Sunday, March 20, 2011

Little Adventures Daycare and more

I've been doing daycare for 3 weeks now and I finally found some time to sit down and blog about what we've been up to.  I cannot tell you how excited I am about this "Little Adventure" we are all on and how exhausted I am. I have so much to share...

Here's what we've been doing so far... (don't worry I don't think I'll tell you every detail of everything we've done.  I'm just excited to tell everyone what we've been doing so far and to share some great websites I've discovered. )
I started out the first two weeks with different Dr. Seuss books to celebrate his birthday.  (it was March 2nd)  Yes, I had 10 days with 10 (or maybe it was 8 or 9) Dr. Seuss books.  I am happy to report that we did not read all of the books.  We did other things and, to be honest, I can only take so much crazy rhyming.

We began our two weeks by making Cat in the Hat hats.  Garrison was the only one who allowed me to take his picture with his hat on.  They were a lot of fun to make and actually made it through the entire week without getting destroyed. 
After reading the book "Green Eggs and Ham" we made green eggs and ham.  Although, Thomas says these are more like green eggs and bacon.  Close enough!  We made them with pretzels, white chocolate chips and green m&ms.  The boys helped by putting the m&ms on the chocolate.  Well, it was more like one m&m for the chocolate and a handful for my mouth.
Here are the four amigos all together.  This was the best picture I could take.  As you can see Gavin wasn't really working with me.  About 2 seconds after this picture was snapped none of them would sit for another one.  I guess that's what happens when you have four small boys.  You take what you can get. 

 Garrison and Landon together with their "Thomas the train" shirts on.  This was not planned (umm.. the shirts). 
 This is what happens when the boys try to get creative and "build with the bins" as Garrison told me.  They did, sort of, help me clean these up.  The greatest part of this was when I started putting the bins back on the shelf I put them in a different color pattern then the good old all the red bins on one shelf, all the green ones on another shelf, etc.  Garrison came to me and said, "Mom, you can't match." and started putting all the same colored bins on the same shelf.  My bad! 
 And last week we learned about how a caterpillar turns into a butterfly.  We read Eric Carle's "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" everyday last week.  On Monday we made the little egg on the leaf in light of the moon and had apples for a snack.  Just like the caterpillar did.  "On Monday he ate one apple, but he was still hungry."
On Tuesday we made the caterpillar, which the boys loved and we had a pear for snack.  Or should I say I cut up a pear for snack and the boys spit it out.  I'm telling myself it's the thought that counts. 
On Wednesday, we made the cocoon thanks to the toilet paper rolls I've been collecting.  :)  And we had a plum for a snack.  Again I cut it, but nobody ate it. 
Then on Thursday we painted our butterflies and ate strawberries for a snack.  I was going to paint the butterflies on Friday, but found out that they needed to dry overnight so we painted them on Thursday.  On Friday we tied the strings to our butterflies so that we could hang them up on the windows.  We didn't have a snack that day.  Although, I did have an orange in my fridge.
Here are Landon and Garrison painting their butterflies. 

This coming week we'll be having a "fun" week.  When I made the calendar I didn't realize that it would coincide with spring break.  We'll be playing with play dough, bubbles, baking cookies, eating popcorn and watching a movie and coloring.  I'll also have Landon and Gavin's older sister, Annabelle.  It'll be a fun week!

This weekend I wanted to finish putting together the April calendar for the daycare so I could get it out and I was having trouble coming up with more "safety" occupations for my safety week in April.  I was racking my brain trying to figure out what else I should do.  I had two (I know lame, right?  Only two safety occupations.) and I asked Thomas what were some he could think of.  He told me to head to the computer.  I think he might have regretted that answer because I found some amazing websites that I have fallen in love with. 

The first website I found has everything I've ever dreamed of having for my daycare.  It's actually a website and blog about homeschooling, but a daycare works too, right?  I think this lady took everything from my head and all my dreams and thoughts of what I've wanted to do, but didn't know how to go about it, put it on a website and then said, "Sarah, here you go and it's all FREE!"  I can't stop printing.  Every new idea I get about a topic I want to have for the daycare I think "maybe she has something" and she does!  This lady rocks.  Click here to check out the greatest website ever, Homeschool Creations!  I also have a button on the left side of the screen that you can also click on.

The second website I found is something called "Lapbook lessons".  I'd never heard of a lapbook before until I found the "greatest website" website.  They are topical "books" that you can put together by gluing different activities into a simple little folder.  (Hopefully that makes sense.)  

I have been jumping on these sites all weekend trying to find new and cool things to do with the boys.  I told Thomas that I'm seriously considering homeschooling our boys.  He gave me a funny look and I'm not sure if he thinks I'm crazy or if he knows that I'm dead serious and he's not looking forward to my "obsession" with it.  Either way, check back with me after I've done the daycare for a year and see if I'm singing the same tune.  

I'm so excited about these sites.  They are honestly what I've been envisioning for the daycare.  They have these morning charts that I've been looking for, but these are HOMEMADE and don't cost a ton like the ones in the store that I've been looking at and trying to save for.  I can go to Target and buy a $2.99 board, print off any of the morning activities that I want and make my own for under $10.  I'll have to take pictures of the end result and show everyone.  I'm busting at the seams!  

Can you tell I'm excited?  Now back to the sites...  :)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

This video always brings me to tears. First, the music alone gives me goosebumps, but more importantly this video has such a powerful message. We, humans, are so easily persuaded to turn to other things rather than focus on God. I love how this video shows it so "black and white." We may fall into so much more than this simple video can show, but we have an amazing God who is always there, always fighting, always trying to get our attention. And will come to our rescue with a drop to our knees, a head bowed low, a tear, a cry, a call, a brokenness.

Monday, March 7, 2011

If you were in our house tonight these are the conversations you would have encountered...

Thomas: singing  "Clean up clean up everyone pick up something.  Clean up clean up everyone do your part.  Clean up clean up or you might hear me fart."

Garrison:  "It's everyone do your share."

Thomas:  "Oh, is that what it is?"


Thomas:  "Is ANYONE listening to me!!!"  After telling Garrison and Josiah to clean up their toys before getting ready for bed.

Me:  "Now you know how I feel and why I talk to you guys (speaking to Thomas and Jackie) because I want SOMEONE to listen to me." 

Ahhh, the life with two small children who don't listen worth a darn.  It gets so old constantly having to repeat yourself over and over and over again.  These phrases I use often... "Stop doing that.  That's enough!  I said stop"  "Come here.  Get over here!  Get over here NOW!"  "Don't touch that please.  Did you hear me I said don't touch that?  I'm not going to tell you again don't touch that."  "Get out from behind the couch.  Come out now!  I said come out and I meant come out."  It's enough to drive a person crazy and yet today as I was doing the dishes, listening to Thomas' conversation with the boys and thinking how thankful I was it was him and not me - it got me thinking about my relationship with God.  How often does God have to repeat things to me?  Does he get frustrated with me and my deaf ears to what he's trying to tell me?  Am I so wrapped up in what I want to do that I don't hear what he is telling me?  It was a very eye opening thought.  It made me realize that all too often I get focused on what I want to do or am doing.  Instead of listening to the one who knows what's best for me I lean towards my own desires.  Just as I'm trying to teach my children God is trying to do the same for me.  I just need to listen.  How many times have I said to Garrison and Josiah, "If you would have listened to what I was saying that wouldn't have happened."  How many times has God said that same thing to me?  I, myself, need to listen better to the one who is trying to teach me and make me a better person.  Who am I to repeat myself over and over when God is doing the same thing to me?  I don't want to hear "If you would have listened to what I was saying that wouldn't have happened."  I want to hear "Thank you for listening the first time."   

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Our Little Moments

Our little moments...

It's official.  I've changed the title of my blog.  You can still get here the same way you always have.  I've just changed what appears at the top of my blog. 

I was getting tired of "The Bush Times" and wanted something more creative.  "The Bush Times" just felt cold, stiff, typical.  Like "Times New Roman" or "Courier New" or "The New York Times".  Blah.  Blah.  Blah. 

I came up with "The Bush Times" when I did one of our Christmas cards like the front page of a newspaper.  (Some of you may have gotten one.)  When I started this blog I thought that using "The Bush Times" would be familiar to many people, who received the Christmas card.   Now that this blog has been here for a few years I wanted to make it more warm and welcoming.  So do you feel warmed and welcomed?  I hope so.


We all made it through my first week of work and with few problems too.  I was expecting it to be a little crazy with trying to get used to new kids in the house, a different schedule and routine, more physical work for me and less time to do housework, but I must say it went very smoothly.  The first day was a little bumpy when it came to nap time.  I ended up rearranging where Landon and Gavin were going to sleep and by Tuesday I had it figured out and everyone has been sleeping great since.  There are some issues with Garrison not wanting to share some toys, but with time and practice I know he'll get there. 

Thomas and I have learned a few things from this week. 

1.  Garrison is a lot like me and Josiah is a lot like Thomas.  Garrison loves his alone time, his quite time, his routine and is not a fan of change.  Josiah, on the other hand, loves people.  He loves having friends over, loves being in the center of it all and doesn't seemed bothered by the new changes.  Finding these facts out about our boys has really opened our eyes to finding ways to help them adjust to this new change.  I shouldn't make this sound like this is a new discovery for us, but it's been a very in-your-face-no-second-guessing type discovery.  I love the fact that God placed on our hearts to name our first born Garrison Brian, Brian after my dad, and Garrison is so much like me and my family and to name our second son Josiah Thomas, well... after Thomas and he's so much like Thomas and his family.  This week Thomas and I have had many laughable moments with our two little munchkins.  It was like watching ourselves in little bodies.

2.  We're learning how to be a team.  This is something Thomas and I have struggled with throughout our 7 years of marriage.  I think that too many times we've thought of each other as our enemy and not our partner.  Not on purpose, by any means, but out of miscommunication and misunderstandings.  The months leading up to this job as we've sat and prayed about it and started making this possible we've realized that we need to talk about our expectations of each other, of our boys and how we can work together to get things accomplished since I'll have less time to get a lot done that I used to get done.

3.  We've learned that this job is just what our family needed on so many different levels.

I know it's only been a week and I'm talking like this is the perfect job and we now we have a perfect life and everything is figured out.  I know that that is not true.  Nothing and no one is perfect.  I'm speaking more through a peaceful feeling that we are all experiencing.  One of those experiences that you know God has had his hand in long before you ever knew about the opportunity.  We can see how God has been preparing our family for a while for the decisions we've made and will be continuing to make in the next year or so.

God is good... all the time!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The new business...

Kara, you're good!  (She left me a comment on the post before this one.) 

My new business is a daycare.  Well, that's what I'm calling it, but technically I'm not "a daycare."  I'm not certified or licensed, but I don't know what else to call what I do.  I don't have to be licensed or certified unless I am watching more than three children who aren't my own.  Believe me, I had to do a lot of checking and making sure I was following "orders" because I'm claiming this as income so I need to follow the rules. 

Yesterday was my official first day.  I had a "trial" run last week.  Actually, their daycare provider at the time needed the day off because they were putting their dog down and I was able to watch them.  I'm really glad that I did.  It gave me an idea of what to expect before actually having to jump into it and do it every day.

I guess since I keep referring to "them" I should explain who "they" are.  I have two small boys, Landon and Gavin, Monday through Friday from 7:45 am to 4:45 pm.  Landon is almost 2 1/2 and his little brother, Gavin, is 10 months.  They are super cute and it's like having two sets of twins in my home.  With Garrison and Josiah I have a 3 year old, a 2 1/2 year old, a 17 month old and a 10 month old.  So far, it's hasn't been as crazy as it sounds.

Once school gets out I will then start watching their big sister, Annabelle, who I watched when she was 3 months old until she was 1 1/2.  (I stopped watching her once I had Garrison.)  When she returns to school in the fall I'll start watching another little boy, from a different family, named Robert.  He'll be almost 3 (I believe) by the time he starts coming.  Then I'll have an almost 4 year old, two 3 year olds, a 2 year old and an 18 month old.

For the past month Thomas and I have been preparing our house for this new adventure.  We took away all our end tables, side tables, plants and lamps and put them in our basement.  Then we went and bought another pack-n-play, a baby gate and a few locks to lock a closet door and our basement door.  We set out tons of toys and put tons of toys away to be rotated later.  We decided that if this was going to be my "job" then we needed to prepare everyone and everything to be able to handle this new change.

I made a menu calendar and an activities calendar.  I've always wanted to be a teacher so putting these together was a lot of fun for me.  I have two weeks where we are reading a different Dr. Seuss book (it's his birthday tomorrow) and doing an activity that goes along with the book.  Today we read "Cat in the hat" and made "Cat in the hat" hats.  (pictures to follow... our camera died)  Tomorrow we'll be reading "Green Eggs and Ham" and making green eggs and ham with pretzels, white chocolate and m&ms.  It's way too much fun!

Everyone is adjusting better than I thought they would.  I was nervous as to how the boys and I would do.  I was afraid that I would be tired and exhausted all day long.  Luckily, I looked up easy, sweet coffee recipes to help me get through the day.  I'm not one to make a cup of coffee and drink it, but I really like the caramel high rises at Caribou so I looked up different caramel coffee recipes on the internet.  I found one that I love and have a cup everyday after lunch. 

I realized last week, when Landon and Gavin were over, that I needed to prepare Garrison and Josiah a little bit better for two new little boys coming in to play with their toys and "invade their space".  Last week when they came for the day Garrison was not about to share his toys with anyone, except Josiah.  Garrison and Josiah did not have a very good day.  After Landon and Gavin left I was about done with Garrison.  I'd never seen him act so much like a brat before.  At one point during the evening I went to put Garrison in a timeout when I realized he was probably more scared and confused as to what was happening then he was trying to act out.  I sat down with him and told him that I understood that he was mad and I'd be mad too if someone came to my house and played with all my toys.  I promised him that I would do my best to help him learn to share and to give him time where he could play with his toys, alone, and nobody would bother him.  I was surprised at how quickly his mood changed that night and how well he is doing with this change.  He is very helpful and wants to make sure everyone is ok.  When Gavin cries he tells him it's ok right away and rubs his head.  With Landon, he knows that he really likes Buzz and Woody so he lets him play with those.  Although, every now and then I'll catch Garrison trying to hide one of the dolls.

Josiah is a social butterfly and really likes his new friends.  He gets super excited to see them when they show up in the morning.  It's nice to see him getting the socialization he really needs. 

Even Landon and Gavin are doing great.  It seems like I've been watching them for years and they just know what is to be expected.  Landon is awesome at sharing and Gavin just cruises all over and follows all the bigger boys. 

I am giving myself three months to figure out how life with work with everyone.  I thought it takes a family about three months to figure out how life will be when a new baby comes along so three months is how long I'm giving myself and the boys (all 4 of them) to get used to this idea without me getting down on myself for not doing a good enough job. 

I was proud of myself today, however, when I was able to get everyone to sleep at the same time without waking each other.  I figured out I might need to put them down in shifts.  Josiah goes first, then Garrison, followed by Landon and last Gavin.  Luckily, Landon and Gavin are used to going down around 12:30 or later and my boys are used to going down between 11:30 and noon.  We'll see if my theory works tomorrow. 

This is definitely a crazy adventure, but one I'm looking forward to.  I know that this will be a challenge filled with many wonderful moments and I'm very excited to see where this will take me.  I also have an extremely supportive husband who wrote me a very sweet letter encouraging me on my first day.  That helps too!