Monday, March 28, 2011

unplugged Friday part 3, flower fields, and larvae

This weeks "unplugged Friday" was the most challenging one yet! It was raining here so not only were we not able to go to the zoo, Seaworld, etc..., but we weren't even able to go out and play. Oh my! Being stuck inside with no t.v. = meltdown city for one 3 year old. I planned lots of fun activities but it just wasn't enough. I eventually just gave in and let Aidan watch some t.v. when it was time for his "rest and quiet time" and before bedtime. After all it is ME giving up the computer and t.v. on Fridays and NOT Aidan. I wanted him to be part of it because I thought it would be a good time to spend some great quality time together. It is also a goal to get the t.v. watching time down to 5 hours a week. Don't get me wrong, Aidan just doesn't sit and watch t.v. for hour upon hour but he watches it more than I prefer. I can't WAIT until the weather finally warms up and we can spend a majority of our day outside playing. It is supposed to be close to 80 later in the week. Yippeee!!!!! Some things we did this week for "unplugged Friday" were playing with water color paint and ice cubes, making mini pizzas for lunch and later cupcakes, playing board games, reading books, playing cars and trains, getting in some physical therapy, and playing some educational games. :) Over all it was a good day minus the meltdowns. :) On Saturday we went to the flower fields in Carlsbad. They were having "kids day". I was back and forth all day about going because the weather was still yucky. Finally at 3oclock I just decided to jump in the car and go. I'm glad we did because it was really fun! Even though it was a tad on the chilly side we still had a good time. I plan on taking mom there next month when she visits. They are having an arts and crafts festival and I just LOVE me a good arts festival. lol! Plus the flowers should be in FULL bloom by then and really beautiful! Today we got our "live butterfly larvae" in the mail aka caterpillars. Aidan and I are going to be growing butterflies over the next month. I am excited to watch them grow and change from caterpillars to butterflies. Right now they are really tiny but it shouldnt be long until they grow much bigger. :) Now for some pics... One thing we did on UF is experiment with mixing water color paint in ice cubes and water.... The end product was of course black.... Aidan then used a slotted spoon to transfer the ice cubes from one container to another...
He then experimented using tongs to transfer the ice... this was a bit more challenging but I wanted him to work on his fine motor skills.
He then used a dropper to add more water color paint to individual ice cubes and we watched the ice melt throughout the day and watched the colors blend.
Making mini pizzas for lunch...
The Flower Fields...
I know this kid SO needs a haircut! I am waiting for my mom to get here next week. Maybe SHE can have better luck than me getting him a good haircut.

Playing at Santas Playground at the flowerfields.
One of the things we did that day was to go on a tractor ride throughout the fields. If you look behind Aidan you can see the bare fields. They should be in FULL BLOOM by next month. The paper Aidan is holding up is his "passport" he received. They had stations throughout the exhibits where you got your passport stamped. He was really into this and was excited to get all of the stamps. Sadly, we did not get the stamp for station 3 as you had to hike to the top of the fields to get it. Aidan had on rain boots and he was cranky from not having a nap. I wasn't about to listen to him whine the whole way up the hill and the whole way down. No way. If you ask Aidan that is the only thing he remembers from the day "we didn't get number 3" ( insert whine and sad face). lol!
This pic was taken on the tractor ride. These were the part of the fields that WERE in bloom. One of the things they had there that I didn't get any pics of was "sluicing" (sp?) basically it is taking a bucket of dirt and gems and washing all of the dirt away until there are only the gems left. This was his favorite part and he has been playing with his gems since we got home. Rocks are one of Aidans favorite things!
Our butterfly larvae we received today~ stay tuned for more pics of our science project!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Going Private?

I have been thinking about taking this blog private. You might have noticed that I added a feedjit bar a couple of months ago to better track our visitors. I am uncomfortable with some of the "hits" we have been getting. I started blogging to chronicle our adoption journey for friends and family. I am just uncomfortable with Aidans pics being so vulnerable for anyone to use in anyway they see fit. If you are a "lurker" and read this blog just because you are interested in reading blogs please "delurk" yourself and post a comment. There are a ton of mommy blogs that I read just because I find them interesting and I very rarely leave comments. Leave me your email address in the comment section and I will be happy to send you an invite. :)


To work or not to work that is the question..... Since Aidan has started preschool 2 days a week I have been thinking about going back to work. I let my teaching credential expire a couple of years ago and it is going to be a ton of work and huge expense to reinstate it ( about a year and a half of coursework) I have been thinking about something part time. I have applied as a teachers assistant in our new school district and have gone through the first round of interviews. The interview process is really "different" here. They spent two days conducting interviews of everyone that applied. They give you a score and a rank based on the interview. I am happy to say that I scored 99 out of 100 for my interview and a rank of 1 ( I would have been really disappointed had it been anything less since it is a job I am really overqualified for lol!) They then start with the first rank and you are called to interview by individual schools. I have to say if I were a principal or a teacher I would LOVE this system. It seems to really weed out any flakes or incompetent people right away. I got a call today and I have 2 interviews next week with 2 different schools. The problem is I'm not sure I really want to go back to work or if it makes sense for me to go back to work. Part of me is really itching to get back in the classroom and work with children again ( even if it is as the teachers assistant and not the teacher). Part of me worries how this is going to affect Aidan. These 2 positions are for 30 hours a week, which means he would be in school / daycare for 30 hours a week since I get zero help at home with him ( I honestly do love my hubby but he is just unable to help with Aidan in any capacity because of the schedule he creates for himself) . I feel very blessed and very thankful that I have been able to stay at home with him for almost 4 years now. I know many people would LOVE that opportunity and they are all saying don't do it! Honestly, I am not even sure that what I would be making would cover daycare expenses ( if it didnt -I definitely would not do it). Part of me feels like I should be contributing something towards our finances. Even though I would not be bringing home the big bucks, just the fact that these positions provide benefits like insurance would be a HUGE contribution ( considering what we pay each month for health insurance). There is a possibility that if I got one of the positions I am interviewing for ( it is in a preschool class with a mix of typical and autistic kids) that Aidan could attend the same school next year. Our district offers a 2 year kindergarten program for kids with birthdays between June and December called the PEPP program. There is a wait list for it so Im not sure Aidan could even get in ,but I would hope they would factor in the fact that I worked there.

There are a lot of pros and cons to consider and a lot of unknowns right now. I guess I will just get through the interviews, see if I actually get offered a position, see what I can negotiate as far as the pay and go from there. Sorry about the rambling- I just have a lot I am thinking about right now and it helps to get it written down so I just decided to blog about it lol! Also, the picture at top has nothing to do with this post. Its just one I found that I took at the Monster Truck Jam a couple of months ago that I never blogged about. Sorry about the randomness. lol!
Tomorrow is unplugged Friday for us- so everyone have a great weekend! :)

Sunday, March 20, 2011

unplugged Friday part 2

This Friday was our second Friday spending it "unplugged" where we had no t.v. or computers. This is what I decided to give up for lent. This week I decided that we would spend the morning at the zoo. The first thing in the morning is a great time to go to the zoo because most of the animals are usually active and awake and sometimes eating. We only spent a couple of hours there due to the "fallout" from Japan that was due to hit Southern California on Friday. All though all of the experts said that it was harmless, I still wanted to get back home in the indoors. Spending the morning outdoors worked because Aidan came home and had a loooonng nap. Clinton was able to come home early that night ( in our house 7:30 IS early) and we were able to go out and have dinner as a family. Mr. Aidan was so well rested that he didn't go to bed until 10:30 that night. We are walking a fine line with naps these days. If he does nap, he has a tendency to take a 3 hour nap and sleep well into the evening. This makes for a late bedtime. If he doesn't take a nap we are both usually feeling the consequences around 6ish with whining and meltdowns. On these nights he is asleep by 7:45 and I get to have some "me" time. :)

I have to say "unplugged" Fridays have been going pretty well. I think Aidan is having a more difficult time with it than I am. This week I let him watch a few of his shows in the evening. I SO wish I would have stuck with my guns when he was a baby and not let him watch ANY t.v. I think the kid would watch television 10 hours a day if I would let him. My goal is to cut down on the t.v watching more and more each week until he is only watching it 5 to 6 hours a week. I know that t.v. is not good for kids no matter how educational the shows can be and research shows that it shortens their attention span and kids do poorer in school no matter what their I.Q's. Many times the t.v. is just background noise and he is playing with his toys, so I will start with turning OFF the t.v. whenever his attention is diverted. baby steps.

I have to say that unplugged Friday has made me realize HOW MUCH I depend on my computer. I had to get Clinton to pull up directions to the restaurant we went to on Friday because we have no maps. I also had to pull out the phonebook and use it on Friday. It has been YEARS since I have used a phonebook OR an old fashioned map. It just makes me realize what a different world Aidan is growing up in compared to how I grew up. Probably the thing that aggravated me the most was not being able to check my emails. The email and facebook apps on my phone were VERY tempting, but Im proud to say that I stuck it out. lol! What DID we do before the internet? :) I spent some time READING while Aidan was napping and that was really refreshing! I am going to make it a point to spend more time reading and to also spend more time reading my bible. :)

Since Aidan is in school 2 days a week I have decided to get back into doing "crafty" things. I used to enjoy doing crafty things once in awhile and it has been a LONG time since I have created anything remotely crafty. This week I wanted to create a space where Aidan could display his work from school. I thought about how he likes to do things "himself", so I made a "I did it myself" board. I thought it turned out o.k. but I am not happy with the actual writing on the board. However, it will serve its purpose. I hung it in his playroom and he will proudly be able to display his work from school.

Aidan at the zoo.

The hippo where we ALWAYS take a pic...

One of my favorite exhibits- The Gorillas. Apparently it is mating season because there was some "gorilla love" going on. lol!
Sadly, one of my fav gorillas passed away this past month due to old age and natural causes but hopefully there will be some new babies soon. :)

I took these this morning before church...

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St. Patricks Day!

Happy St. Patricks Day everyone! May the luck of the Irish be with you today! Im just getting ready to take the wee lil one to school and took a quick photo. Aidan was very upset this morning because he said, "my teacher told me to wear a GREEN shirt". lol! Have a great day everyone!!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

unplugged Friday

This year for Lent I have decided to go unplugged on Fridays, which means no t.v. and no internet on Fridays. I have also decided to perform Random Acts of Kindness throughout the week. Yesterday was our first Friday to go "unplugged". I knew to pull this off I was going to have to get creative and have some activities in mind. Yesterday was a bit of a challenge because Aidan has a nasty cold and just wanted to sit and "veg" all day in front of the t.v. I think he watched about 3 shows yesterday and the rest of the time I was able to keep in engaged in other activities. One thing we did yesterday was to put our new "watercolor paint" to use. Watercolor paint comes in the same containers as your typical tempra paint, only it is the consistency of water. I had to order it online because the people at Michaels looked at me like I had 3 heads when I asked for it there. You use it like you would food coloring in different activities ( only it is nonedible). The advantage of using watercolor paint instead of food coloring is that it cleans up much easier and does not stain like food coloring. So far we have used it to experiment mixing colors in shaving cream, used it to color our homemade playdough, used it to make coffee filter art, and yesterday we used it to color macaroni ( and I have only had it a week- can you tell we are having fun with it and love it! lol). We had fun coloring it yesterday and next week we will use the colored macaroni to do some sorting and fine motor activities :).

Yesterday afternoon Clinton, Aidan, and I went to the lake that is close to our house and had a picnic. After we had our picnic we had a fun time feeding the geese and playing at the playground there. We also took our ball and Aidans bike so he could practice riding. We had a great "family day" and a great time was had by all!

Aidan is loving school! He asks if he can go every day! Although I am not thrilled that it seems like he has been sick since be began last month, I am happy that he loves it so much. :)

Aidan had Occupational Therapy ( OT) and Physical Therapy (PT) evaluations last week and it seems like they are going to recommend services for both. We haven't gotten the official report but we are waiting to hear from the therapists. They both gave us some great activities to do at home to work on various skills. I have created a spread sheet so I can make sure we are getting everything in at home. :0)

This morning we went to the farmers market by our house and rode the train. It is a really cool area/park that is made to look like an old Western town. They give train rides around the park on the weekends. Fun!

Our macaroni project yesterday....

mixing it in the colors.... I got these cool bowls at Target on clearance for .25 each. Bargain!

Letting it dry....

The view of the lake.

Aidan sitting in the grass on the hill. He had such a great time!

feeding the geese...

Check out the feet on this bird!

waiting in line to ride the train

They have 3 trains that they rotate. The engine they normally run is out of commission for a couple of months so it can receive its yearly maintenance. Today they had the trolley car running.

riding the trolley this morning...

Fountain at the park.

Aidan surprised me a couple of weeks ago when he (out of the blue) wrote his name in sidewalk chalk! Writing his name is not a skill we have been working on , so I was pleasantly surprised! Not bad for three!!!!