Monday, May 31, 2010

San Diego Zoo

Aidan and I went to the zoo this past week. It was a little crowded but the weather was perfect! I finally found the secret to getting from one side of the park to the other without walking what feels like miles. For the first time we took the Skyfari- which is just a gondola in the sky type thing. We havent been to visit the polar bear exhibit in a few years because it is on top of a HUGE hill. I just always reason that if we want to see the polar bears then we will go to Seaworld which is all flat. The skyfari picks you up just outside the childrens part of the zoo and drops you off close to the polar bear exhibit. SWEET! This time I just left Aidans stroller at the Childrens zoo but I found out you can even take strollers ON the skyfari. Now I know we can take the Skyfari and then walk our way back to the front of the park.

I renewed our membership so I got a couple of free passes. Jacob and Suzanne are coming down this week so we can take the boys. Aidan and I have been spending Sundays in Orange County. We go to church and then play at Suzannes and Jacobs house. Yesterday we had a fun day at the pool but as usual I forgot to take pictures.

Tomorrow Aidan starts swim lessons. I am so excited and just hope he does ok. They are survival swim lessons so basically the instructor will be teaching him what to do if he falls in - flipping on his back and floating and eventually making his way to the side.

Here are some pics from our day at the zoo.

Riding the Skyfari...

Aidan had so much fun playing in this stream of water. He LOVES jumping in puddles whenever he sees them.

At the polar bear exhibit. Standing besided an adult size polar bear. I really didnt know they could get this big.

Standing beside a 3 month old polar bear.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Life without pap...

Well we are almost 72 hours without pap! What a rollercoaster ride it has been. The first night after throwing them away was not bad. Aidan was looking forward to the "passie fairy" so he just whined a little and went to sleep after about an hour ( mainly because he couldnt stop talking). I had to check on him a couple of times during the night because he kept whining for me in his sleep. Then OH MY GOODNESS the second night came! Watch out!!! There was crying, begging, screaming, pleading , and things thrown across the room. He was NOT a happy camper and neither was mama! I actually cried because I felt so guilty and bad. I had taken away Aidan's best friend and he was letting me know that he was NOT happy about it. I almost caved and ran to Target to buy him a new one, but after making a post on Facebook and getting some encouraging comments I decided to stick it out. I had to go to his room several times throughout the night to console him. We were both miserable. He amazingly woke up in a good mood yesterday. I decided to wear him out to help him sleep better. Not only did he take a GREAT 3 hour nap yesterday but fell asleep after about 15 minutes of me rubbing his back and slept soundly last night. Whew..... it is getting better. Tonight Clinton and I are going out for date night while Andrew babysits. I am just going to have him stay up and play with Andrew while we are at dinner and then put him to bed when we get home.

Aidan showing off his "big boy toy" the passie fairy left....

just before saying goodbye to pap...

having fun at Chuck E. Cheese....

Letter from the pap fairy....

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Aidan gives up pap!

Today Aidan made a very big step and gave up his pap's! It all started this morning when he had his very first dental appointment. Aidan LOVED going to the dentist. I don't know what kid would NOT like to go see this dentist. He had video games in the waiting room and other toys and t.v. screens built into the ceiling above the exam chair with Disney movies playing. He also got a bag full of goodies and a balloon to top it all off. The dentist said that his teeth looked great but that he needed to ditch his passie. Sucking on it constantly is starting to effect his bite and his mouth is not closing properly. I jumped on the chance so it would be "the dentist" taking away his paps and not me. I told Aidan that the dentist said he was a big boy now and he didnt need his pap's anymore. I talked with him and he decided that he would like to throw his passies in the ocean ( Clinton went and fished them out and put them in the trash so we were not littering). We decided to make a big celebration out of the event. We went down to the beach, got rid of the paps and then Aidan had another "first"- His "first" trip to Chuck E. Cheese. He loved it and ran around like a wild man. It is amazing the marketing they use. Aidan has been asking to go to Chuck E Cheese for months now simply from watching commercials about it on tv. Clinton had a good time also. He discovered that he is really good a throwing a football! He didnt spend much time in an arcade as a child so he was also eating it up. Tonight the "passie fairy" will come and leave Aidan a surprise- hopefully sealing the deal. I have a sneaky suspicion that it may be a looong night but we will see! I caved this afternoon and gave him a pap when he was taking his nap- but let him know it would be the last time. Now I have no paps to give him. Wish us luck!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mothers Day!

A REAL Southern Gentleman wears seersucker pants and saddle shoes!

Aidan giving me his gift this morning. A beautiful pair of earrings! He has good taste!

I hope that everyone is having a great Mothers Day today! Mom, Aidan, and I went to church this morning and then to a yummy brunch afterwards. Aidan made me such a sweet card using his fingerprints in church this morning. I think he actually has the concept this year and keeps telling me "Happy Mothers Day Mom!" which is music to my ears! I have waited so long to hear those sweet words. He is such a little blessing and precious gift from God.

Aidan has has a little cold right now and for some reason a runny eye. I am going to take him to the doctor tomorrow just to get checked out to make sure he doesn't have pink eye and is ok to fly on Wednesday. My mommy gut tells me it may be allergies or the cold has gone to his eye. I just want to make sure he is ok before we go to San Diego for the summer.

For some reason I am really nervous about this flight on Wednesday. Maybe it is because we only have a 30 minute connection time in Houston. I normally dont stress about flying but am out of sorts about this flight. Would you please say a little prayer for us on Wednesday? I appreciate it.

Also, good news to share. Baby Weston is now home from the hospital. He has future surgeries in his future but as for now the Rasberry family is home together!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

My philosophy on Early Childhood Education

It has been so fun getting back into school this past semester. It felt really good to stimulate and stretch my brain. I learned so much this semester from not only my class but from a seminar I attended. In February I got the pleasure of seeing Lisa Murphy aka The Ooey Gooey Lady She changed my life and views about early childhood ed forever! I sat entranced and listened to her for the half day workshop. What she said and talked about made so much sense to me. Basically it boils down to this- PLAY IS THE FOUNDATION OF HIGHER EDUCATION~ That's right. If we look at education as a "house", play is the foundation. Simple huh? I thought so. You see kids are not getting enough play time these days. Back in the 70's and 80's when I was growing up, this occurred naturally. Kids were out in the neighborhoods playing , making messes, taking risks ( I can remember doing things on my jungle gym that would have scared my mother to death), playing games of kickball, getting in arguments and making up WITHOUT any adult intervention, exploring in areas we shouldn't have been ( my neighbors house while it was being built was the coolest play area), being creative and exercising our brains by using our imaginations. There is so much we learned by doing all these things. Sadly, today's kids are not given the same opportunities. Parents are to guarded and paranoid about their children getting hurt to let them run around the neighborhood ( with good justification- there are a lot of creeps out there these days). We are also to worried about getting them ready for college in PRESCHOOL! How absurd is that? How absurd is it that there are programs out there that teach your BABY to read? Why do babies need to read????? How unfortunate is it that kids in Preschool are sitting and doing worksheets?? Kids learn by playing not by memorizing . Yes kids have great memories and are good at memorizing things but are they really LEARNING anything. Does it really matter if they are memorizing things about Africa by singing songs if Africa has no relevance to them? It is just an abstract concept unless they EXPERIENCE it.I feel it is my job as a parent / teacher to give the children I am with as many REAL experiences as possible. Children need to experience it in order to place hooks on it and attach vocabulary to it. If you are teaching kids in Arizona about snow and they have never seen or experienced snow YOU ARE WASTING YOUR TIME! I have been and am even now more diligent about giving Aidan as many life experiences as possible. I feel this is how he is going to learn best.

These days adults are rushing children to grow up. We are rushing them to learn their alphabet, shapes, numbers, etc.... I am guilty of this. Although I dont use "drill and kill" with flashcards, through play Aidan does know his alphabet, numbers, shapes, etc... Kids are getting stressed out and burned out as early as the 5th grade. I feel it is because they have been reading since they were 3 and we are taking away their recess in order to get in more "academic time"! They aren't given the time to play, explore, get dirty, make messes,create and build the foundation of their "academic house" when they were in preschool therefore their houses are crumbling. When kids are at home, many of them are playing video games or watching tv so they aren't able to build their foundation at home either.

Children are naturally curious creatures. I feel it is my job as a mom/teacher to feed their curiosity. If a child is taking a particular interest in something ( like trains for example) I feel it is my job to give them as many experiences and teach them as much as I can about trains. This is known as "child centered" education. I also feel it is my job to provide lots of different things in order to peak their curiosity. Some things they will want to learn about and some they will not. Some they may not be interested in now by might be next week.

There is more and I could go on and on but feel like I have rambled enough. This is something I am very passionate about and I really thank Lisa Murphy for opening my eyes.

Monday, May 3, 2010

update on Aidan

Since I am using this as Aidan's baby book of sorts I thought I would give a little update about him...

Aidan is now 33 months old. He is a lively, active, spunky, inquisitive, active, smart, active, loving, beautiful, curious, handsome, huggable, hilarious, funny, imaginative "almost 3 year old". Did I mention that he is active? Aidan loves to be ON THE GO! He loves exploring and figuring out how EVERYTHING works. He is so smart and has a memory that is unlike anything I have seen. I am so glad that it is Spring because he loves being outside. He loves collecting rocks and sticks. He also loves looking at bugs and caterpillars, playing in sand and dirt, stopping to watch the birds and listening to them sing, rolling in the grass, and being in nature in general. At the park he loves the swings the most and climbing on EVERYTHING. I have made a water table for him and he absolutely LOVES playing in water. He is really into pouring water between 2 containers, experimenting with "sink" and "float", and "making" lemonade and other drinks and treats. He is able to pedal his tricycle but does not particularly enjoy it. He prefers to use his feet to scoot along on it.

He is also into numbers and letters right now. He knows all of his letters AND sounds. He really makes an attempt to read. I haven't really encouraged this because I dont feel it is developmentally appropriate for a 3 year old to read ( more on this in the next post- since taking my class this Spring I now have a clear philosophy of Early Childhood Education.). Aidan counts to 20 but not consistently. He is showing signs that he understands 1 on 1 correspondence. He loves to count all kinds of different things. He is almost obsessed with numbers right now. As Aidan says "there are numbers EVERYWHERE". When we are driving he loves to find numbers in the environment including exit numbers, numbers on trucks, signs, and buildings. He is so funny. One time we were driving and he told me that he wanted to go to "number 12". It took me awhile for me to realize that he was talking about the mall that is off of Exit 12. I really have to stay one step ahead in order to keep up with him. lol!

Aidan has an extraordinary vocabulary right now. The boy LOVES to talk! Not only does he have a great vocabulary but he understands things like behind, under, over, around, in front, etc... One of my favorite things is if you ask him how old he is he says "Im almost 3". I took him for an orientation at the preschool he will be attending in the fall and the director was really impressed with him.

Aidan loves to have books read to him. We literally have books in every single room of our house. He grabs them sporadically throughout the day for me to read. His favorite books right now are Chicka Chicka Boom Boom ( a book about letters- lol), a Sesame Street lift the flap book (that has been his favorite for a year now) and a Richard Scarry Book that we refer to as "the goldbug book"- it is like "where's Waldo "but is " where's goldbug". He also has several books that are "my first ABC's", "my first truck book", "my first word book" etc... I love these books because they have "real" pictures of the objects they are naming. I really contribute these books to his high vocabulary. He has enjoyed them since he was just a little baby. One day Cara picked him up from school and as they were driving he said " look Cara, a car transporter"- this is a result of reading "my first truck book"- over and over and over.

Aidan still loves Thomas the Tank Engine and loves playing with his train table. He is also starting to get into Disneys " Cars" movie and characters. He loves playing with all types of different cars and trucks right now. His favorite shows on t.v. right now are "Super Why", "Word World", " Dora the Explorer" and "Caillou". His new recent favorite is "Umi Zoomi"- this is a show that focuses on premath skills.

Aidan does not particularly enjoy doing things that involve fine motor skills. We are working on it but it doesnt really interest him. I have been bad about letting him do "messy" things like playing in shaving cream or painting but am going to be doing more of these activities this summer.

Here are some pics of Aidan I took a few weeks ago. We have 2 huge Willow trees in our yard. They are so pretty now they have bloomed. Aidan loves to pull on them and pretend he is a pirate.

notice the rocks and sticks... I cant tell you how many rocks and sticks I have found in my house.

"arrgh Matey"....