August 3, 2015

What We Did In July!

Well it's been quite some time since I've written one of our weekly recaps. What can I say, July was a very busy month with road trips, vacation, family get togethers, birthday party planning and their first birthday. That said we still made time for lots of fun and exploration!

Nature and Outside Time

We've been spending a lot of time just hanging out in the backyard in the morning before it gets too hot outside. With temps in the high 80s and high humidity none of us really enjoy it after a few minutes but I try to get out for at least a walk or bring a blanket to the park for a picnic and get under a nice shady tree at least once a day.  We blew bubbles, did water play, laid on the blanket and looked at the clouds, spotted quite a few butterflies and moths, watched a worm crawling on the ground and we're practicing touching (and not eating) the grass more - they hate the feeling of it and won't even try to crawl off the blanket. I'm not complaining, it sure makes my life easier, but I don't want them to be afraid of it forever!

Sensory and Exploration

Most of our sensory and exploration play these past few weeks has developed out of a need to redirect behavior. They have a huuuge yes space but they're still into everything and just figuring it all out. Most of my day is spent explaining, "I won't let you do this, you may do this instead..." For example: Playing in the cat's water dish >> outside water play. Climbing on mommy >> climbing on their little chairs. Pulling clean laundry out of the basket while mom folds >> pulling rags and towels out of their own basket. Smacking and banging on each other >> smacking and banging on the table, drums and the floor. Trying to crawl under the gate and over the cats >> obstacle course with pillows, tunnel and tent. Trying to eat grass >> having green beans for lunch.

They are spending a lot of time pulling things out and down, like a few weeks ago with the laundry basket. Nothing is safe anymore so our house is pretty much a kid's space with bins and bowls set up all over the place with things for them to pull out and dump. We've also emptied the coffee table drawers and filled them with cloth and teethers. I know people will think we're enabling them and I should just tell them to stop but I want them to feel like they are welcome to explore and with such a tiny space it's impossible to avoid. We're getting lots of practice with cleaning up too!

One of our favorite activities these past few weeks has been water play. It's been so hot and they're still leery of the pool so this works just fine. Although I think they drink more water than they play with, they are getting the hang of pouring and love splashing! They last about 45 minutes before they lose interest and dump the buckets all over themselves.

 We've discovered that our girl cat Willow is extremely patient and will let the girls pet her, pull her hair and lay on her with no issue. She's a petting fiend so we're happy to let them take over this duty of ours! We've spent a lot of time practicing gentle touches and modeling how to pet her without hurting her. The next obstacle is to help them differentiate between Willow and our bristly old boy cat Boots who is absolutely not as accommodating. We love him but he's a grumpus and I'm terrified he'll get them one of these days.

Music, Movement and Games

In honor of them nearly becoming toddlers we listened to Spotify's Ultimate Toddler Playlist a lot. I also played our birthday playlist which is full of my parenting love songs and a few of our other favorites.

We did a bunch of obstacle courses, dancing and practicing standing unassisted. This consists of me letting them pull up on me while they let go for a few seconds over and over and over.  Once we set them out it only took them about 2 days to master climbing in and out of their new rocking chairs so we do a lot of that these days too!

Jules is really into throwing things lately so she and Dad have been playing catch a lot with everything she can toss. Viv is into playing hide and seek and will wedge herself behind the gate, get into the tent and duck under the table and wait for you to find her then giggle like mad when you do.

They're starting to get the hang of "If You're Happy and You Know It" and now clap when I start to sing it!

Favorite Toys

Their Boppy Chairs - They will spend forever just climbing in and out of them, sitting and playing with the buckles, pushing them across the floor and flipping them over to beat on them. It's so funny when you peak over and they're just chillin' in them chatting to each other.

Blocks - They got a huge batch of wood blocks for their birthday and they love dumping out the bucket, banging on them, mouthing every single one and knocking over every tower we make!

Pictures - Maybe they caught on to my nostalgic mood this week with them turning one but lately they have just loved sitting and flipping through their photo album, our family scrap book and photo books and their baby books. They recognize many people now and Jules will flip to a picture of someone if I ask her to. I love that they love this!

Pillows - Every morning I toss our couch pillows on the floor and leave them there. They love going over and crawling over them, laying on them and rolling them up to roll off of. Simple play, it really is the best thing ever!

Favorite Books

We got lots of great new books for our birthday. One of our favorites is Llama Llama Red Pajama by Anna Dewdney, part of one of my all time faves, the Llama Llama series.  It's become our new favorite bedtime story!

We also love the Big Book of Happy by Natalie Marshall and the fantastic Baby Touch and Feel box set.

New Foods

We've tried a ton of new foods lately: kiwi, apricots, grapes, honeydew melon, zucchini, red and yellow peppers, quesadillas, ice cream cake, romaine lettuce, tomatoes and summer squash.

I am still in the process of writing our 12 Month/1 Year update. It's taking me a while because I've been busy wrangling my crazy 1 year olds, updating their baby books and working on our yearbook photo book. I still can't believe it's been a year!

Hopefully I'll get back into my weekly updates soon!


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