Sunday, March 29, 2009

Blame It On Baby-Brain

I've said many times before that my brain doesn't work as well as it used to before I had a baby. And it seems now, that Babin is incubating in my belly, it has gotten worse. I realized tonight that I never picked any winners for the Yo-Plus Gift Pack Giveaway!

Here they are, randomly chosen by Random.org:
Random Integer Generator
Here are your random numbers:
23 21 25 
Timestamp: 2009-03-29 02:17:04 UTC

So, Roann, Jennifer, Bison61, make sure you check your e-mail for additional details.

**I have no e-mail address for Jennifer, so, I sure hope you subscribe! E-mail me at familymusings at gmail.com with your mailing address.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

We Went On A World Music Tour

Yep. You read that right. We went on a world music tour. I wish I could post pictures of the African plains or the Celtic harps that we played, but um, my camera broke. Yeah, that's it.

Well, actually, my camera did break. And we didn't travel the world exploring music of various people in real life.

Instead, we did it via a new DVD - Baby Einstein World Music. I was asked to preview it by Mom Central and am glad they asked.

On a regular basis, we like to listen to tribal-type music (via iTunes), bang drums, and shake maracas around this house as a way to have fun. It gets this momma off her butt and that makes Charlotte giggle... what could be better? If you need more reason to enjoy a product like this though, here is an official description:
World Music DVD, which comes out March 31, 2009, encourages live interaction and introduces children to the world's distinctive sights and sounds with fun-loving puppet host Jane the Monkey and her toy drum as she travels across the globe to play music with her puppet friends. It features real-world images of global musical instruments, regional toys and animals, and takes an extraordinary look at the universal language of music, encouraging viewers to join in the fun by blowing on a flute, strumming on a harp and singing along to songs from all seven continents.
Since Charlotte is already a 19 months old, I really liked the Grow With Me portion of the DVD. It included the spoken word and the written word to add another dimension to her learning. (Did you know closed-captioning helps kids read?! Yep, I learned that when I was a teacher.) They also have a feature which allows parents to select shorter 5-10 minute segments to match the attention span of their babies.

And since you made it this far, here is a reminder to go check out the video of Charlotte dancing (okay, I know it is the moonwalk, but it is still dancing!)

Do you have 11 minutes to spare?

Do you want to be challenged to a different way of living?

Do you think a 13-year old can teach you anything?

Then go watch this video about Deborah Drapper.

(If anyone knows where to find the full 1-hour documentary I'd be very appreciative.)

Friday, March 27, 2009

What Do You Mean My Toddler Doesn't Think Like Me?

I don't know if it was the EDU 101 class I took in college, or some other experience of mine, but I've always known that children process information differently than adults. What I mean is, they are not little adults. Their brains don't work the same way as ours.

When Bruce told me about recent research that seemingly* proved this while surprising the researchers, I didn't understand it. I thought it was common knowledge that our brains worked differently as we got older.

One way I've worked around this with Charlotte is to begin using "if, then" statements. As in, "if you want to go play outside, then you must put your shoes on." It works in almost every circumstance. Well, at least the ones where she wants the outcome I am offering.

I think this might be called Love & Logic, but I have been too lazy to look it up. I know I learned about the "if, then" method when I was in new teacher training. It worked with my students most of the time, and has been working with Charlotte since I started using it in February.

In addition to her learning sign language, this is another way we are trying to avoid tantrums at our house.

What are your tips for avoiding tantrums?

*Edited so you don't think I was trying to say Bruce thought research could prove anything or that he agreed with the researcher's premise and/or conclusions.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Saltimbanco is Coming to Town

A while back we were lucky enough to be given two tickets to see La Nouba, the Cirque du Soleil show permanently housed at Downtown Disney in Orlando. I thought for sure I had blogged about it at the time, but after browsing my archives, can't find the post. If I had shared the news with you at the time, I would have told you how enthralled Charlotte was with the entire show, particularly the clowns.

At one point during the show, a clown came out posing as a mom pushing a baby carriage. The audience was silent, waiting to see what the clown was going to do. Next, we all heard the wail of the "baby" in the carriage. Then, Charlotte was so excited about something she recognized, she loudly exclaimed, "baby!" That broke the audience's silence and they collectively giggled at her cuteness. Other than that, she just sat and stared at all of the amazing things happening during the show - acrobatics, dancing, spinning. It was information overload and she fell asleep in my lap 15 minutes before the show ended.

Well... I am sharing this story now because we have encountered another bit of amazing fortune here at the Sabin household. I was given a family 4-pack of tickets to see the newest Cirque du Soleil show, Saltimbanco, right here in my hometown of Lakeland! Mom Select sponsored the giveaway and I couldn't be more grateful.

We don't actually get to see the show until it arrives in Lakeland next month. But you can be sure we'll be anxiously awaiting our big night out.

Mom Select also wanted me to pass along a special link for discount tickets available to families. The Family Packs start at only $90 (for some cities, $100 for others) for 2 adults and 2 children. And trust me, if you have ever looked at Cirque du Soleil prices, you know this is a bargain. (Our free tickets in January cost ~$150 for just 2 adults!)

The Family Four Pack offer is also available in the following cities. Just click the city for the link to your discount page.

Mobile, AL April 2 to April 5, 2009
Nashville, TN April 9 to April 12, 2009
Huntsville, AL April 15 to April 19, 2009
North Charleston, SC April 22 to April 26, 2009
Lakeland, FL April 29 to May 3, 2009
Gainesville, FL May 7 to May 10, 2009
Tallahassee, FL May 13 to May 17, 2009
Jacksonville, FL May 20 to May 24, 2009
Sunrise, FL May 27 to June 7, 2009
Tampa, FL June 25 to July 5, 2009
Estero, FL July 8 to July 12, 2009
Let me know if you plan on going to see Saltimbanco when it comes near your town! I'll tell you all about our big night out once it is over. And I won't even try to write a balanced review because I already know we will love seeing another Cirque de Soleil show!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Baby Sabin #2 is now 17 Weeks Old

Well, technically, the baby is 15 weeks old, and I am 17 weeks pregnant... and that is not "Jennifer Math."

Remember last week when I shared my excitement about feeling the creature inside of me move?

The baby continued moving like that every night. It is so comforting to feel that and know our baby is doing well. Then on Saturday night I didn't feel the somersaults from the previous week. And of course, like any good pregnant woman, I got worried.

Bruce prayed for me and the baby. I prayed for me and the baby. But I didn't feel anything. After a little while, I thought I felt something, but it was too late, I was already in full-worry mode. Eventually, I had to take a breath (because you know, if you hold your breath it is easier to feel the baby!) and soon I fell asleep exhausted from the worry.

It didn't last long and I woke up at 3:45 just positive something was wrong. I even imagined that I felt a couple of contractions. Sleep was elusive. Eventually, I got up to use the bathroom (this would have happened any way folks, my bladder isn't as spacious as it used to be). There was no spotting or anything and I didn't have any real cramps, so I prayed a while longer and asked God for sleep.

It wasn't until Monday night that I started to feel the tumbling baby a little more strongly. That little bit of movement was such a relief to me. My new blog friend, Kim, posted this about that time:
I quote Sheila Walsh, "We are fragile human beings who wrestle with doubt. We are daily confronted by our own frailty and yet we are so embraced by Christ that His love transforms our lives. The struggles of testing shed light on our inconsistencies. It is one thing to think that you are doing everything right and that is why God is smiling on you, but it is a life transforming moment when, just as you realize you have got it all wrong, Christ receives you anyhow.
 I can't begin to describe the breadth of emotions I went through between Saturday and Monday night. I wondered if God was going to take our baby because of a recent decision. Or if this was going to be punishment for some hidden sign. I could say aloud that I know God would have a purpose for taking the baby, but I had no idea what it would possibly be. And I was wrestling with being angry and hurt about it too.

Yes, I have an over-active imagination. Just ask my mom.

So yeah, I found some inconsistencies in my thought life this weekend. I am going to be working on those, because I want this baby to see a real life lived for God modeled in me.

(Photo of 17-week of baby, in utero, courtesy of BabyCenter.com)

Monday, March 23, 2009

Daytona Bike Week Was When???

Charlotte loves motorcycles. In part I am sure, because her daddy rides one. And also because, well, they are awesome!

So, we took her to Daytona Bike Week. Yeah, it was like 2 whole weeks ago and I am finally getting around to looking at my pictures. Here are my favorites.

I think her eyes are saying, "Momma, may I have one when I am 16?"

And what would a biker babe be without a tattoo? Charlotte stood incredibly still for this and showed her cross tattoo to everyone who would look.
And then we topped the day off with some ice cream!

I would have more pictures for you, but due to some scheduling miscommunications, it was mostly Charlotte and I all morning. Daddy didn't show up for about 2 hours!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Random Video Cuteness

The hardest thing for me to get up on my blog is video of Charlotte. The main reason is that when I put my SD card in the computer, I don't get a thumbnail of them. Therefore, I have to open each one and watch it before I know how to label it. That means it takes a while before you get to see them. Here is a random sampling of recent videos.

Charlotte does the Moon Walk
Charlotte riding the carousel

Charlotte singing her own song (stick around for the big finish)

The next two videos are probably only cool to watch for me, since I am the momma. But since the blog is about scrapbooking Charlotte's life, I am including them.

Charlotte walking up the stairs on her own

Charlotte climbing a ladder and coming down the slide (on her own)

Saturday, March 21, 2009

My Spaghetti Stick is Sexist

I like spaghetti with meat sauce. It is one of my favorite foods. There is no fancy family recipe, I just use a jar of Barilla and a box of spaghetti noodles.

It seems that my eyes are always bigger than my stomach and I boil too many noodles for the two adults in our family. So, I bought a spaghetti stick.

A spaghetti stick is a single-purpose kitchen tool that helps you measure out how much dry pasta to cook. The main problem I have with my new tool though, is that it is sexist.

The measurement marks say that a woman should eat the same size serving as a 10-12 year old child. When I first used the stick, I felt insulted. I was a grown woman and I should get an adult's serving of spaghetti. Not be relegated to some 16th century idea of what a woman should eat like.

In my defiance towards the stick, I made 2 adult servings. And guess what, I couldn't finish mine. That sounds like noodley-justice to me!
(Click image to enlarge)

Friday, March 20, 2009

Name Baby #2 Contest

Everyone who is anyone already knows that we are expecting a new bundle of joy in our family this August. What you might not have realized though, is we have not decided on what to call this little bambino. For a while now, we have just called him or her "baby number two."

And folks, that is boring. And we are not boring people.

So, what should we call this little bun in the over, our budding gymnast? I don't want anything obvious, like, you know, Baby Sabin. We've been there, done that. Bun and Bean, could never be as cute as Breadstick (which is already taken by my sister-in-law who is due in October!). And well, we did refer to Charlotte as the Belly Monster already.

To come up with a good name for the munchkin in my belly, I am having a contest. There will be no prizes, other than just knowing you made my family happy. I'll take suggestions until we find one that seems just right. Bruce and I are the final judge.

Naming Rules:
  1. Nothing boring.
  2. Aim for something a toddler can pronouce.
  3. Should be gender neutral.
  4. Able to be spoken with a straight face.
Tell us, what should we call Baby Sabin #2?

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Speaking of Gymnastics

I finally had an opportunity to take Charlotte back to Gym Etc, the local gymnastics studio with open hours. Another little friend had come with us so I was busy splitting my time between him and Charlotte, when I turned around to see this...

 
All on her own, Charlotte had climbed up on the yellow block (not really that spectacular, she can climb up onto most anything these days), reached up for the lower of the uneven bars, and started swinging. I think her face shows the obvious joy she felt at teaching herself this new trick.
She came down after swinging a few times and had such a silly grin on her face. She signed "swing" and said "weeeeee..." and got right back up to do it again. It was so much fun to watch her go back and back to keep swinging like a little gym monkey.
A little bit later, I had to confront the fact that we might have a future gymnast on our hands. We were in the balance bean section, and again, I was helping our friend do something, when I turned around to see her walking along the balance beam, unassisted.
 
She had climbed up onto it herself and made it about 3/4 of the way down the beam before getting a bit wobbly. Charlotte reached up to steady herself on my hand, then let go and walked the rest of the way down the beam!
Had I not see it with my own eyes, I am not sure I would have believed it!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

16 Weeks Pregnant

I am at the end of the 4th month with our next baby and was so excited last night to finally feel a little movement from the munchkin. I can't remember when I first felt Charlotte move, so I wanted to make sure I marked this day for baby number two.

Then tonight, as I laid around watching American Idol, I think our new baby was practicing their gymnastics flips! It was so much fun to feel so much activity tonight!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Alphabet School - "G"

We spread our G activities out over 2 weeks since I was on a computer fast. Unfortunately, the fast meant I couldn't upload and edit my pictures every day so, this post might be a little scattered.

Our G week of Alphabet School started with a little Goodwill.  I had gathered up several items from the house that we no longer needed and we dropped them off in the back. Then, we went inside to look for some goodies of our own.

The first crafty-artsy thing we did, other than coloring G-themed worksheets, was play with some new glitter pens . It started out kind of fun and cool until Charlotte realized she could squeeze them and make LOTS of glitter come out in a large blob, on her arm. She wasn't happy when I took her glitter pens away.

Oh, we also did some glass painting with green paint. And this picture demonstrates why we always do these sorts of activities in the high chair!

And we couldn't forget to show off our groovy grocery gown! We colored it with some new pencils and they didn't go over so well because the colors were kind of light. Charlotte really had to press down to get a lot of color. Oh, and I cut the head hole too large. But she still had fun modeling it for Daddy when he came home.

We had fun making gingerbread cookies too! I've let Charlotte "help" in the kitchen before, but this was the first time that I gave Charlotte her own task to complete. She was responsible for rolling the cookie balls in cinnamon and sugar. For the most part, she was pretty good at it and I only had to cover up a few spots.

Then, what fun is it to make cookies if you don't get to taste them? Here is a happy Charlotte holding what is left of her first ever gingerbread cookie. (Ok, I am really only showing this picture because it shows me with straight hair, an extremely rare occurrence.) Make sure to notice our cute matching aprons too.

I also continued Charlotte's training in the fine art of good housekeeping. Some might argue that I have a lot to learn in this art myself, and they are most certainly right, but I know how to get the basics done. And now, so does Charlotte.

She can sweep...

And she can mop... not bad for an 18-month old.

Another fun activity we did was to plant an instant garden. I found a bag of flowers without stems on sale for $1 at Wal-Mart and we used these to dress up the back yard. We also sorted the flowers by color and size, just to have more fun with them. I am sure there is a lot more we can do with these and would love to hear your ideas.

I didn't get pictures of her coloring the worksheets and really wish I had made time to make this cool Box Guitar.And since we eat grapes and graham crackers all the time, I didn't really think I needed pictures of those either. But having a little extra time allowed us to do more new things together.

Stay tuned to see what we come up with for H week!

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I did some Google searches and used some of Jane's ideas. These were the websites that helped us this week. First School Apples 4 the Teacher Everything Preschool



Did you miss me?

After 7 days of fasting, I am back online now. I must confess I did get online and look at e-mail and some blogs on Thursday night (but my good reason is below, keep reading).

John asked in the comments on my last post why I did this computer fast. I can honestly say, it had become apparent to me that too much of my day was consumed with being online. I needed to see how much was going undone in my life. It wasn't clear if it was my computer or me that was controlling my time.

I discovered that I do need the connection and intellectual stimulation I get from blog reading. By Thursday, Bruce told me I was wearing him out with all of my talking. After spending the day with Charlotte and no computer, he was my only outlet. And after his long day teaching 9th and 11th graders, it was too much. (The main reason I broke fast on Thursday night for about 45 minutes.)

I also discovered though, that most of the e-mail I get doesn't need to even be read. Out of over 200 e-mails in the week, I deleted at least 150 without even reading them. I really need to start unsubscribing to some of these companies. And I've got to take some blogs out of my reader. If I comment, your blog is safe, otherwise, gotta pare that list down again (currently at 79).

Going forward, my plan is to take 2 days off a week from being online. Not consecutive mind you, but probaby Tuesdays and Thursdays. This will help me get more accomplished around the house and feel less controlled by my desire to sit down at my computer. Of course, I might still schedule posts for those days... I still need to share my photos and stories of Charlotte! She is after all, the reason I started this blog.

So, did you miss me?

Sunday, March 08, 2009

7 Day Computer Fast

I am starting a computer fast when I go to bed tonight. That means no blogging, no blog reading, no Facebook, no e-mail, and no internet research.

Will I survive? As much as I know it will be hard, I know I can go a lousy 7 days without using a computer.

So, if you don't see me comment on your brilliant new blog posts or the adorable photos of your children, don't fret. I'm still around. I just need a break.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Florida Strawberry Festival

The final post from our F week is to document our trip to the Florida Strawberry Festival. It is a little bit of a stretch on the F theme, but heck, it's my blog and I can say it fits if I want too. :)

We did get to take the grandparents with us. But I am really just showing this picture to point out her gingham blue dress and the pink cowboy boots! (Thanks Kelly M! She L-O-V-E-S them!)

The Berry Merry Go-round was the only ride we went on due to the crazy ticket prices. But Charlotte did get to go twice. She cried when she had to get off, both times.

We did eat a lot of straweberries, but were so enjoying them all of us forgot to get out our cameras. Instead, I leave you with the most decent photo of Charlotte getting excited about the cows.

Oh, and a funny cow story... as we drove home from church last Sunday, Charlotte started mooing in the back seat. I couldn't figure out why she was making cow noises so I asked her where the cows were. She pointed out the right window to a field with cows, way off in the distance, quietly chewing their grass. She has good eyes!

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Potty Training Advice Needed

So, for all of those experienced moms out there, or moms in the middle of it, got any advice for potty training?

Last fall, I thought I would try and potty train Charlotte about this time, 18 months. But, with the new baby coming, I am not so sure. I've been told by some people that she will probably revert once the new baby is here and then I'd have to do it all over again. That hardly seems worth it to me. However, Charlotte seems really interested in the potty. She can say potty in sign language, is able to climb up on the potty (when the lid is down), and is starting to be able to pull her own pants up when we get dressed in the morning.

I read in a book recently that using Pull-Ups is a bad idea because it doesn't teach your child to be in control of their bladder and bowel movements.

But someone else said to use Pull-Ups at night while they are trying to learn.

My friend Katie, used the book Potty Train Your Child in Just One Day and says it worked.

It is so confusing! I guess this is one of the areas I'll have to read everything and just see which one resonates the most with me, like I did with breastfeeding and natural child birth.

Oh, and Katie is giving away a copy of the book that helped her. Click over and enter. If I don't win, at least one of my other blog friends will and can tell me what it says!

Monday, March 02, 2009

Pregnancy Hormones Make Me Weepy

I have always gotten a little choked up at an AT&T or Publix holiday commercial. And that was okay with me. It was something quirky about me that my husband liked. But, now, this pregnancy has taken my weepiness to a whole other level.

For example, I rented Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants a couple of weeks ago and watched it during a Daddy-Daughter date. It's a good thing too. Because that is not a sad movie ya'll. Don't think that stopped me from having a really good cry right when Bridget (the soccer player) found that her "first time" didn't fill the hole in her heart like she expected. I just bawled. And I am not a pretty crier. It was an ugly scene ladies and gentlemen.

Sometimes though, I cry because I am overwhelmingly happy. Remember my friend Daryl, who I shared about a year ago? Well, I just found out last night that Joy, his widow, remarried and after reading just a little bit about her husband and seeing their wedding photos, I sobbed tears of joy for her. It almost felt silly to me, but she deserves so much happiness and I am so glad that God brought another husband to her. She will be a great mom. (Heck, I'm tearing up just thinking about this again!)

And to top it off, last night I read Laura's Six Years! post about the six years she has been living in Mozambique. I love reading missionary blogs (feel free to recommend any you know), and Laura's is inspiring in so many ways. She has counted the cost to work with the orphans in Mozambique and found it to be worth it, despite the sacrifices and time away from her family. As I read her post, just after learning about my friend Joy, I couldn't help but feel overwhelmed with emotion. More tears and snot came as I prayed for the same kind of faith that Joy and Laura have.

I don't remember feeling this much intense emotion last time I was pregnant. It is exhausting all by itself.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Alphabet School - "F"

We had such a busy F week. I've already shared how we went flying with friends and our lessons on how Florida gold (oranges) is made into juice.


Towards the begining of the week, I finally found our sidewalk chalk after a couple weeks of being lost. There are lots of fun F things to draw too - flowers, fish, frogs, fruit, and feet. I mostly draw the shapes and let her color them in as she sees fit. We also reprised our Big Letter, Little Letter game. Oh, and Charlotte asked me to trace her feet and then I traced mine and let her stand in them to see the size difference.

While browsing through Wal-Mart a week or so ago, I found these football window clings marked down to $0.48. Charlotte entertained herself for almost 30 minutes putting these up and pulling them off the window. Unfortunately, when she got bored with that, she started trying to eat them. I guess they looked a lot like Jell-O wiggles.

Oh, and of course we played with farm animals.  I found a pack of tiny horses that came with a fence, rocks, and some trees. I'd show you a picture, but they all come out kind of blurry since we were inside and the light was poor.

Speaking of fences, here is Charlotte peering through one at the children's museum. I know this might not be an obvious F activity, but when she comes upon items like this, I try to emphasize the F-ness of it (does that make sense?) so that she is at least hearing more of the letter and recognizing that objects have names that match up with written words.

Food was again part of our week, both what Charlotte ate and how she ate it. Since our little girl loves fruit, this was an easy week. However, since she already eats a lot of fruit (at least 1-2 servings with EVERY meal), I wanted to find a new way to serve it, so I gave her a frozen fruit bar. She thinks it is ice cream and has asked for it a few more times by signing ice cream after she finishes her dinner. She can almost eat an entire bar, and these things are huge. But, as you can see, she is more than willing to share!

The other food word we worked on this week was fork. Charlotte has been getting increasingly better at using one and always asks me to give her a fork when she is in her high chair. Even if she is eating crackers. That is messy!

I wanted to make some fork art with finger paint, but we just didn't get to it with all of the other fun things that happened this week.

Fingerpainting was fun too. She painted both flowers and a fish bowl. This picture of her painting the flowers looks so fun to me... you can see that she is really excited about spreading that paint around with her fingers. Even onto her chest and face!

After she painted the fish bowl, I had some small fish stickers I let her put "in" the bowl. In the beginning of this project I helped her pull the stickers off the sheet, but quickly realized that since they were 3-D stickers, she didn't need my help and did it almost entirely on her own.

I also used some pipe cleaners to make fish that we could catch in a net made of produce bags. This didn't seem to be as much fun for her as I thought it would be though.


Our little girl really isn't too fazed by boo-boos. But she loves to say "ouch." It is one of the words she says with her mouth and her hands, a lot. We often have to call her out as a faker. And she was faking in this picture too when I gave her a fly band-aid. Her friend Asher had a real boo-boo and he got a band-aid, so of course, she wanted one too. Imitation is something she has become very good at. If you can do it, she at least wants to give it a try.


And how could we forget the fire truck and fire hose. I think Charlotte could climb all over the model fire truck all day long if I let her. They even added some video inside the truck cab of real firemen responding to a house fire. That kept her attention for quite a while.  And this fire hose was super fun to stretch out so she could bang the nozzle on whatever objects or people seemed to be nearby. Good thing there wasn't any real water in that hose! We'd have all been soaked.

Our last crafty activity for the week was to make a peacock with finger feathers. It was a little harder to execute than I hoped because Charlotte kept wanting to stick her paint-covered fingers into different colors and mix them all up. But, I think it turned out reasonably well once I started to move her hands for her. I do try to remember though that it is about the process, not the product.

I've got one more F event to share with you, but you'll have to wait a day or two for me to sort through the pictures. And besides, it is kind of a stretch on the F theme, but was still fun!
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I did some Google searches and used some of Jane's ideas. These were the websites that helped us this week. First School Apples 4 the Teacher Everything Preschool Enchanted Learning