Tuesday, July 30, 2013

weekend happenings

Here is a picture I took of hubs and the kids at the Natural History Museum in DC over the weekend:
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Truthfully, the kids are probably a couple of years too young to appreciate the museum, but they still had fun running around. They both loved pointing out the animals in the Hall of Mammals exhibit and looking at the bugs in the Insect Zoo exhibit. We also saw a bunch of skeletons and told Anna that those are the bones inside our bodies. Not sure she really understood, though.

After the museum, we went across the National Mall to the Smithsonian Castle. We took Anna here once when she was little and she loved the water jet at the flower garden, so we went for it again. This time, though, they didn't just stop at the water jet, they went frolicking in the fountain next to it, too.
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He just walked, face down, right into the water.
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The both got drenched. Saturated.
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Then we dried up, changed clothes, and left for home.

It was a good outing, but next time, I would love to take them to a children's museum instead.

We also went to Meadowlark Gardens this weekend. There were butterflies fluttering everywhere!
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And I found these two cute kids having tea. :)
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Friday, July 26, 2013

I am love, love, loving

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my new PT schedule. I get to be with the kids for 4 days straight and, just when I crave for peace and quiet, I escape to work. And THEN just when my mind starts to wander off about the things I want to do with the kids, it's my 4-day weekend again. It's just peeeerfect for me. I don't ever want this to end.

I took the kids to Clemenjontri (aka the rainbow park) and it was great! They both went down the longest slide. Over and over. Believe it or not, in my 20.5 months of being a Mama of 2, this was the first time I took both kids to a park on my own. Shocking, I know. It was hard, keeping track of 2 kids at a big playground, but we went early so at least the crowd was light. I found myself telling Anna to keep an eye on Will and don't let him get hurt. Hmm...I think she did for a while, but then ran off. Some moms are pros at handling kids outside of home, but I am still learning to do it on my own. I will get better with practice.  But just for the record, we made it through without any tears today!
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Yeah, they are kind of happy.
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I asked Anna to take a picture of me and Will.

On our way out, we sat down for a snack and Anna said, "Having a picnic is so much fun!" Duly noted: I must arrange a real picnic soon.

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Sunday, July 21, 2013

pool day

Now that I have kids, I finally appreciate how nice it would be to have access to a pool in the summer time. Unfortunately, our older, smaller neighborhood doesn't have a pool. But - luckily! - we know someone who lives in a big, new-ish, family-friendly community.  :)  So yesterday, we invited ourselves over to hubs' brother's pool for a swim.  It was the perfect way to cool off from this hot and humid and super yucky weather.

The community pool was nothing like the ones I had seen before. It had a regular big pool for swimming, but the separate kiddie area was almost like a small water park - equipped with mushroom showers, water jets, sprays, dump buckets, and slides. So awesome! And fun! Anna and Will loved every minute of it.

Hubs and I were shocked by how nice the pool was and agreed that if we had something like this, we would never need to go on summer vacations again.  Seriously, we would just live here all summer and never set a foot elsewhere.
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See?  Almost like a water park.  The water was only 1" deep throughout this kiddie area.  So perfect for my little guys.  Much better than Water Mine!
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We stayed for nearly 3 hours and by the time we left, both kids tuckered out immediately in the car.
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Friday, July 19, 2013

simpe simple simple water play

I just want to share something quick!

The kids have been playing a lot with the water table lately and I was afraid that it might be getting old. So today, I gathered some toy cars, filled up a bucket with water, and told them we were having car wash! Anna took the game seriously and had a lot of fun soaking the cars, giving them a shower, washing them, and drying them. It kept her busy for almost 45 minutes...I was surprised. She did it over and over and over! And it kept her cool too with all that splashing. So if you are looking for a simple way to do water play at home, give this a try.  :)

And a question for you: What do you do to add variety to water play?
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Thursday, July 18, 2013

thursday is the new friday

I have yet another update on my job. And it’s an interesting one.

At the end of June, I was told that my project doesn’t have enough funding to keep me on full time and that my hours would be cut…down to 24 hours a week.

Perhaps a big “oh no!” for some, but a lot of you may know that I have been clamoring for a part time job, so I was really happy when the opportunity presented itself. Having extra time with my kids in the summer months sounded SO GOOD.

So…beginning two and half weeks ago (on 7/1), Thursday is now my new Friday and Tuesday is my new Monday. :) To say that it is wonderful is a huge understatement. I am L.O.V.I.N.G. my new schedule. The frosting on the cake? The company is still hoping to place me on a full time assignment so I am not on a part time status yet (read: they are still paying me the same).

I don’t know how long this will last – when the company may find me a full time assignment or when I may be placed on a part time status. Right now, I am just enjoying my good fortune while I hang out with my two kiddos.

I hope you have a great weekend! Happy Thursday! TGIT!
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(Will - 20 months old :: Anna - 3 years and 4 months old)

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Monday, July 15, 2013

Z-O-O

Usually Sunday mornings are reserved for grocery shopping, but because we had gone on Saturday afternoon instead, we had the whole Sunday open to do something fun. We picked the zoo. It had been one whole year since our last trip...Will was only 5 months at that time! This time, my 20-month old boy walked everywhere and actually showed interest in some animals. He was especially fascinated by the farm animals, even though everything was sheep to him -- all the donkeys, llamas, goats. haha. He did recognize the cow, though, and petted one. A first for him. It was a hot day so not many animals were out, but since the National Zoo is free, we can always go back again soon.

A comparison: May 2011April 2012
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It's a tradition to get a picture of me and the kids at the front entrance.
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Anna wasn't smiling, but I really like this picture anyway!  
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The llama, the cow, and Will's behind.
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Nothing was more thrilling than this cooling zone.

Other happenings over the weekend:

We took the kids to a pet store and picked up 5 new goldfish for the tank. It was a super fun experience for Anna -- to carry the fishes home and now she sees them everyday.  
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My kids were not at all into the Udvar-Hazy Center, which houses airplanes, helicopters, and even a space shuttle.  Will's extent of appreciation was pointing and shouting "airplane!" over and over.  And I think Anna asked a couple of "what's that" questions?  I had heard that the museum has lots of open space - which is true! - and good for kids to run around. But my kids just weren't excited about it. Good thing parking was free after 4pm because I think we stayed, oh, maybe 20 minutes?
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Thursday, July 11, 2013

summer crafting: bubble painting, Lego stamping, egg carton bug making

On my summer bucket list is to get crafy with the kids so we did a couple of projects this past week and I thought I would share.

The bubble painting was probably the biggest hit. It was slow to start because Anna didn't want to blow the bubbles at first, but once I got a longer straw, she was really into it. It was a MESSY project. We had paint splattered everywhere, on the table and all over our faces. I wish I took pictures of the process and the aftermath, but it was just too messy for me to walk away and pick up the camera. It was definitely fun, Anna talked about it for days after -- a sign of good craft! We later turned the artwork into cards for everyone (hubs, Will, Grandma, me, herself). I have mine hanging up in the office. :)
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This Lego stamping craft was a complete miss. It was a quick project we did at my parents' house. The kids didn't understand to dip the blocks into the paint just a little bit. Instead they dunked them in and created a blob of a mess. It probably took longer to clean up than actual play time.
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Then last night after dinner, we made some egg carton bugs! Specifically, we were shooting to make ladybugs, but we didn't have any black paint, so we just used random colors and made them colorful for the spots. This was another hit for Anna. She wanted to make more and more and participated every step of the way.
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Truth be told, crafting with the kids isn't always a good time. Do you feel the same way? I get frustrated when they don't listen or don't want to try. And with my kids, they don't like getting their hands dirty. I tell them that after we finish, we will wash hands and that it's okay for their hands to be dirty in the process. They tune me out. So I keep some baby wipes next to me and wipe their hands for what seems like a hundred times during a 10-minute project. But sometimes I find a project that they really like and it's all worth it. :)

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Monday, July 8, 2013

The theme of our weekend was water.

Water play is a great way to beat the summer’s heat so we have been doing a lot of that lately.

On July 4th, we blew up the baby pool and let the kids have some splashing time right in our own screen-in porch.
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Shout "hooray!"

On Saturday, with my mom's inside connection, we got free passes to Water Mine.  I was really looking forward in taking the kids there because they have been loving water lately, but this trip was kind of a bust. Here is why.  First, it took forever to get in....like 30 minutes?  And because we were there around 15 minutes before opening time, we basically waited 45 minutes to get in. The mood was already ruined right then and there.

Then once we got inside, just when Anna was having a ball floating in her doughnut in the lazy river, we were told that personal doughnuts were not allowed and we had to use their adult-size ones. Obviously, they were too big for my kids.  We did make two rounds around the loop with the kids laying on top of us and that was fun, but then they called a pool break. Not their fault, but just bad timing since we had just figured out the work-around.
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Anna loves to swim because she loves to kick around using her doughnut. Without it, she was meh about the whole thing.  Will, on the other hands, LOVED! going down the slides.  He was definitely one of the younger ones going down the slides, and sometimes took way too long to let go, but he did so well.  Such a thrill seeker, my little boy.  :)
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The only time Anna really laughed was playing with the shower sprinkler.
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We went with my friend and her son, E.  

We definitely won't be returning to Water Mine this season.  I think my kids are still too little for water parks and I rather just have a big open pool for swimming.  Now we just need to befriend with people with swimming pools!

The next day we went to Mosaic District in the morning...
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and again in the afternoon with bathing suits on.  I just love watching them enjoying themselves.
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Pure joy.

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Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Will - 19.5 months update

Between Hawaii in May and Myrtle Beach in June, I haven't been good about taking at-home pictures.  All these pictures, with the exception one, were all taken on our vacation at Myrtle, which was when Will actually turned 19 months.  

Will is 19.5 months and….a bit?

Once again, I am late with this month’s update, but I don’t want to skip it entirely either. So here is a super fast update to get you all up to speed on Will’s life. :)
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First things first. Will has been picky about his food for the last few months now. For that reason, he’s thinning out. All his baby cellulites have disappeared. And his legs are getting longer and leaner. Hubs gave him a buzz cut sometime this month and all of a sudden, he looked so much older. Less cutesy baby-ish and more devil boy-ish. I suspect he still weighs around 28 or 29 pounds, but I can tell he’s taller.

Sleep. I miss my good sleeper. Ever since we transitioned him to a twin size bed in the kids’ room, he has regressed in the sleep department. We put the kids to bed at the same time around 8:00p and those two chat and giggle until 8:45ish? It drives me crazy because he still wakes up at 6…which means he only gets a little more than 9 hours of nighttime sleep. Then he proceeds to be fussy and sleepy in the morning and falls asleep in the car if we drive somewhere...which messes up his afternoon nap. Pretty frustrating!

On another note…kids’ room. Yes, the siblings now share a room. Anna loves it. Her old room is still there, but she never wants to sleep there. I hope this set up will encourage some kind of sibling love and bonding.
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Oh I want to remember this – Will wakes up in the middle of the night and comes to sleep with us. I hear him running and climbing into our bed and tucking himself between us. So cute. Anna slept with us, too, but now she refuses. So I am not worried about this behavior, he will stop eventually. I am just enjoying the cuddles for now.

ABCs. Will knows all his uppercase alphabets and he didn’t learn them from us. Since he was little, he has always played with LeapFrog Leaptop and LeapFrog Letter Factory Phonics. I guess he really wasn’t just mindlessly pushing buttons after all, but actually learning! He loves screaming out letters when he sees then, like on our shirts, on trucks, in random signs. Oh, and he also knows the sounds to majority of the letter, too.

Other stuff. So, because Will is so capable of learning, I’ve been teaching him colors in English and Chinese. But, apparently, everything is either red or blue to him. He says red in Chinese and blue in English. And…that’s it. Hubs says he likes to sort in the bathtub. We have foam letters in the bathroom and he likes to group the 2’s, the P’s, etc. Will has a green bear that he carries around and sleeps with. He will actually look for it if it is missing. I think he likes it so much because Anna has an identical red one that she carries. He does a lot of pretend play with the two bears.
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Books. Now that the kids go to sleep at the same time, we also read to them at the same time. Depending on their behavior, we probably read for about 20 minutes before bed. It’s hard for Will to sit through books so we pick ones that are short and interactive, but I think Anna can handle much more complicated stories. So we are still trying to find a balance. Either way, I am just glad that Will is starting to get into books. Sometimes he will sit down and flip through them on his own.
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Personality. 99% of the time, Will is a good boy. But yesterday was one of those days where he wanted to be held. And he wanted to be held by hubs only. But because we were running around (he was working + I was cooking), he was just whining and fussing a lot. Finally, I just put a plate of food in front of him and he ate while standing on the learning tower. Then I gave him some crackers, some apples, crispy chicken, and two mango pouches. He ate it all. So maybe he was just hungry? But after that, he was as good as gold. Overall, he’s still my easy child. Hardly cries even when he bangs his head or falls flat on his back.
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To wrap it up. I haven’t enrolled Will in any classes. I was about to send him to a music class this summer, but his irregular sleep schedule convinced me to canceled it. I do think he will LOVE that kind of environment so I am going to sign him up in the fall, once Anna goes back to school. This way, taking one kid out will be easier for Grandma to handle.

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Tuesday, July 2, 2013

our summer so far

How’s your summer going?  Since coming back from Myrtle Beach, it has been rain rain RAIN, but we are still trying to be outside whenever we can.  The kids completed the summer reading program at the library. Will can recite A to Z!  Anna is on a drawing kick -- our walls are covered with her originals. Yes, our summer has been full...but not too busy either.  Just enjoying these long summer days.  Hope you are too.

Here is a collage of pictures of our June in Instagram.
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