Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Museum’ Category

Paulo is wearing a zip hoodie and cargo pants set from rabbitmoon's Imagination collection.

I’m guilty! I am so guilty of not indulging my second child to the same enjoyable things as I did with my first. Miranda had playgroups, play dates, Mommy and Me classes, anything and everything that I could expose her to that would be fun, educational, and give us extra bonding/play time.

I remember someone telling me that having two kids is like having 10. I didn’t believe it! How can one little person make life complicated to the 10th degree? Well, let me tell you… Now that I have two kids, I AM A BELIEVER! I am so busy with the demands of motherhood, Miranda’s school, my freelance work, the housework, the grocery shopping (I have to go every week now because boys eat so much more than girls!) and all the voluntary roles I thought I would have time for (Classroom Mom, Yearbook Committee, Faith Formation Teacher, helping my parents). I’m lucky if I can keep my head above water. Poor Paulo! He gets whatever is left of my hectic schedule.

I jotted down my little guy’s schedule each day of the week:

  • Monday: take Miranda to school, eat, very short nap, pick up Miranda, play
  • Tuesday: take Miranda to school, eat, very short nap, pick up Miranda, play
  • Wednesday : take Miranda to school, eat, longer nap, pick up Miranda, play
  • Thursday: take Miranda to school, SWIM CLASS!!!, eat, longer nap, pick up Miranda, play
  • Friday: take Miranda to school, eat, longer nap, pick up Miranda, play

Pretty boring, huh? At least he has weekly swim classes. But any free time I get, I’m either working, doing chores or running errands just so I can survive the day and actually get to bed at a decent time (midnight would be early for me!) But never mind about me. This is precious Paulo time I’m wasting. So… I’ve decided that I NEED take charge of my schedule and plan recreational activities for my little guy. He shouldn’t be penalized for being Child No. 2. He needs to have his own schedule, his own friends, and make his own memories. This sad little dude rarely sees a playground that when he does see one, he pees his pants in excitement! So I’m bringing back weekly playgroups.

His first play date was with my friend’s daughter. This little girl’s big brother was Miranda’s first playgroup friend and they have been very good friends ever since. (Coincidentally, my friend and I had our two kids roughly at the same time so each of our two kids are about the same age.) We met at a nearby playground to enjoy the fresh air and some outdoor fun, but it started to drizzle. Luckily, there was Toddler Storytime at the museum across the way that was just about to start. PERFECT!

The kids had a good time, AND the moms did as well. We both reminisced about our lives five years ago when we were both new mothers and only had one child each. We talked about how much more relaxed we were back then, how busy our lives have become, and how we missed connecting with each other just to talk about life in general (husbands, in-laws, school, broken appliances, the laundry…). We vowed to have our play dates each week for the sake of our second children AND for the sake of our sanity! What a revelation… I NEED PLAYGROUP, TOO!!! This is going to be a good thing.

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

If you’re like me and just don’t have the funds to go to Disneyland, Hawaii or even day camp, there is still many enjoyable activities you can do with your children all for FREE!

KIDS LOVE PARKS!

My children could spend hours at the park. They love to run around and get dirty. They never seem to get tired. Our park has a giant sand box. The kids love to bring their beach toys and build sand castles. Some parks have a water play area so when it’s sunny and hot, get the kids in their bathing suits and cool off. (TIP: Don’t go everyday, but maybe once or twice a week just to keep it exciting.)

CHECK OUR YOUR LOCAL LIBRARY

Keep your child busy by visiting the library. You can even get your child his/her own library card and teach them how to be responsible and accountable for books they borrow from the library.  Does your local library have a summer reading program? If so, sign them up (it’s free) and they can even win prizes. Best of all, you can listen to them become fluent with each passing day. Also, you may want to find out if your library has any upcoming summer events. Each week our library has free performances all summer long. We’ve seen Python Ron who fascinated us with his reptiles, Magic Dan who inspired us with his tricks, and a shadow puppet show that opened our imagination!

BACKYARD BUBBLES

I know I’m guilty of being too lazy and too hot to go outside, but sometimes the smallest things give children the biggest smiles. I bet you have a bottle of bubbles somewhere in the house. (There’s always some bubbles inside every birthday goody bag we get!) Spend a few minutes outside just blowing bubbles and watching your kids try to catch and pop them. It’s good exercise for all!

ART GALLERIES

Visit a nearby art gallery. It’s usually free to go in and browse. You can teach your child art appreciation, and we can learn a lot about our children, too. Ask them open-ended questions like, “How does this picture make you feel?” or “What kind of materials do you think the artist used?” For younger children, you can ask, “Let’s count how many colors the artist used.”

There’s still a couple more weeks of summer left. Make the most of it without spending a dime!

Read Full Post »

This past week my boyfriend’s sister went out of town on vacation and I gladly volunteered to babysit sweet Ella for a day.  How to describe my day?  An adventure!  It was such a lovely day of babysitting that I have decided to break it up into 2 parts of “highlights” – a la ESPN “Sports Highlights,” of my day with Ella (my star player)! 

Ella gets up-close-and-personal with a butterfly and a curator at Silly Science Class

7:15am:  Our morning started with dolly-yoga time where we lined up about 10 of her Barbie dolls and used them as examples of how to perform various poses in yoga with their legs and arms!  We talked about stretching and how that improves your pose and demonstrated by showing how a body stretches with the doll legs and arms, and then making their bodies align “perfect(ly)” into a yoga pose.  The two poses that I proudly was able to teach Ella was Downward Facing Dog and Chaturanga. In my opinion, children can benefit enormously from yoga.  Physically, it enhances their flexibility, strength, and coordination. In addition, their concentration and sense of calmness and relaxation improves.  Many child physicians think that doing yoga helps children to connect more deeply with the inner self.

8:15am:  Ella grew bored with her yoga stretching and we moved onto a new game of follow the leader!  In my opinion, it was more like an exercise boot camp where we ran from one side of the house to the other with various obstacles such as jumping like bunnies, a somersault tumble, touching the ground and ending right back at the front door.  Who knew that I would get my 45-minute exercise for the day!

9:00am: We then decided to browse her already extensive library of children’s books.  She pulled out one of her favorite books about the jungle.  We talked about how Bobbie and Papi (her Grandparents) went on an African safari to see the lions and rhinos!  Ella’s response was, “Uncle Sam, Melissa and Ella should go to Africa! We can take the train! Or maybe a TAXI!”   I winked at Ella and let her know she is a seasoned New York City taxi girl and I might just have to hint to Uncle Sam about this suggestion of a safari together! Ha!…we took a picture next to the rhinos in the American Museum of Natural History later that afternoon. (Kinda blurry photo, but it was cute anyhow!)

9:20am: The decorator arrived to deliver beautiful new red lamps that were wrapped with big bubble wrap. Lesson learned?  Bubble wrap can be a great 20-25 minute activity for any child by unraveling the bubble wrap and creating a runner in the living room!  We practiced hopping like a bunny, while making the bubbles pop!  Pop, pop, pop = FUN!

10:15am-11:15am: Time for Silly Science Class.  We raced over to New York City’s American Museum of Natural History from her apartment and attended her “Silly Science” class where we went to see the new tropical butterfly conservatory exhibit.   What a treat!  It was VERY humid in the conservatory (note to self to not wear your jacket inside the room!), however the heat was nothing compared to the excitement when Ella saw all kinds of butterflies.  I feel confident that she walked out with a wealth of knowledge and a little more love for them and their beauty. Ella channeled her inner Annie Leibovitz and took many pictures with my digital camera.  I was fascinated by the concept of her perspective through the lens of a camera.  See Ella’s below gallery of images and ‘fun facts’ we learned together about butterflies and moths:

1.  What’s the difference between a butterfly and a moth? 
There are many differences. Adult butterflies are active in the day, while most—but not all—moths are active at night. When resting, a butterfly holds its wings together above its back; a moth holds its wings down.

Go to this link to see the Museum’s live butterfly cam: http://www.amnh.org/exhibitions/butterflies/cams.php

2.  Do butterflies have a tongue and how do they eat? Butterflies can taste! They have “taste buds” at the end of the tongue, which looks like a long antenna.

3.  Do butterflies sleep? 
At night or when the day is cloudy, butterflies rest by hanging upside down from leaves or twigs, where they are hidden in the leaves. Unfortunately we don’t know whether or not they are sleeping.

4.  What makes butterfly wings colorful? Butterfly wings are covered with tiny scales that each has a single color. Most of the colors are produced by pigments, but the beautiful iridescence of some butterflies come from reflective structures on the scale’s surface.

Ella captured a photo of a black and white butterfly feeding on sugar syrup in a "feeder" in the butterfly conservatory (not too bad, right?)

Ella looked up and took this image of butterflies and moths flying around the light and "feeders".

Photo of housed and hibernating butterfly cocoons (known as pupas). If you look close there is one butterfly hatching out of the cocoon.

Ella captured a total of 4 butterflies and moths in this picture. Can you find them?

Ella found this Monarch butterfly under the leaves.

Ella discovered this white and black butterfly high up on a branch.

A few snapshots I thought the le•top blog readers might like:

Oops! Ella turned the camera the wrong way and took a picture of herself!

Ella loved this blue and orange butterfly.

Lucy, Sloan, and Ella listen with excitement and anticipation as the curator showed a beautiful butterfly to the girls.

I hope you enjoyed Part 1 of my ‘Adventures in Babysitting’!  Part 2 will include my tour of the Sea Life wing of the museum with my very special ‘tour guide’ Ella, and how we learned about under water mammals.

Read Full Post »