Sunday, August 28, 2011

Tot School- Letter A

Tot School

This week we learned the letter A. Natalie pretty much already knew A just because it's the first letter. I felt that it was great for her to hear words starting with A over and over and learn the sound that A makes.

We started out Monday morning with Tot Trays because we were all still sleepy so I didn't want to start with too much. This is how I have our trays set up for now because this is what works best. I leave the trays out all the time but she really only plays with them when I suggest her to. I am trying to leave the same activity all week with only making a few changes here or there. I don't want her to get bored but yet I don't want to use all my ideas in one week. 

 A favorite activity is sorting. With this one I just have different color beads and she sorts them into different sections on the platter. I also have her go back and count how many she has of each color or have her count them as she sorts. There are a ton of beads for this one so she usually works on it at little at a time. Whatever works!
 We made the A is for Alligator. I really love this craft. It's so cute and creative. I'm planning on making and ABC book as we go and keeping 2 crafts from each week so that we can go back and look through them and she can have her own little book. The alligator craft came from No Time For Flash Cards
 We stamped with the letter A just to help her with recognition, I plan to do this each week with the letters since she loves stamping. I think she just loves the freedom to be able to do what she wants with the stamp and it doesn't have to look like anything when she's finished.

This is supposed to be a magnet sheet but since I don't have the magnets yet I let her paint it. She had such a good time and I thought it was cute how she did each section a different color.
We did apple prints as well because I remember doing them as a kid and I loved it. Nat wasn't that into the actual apple printing. I figured it would be great for her. She had a hard time dipping the apple in the paint so I ended up getting a foam brush for her to paint the apple then use it to stamp the paper. That was a little easier for her and she liked it then. I found this really neat idea at No Time For Flash Cards to make a wreath with the prints as a fall decoration. Since fall is fast approaching I loved this idea. Natalie had such a great time gluing the apples onto the plate that she was sad when she ran out of apples. We even made an extra for grandma because we know grandma's love these kinds of "gifts".

We also did lots of do a dots with different shapes and the letter A. She had a great time with her letter A traceables though she would get bored of it pretty quickly, instead of having her try to do even a whole row I would ask her to do 2 letters in between activities and that worked out really well.

We had such a great week I'm so excited to start on the letter B tomorrow, partially since our last name starts with a B! Have a great week everyone!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Activities- Tot School Week 1

Natalie (33.5 months)
Tot School

Well we started doing a little Tot School this week. I didn't have everything together to start with the letter A like I wanted to so we just started with our version of Tot Trays. I plan to actually use trays but I had to order them first. I started out calling them activities because I wasn't sure how else to explain it to an almost 3 year old. The first day she wasn't sure but once we got started she just kept asking for more activities. It was super cute. She had such a great time and didn't realize that she was learning as she was playing.

We played with her busy farm which we hadn't gotten out in a while. It's a great tool that we already had. I was so glad that we could incorporate a loved toy into our routine.

Then she loved the ABC puzzle that I picked up from the dollar store. I am planning on using it for stamps as well but she played with that puzzle a few times each day and she kept asking for it.

I found printables for a farm animal matching game (can't remember where) so I just printed that off and glued it to a folder and cut up the other copy. So easy but she loved naming the animals while matching them.

I also made a rice sensory bin. It was my first sensory bin so I just put rice in with a few tools from the kitchen. I wasn't sure how she would take it and the first time she wasn't sure what to do with it. I sat down and showed her she could just play and explore and she loved it.

This week we are starting with the letter A. I'm really excited to see all of my ideas come into play and just watch her learn so many new things.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Blog Redo

So as you can see it's been 8 months since I blogged. What have I been up to? Well I had a baby.... Now I'm the mom of two beautiful girls. I love them both dearly and would do anything for them. Some Most days around here are hectic. I feel like I never know which side is up and most of the time it's dinner time before I know it. On the other days we are out running errands or going to play groups or enjoying the summer at the park. I feel like I never sit still. And by never sitting that means I never have time to write er type. I miss blogging. I miss the outlet that blogging gave me. I miss how it connected me with other moms or women that I would never known otherwise.

I came across my good friend Alexis' Blog and she was talking about Tot School. I was very intrigued by the thought of Tot School. I wanted to send Nat to preschool this year but her birthday is October 31st and the cutoff for the 3 year preschool is September. She isn't even close to meeting the date. I still felt like she really needed some structure in her days. Yes we play and I try to teach her as much as I can but often times I end up feeling like we play with the same toys over and over. A lot of times I feel like I'm just drilling the ABCs into her and she is picking it up but is she really enjoying it? So for me Tot School provided me the resources to actually teach her the ABCs at our own pace. There is no right or wrong way to do Tot School and I like that.

So I have decided that starting Monday we are going to start with the letter A. They even say you can do any letter in any order. You don't have to do alphabetical order but for my OCD brain alphabetical is the only logical way (not saying any other way is wrong). So I'm planning to post every Sunday and link up with the other Tot School moms about what we did that week and hopefully share and get some new ideas....
    If you have any resources or suggestions for me I would love to hear them!! I am new to this and just trying to be open minded and try everything. I don't know what's going to work best for Nat until I try.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Swing Set

One of the many changes we made around here this summer was getting a new swing set. We had been looking for a good wooden one that wouldn’t break the bank. Honestly, I was having no luck. I had been searching craigslist for weeks and just couldn’t find anything. A friend said she would sell hers to us but then we weren’t sure how we would transport it since she lives and hour away.

Finally I was shopping at Meijer one day and we were just browsing the toys. I think we were actually looking at trikes to see if we thought Natalie could ride one yet. I stumbled across the sign for all the swing sets and they had clearance tags on them!! I about jumped up and down I was so happy. I find the one that we had wanted expecting to see a tag for 25% off. I honestly would have been happy with that. Well, it ended up being 50% off!!! It went from $800 to $400. I had to call Hubby and make sure it was ok with him and that he would pick it up on his way home. He was just as happy as I was. I hurried and bought it because it was the last one.

This is picture before anything was started. 

I didn’t really know how much work putting up a swing set would be. We went to pick it up and it came in 3 boxes that fit in our pickup truck. I realized then that Hubby was in for a lot of work. Of course we (by we I mean he) had to dig out a layer of grass and dirt and build a border, then put down weed barrier. After that he had to go get 2 truckloads of wood chips and spread those out. Then he could start building the swing set. I’m not even sure how long it took him to finish the whole project but I know he worked hard on it. I love him for it. I just had to entertain Natalie on the many days and nights it took him to complete the project.

I know he put so much work into but watching her enjoy it is just priceless. Her and her new sibling will enjoy it for years to come.

Here are some pictures of the finished project.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Baby #2 or not?

There have been many talks in the Buckner household of when we thought we would be ready for baby #2. We thought we were ready so decided to try, then a few unexpected things happened and we decided that we weren’t ready after all.

We had been going through a normal “rough patch”, like most marriages. We had a vacation all planned out with lots of extended family. We went to Wisconsin Dells for 5 days. It was really what we need to reconnect and reprioritize our life. The vacation was amazing! (Pics and more about that will come soon).  We get back home and are going through our day-to-day life. We were still set on waiting another year or so for baby #2. With Natalie it took us a year of trying to conceive so even though I was worried about that we both thought it was best to wait.

Around September 9th I got a really bad cold or allergies. I still am not sure if it was a cold or not. My nose wouldn’t stop running and I just felt terrible for the next week. I finally asked Dh to pick up some meds on his way home from work and I threw in “oh yeah, grab a pregnancy test too just in case.” Honestly, I have learned not to get my hopes up. I figured I was just taking the test to make sure I wasn’t pregnant because I wanted to take meds and I had been really sick. I should also mention I was on day 39 of my “cycle”. I still didn’t think anything of it because my body is really wacky which is why it took so long to get pregnant with Natalie. I waited until after Natalie went to bed and ran in and took the test. I set it down assuming it would be negative and I glanced over and sure enough it was positive! My hands started shaking and I started crying. At first, I wasn’t sure if it was happy tears or sad tears or just tears of shock. I took a few minutes to try and put on a straight face. I went out to the living room and asked Dh if he heard the timer go off because I was baking bread (I really was). He said no. I then said “I figured out what Natalie is going to be for Halloween” “Oh yeah what?” He responded. Gulp “a big sister?” His jaw dropped immediately and he puts his arms out to me. We cried together. We sat there for probably 5 minutes and just said wow. We both agree that this is a blessing in disguise.  We are both really grateful. It took us a little while to let the shock wear off. We waited until after my first appointment at 9 weeks to tell family and I think everyone was as surprised as we were.

So we are officially pregnant with baby #2!!! I am due May 17th, 2011 and I’m about 16 weeks 6 day right now. Life is good. 
My belly pic at 15 weeks 3 days

Thursday, October 7, 2010


Well I finally bit the bullet and joined MOPS. If you don't know what that is, it stands for Mothers of Preschoolers. I learned about it last year at a local Mom 2 Mom sale here in Ludington. I really wanted to go but I had a 10 month old baby who napped at 10; MOPS was from 9:30 to 11:30. I really needed it last year but I couldn't make myself go. This year Natalie naps around 1:30 so I had no good excuse not to go. Actually I had all the reasons to go. I need to get to know more moms in the area, Natalie needs more exposure to playing with other kids and when the winter rolls around we are dying to get out of the house.

The first meeting came and I felt so nervous. It was like starting high school all over again, really. I had to drop Nat off in a nursery with strangers. She has never been watched by anyone but family so that alone made me nervous. We went in and checked out the toys, I clamped her name tag on and stuck her diaper bag in the little slot, letting them know if she needed a snack they were in the bag and I left. Natalie was preoccupied so I didn't even get to say goodbye. The tear filled goodbye that I had worked myself up for never came. I did go back 15 minutes later to check on her but she didn't even notice I was gone!

I headed down to the mom's area not really sure what to expect. They had it decorated so pretty and there was a table full of food. The ladies that we there already were so welcoming. They all introduced themselves to me and I didn't feel out of place at all.

The meeting finally started and we were assigned to groups, these will be our groups all year. I really liked loved that idea because it will give me a chance to get to know these few ladies on a more personal level. We soon found out that our activity for the day was "speed friending". Gulp. You mean I have to talk to more people? Don't get me wrong I love people just when I'm in my comfort zone. My table and my group was now my comfort zone. We did the speed friending, it's just like it sounds like speed dating. We moved chair to chair and got to know about 16 new people. It was really fun and I was actually surprised at how much I enjoyed it.

The 2 hours that we were there just flew by. Before I knew it I was going to pick Natalie up from the nursery. I was really excited to see her and hear how much fun she had. I was about 10 feet from her door and I heard her screaming. My heart sank and I felt so guilty. I had had so much fun and never even thought to check on Natalie again. The ladies said that she did great but the last 20 minutes she cried. I guess someone came down to take her picture and that upset her. Her first experience wasn't that great. I asked if she had fun playing with the kids and she said yes. She kept saying mommy the whole way home. I know I shouldn't feel guilty but I do. I just hope that with each meeting she will get better and she will enjoy it too. I know it was so nice for me to have that 2 hour break and not have to worry about Natalie. I got to know quite a few nice ladies and I'm really looking forward to our meeting next week.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Changes are happening.....

Well one of the changes we have been going through lately is the weather. It has gotten cold! Most days our high temps are in the 50’s to low 60’s. I know that doesn’t sound too bad but when you add in there that it has been windy and/or rainy it makes it seem cold. I have been wanting a lot of soup for dinner and we are bundled when we go outside.

This cold weather doesn’t stop Natalie from wanting to go outside and play. She loves the outdoors. Her love started early this spring when we both had cabin fever and we couldn’t handle being inside anymore! Last winter Natalie got 14 new teeth in 4 months and had 3 ear infections. We were ready for change. So I bundled her up and outside we went. We really didn’t have anything to occupy us so Natalie made her own games. She would collect acorns all day long. She had no idea what the acorns were or why she was collecting them but I guess it made the time pass. Natalie would spend hours outside before I would have to beg, plead and bribe her to go inside because I was cold.

This summer we had so much fun outside. Natalie would say “I go outside” and we would head out, not knowing how much time had passed while we were out there we would go back in when the sun started to set or just in time for dinner. We went to the beach and had picnics. We even had mud baths at the beach provided by Natalie! 

We also found a new park by the marina. In the summer when it’s so hot out and the humidity feels like 100%; it’s the perfect park. The wind from Lake Michigan is a welcome break from the heat. It still gets hot but at least you get a little break here and there when the wind decides to blow. Natalie discovered the slides and the swings. There was even a slide that she would go up and down the stairs just to do over and over again.

I love fall but I’m sad to see the summer go. We created so many new memories and I know it’s a time we will never forget but we will never get back either. I look forward to the many summers we have as a family. I can’t wait to see what we will do next summer, what things we will explore and what adventures we will take.