January 27, 2011

Playing Dough

It's been a while since we've had fresh play dough around here. Last week, while Calder slept in, Piper and I mixed up a batch. It started in just fun and ended as a lesson in color theory. Four choices of coloring is too much for a three year old. Green and red make...ah, grey. Add blue and you get...a different shade of grey. Add lots of yellow and you get...army green?! Didn't see that one coming. At first I thought we under cooked the dough (we used this recipe this time). But after kneading in a bit of extra flour it came out the perfect consistency.

Then we set to putting together a tool kit. We surveyed the kitchen cabinets and drawers to see what wouldn't be missed there that could be used for dough work. We started with the rolling pin (which is actually returned to the kitchen after each use - we need to make a small hands version), the pastry blender, a canning lid, a cookie cutter, and a small funnel. Over the week we added a melon baller from the thrift store, a small doily and a stamp I made by hot gluing a shell to a cork.

She's played with it alone a few times. Then we invited Calder to join. He liked using the tools to bang at the play dough. They worked on each others play dough, which seemed to be most interesting to the both of them. Piper mostly tried to dictate what they should be doing. But gave into him doing his own thing fairly quickly.

Truth be told the first go round, Calder didn't like to touch the play dough with his fingers. Each time he'd try it would result in a scrunched up face. I think it's now growing on him.

In an effort to make this an activity that Piper can accomplish from start to finish on her own, we've been working on the whole process in steps. From getting the basket and all its contents out, opening the play dough container, and putting it all back into the basket when she's done. I hang a damp cloth on a hook on the side of her table for her to wipe her hands and table with. Quite liberating to be able to do it all on her own.

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

January 25, 2011

Now We're Farming!

We, by we I mean Piper and to a small extent me, have been waiting for this for over two months now. Piper's love of all things farm is no secret. When she came across this farm set in a catalog it was all she talked about for weeks. I loved it because it was a well made, from natural materials, beautiful, quality toy that left plenty of room for imaginative play. From there we started to bring it all together. Waiting for items to come in the mail. We've got most of it, she still has a bit left she wants - every farm girl needs a tractor. But that will have to come with time.
Its a gorgeous set! She loves it. Around here we're hearing a constant chorus of 'moos', 'baas', 'oinks', 'neighs', and bawks'. I hope our grandchildren are as into farming as our kids - its sure to be around when they come along. And won't that be wonderful!

January 11, 2011

A Place To Call My Own

We're living in an apartment now, an apartment in a complex. Void of character, and I'd grown accustom to some character in my home. I've done my best to work on that. I just finished my last curtain install today. Whew!

It's close to work for Zac. Six minutes to be precise. He can come home for lunch and have plenty of time to play before he needs to head back. It's a nice apartment, roomy enough. A different kind of roomy. Although, the square footage is bigger than our old house, the allotment of space is much different. Its a challenge to figure out where to put things - this is not a challenge I'm unfamiliar with, having just moved a family of four from an 800 sq foot house. Carving out all the extra little niches I can. There are two fantastic things about this apartment. First being it's close to work.

Second best is a permanent space for this stuff:

This small drawer in a lingerie chest was how I sewed, did any crafting for that matter. And I call myself a sewer - a disgrace. I should clarify, that's my supplies. I had a bookshelf full of fabric in our old house. When we decided what was going to storage, all that was boxed up and put into storage. I'm not sure what I was thinking - I wasn't going to do any sewing till we bought a new house!? Before we moved in, I couldn't see any space here for it.

Without further ado I give you, dare I say it, ahem, my 'studio'.

At last a space for my stuff. A space that's not the dining room table and needs to be cleaned up daily before dinner is served. It's a small space, definitely not enough room for the fabric stash that's in storage. But I love it. I can sew in the littles-are-sleeping hours. Which is a surprisingly hard habit to break. I had to remind myself that I didn't need to stick to just the quiet tasks over nap time. Obviously, it's lacking some key components of a true studio. There isn't a cutting table, or storage for any sort of fabric stash. But I can turn Pandora on my laptop and get down to business here. Bliss.

Oh and did I mention... it's in the walk-in closet of our bedroom. Yeah, it is.

January 06, 2011

Three Trips Around the Sun

Dear Piper,

I wanted you so badly long before you began your journey into our family. When I dreamed of you, I didn't fully comprehend how you'd fill my heart, my mind, my life. You've taken Papa and I on quite the adventure. One we thought we'd take - just a bit differently, but we took it as it was given to us. And we got through it. Stronger. Filled with more love than we knew to be possible.

I thank you for coming to our family. I thank you for letting me begin with you. For letting me find, and continue to find, my way as a mama - your mama, and now Calder's too. I thank you for your patience and help as I adjusted to being the mama to two. You took that adjustment in stride, mostly.

I can not begin to explain to you how you've completed me, changed me. How a lump forms in my throat and tears blur my eyes as I think of how much I love you and how proud of you I am. Piper, you are a beautiful, smart, strong-willed, unique little lady. We love every bit of it - even the parts that challenge my parenting ability on a daily basis. How did I end up with such a perfectly amazing girl!

There is so much that I hope you remember about these first three years of your life as you continue to grow. I hope you remember being two, and one, was fun! I hope that you remember the time we had with just you, Papa and me. I hope you remember how much you love your brother, your mama, your papa. I hope you remember reading late into the night, far past lights out - by light of twilight turtle. I hope you remember what a good mama you are to Rupert, Oo Oo and Chloe. I hope you remember the piles and piles and piles of books you tote with you. I hope that you remember that you're sometimes too smart for your own good, for my own good. I hope you remember that you talk far more and far better than any two year old I know. I hope you remember that you get your crab from your mama, and that I try so hard to take that in stride. I hope you remember how much you love to learn, and how naturally it comes to you. I hope you remember your sense of style, and how you impose that style onto your little brother - who doesn't care to protest, yet. I hope you remember how 'you' you are, and keep that with you always. I hope that you remember how you climbed into bed, snuggled in with Calder and I this morning and told me that you woke up three today.

Yes, Sweet P, you woke up three this morning. How did that happen!?

I love you with my whole heart!