Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Spring sensory bin

I found myself falling back on tv as a babysitter a lot more often than I hoped as we moved back into our house. There were times when I needed to unpack a box or reorganize a closet without little people underfoot, and so into the basement H went, to watch an episode of Little Bear. I know that tv has its place (for example, he's so excited to talk about all of the characters from that show, and the things they do often relate to our days, especially on walks or at the farm), but I don't really like the way H zones in front of the screen. So after I saw the wonderful sensory bins that Counting Coconuts' Mari-Ann puts together for her son, I decided to create one of my own.

This is our Spring sensory bin, with a garden theme. Henry loves to manipulate and sort tiny things, so this has been a huge hit. I put the items in a 32-quart under-bed storage bin (with a lid!) and added a little wooden bowl for sorting. I just need to get a magnifying glass, and this bin will be complete.
And the thousand dollar question: Does H keep the items in the bin, or does he throw them around making a huge mess for me to clean up? Well here's a little story about that. The other day, H wanted to play with the bin when I had just put it away. He pulled it down off the shelf, scattering beans and tiny things everywhere. We sat together and I made him pick each little individual item up, not letting him stop until they were all back in the bin. I told H how proud I was of him for cleaning it all up. Then I started to put the bin away, but saw a quivering little toddler lip, and relented and let him play a little more. I think this "animal bin" (as H calls it) might be the favorite toy of the moment.

I'm excited to build the Summer bin when the time comes (already have some great ideas!), but I hope he doesn't get upset when the Spring bin disappears in the night.

This bin contains: 7 pounds of black beans, 2 pounds of pinto beans, unscented (sparkly!) fishing lure worms, flower buttons, tiny insect buttons, wood beads, brown glass beads, green freshwater pearl beads, fake flowers in two sizes cut off of a "silk" arrangement from Michael's, brown pom-poms, feathers, and by far the most popular items: the contents of this Toob.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Making a home

I've been filling out a lot of forms lately. Some of them have been official forms for banks, others less official (although only slightly!-- people are *serious* about preschool) ones for H's first year of "real" preschool next year. And all of the forms have a little blank for me to fill in with my profession. Each time I write "home maker". I know some people who do what I do have problems with this term, but I think it's the best way to describe it, despite some negative connotations. (It's certainly better than "house wife", for example.)

I live in an area where many women and men have very high-profile careers. When they hear that I stay home, some think that I have no ambition. But they're wrong-- this is my ambition. It kind of always has been. I enjoy making our home and being a full-time wife and mother. Building the atmosphere of love in our house and practicing our routine, day in and day out. Stacking up peaceful days like waves on the shore.

Fabric diet

We've just moved back into our house after a longer-than-necessary remodeling session, and reorganizing the basement has afforded me the opportunity to lay my hands on almost every piece of fabric in my stash. There is waaaay too much. So, as of March 18, 2011 (when my husband and I shook on it), I am on a Fabric Diet. I won't buy any fabric for a year. I should mention that this diet is made slightly easier because my mom also has a huge stash, and what I need to finish up some of my unfinished projects I can probably "borrow" from her. Still, I hope I can make it!

Little helper

Spring always makes me want to start approximately eight million projects at once. I think it's the renewed light that makes me overly ambitious. This year, I have a couple of requirements for any projects on which I spend my time: They have to be either (1) useful to me, my home, or a member of my family; or (2) involve finishing up an earlier unfinished project.

Lately, I've had a lot of "help" with my projects. If it's not nap time, H is so excited to help me with my "fah-ricks" or "kilts". He calls all patchwork, even if it's just blocks, kilts. You can see him above piling kilts on top of his BFF, Harry (who needs some serious face work-- definitely on the current project list!). He also loves to lay the blocks out in precise rows, or to sort them by color.
No matter what the project, I'm sure to hear "What Mama doin'?", as I did on this day, when I was trying to redraft an old kids' pants pattern to be more like what I want for H's spring/summer wardrobe (another project on the list). When he saw this photo, he told me he was "drawin' ladybugs wit the ladybug crown".

The help that H has given me on recent projects has also afforded some of the first truly two-way play between the boys. G loves the bright colors in the blocks, and waving them around haphazardly, if he can get his hands to close on them. Here you can see two out of three boys playing "night night".

I promise there will be some actual finished objects to show soon, and that this won't be a complete Mommy blog. I got a ton of knitting done over the winter and for some reason have yet to photograph any of it. If it would only stop raining around here this week, I might be able to arrange a backyard photo session.