Friday, July 29, 2011

Butterfly Songs

I found this song on youtube and then created different colored butterfly di-cuts to use on our magnet board. The song is really simple to learn, and you can create a variety of different colors to use in the song by attaching a self-sticking magnet strip to the back of paper di-cuts.

We have also been doing this fingerplay:

There was a little caterpillar crawling all about.
He worked and he worked and worked all day without a single doubt.
(Index finger wiggling)

Wrapping himself in a snug cocoon.
Waiting and waiting, will it be soon?
(Cover index finger with other hand.)

Look, he’s coming out, my oh my!
For now he’s become a beautiful butterfly.
(Cross thumbs and let fingers be fingers be butterfly wings.)

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Butterfly Art

In the fall, during wooly bear season, I shared a fun caterpillar craft. That would have been a fun activity that would have more of a creative element than the following activities, but since we still have that caterpillar hanging on our fridge, I decided to choose a craft activity that encompasses the entire life cycle of a butterfly. Although it is less open ended, it demonstrates all four stages of a butterfly's life in a way that kids identify with and find fun.

We created a diagram of a butterfly's life cycle by using pasta!
We used four different shapes to represent each stage. Ditalini for the eggs, penne for the caterpillars, shells for the chrysalis, and farfalle (bowtie) for the butterflies!

I used a green marker to divide a piece of printer paper into four rectangles, and labeled each section with the appropriate stage. I also drew a leaf in three of the sections, and clouds and the sun in the section for the butterflies. Older kids can do this step themselves, or you can use cut outs for your child to glue on by themselves.

I got a book that Jonah is very familiar with, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, and we went through the book talking about when the caterpillar was an egg, a caterpillar, a cocoon, and a butterfly. I was impressed that Jonah was able to name each stage while talking about the story. 

After having him identify the stage, I asked him which pasta was shaped like that. For example when we read "In the light of the moon, an egg lay on a leaf" in the book, I asked him "What is he first? What is that? An egg! Which pasta looks like the egg?" He was pretty able to identify what the shapes were meant to resemble. He then colored the shape with markers.
Then he used glue to place the pasta on the diagram.
We repeated this for all of the stages, continuing to follow the book as our guide to a butterfly's life. Jonah really enjoyed the "game" of matching the shape of pasta to what the character in the book was doing.
When Jonah was finished, we reviewed all of the stages, then set the picture aside for the glue to dry. When Daryl came home, Jonah was so excited and proud to show his Daddy what he had made, and what he learned about how a caterpillar turns into a butterfly!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Butterfly Literature

We picked up some books from the library to go along with our butterfly themed learning activities this week. Both Jonah and Eve really enjoy reading and looking at these books, because the pages are so colorful!

Waiting For Wings by Lois Ehlert: I really enjoy Lois Ehlert's children's literature. The stories have a nice calming rhythm, and explain things that children encounter every day, in a simple yet elegant way. The illustrations are unique and captivating. Jonah really likes to turn the pages in this book because they vary in size, overlapping pictures of several pages. The story tells the tale of how an egg turns into a butterfly.

My Butterfly Book (a smithsonian board book): This is a board book containing beautiful photographs of different kinds of butterflies. The book asks questions about the color of each butterfly, but my kids could care less about the words, they just want to look at the vivid images.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar By Eric Carle: This is the classic book that everyone thinks about when it comes to caterpillars and butterflies. There is a good reason! Not only are the pictures interesting, but the story is very easy for young children to understand. We love counting each item that the caterpillar ate, and the story includes every stage of a butterfly's life, in very distinct stages that children can understand.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Butterflies!An Introduction

This week, we are talking about butterflies! To get started, we took a couple of field trips. During breakfast, I asked Jonah if he's ever seen butterflies in our yard. I asked him what colors of butterflies he's seen? Were they big or little? How many has he seen? What were they doing when he saw them? Where were they?

Then we headed outside to see if we could observe butterflies in our yard.

We looked all around our yard. While we were able to observe quite a bit of nature, we only saw one white butterfly, for a fleeting moment.
Because we didn't see very many butterflies in our yard, we headed to the Cleveland Zoo where an exhibit called "Flutter" puts visitors in a green house full of beautiful butterflies, and demonstrates how butterflies change from caterpillars to elegant winged creatures.
Both of the kids enjoyed seeing the butterflies flit from the flowers and trees inside. While we were there, I asked the same semi-open ended questions: What colors are we seeing? Where do the butterflies like to land? How many can you count? What are they doing? Can you see a big one? Can you find a little one?

I am really glad that we started this "unit" by observing butterflies up close. Jonah seems to be inspired to learn about them, and excited to do more activities involving these lovely little creatures.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Baby Fever

Me: It seems like all my friends are pregnant... again!!! How does this keep happening!?

Daryl: ....ummmm....

Me: Don't look at me like that, I know how it happens!

I can't say that adding number three to our brood hasn't crossed our minds. In fact I think about it almost every day. We had never planned on stopping at two. And I think I can correctly speak for Daryl's half and say that neither of us really feel quite complete yet. The stack of cards that we have been dealt means that we have to think this through a little more carefully than we have in the past.

For now, I'm happy with focusing on my upcoming half-marathons. And living vicariously through my friends' ultrasound pictures and facebook statae that depict their midnight cravings for ice cream and breakfast cereals. I'm plenty busy chasing after the two that I already have, thank you!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Bubbles, Bubbles, Everywhere!

My bestie, Elizabeth, helped me come up with the measurements for this bubble solution "recipe." A good friend is one who will help you with a math problem, even when she's halfway around the globe. We figured out the measurements for three ounces, because it is easy to find three ounce bottles to store it in (they are usually next to the travel sized products) It is also much easier for kids to manage the amounts when making just three ounces, and part of the fun of this activity is that your kid can make the solution with your help.

For 3 oz of bubble solution, you will need:

1/3 cup water
1 ½ tsp dawn dish soap
½ tsp light karo syrup

For large batches use

1 part dawn dish soap
10 part water
.25 part light karo syrup

In my opinion, it is important that you use Dawn brand dish soap. The liquid, concentrated kind. I have made a lot of bubble solutions. Dawn makes the best. They didn't pay me to say that. Also, if you don't want to use light Karo syrup, you can use glycerin, which can be found at almost any pharmacy or drug store. Karo syrup gives you equal results at a much less cost. It will be either in the baking section of the grocery store, or next to the pancake syrup.

The Ultimate Super Cool Amaze Your Friends Bubble Blowing Apparatus:
you will need-
printer paper

Roll the paper into a cone shaped tube. Make sure you have one end that is very narrow, and one end that is very wide and open.
Tape the edges of the paper so that it stays rolled up. Make sure there is no tape close to the wide end of the tube.
 Trim both ends of the tube with the scissors.

Dip the wide end of the tube into bubble solution.  
Holding the tube downward at first, blow gently into the narrow end of the tube. Breath through your nose and continue blowing with your mouth through the tube to watch your bubble grow to gigantic proportions! To release the bubble from the tube, slide the tube sideways off of the bubble.

This works better the wetter the paper tube is. The first couple of tries, you might get "duds." After dipping it into the solution a few times, the blower will start to soak up bubble mixture. The wet paper will hold onto the bubbles better (rather than the bubble hitting a dry spot on the paper and popping!) and the bubble solution that the paper has sucked up will continue to feed the bubble as it gets bugger and bigger, so you won't run out of bubble solution for any one bubble. That is why you can blow such big bubbles with this tube.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Week In Training Review: Week 3

Week three of training was scheduled to look like this:

Week Mon. Tue. Wed. Thu. Fri. Sat. Sun.
Off Hills 3M 6M 6M 3M 10M
But it actually looked like this:

I don't have any decent hills nearby, so I swapped the first workout with one that I found in a magazine and was interested in doing. It's called an intensity workout, and involves sprinting on the treadmill at it's highest slope for 15 second increments. It is 15 seconds on, 15 seconds off, for a duration of 8 minutes, with one mile of warm up jogging and one mile of cool down. It was short but intense, and I could use a workout such as that in my routine.

Once again I took the Friday off. I just don't think my body was ready to be pushed six workouts a week. The signs are all telling me that I need a night of rest, and the need seems to be most prominent by the time I get to the Friday run.

I will add the Friday back in as my body gets used to the new schedule. The Sunday run was also considerably shorter than it was intended to be. I'm really not happy about that. I had slept in, attempting to get a few winks while Daryl watched the kids. By the time I got up, ate something, and was ready to go, the temperature outside was soaring; especially the temperature on the black pavement of the road. I decided to go anyway. There was a man running the opposite direction. The first time we crossed paths, we glanced across the street and waved. The second time, the wave was a little less enthusiastic and with a bit less of a smile. The third time we passed, I was beginning to feel nauseated and lifting my hand to acknowledge him was too much of an effort. He looked to be fairing about the same. As he approached he shouted to me "This is getting dangerous, we both need to go home. It's just too hot." I felt he was right. Not wanting to risk heat exhaustion, I ran the 1.5 miles back home and jumped on the treadmill. Although it felt better to be in the air conditioning, I think my body was already putting the brakes on. I ran two more miles on the treadmill before raising the white flag. I was going to be sick if I didn't.

Week four's long run is scheduled to only be eight miles, but I think I will try to push it to ten, since I didn't make this past ten mile run.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Week In Training Review: Week 2

photo from here

We are only three weeks into training, and I am already behind in posting my week-in reviews. Between keeping up the actual running schedule, some volunteer work I've been doing the last couple of weeks, and chasing the kids, there has been no time for the blog! Better late than never, though, so here is my training week number 2:

Week Mon. Tue. Wed. Thu. Fri. Sat. Sun.
2 off5 M Fartlek 3M 5M 6M 3M 9M

This week's schedule was kicked off with a workout that is somewhat new to me. The idea of a fartlek is that you run a consistent pace for a short period of time or a short distance (half a mile or 1/4 mile) and then change to a different pace, alternating slow paces and fast paces and randomly picking the length of each interval. If you are interested in more specifics about how to run this workout, visit this page, for more information. I found this to be a nice way to break into the week's workout. It is challenging, pushes me to test limits, but at the same time it breaks up the mileage to think of each segment in smaller increments.

The rest of the week was very tough for me. A huge drawback to being a female runner is that once a month our female parts do their female thing. Like many other women, when this time of the month hits, I want to crawl into my bed and not come out until it's over. Cramps, feeling fat, fatigue... these are all reasons that I did not want to do a single run during week two.

But I did, and I felt better for it. I did skip the friday run once again. I am not sure if running such distances for six days a week is actually helping me reach my goals, or simply fatiguing me beyond my capacity.

Another change I made this week was on my weekend runs. Because the marathon will be happening outside and in the morning, I've decided that it is that much more important to run outside, in the morning, during training. Especially so with my longest run of the week. I've noticed in the past, with shorter 5k and 10k events, that the change in time of day that I am running really effects my time. It also makes sense that I need to learn to run a consistent pace during long distances even on an inconsistent route. A treadmill stays static and simulates a perfect flat course (unless I program it otherwise, and I'll own up to it- I don't) but the route I'll be running on race morning has hills, changing grades, and changes in the pavement. Another reason for moving my weekend runs to the morning rather than at naptime, is that it's been extremely hot in the afternoons, making any outdoor activity dangerous. It was much more comfortable to run in the morning. I also gained confidence in knowing about what I can expect my body to be doing during that time period on race day.

***I will be running the Akron Half Marathon on September 24, 2011, to raise money for St. Jude Childrens Research Hospital. If you would like to sponsor me by giving a donation to St. Jude, or if you would like to know more about the hospital, please go to my donation page. All of the money raised will go directly to St. Jude. I will be giving weekly updates on my training here on this blog***

Monday, July 11, 2011

Dogs Don't Have Fingers

I was tucking Jonah in for a nap, and he started in on the rounds. "Kisses?" I gave him a smooch. "Noozles?" I gave him our customary before bed eskimo kiss. "Hugs?" He got a great big bear hug. "Tickles?" He giggled as I tickled him out of the hug.

"Tickles from Paddington?" Paddington is our yorkshire terrier.  I told him that dogs can't tickle, to which he replied with the observation: "That's crazy, dogs no have fingers!"

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Missing You

Jonah was spending a week with his Grandparents, so during the day this week it was just me and Eve. I thought that Eve would enjoy spending some time being an "only child." She and Jonah are constantly fighting over toys and vying for attention. This would give her a chance to have some special bonding time with me and Daryl, and she could enjoy the toys that Jonah has dubbed untouchable by her.

To my surprise, she seemed really upset that Jonah was not around. When she wasn't clinging to my legs or crawling all over me while crying, she was asking to carry around pictures. She would stand below the mantel  and point her hands to the pictures of Jonah. "Help? Help?" She would repeat until we let her have one.

She would give the picture a hug, then a kiss, then walk off to Jonah's bedroom babbling (what I'm pretty sure was supposed to be) Jonah's name in syllables that I can't really type. She would look in his bed, and finding him not there, she would go and sit in his story chair and look at his picture.

When he finally arrived back home, she squeeled and ran to the door to meet him. He, of course, was thoroughly annoyed by his sister's greeting, and within seconds they were fighting over the basketball. It was nice to have everything back to normal.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Week In Training Review

About six weeks ago, I sealed my commitment and registered to run in the Akron Marathon, half marathon event. A half marathon is 13.1 miles. I did this for several reasons. First of all, I always have to have a goal, and I find that in making my goals I tend to take the "Go big or go home" approach. This is not always a positive way to create goals, but it is how my mind tends to work so it is what it is. Also, I tend to do things that sound nuts, just to show I can do it. It is my way of gorilla slapping my chest and letting out a huge feminist Tarzan (Jane?) call. I've done several things for this reason including a 52 hour dance marathon, why not a running marathon?  In February, while on a rather frigid run, I decided that if I could run 10k by May, then I would register for the Akron Half. And well here I am, a registered runner. Officially. (officially nuts, perhaps)

After building up to it over several weeks, I started a thirteen week training program published by Cool Running. I just finished week one. I chose this program because Cool Running is the creator of the Couch to 5k program, with which I had great success. I enjoy the philosophy that Cool Running has of training, running, and exercise in general. I used their 10k program and also had success with it. It made sense to move on to their half marathon program. I chose the intermediate level because not only was I able to run the recommended pre-training schedule for several weeks for this level, but the schedule met my goals and timelines really well.

This first week, the schedule was:

Week Mon. Tue. Wed. Thu. Fri. Sat. Sun.
1 Off 4M 6M 4M 6M 3M 8M
The first few days of training were pretty unremarkable. First thing was first, I had to take a pregnancy test. Although there was little to no chance of me being pregnant, I did not want to embark on this physically demanding schedule without knowing for sure. Stranger conceptions have happened! So with a negative pee stick giving me the all clear, I hit the treadmill. The treadmill where I finished watching the first season of Glee, and started in on a couple of different documentaries I've been meaning to watch.  I used to think that I should only focus on my exercising, my breathing, my stride, when I ran. But after countless hours of staring at the brown wall while on my treadmill, I learned that it is not a bad thing to stream netflix onto my husband's tablet (which he lends to me in the evenings- his little way of showing his support)

The complications came on Friday, when we made a three hour drive to Daryl's parents' house for the holiday weekend. I had to skip a day. Running on Friday just wasn't a possibility. In addition to packing the car for our trip, Fridays are already quite hectic, and I had the added errands of picking up Jonah's new shoes and going shopping for shorts since it was supposed to be very hot, and I own no shorts that fit me. Friday night, after arriving to the in-laws house, I went to bed past midnight even considering that I did not go running. It would have been closer to 2:00am if I had gone. Not an option!

So I bumped the friday 6 mile run to Saturday, leaving out the 3 mile altogether. On Sunday I was very confused. I must have read the training week for the advanced track rather than for the intermediate. When heading out, I thought I was supposed to run 12 miles. Defeated by the heat, exhaustion, and the knowledge that my kids would soon be needing lunch, I gave in at eight miles. Which it turns out is exactly what I was supposed to run in the first place!

With the first week of official hard core training under my belt, I am tired but confident. I feel that this is very do-able for me. I feel that it is constructive and positive. I hope I still feel that way in a month or two!

***I will be running the Akron Half Marathon on September 24, 2011, to raise money for St. Jude Childrens Research Hospital. If you would like to sponsor me by giving a donation to St. Jude, or if you would like to know more about the hospital, please go to my donation page. All of the money raised will go directly to St. Jude. I will be giving weekly updates on my training here on this blog***