Homemade Wind Chimes

Lewis loves chimes. Whenever we hear them from the neighbor’s apartments when we play outside he gets excited and tells me “ding!” He also loves the ones hanging on the porch at Grandma and Grandpa’s house in Vermont, and this was the first thing he noticed when we pulled into the driveway there last weekend.

Today he was helping me unload the dishwasher and we noticed how the silverware makes a nice ding sound when knocked together. I commented on how it sounded like chimes, then asked if he thought we should make our own chimes. YES!

Of course he then wanted to abandon our dishwasher task and make some chimes NOW. I finished up with the dishes then told him I would go on my computer to look up instructions for making a wind chime.

He started shaking his head “no, no, no!”

“You want me to be creative and make up some chimes myself?”

“Uh-huh!”

Alright, so I put my thinking hat on and started brainstorming what we had and what we could use. We obviously would need something to hang the chimes off of (knitting needles? an embroidery hoop?), something to hang it with (easy – yarn!), something to make the sound (something metal – cookie cutters? crochet hooks!)

(Side note: I am loving his outfit today! He doesn't often give much input on what he wants to wear, but clearly when he does choose it is spectacular. )

(Side note: I am loving his outfit today! He doesn’t often give much input on what he wants to wear, but when he does choose it is spectacular. )

After poking around a bit I came across some popsicle sticks. Perfect, except now Lewis was demanding Booba milk popsicles. Sorry bud, we don’t have any of those.

I got out a few colors of yarn and started connecting two of the sticks basically using the method to make a “God’s Eye”I then simply tied pieces of yarn on the end of each stick with a loop tied into each piece of yarn and then hung a crochet hook off each. (Three size K hooks and one size J although I’m pretty sure there are one or two more size K around here somewhere.) Obviously if you don’t happen to have a surplus of crochet hooks lying around there are plenty of other things that could be hung to make noise, including the silverware we were putting away earlier.

I hung it up higher first but quickly realized it needed to be at Lewie-height or I would be holding him up in the air all day for him to jingle it.

I hung it up higher first but quickly realized it needed to be at Lewie-height or I would be holding him up in the air all day for him to jingle it.

Lewis loved his little chime and spent a lot of the day playing with it. We hung it up for a while but really he preferred carrying it around and especially spinning around while holding it.

The acrylic yarn I used turned out to be a bit slippy so the knots came untied a few times and eventually I added some masking tape to hold everything in place. This was a very quick and easy little toy to make, and I think Lewis will get many more days enjoyment from it!

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Photo Friday And Happy 1 Year!

Happy Friday everyone! I hope you have had a better week than we have. Lewis is absolutely hating being sick and has been miserable most of yesterday and today. As I mentioned in my previous post he has figured out how to blow his nose. Unfortunately, he has also decided not to do so and thinks that even getting the drippy snot wiped is torture, although he also thinks that having that drippy snot there is terrible as well. We are coping as best we can, reading lots of books, watching some Paddington Bear dvds that Grandma P. got for him, and offering lots of snuggles which he rejects most of the time. His foods of choice this week are applesauce, frozen peas and corn straight from the freezer (they’re no good if you cook them), and jelly licked off toast. Besides that he is not eating much and sadly not nursing much either because he gets too frustrated at not being able to breathe and nurse at the same time. We have taken much fewer photos this week than usual, since we have been too busy wiping noses.

On a happier note: As the title mentions, WordPress has informed me that my blog is 1 year old as of today! To celebrate I am including the first photo I ever posted, way back when:

Om nom nom! I have come to eat your laptop!

Om nom nom! I have come to eat your laptop!

Pre-cold fun with bubbles and straws.

Pre-cold fun with bubbles and straws.

We found Daddy's ear buds on a shelf, so I plugged them into my laptop and showed Lewis what they are for.

We found Daddy’s ear buds on a shelf, so I plugged them into my laptop and showed Lewis what they are for.

Baby's new look: Snowman pajamas and pretty beads.

Baby’s new look: Snowman pajamas and pretty beads.

This pretty accurately shows how he has been feeling the past couple days.

This pretty accurately shows how he has been feeling the past couple days.

Colds are not fun.

Colds are not fun.

Photo Friday

Happy Friday everyone! Here are some more cute Lewie photos to end your week with a smile. Seems we had a busy week together this week. I always think I haven’t taken many photos throughout the week, then I load them onto my laptop, find that there are nearly 150 pictures, and realize that I am more addicted to the camera than I thought! Somehow this happens every week though – I worry that I won’t have “enough” photos right up to the point where I realize there are too many cute ones to choose from! Enjoy!

Trying to organize the closet one day, Lewis and I realized that his giraffe costume from Halloween still fits! What fun to wear it around for a while one day, while collecting a pile of his favorite things - blankets!

Trying to organize the closet one day, Lewis and I realized that his giraffe costume from Halloween still fits! What fun to wear it around for a while one day, while collecting a pile of his favorite things – blankets!

He likes to put letters/mail into the door slot for himself. Then he walks a loop through the apartment/kitchen and comes back to the door to collect his mail. Which he then sticks back in the mail slot.

He likes to put letters/mail into the door slot for himself. Then he walks a loop through the apartment/kitchen and comes back to the door to collect his mail. Which he then sticks back in the mail slot.

We are having lots of fun with flashlights recently. Never a dull moment when you can look at cobwebs under the bed and dressers!

We are having lots of fun with flashlights recently. Never a dull moment when you can look at cobwebs under the bed and dressers!

"Wow, look at all those huge icicles hanging off the roof! I want to eat all of them!"

“Wow, look at all those huge icicles hanging off the roof! I want to eat all of them!”

Hmm looks like we got a bit snowy even though we stayed on the paths. Silly mommy needs to learn that yes, we do always need snow pants!

Hmm looks like we got a bit snowy even though we stayed on the paths. Silly mommy needs to learn that yes, we do always need snow pants!

"Here mom, let me help you get out a band-aid for your finger."

“Here mom, let me help you get out a band-aid for your finger.”

He spotted this in the closet so we took it out and I showed him how he used to lie under it and kick the keys.

He spotted this in the closet so we took it out and I showed him how he used to lie under it and kick the keys.

He likes to join Daddy in the mornings and steal some of his Cheerios while watching the news. Today Dad was already in the shower when we got up, so Lewis requested to sit on the couch in Daddy's spot with his own bowl of Cheerios.

He likes to join Daddy in the mornings and steal some of his Cheerios while watching the news. Today Dad was already in the shower when we got up, so Lewis requested to sit on the couch in Daddy’s spot with his own bowl of Cheerios.

Sounds Of The Wild

We have been feeling very cooped up and trapped inside recently with the cold cold temperatures we have been having. So when we saw that it would be a nice warm 30 degrees this morning I decided we had better get outside while we had the chance!

Almost as soon as we stepped out the door Lewis heard a crow in a nearby tree, and as we listened to the crow we started picking up the sounds of other things around us too. Lewis doesn’t have a lot of words yet, but he loves to practice using his voice by imitating the sounds around him.

Despite the “warm” temperature it was very windy outside so after making some footprints in the snow and of course eating a little of it (Lewis, not me) we headed back indoors. Even though Lewis was clearly not enjoying the cold snowy wind blowing on him, he was reluctant to come in since we have had so few chances to play in the snow recently. Then I came up with the idea to bring some of the snow in with us, which he apparently thought was a good solution.

I brought him in then grabbed our smaller sensory bin, scooped some snow into it, and sat him down on a big towel with the bin and a few toys. Perfect.

"I'm supposed to dig with this? I thought it was just a really big spoon to eat the snow with!"

“I’m supposed to dig with this? I thought it was just a really big spoon to eat the snow with!”

We played with some scoops and things in the snow and also added in some of his plastic animals. The animals made footprints in the snow just like we did outside! He had a lot more fun playing with his container of snow than he did when we tried this a year ago.  (Wow, he looks so tiny in those pictures!)

Unfortunately the temperature is supposed to drop again over the next few days, but then they are predicting for next weekend to be a little warmer again so I guess we won’t be trapped indoors forever.

Photo Saturday

[Oops! I have once again missed a Photo Friday posting. I blame the fact that Chris is on vacation this week which means the days are blurred together a bit more and I haven’t really been keeping track of what day it is. So, this week we have Photo Saturday instead!]

"Let me play Daddy!"

“Let me play Daddy!”

Lewis decided it was time for a walk, so he pushed his stroller over near the door and tried to climb in!

Lewis decided it was time for a walk, so he pushed his stroller over near the door and tried to climb in!

"Sledding" down a pile of snow on his butt.

“Sledding” down a pile of snow on his butt.

Yay, snow!

Yay, snow!

Lewis love, love, loves coloring with markers! He demands we get them out several times a day to create beautiful masterpieces.

Lewis love, love, loves coloring with markers! He demands we get them out several times a day to create beautiful masterpieces.

Toys For Boys

We are home now from a lovely week spent in VT with my family. Two “Christmas”es, two feasts, lots of wonderful time spent with my parents, siblings, etc.

Lewis is getting really comfortable with all his aunts and uncles and Grandma and Grandpa now. He is especially attached to Auntie Anna, possibly partly because hers is the only name he can say. I have been hearing all about “NaNa, NaNa!” ever since we saw her at Thanksgiving, so spending another week with her has further cemented his love. We got back Sunday afternoon, and Monday morning he was repeatedly pointing to the door saying “vrrrm, vrrrm.” (Asking to go in the car.) When we started getting ready to head to the store for groceries he then began asking for NaNa.

Besides the great family time, we also of course had Christmas presents to enjoy. For Lewis this meant getting way too many presents, although they were all wonderful things that he will enjoy. Most of them came from Chris and myself, but he also got more than I expected from everyone else. (Although as one of my sisters pointed out, I should have expected this since he is the only baby in the family. Of course he is going to get spoiled by everyone!) On top of the gifts received, Lewis also had access to some of our childhood toys and things that are still in my parents house.

With all this toy shopping, gift receiving, etc. it is interesting to see which toys he favors and how these choices relate to “girl toys” vs. “boy toys” and such. (I also got “Pink Brain, Blue Brain” by Lise Eliot, Ph.D. as one of my gifts, so this probably contributes to the fact that this topic is on my mind.) So far Lewis’ toys have pretty much all fallen into the “gender neutral” category.  He had a few small cars and some balls (which apparently are categorized as “boy toys”?), and loves coloring which is considered a “girl” activity, but besides that it is all animals, puzzles, blocks, music toys, books, etc. It seems that toys for younger babies and toddlers are thankfully often closer to being “gender neutral” and as children grow older there is more and more of a divide. This divide partially reflects the natural differences in the preferences and play styles of the different sexes, but also plays into it and creates even more of a divide.

So how do Lewis’ new Christmas toys fit into these categories of girl/boy/etc.? It seems we have managed to keep a pretty close balance, sticking close to “neutral” territory.

He got a three new trucks, which fall firmly in the “boy toy” category and are definitely his biggest stereotypical boy interest. He started getting interested in construction vehicles a few months ago after seeing some trucks at work every time we walk to Starbucks or the grocery store. He’s been making car/truck sounds for a while now, and often random items become “cars” to drive around, including pieces of food, a coat hanger, a block, etc.

In the “girl toy” category is his new toy vacuum. Generally housekeeping items are favored by girls, as well as play food/kitchens/etc. (He does enjoy playing with my kitchen things as well as pretending to feed his stuffed animals, but we chose not to get a play kitchen yet due to limited space.) But he loves helping me when I vacuum so we new a vacuum of his own would be a hit!

Comparing his own vacuum with the extension from Grandma & Grandpa's.

Comparing his own vacuum with the extension from Grandma & Grandpa’s.

The rest of his toys, I think, fall into the neutral category. Wooden blocks, a few more books, small animal figures, a T-Rex puppet, animal fridge magnets, and a crawling tunnel.

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I’m pretty happy that his interests are still so diverse and he hasn’t yet been effected by societies expectations of what a boy should like and do. In some ways he does already fulfill stereotypical ideas of what a boy will be like: active, noisy, likes trucks and dinosaurs and monsters. But really, he is just his own person and that is what I love. I look forward to seeing him grow up, and hope I can help him keep a balanced personality and enjoyment in all types of activities and interests.

Christmas Spirit

Things are starting to get Christmas-y around here! I wasn’t sure how much Lewis would “get” Christmas this year, but he seems to be loving everything to do with it (whether he actually understands it or not.) Snow, Santa, reindeer, Christmas trees, wreaths, Christmas lights, etc. etc. – it’s all amazing to him! To be fair, he was super excited about all the Halloween decorations we saw all fall, but I think he is even more excited now by the Christmas trees and lights and everything.

Growing up the month of December was always filled with festive activities. My siblings and parents and I would all brainstorm activities like “bake cookies,” “make paper snowflakes,” “sing carols,” and “go sledding,” which would then be written on strips of red and green paper and made into a big paper chain. Each day leading up to Christmas we would take down one loop from the chain and that would be the day’s activity.

I look forward to doing this in future years with Lewis, when he will be able to help with it more and enjoy the tradition of it. This year I haven’t been so organized/routine with our activities, but we have been doing a variety of festive activities with plenty more to come!

Chris and I have yet to get a Christmas tree since we always travel for Christmas, but this year I decided we should at least put up some lights! Before hanging up the lights I used them in two photo shoots with Lewis, trying to get some good pictures for this year’s Christmas cards. It was fun, but I definitely got more blurry photos than anything else! I posted a couple pictures from photo shoot #1 on photo Friday, and here is one from our second photo shoot the next day:

Too bad Mr. Snowman is the only one not blurry! Lewis has been loving this snowman box and carrying it all around playing with it.

Too bad Mr. Snowman is the only one not blurry! Lewis has been loving this snowman box and carrying it all around playing with it.

Once we were done with the photos, I hung the lights up in our living room. I had first thought to hang a strand in each of our front windows, but then realized they wouldn’t work with the blinds there. So instead I’ve hung one strand between the living room and “dining room,” and have a second strand that I haven’t quite figured out where to hang yet.

We’ve been listening to Christmas radio stations  and playing the Laurie Berkner Band Christmas CD during the day. I’ve also been singing Rudolph The Red Nose Reindeer and Jingle Bells a lot as they are the only songs I seem to remember the words to.

Lewis is fascinated with reindeer. One of our neighbors (with a 4 year old boy) has put antlers and a red nose on their car. Lewis and I watched reindeer videos on youtube one day as well which he loved.

We also decided to paint our own wrapping paper with a big piece of paper that was used as packing material in a box we got recently.

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We both seemed to get a bit messy from the paint. I had a tiny handprint on my pants (hurray for washable paint) and Lewis needed a bath when we were done.

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I made a big batch of sugar cookies on Friday. Half of them I baked and decorated Friday, the rest I baked yesterday and still need to get around to frosting them.

Hopefully I will get around to frosting them tomorrow, but it depends how the day plays out. Lewis has his 15-month appointment/vaccinations first thing in the morning. He’s finally getting some of his molars in (one on top and one on bottom as far as I can tell) and his sleep schedule has been a bit out of whack, but I’m hoping for him to take some good long naps tomorrow.

Plenty more Christmas activities still to come including a cotton ball sensory bin (which he played in with Daddy a bit tonight), tissue paper ornaments, Christmas books, and some red and/or green playdough if I ever get around to making it!