Tuesday, January 28, 2014

A zoo for the animals

On Pinterest I saw a storage idea for stuffed animals. It was an animal zoo (click here to see what I based our "zoo" idea off of)! I had this idea in mind for awhile and was casually looking around for a bookshelf. When my parents came to babysit our kids at the beginning of January, I showed my dad the animal zoo I wanted to recreate. He said that he had an old cabinet that my brother gave him and he thought it might work for my project. So with my dad's help I made an animal zoo for the girls' stuffed animals out of my brother's old cabinet.

This past Saturday after Sanaa was done cheerleading, I drove the kids over to my parents house and my dad helped me remove the shelf and drill some holes. I brought the cabinet home to paint (along with a second cabinet that I'm using for a different project! Once it's completed I'll share it.).

I didn't even think about taking a picture before we took the door off and the shelf out. But I got a couple shots once we had the holes drilled as we put the bungy cords on. I also got a shot of my dad removing some nails that were sticking out.

I originally planned to paint it white. But after one coat it still looked like it hadn't been painted at all. The girls kept asking me to paint it red and I happened to have a can of red paint that we brought with us when we moved to Oregon from Texas.

Both girls helped paint and really enjoyed themselves. Since it was so cold in the garage it took awhile for the paint to dry, but I only needed two coats to get it covered.

Today we finished the final details on the "zoo." Both girls helped attach the bungy cords. Layla was a bit stubborn and wanted to stretch the cords by herself even though it was hard. Sanaa tried to stretch the cords across but ended up asking me to help her. Malakai just stood nearby drinking Layla's water and watching them.

The kids also spent time "strumming" the bungy cords. But they lost interest in doing that fairly quick because the cords didn't make any sound.

The girls picked out several wood animals from a craft store and showed me where to glue them on the sides and I added the word "zoo" to the front.

Once we put it into their room they immediately began to fill it up. The best part is that all of their animals fit perfectly! No more animals spilling over onto the floor. And no more dumping out every single animal to get to the one on the bottom! I've had them go through their stuffed animal collection several times but we've reached the point where every animal suddenly seems important to them. Plus, they remember when and where they've received many of their stuffed animals which amazes me.

This turned out to be a really cheap project since the only things I had to buy were the bungy cords and some sand paper (to remove some of the old paint)! I think I only spent about $10. Yay!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Vacuuming and caring for babies

All three kids love to vacuum. I'm not sure how I got that lucky! I really hope that their love of vacuuming last for years to come, but I doubt that will be case. In the meantime, I plan to put them to work often with the vacuum.

Malakai has started playing with the girls' dolls. He likes to feed the baby and then he'll burp the baby. I've also seen him gently bounce the baby on his shoulder and say, "Sh, sh, sh." When he's done taking care of the baby he'll give it a big kiss and then find something else to do.

The destruction and activity of Malakai

About 2 weeks ago just before I had to walk to the bus stop with Layla and Malakai to pick up Sanaa I heard a loud crash. Layla came out of Malakai's room with Malakai following her and she said, "Mommy, something bad happened. I just don't know how it happened. But it's bad." That's when I discovered that they had somehow pulled Malakai's curtains off the wall. The screws and all came out. The screws left some nice holes after being ripped out of the wall but I didn't have time to deal with it since Sanaa's bus was arriving. 

After lunch, I went in to get the curtains back up since Malakai needed a nap, but it turned out to be a lot of work. I had to drill new holes and of course the drill wasn't charged up. What should have been a 5 minute fix took more like 30 minutes and I was not happy. Neither was Malakai who was getting tired and crying about everything.

I'm not sure if this was the same day or the next day, but Malakai attempted to crawl up onto the sink in the kids bathroom. He then got stuck like this. Normally he's pretty good about figuring out how to get down, but maybe he was just too tired or something and he could not figure out how to put his leg back down onto the toilet.

There are a few pants that Malakai has that he enjoys pushing down and walking around with them hanging half way off his butt. He better not wear this style when he is older!

Malakai LOVES to whisper secrets! It's a new thing he's learned to do and after he "whispers" his secret he'll throw his head back and start laughing.

Today, he finally figured out how to climb up to the top bunk. Sanaa yelled for me to come get Malakai. Normally when she yells he is only on the first rung, so I wasn't in a big hurry until I saw him on top of the bunk.

He thoroughly enjoyed himself up there but now that he can climb up there I'm not going to be able to let him play in the girls room unless I'm there. That'll be hard while I'm making dinner because they often like to play in their bedrooms while I'm cooking.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

The Opals - Sanaa's cheerleading squad

Each January, our church and a second church in the area partner to do a basketball lead through Upward. Upward is a world wide Christian sports league. The motto is "Every Kid is a Winner." At each game, every player and cheerleader is introduced as they run through the welcome tunnel. Each player receives equal amounts of playing time and players are matched against other players via their comparable skill/experience in game situations. At the end of each game, the players and cheerleaders meet with their coaches where they are given a star (the color varies) and a personal word of affirmation.

I had originally signed Sanaa up for basketball. However, this was the first year that cheerleading was offered as well and many of the girls signed up for cheerleading instead of basketball. Unfortunately, not enough kindergarten girls signed up for basketball so the girls kindergarten league was cancelled and Sanaa was moved into cheerleading. She is really excited about it and has enjoyed her two practices so far. I'd love to have her play basketball next year, but I guess if they offer cheerleading again we'll have to see what she ends up choosing.

This week, we actually had some "homework" to do for cheerleading. Sanaa's pom-poms had to be "fluffed" out. In the picture below you'll see how they were packaged rather flat and we had to pull each strand apart.

Sanaa and Layla helped me for about 5 minutes and then lost interest. They then stood there watching me finish the pom-poms and asking, "Are they done yet?"

The other "homework" Sanaa had was to decorate her cheerleading bucket. She'll take this bucket to each practice and game. In the bucket she'll carry her pom-poms and megaphone. (The megaphone is driving me crazy! All the kids have enjoyed yelling through it. Malakai seems to have the most fun yelling through it, but the noise level it driving me nuts!).

For Sanaa's bucket I mentioned we could use the glue glitter pens and glue on other decorations. I then saw that she had some small sponges in her craft center and mentioned painting with them. Sanaa heard me mention painting and decided to just use a paint brush and created a mural on her bucket.

Today was Sanaa's first day to cheer at a basketball game. She was excited to wear her cheerleading outfit!

Sanaa's cheerleading squad getting ready. There were two basketball games going on. So during the first half they cheered on one side and then for the second half they moved to the other side of the gym. The cheerleaders do not cheer for one particular team. They cheer for both teams. So anytime a basket was made they cheered and shook their pom-poms.

They did two cheers today. The first one goes like this:
Here we go!
*clap, clap
Red and black!
*clap, clap
Let's. Go. Upward!

The second cheer was this:
Dribble it.
*clap, clap
Pass it.
*clap, clap
Dribble it. Pass it.
We want a basket!

After the game, Sanaa's cheerleading squad had a snack together while Shawna (their coach who is also our children's pastor) gave each girl a colored star. Sanaa was given a blue star and recognized for her great effort during the games.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Malakai the monkey

Malakai has been having a blast challenging himself and turning our house into his own play ground. I know the following pictures are blurry but I wanted to catch Malakai's progression so you all could see just how he hoists himself over the edge of the couch.

Tonight he discovered that he no longer needs a chair or stool to see what's on the counter because our kitchen drawers work just fine! In fact, after I took this picture he climbed up one drawer higher and probably would have made it onto the counter. Nate took him down before he got that far, but I now no longer have any hope of keeping him off the counter. He's going to figure out how to get up there pretty soon.