Sunday, July 15, 2012

Motor Skills & Sensory Play

In reading my friend's blog, among others, I've come to realize that I've waaaay underestimated what my children can do.  I've set out to remedy that.  Step one: introduce scissors, construction paper, and glue sticks.  

She had a blast with it.  It didn't take her long to move beyone glue-ing with the glue stick to simply playing in the glue.  Who am I to say anything?  I was still playing in glue in sixth grade.  This leads me to step two: sensory play, with oobleck (or gloop, or slime, or whatever you want to call it).  

It's a non-Newtonian fluid (meaning that it doesn't act like normal fluids) made by mixing cornstarch and water.  (Brandon taught me that term, I had to throw it in there.)  We did 1 cup of water and about 1.75 cups corn starch, and a dab of yellow food coloring.  It was kind of a pain to mix because we dumped all the cornstarch into a bowl, then added the water all at once and started mixing.  It's not easy to stir something that gets hard every time you try to pull the whisk through it. At first, I thought that we should have added the corn starch to the water a little bit at a time, but apparently, you're supposed to add the water to the cornstarch a little at a time.

This was another big hit.  It's so neat to play with that stuff.  It's oozes slowly when left alone, but gets hard when you push or squeeze it.  I practically had to drag her away from it, even with the promise of a bath.  Kaylie got bored after only 20 minutes, though, and started throwing globs of it all over the floor.  The good news is that this is stuff is a breeze to clean up.  Just let it dry completely, and it just sweeps away.
So much fun!  We've also been letting Elora play with moon dough, paint, and  Perler beads.  It's keeping her entertained, and helping her master her fine motor skills.  +1 for fun parenting!

PS:  Don't forget about the giveaway!  You have until Friday to win a custom designed printable of your choice from The Green World Shop!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Potty Training: Sweet Success

My poor children.  Are they going to hate me later?
We are finally getting there!  Elora has made the transition to using the potty.  Diapers are a thing of the past, and pull-ups are only for bed time.  She's still having accidents (she always waits until the last minute to say something) but she's getting there.  And, she's finally started putting #2 in the toilet.  Thank the Lord! 

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Command Family Day Picnic

Brandon's command put together a family day picnic last Friday.  We'd never seen Brandon's workplace here, so we went in before the picnic to have a look around.   He's an instructor at a training facility, so a lot of what we saw were just classrooms and offices.  If you've seen a class room and an office before, then you know what they look like.  Just imagine military gear piled up here and there, along with some large, official looking manuals, and you've got it.  But a lot of their training involves hands-on practice, so much of it happens outside a classroom.  That was the really interesting stuff.

They call this the climbing tower.  One of the courses they teach here requires that students be able to climb this 30 foot rope ladder while wearing weighted vests, to simulate being weighted down by full gear, in 2 minutes or less.  It looked easier than it actually, was, I'm sure.  I found myself wishing that I hadn't worn a dress that day, because I wanted to know if I could do it.

This is the "ship on land",  a mock-up of an actual ship, with orange cones to designate "piers", used for practicing certain security techniques.  (They also have a real ship in Norfolk that they practice on.)  The best part, though, was getting to check out the FATS system.

M4, top; M9, bottom.

The FATS, or Fire Arms Training Simulator, is basically a giant video game.  Real weapons were modified for use with this arcade-style target practice simulator, which is controlled by someone at a computer set up at the back of the room.   On the opposite wall, there is a floor-to-ceiling screen, divided into several narrow sections, each with its own target, so that multiple people can practice all at once. When "fired", the weapons recoil and you hear the sound of a gun shot, and a "hole" appears on the "target".   It was really neat!  And I did pretty well, for someone with approximately 0 weapons experience, no glasses (I'm near-sighted), and 2 children pulling at her skirts.  But then Brandon picked them up and squeezed off a few rounds, and I knew precisely how awkward and inexperienced I am.  Is it odd, that I hate violence, but I think my husband's obvious expertise with weapons is sexy?   There's just something about a man who knows how to handle himself--and a weapon--that is incredibly attractive to me.  But I digress.

He showed Elora the pistol and let her "shoot" it, but she only did it once because she didn't like the noise.  Kaylie didn't like it either, for that matter.  That's why she was clinging to my skirt while I shot the M4, and why I was holding her when I shot the M9.

The picnic itself is barely worth mentioning.  The food was good, and they had several corn hole stations set up in the shade, and a fire truck for the kids to check out, but it was so ridiculously hot that pretty much everyone just ate and then went home.  

A few of us stuck around and went in the pool to cool off, but we didn't stay too long.  It was just so hot!

If I had mad skills...

I would illustrate the following exchange in the style of Parenting: Illustrated With Crappy Pictures.

Elora was in the living room. Kaylie was sitting in my lap in the den. 
Elora: "Mama, something-something-something."
Me: "What sweetheart? I can't understand you."
(Elora comes into the den.)
Elora: "Mama, Kaylie is bothering me!"
(surprised silence.)
Me: Elora, Kaylie is sitting right here in my lap. She's been no where near you."
Elora: "No, she's not! She's bothering me!"
Me: sigh.

But I don't have mad skills.  At least, not those mad skills.  So you will just have to use your imagination.  And Momma, I can hear you laughing from here!!