Preschool Years at Home

Laughing, Loving, and Learning Together

Just playing around …

Today was truly a lazy Saturday around our house. I’d planned to get up early and take the girls to the park before triple digit heat descended like an unwelcome blanket. But a late night power outage (which translated into no air conditioning) kept us awake much later than planned. Then Baby Bear awoke about 3 a.m. and spent a couple of hours futilely trying to convince Mommy that it was play time. … Suffice it to say, none of us awoke early this morning.

When Little Bear awoke, however, she hit the ground running.

We began collecting the beautifully-illustrated, but now out-of-print My First Raggedy Ann books a couple of months ago and had gotten a gently used copy of Raggedy Ann’s Wishing Pebble in the mail yesterday. Little Bear met me at the door of the kitchen this morning, new book in hand and eager to read. Much to her delight (and probably because I felt guilty about our cancelled park outing), I agreed to read the much-anticipated book even before consuming my morning coffee.

Twenty minutes, two readings, and a cup of chocolate milk later, Little Bear climbed down from my lap and bounced over to her toy bins to enact the story with her tea set and stuffed animals. Meantime, I snuggled a half-awake Baby Bear and finally downed my lukewarm caffeine.

Baby Bear eventually woke up enough to toddle off with Little Bear’s MagnaDoodle, which of course, made Little Bear want to draw on the aforementioned MagnaDoodle. Since the MagnaDoodle happens to be one of Little Bear’s favorite toys, a regular part of our school routine, and a source of endless fascination for Baby Bear, I’d recently purchased a second one solely for the purpose of averting conflicts such as this one. I pulled the new addition out of the closet, and household harmony was once again restored (save for those occasional moments when Baby Bear felt compelled to “add” to her sister’s artwork).

The girls paused from their play long enough to chat with Nana and Papa over Skype and to look at pictures of their garden. Then, we headed out into the heat to burn off a bit of energy before lunchtime.

Little Bear showed her friends the armor Daddy Bear made her for her birthday:

A knight in shining armor

Baby Bear tried to ride a tricycle like one of the big kids:

“I’m a big kid now — or so I think!”

And all the kids had fun running around and swapping ride-on toys:

Shared fun

After lunch, Little Bear watched Animal Atlas: Super Hero Animals, then built a Duplo Zoo while Baby Bear slept. Once Baby Bear awoke, the girls played dress-up together until I was ready to take them to the pool. Then, we headed outside for more active fun.

Little Bear surprised herself today by swimming the entire length of the pool without her swim vest or floaties. Both girls spent the better part of two hours splashing, jumping, and burning off energy. We also squeezed in a game of I Spy (a challenge, since Mommy Bear can’t actually see much of anything while swimming without her glasses).

After dinner, I pulled Zoologic, one of our new math/logic games, off the shelf to review it, and Little Bear begged to try it. She caught on almost immediately and solved seven of the puzzle cards before reluctantly putting it away for bedtime stories.

We ended the day by reading the final two chapters of The Bobbsey Twins on a Houseboat — except an exhausted Little Bear fell asleep 1 1/4 pages shy of the end. Oh, well, guess I know what we’ll be reading tomorrow!

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America’s Birthday

We paused today, for the second time this week, to celebrate a birthday — this time, America’s birthday.

We kicked off the day with the following read-alouds:

We located both America and England on our globe. We talked about the freedom and opportunities that drove the early settlers to leave the security of the Old World for the hope of the New World. We pretended to be Pilgrims, making the arduous voyage across the rough Atlantic. We also talked about liberty — and the great price the colonists paid to secure the blessings of liberty for themselves and their offspring.

We counted the stripes and the stars on our American flag.

We sang and danced to kid-friendly patriotic selections from Wee Sing America. I also introduced Little Bear to the Schoolhouse Rock classics “No More Kings” and “The Shot Heard ‘Round the World,” although she was less impressed with these than I had hoped.

Little Bear drew a red and blue picture.

We hit the pool along with several of the neighbor kids for some late afternoon fun and sunshine.

Then, we headed to a community-wide celebration for fun, food, and fireworks:

Bouncing …

Climbing …

Sliding …

And lots of smiles …

By 8:30 p.m., the girls were exhausted. So instead of staying ’til the end, we headed home for baths and bedtime snacks, then simply walked outside a couple of minutes before the fireworks were scheduled to start and watched the show from the sidewalk in front of our apartment. We might not have had front row seats, but the girls still got to enjoy a dazzling display of celebratory color, and we got to put them to bed within minutes of the grand finale (unlike last year, when we stayed until the end of the celebration and spent a good half hour just waiting our turn to exit the parking lot …).

Happy Birthday, America! We love you.

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Good-bye Threes, Hello Fours

I no longer have a three-year-old. My sweet Little Bear turned FOUR today, and I’m left wondering how on earth 48 months passed so quickly. It seems as though I blinked … and the toddler years disappeared.

While Mommy may be mourning the end of “babyhood,” Little Bear has happily (and whole-heartedly) embraced “Big Girl-hood.” She helped make her own birthday cupcakes:

Mommy’s Little Helper

Mixing the batter all by herself …

Of course, licking the spatula was the best part!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

She enjoyed a surprise weekend visit from Grandma and Grandpa:

Celebrating with Grandma and Grandpa

She had her first birthday party with friends:

Birthday girl!

Balloons make any celebration better!

A time to dance …

Sisters make the best of friends …

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And she woke up to a table full of gifts that would have delighted almost any little girl:

What a way to wake up!

Along with the wrapped gifts, she got a stack of clues to help her find the “too big to wrap easily” gifts of the morning — a hop ball from Nana and Papa, a dress-up trunk from Mommy and Daddy, and three Melissa and Doug costumes from Auntie Debbie and Uncle Rick.

Amid the morning’s excitement, Mommy didn’t do a great job photographing the gift unwrapping. I did, however, get a few shots of both cubs enjoying their new dress-up wardrobe:

A pirate …

A princess …

A Baby Bear …

A firefighter …

 

 

 

 

 

 

After a favorite birthday lunch, followed by cupcakes and ice cream leftover from the previous day’s party, we spent the rest of the day doing what Little Bear loves most — reading, playing games, building things, and enjoying one another’s company.

 

Today’s birthday-themed read-alouds included the following:

We also began reading The Milly-Molly-Mandy Storybook, a birthday gift from Nana and Papa, and read Fancy Nancy and the Fabulous Fashion Boutique, a gift from Mommy and Daddy.

Rounding out the day, we were blessed with a rare relatively cool evening … which the girls took full advantage of, playing outside until bedtime.

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