Thursday, October 2, 2014

Apples Aplenty

Gordon Lee has been learning all about apples this week. There are endless ideas for things you can do with apples. Plus, my child who wouldn't touch a raw apple before this is eating them like candy now! What a bonus. :) His books have really helped him understand how apples are formed, and they also help him realize that different apples have different flavors. 

After reading his books, he decided that his favorite apple was the golden delicious based solely on the name of the apple and the way it looked to him. Conveniently, the skin of the golden delicious apple is very thin.  So, a child like him really enjoys eating that kind whole. The skin is so thin that the texture of it does not bother him at all.  As he was eating a giant one today, he kept saying, "Mommy, you have to take a bit of this! It is just so delicious!"

Since the are so many possibilities of things to do with apples.  I will just share a list of our idea (including things we have done and things we have yet to try).

1.) Apple Prints- It is so easy to cut an apple in half horizontally (and also vertically to see a different print) and make a print with the 5 seed pockets of the apple. Gordon Lee made a few prints choosing green paint.  He definitely had fun.  They don't look like the ones you might see in an article about apple prints, but this is all his doing.  And I believe in celebrating his artwork regardless of how it looks.

2.) Fun Apple Snack- I sort of just happened upon this idea.  I had recently seen a sort of caramel apple candy idea that a friend shared.  And I was planning on trying it.  Instead of dipping a whole apple in caramel, you scoop the interior of the apple into a ball shape, dip it in caramel.  And you have a caramel apple pop.  I actually did not get to that yet. The reason was that I completely didn't think about the fact that I didn't have any sticks for this! So, instead, Gordon Lee had fun just using a melon baller to scoop the apple flesh out of the apple.  He had fun.  He could basically make his own snack.  Plus, it's clean and easy. He used a honey crisp apple for this. And he loved it so much, he would just stick some pieces straight in his mouth.  
- I cut the apple in half. 
- Dug out the core
- Showed him with his hand on the melon baller how to scoop it out of the apple.
From there he had it! The melon baller did slip once and slightly cut his other hand.  But that was my fault because I walked away to throw out the apple core. During that time, he got overly eager.  If I had been watching him right then, I could have prevented that. So I would definitely recommend supervision even if his cut wasn't very big.
 (Eating the apple before it makes it to the bowl)

(Final product in the bowl)

3.) Making Apple Sauce- This one is so easy. Gordon Lee and I cut up apples, steamed them, and then put them in the blender with some cinnamon sugar. The applesauce was delicious! I couldn't get Gordon Lee to even taste it after we made it.  But I know I will certainly be eating it.

4.) Trying a Variety of Apples- There are so many kinds to try.  And Gordon Lee especially enjoys tasting apples of varying colors. It's easy to buy one or two of a different kind and try them (although maybe the cashier at the grocery store might not find that fun). Gordon Lee still loves golden delicious the best.  I'm trying to find some pink lady apples because those are my favorite and he loves the color pink.
(This isn't the best picture, but he really loved this apple.  And he would eat the whole thing!)

5.) Examining the Apple-
-First, one of his books told us to look at the bottom of the apple and you can see the sepals of the apple flower.
-Cutting the apple horizontally so that the seed pockets appear creates a good math activity.  You can dig out seeds and count how many there are in each seed pocket.
-A new discovery for us was what looked like an apple blossom in the center of the apple if you cut just above the seed pockets. I find this one pretty remarkable since the actual petals of the blossom fall off before the apple forms.  But it's a neat way to see that the apple actually came from a flower.
-We have also dissected an apple to name the parts of the apple.

Ideas yet to try

6.) Making an apple pie from scratch (This is on the agenda for tomorrow).
7.) Making candy and caramel apple "pops." I just need to find a way to get sticks for the "pop" part or we will just end up with candy and caramel apple balls.
8.) Possibly visiting an orchard.  There is one about 40 minutes away from here. I want to go, but I definitely need to be able to plan it out right.
9.) Doing a blind taste test and seeing if Gordon Lee can guess what kind of apple he is tasting.
10.) Attempting to make some version of an apple sweet bread.

There are even more ideas than these. But some (like making apple cider) are a bit more than I can do right now. ;)

Monday, August 25, 2014

Baby #2

So, there was a reason I didn't post much about Gordon Lee's adventures in learning last week.  I was feeling miserable. I know for a fact that I did not have this much nausea with Gordon Lee.  On the bright side, I have discovered that eating raw carrots is a great remedy for nausea! It's truly wonderful.

We found out about baby #2 at the very beginning of August. Something wasn't right.  I am not going to go into all of the details.  But I was on birth control, and I just wasn't feeling right.  I didn't think I could be pregnant. However, I was having pretty much all of the early pregnancy symptoms (minus the nausea at the time).  So, I decided to just take a test and see. It was positive. I took a test from a different brand. Also positive. Of course, this was confirmed the next Monday by a blood test. 

I was still in shock.  I think I stared at that test wondering, Seriously?? for the longest time. And part of me wasn't even sure I was really pregnant.  "Maybe this is some weird hormonal malfunction."

I told the doctor at my very first visit that I was on birth control, and I had no clue as to how far along I could be. So, they tried to do an estimate. They gave me a due date of March 30, 2015.  And they scheduled an appointment for me to have an ultrasound (which was today) to get a true date confirmed.  Today, I saw a tiny little blob of a baby with a good heartbeat. I didn't even know what I was looking at until they told me. I did see the heartbeat flickering away immediately, which brought me tons of relief. The heart rate was 136. 
I finally believe I am really pregnant for sure. :) We had some concerns due to the birth control.  I wasn't sure if the baby would be okay in there. I also hadn't taken any prenatal vitamins until after I had a positive test and I didn't really even know how far along that was. By today's ultrasound, the baby measures 7 weeks and 5 days and has a new due date of April 8th.  They told me they change the due date if the ultrasound shows an estimate that is more than a week off of the original due date.  Now, on ultrasounds, Gordon Lee actually always measured a week behind of what he was "supposed" to, and he still arrived 6 days before his original due date--that would be 2 weeks before the ultrasound due date.  So, you just never know.  I do think it is a little bit easier at this stage to estimate weeks because of the heart rate and the way the baby looks developmentally.  

This time around, I am seeing a hospital midwife.  I chose to go with a hospital midwife this time because of something that impressed me with my birth experience with Gordon Lee.  I had gone to the hospital after my water had broken.  My doctor was not immediately available.  And my labor was progressing very slowly. My doctor requested a particular hospital midwife to check on me.  After 2 other people had checked on me, she figured out the problem immediately and got my labor going. 

I like my midwife.  She is very sweet.  Unfortunately, she will probably not deliver this baby. We are scheduled to move again in January.  So, I hope I find someone good at our next location. While there is a slight chance we might be here, it really is not likely.

We are getting pretty excited about it now.  Gordon Lee is very excited.  He kisses my tummy every night and says various things like "Hi Baby, I'm your big brother" "I hope you are having fun in there" "I hope you are a boy so we can play sword fights" "I love you baby" and "My name is Gordon." We just pray for a healthy pregnancy, and I will be ecstatic when this first trimester is over.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Check Up Time

The main reason we decided to start learning about doctors this week is that I had Gordon Lee's annual check-up planned.  I was getting ready to start talking about different community helpers each week.  So, I thought the doctor would be the best start.  His appointment was this morning.  We have read every single one of his 12 books at least 3 times already.  Some have been read 6 or more times.  So, Gordon Lee was extremely excited about this check-up.

He wanted to see the doctor's instruments.  He wanted to know how they worked, and he was hoping to get a sticker at the end of the appointment.  When I called to set up our health care here, I was asked if I wanted Gordon Lee to see a pediatrician or a general practitioner.  I opted for a pediatrician.  I figured a doctor who works only with children would probably be best.  After today, I feel like I was wrong.

I am not a fan of Gordon Lee's pediatrician.  I am a fan, however, of the pediatric nurse.  She was amazing! To all of the nurses out there.  BELIEVE ME--you do NOT go unnoticed.  The nurse brought Gordon Lee back, put him on the scale, measured his height.  And when he asked her how big he was, she showed him.  She was tickled by his answers to her questions.  And she encouraged his curiosity about what they do at the doctor's office.

Now, in preparation for the visit, Gordon Lee just HAD to bring some of his doctor books with him.  He wanted to compare his books to his actual visit.  So, during the wait time for the doctor, he went through all 3 books we brought.  In the first one, he found the picture of the scale and said, "That's exactly like the one I was just measured on!"  He also loved the fact that his examination table was a lion.
 In this picture, he is looking for the otoscope (hanging on the wall behind him) and cannot find it.
 I did a bad job taking this picture because I was trying to get a picture of the otoscope and of the picture of it on the page in his book.  But apparently I only got the one on the wall.  

I cannot even express how eager he was to soak up anything and everything he could learn today.  As the doctor walked in, he was in the middle of reading ABC Doctor.
He was excitedly going through the book and explaining where each item that he could find in the book was in the room.  The pediatrician came in.  She paid no attention to any of this.  I tried to explain to her that he was very excited and was reading his doctor books to learn.  She said, "Let's put that book away.  I have another book for you." She gave it to him.  He opened it up and started making up a story just looking at the pictures.  It was called Quick as a Cricket.
I was given a survey to fill out.  In the survey, apparently the doctor was supposed to use that book to test his literacy skills.  Instead she just used it to distract him while she checked his ears and nose.  She didn't seem particularly skilled with children.  When he was nervous about letting her look in his ears, she told him that if he moved it would hurt him.  This only scared him more.  We got to take the book home.  But I have to say that I was disappointed.  She didn't go along with Gordon Lee's excitement about the instruments.  I thought maybe she would let him see some of them, but she just didn't seem to care at all.  I was then encouraged to read to my child every day.  Yes, I already do that...2-3 times a day...every single day.

Thankfully, nothing squashes Gordon Lee's enthusiasm--not even a pediatrician who appears to care less about his curiosity.  So, at the end of the visit, he asked her for a sticker (because he had been reading that he might get one).  She tried to brush it off saying, "I don't have any stickers." But thankfully, the nurse, who was listening in, chimed right in and said, "I have stickers!" She brought him two large stickers, and he was pleased.  So, yes, in our visit, the nurse was way more amazing than the doctor.  Who knows? Maybe she doesn't really want to be a pediatrician or maybe she was having a hard day.

Finally, here are Gordon Lee's stats.
He is in the 95th percentile for height at 40 inches (3 ft, 4 inches).
He is in the 43rd percentile for weight at 31 lbs.
He is on or above all of his milestones, and he is very healthy.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

A Few Favorite Books from our Truck Unit

As our time learning about trucks is drawing to a close, I feel I want to share some of our favorite books we've read.  I like all of these books (as does Gordon Lee) because they are not only cute with enticing illustrations, but they are also very informative and educational..also while being entertaining.  

#1 Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site by Sherri Dusky Rinker 
I like this book for so many reasons! First of all, it's an excellent bedtime story.  The book names each construction vehicle by its real name, and it explains what each one does.

This is only a small portion of the part on the dump truck (it's a big spread of 4 pictures over 2 pages).  But you can see it shows what he does.  Each truck does one last job before going to sleep.
I just feel this book is a real gem.  And if you have a little boy (or girl) like mine who is interested in construction, it's a fun and interesting book.

#2 I Drive a Semitruck- by, Sarah Bridges
This was one of Gordon Lee's first choices to read as he happily declared that this was like his Aunt Terrie and Uncle Tony's truck. We had another book about semitrucks, but the illustrations in this one were much more kid-friendly.  Therefore, it grabbed and held his attention better than the other one.

A driver named Tyler goes through his day as a truck driver.  He explains, in easy-to-understand terms what driving a semitruck is like.

#3 Get to Work Trucks! by Don Carter
This one 
This is another cute one that names each machine and explains what it does.  

When we are on the page where they are driving to work, Gordon Lee likes to point to each one and name what it is.
And on every page after they start working, there is a turtle trying to observe the construction. Gordon Lee finds this interesting and will say, "Mommy, I think this is a reptile book too!"

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Learning as We Go

This week, Gordon Lee and I are learning all about work vehicles of all kinds.  We just got our books yesterday, and we have read about 5 so far.  This morning, we were out running some errands when everyone's favorite orange road markers showed up.  Great, I think to myself, just what I! 

Meanwhile, a tiny voice in the backseat calls out (with all of the enthusiasm his little body can contain), "Mommy! Mommy! Mommy! Look! Those are the trucks in my books! Look! Look! Look! It's a dump truck! Look! It's a digger! Oh my goodness! It's all the trucks!"

Suddenly, my perspective changed--impromptu learning opportunity! So I pulled over in a nearby parking lot where there was an excavator conveniently parked and not being operated.  Gordon Lee wanted his picture with it.

(In this picture, he is trying to explain that this is a "really big excavator").

Meanwhile, across the street, we get to witness these vehicles in action.
We see on vehicle digging up dirt and putting it in the bed of (what I have recently learned is) an articulated truck.  This truck then took the soil over to where a front loader was also working.  Clearly, we took a picture.  The two construction workers probably thought we were weird for taking pictures of construction, and they in turn took a picture of us.  It was all good in the end.  Gordon Lee called out, "Hey! That's teamwork!" 

We then started seeking out construction just so he could see the trucks in action.  You never know when a "road block" will become an opportunity to learn.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Reptiles: Up Close

It all started when I took Gordon Lee to Petsmart to see some reptiles.  I figured that would be a nice way for him to see in person what these reptiles he's been reading about are like.  Then he asked me.
"Mommy, do they have alligators or crocodiles here?"
"No, Gordon Lee, Petsmart does not sell crocodiles and alligators."

Then I thought, hmmm I wonder if there is some place around here to see alligators.  Alligators do live in Georgia.

So, I googled, alligators in our own town. It directed me to the website of a place called Oxbow Meadows whose main claim was their alligators.  Perfect! I didn't see any prices on the website.  I called the next day.  The nice lady told me that their large alligators were not there right now as their habitat was being cleaned.  However, they did have baby alligators that we could see if we would like to.  She also told me that everything was free.

So we went!
While they have many reptiles, they also have numerous other educationally-rich things.  They have insect exhibits, amphibian exhibits, they have a whole section for honey bees.  They have a rain garden and information about being resourceful with water.  They have a bird sanctuary.  All viewable for free!

First, they brought us to the back to see their baby alligators.  They were adorable! They were hungry and snapping, though, so they stayed in their "pool" as Gordon Lee called it.

Next, we moved on to see a variety of snakes. 

This rat snake came right up to the glass to say "hello" to Gordon Lee.  He was excited to see the snake using its tongue to smell.  But he didn't trust the glass, and he didn't want to get too close.

We learned about the anatomy of turtles/tortoises
We saw quite a few turtles and tortoises.
This is an adorable little tortoise called a "gopher tortoise" because it likes to go under the ground.  I almost wanted one for myself...until we saw a larger one in a bigger habitat. 
Outdoor turtle pond.
We saw some large tortoises outside.  I didn't see the sign that told us what kind they were.  However, upon researching it, I believe this is called the African spurred tortoise.

We truly had an excellent time.  Gordon Lee learned a ton about the animals in his books. It was definitely a very kid friendly place.  They had these great viewing step stools for children to get a better view at the habitats.  Pictured below is Gordon Lee using one to see down into the Burmese Python's water hole.
You never know what fun things you can find until you go looking for them! We will certainly return for more learning experiences (and to see the full-sized alligators when they return)!

Friday, August 1, 2014

Simple Reptile Crafts: Turtle and Snake (Mess-free and easy)

This week, Gordon Lee did two art activities to have fun with learning about reptiles.  The first activity was really just my own idea--making a turtle out of construction paper.  However, Gordon Lee added on his own creative adaptation to it! The second one I found while googling "snake crafts."

These are the only 2 pictures I have of Gordon Lee's turtle.  While we were making it, I was busy getting everything together and didn't think to take pictures.

So to explain how we did this, I just made another one of my own.

1.) Two pieces of construction paper--I chose green and brown paper because you use practically the entire sheet of green, and I think brown compliments the green well.
2.) I traced one of Gordon Lee's plates to make the circle.  It's about the size of a dessert plate.

3.) With the rest of the green paper, I cut out 1 head, 4 legs, and 1 tail.  I just eyeballed these. Basically, I just tried to make the head and legs look like giant thumbs.

4.) Then I drew symbols on the green piece of paper to show Gordon Lee where to glue the pieces.  Honestly, though, you could probably just draw an X on every one because it is a circle anyway.  So, I drew symbols at 12, 10, 20, 30, 40, and 50.
 5.) Gordon Lee glued the pieces to the symbols.  It makes it much easier for him.
 6.) I asked Gordon Lee which side he wanted to be the turtle's top shell and he said brown.  I like his choice.  He then wanted to "paint it." So he added green paint to the brown shell of his turtle.
 7.) We then drew 2 dots for eyes.  Here's where Gordon Lee adapted it.  He had the idea to fold the head and legs to "tuck him into his shell." Then, together we saw that you could also make him look like he is walking by pulling the legs out and bending the head up.

We had fun with it!

Snake Craft
This one I found online.  Tip: When I told Gordon Lee to "glue each X and then stick them together," he kept making the tear-drop shape with each loop.  But when I said, "Make the x's touch," he completely understood and was able to make a loop.
I allowed Gordon Lee to choose the color he wanted for his snake.  He wanted it to be white.

1.) I laid the white piece of construction paper out horizontally, and I used a ruler to cut out however many strips I could get.  I think I should have made smaller strips, but this is the size I made.
2.) I drew one ex on opposing ends and sides where Gordon Lee was to glue. 

3.) I saved one loop. I cut the ends to a point and drew x's on the same side on each end for the head.
4.) I cut a small tongue out of red paper.

5.) Gordon Lee started gluing.  This is where I told him to make the x's touch each other.

6.) When all of the loops were finished, we made the head. Gordon Lee glued each x.  We stuck the tongue on one of them.  Then he folded one end over to make them touch.

7.) So, the head should only have glue where the X is.  This leaves the base free.  To fold a flat part.  You glue the flat part and then stick it to any loop.

And the snake is done! Gordon Lee didn't even bother putting eyes on this one.  He just wanted to make it slither and move around like a snake.