake tins. I poured into it rice (it was on sale in the bulk aisle of Whole Foods) and Black Beans (ditto the rice) and sticky gummy frogs (party favor bag aisle at Target) and tiny pom poms (ditto the frogs.)

Baz dove in.

He dug around.

He taste-tested.

He made a mess.

 It's not fun if it's not messy.

Dad "helped," too.

 And then, for the coup de grace, I gave him a "scoop."

Good times, my friends. Good times.

Friday, January 7, 2011

The anti-resolution. AKA: Sankalpa

My darlings, I have the viral plague. Ok, what I really have is your run-of-the-mill head cold, but it knocked me out for most of the day. Blessedly, my husband stayed home and took on the breakfast, diaper washing, naps, lunch, block building, crawling around, cleaning up, snot wiping, and general parenting aspects of our days.

If I hadn't felt like absolute sludge, it would have been positively vacation- like. Especially since we're in full-on weaning mode. Night wakings are met with a bottle now. Sometimes water, and sometimes a few ounces of milk. Which means the nursing sessions today weren't excruciating and we were all awake for shorter periods last night. When we are all healthy (poor Bunny still can't breathe through his nose) I'm certain the night will become one long dream cycle. And yes, I have no small amount of guilt for weaning while he's sick. But seriously, darlings...I just...can't anymore. Nursing shouldn't be something you dread. And I do.

Anyway, the point of this post is to put out there my resolution. Yes, it's a resolution post.


I'm not resolving to do anything I haven't already been doing - or trying to do.

So it's more like a re-affirmation of my Sankalpa. Isn't that fun to say? It means "resolve" or "intention" - to set intentions.

According to the winter issue of Yoga International: "A sankalpa practice starts from the radical premise that you already are who you need to be to fulfill your life's dharma. All you need to do is focus your mind, connect to your most heartfelt desires, and channel the divine energy within."

It's genius is its simplicity. And the great unburdening that happens when you inhale, allow yourself to know that you are enough, and exhale away all of the expectations you have laid on your own shoulders.

So with sankalpa you have two paths: 1) heartfelt desire. More encompassing than a resolution, but also easier in that you are already enough. You're just reaffirming it. 2) An actual goal.

Mine is both. It is so simple and so, so complex.

Are you ready?

Be Present.

That's it. Two little words. They encompass so, so much. Including an awareness of how I spend our time and money, how I treat our bodies, and nourishing my growing baby's spirit...which then breaks down to: do more yoga, spend less frivolously, watch less tv, play more, have some structure, and recognize that the need for attention is a big need in such a small boy and putting him off harms both of us. Oh, and get organized.

But really, it's just to make sure the every moment is one that I am present for. So many people say "where did the time go?" And so far I haven't had that feeling. My baby turns 1 next Tuesday and I'm not wondering where the time went. I did not give birth, blink, and it's a year later.

It was a full year. With days in the park, errands being run, people to talk to, librarians to flirt with. Visitors, plane rides, weddings, new friends, new adventures. The laundry piled up and was seen to. Dishes piled up and were seen to. Swaddling blankets made way for rattles which were joined by blocks, all stacked up with books and surrounded by music and hugs and food.

There was also illness, tantrums (mine and his), the agony of six teeth cutting through in less than two months. The sheer refusal to stand or walk alone, the joy of learning to clap (just yesterday, actually.)

Will I succeed? One can only hope. But even if I don't, I will take a deep breath and remind myself that the effort is almost as important as success and that for every slip there is redemption and that if I let it all go - I am already enough.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

A new year, and entering Stage 5

That's right, I said it: stage FIVE. Is he walking? Nope. Not yet. But the second he figures out he doesn't need my fingers, he will be.

So we've prepared (and are still preparing) the environment for it.

We're a little late to the game with the weaning table, but I'm ok with that. Baz eats most meals at the table with us...and most meals still consist of Cheddar Bunnies and milk so I figure there's really no hurry.

But we set the table and chairs up yesterday and he's a fan:

I'm going to try to blog more - I have it in my head that turning one will magically result in a toddler with fine motor skills and a vocabulary that makes everything more fun. Realistically I know this is going to take a while, but a girl can hope, right?

I've updated my HomeSchoolMasterList (it's intimidating when it's all one word, isn't it?) And I've got some Tot School planners laminated on the fridge.

Since toddlers learn best through play, and everyone craves structure, I'm treating parts of our days like we're in preschool. I've got Early Childhood Education under my belt and I'm not afraid to use it! So in theory the blog will chart progress and record milestones and activities - in addition to being a place for me to dump my brain.

If only we all had a pensieve....
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