Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The Binkie: Revisited

Just about a month ago, I posted about how our family had a "dirty little secret" regarding a certain preschool aged child and a pacifier.

Once the binkie was returned, the naps came back.  Better sleep came back.  Improved moods (for every one) came back.

Unfortunately, Ben's habit of chewing on his pacifier also came back.  Last Wednesday or so, I discovered he'd nearly chewed through the pacifier nipple and it was barely hanging on.  Sad faced, I told him I couldn't let him use it for bed time - if that piece came off while he was sleeping, it could choke & really hurt him.  He was, obviously, upset.  I ended up breaking the tip off and giving him the broken bink.  He instantly stuck it in his mouth and tried to suck.  No good.  I told him he was welcome to keep it as long as he wanted.  And he did.  He kept it on his nightstand for a few days but didn't really need it.

Sleep was actually fine.  I suggested he try sucking his thumb, if he needed to.  He tried it a few times but wasn't super into it.

But then he was.

And now he often pops his thumb into his mouth when he's feeling sleepy or in need of some sort of comfort.  The thumb goes in and the other hand reaches up to the top of his head to play with his hair.

I'm actually totally okay with this and don't plan to make a deal about it - EVER.  I sucked my thumb way longer than I should have, and I think part of that was due to how much my family tried to get me to stop.  The harder they tried, the harder I resisted.  Thumb sucking is his deal.  I don't have to provide it.  I don't have to buy it or replace it.  I don't have to look for it in the middle of the night.  I don't have to look for it when it gets set someplace odd after waking.  I don't have to set rules about when it can be used (and I won't).

And there's no jealousy over why Matthew gets one and can he have one of Matthew's?

I'll take it as a win.

terrible cell phone/Instagram pic

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Menu Plan Monday.

Menu Plan Monday at Org Junkie!

Monday: Crock Pot Mexican Corn & Bean Soup with corn bread
Photo via Weelicious
This actually didn't turn out super tasty.  We ended up getting something else to eat and this landed in my freezer.  I plan to reheat this at some point and increase the number of spices.  1 tsp each of chili powder & cumin for the entire pot of soup was totally insufficient.

Tuesday: Tortellini Skewers, garlic bread & salad

Photo via Caramel Potatoes
I'd made these before to bring to bunco, but this time I just put everything in a big bowl and it was like a pasta salad.

Wednesday: Chicken Rollatini Stuffed with  Zucchini and Mozzarella, with fresh green beans (cooked stove top with garlic, butter & bacon)
Photo via Skinny Taste
Amazingly delicious.

Thursday: Cheesy Skillet Pasta with Meat Sauce, dinner rolls & steamed veggies
Cheesy Skillet Pasta with Meat Sauce recipe on
Photo via Family Fresh Cooking
Friday-Sunday: we're out of town for the weekend!  Whoop!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Menu Plan Monday

Monday: Crock Pot Santa Fe Chicken with rice & corn on the cob
Tuesday: Broccoli & Cheese Twice Baked Potatoes with salad & rice pilaf
Wednesday: Rigatoni Bake with Zucchini Tots & salad
Thursday: Spicy Black Bean Burgers with Chipotle Mayo, sweet potato fries & salad
Friday: Kebabs, foil packet potatoes, rice pilaf & salad
Saturday: Taco Salad
Sunday: Quick & Easy Pasta Primavera

Our menu this week was SO yummy - I didn't realize how many recipes came from Skinny Taste til I copied in all the links.  What an amazing site, I'm so glad I found it for healthy menu inspirations!!!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Durango: Part 3

So, part one was about our drive to Moab.

Part two was about our trip through Arches.

Finally diving into our actual visit in Durango.  

We stayed in a beautiful "cabin" in Durango (I say "cabin" because while it was rustic, there was nothing rough about this place).  A friend of Tara's family graciously invited her and her extended family to stay, so we had a destination vacation, nestled in the mountains with a humongous herd of elk nearby for company.

elk in the backyard - this is just a tiny fraction, the total herd was in the hundred's
We had tons of family time:

Ben & Shea

Matthew, Shea, Ben & Ruby (and part of me ha ha)

Ben, Nana & Matthew

Ben & Ruby playing some random game with Nemo and/or Dori

Matthew & Ruby

probably the last time these two can pull this off ;)

Ruby, Matthew, me & Ben

movie night: Beauty & the Beast (while Tara & I sung obnoxiously along to every song...I may have also mouthed all the dialogue...)

Ruby, Ben & Shea

Ben, Ruby, Shea & Matthew

Shea & Matthew
We played in the snow:

snowman building
grandad & Ben
spent the rest of the adventure in the car while he napped ;)

We went 4 wheeling:

and the saga shall continue in another post.  that's a lot o' photos right there.  ;)

Friday, May 3, 2013

Preschool Assessment

Last time Ben had one of these assessments at school (they do them in the fall & the spring), he was in the younger class, of older 2's and younger 3's.

Since he's moved up to the 3's & 4's class, his assessment is a bit different.  I'm interested to see how it compares to fall, since he'll be in the same class for both assessment's.

  • He has mastered recognition of all his ABC's
  • He can count to 15
  • He has mastered all his shapes (circle, oval, square, triangle, rectangle, diamond, star & heart)
  • He recognizes all the colors but needs help with gray.
  • He's mastered his opposites
  • He can identify all visible parts of his body
Note from the teacher: Ben is able to ID all the letters in the alphabet, basic colors and shapes   He is still working on his numbers 1-10.  He knows opposites & body parts.

He only needs one area of work with his large motor skills, and that's hopping on one foot.  Otherwise, he's mastered:
  • running with control over speed and direction
  • jumping over obstacles & landing on two feet
  • climbing up and down equipment with ease (thanks, Tumble Time!)
  • moves body creatively to music (that's probably my favorite ever)
  • is willing to exercise (dude, when is this child ever NOT willing to exercise?  he is on the move from wake to sleep)
  • jumping on two feet
  • galloping
  • throwing a ball (he's got a great arm)
  • catching a ball (in my opinion - this still needs work)
  • bouncing a ball
Note from the teacher: Be is great at large motor activities, he is able to run, jump, dance & gallop.  He needs a little more work with hopping.  He is able to throw, catch & bounce a ball.
showing off those gross motor skills :)

His fine motor skills are a mix of mastered and working on:
  • using art materials to create
  • showing hand preference (he's right handed)
  • using table utensils skillfully (though he won't at home, he prefers to use his hands)
  • paint & paste neatly
  • making attempts to put on own coat/jacket
  • stacking more than 4 blocks
Working on:
  • using scissors properly
  • cutting in a straight line
  • beginning to draw human figures
  • copying horizontal/diagonal/vertical lines
Note from the teacher: Ben is able to paint & paste neatly.  He is able to put on his own jacket and stack blocks.  He is working on drawing, writing & using scissors.

fine motor skills - thanks daddy! :)

His language skills are great.  He speaks in complete sentences, speaks clearly, takes part in conversations with others, expresses needs & wants clearly... according to their assessment, he needs work on dictating description of drawings (I'm actually not sure what this means) and showing an interest in books.  I strongly, firmly, 100% disagree with that last one.  Ben is a HUGE fan of books.  His room is LITTERED with books that he's read/looked at and has so many memorized, he basically reads by himself.

Note from the teacher: Ben is a terrific vocabulary!  He is getting better and better and using words with his teachers and his peers.

Seems we've done some back sliding on sharing & taking turns.  I wonder if some of this is simply age or if competition from an increasingly mobile little brother plays a factor.

He's mastered:
  • Shows respect & rights of others property
  • is polite/courteous to others
  • helps classmates clean up
  • can attend to bathroom needs by himself
  • separates from parents with ease (HOORAY!)
  • seeks out other children to play with (favorite friends are Dayton, Noah & Cooper)
  • Smiles & seems happy much of the time
  • works/plays cooperatively with other children
  • seeks help when needed
Working on:
  • sharing materials
  • taking turns
  • keeping hands to himself
  • listening while others speak/tell a story
  • expressing anger in words rather than actions
Note from the teacher: Ben has very strong self help skills.  He is able to attend all his bathroom needs.  He is able to help clean up after playtime.  We are working on sharing and taking turns.

And her overall comments:
Ben is a very happy boy who likes to pay with lego's and cars.  He is really learning quickly and settling in to this class.  We are really working on keeping hands on his body and listening during circle time.  We will continue to offer him more challenges and support learning.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Durango: Part 2

So, picking up where I left off on part 1 of our adventure, we got up on Sunday and checked out of our hotel.  We stayed right in Moab, so the drive to Arches National Park was pretty quick.  I'd been before, but I was 15 and obnoxious and I really don't remember any of it. 

Arches National Park

Nick & Ben, on the way up to one of the window arches
they made it! :)
so amazing
me and ma' boys 
this little guy was so very excited to be allowed to climb on all the really cool rocks
hot footing it back to the car with a now hysterical Matthew - he was clearly due for a nap.
As much fun as he had climbing on the rocks, this is pretty much how he enjoyed the rest of the park
sleep, baby, sleep

What a cool park.  If you're ever in the area, I really suggest you go in.  Nick & I would love to go back, either by ourselves or when the boys are a little older and nap times no longer need to be scheduled in.  :)

Part 3 will come eventually.  ;)