July 23, 2010

Field!! Trip!!

Good news, readers and followers!  I am ending the giveaway of The Fathers Are Coming Home on July 31st.  All you have to do to enter is become a follower of the blog. 

When I was a student, I loved field trips!  When I was a teacher, I loved field trips!  Now that I'm Grammy, guess what?  I love field trips!  To me a field trip takes you somewhere new, very interesting, usually educational, and with a group!  So I think my first trip to the Children's Museum of the Upstate with PDub, Mama at Law, and Papallama definitely qualified as a field trip. 

Right now, if I were not sitting here typing, I would stand up and give the museum a big round of applause.  It was AH~MAY~ZING!! 

Start your engines!
From the moment we entered the door, we were spellbound.  We paid our admission and were given 'bracelets' with a bar code that matched us to PDub.  Without matching barcodes and our child, we would not be able to exit.  PDub was not crazy about the way it felt on his wrist, but it was durable enough to withstand his tugs and later, his water escapades.  Museum policy requires one adult for every five children.  (Wonder how many adults one child can bring? )

Where to start?  Oh my! The museum was three stories of adventure and exploration. We started in the race car exhibit.  He could sit in a pretend race car or be part of its pit crew.  Or he could race wooden cars down a ramp and change their course by adding different tracks.

Wind, an Invisible Force
 We moved on to one of his favorite areas. The Power of Wind.  PDub spent a long time in the activities using wind.  He played experimented with wind socks and tried his hand at flying a plane.  He fed balls into chutes and watched them get blown through a giant maze of clear tubes.

One exhibit is an entire grocery store complete with buggies and check out registers for children to play shop.  Preston filled his buggy with all the onions.  
Good thing he has a little mama!

Heads up!
PDub was mostly interested in the action, climbing, noise making exhibits.  Take for example, the recycling truck.  It made a sound like it was cranking up and he was driving it.  It even had a horn he could blow.  Or the construction site, definitely a hard hat area.

Somebody is gonna get wet...
And what would a children's museum be without water?  This museum had an entire complex of water activiites modeled after a local river.  There was a bubble hood that kids could climb into and look up at the water without getting wet.  It blew PDub's mind and he wouldn't get completely in it, even with Mama at Law.

You might think it would be hard to keep up with a child in such a big and busy environment.

My Co-Pilot

 It was. . . I lost Papallama more than once.  He said all those kids were getting in his way.

Can Papallama have a turn?
That kid...


July 18, 2010

Book Review - Roly Poly Pangolin

Roly Poly Pangolin

PDub was here for a visit and Grammy was itching to find something new to read.  I needed a book for a baby shower gift, so I had the perfect excuse to browse the new children's picture books! 

You can see from the cover how this would catch my eye.  I should have known from the look in the Pangolin's eyes that this was the work of Anna Dewdney.  She is the author/illustrator of the Llama Llama books that PDub has enjoyed since he was teeny tiny. 

As I previewed the book, I was captured right away by its illustrations.  Anna has a way of illustrating characters that makes you say, "Aw," and "Ha!" from one page to the next.  And the illustrations are also B-I-G, and I think that makes them more appealing to two year olds. (and fifty-somethings, too!)

Now here in SC, if you hear roly poly, you think of this.

A pill bug, or roly poly, as we like to call them.  Unfortunately for them, children are easily entertained by getting these tiny critters to roll themselves up into a ball.

But a Pandolin is a mammal.  An endangered one.  It is toothless and doesn't see very well.  It's defense  is to roll up into a tight ball, and it makes itself almost impossible to pry apart.  The Pandolin has one baby at a time and the baby rides on the mother's tail sometimes.  If you visit Anna Dewdney's website, you will find much, much more fastinating information about this very special animal.

PDub loved the book!  How do I know?  Uh, ask any of the three of us who were with him this weekend who were asked to read it over and over and over.   We could even bribe convince him to do things he didn't want to do (like put on a new diaper) with the promise of reading it again. He also started to repeat the easy rhyme that is part of the book right away.  "Roly Poly, very small/ Doesn't like new things at all." Boy, we can relate to that, can't we?

I loved this book for several reasons.  One is that I learned something.  Another is that it reminded me how special our earth and all her creatures are.  It was fun to use this book to travel to a place I may never visit. 

Yeah, books have a way of doing that.

Roll on,

July 14, 2010

It Won't Be Like This For Long

As you know, PDub just celebrated the BIG 0-2.  His excited mama at law took him to his new class at daycare this week.  He had outgrown his other class and was missing his older buddies.  His mama was eager for him to try new things and enjoy all the summer activities planned for the two year olds.  So this was a big day for PDub and here's how it went.

Mama at Law set the stage on the ride there.  She told him he would be seeing his friends.  He smiled and laughed at that.  Then he told her he would be seeing his teachers. You got it, the ones in the 'under two' room.  "Noooo," cautioned Mama at Law.  And she reminded him who his new teacher would be.

They walked in together and PDub got busy right away showing Mama at Law all the new toys in this classroom.  Mama at Law noticed all the potties.  Hmmm, yeah, that is something he will be tackling now that he is in this room.  (Should provide some good material down the road.)

When she thought he was occupied in his play, Mama at Law began to slip away.  Mamas, you are not very good slip-awayers.  Children have a radar detector/GPS thing that lets them know when they are about to be dumped.  Sure enough, as she went out the door, the screaming commenced.  Having been through this before, Mama at Law calmed herself and bolted walked to her car.  At work, she worried about her little boy until a text arrived from a staff member. It said PDub was grinning ear to ear because his class was with The Music Man singing songs and playing instruments.  PDub loves music!  Alleluia!

The teacher met Mama at Law at the door when she picked him.  "Hasn't stopped playing all day!" she reported.  Literally.  No breakfast, no lunch, no nap.  Seems PDub was just too excited to stop.  Maybe he thought this was his only shot.  Maybe we would get more done if we all approached our days like that. 

On the way home, PDub passed out.  Yeah...that was some day! 

I asked Mama at Law if he was better about her leaving him in the morning now.  And she said he was, "a little."  But she's been through this before.  She told me she thinks about Darius Rucker's song at times like these.  So I gave it another listen, and I want you to listen closely, too.  See,  I enjoy all these moments I have with PDub now.  He won't play with his Grammy forever.  One day, he won't let me put him to sleep or give him a bath or take him for walks. 

I'm going to be like PDub and go nonstop for as long as I can.  As they say, Life is not a dress rehearsal.

Make it count.

July 12, 2010

Yeah, sure

It must be fun to work in marketing and think up those catch phrases, like "Got Milk?" or "Just Do It!"  Remember these? "Tha's hot." "Talk to the hand (cause the face don't want to hear it)" "Whatever."

What comes to mind when you hear these?
  1. Plop, plop, fizz, fizz, oh, what a relief it is...
  2. I'M LOVIN IT!
  3. The quicker, picker-upper
  4. Maybe she's born with it, maybe it's ....
  5. Have it your way.
  6. When it rains, it pours.
  7. Celebrate the moments of your life.
  8. We work hard, so you don't have to.
  9. Bring out the _______ and bring out the best.
  10. Like a good neighbor, ______ is there.

PDub has started a catch phrase around here.  He has traded his simple "yes" with "yeah, sure."  Not just sometimes...ALL THE TIME.  Go ahead.  Try it.  Everytime you need to say yes today, substitute, yeah sure.

Catchy, huh? Think I should get him a trademark?

Yeah, sure

July 9, 2010

He's Twoo! Twoo!

It's official! Today PDub is two years old!  Mama at Law describes him as WILD today, so he must be having lots of fun!  She has prepared birthday bash #2 for him to share with all his buds at daycare.  Cupcakes with trains, Thomas plates, kazoos, Cheetos, juices.  Party down, toddlers!

We observed his special day while we were together at the beach.  Keeping the Thomas the Train theme, I used primary colors of green, red, and blue.  Papallama graciously agreed to produce some computer generated train track for the placemats and the rest came from Party City.  We had a Thomas cupcake cake, old fashioned popcorn cooked by Jaybird, and those little bottles of Coke that taste so much better than the cans or plastic variety. 

Papallama picked out a cool Thomas the Train haunted mine piece for PDub's collection and we also gave him some much needed train track.  Aunt Cat and Uncle Jaybird gave him an amazing Bubble blower that really put out the bubbles as promised and a Winnie the Pooh kite to fly on the beach. 

PDub accepted his gifts the same way he accepts everything in life right now.  With enthusiasm, excitement, and endless energy.

So, join me, won't you?

Happy Birthday to you
Happy Birthday to you
Happy Birthday, dear PDuuuub!
Happy Birthday to you!

Now make a wish!

July 6, 2010

Beachy Keen!

The beach was a blast!  There was family, great food, beach time, horseshoe tournaments, bicycle rides, and fireworks!  And, of course, books!  I finished reading The Girl on Legare Street, by Karen White, and it was as good, if not better, than the  first book in that series.  It definitely needs a follow up to it, though, and I hope she will tie up those loose ends for me soon. 

PDub brought his own collection of books to the beach, and I made a note of his choices. 

The Tale of Peter Rabbit was the tiniest book in the set.  As I was reading it to him, he pointed out poor Peter being pursued by Mr McGregor.  He enjoys the story line in this book though it takes some paraphrasing to get through its entirety just yet.

Farm (Double Delights)There were a couple of flap books he is really enjoying.  His favorite of these was Farm, by Mary Novick and Jeremy Hale. He knows the names of all the animals in the books who are cleverly hidden in the illustrations and flaps.  The colorful and large illustrations really appeal to him.  The other flap book is a cute one with puppies.   Puppies Count has the additional bonus of being a counting book, too. 

The oddest book he shared with me was The Adventures of Sammy the Wonder Dachshund, by Jonathan Miller.  I have seen these in Charleston book stores, but I would have never known how much fun they are for children to read until PDub insisted on several readings of Sammy on Safari.  Again, some paraphrasing was needed.  Still, he loved the adventure of going to Africa in search of the kangaroo!  Did we find one?  Well, you'll just have to read to find out for yourself!

Thomas the Train books are still in his stack and he can recite it along with you when you read.  I added a new one for his birthday. He turns two on Friday!

Books are not just for grown ups at the beach.  They were just as relaxing for him and sure came in handy at nap time.  Be sure to pack some books in your bags when you take your vacation this year. 

There were more adventures to share with you, but the real world is calling today.  Maybe I'll just close the blinds, turn off the lights, and refuse to answer!

Shhhh, don't tell it I'm here...

Disclaimer: I wrote this blog post while participating in the TwitterMoms blogging program to be eligible to get an "I Can Read!" book. For more information on how you can participate, click here.