Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Piper, The Gymnast

Addy started gymnastics last fall in an effort to find her something school-like to do while Piper was in preschool.  She was pretty jealous of the fact that Piper got to go to “’cool,” so we called it Addy’s school for a while.  Of course, that was secondary to the fact that I had a one year old who was, literally, climbing the walls of my house and needed an outlet.  And to learn to move correctly.  And, you know, learn to fall correctly.  The first several sessions I found myself saying “There is no way Piper would have been willing to do this when she was Addy’s age…”  She has thrived in gymnastics!


As the year went on, Addy would learn a new skill and come home to practice.  Piper always wanted to take part, too, an often learned whatever it was that Addy was doing.  Because of school, I think, her willingness to try new things and stretch outside of her comfort zone was improving dramatically.  And with the end of school (Piper didn’t qualify for ESY/summer school), I needed something FUN for Piper to do this summer, too.  Addy’s class is for kids 2-3 1/2; I talked to her teachers and asked if I could bring Piper, too, even though she’s a little older.  My biggest concern was that the class for 3 1/2+ wasn’t a parent-tot class- and I wasn’t sure that Piper would be ready to try all of those new things independently.


On her first day of class, I asked the girls if they BOTH wanted to go to gymnastics.  Addy, of course, squealed with delight.  To my surprise, Piper was almost more excited.  She went into the other room, got her suit, got her backpack, and said “READY!”

She did a thousand times better than I had expected.  There were no meltdowns because it was scary.  She listened and followed directions.  She tried new things.  And she was good.  She was successful in her attempts- she was so tickled with herself!


She’s only been three times so far, but every time we go, I’m surprised at what she’s willing to do.  She’s walked across the uneven parallel bars with her feet on the bottom and her hands on the top- independently.  She bear walks across the parallel bars.  She summersaults, backward rolls, walks across the balance beam- forward and backward.  She balances on one foot on the balance beam.  She swings form the rings, and hangs like a monkey on the bars.  Like all the other kids in the class, she needs a little help and and little reassurance to complete the task, but complete she does!


Her teacher pulled me aside the other day and asked what, exactly, Piper’s diagnosis was.  She went on to say how awesome it was to see Piper working so hard, and that she even had to go home and brag to her husband about how much she’s willing to try.  I couldn’t have been happier or more proud, though, when she said “I’m just so glad she’s here!” 

Yup, it was a good choice to put Piper in the class.  I’m so proud of her!


Monday, June 24, 2013

ALL the tools

My dad has all the tools.  As in, my dad has all the tools. 

And usually not just one of each tool- at least two, and often times three or four of the same thing.

But I digress.

Dad has been up to our house a few times in the past month to help with a few things (thanks, Dad!) and in the process, the girls have seen some of Dad’s “toys.” 

You can imagine their surprise when Nana and Grandpa had a tool set they could play with!DSC_0361

Watch out, Grandpa- someone is going to want to play with wood scraps and wood glue soon!

Betchya can’t…

Bet YOU can’t do this!





Friday, June 14, 2013

The Brunt of OT Practice

I know we have an issue when Piper comes running to find me screaming “MOM!  MOM!  MOM!”  It’s always followed by a (usually intelligible) diatribe about what has transpired. 

Examples include “Addy beep beep beep car!” when Addy had found my car keys and hit the panic button on the key fob.  “Addy PEW!”- I’ll leave that to your imagination.  “Sissy uh oh!” is always a scary one because you have no idea what you’re about to get into- Addy climbing on the kitchen counters, Addy sitting in the bathroom sink, Addy making a mess…

Notice a pattern here?  Obviously, tattling has become the new norm in the house.  So I usually try to ignore it and focus on Piper talking well instead (“Oh, Piper- I like to hear what you have to say!” and then move on without paying attention to the tattle- not sure if it’s working, but I hate to have her speech, which is still very much a struggle, go unnoticed.)

But when Addy’s melting down and Piper comes running toward you hollering “MOM!  Addy PEEEE!” I got a little nervous.

This was not what I had envisioned.


Yeah- Piper had drawn a “P” and a “T” on Addy.  Right dab in the middle of her forehead. 

I have no idea why.


Addy was NOT amused.




Nope, not thrilled in the slightest. 

I didn’t know there’d be collateral damage in fine motor practice…

Monday, June 10, 2013

New Fun Thing of the Week

Sidewalk chalk.  Crappy paint brushes.  Water.  “Oh Boy!” Addy says.

When we were kids, my mom would hand us an old drywall bucket filled with water, set us up with a couple of big, old paint brushes, and tells us to “paint the driveway.” 

I think we spent hours “painting” growing up.  (I do remember the story of how my brother “helped” my parents with the REAL paint one time instead- I think the chain link is still painted after 30 years…)

So when I found five paint brushes for $5 at Walmart, I knew what we needed to do with them.  Then I got the super big pack of the aluminum chaffers from Costco (for about 20 cents a piece, I think) to make easy dipping.DSC_0058


We discovered that coloring with chalk on the water offers a whole new sensation- it’s smoother, and prettier (more vibrant) which both girls enjoyed.  I’ve decided that Crayola makes the BEST sidewalk chalk- it’s so bright!DSC_0060

It’s also fun to draw shapes with the chalk and then paint with water over the top- it makes it all smooth and pretty (okay, so maybe I enjoy this part a little too much…)


Piper has been borderline obsessed with rocks lately- they’re her go-to prop for anything pretend play- babies, food, drink, phones, animals, money…  It was no surprise, then, that she wanted the rocks to play (in whatever capacity she decided at the time), too.  She discovered that when the rocks were wet, they changed color!  She was so excited.  She “painted” lots of rocks figuring out which ones changed to “pretty.”DSC_0063

I think it was about this time that Nana and Grandpa showed up.  And gave the girls the brilliant idea to “wash” my car.  I had one really clean spot on my otherwise filthy car.  It really helped camouflage the dirt!  DSC_0067


They used up all the water on the car and needed more.  Have no fear- Nana to the rescue!  Thanks, Nana, for helping Piper figure out the water sprayer.  I’ve been soaked about a half dozen times since this.  As has Addy.  And maybe the neighbor as they drove down the street.  And I’m pretty sure a baby bunny got in the line of fire once.  We’ll call it fine motor practice- you know, using those hand muscles…


The full tub of water lasted about six seconds before Piper decided to pour it down the driveway.  And then sat in it.  She was not too thrilled that she had a wet bottom.  Darn those natural consequences!


The girls do get a little dirty doing this, but that’s no real surprise.  The chalk washes out of clothes with no issue whatsoever.  Only real word of warning is that if you draw on the sidewalk and paint over the top, the chalk can stay there a LONG time.  Especially here in Colorado when good soaking rains are few and far between.  I think we’ve had “P I” on our driveway for a few weeks- the “P E R” somehow got washed off and left the rest.  We are, admittedly, nerds in this house, but leaving “pi” on the driveway is overdoing it even for us!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

First Melons of SUMMER!

The first slices of watermelon this season came with some speculation.DSC_0328

Piper decided that it was good enough to eat, and dove right in despite being completely exhausted at the end of a long birthday party day.DSC_0337

In fact, she thought it was so good that she downright insisted that Addy take a break from the swing set to have a bite.DSC_0344

That was met with more speculation…DSC_0341

…tentative first tastes…DSC_0342

…and quiet contemplation.DSC_0357

And then…  she found a seed.DSC_0356

Ooooh the horrors!DSC_0352

Not sure she’ll be willing to venture down that avenue again any time soon. 

Piper won’t mind- I’m sure she’d be willing to eat Addy’s share.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Last Day of School!

I’m still not sure how it happened, but Piper’s first year of preschool is OVER!  Last summer before school started, I couldn’t imagine putting Piper in school four days a week, three hours a day.  She had an awfully hard start to the school year, but gradually settled in to her place in the classroom.

She made friends.  She learned a lot.  She gained loads of confidence.  It’s been difficult watching her struggle when it’s been hard, but it’s been so awesome to see her thrive when she succeeds. 

Her last day was a busy one- a performance of a song they were learning in music class (The Green Jelly Bean Song, in case you’re wondering, is one of her favorites right now), graduation for the kids moving on to kindergarten (only three of the sixteen kids will be in class with her again next year), lots and lots of snacks, and then, the culmination of it all, Field Day!

They did all kinds of games with the kindergartners (how fortunate for the kids that their field day was on a day that was slightly cool- the big kids had theirs on the first HOT day of the season!)  I thoroughly enjoyed watching Piper with her friends, even though things were very different and she wasn’t entirely sure what was going on (read: we did a lot of chasing…)

She rocked the races- kept up with the pack just fine, thankyouverymuch (that’s her in the green shirt at the bottom.)  The only one she had a little difficulty with was the hopping one.  She didn’t get out of the start blocks until a second late, so she wanted to catch up to the other kids.  So she ran.  And then realized that she was supposed to be jumping.  So she jumped.  Only problem was that she wasn’t going anywhere.  She was jumping in place.  So she ran.  Which lead to more in-place jumping…  You get the picture.  It was pretty hilarious, actually- and she didn’t mind.  In fact, she was pretty proud of herself when she crossed the finish line!DSC_0600

After a bit of time outdoors, they went in to the gym to swing on the ropes and play on the scooter boards.  If you had told me last year that this would happen this year, I would have called you crazy!  That’s her teacher behind her- took three people to get her on it since it was so high off the ground, but…DSC_0616

…she did it!DSC_0618

And the scooters?  Definitely a big hit!  She was pretty quick on those boards!DSC_0625

Even Addy got in on the fun!DSC_0629

…and me <<ahem>>


We ended the day doing freeze tag in the field.  Which is a rather unfair game to play when you’re the shortest one out there- no one could run through her legs to “unfreeze” her!  So, she resorted to being the group unfreezer- She had no problems with that part!  She thought it was pretty hilarious, too.  Until she tried to go under Addy’s legs. 

It didn’t go over well.

Popsicles provided a nice segue from all the games into goodbyes to all of her friends.  And teachers.  <<sniff sniff>>

What a big year it’s been- can’t wait to see what she learns next year!  Let’s just hope it comes with fewer days spent in the hospital, shall we???

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Stupid Dancing Flowers

My grandparents have these silly flowers and hula girls that dance when they’re in the sun- they’re solar powered, so they live on the window sill in the living room.  In their packaging.

“Why in the packaging?” you ask?  Good question.

This is why:DSC_0444

Addy loves them.  Actually, we’re not sure if she loves the dancers or if she loves taking them out of their packaging.  Either way, the first thing she does is open up those plastic containers and extract the goodies from the inside.

Even if we’re all outside, she’ll sneak inside, take the packages outside, and open them up.DSC_0446


I don’t understand it, but she’s a girl on a mission every time we go to Grandma’s house.DSC_0450

I also think she’s broken several- good thing they’re cheap.  I don’t tell her that, though, because I’m not buying some for her to have at home.  I think it’s a game best annoyed played for the great grandparents.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Oh, Craigslist, How I Love You So!

Every year, I’ve managed to acquire a few outdoor toys for the girls.  When Piper was teensy, I got the Little Tikes toddler slide that’s only about two feet tall.  That slide lives in the backyard and the girls still enjoy it.  Only problem is that, when Piper decides to go down head first (while I cringe in the background) she’s getting a little big for it.

Then last year I got a teeter totter and the Koala Climber.  These live in the front yard and serve the purpose of allowing me to garden out there and the girls can stay entertained.  The climber is good for, well, climbing, but the slide is getting small for both of them.

We knew we needed to up the ante for our backyard fun this year, but I wasn’t sure what we’d be able to find that would fit in our almost miniscule yard.

So in my hunt for the big Little Tyke’s slide (holy moly- people want a FORTUNE for those used!), I stumbled upon this humdinger on Craigslist:DSC_0641

It’s slightly larger than a slide (ha!) but it. is AWESOME.

Luke and his dad drove to Longmont to pick it up.  Addy woke up from her nap just a few minutes before they got back, so she got to “help” set it up.  She helped carry the pieces the backyard…DSC_0180

…and then helped find the appropriate tools for the job.DSC_0184


THEN she got to test it out!  The playhouse works!DSC_0165


The ladder works!DSC_0173

This swing works!DSC_0192

…but this one was toooo low.  (Notice the look of unapproval.  I think she was shaming her father.)DSC_0195

But once that little foible was corrected, things were back on track.  The swings even work for tummy swinging!DSC_0203

Piper (finally) woke up and wanted to test the slide.  But it got too hot in the sun, so she talked her dad into cooling it off with the hose. 

It’s a little fast when it’s wet.


…and she performed her own tests on the swing.  She’s excited!


I’m thinking we’ll have no trouble getting $100 of fun from it.  The only problem we’ve had is convincing them to come inside.  Pretty sure they’d sleep in the darn thing if we’d let them…

Now- who wants to come play?