Monday, January 28, 2013

Literary and Artistic Pursuits

If I'm being honest, I have to admit that our kids spend spend their fair share of time in front of a screen. And a lot of that is educational these days. But we try to be intentional about doing other things, especially on a rainy weekend like this one was. In the video you can see a sleepy Jacob "reading" his book. All of the animals say "baa" right now :-) He still loves to go through his books and will sit for 20-30 minutes going through a stack of books. My favorite moment is when I ask Micah to "read" to Jacob and I watch him make up stories surrounding the pictures in the book. Next year I bet Micah will be able to read some basics to him because they are doing so much with the Pre-K kids at school. Micah really enjoys painting. This creation above is a family portrait, according to him. Jacob helped with the green part in the corner (before he stuffed the paint-filled brush in his mouth! Thank you, Crayola, for non-toxic finger paints!) He has the "blue blankey of inspiration" stuffed into the waist of his pants, as you can see in the first photo:-) He explained to me that if you put some paint on the paper and then blow at it, you can get a feathering effect. He loves to do this with crayons too, which can be partly blended if you color with two crayons and then wet the paper and rub the colored area. It's fun to watch him take an interest in these activities. On Saturday he spent his rest time (formerly known as nap time) working on a special project for Daddy who was coming home that night from a conference. After rest time was over, he went back into him room by himself for another 20 minutes or so, putting the finishing touches on this project, which included a paper bag puppet, several squares and strips of colored paper cut with edging scissors, lots of stickers, coloring, envelopes and other things. It was quite the masterpiece! Although he can be a wild and wooly kid, Micah can concentrate like few people I know when he is working on a project.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

More presents

Here are a couple of pics of the boys playing with their new Christmas toys from Aunt Helen! Jacob loves listening to his music player. I wish I could get some good video of him dancing to it! His favorite song is "Old MacDonald." Micah is really into the Tag books and spent 20 minutes "reading" his new ones. And Mommy and Daddy enjoyed a few minutes of rest while the boys entertained themselves.
Both boys are very interested in all things "computer-y". Whether it's the website that Micah's teacher uses at school for reading and math lessons or games on the Kindle and iPad, they would do that stuff all day if we let them. We're trying to figure out a good way to limit screen time while still allowing them to do the things they enjoy. Right now, we just try to balance some time with the screens with time doing physical hoop, couch jumping (an Olympic sport at our house) or just playing with games/toys of the non-electronic variety. We get outside when we can because they both love that. Gone are the days when parents can let their kids run around the neighborhood like we did when we were kids. They have to be supervised closely, so sometimes it's difficult to do that as much as we would like. As you can see in this picture, Jacob's favorite non-screen activity is still spending time chewing his fingers :-)

Snow Bunnies, Christmas Part 2

"Ready for take-off, Papa!"

 Prepping for an afternoon in the snow
 "What is this cold, white stuff?"
 Snuggling with Daddy to keep warm
 Happy Birthday to Mommy! (He made this card with Gramma)
 Making Mommy's cake
 Eating the fruits of their labor  (above) Getting ready to whack a geode (below)
Last time down the hill

Here are a few more photos and videos from our time in Wisconsin. As you can see, the kids had lots to do. Aunt Amanda showed them how to make ice cream in plastic bags and they took turns cracking open geodes  to see the sparkles inside. Of course, they both enjoyed sledding, although I think the cold got to Jacob as you can see in this last video :-)  We had a little snow this week in Arkansas and I Micah could talk about was going sledding. Unfortunately it wasn't nearly enough for that so then all we heard about was getting back on that plane and going to Wisconsin again! I am happy to report that Jacob is much better now. Dan's got a cold, but hopefully, he'll get it out of the way before rehearsals for the show start in earnest.  I just want to say a big thank you to everyone who sent cards and gifts to us for Christmas and birthday. Every time we get something in the mail the boys both get so excited. I wish I had videos of all of that for you to see. I have a few I'll be adding in another post. We really do appreciate you thinking of us despite the distance.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The "Flat" Christmas, Part I

 Christmas in AR!

 Micah peruses his stocking gifts
 Jacob takes a break after tackling his stocking
 The boys open a package of gifts from Grammy and Pop Pop Noden.
 Christmas morning in Wisconsin!
 Yeah! Presents!
 Uncle Mark hold the Bible while Lynne reads the Christmas story for us.
 Uncle Randy and Aunt Joyce help Micah open his new Nerf gun.
 Uncle Josh and the cousins bond over an iPad game!
 Chi Chi the chinchilla meets the cousins
The Inouye men continue the great holiday tradition of napping...:-)

Well, most of you have heard about our Christmas saga, which I guess is a good example of how we make plans, but life doesn't always follow them. In case you haven't, here it is:  we missed our initial flight to Wisconsin due to a flat tire on the way to the airport. Although we got there only about two minutes after the flight was scheduled to leave, they would not let us board the plane. After talking with the airline attendant, we decided that our only feasible choice to get to WI by Christmas was to drive there. So we drive back home from the airport and the boys and I packed new bags (our bags made it on the plane, but we did not so we had no luggage) and Dan had four new tires put on the car. We then drove up north. It took us three days since we stopped at a hotel twice. In hindsight, that was a good decision since i helped us all keep our sanity. In fact I think the hotel pool was one of the highlights of the whole experience for Micah :-) We were thankful to not have to worry about snowy weather so we could take our time. And the boys really did well, all things considered. The days we spent at Gramma Lynn and Papa Roger's house were great. The day we arrived we had a celebration with Uncle Randy and Aunt Joyce and the whole family and enjoyed some sushi. Christmas Day, Uncle Mark, Aunt Katie and cousins Lynne and Alaina came back to the house to open gifts with us again and stayed all day. (They also suffered a flat tire on the way back home!) The kids all played so nicely together and it brought back memories of when I was little, playing with my cousins! We all got to go sledding while we were there since the weather was mild (read= above 0) and we celebrated my birthday with a special cake made by Gramma and Micah :-) Dan and I even got to go to a movie and out for ourselves! It was so good to see everyone again, especially since not everyone had met Jacob yet.

For the way back we decided that I and the boys would use our return flight on Saturday to get home and Dan would drive the car back, swinging close to Chicago on the way just in case we missed our connection and had to stay overnight in Chi-town. Two small delays and one poopy-diaper-on-the- plane later, the boys and I made it home. We could hardly believe it when Dan texted us and said he'd gotten another flat tire on the way home! But he also made good time driving and was home Sunday night. So in light of all of the flats, we are calling this the flat Christmas. But it really was a good one and we don't want to downplay the many blessings we experienced over the holiday too :-) We are still recovering. Jacob currently has pneumonia so we're hoping that responds quickly to the treatments. For now, he's in good spirits, just a little wheezy. Dan's gearing up for classes and a show he starts working on next week. I am back at work. Micah is back at school and doing well. His report card for the last quarter had a note from the teacher that said "Micah is a hard worker and a good helper." That's what we like to hear! I hope you all had holidays that were wonderful too. We will post more photos and videos of our time up north in another post.