Saturday, April 30, 2011

Playing with Seeds

Here's a rainy day activity that we have a lot of fun with: playing with seeds. It's not rocket science, just some basic pantry items turned into a quick fun game. I think half the fun for Conan is that it seems like something he shouldn't really be getting into.

I mixed up about two cups total of various beans, lentils, popcorn, rice, and a few cloves to make it smell nice. Poured out onto a tray, it's virtually irresistible to keep from running your fingers through them, whether you're big or little. Several small bowls and a couple of spoons completes the equipment needed to scoop, sort and just generally play around with seeds.
Occasionally a seed gets eaten, but it's no big deal - after all, it's just a bean or a grain of rice. Sure, a few get dropped on the floor, but they are easily swept up when playtime is over. In fact, you'll notice a small red dustpan in the background of the photo - sweeping up the dropped seeds is another part of the game. After we've cleaned up, I just pour the seeds back into a jar and save them for the next time we're stuck indoors.

It may not be the most creative game ever, but this rainy rainy rainy April we need all the indoor play ideas we can get!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Egg Day

We had a lovely gathering at Grandma Joy's house. Conan, Chloe, and Odessa had a lot of fun hunting for eggs hidden by their older cousins Hazel and Hannah. The kids had candy and bubbles and new toys and books to play with, and the grown ups had a lot of fun watching the kids and visiting. The only downside is that I stubbed my toe badly on a chair leg and may have broken it. I went to the doctor yesterday, she advised that there was no need for x-rays to determine if it was really broken or not because the treatment is the same either way: elevation, taping, and ice packs. That's right, I broke my toe at Easter Dinner. (I'm just so hard core!) I managed not to drop my plate or curse loudly, so I'm kind of proud of myself for that.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Conan Reads

Lest my February post about screen time give you the idea that Conan doesn't adore books, he would like to read you a bedtime story:

This particular book is a new addition to our library, so he doesn't yet have the story memorized. Most of the books we've had for a while he can recite verbatim, page by page, and will even point to some of the words as he says them. He loves to look at the pictures, point out and name all the animals and even many of the characters. He knows the titles and will ask for them by name at bedtime - and woe to the parent who can't find "Stuck Duck" or "Wheels on the Bus" when it is requested! We read 4-6 books at bedtime every night, and sometimes even more (Papa tends to be a real softie about "just one more book.") We regularly get books from the library as well as second-hand shops, because having new books to read REALLY helps keep our nightly reading from getting monotonous. Seeing a love of books and reading developing in Conan really, really makes me feel good.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Kiah's 3rd Birthday

Flower pots to decorate, presents, new toys, butterfly cupcakes, good friends and a really cool new playhouse... it was a great party.

Friday, April 15, 2011

The problem with Dinner

Some nights, this is what Conan calls "eating all up" his dinner (a burrito, in this case):

Yep, 6 little nibbles, and he's done eating. D-O-N-E. You can coax, you can cajole, you can try to bribe him with promises of dessert if he eats Just Three More Bites! He will stand firm. He may cry when everyone around him has chocolate cake and he doesn't get any because he refused (and continues to refuse) to eat, but he Will. Not. Eat. Another. Bite. Of dinner.

Sure, some days he eats well, even asking for seconds on favorite items. On the whole, he's not a picky eater - he doesn't have anything against veggies, or need the crusts cut off his toast, or generally refuse to try new foods. But dinner is a struggle, more often than not.

We've tried things like letting him eat at the coffee table, eating with his fingers instead of silverware, pretending to be animals - "baby doggy, eat your doggy bone" - but while these novelties might work the first time, so far none have proven to be a real solution.

Serving his favorite foods helps somewhat. Cauliflower, broccoli, rice, grated cheese and anything with ketchup on it are usually good for a few extra bites. But they aren't a guarantee - from time to time he'll refuse even his most favorite foods, declaring "Me no like blueberries!" and other absurdities.

I try not to get frustrated. I don't want to turn dinner into a battleground. Already, I often get wails of "Noooooooo, no dinner! Nooooooooo!" when I mention that it's almost time to eat. (This doesn't happen with other meals - only dinner. Maybe we should pretend we're British, and try calling it Tea.)

I remind myself that not every meal has to be balanced. If all he eats is carbs tonight, I'll just try to get some protien into him tomorrow. Or vice versa.

I remind myself that he won't starve. He'll eat what he needs, when he needs it.

I remind myself that it's more important to model good eating habits myself than to try to force them on him. It's healthy to know when you are full and to stop eating then.

I remind myself that it's a win that he even sat in his chair at the table with us for a few bites. He's two; sitting still doesn't come easily.

I remind myself not to say "No" unless there's a real reason to. If he wants to use his fork to eat soup, fine. If he wants to take his lasagna apart and just eat the noodles, fine. We have four unbreakable rules: no standing up on the chair, no throwing/wasting food, no playing in or with beverages, and we always wear pants (at least a diaper) at the table.

Most importantly, no matter how frustrated I get, I take a deep breath and remind myself that it's only an hour until bedtime. I can get through an hour.

Sunday, April 10, 2011


Conan has hives! I noticed that he had a few "mosquito bites" after playing outside all day Friday. Then when I undressed him for his bath I realized it must be something more than just mosquito bites, because they were all over his arms and legs! There were red patches, about the size of a silver dollar but irregularly shaped, with several small raised bumps (like fresh mosquito bites) clustered within each patch. I gave him a bath and treated the bumps topically with a hydrocortisone anti-itch cream, but a couple hours after being put to bed he woke up covered in NEW itchy splotches, all in different places. More anti-itch cream got us through the night, but in the morning he was again covered in welts.

He seemed fine after more anti-itch cream and some breakfast cartoons, and it was a nice day, so we headed outside to play. Sure enough, after being outside for a couple of hours the itchy splotches were back, worse than ever. A little research on the internet and we had a diagnosis: Hives. I took a trip to the drugstore for a bottle of benedryl and gave him a dose when he woke up from his nap. It was amazing: all the spots disappeared 20 minutes after giving him the medicine. Whew.

According to the information at we'll probably never be able to determine exactly what Conan is having a reaction to. It seems pretty clear that it's something outside right now, which makes me think that it is a pollen because the first few trees and flowers of spring are beginning to bloom. Indeed, today he woke up without any itchy splotches, but after being outside again broke out in hives. At least now we have the benedryl at the ready!

Thursday, April 07, 2011


I just love this picture. You've kind of got to blow it up to full size (click on it) but the mischievous look on Kiah's face is just perfect.

Monday, April 04, 2011

Signs of Spring

Frogs are singing at night, the birds are back, and the first few new leaves and flowers are starting to appear. When it's not raining, it's a nice time to go outside an explore.Conan loves to feed his chickens.
Whoa, DOUBLE RAINBOW! Intense. :)