Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Pinday: Ziploc Painting with Elias

My friend Angie has begun a weekly meme called Pinday, where we write about inspirations we have found on Pinterest.  Seeing as Pinterest is like the best thing ever, I thought it might be neato to post about things I've found on there and since tried.  Not only will this be a great way to share new ideas and recipes, but maybe it'll convince my doubting sister how awesome Pinterest is.  This week's will be a fun activity I did with Elias, found on Pinterest here.

It is so simple it's ridiculous.  Just put a small amount of paint in a gallon-sized ziploc bag.  (I used about 1/4 cup of blue finger paint.)  Lay it flat and spread out the paint so that a thin layer covers the whole bag, and then zip closed with as little air inside as possible.  Done.  Let kid play as desired.
Elias loved drawing with his fingers, and also drawing with cotton swabs, which he'd never really played with before.  I think his favorite thing, though, was making hand prints in the paint.  We also used the cotton swab to write his name, which you'll hear him spelling in the video below, and you could also use it to practice shapes too.  We loved this, and I'll definitely do it again!

One of my favorite things about it was that there was no mess to clean up!  This is not usually the case with paint.  And it's reusable, which is also not usually the case with paint.  Win!

You'll note at the end that he picked it up and looked through it - made me wonder if some kind of stained-glass thingy might be possible with this technique...  I don't think Elias is ready for that yet.  I'll file that away in my "maybe someday" list.

So if any of my blog readers are Pinterest users (and I know there are some!), then consider doing your own Pinday post and linking up on Angie's blog!  The more the merrier!  It doesn't have to be something you've actually done from a Pinday inspiration...  Even just an idea that you like or want to do someday.  Her linky will be open til the end of the week, so blog about something awesome you found on Pinterest.  Every Tuesday - be there!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Parenting a Fallen Soul

As Elias grows, I always say that he gets more fun to parent because he's learning how to express himself and communicate better, his level of understanding is always increasing, and his personality blossoms as he begins to discover his likes and dislikes.  However, something I've really been grappling with this week is that as his personality strengths blossom, we also begin to see his weaknesses and flaws.  Now, before any doting grandparents protest, I have a wonderful, brilliant, beautiful child who I'm very proud of.  BUT he is still a human, and he DOES have flaws.  Some of them are inborn in his personality, and others were made by the environment he has grown up in.  Most are a combination of both.

What has had me really worrying about them right now, though, is next week he starts "school," a Mother's Day Out program at a local church that he'll go to for 3 hours two days a week.  Being an only child who has always been at home with Mommy, he doesn't have much exposure to other kids, or even adults for that matter, and he desperately needs the social instruction that a school environment will give him.  However, I'm concerned about how he'll do, and I'm just afraid it's going to be a difficult adjustment for his teachers and classmates to teach him the appropriate ways to behave in the classroom setting.  Elias isn't a difficult or disruptive child, but he just wants to do his own thing - play by himself his own way.  So we'll just have to see how long it takes for him to get that he's supposed to listen to the teachers, do what they say, and treat his classmates with respect.  I can tell him all day long that he needs to do those things, but it won't mean anything to him until he's put in the situation to actually put those principles into practice.

So worrying about how he's going to do in the classroom has brought to my attention a lot of his selfish and disobedient tendencies that Justin and I have learned how to cope with at home, but his teachers may not be ready for.  I've been fretting about what we could've or should've done differently to raise him better or teach him better, to work harder to get him used to playing with other kids, to teach him about respecting other people.  But the fact remains that he is who he is now, and nothing I do in the next week is going to change how his first day at school goes.  So fretting is clearly not the answer here.  But I believe there is also a deeper issue here, and that's what I'm really trying to grapple with now.

The truth is that my son is a human soul, born sinful and fallen just like the rest of mankind.  Without the redeeming power of Christ and the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit, he WILL be selfish, disobedient, and sinful.  Justin & I can (and will) teach him about the proper way to behave as a functional member of society, but even more important than manipulating his behavior is discipling his heart, teaching him about sin and his need for a Savior, and introducing him to the marvelous hope of God's grace.  Before he was born, we read the book Shepherding a Child's Heart by Tedd Tripp (read my first review here), and I'm working on reading it again - although it was instructive the first time I read it, I can actually put it into practice now.

I recognize that only God can save, can actually change Elias' sinful nature and instead give him the mind of Christ, can actually cause Elias to WANT to be good, kind, respectful, and generous.  On the other hand, it is Justin's and my responsibility as his parents to teach him what is right, to train him in the way he should go, to teach him the truth of the Gospel, and to model for him the Christian life.

Honestly, I'm pretty overwhelmed at the thought.  I often still struggle with my own selfishness, so how on earth am I going to teach Elias that he shouldn't be selfish?  Truly, I don't have much of an answer to that besides lots of prayer and relying on God's grace.  The gravity of the responsibility of being a mother has just become heavily real to me this week, and I'm just sharing about it here.  Motherhood is becoming much less about teaching him basic survival and instead teaching him eternal truths.  That's a big deal, and I just want to do it well.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Piggyback Rides

I'm pretty sure I've mentioned before that Justin is the best dad ever.  Justin roughhouses more than I do, and Justin is stronger to be able to lift and carry Elias in a way that I barely can anymore!  Elias loves taking piggyback rides, and Daddy is especially fun.
They like to stand in front of the mirror and look at themselves with E on Daddy's back - you can tell from their faces that they enjoy doing this!
They always say "That's such a nice picture!" when looking at themselves, so I availed myself of the opportunity to snap one!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Sinister Fudgesicle Face

Elias ate his first Fudgesicle off a stick last week, so I thought the photo opp was pretty good anyways.
But then his fudgy "goatee" made him look so sinister I couldn't help but laugh!  Ha!

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Little Quack

While we're talking about books Elias loves to read, we have in the past couple months discovered the Little Quack series by Lauren Thompson.  We heard the first book in the series at a library storytime, and Elias talked about it for weeks afterward.  So we borrowed the book from the library and discovered there were several others in the series.  It seems that there are two that really stand out as Elias' favorites, though: Little Quack's Bedtime and Little Quack's New Friend.  What's really funny, though, is that he seems to have developed a rule about who can read which book to him.  Apparently ONLY Mommy can read Little Quack's Bedtime and ONLY Daddy can read Little Quack's New Friend. 
Mommy's book
Daddy's book

If either of us tries to read the other book, he'll definitely point out that something is amiss, often grabbing the book out of our hands and running it over to the proper reader.  This is definitely not the first time I've wondered where he comes up with this stuff!!!

Monday, August 08, 2011

Toddler Bible

Elias has a Toddler Bible that he absolutely loves to read!  Well, he loves to read certain stories - namely Adam & Eve and Baby Jesus.  He reads them so much he has them completely memorized!  I had forgotten all about this video I took several months ago until I saw him reading his Bible today.  (Side note: We really love this Bible - it's just perfect for preschoolers!  It also came with a DVD of the Bible stories that Elias enjoys too.)

He's even better at it now than he was then, and he also has the story of Noah down too.  But this is still pretty good stuff!  We're so thankful to have a child who loves reading and knowing God's Word!

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Finger Painting

With the weather being so hot, we can't do much playing outside, so I'm having to get creative with figuring out things to do with Elias!  I'm not creative at all in that department, and generally I avoid anything that might make a mess.  But desperate times call for desperate measures.  One day last week we pulled out the finger paints, and it was actually a REALLY good time!
Elias isn't artistic enough yet to actually try to create something with the paint, so he was just smearing and glopping it randomly on the paper.  He thought it was HILARIOUS, though, when I would say "GLOP!" as he put it on the paper.

It's the simple things, ya know?  (Side note: I didn't realize Justin was filming here - I thought he was taking still photos.  I was trying to mix and red & blue to make purple...)

We still have those paintings proudly on display, though, and Elias still enjoys looking at them.
It was his idea to draw the Bob & Larry - he still gets a big kick out of having them on our door!  :)

Friday, August 05, 2011

Playing in the Sprinkler

I posted a picture here of Elias playing in Nana & Granddad's sprinkler when we visited them in Kentucky last month.  Nana had actually bought a play sprinkler specifically for that purpose, but it had a difficult connector and we couldn't get it hooked to their hose.  So their lawn sprinkler filled in and did just fine.  However, since it wouldn't work at their house, they sent the play sprinkler home with us, and thankfully, we COULD get it to work on our hose!  So now we have a fun sprinkler to play in at our house, and that's awesome with the weather being so hot!  We're getting a lot of use out of it, so for that we're thankful it didn't work at Nana & Granddad's!  :)  Here's video of Elias' first time playing in it:

Thank you, Nana!

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Kentucky Vacation, Part 4: Undocumented Fun

We also had two other special elements to our trip that I have almost zero photo documentation of... because I am a photographic loser.  We spent two days in Georgetown at my parents' house because my sister and her family were also visiting, and it had been several months since we had seen them.  We actually spent the Fourth there.  We grilled out burgers, made homemade ice cream, and even lit our own sparklers!  Here are my two nephews with sparklers - I stole the photos off my sister's Twitter feed!

It was a lot of fun seeing Elias play with his cousins - he's finally starting to catch up to their play level even though they're a few years older than he is.  So I can't wait to see the way their relationship can develop through the years!

Then Justin and I also took a little getaway while we had some free babysitters!  We left Elias with Nana & Granddad and took a night at a bed & breakfast in Paducah.  We saw a movie (Larry Crowne), went out to eat at several really neat places, and had a great time just the two of us!  I have absolutely no pictures of that, but we enjoyed ourselves, and Elias did really great with Justin's parents.  So that was a blessing.  Great times with great family!  :)

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Kentucky Vacation, Part 3: Family Fun

I may have mentioned it before, but the older Elias gets, the more fun he has when we go to visit family.  He remembers them and is glad to see them!  So he had a great time playing with Nana & Granddad.
Driving "Terence the Tractor" (a Thomas character) with Granddad

Drawing a stick man with Granddad

Nice hugs for Nana
Nana had the most adorable little hooded towel that Elias used after his bath...  What a cutie!
Then for July 4th, Justin took Elias to the gravesite of Matthew Lyon, a local Revolutionary War hero.
You can read Justin's blog about it here.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Kentucky Vacation, Part 2: Water Fun

The weather was so hot that we spent as much time in various water play as we could.  One day we went to the nearby recreational beach at Kentucky Lake, and this was Elias' first real beach experience!  He wasn't too sure about the water until we inflated this little car float that Nana had, and then he wanted to stay forever!

Nana & Granddad also had an inflatable pool that we put in the shade of the carport, and we all enjoyed that!
He really dug this little toy water gun he got in a Burger King kid's meal...
... even when he shot himself in the face with it!
Nana hooked up the sprinkler, and that was the first time Elias had played in one of those too.  Such big fun for the buddy!  At first he wasn't too sure about getting sprayed in the face, but he got over it.  :)

Kentucky Vacation, Part 1: Lake Fun

At the beginning of July, we took another trip to Kentucky, just to spend time with family and have some summer fun.  We spent the bulk of our time at Justin's parents' house on the lake, enjoying the water and the peace.
Elias LOVED the wave runner!!  He wanted to go "Faster, faster!"  He even bonked his head once on a rough bump, but he cried more over Daddy wanting to go home than the pain from his goose egg!

We also went out on the boat (more my speed!), which was fun for the whole family!

Helping Daddy drive

Such fun!