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A Year of Trying to be a Better Mom

Whoa…is it dusty in here or what? July 30, 2010

Um, hi.

I know, I know. I said I would write. I said I would write EVERY day. And I intended to do that. And then, well. You see, I got BUSY. And I bet you can hardly imagine that, as a mother of now nearly 7 month old twins and a 2 1/2 year old, I might be busy. But I was.

Sorry for neglecting you, my precious blog. Sorry for abandoning you, my handful of faithful readers! I am back. And that’s the thing about journeys right? You may get off course, but it takes just one step on the old path to get back on it again. So. Here I am.

And never to fear. I may have been too busy to write (and boy do I have the list of excuses, but I’ll spare you), but not too busy to be keeping my children busy!

To fill you in on the past almost 2 months, I’ll just do a sneak peek here. Then, as I have time, I will update these sneak peeks with posts and tutorials. But I will simply move forward as I do that, so as not to create an even FURTHER backlog as I try to catch up.

So, since we last spoke. Here is what we have been  up to.

We….

Wrote our own songs & lyrics

Went on quite a few road trips to Michigan and Minnesota

Got to ride on Grandpa's tractor

Got to see our G.G. when she came to visit

Made a fort out of blankets in the living room

Painted picture frames for all our grandpas

...and for Daddy

Painted a t-shirt for our cousin, Ethan, because it was his first birthday

Made the wrapping paper for Ethan's present

Celebrated Father's Day

Learned to use a train whistle

Went to a BBQ at Uncle Chris' and made new friends

Went out for ice cream

Flew remote control toys with Daddy (this is a helicopter)

Painted the letter D

Made a Chinese "Dragon Kite"

Made thumbprint art

Killed time at the Dr.'s office by practicing shape recognition

Made an entire orchestra's worth of paper plate and cardboard instruments, like this Paper Plate Violin

and this Paper Towel Tube Flute

and these Paper Plate Cymbals

and finally, a cardboard box "Color Piano" (I think my kid is going to be a musician one day)

Had to go in the basement and hang out because of tornado sirens

Made thunder noises with a big sheet of paper and talked about weather (so it's not so scary next time there is a big storm)

Did 4th of July themed activities like hand print fireworks with Mommy

and lit up "snakes" with Daddy (insert Mommy "eyeroll" here)

Got our first set of golf clubs at Grandma's house in Minnesota

Went to the splash park (and the beach, and played in our sprinkler, and played in our kiddie pool)

Started solids

Found our feet

Went to Aunt Ciana's graduation party in Michigan

Made an awesome race car out of a big, cardboard box

Played "house" and "restaurant" and "this is where the puppy lives" with a big, cardboard box

Painted whatever we wanted with brushes

Made scribble drawings

Played with Easter Eggs (again)

Pretended to be a puppy (a lot).

Decided that THIS is how you play with a bouncy seat (and there's no stopping us)

Started trying to CRAWL (Mommy says, "AHHHH!")

Played with textures like crinkly newspaper

Made an elevator on our living room wall

Painted with noodles. How silly!

Decided we should do things, "All by ourselves"...like put on our sunglasses.

We went to the park, and on playdates. We pretended to be puppies and frogs. We developed an imaginary tiger as a friend.We colored and painted and cooked and made things…like I said…we were BUSY.

And there you have it. Whew!

(please check back for individual posts on these projects as I get time to update them. I will link the posts to the pictures.)

 

Day 45: Jackson Pollock Painting June 3, 2010

I love it when things work out exactly as I had planned. It makes me feel a little like doing a diabolical villain laugh, “Muahahahahahahaha,” while tapping my finger tips together. Even though my intentions were clearly the opposite of diabolical!

Zach woke up this morning and asked to read a library book. He actually says it just like that, “Read library book, Mommy?” And if I don’t hear him, or do what he requests in an appropriate amount of time (read: 2 seconds after he asked), he starts repeating, “Library book. Library book. LIBRARY BOOK!” with increasing notes of whiny-ness and volume until I do.

So, I pulled out The Art Book for Children and we started to read about and look at the pictures. Reading through this book the entire way would be a bit like reading him the encyclopedia at this age, it’s very long. So we just flipped to a few of the pictures. One of them was on “my list” of project ideas from library books. The Jackson Pollock painting, Number 1, 1948.

Number 1, 1948 by Jackson Pollock

As we were looking at this painting, and the corresponding photos that went with it, showing Pollock doing the “splatter” method, Zach pointed to him and said, “Color?” Which was his way of asking if Pollock was coloring. To which I replied, “He’s painting, which is kind of like coloring. Do you want to paint?” Zach happily replied, ‘Yeah!!” And this mama did a victory dance! That’s exactly how I wanted it to go!

So I went to the kitchen and got us all set up.

Craft paper, spoons (and anything else you might want to paint with), painters/masking tape, paints and containers all on a drop cloth

Then I taped a piece of the paper to the drop cloth, so that when we started painting it would stay put. I also squirted some paint into my containers and then thinned it out a bit with water (for maximum splatter-ability).

Paper secured to the floor

Paint into containers

Thinned with water

Then I just let him have at it. I showed him how to fling the paint on the spoons onto the paper to make the splatter marks and he went to town.

Splatter painting

After a few times splattering with each color, Zach asked if his tractor could paint. And I thought, why not? It would probably look pretty cool and it’s a great way to let him use his imagination and creativity. So we rolled the tractor in the paint splatters to make cool looking tire treads on the paper. Then we looked around for other things to paint with. One was a circle (it’s actually a screw on lid to our Magic Bullet containers, if anyone has one of those to reference). We also used a shovel by smacking the flat end of it down onto the paper with paint. And a tennis ball, by rolling it around in the paint (it looks a lot like sponge painting). Ironically, the very last thing Zach asked for was a paint brush!

Painting with a "tractor"

Brush painting

In the end, I think we got some very Pollock-like results!

The artist and his work

Number 1, 2010 by Zachary

What did Zach learn today? To let his creative juices flow and think outside the box. Of course, painting gives an opportunity to learn about colors and textures too and we did talk about that a little bit, but for the most part, today was about free-flowing creativity.

What did Mommy learn today? That his little imagination is always going. I bet if the dinosaur would have been nearby, we’d have painted with that too.

 

Day 29: Feet Painting May 18, 2010

Filed under: colors,Craft,paint,recycle/upcycle,sensory — Erin Brambilla @ 4:11 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

Feet painting. It’s like finger painting, but with your feet. And it’s ooey-goowey, slimy, squishy, slippery fun. And it’s messy. And it’s sensory. And it teaches colors. And spurs creativity. And gives Daddy a heart attack over the hardwood floors (but don’t worry Daddy, it’s washable paint).

I’ve had this cardboard box sitting around the house for about a week now. A bridesmaid dress was shipped in it. It was long and flat. Zach has been playing with it, but honestly, I was to the point that I just couldn’t stand looking at it one more time on the living room floor. I saw a commercial, for who knows what, that showed a little girl running across a long white thing (maybe it was paper, maybe it was carpet…I was only half paying attention), she had bright pink paint on her feet. I thought, “THAT looks like fun, let’s try it.” So we did.

Supplies:

Paper plates, 1 for each color; finger paints; trash bags or other drop cloth; and your painting surface.

I squirted a glob of paint onto each plate. I had forgotten how thick finger paint is, so I added a tiny bit of water and mixed w/ the back of a spoon on each one so it would spread on the plate a bit, kind of like pizza sauce.

Paint on plates

Then I broke down the box and was delighted to see it looks like one long runway. I set it on the plastic trash bags on my kitchen floor. I set down the four paint-filled paper plates at the end.

Looks like fun, huh?

Then I called Zach over (actually I had been holding him back and was now ready to let loose). I helped him dip his feet into a color each. I told him which color we were using as we went. Then I set him on the box and told him to run around. The paint makes things a bit slippery, as you can imagine, so he was kind of leery. He felt better when I agreed to hold his hand so he could walk up and down the cardboard. He got excited when I told him it was OK to jump.

Walking down the cardboard with paint on his feet

Once the paint had come mostly off his feet, I switched the colors up. And just repeated the process until he was sick of it and telling me, “Want take shower Mommy.” Along the way we talked about how it felt–wet and slimy, gooey and sticky. I made sure he saw the effect his actions had on the cardboard, showing all those colors. It was fun!

This stinker never smiles for the camera. He had fun, LOL!

Toe prints

Surprisingly, he didn’t try to bee-line for the living room with paint on his feet, I was prepared for that! I think once he felt how slippery it was, he became cautious, so my vigilance was unnecessary. After we were done, I put him straight to the bathtub to clean up.

What did Zach learn today? More sensory learning. Along with more color lessons. He also had a chance to just be creative. Craft time doesn’t have to be about crayons and paper. And we don’t have to only use our hands to make art.

What did Mommy learn today? The finger paint really is quite slippery, so be careful. And Zach may have had just as much fun running across the cardboard, sans paint. But this was cool too!