Sunday, September 28, 2014

Movies For Grandpa

For Jerry Stevens . . . because I know you can't get enough of these kids. They are, after all, adorable.

Rose often rotates her wrists and kicks her legs at loud repetitive noises like the vacuum cleaner or a ball being rolled around in this big blue bucket. We call this Lee's turtle shell. Grandma Taylor got it for him for Christmas. Lee sits inside the bowl and Phil spins him around in it. It's also used as a mixing bowl to make pretend muffins or cakes or cookies.

When Phil comes home from work, Lee often requests to go out into the front yard and run around or throw up, which means to be thrown up, not to vomit.

Lee is a very deliberative speaker. He often takes a moment to answer a questions. But he also likes to speak gobble-de-gook. In addition to this, he has taught himself how to go cross-eyed. I was eating lunch one day, looked over at him, and he was doing it all on his own.

We went to the Fullerton Train Station this last week with Mama Mina. We saw about 6 trains. One was a cargo train, which we are watching here in this video. Lee spotted the UPS and Fedex trucks aboard the railcars and said, "Mail truck." The engines were rather loud and intimidating, so he wanted to be held as he watched them go by. We also road the elevator up the overhead bridge and stood at the enclosing mesh and watched a train or two go by.
I often play with Lee at the park when we go. We climb up the play structures together and slide down the slides. I'm including Rose in this as well. I think she'll enjoy thrill rides one day.

Rose can't crawl yet, but she has stood up twice now. Once, she grabbed the side of her crib and pulled herself up, the other time was on the edge of the bathtub. Unfortunately, she wasn't able to replicate it for me after I grabbed the camera.

We had Lars over one morning this past week. He and Lee are learning to play alongside each other. Sometimes they play with one another, like when they race our two push toys back and forth on the cement slab. However, most of the time they just do stuff beside one another. That 6 month age difference does influence their interaction. Lars will pick up one of Lee's trash trucks and ask Lee, "Where did this come from? Target? Cosco?" And Lee will stare at Lars for awhile and then say, "Digging truck." At least they're both talking about the same things. In the picture above, Lee and Lars are using some of the gadgets I got from your kitchen, Grandpa.

 This has been the week of new toys. In addition to the kitchen gadgets, we were given four new trucks from our neighbors, a box of wooden trains from my mom, access to the gadget boards we're making for the GHFC boutique, a model airplane from Auntie Terri, new library books, and I set up an obstacle course in the backyard for Lee.
One afternoon I was in the front taking advantage of the cooler weather. Lee and I collected twigs and pretended to make camp fires. Here he is lining his twigs up. My twigs were teepee style, so I'm not sure who taught him how to make a fire using the log cabin method.

Lee is a good imitator. I read to him after his nap, so one day he did the same for Rose. When she kept wanting to grab the book and stick it in her mouth, Lee stood up.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Library Finds: Great Books for Children

We've been visiting the Whittier Public Library every three weeks and taking home a bag full of new books. This prevents me from getting burned out on Goodnight Moon and Let's Go For A Ride on a Train, which we own and have been requested over a dozen times, perhaps even a hundred in the last year.

I've kept a running list of the books we've checked out and my ratings. I rate books based on illustrations, parental appeal, storyline, and whether or not Lee liked them.

Here are the library find winners for the summer:

Soup Day by Melissa Iwai: Tells the story of a mother and daughter buying the ingredients for and cooking soup. The pictures were graphically unique. The story involved naming and counting vegetables, identification of shapes, and a soup recipe in the back. Lee requested this book repeatedly because he is fascinated with helping me cook. (Book Rating: 8)

Leaf by Stephen Michael King: Wordless picture book about a seed that falls into a boy's hair and sprouts. He cares for the sprout, protects it from the sun, waters it, and tries to save it from his mother's hair scissors. The ending is sweet and fun. Pictures were whimsical. Lee liked the story and often referred to it in his play. (Book Rating: 10)

Somewhere in the Ocean by Jennifer Ward: This book is an illustrated version of the song "Over in the Meadow," sung by Raffi. The pictures are well done paintings. Lee liked it because each page had a hidden number. (Book Rating: 8)

Who Made This Cake? by Chihiro Nakagawa : Very creative story about tiny people using their tiny trucks to make a giant cake. The little people use dump trucks for the sugar and flower, giant jack-hammers to crack the eggs, cement mixers for the icing, and a helicopter to put the cake's message on top. Great illustrations. Somewhat silly and unnecessary text. Lee loved. (Book Rating: 9)

A Little Sail Boat by Lois Lenski: Rather a technical book about Captain Small's sailing adventure. The illustrations were simple and not very exciting, but Lee was enthralled with the sailing explanations. I appreciated the actual sailing terms used. Educational for both children and adults. (Book Rating: 8)

Wow! Ocean! by Robert Neubecker: Great educational book for both children and adults. Each page was a different category of ocean life. Each page had a dog, which Lee enjoyed looking for. Pictures were decent. Text was unnecessary. (Book Rating: 9)

Everything Goes: On Land by Brian Biggs: Exhaustive book on land vehicles. Included bikes, motorcycles, trains, RV's, trucks, and cars. Included cutaways of what's inside each vehicle. Pictures were rather unrealistic, but there was plenty to look at on each page. (Book Rating: 8)

Monday, September 15, 2014

The Thing in the Compost Pile

I've asked our gardeners to dump the grass clippings and avocado leaves into our compost bin in the backyard. The heat from the grass helps decompose all the kitchen scraps that are buried underneath.

Last week I was working in the backyard with the children when I noticed some trash in the compost pile: old door hangers and business cards, things the gardeners swept into their trashcans and just dumped into our compost pile. I began picking out the trash when I noticed a rather large black body half-buried in the grass. It was furry.

My stomach dropped and I became very thankful that I was wearing gloves. Lovely. It was big enough to be a cat. Whatever it was, I knew it couldn't stay there, so I began brushing aside the grass to see how large it was. That's when I noticed that it had more than four legs. It had eight large fury legs.

It was a huge tarantula. I've never seen one this size. I didn't know they existed. Maybe on "Man vs Wild" on some South American episode but not in Whittier.

I calmed myself by remembering that it was dead before I grabbed a leg and flipped the thing over. That's when I saw the compartment for a battery on the other side.

An anonymous family member thought I should put the thing on the gardeners front seat next time they come. I like that idea.