Summer Goal: Learn to Spell Our Name

Untitled design-4With my daughter being 3 1/2 years old when she returns to preschool this fall, I would really like for her to learn how to spell her name. Not necessarily WRITE it, but spell it out loud. Plus, it will definitely help her with letter recognition. (Which I learned is a 3 year old skill.)  She can recognize her name when she sees it written out, but she doesn’t know how to tell me to spell it. Her name is Khloe, and before we started working on it she knew “K – uh I don’t know – o – Mama what’s that one.” 😉

I bought a writing tablet from Dollar General that has the wide lines and dotted center line. Every few days I will write her name out in dotted lines and she will “write” them, a.k.a. trace them. As she writes them I point to the letter and she has to tell me what it is. Then when she is finished with each one we have a huge celebration. 😀

After she has written out her name three times (we go with three times each time we do it, because that is about what our attention span can handle at this point), we go over the letters one last time. She has actually progressed to knowing everything except the “h”!! I am so proud of her! Of course, at times she gets in a hurry or is not real focused and misnames a letter after just saying it correctly. I’m patient, though. Mama understands that she’s three and sometimes learning just is not as fun as it was yesterday.

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She loves her little desk, too.

 

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We also swap out working on number recognition as well. All of my workbooks I have bought at Dollar General or Wal-Mart.

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Look at that first cute little 3 written by herself. 😉 Love it!

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Obviously I helped with the first independent 10, but the last one was all her! ❤

Do you teach preschool at home?? I may work full-time outside of the home, but we try to dedicate a few nights a week to focusing on learning with mom and dad. I would love to hear some ideas you have! Leave them in the comments below!!

 

Our 1st Mom & Daughter Road Trip

Untitled design-4This past weekend we found our selves on a spur of the moment road trip to Mobile, AL. My best friend from college’s father had passed away and I made the drive to spend time with her and her family. Trevor had to work, so my daughter and I loaded up and we headed out Friday morning (yes, on the 4th of July. Love and friendship know no holiday) at 4:45 a.m. and headed for Mobile. We arrived around 10 a.m., stayed all weekend, and headed home Sunday morning around 11 a.m. It was good to see her and a family that I love dearly, but I truly hated the circumstances. Her entire family, even relatives I had never met before, made my daughter and I perfectly at home. The first night we stayed with her aunt and uncle because they had a daughter the same age as mine. Then the second night we stayed at my friends to get a full nights rest before driving back. We just hung out with the family and went with their queues on the comfort and healing process. I am truly thankful I was able to be there for her! Saturday there were a few hours when the family just needed to take care of some things, so my daughter and I made the 30 minute drive over to Dauphin Island and got in some much needed Mom and Daughter time. It was definitely not what we had foreseen for our holiday weekend, but with the given circumstances I would not have wanted to spend it any other way.

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4:45 a.m. Friday getting ready to leave the driveway.

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Excited that we get to spend a little quality time together on our first road trip!

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FINALLY went back to sleep. She stayed awake from the time we got in the car until almost Montgomery!!

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She was awake by the time we got to Mobile, and was excited about the bridges. 🙂

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She finally got to meet my best friend’s “little sister”. She enjoyed their entire family! She now has a pepaw and second mimi and a few more aunts and uncles 😉

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My best friend’s younger cousins. She said they were her best friends.

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We were still able to celebrate a little with her family.(Check out those shoes. We can travel 5.5 hours from home and my child will still manage to find the dress up diva shoes to play in.)

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Saturday we did give them a little time to take care of things and headed over to Dauphin Island. She LOVES the ocean and beach. I also think I found the spot for our family vacation next summer! I had never been either.

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Sand, sun, ocean, and cheetos. What more could a girl need? 😉

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Of course we went hunting for sea shells, too.

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She has got this figured out!!

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We stopped in Prattville for gas and lunch on our way home Sunday. She proceeded to roll her window down and let me know she likes for the wind to blow in her hair. Ha! (I locked the windows after that 😉 )

 

I hope you spent your holiday weekend with your loved ones and had a great time!

 

Easy Summer Toddler Crafts

This summer I have vowed will be different than last summer. Last year I was completing an internship and getting ready to graduate with my Bachelor’s degree during the summer semester. I was zero fun. I don’t even remember having any fun! I WAS CRAZY. This summer, I have already planned so many things to do with my daughter and since she loves crafts, of course they were a big part of the planning!

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This turtle inspired us to make one of our own. We took a paper plate and she went to town painting it green. It was total “freedom of expression.” I made the spots for the shell, his “feet” as we called them, and his head out of black construction paper. Find the eyes in any craft section. Our turtle’s spots don’t look so amazingly organized. A three year old tends to see symmetry and art in a completely different light 😉

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This fish and the next photo are going to be our upcoming crafts. How hard can this one be? Cut the triangle for the mouth, then go back with scissors that cut shapes to create his teeth. I believe I’ll let my daughter paint it however she wants. Maybe I’ll find the Rainbow Fish book to go along with it. He might come out like a rainbow as well!!

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I love this! I think we can get as creative or simple with this as we want. I think in the picture they are using small paper bowls, but we’ll probably stick with the plate. (Just because I already have a stack of them.) I have lots of left over crafting ribbon and tulle that we can use to create our jellyfish. I can’t wait to make both of these crafts soon!!

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We have not attempted this project yet, but surely it cannot be that difficult? Paper plate, hole punch, yarn, beads, feathers and voila! I’m like a man when it comes to following directions. I didn’t even search out instructions for this idea… I just know if I have the materials I can make it work 😉

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I guess this one could be a little more difficult. But only because of getting the fish drawn and cut out. Ha! Let your child paint the plate blue while you man the fish project. Create the fish using white paper and then hand it off for painting to the toddler as well. I think I would use green tissue paper (or construction paper or whatever works for you) and cut or tear the strips to my desired length(s). The bottom appears to be white beans of some sort… and what kid throughout history hasn’t loved making something out of beans and pasta shells?! We might save this one for a Saturday when we have time to take breaks and then finish working on it.

I love these crafts! All you need is:

(1) Paper plates

(2) Paint of all colors (and paintbrushes)

(3) Construction paper (and tissue paper if you choose)

(4) Scissors – one regular pair and then a few that cut in shapes/angles

(5) Scrap ribbon, string, yard, tulle, fabric, etc.

(6) Crafting beads and crafting feathers

(7) Small white beans

(8) Glue. Hot glue gun, glue stick (if your toddler is hands on with glueing), or Elmer’s glue (if you’re brave and messy). Just make sure you have glue.

 

I will have to update you all with our photos after we have them all made!

{NEWEST} Children’s Clothing Store with AMAZING Prices!!

HELLO FRIDAY!!

Are you as happy as I am that the weekend is here?? Well to add a little more joy to your happy day… I have some awesome news to share!!

A friend of mine has opened a new children’s boutique. It is very upscale clothing for VERY discounted pricing. And no worries… you don’t have to live in my area to shop! It is online based and everything ships next day! How awesome is that?? You should check them out… C&J Cutie Couture. If you decide to order… be prepared to have a PayPal account! You can also check them out on Instagram.

Below are the summer outfits currently in stock. (PS… isn’t that model adorable. I sure think so. 😉 )

NOTE: Sizes offered are 12 months – 4T and are based upon availability.

Click on the pictures to be taken to the exact photo on her site.

 

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Again, please patronize this amazing store or share with someone who might be interested!! I’m excited to finally find someone offering clothes at reasonable prices for children who only play in them!!

HAVE A GREAT WEEKEND!!

Free Natural Science Museum in North AL

This past weekend we made a spontaneous decision to take our daughter to the Cook’s Natural Science Museum in Decatur, AL. Admission is free and it is an amazing place to take children ranging 3 and up. (And I love Free Activities.) Spring of 2015 it will be moving to a new, larger location in Downtown Decatur. So be sure and check the website for updates if you decide to visit!

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Cook’s Natural Science Museum

Of course, because the museum is owned by the company/family that owns Cook’s Pest Control, there definitely had to be bugs near the front entrance. 😉

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Most of the gigantic bugs have origins in other countries. THANK GOODNESS!

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This was our favorite set of bugs HAHA! The blue butterflies were a winner.

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This thing could give me nightmares.

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Moth. Large moth.

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A City Wildlife Habitat.

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Next was a walk through of ocean and beach science. Seashells of EVERY shape, color size.

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Pelican. (And a pirate ship steering wheel. Khloe wished she could be on a pirate ship 😉 )

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Porcupine Fish

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The Snout of a saw fish. I cannot imagine the size of the fish on the other end!

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This is always my favorite part in every natural science museum: the rocks, minerals, stones, etc.

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Of course, we had to examine each one of these.

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Now, how often do you get a change to hold a meteorite?

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Here is the said meteorite. It weighed around 20 lbs.

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We loved the “glittery” rocks. 🙂

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Again, my favorite part.

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We found Swiper the Fox!! 😉

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She wanted to stand next to the baby bear.

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I love how realistic it all appeared!

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River/ Pond natural habitat. Possibly Dad’s Favorite part.

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I wish I had a video of Khloe’s reaction when she walked around the corner to this. LOL

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A “torcupan” AKA Porcupine. 😀

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This could almost freak you out as realistic as it appears. Khloe loved to inform us that she knew it was a rattlesnake, but she hates snakes, “yuck!”

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This is an ELEPHANT LEG BONE.

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This was the closest Khloe would get to the Alligator. Haha!

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Full shot of the Alligator.

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Had never seen an Ostrich egg before. Wow.

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Bald Eagle. Magnificent.

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Eagle.

I did miss getting pictures of many of the other fowl. Turkeys, Swans, Canadian Geese, ducks of EVERY kind, hawks, and more. These are definitely not pictures of every single animal in the museum. We easily spent over an hour there. Khloe did not want to leave and would have circled through a few more times if we had let her. We bribed her with ice cream, though, and she was happy to go to the car. 😉

If you live in North Alabama or find yourself passing through, this is a must visit attraction. The current location is free, so make sure you check the website before heading out to make sure the have not moved locations yet.

We Love Youth Rodeos

We love the youth rodeo events at one of the local Cowboy Churches in our area. We are not members of the church, but the public is welcome. This is our second year to participate in the Youth Rodeo Series at the Cowboy Church of Colbert County, Inc.  She loved the events she could participate in last year so when this year’s series rolled around, we took her back! She can only participate in a few events because of her age. She technically qualifies to participate in stick horse racing, ribbon pulling, dummy roping, barrel racing, and pole bending. She is not old enough to control her pony by herself, so we only let her do the stick horse race and the ribbon pulling. We’re looking to start dummy roping next year. 🙂

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She had taken her hat off and said, “yeehaw.” We were getting ready for the May Youth Rodeo.

 

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After we get signed up and settled in our chairs, she has to climb the gate. It is the coolest and must-have thing to do every time we go. 😉 We also go see the goats and cows, but I did not get a picture of that.

 

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Once the rodeo is actually starting, they always ride the American Flag through the arena as the National Anthem is being played.

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Waiting on her turn to stick horse race. They each individually run down and around a barrel, then back across the finish line while being timed. It is way too cute.

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Ribbon Pulling

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The whole idea is that each child runs down, pulls the ribbon off of the goat, and runs back across the finish line while being timed. It’s hilarious and adorable to watch all of them.

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This isn’t my child, but once she turns 6 she can participate in Goat Tying. Either mounted or unmounted. As you can tell in the picture, this child was mounted. She rode down on her horse, jumped off, laid the goat down and tied his feet together in order to receive her time. (The goat is tied to a rope on a stake so that children aren’t chasing it all across the arena.) I’m so pumped. I get Khloe excited telling her that when she turns 6 she can do that too! We also saw a boy pull his own tooth because he forgot to unhook his rope from his saddle horn. No worries, they found it for him!

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After her two events, we hung around for a while to watch the barrel racing for her age group. She loves wearing her daddy’s hat. I want to find her a small one 😀

 

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She was daddy and he was Khloe. Ha!! Do you like her clover bracelet I made her? Talk about taking me back to my childhood!

 

I love that they set a time in between the younger children’s events and the older (up to 18) children’s events for a Devotion. A leader from the church enters the arena and spends about 10-15 minutes giving a bible study/ devotional to the entire crowd. What a great ministry!

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My little country baby. ❤

 I hope she continues to love the youth rodeo events, especially as she gets older and can get more involved in the different categories.

It was a Mom and Daughter Kind of Day

 Good morning and Happy Monday! I hope everyone had a great weekend!! 🙂

A few weeks ago we received news about the dreaded “F” word at work (a.k.a. Furlough). Thankfully, I can break mine apart instead of taking it all at once. I decided to take mine for 5 Wednesdays and keep my daughter home from the Summer Program at her school. Save money when not making money AND spend extra time with my daughter than I usually get. It was a win-win! Last week was our first Mom and Daughter Day. I don’t think it could have been more perfect!

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We started breakfast with pancakes. They were requested to be purple and with sprinkles. So that is what we had. 😉

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I have to admit, she had a pretty cute idea even though I was skeptical at first.

 Then we watched a few cartoons. (Some Paw Patrol, Team Umi Zoomi, and Dora).

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After about an hour of TV I cut it off and we commenced to a little arts and crafts time! She loves it. Here we made a caterpillar. We also made a Father’s Day craft for dad… but that is for a later post.

 

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Here she did a little free painting and decided this was for Daddy. Together they decided it was “the Earf.” (Earth)

 

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About noon we headed to the Splash Pad in town. Look out world here we come. 😉 I do not know how she is such a diva, but it is adorable.

 

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She played on the playground a while before actually hitting the water and sprinklers.

 

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While we were at the splash pad, I saw a girl I graduated with and she had her daughter with her, who is a few months younger than mine. They had never seen each other before, but as you can see in this picture… you would never imagine they didn’t know each other. It was sweet!!

 

We headed home around 3 and played dress up for a while until Dad came home from work. We played Dr. with her Doc McStuffins set and outfit and then all cleaned up for church. We ended the evening by attending Wednesday night service at our church and picking up some fast food on our way home.

It was a pretty perfect day for this Mama! 🙂

 

Have you ever had to take a furlough? Did you decide to make the best of it with your kids? If so, what activities did you plan out that we might could take advantage of??

Does my child have to play sports…?

As my daughter gets older, she is creeping up on the age where all of these extra curricular activities enter the scene. T-ball being the number one example in my neck of the woods. I cannot tell you how many times over the last two months I have been asked if Khloe is going to play t-ball. What? I don’t know. Ha! She cannot play until she is 4 years old. Which will mean even if she is going to play, it will be Summer 2015. All of these questions did get me thinking, though. Do I even care to sign her up for t-ball? Probably not. Now, before I get a million parents (more often moms) freaking out on me, let me explain.

Where I live, almost every child plays little league t-ball, football, and cheerleading. If your child doesn’t play, what kind of horrible lazy parent are you?! Well, here is the thing: It is not that I don’t want my child playing sports or participating in extra curricular activities. I want her to do anything and everything available. And then everything she finds that I didn’t even know about. Here’s the catch.. I would rather her do things outside of the normal box. Art. Karate. Martial Arts of any kind. Dance. Gymnastics. Rodeo. Guitar lessons. Singing lessons. Theater. Golf. Who knew they offer golf lessons starting at age 5?? Well, I just recently found out that they do! I’m weird, I know. What southern, small town mom doesn’t want their sweet daughter being cheer captain?! **Here I am with my hand raised jumping up and down.** I honestly don’t. I mean, if she starts Kindergarten and begs to play t-ball or cheer with her friends, sure we’ll sign up and attend every practice and game. I just don’t see the big deal of preparing for this a year in advance? (And all of this is coming from the person who played t-ball and softball and was a cheerleader from mascot to JV.) That’s all I was able to do. I wish I could have had broader activities as a child. I had to wait until I was old enough to make my own choices to start branching out. Why would I continue the cycle and limit my own child??

I want a child who I enable to see the world and view the world from a bigger perspective than most kids are able to. Shouldn’t that be on every mom’s priority list? I just don’t believe sports should be the heart and soul of my daughter’s childhood. How many people from my graduating class took their athletic careers past high school? Hm.. I’d say maybe 10 out of 118. From those 10 not a single one has carried that sport beyond their undergraduate careers. So exactly WHAT is the big deal of pushing the issue?

I agree about wanting my daughter to be active and healthy. Who says she can’t be those things with out t-ball? (I want to make it clear that I do not hate t-ball. It is the cutest and sometimes most hilarious thing I have ever witnessed.) My concern here is how stressed out parents seem to be about these things. The people asking me if our daughter was going to play t-ball have a child the same age. They have to wait another year too! Why are they already getting excited about this a year before their child is even eligible to play?? Am I being too negative?

I want my daughter to enjoy childhood. If playing sports does make her happy, then by all means I’ll sign her up for every one. However, I have watched as children cry because they do not want to attend practice, let along play or participate an entire season, and be forced to straighten up and get out there and play. Who benefits from that??! If you don’t like every activity out there, then your child isn’t going to either! I think this is the problem I have with the sudden obsession acquaintances have about my child signing up for a sport that is a year away. Who are you really signing them up for? For your child so that they can learn work ethic and team work or for you because you want to be a member of the cool parent club?

The final thing that shut me down on the whole t-ball subject was about a month ago, a friend of mine was telling me about her two children who are on a team together this year. She said that another mom stands and shakes the fence yelling at her child. If it is somehow a double hit, etc. the mom will scream and shake the fence telling her daughter to get on second base. SHE YELLS THIS AT A CHILD WHO IS YOUNG ENOUGH TO PLAY T-BALL. T-BALL. Her child has to be no older then 7 years old. I was speechless. And quite honestly I was a little mortified at what that same situation would teach my child. I am sad at what it is teaching the lady’s child and I do not even know either of them. I could not do it. I know that I cannot shelter my child from all negative things in the world, but jeez, that seems a little extreme. Sadly enough, its not uncommon.

So when I say that I question the necessity of my child playing sports, it is not because I insist she be an outcast or because I want to force her into an activity of my choice. It is actually quite the opposite. I want my daughter to have the freedom to develop into who she wants to be and who she is meant to be. Not a clone of what I loved as a child or who I want her to be. She is not me and I do not want to force her to be. Lord knows that is the last thing she would need. She is beautifully and wonderfully unique. I think I prefer to encourage her to stay that way.

Even if it means she loves playing t-ball and ends up pitching for Team USA.

One thing is for sure, it’ll be her choice. (;

 

We Had a Phone Conversation

il_570xN.346246016My daughter is absolutely the most amazing thing to me. She has taught me forgiveness in ways that I could never imagine. I am like every cliché mother out there, “I never want her to grow up.” Which is true 95% of the time and the rest of the time I bask in the excitement of the fact that I will only be 39 when she is moving out for college! I will still be young!! Ha!!

Honestly, I love her being my baby. No matter how old she is, she will always be my baby girl. I love that even though she is three now, she still wants to curl up with us to sleep or let me lay on the couch and hold her like a small baby. She eats it up. (; However, I would never want to hinder her growth and learning for my selfish reasons of wanting to keep her my baby. I love for her to learn and find new things. She receives comments about how smart she is many times when we are at her pediatrician or out and about in town. Her preschool evaluates her progress based on where they want children her age to be and she is ahead. That makes me so proud of her.

With all of that being said, it is obvious, I know that she is growing up. She is changing every single day, but as we live in the moment we do not always pay attention to the little changes until they all hit us as a big moment at once. That is what happened to me one day last week.

I always call on my lunch to check on her and see how she did at school that day, etc. Sometimes she is asleep, but lately she has been up and playing. Of course, she is now three and gradually naps are fewer and fewer. That may also be because the grandparents and great-grandparents who watch her Monday through Thursday do not always make her take a nap. Guess what I deal with later…..

Back to the other day: I called my grandparents’ and asked how she was, how did they say she had been at school, etc. My Granny asked, “do you want to talk to her for a minute?” I said sure thinking she would talk 30 seconds and give the phone back and run off to play.

We talked for 5 minutes. My three year old and I, on the phone having continuous full sentence conversation for 5 minutes. When we got off of the phone I cried. Not a sobbing cry, but a my-heart-swelling-with-love-I-just-realized-how-grown-up-and-intelligent-she-is kind of tears in my eyes. A happy and sad cry all at the same time. I know how smart she is, but with the continuous day in and out, the way your child grows up can sneak up on you. It definitely did for me this time.

Here was our phone conversation:

My Daughter: “Hey, mama!”

Me: “Hey baby. Are you being good?”

My Daughter: “Yes. Hey, mama, I love you, mama.”

Me: “Aw, Khlo I love you too!”

My Daughter: “Mama, I miss you.”

Me: “I miss you too baby. Did you have fun at school today?”

My Daughter: “Yes, mama! I play outside!”

Me: “You did??!”

My Daughter: “YES! And we learn about rain and dirt today.”

Me: “That’s awesome. Are you being good for granny?”

My Daughter: “Yes. I play with Auburn!” (Auburn is my grandparents’ dog.)

My Daughter: “I eat a Zebra Cake!!”

Me: “Alright! Did granny give that to you?”

My Daughter: “Yep. Hey, mama. I love you. Is my daddy at home?”

Me: “He will be when I pick you up and we go home.”

My Daughter: “I miss my daddy, but I miss you too!”

Me: “I miss you. We will see daddy after I get off work. Did you eat your lunch today?”

My Daughter: “And I eat my MOON PIEEEEE!”

Me: “I’m glad. Have you taken a nap?”

My Daughter: “Nope. I not yawned yet.”

Me: “Will you take a nap?”

My Daughter: “I playing, mommy.”

Me: *sigh* “Okay, you better be good for Granny.”

My Daughter: “I will Mommy. Would you like to speak to my Granny?”

Me: “Uh sure. I love you.” (After I was speechless at how adult-like my three year old daughter sounded.)

My Daughter: “I love you too Mommy. Here’s Granny. Bye.”

There was more to the conversation when we talked about school like who came to class today and all of that. But all of the rest was basically how our conversation flowed. Here is the little girl who changed my life and is my baby, but who can now carry on a full conversation with me. I’m so proud of her and cannot wait to take on each experience as she continues to grow. I know at times it will make me a little sad, but I cannot wait to meet who she will become at each stage of her life.

Khloe Birthday11My beautiful daughter in her three year birthday pictures.

PreSchool from Home

Our daughter attends an awesome preschool built on the structure of “Learn & Play”, in the city where I work. I wish so much at times that I could be at home full time during these years, so that I could experience the joy of teaching her myself; however, at our house that doesn’t work out for us. But I do insist on still being a strong force in her education in learning. It can get a little intimidating when I work all day and then in the evenings I just want to relax or sit down and play with her. But we are doing our best to work out a routine that works best for us. I’m not promising we will be able to implement a lesson or project around learning EVERY day (we are going to shoot for 30 minutes a night, Monday through Friday), but I think as long as we have a schedule that it will work out more often than not having a plan! These are a few of my favorite places to get free worksheets and ideas for working with our daughter at home. Please patronize their amazing sites and resources.

The Inspired Apple

Scattered Sea Shells

Preschool Palace

Teachers Pay Teachers

I also found a great book at Wal-Mart that is like 3 inches thick of preschool worksheets. It covers everything from colors, shapes, letters, numbers, to cutting and pasting matching shapes, learning less/more, larger/smaller, above/under. So we do a little combination of everything at times! Here is a sample of my plan to keep me on track:

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

 

·   Practicing letters

  Writing

  Recognizing

  Matching

  Sing ABC’s

·   Practicing Numbers

  Writing

  Recognizing

  Matching

  Counting

 

·   Shapes and Colors

  Drawing

  Recognizing

  Matching

  Patterns

·          Bible Study Lesson

OR

·          Science Lesson

 

·   Arts & Crafts project

-Holiday?

-Season/Weather?

-Theme?

 

 

Now I plan to take all of the materials I do have and implement them into this plan. The only thing I will have to really research and plan ahead of time is the Friday Arts & Crafts projects to make sure I have the right materials for the current craft. When she reaches the three year old class and gets her new evaluation next January, we will change our plan and focus. I received her 2 year old evaluation right after the new year, and she really is ahead on many things and on target with the rest! Which made my chest swell with pride. Ha! She can name all ABC’s and count to 15 without assistance (they only expect to 10 at this time.) She can recognize all of her shapes except an octagon. I mean, I am not stressed about a two year old not recognizing an octagon if she can recognize a trapezoid. I think we are good here. And she knows and recognizes all of her colors. The teacher did tell me that she can recognize 3 letters of the alphabet and 2 numbers by sight and that recognition by sight for numbers and letters is a three year old skill. Well, I want to help her master that skill!! That will be our focus for the next year and learning the sounds of our letters. I’m actually really excited! Either I am just one of those overly excited moms or I should have chosen a degree in something other than criminal justice. (;

Also, I recently purchased this 3-DVD Set that focuses on learning Sight Words. I love it!

Sight Words DVD

Do you do preschool at home with your child(ren)?

Shoot me ideas for craft projects and toddler science-y things!!