Sunday, January 30, 2011

Tractors in NYC!

Who ever said we don't have tractors in New York City!
Seeing the 1 line in Times Square being worked on was the highlight of Jack's train ride home from church today!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Music To Our Ears

Our nightly routine once Jack is in bed is to pray, sing, then talk. He won't let you skip any step or go out of order.
Enjoy the sweet voice we hear night after night.
(there is no video, it's only audio)

When Jack was just 1 1/2 Freddy T. started singing Holy, Holy, Holy to him at night.
Jesus Loves Me
The Flower Song- Jack begged to sing one more song last night. I suggested Jesus Loves The Little Children, but he wanted the Flower Song... clearly he is making it up as he goes. At the beginning he started singing The Color Song, one he made up as well, but then corrects himself.

Untitled from Freddy T. Wyatt on Vimeo.

Ice Skating In Bryant Park

This morning Freddy T. and I headed out early with Jack to take him ice skating for his first time. We decided to go down to Bryant Park since the rink opened at 8:00, quite a bit earlier than the others. It was fun being out with Jack doing a "big kid" activity. I think Jack had a good time over all. I don't think he liked not feeling in control of his legs. We went around the rink a handful of times, but his legs were so wobbly. It was hard to explain to him what to do. Finally on the last lap or so we went really, really slow and he seemed to make some improvement. He was ready to go home a littler sooner than we hoped, but he did a good job trying. Afterwards he got a big donut to eat and wanted to go out in the park to eat it,then we headed to a near by place to enjoy a little brunch. It was pretty cold out there this morning, but the sun was shining and it really was beautiful and fun being surrounded by all the snow!
(It's not posting right, but once you hit play you can rotate the video)

They would not let us take pictures on the ice, so here are a few before and afters.

19 Inches....Of Snow!

On Wednesday night we got hit with another big snow. This time the grand total was 19 inches! It's more snow than I've ever walked in in my life! I knew I had to take Jack out there to play, but wasn't too interested in taking Lillie and Elliott, so we waited till nap time and put them down for bed, put our layers on and headed down to the courtyard. It ended up being a really good decision. Jack and I played for 45 minutes and had a great time. The snow was hard for Jack to walk in, Lillie and Elliott would have been unable to move!
Lillie and Elliott enjoying the fun!
We tried 2 different times to build a snow fort. Both times my efforts caved in, I just don't have the skills. Then I noticed the snow covered picnic table and a light bulb went off. We just built up the walls around the table. From the outside you'd never know... and now it would not cave in.
Jack helped pack the snow in the sides. I don't know if you can tell or not, but there is a hump in the back on the right... that's his chimney!
Jack insisted that I crawl in first then he joined me. I thought we were going to have to bust through the walls to get out, it was such a tight squeeze. While we were in there he looked up at the center of the table and said "Mommy look! We have a smoke detector!"
Then he noticed the little dial on top of one of the legs and claimed we also had a clock!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

And Another Snow Day!

I did it again. I loaded everyone up with lots of layers and we ventured back down to the courtyard to enjoy the snow. I think we actually stayed out there a minute or two longer than it took us to get ready this time. After calling for, wrestling with, layering on clothes for all 3 kids, I had to get my layers on. Jack stood at the door and said, "Mommy! What are we waiting on?" Like I was the one holding us up!

Anyway. There is only so much we can do in the courtyard. No hills, no trees, just a flat, tiled, squared area. Since Elliott has not been much of a fan in the past and the snow was falling fast, I decided to let them all take umbrellas out. Why not right? Maybe if he wasn't getting hit in the face with snow he would like it more. Well, Elliott wasn't really interested in the umbrellas, but the snow did slow down while we were out, so that was nice. The umbrellas provided a little bit of change of scenery this time around anyway.

So here they are, MORE snow pictures... except with a little more color!
This was our first court yard snow angel of the year.

After we came in I put Lillie and Elliott in their bed for a few minutes and ran down and collected "untouched" snow. We made Apple Juice Snow Drinks!
I can't stand apple juice, so I had a Coke Snow Drink!

Dance Party, Trains, and Play Dough

It's snowing again! This is the 3rd time we've had a decent snow in the last few weeks. I like the snow, it's just that when it is snowing we are limited to what we can do. The two main factors are pushing a stroller through slushy, icy, snowy sidewalks is just hard! And I'm sure when the kids are older this won't be a problem, but my kids only last outside playing in the snow for a short period of time, so going outside to play other than the court yard behind our apartment is almost pointless.

So Monday, it wasn't snowing, but it was FREEZING outside. The weather men were saying to only leave if you had to. Since there was no where we had to go, we were cooped up inside all day.

You have to get kind of creative when it comes to staying in a small apartment with 3 kids all day. Monday evening Freddy T. called the kids into the bathroom to give them crazy hair, followed by a living room dance party.
Things getting a little wild!
Daddy Daughter Dance
As you can tell in a few pictures, Elliott was over the dancing pretty quick.

On Tuesday I pulled out the train table. The kids had fun playing on it while the snow was falling in the back ground.
You can typically find Lillie with some "extras" on. This flashlight is a regular these days and she pulled the headband out of the chest of drawers. She has on Silly Bandz in the dancing pictures.

Unfortunately the train table causes more fights than I ever anticipated, so we have to put it away often. But it's great when they are getting along.

This morning Jack and I made play dough. It's always fun, I just wish it was fun for longer than 10 minutes!

Friday, January 21, 2011

2010 Homemade Christmas Gifts

Each June or July I start looking around on the Internet for ideas on things to make people for Christmas. Part of the reason is because it is often cheaper, the other part is that I really enjoy doing crafts and there is a part of me that still finds more meaning in a gift that someone took time to make or create for them. I'm not sure my young nieces and nephews feel the same way, but maybe someday they will see the value in it.

Thanks to crafty blogs, the ideas and tutorials out there are really great and a lot of them are actually things kids and adults would enjoy having. This is one of the first years I've actually started early enough to finish a few projects for Christmas gifts.

I made my kids and my niece and nephew each a Family Memory Game.
I first saw this idea and wanted to do it for my kids. I knew Jack would love playing it and it would help Lillie and Elliott learn the names and faces of family they don't get to see often. I basically followed the tutorial and then made the bag up myself.

I cut out the first letter of the last name of the family getting the game out of fabric and sewed it to the bag, to try to personalize it even more.
I bought the wooden rectangles from Hobby Lobby (online because we don't have that store here) and painted them all black. Then I cut out rectangles from matching scrap book paper and decoupaged it to one side.
For the other side I took pictures of family members (mostly pulled off of Facebook) and had 2 wallet size copies printed (also uploaded online and mailed to my apartment). I then decoupaged them to the other side of the rectangle, and after everything was dry I had a matching game!
So this was a fun one, but it did take much longer than I anticipated since I made 3 sets.

Next I made one of my nephews a car cozy. I don't have pictures of the one I made him, but I do have an extra one here at home that I'll pull out for Elliott at some point, you'll get the idea though.
This is a little travel hot wheels car carrier. It rolls up to be pretty compact. When unrolled you'll find 6 pockets for the cars and a road. I thought it might be good to have around at a restaurant or the doctors office or anywhere a toddler boy needs to be entertained.
This was a fun project that I enjoyed making with my friend Melissa. You can check out her blog post with pictures of her finished product.

My kids have never owned a scarf, mainly because they've just been too young, but this year I decided they might benefit from one. I found scarves at Gap that were $12.50. I examined them and all it was was some felt sewn together and had a ball thing hanging at the end. I decided to just make them. I probably didn't spend $12.50 on all 3 that I made.
The boys each got a Steelers scarf and Lillie's is a little more girly. For hers I just sewed 3 strips of felt together down the center and then cut slits on each side, probably an inch apart. It's warmer than I imagined it would be.
I also made these luggage tags as part of my sisters gift. I don't have any pictures, but they were easy too!

My final project was to create a train table for the kids. Jack still loves playing trains and Elliott is getting into them. We've always had tracks, but no formal train table. Honestly we don't have room in our apartment for a real train table, so I decided to order tracks and make my own board that I could slide in and out from under Jack's bed. I bought Melissa and Doug's train tracks, they work with Thomas Trains but are much cheaper than Thomas Tracks. Then bought a piece of plywood, sanded it down and painted green and blue to indicate grass and water. It's not fancy at all, but simple and serves the purpose. Then using the layout that was suggested with the tracks I put the set together and hot glued it to the board. Now when they want to play trains I pull it out and either keep it on the floor or put it on top of the toy box, so they can stand up and play with it, at night it slides back under the bed.
So here it is January and I've already started my spread sheet of family members names so when I come across a fun idea I can make a note of it and get started. My goal this year is to be entirely done with Christmas shopping by Thanksgiving. This way I can relieve stress through out the year by working on projects and eliminate the potential stress of last minute Christmas shopping!

Do you have any fun crafting blogs you read?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

January Snow Days

It was kind of bitter sweet missing the blizzard that took place up here right before Christmas but the day after we got back from our vacation we got snow. It wasn't much, just a few inches, but the kids were excited so I bundled them up and we headed out side. As you'll be able to see the courtyard wasn't even completely covered. Jack LOVED being out there. Lillie seemed content and Elliott wanted to come back inside almost as soon as we stepped out.
You can tell from this picture that there's hardly snow to even play in.
Even though the snow wasn't deep, it was the good wet kind, perfect for throwing snowball.
And eating!
Jack trying to catch some flakes in his mouth.
Then Lillie tried.
Jack building a snowman.
"Steamer" the Snowman
Once you walked on the snow it basically turned to slush. Jack like stomping in the puddles.

Several days later we got a big snow! I think it was about 8 or 9 inches. I really was not excited to bundle the kids back up, knowing that Elliott really didn't like it out in the snow last time, but it was a big snow so we went for it.
Lillie on the elevator headed down.
Elliott, we'll see how this goes.
Wow! The snow is much deeper this time.
Jack brought his shovel and rake down this time to play with.
In no time at all Elliott was over it and Lillie would not keep her gloves on, so we had to go back inside. I hated it for Jack because he was having such a good time out there, but it was too much to handle on my own. So we came back up and I let Jack go out and play on the balcony.
He and Elliott had a one sided snowball fight... Elliott stood inside laughing and Jack launched snowballs at the door.

Supposedly we are getting more snow tonight. I doubt I'll haul them out in it tomorrow.