March 31, 2011

Our Favorite Places: The Museum

Madison has a specular children's museum. It's one of our go to places when we want something fun to do, have nothing else to do, or want to plan a play date. We go often, yet it doesn't get old. The exhibits change just enough to keep these littles coming back for more. This week we met friends at the museum. 

If Calder was a man of more than just a few words, I'm sure he'd shout his love for the water room from the rooftop. As soon as he gets down the steps into the Wildernest, he books it to the water room and doesn't emerge until he's soaked through. The provided smocks are usually soaked and we normally don't even bother. On this day we managed to get one that was relatively dry. No matter, he still came out drenched. Calder always digs right in; getting his hands in there and on the cups - filling them and dumping them. Piper could really care less about this space. But she does like the books, the babies, drums, bridge, capes and puppets in other parts of the Wildernest. The kid sized rainbow brooms are loved by both; scooped up as soon as they are abandoned by another child. They'll sweep the whole place.

Another spot of interest is in Possible-opolis. There is a display of kid built mechanized pieces that turn on when buttons are pushed. A similar set up turns the lights on in a doll house.

We spent some time at the light table in the Art Studio. Looking at slides and using the magnetic building blocks. Isn't Calder such a dapper man?! Some of the summer sewing for him was bow ties. Because who doesn't love to see a little man in a bow tie. 

Piper wore another of her new dresses. A simple dress with a gathered neck and sleeves made from soft and comfy Swiss dot fabric. Inspired by a request by one of Piper's friends, I made a bunch of clips and headbands. So far, Piper has enjoyed having her hair combed and done up with a clip. 

Calder's standard face when the camera comes out, or he's asked to say cheese.
Other spots of interest to my littles is the telephone booth, painting wall, dark room, the car and bake shop. On occasion the Gerbil Wheeel and the Hodgepodge Mahal climber for Piper. We can spend hours in the museum and still not get to do everything. Most trips, something is skipped. This trip it was the Rooftop Ramble. A first for us. We always, no matter the weather, go up to see the chickens. Our little friend wasn't feeling it, so Piper agreed to skip it and head for lunch. It's ok, we'll be back.

March 30, 2011

A Farming We Will Go ... Went

Last week we spent a few days farming. We hadn't been up for for a number of weeks. Had made plans that got pushed off for one reason and then another. We had a great time. We got to see nearly all of the family up there, even some from out of town with coinciding visits and some friends. 

Like Piper did a few years ago, Calder took a liking to my youngest brother. I guess he's fun, knows what the littles like to play. 

While it was spring in Madison, it was still winter up north. There was lots of snow. A visit to Gigi's (my grandma) provided some time to play in the snow banks. Something we've missed having no yard for the past few months.


Piper found a puddle despite the temps that were barely over 20. That sun! Clad in her barn boots she proceeded to do some puddle stomping. Calder quickly saw the appeal and joined in minus the barn boots.  His stomping is still elementary and soon had soaking went pants. He didn't mind a bit.

Since our return Piper has talked daily about returning. My girl loves her farming time!

March 21, 2011

Summer Sewing

Hello Spring! The first day of spring in Madison was full of rain. Fitting, huh?

Over the last week and a half I've been working on my slightly ambitious spring/summer sewing list for the littles. Sneaking in a piece or two for me. I originally started out with the goal to make one piece of clothing a day until I was done with what was on my list with its horrible chicken scratchy drawings. That worked well with the skirts. They just sew up so quickly. Then came a day with out of sync naps so I didn't get much sewing time and my one a day goal slipped away. So it goes.

Last week I worked on this sun dress. I actually constructed the dress in one day as I had hoped. But it took until today to sew two buttons on the back. I didn't see the rush since we're not having days that would require a sun dress and moved on to other items. Piper was so excited to put the dress on and have a photo shoot. Shouting, 'it's summer now!' while she got ready.

It was a fun one to sew. Exciting that it turned out, other than the idea in my head I pretty much winged it's pattern as I went. It has lots of pleats, in the skirt - making it great for twirling, and a pleated neckline. I've been eying this fun bright lemon fabric for a while now and was thrilled to get to use it. Luckily, Piper likes it too despite there being no pink or purple or blue on it.

Our little photo shoot was so fun. Piper kept coming up with ideas. She'd ask me; do I want her to jump up and down, or should I do my back flip? I'm just hoping I can some how get the same enthusiasm for modeling the other things.

Hoping you're all enjoying spring's arrival as we are!

March 15, 2011

Project: 365 Days of Gratitude

I've started a new project today - 365 Days of Gratitude. Really Piper and I have been doing this for a couple of weeks now. But I've decided to make it official. It's something I've seen around the internet for years now. I'm not sure where exactly it originated.

At lunch and dinner we light a candle, say an quick and easy blessing and then once a day we take turns listing what we are grateful for that day. Zac joins us occasionally too. The first day I gave Piper a quick explanation of gratitude. Basically, something you are happy to have in your life, or that makes you happy. She caught right on! Spewing a list of things she was happy about. Most of the time it consists of a list of things that we're eating, her family members and then added things from her day - objects or experiences. Often times brings a smile to our face to hear her list. Makes us really appreciate the small things in life.

And so often during our days, I find myself grateful for the little things. I'm hoping this project will help us all to really focus on what blessings, small or large, we have during our days.

In an effort to keep the blog clutter-free and simple, I added a separate page (accessible from the menu bar across the top of the page) to keep my list. I've added a comment box to the page. If you're so inclined, please leave your gratitudes in comments there.

March 09, 2011

Morning Craft

We're snowed in. Not quite - we did get a few inches of snow. Zac took our family car - for it's AWD, as he has meetings all over town today. In a sense we're snowed in.
While looking through one of my books Piper (I mean 'Goy' - as she's named herself today. Apparently, Goy and I have met a couple of times. And I told her that my name was 'Mare'!) found pictures of some children felting wool balls in bowls of soapy water. She asked me if we could do it. I said sure, but we'd have to get some wool roving first. A good project for another day when we're more prepared for it. Quickly she came up with her own alternative and ran to her art supplies, returning with some colored paper. Piper then explains her plans to put pieces of paper in a bowl of water to make balls. Hmm, not sure it would work, I scramble for an alternative project for her (us.)

I came up with a paper mache bowl. We went through our recycle bins for the newspaper type papers. Filled a bowl with ripped up strips. Then I mixed some no-cook paper mache paste. Adding just a bit of white glue for good measure. I covered the table with an old shower curtain (originally from Piper's birth, now used for painting and other messy such projects).

First, we started out with 'painting' the paste on to our mold. Piper wasn't quite feeling it so we set that aside and just dipped the paper in with our hands. It was nice and messy. We worked together on it. Taking turns doing the different jobs: dipping the strips, removing some excess paste, placing the strips, flattening the strips. I, intermittently, took breaks to un-attach the boy from my leg and re-occupy him with something else while Piper continued on her own.

We finished it off with colored paper strips. In hindsight, I should have tried tissue paper - next time. The construction paper was difficult to wrangle onto our bowl. Our mold is covered with lots of paper and LOTS of paste. Had my hands not been so messy I should have taken a picture of the mess, it was immense!

It may take days, weeks to dry. We'll see.

March 07, 2011

Imaginative Fashion

Shortly after Piper turned three she announced, 'now that I'm three I can get dressed myself.' And so she does. Its actually quite hard to talk her into something other than what she's picked out. Back when she was two, she'd have a day or two here or there where she'd want to pick a shirt or bottom but was happy to wear what I suggested.

I decided I was going to document Piper's outfits for a week or ten days. In the beginning, she obliged me by standing in front of the wall while I snapped away. Shortly after I started, she caught on and refused my request for a daily photo. I let it go and tried again a week or so later. Still Piper wasn't keen on the idea of posing for pictures. We'll just post what we have.

Piper mostly likes to wear anything she can get on herself with ease, she can't always get buttons buttoned which is frustrating to her. Skirts and dresses are on the top of her list. On the rare off day, she completely shocks me and puts on something rather tame, like jeans and a shirt. More often than not, completely weather inappropriate clothes are chosen - no tights, short sleeve or just an undershirt, even shorts or capri pants now that we've started gathering for the upcoming seasons.

Some days its fashionable to wear your pants backwards. I asked if she was into Kris Kross. She said yea. I'm sure she doesn't know them. Maybe she's channeling my older brother circa 1994.

She loves loud, colorful, patterned pieces together. She's in love with accessories. Earring, necklaces, bracelets, rings, scarves, headbands (which she claims tames her crazy hair without needing to be combed), hats - you name it. She likes them in mass quantities some days.

A third googly eye? Why not.

Piper thinks fancy is tie-die - really she came to that idea on her own.

Excuse the cookie dough face.

Mostly we don't mind her choices. We let Piper go out of the house in whatever she chooses - so long as her legs are covered. She does not have much love for tights or leggings. Not even the really cute ones I got her after she started wearing skirts daily. We're happy to let her be herself. At three you have so little you get to decide for yourself - why not let her outfit be another thing she gets almost total control over.

Sure Piper gets lots of comments or looks and smiles or chuckles. Other moms or older women will tell her they like her outfit. I think over all people understand that Piper's dressing herself and expressing herself via imaginative fashion. Even on days when she wears a dress-up dress, costume or safari hat. People get it, accept it. Now if I wore that out I may not get the same response. How wonderful that she's completely accepted for her creativity and encouraged to do it.

Piper has even on occasion chosen what Calder wears. This day it was their champions shirts (complements of my Packer fan folks!) and skirts. Yea, Calder went along with it and wore a skirt.