Secret Tree Fort

Title: Secret Tree Fort
Author: Brianne Farley

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We stumbled upon this book a few weeks ago at the library and over the two week period we checked it out we read it at least 100 times. It is such a cute story about two sisters whose mom forced them to play outside ‘because it is such a beautiful day.’ The older sister finds a cozy spot to read her book, while the younger sister is begging her to play, but after begging doesn’t work, she decides to disinvite her sister to come play in her ‘Secret Tree Fort.’ And what an amazing tree fort it turns out to be – two stories, a retractable basket, crow’s nest and an underground whale viewing area. But that is not all. This is such a fun book and Audrey loved reading it. We will definitely be adding it to our permanent book collection!

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Peter Pan Ballet

Audrey had her first ballet a few weeks ago. They did Peter Pan and Audrey’s class played the role of “Twinkle Stars.’ This was our first dance performance as parents and it was so fun. I did have a mom fail moment earlier that day and completely missed her dress rehearsal. I misread the paper and we came three hours late. It took me awhile to recover from that, I felt so bad that she missed the rehearsal and being able to practice on stage. But she was fine and she did great during the actual show – hitting all her steps and even waving at the end. Adam and I may have both melted in a puddle on the floor after her dance.  She also got to wear lipgloss which made her fancy heart soar. She kept wanting to check herself in the mirror to make sure it was still there.
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After the ballet, Adam gave her flowers and she was so very happy – she kept saying ‘oh wow Dad!’ She couldn’t stop smiling.  She also got a rose from her uncle and aunt. On the drive home after getting ice cream, she said out loud – ‘I am so very proud of myself.’ And again, I melted in a puddle on the floor. I hope that confidence never goes away or dims.  IMG_7692

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Conversations at the Nail Salon

While Adam was pretending to paint audrey’s toenails tonight at the ‘salon.’

Adam: ‘Where are you from?’
Audrey: ‘Africa. It is so pretty there. There are lot’s of giraffes and grass there. And lot’s of pretty houses and flowers. ‘
Adam: ‘Do you work there?’
Audrey: ‘Yes, I work on my computer. There are lots of computers there.’
Adam: ‘How long have you lived in Africa?’
Audrey: ‘Well 58 and then I am going to move to Utah. There is a Utah in Africa.’
Adam: ‘Do you have family there?’
Audrey: ‘Yes, I have two sisters, one is named Marlin and I have lots of ancestors. My other sister who is a little afraid of other people, her name is Celine.’

Before I Forget

-Rocking Hayden to sleep at night and her wanting me to squeeze her tightly. After I do it she giggles and then leans in and tightens her whole body, so that I will do it again

-Hayden randomly toddling over to me throughout the day and hugging my leg and then going back to whatever she is doing

-Audrey’s deep and wide brown eyes and the excitement that fills them constantly

-The sound of Audrey asking ‘Mom will you play with me?’

-The triumph of Hayden finally signing the word ‘more’ last week – she refuses to say any words, so we are taking what we can get

-Watching Audrey conquer her fear last week at Sugar House Park and going down the ‘big, twisty’ slide, over and over and over again

-Watching Adam and Audrey cuddle on the couch together

Muddle and Match

Title: Muddle and Match – Imagine
Kane Miller

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These Muddle and Match books from Kane Miller are a household favorite around here. The book pages are split into three sections – a head, middle section and legs. Each page also has a coordinating story section, so you can change the character or parts of the characters and their stories! Audrey loves mix and matching. This book keeps her entertained for quite a while because she can create new characters.

We are also currently working on learning the sounds of each letter of the alphabet, so this book has been great to help with that. Each character’s story is based on a letter – ‘Bella, the brilliant, bubbly ballerina,’ or ‘Sonia the secret, sonic super hero.’

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Girls Who Choose God

Title: Girls Who Choose God: Stories of Courageous Women from the Bible
Author: McArthur Krishna and Bethany Brady Spalding
Illustrator: Kathleen Peterson

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This book has a special place in my heart and is one that I try to read often to Audrey and to Hayden when she gets older and has the attention span for it. I love this book because it highlights some of the important women in the bible. Some of the stories I was not familiar with, so it motivated me to revisit or read their stories. In a time right now, where women’s roles can be confusing, this book does such a good job of showing how women have always been strong and courageous and played important roles in Christian history. This book teaches about courage, faith, resilience and how to be a Daughter of God. I don’t know how many of you are familiar with Kathleen Peterson’s art, but she is an amazing artist and her illustrations in this book are breath taking. They do such a good job of evoking beauty and power in each of the women highlighted in this book.

At the end of each story, a question is asked – ‘When have you made a choice to stand for others,’ or When have you chosen to sacrifice something for God?’ These questions are such a good way to start wonderful conversations with your little ones.

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‘Lip Writing’

Tuesday May 3, 2016:

While cleaning out Audrey’s room tonight I found a pair of Minnetonka moccasins that my grandparents bought Audrey a few years ago, that had initially been way too big for her. We tried them on to see if they would fit now, and they did, after a little pulling and tugging. Soon after she had them on, she was swept up in her imaginary world – this time she was an Indian, named Kaya (thanks to American Girl catalog). While we were cleaning and organizing, she was running from room to room singing ‘can you paint with all the colors of the wind,’ and talking to pretend animals (shout out to Pocahontas). She found a small glass lantern that I had been using for decoration and asked if she could play with it for a few minutes ‘since Indians don’t have flashlights mom, so I need something to help me see.’

While I was making dinner, she came into the room to tell me that she had written me a letter, ‘but Indians didn’t have pencils back in those years, so I had to do it in lip writing.’ I wasn’t quite sure what ‘lip writing’ was so I asked her to explain it to me. ‘Lip writing is when you use your lips to write. I put on my chapstick and then I put my lips on the paper.’ And sure enough in the middle of a Daniel the Tiger coloring page was three different lip marks.

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Hi

Sunday May 1, 2016:

Hayden said her fifth word today: ‘Hi.’ She will now say it to anyone she sees and it so cute in her little voice. Hayden is the complete opposite of Audrey, who basically came out talking, so it has been interesting these last few months to see her hit so many physical milestones, but nothing much in the way of verbal. I also feel like I have done a bad job this time around of writing down when some of those milestones happen, so wanted to jot this little one down. Cheers for Hayden adding ‘Hi’ to her lucrative repertoire of ‘Mama, Dada, Dog and Duck’ (which basically sounds like dog).

Ella Bella Ballerina Series

Title: Ella Bella Ballerina and A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Author: James Mayhew

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We have recently discovered this series of books and Audrey always asks for one during our library trips. I will admit this is a series geared more towards girls – especially those who love ballet. In each book (there are 5 total) you are introduced to a different ballet – Cinderella, Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, The Nutcracker and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Ella Bella is a little girl who attends Madame Rosa’s ballet class in an older theater and at the end of every class, she lingers and her imagination takes over as she becomes a part of the ballet story they were learning about. I love these books because it introduces children to these classic ballets and the characters in them. The illustrations are magical – full of color and imagination. At the end of every book, Mayhew also includes a synopsis and history of the original ballet, which I have really enjoyed reading.

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Naptime

Thursday April 21, 2016:

We are going through a transition phase with Audrey right now regarding nap time. Her body still needs them, but she is fighting them. So lately (about 50% of the time) if she doesn’t sleep, she just ends up playing in her room for two hours, which as long as she is staying in there, I haven’t minded. But with this playing, on the days she does end up crashing and sleeping, a trend has begun, one that is starting to drive me nuts. When I go to get her, her bed is full of random items – shoes, tights, handfuls of socks, headbands, hair bows, clothes, swimming suits. If it is in her room, it will most likely end up in bed. Today I found this random assortment in her bed (see picture below). Yesterday, she had underwear on her head and a swimming suit top on, while also sleeping on top of two shoe boxes, her socks and coins.

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