Amy Beth

Monday, April 11, 2016

My Yard in Spring

I like to think that I’m the kind of mom that takes her kids out on adventures to commune with nature. That I encourage curiosity and exploration. But the reality is that we rarely leave our backyard. (And then we only venture out on the pretty days.) Sometimes I worry that my children will miss out on all the important things nature has to teach them.

But then we spend a little time looking closely (and I might whip out my camera as well) and I realize that there’s an awful lot of nature to experience within a few feet of my backdoor.

So maybe I won’t worry that my kids aren’t getting enough nature. Maybe we’ll just pay more attention to what is happening in our own backyard.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

These Days // 23

It’s high time we had an update in this space. Here are some of the regular life things happening these days:

Planting: a garden. My sister likes to garden but has no yard. I have a yard, but not enough focus to plant a garden on my own. So we’re working together and broke ground on our little garden this weekend. I’m so excited!

planting

Decluttering: craft supplies, the kitchen, and kids toys. I’m still working my way through the KonMari method and I’m liking the changes so far. Be on the lookout for more detailed posts about each category.


Kitchen sneak peak.

Admiring: the violets in our yard. It’s one of my favorite parts of Spring. I love seeing the fresh new grass dotted all over with purple.

violets

Celebrating: all the things! Since I last wrote Charlie had a birthday…

4 cupcake

And then less than a month later began the quadruple whammy of celebration in my family. My two sisters’ birthdays, my dad’s birthday, and Easter all happen within about 20 days of each other. So we made sure to celebrate it all on Easter weekend when we could all be together.

This involved cake…

Egg dying…

An Easter egg hunt…

A walk to the pond…

Swingin’ on the swing…

And of course the obligatory family Easter portrait.

That may be more of an update than you bargained for. Ta-ta for now!

Thanks to my husband and my father for some of the lovely photos in this post.

Monday, March 21, 2016

World Down Syndrome Day

Just popping in to wish you a happy World Down Syndrome Day!

There are so many things I could say to celebrate this day, but in the end it comes down to this: a little more than a year after learning that our little girl has Down syndrome, we wouldn’t have it any other way. Like every other one year old, she lives a life full of love and joy and playfulness. She learns and grows day by day. I have so much hope for her future.

To celebrate this day and to provide for her future and the future of many others, we have decided to take the 3/21 pledge and donate to Ruby’s Rainbow, an organization that provides college scholarships to students with Down syndrome. A mere 20 years ago the thought of a young adult with Down syndrome attending college would have seemed impossible, but today it is happening. And it can happen even more with your help. If programs like this continue to grow, I can only imagine the opportunities that will be available to my daughter 20 years from now! To learn more about the difference this program is making in the lives of students, I strongly encourage you to go read this blog post following some Ruby’s Rainbow scholarship recipients around for a day. Then hop on over to Ruby’s Rainbow and make your donation. Thanks for making the world a more inclusive, hopeful place.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Foil wrapped toys

Foil wrapped toys - a simple activity to give old toys new life

Here’s a quick an easy activity to pull out of your back pocket, or kitchen cabinet, when everyone is feeling tired of the same-old same-old.

  1. Grab some toys and aluminum foil.
  2. Wrap the toys in foil.
    That’s it!

Foil wrapped toys - a simple activity to give old toys new life

Foil wrapped toys - a simple activity to give old toys new life

It’s actually a pretty good fine motor activity and you can use it to give your toys new life in all sorts of play. Pretend you’re an evil wizard who turns everything to metal. Pretend you’re a pirate who just found a treasure chest of silver statues. Take the toys to a dark room and search for them in the light of a flashlight. Wrap building blocks and create a gleaming silver castle.

Foil wrapped toys - a simple activity to give old toys new life

It’s just foil, but it’s just enough to give some old toys new life for an afternoon.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

The preschool question

“The basis for the beginnings of literacy is that children have heard and listened … They have spoken and been spoken to, people have discussed [things] with them … They have asked questions and received answers.”

From The New Preschool is Crushing Kids in The Atlantic.

One of the hardest things about being a mom is being confident in your own decisions. It doesn’t matter how much you’ve researched, how strongly you feel, how convinced you are that you are making the right decision for your family, there is always that quiet voice that bugs you with, “Are you sure?”

I’ve felt that way a lot about preschool lately. We’ve made the decision to be a homeschooling family, and I’ve said over and over again that I believe children learn through play. But every now and then I start to worry that I’m not doing things right. Should I be putting Charlie in preschool? Would it be better for him to be around other kids more and have more structure? Should I at least be more rigorous in my approach to preschool at home? Is it a problem if he doesn’t already know all his letters? Should he really be spending all day playing with cars? Do I need to start teaching him how to read?

These are the questions that run through my head. Especially when it seems everyone else is doing something different. I forget sometimes that just because something is right for one family doesn’t mean it’s the best choice for mine.

So it’s always a relief to me when I read articles like this one. It reminds me of the reasons I’ve chosen what I’ve chosen and helps me feel like I’m not crazy. Some preschools are fabulous and I’m sure are great places for kids to be. But it’s a relief to hear that my kid isn’t going to be worse off in life for spending his preschool years not in school. And it helps to know that just spending time reading and talking, answering his questions and listening to his stories, will serve him just as well as a daily letter craft.