Photo Friday

It’s Friday, which means it’s time for more cute Lewis photos! This week has been all about things that Lewis can keep busy with while I sit on my butt near by, which has looked like a lot of playing out in front of our apartment with me observing from my lawn chair. Last weekend also included a lot of outside time, but Chris was home so Lewis got a bit more interaction.

The pool opened last weekend and even though we knew the water would be frigid Chris and Lewis decided to give it a try (while I sat in a comfy chair watching the action.) Lewis was rather cautious at first, but eventually decided he loved the water. He also found it rather fascinating that there were bugs in the water. He wanted to rescue all the live ones, and wanted daddy to swish away the dead ones. I joined them to watch (and take pictures) the first day they went, but when they decided to go again the next day I didn’t tag along. It sounds like they had even more fun that day though since they found some pool noodles to play with and Lewis even attempted some solo swimming while hanging on a noodle! I’ll probably send the two of them out again this weekend if the weather is warm enough, although the idea of a freezing cold swim isn’t quite appealing to me at the moment.

Checking for bugs. Not quite ready to get in that cold water!

Checking for bugs. Not quite ready to get in that cold water!

This is about as deep as they got on the first day. Lewis just wanted to go up and down the steps, and thought it was hilarious how his shorts kept filling with air that would then bubble out when he got back in.

This is about as deep as they got on the first day. Lewis just wanted to go up and down the steps, and thought it was hilarious how his shorts kept filling with air that would then bubble out when he got back in.

Showing off his new octopus towel, and some silly faces.

Showing off his new octopus towel, and some silly faces.

Time to wash the car! (Or just get soaked playing with the water.)

Time to wash the car! (Or just get soaked playing with the water.)

Helping Daddy.

Helping Daddy.

Antennae!

Antennae!

I've been rather overheated this pregnancy and enjoying a lot of popsicles, which Lewis thinks is great. he eats them quite slowly though so ends up with melty drippy popsicle juice all over himself and the ground!

I’ve been rather overheated this pregnancy and enjoying a lot of popsicles, which Lewis thinks is great. he eats them quite slowly though so ends up with melty drippy popsicle juice all over himself and the ground!

Awesome dance moves? I'm not really sure what he was doing!

Awesome dance moves? I’m not really sure what he was doing!

We had a rain storm and Lewis thought it was the greatest thing ever that I let him go out and get soaked.

We had a rain storm and Lewis thought it was the greatest thing ever that I let him go out and get soaked.

Playing in the rain is awesome!

Playing in the rain is awesome!

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Photo Friday

Hello all! This week has gone by quickly (although the first few days felt slow) and very few pictures have been taken. Consequently most of these photos are all from one day, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing anyway. 🙂

Lewis and I both had a stomach bug at the start of the week. It hit me much harder than it did him which is good because I think taking care of a sick toddler may actually be worse than being sick yourself.

We’ve been enjoying more nice weather and once again spending as much time outdoors as possible. Lewis gets coated head to toe in mud at some point nearly every day, and he has also been enjoying the chance to play with his friend J in the evenings after he is home from school and Lewis’ nap time is done.

Run run run!

Run run run!

Self-chosen outfit. It was a blue and orange kind of day apparently!

Self-chosen outfit. It was a blue and orange kind of day apparently!

Finding rocks and bugs and other interesting things.

Finding rocks and bugs and other interesting things.

He was very excited to find sticks shaped like a "f" and a "downercase h." He loves finding sticks and other things that looks like letters, then carries them around making the phonics sound of that letter and sometimes coming up words that start with it. :)

He was very excited to find sticks shaped like a “f” and a “downercase h.” He loves finding sticks and other things that looks like letters, then carries them around making the phonics sound of that letter and sometimes coming up words that start with it. 🙂

I heard him yelling to me from the other room "Mama, come get ready to box an ox! Get ready!" Came into the room to find this. Yarn cones obviously = boxing gloves.

I heard him yelling to me from the other room “Mama, come get ready to box an ox! Get ready!” Came into the room to find this. Yarn cones obviously = boxing gloves.

The charm of finding dandelions has not yet worn off.

The charm of finding dandelions has not yet worn off.

Photo Friday

Happy Friday again everyone! Our lovely spring weather has taken a bit of a turn this week with rain off and on for a few days and chilly temperatures yesterday and today. We’ve even had a few snow flurries! We’ve still managed to get outside a bit each day but it is less enticing with this weather. Lewis’ focus when playing outside has shifted from digging in the mud to looking under rocks and clumps of dirt/grass that the plows dug up in a hunt for worms. We also conducted a worm rescue mission one day when we went out to puddle splash and Lewis noticed all the worms in puddles and on the pavement. He was very focused on collecting any worm that was still wiggling and bringing it safely back to the grass/dirt. Today while we were out he was telling the robins not to eat any worms because the worms are his friends.

Since we’ve been a bit more cooped up inside this week we’ve been keeping busy with some art and sensory play. We’ve played with rice in the sensory bin, blew bubbles, painted, colored, and tried out a new playdoh recipe. It looks like the weather will be warming up a bit again this weekend, so we are looking forward to the chance to get back outside and burn off a little more of the endless toddler energy! (Bonus: I can send Lewis outside with daddy while I find somewhere comfortable to sit and put my feet up. I’m in week 33 of this pregnancy and starting to feel rather whale-like.)

We played at the elementary school playground last weekend and Lewis discovered a new love of the giant twisty slide!

We played at the elementary school playground last weekend and Lewis discovered a new love of the giant twisty slide!

He's also getting really good at climbing, but starts to get a bit nervous once he feels like he's high up and hasn't fully mastered the confidence of climbing back down again.

He’s also getting really good at climbing, but starts to get a bit nervous once he feels like he’s high up and hasn’t fully mastered the confidence of climbing back down again.

We blew up a few balloons and Lewis had a blast running and chasing with them and seeing Daddy try to juggle them.

We blew up a few balloons and Lewis had a blast running and chasing with them and seeing Daddy try to juggle them.

Tired out after so much playing! Time for a brief quiet break on the couch.

Tired out after so much playing! Time for a brief quiet break on the couch.

Did I mention we have a "big boy" now?! Last weekend we moved his bed out of our bedroom and into a room of his own. He has been doing absolutely fantastic sleeping in his own room all week!

Did I mention we have a “big boy” now?! Last weekend we moved his bed out of our bedroom and into a room of his own. He has been doing absolutely fantastic sleeping in his own room all week!

"There's blood all over my hand. I'm a zombie!"

“There’s blood all over my hand. I’m a zombie!”

Dry cornstarch has a really interesting texture. He liked that it made a squeaking sort of sound when he squeezed it in his hand.

Dry cornstarch has a really interesting texture. He liked that it made a squeaking sort of sound when he squeezed it in his hand.

Dinos and playdoh: entertainment for hours!

Dinos and playdoh: entertainment for hours!

Blowing a big mound of frothy bubbles in a little dish of bubble solution.

Blowing a big mound of frothy bubbles in a little dish of bubble solution.

 

Photo Friday

And I now return you to your regularly scheduled post of Lewis-cuteness on a Friday!

We had a couple of “warm” days this week when Lewis and I were able to get outside while it was all the way up to 15 or 20 degrees and no wind, instead of the -25 with windchill that we’ve been having! We played out in the snow on Tuesday and walked the the library Wednesday, and were both very happy for the chance to get out of the house. Yesterday and today have returned us to the land of mega winds and sub-zero temperatures however, so we are stuck back inside. Here are a few photos of how we are keeping busy this week!

A bubble bath, and a look of intense concentration as he watched the water pour out the holes of the cup.

A bubble bath, and a look of intense concentration as he watched the water pour out the holes of the cup.

Lewis has recently started actually building things when given different types of blocks and building materials, rather than just waiting for us to make a tower he can knock down. I was washing dishes as he played and when I came over to see what he was up to he proudly told me he had made "Uncle Kenny on his ski mountain." (These are magnetic Tegu blocks. We love them!)

Lewis has recently started actually building things when given different types of blocks and building materials, rather than just waiting for us to make a tower he can knock down. I was washing dishes as he played and when I came over to see what he was up to he proudly told me he had made “Uncle Kenny on his ski mountain.” (These are magnetic Tegu blocks. We love them!)

Bubble blowing! This was a favorite outdoor activity in the summer and we are now loving it as a way to keep busy inside as well. Lewis is getting better and better at actually blowing the bubbles!

Bubble blowing! This was a favorite outdoor activity in the summer and we are now loving it as a way to keep busy inside as well. Lewis is getting better and better at actually blowing the bubbles!

In-air shot as he leaps onto a pile of pillows. Wheee!

In-air shot as he leaps onto a pile of pillows. Wheee!

Another action shot.

Another action shot.

A glimpse at our messy living room as well as the ridiculous number of pillows we own, seen here fashioned into a very long caterpillar.

A glimpse at our messy living room as well as the ridiculous number of pillows we own, seen here fashioned into a very long caterpillar.

 

Shape Games For Toddlers

Lewis has been pretty interested in both colors and shapes for a while now, which brings out the preschool teacher in me and the desire to create “games” to help him work on these interests and reinforce his learning of these concepts.

He is able to point to many shapes when asked to find them although doesn’t really have any shape words yet in his vocabulary. If asked what a star is though he makes twinkly hand motions like you would for the song “twinkle twinkle little star.” He can point to many colors as well and has also begun saying a few color words, although rather unclearly and it is hard to type an approximation of his words. Blue is “broo” or “boo” or something similar, green is something close to “dzzz” but not quite that, and orange is some kind of sound in his throat. I guess what is important is that he uses these “words” consistently, so it is all part of his building language.

I’ve made a few games for him to work on these concepts, some quick and impromptu like sorting colored pom-poms onto colored pieces of paper (which he was completely uninterested in) and some with a little more preparation and planning.

The first one I want to share was something I actually made way back in November. We traveled out to spend most of a week at my Aunt and Uncle’s house for Thanksgiving, and before going I decided I wanted some “new” toys/games to help keep Lewis occupied in a new place, but they needed to be things that were easy to pack. I’ve seen a lot of awesome examples of “busy books” for young kids, and also file folder games for older kids, so I decided to basically combine these concepts and make some file folder games for Lewis. I made one with a farm scene and some farm animal cut-outs, one with roads drawn on it and some pictures of cars to drive around, and one with shape matching.

Chris had fun playing with the animals on the farm scene.

Chris had fun playing with the animals on the farm scene.

Alright, that photo has nothing to do with the shape games, but it amuses me since it looks like Chris is sitting there playing by himself. You can see little tip of Lewis’ yellow sock toes at the edge of the photo, standing there thinking about whether he wants to join in with Daddy or just go climb up the staircase again.

Shape matching.

Shape matching.

For the shape game I cut some shapes out of sheets of craft foam, then traced them onto the file folder and colored them in to match. (The rectangle I had to paint with white paint since coloring with white on a manila folder is pretty much useless.) This can be used for independent play, or in a more guided way with me asking Lewis to find/match specific shapes. I made the shapes each a different color as well both to help differentiate them more and make matching a bit easier and also to help reinforce color names at the same time as working on shapes. “Can you find where this blue triangle matches?”, “Which one is the green circle?”, etc. I wrote the shape names by each even though he is nowhere near being able to read (he is just now beginning to show a tiny bit of interest in letters) because it is important for young kids to see print in the environment and be familiar with seeing words and letters, even if they have no idea what they are at first. Even a few months after I made it, this game can still keep Lewis busy for 5 or 10 minutes sometimes when I pull it out, which is a long time in our world!

The second shape game that I came up with is more recent and it is a much more physical game. Gross-motor shape practice.

For Christmas one of Lewis’ aunts gave him a small package of washi tapes (because all toddlers love tape and sticky things!) and I realized one day that these tapes would be great for making patterns or shapes on the floor. I tried it first on the carpets but it didn’t stick very well, so we moved our game in to the kitchen floor. If you don’t have colorful washi tape masking tape works just as well, with the added bonus of actually sticking on carpeted areas.

Lewis finding the triangle.

Lewis finding the triangle.

I stuck mostly with straight-sided shapes since they are easier to create with tape, although I did get brave and make a heart. I tried to make the shapes pretty big and well spaced out because I wanted to the game to involve some gross-muscle movement.

"Can you stomp on the rectangle?"

“Can you stomp on the rectangle?”

I started off by just showing him each shape I had made and naming it, and having him help me identify them. Most of these shapes he knows pretty well, but “diamond” is one we haven’t practiced much and he tends to mix up “triangle” and “rectangle.”

Once we had identified all the shapes, I moved on to the more fun part of the game. I started asking him to do things like “jump on the heart”, “bang on the square”, “sing on the star”, etc. I basically just went with whatever random action came to mind and picked a shape for him to do that on. He loved it! After we played for a bit and had done actions on each shape a few times, I joined in with him. “Look, I am tiptoeing on the triangle!”, “Let’s both dance on the rectangle!” He loved seeing Mommy join in and get playing too.

"Where is that square?"

“Where is that square?”

After a while we added another element by bringing in our shape cut-outs (plus a couple extra that I quickly cut from some construction paper) and doing some shape matching. He is very good at matching and often seems to notice the similarities between things, but he still had fun with this.

We did this activity about a month ago and it is obvious that he enjoyed it and it made an impression on him because he has requested it again since then, bringing both his tapes and his shape cut-outs in to the kitchen floor to show me that we should play with them there.

The tapes held up quite well on the floor and we were able to leave them there 2 or 3 days before the edges started peeling. Then we had fun together pulling them up from the floor – another great way to help develop those little toddler muscles!

Outdoor Adventure

We’ve been lucky to have some warm-ish weather this past week. It’s starting to cool off a bit although it is still nice and sunny today, but Monday was a really beautiful day.

We went out for a walk and a trip to the grocery store before Lewis’ morning nap. He does really great going to the store in his stroller and rarely gets fussy, but I do try to make it as quick as possible. After getting our groceries we stopped and watched the construction going on outside, where they tore down an empty Friendly’s restaurant and are now creating more parking lot space. Lewis loves to watch the trucks every time we go by, especially the excavators! We got lucky and they were using the big excavator to scoop up dirt into a dump truck, so we watched that for a bit before heading home for nap time.

Later in the afternoon I decided it was time to get out for some play time. We’ve got to take advantage of this nice weather while we have it! Who knows when more cold or even snowy weather will show up. (Although of course we will play in the snow as well this year.)

We got bundled up and headed outside. I find Lewis cooperates better if I let him pick which jacket/hat/etc. to wear. He chose a bright orange sweater and his blue hat. (He loves the fluffy pom-pom.) When we got outside he checked in with the dirt in my empty flower pots and then almost immediately headed over to the storm drain. He loves finding tiny things to drop in. I figure little leaves and berries and such won’t hurt anything but I don’t let him drop in big rocks or sticks or anything that might clog up the drain.

IMG_1583After we played by the drain for a while I suggested we continue walking and Lewis took off running along the side of the parkinglot/driveway/whatever. We ran into one of our neighbors and stopped to chat for a bit but after about 5 minutes Lewis got antsy so we continued on our adventure.

Once I put him down he took off at a run again, clearly with somewhere in mind to go. We made brief stops at two more storm drains, then he climbed up the big hill to the gate without asking for any help. Once we got through the gate into the outside world he started heading towards the road so I scooped him up, helped him look for cars, and then crossed when it was safe.

On the other side of the road is the grocery store we had walked to earlier and the construction, so I figured he was on a mission to go look at the trucks again.

IMG_1588The excavator was at work again, but after looking for about 5 seconds he decided it was too exciting to be over in this area without his stroller, and explored all the bushes/landscaping in the strip of grass between the sidewalk and parkinglot.

We found a lot of fun things to explore including bushes with berries, old dried up flowers still on the plants, pine trees to crawl under, woodchips, and lots of acorns!

"I know I can't eat these berries and Mommy doesn't really want me picking them, but they are super interested so I'm going to touch them with my open 'gentle' hands."

“I know I can’t eat these berries and Mommy doesn’t really want me picking them, but they are super interesting so I’m going to touch them with my open ‘gentle’ hands.”

Prickly dry flowers.

Prickly dry flowers.

After we explored for a while we started feeling pretty chilly from the wind, so we started heading back towards home. I carried him back up the sidewalk, across the street and to the gate, but then he wanted to get down and be on the move again.

Blurry photo of the big hill he walked up before, and also walked back down all on his own without a problem.

Blurry photo of the big hill he walked up before, and also walked back down all on his own without a problem.

He did a great job staying on track to head back to the apartment, with just one slight distraction looking at a bench.

He is fascinated with screws holding things together, and points them out where ever he spots them. "Bew, bew."

He is fascinated with screws holding things together, and points them out where ever he spots them. “Bew, bew.”

I had such a fun time going on this little adventure with him. I loved that I could just let him explore where he wanted to go and completely just follow his lead. I tried to take him out again yesterday, but he was too wrapped up in playing with sponges and duckies, and had no interest in going outside so we ended up staying in. I will definitely get us back outdoors for some more fun today though!

 

 

 

 

Photo Friday

Pots, pans, and pom-poms. Some of our favorite toys!

Pots, pans, and pom-poms. Some of our favorite toys!

"I'm so silly sitting in this tray of pom-poms!"

“I’m so silly sitting in this tray of pom-poms!”

He wore his monster coat for a walk one day and insisted on keeping it on for a while after we got home.

He wore his monster coat for a walk one day and insisted on keeping it on for a while after we got home.

Tape paths on the floor. Keeping busy one evening waiting for Daddy to come home. He didn't quite "get" following the paths, but had a ton of fun running back and forth through the room!

Tape paths on the floor. Keeping busy one evening waiting for Daddy to come home. He didn’t quite “get” following the paths, but had a ton of fun running back and forth through the room!

Ready to throw the ball to Mama.

Ready to throw the ball to Mama.

"Hello, are there any chipmunks down in this hole?"

“Hello, are there any chipmunks down in this hole?”

Cutie under the picnic table.

Cutie under the picnic table.