Sunday, September 21, 2008

Not without My...

favorite cds and...

personalized tote bag! Can you guess which essentials Brooklyn never leaves home without? This week it would be the Primary Children's Songbook CD's and either her "Kids Club Bag" (made by her grandma for the days when I used to go to the gym in Louisiana) or her mini-backpack (not pictured) with pink hearts on it. She really loves all the songs on CD #5 which are mostly action songs and seasonal songs. We routinely begin listening to song #6 on the CD, "Give said the Little Stream". Other favorites: "In the Leafy Treetops" and "Oh What do you do in the Summertime?"

Much to my delight, Brooklyn has become quite independent in her free time. She will select some toys and bring them out for her enjoyment. Usually it's dolls or books, or sometimes just her blankie and her thumb when she's tired in the mornings. Today it was play-dough, that was different. I'm always amazed when I look down to the livingroom from the loft bedroom above her and what she what activity is quietly occupying her. This (pictured below) was what I found one day this week. She had brought out a book I got a few months ago, but we haven't looked at in a while. It's got magnetic facial features for different animals, and it was pretty hillarious to see the combinations that looked "right" to her.
Hey, at least the color of the "mouth" is matching the tone of the rest of the face!
Imagine trying to blow bubbles or eat with those "lips."
Don't you think every camel should have buck teeth and a third eye for a nose?

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Mixed Emotions about Montessori

I have been invited to participate in a co-op preschool group with three other ladies. I am totally jazzed about more actively educating my darling little 2 1/2 year old. But, I have to say, I'm a little hesitant about the method of choice. I've heard a little about the Montessori method, but I obviously need to read up a little bit more. The idea is that each child is to be provided with an environment for many learning opportunities, of which they will explore and learn from individually or one-on-one with an adult. My main concern is: how will one adult effectively teach a GROUP of 4 toddlers one-on-one without some serious chaos? The way the "classroom" would be set up is with four stations or areas of learning: sensorial, language, mathematics, and everyday living. There are manipulatives at each station that are really cool and are supposed to teach a concept. The only thing I'm struggling with is that there will be four 2 1/2 - 3 year olds in the same room, wanting to do what ever someone else is doing that looks fun and then they will fight over the object. The other thing that might happen is that they will methodically make a huge mess by taking things out of the bins, piece by piece, then moving on to the next "bag of goodies" at another station, causing the stressed and frustrated leader with a huge mess to clean up in the end. Because we will rotate teaching the class, there will probably be only one teacher at a time. One of the other parents will have to volunteer watching the teacher's child because everyone else (except me) has a younger child at home as well. So how do we do one-on-one with so many different things going on at once, and so much explaining to do with each activity?
I think my doubts and fears are due to my experience with traditional teaching methods. Usually the most efficient and effective method is the straight-forward direct instruction. Model, demonstration, everyone try it all together. Yes, there are times when you do lab experiments or other fun things that are self-directed. Don't get me wrong, I was all about games and fun stuff when I taught in a classroom. I did utilize several different approaches to incorporate the different learning styles of the students. But I know when you have too many different things going on at once, you lose a lot of control and only the most disciplined kids are still learning and working, while the others are off seeing what they can get away with while the teacher is distracted helping other people. Basically, I think a group of preschool age kids lack the self-discipline for self-directed learning in a group setting. I hope I am proven wrong. I love the learning activities presented in this method, but I think they would best be carried out one-on-one, and therefore it would make more sense to do it at home with your child, not in a group.
I was a graduate of Joyschool, and I have fond memories from my days of Joyschool-hood. I looked online and the method and program is still accessible and actively used by some people. However, the cost of purchasing all the materials and the online membership seems like a little much. I think I will call my former Joyschool teacher, who just finished like her 20th year teaching joyschool (literally). I'll ask if she still has any lesson plans! I really am curious - have any of you taught using the Montessori method or attended a preschool that used it? Have any of you attended or taught joyschool?

I'd Hate to Imagine...

If guys had the opportunity to be pregnant!

This is so mean, but it really bothers me when Stephen (not pregnant) complains to me (31 weeks pregnant) about our uncomfortable mattress. Also, I was sweeping and mopping out kitchen floor tonight, and from the upstairs room, he is complaining about the fumes of the PineSol I was using. Really, it's mean I know. But if I'm on my hands and knees inhaling the stuff, and he's upstairs relaxing on the lounge chair reading a book, WHY is he complaining? Just a thought. Really, I love my husband and he is SO wonderful. I just get a chuckle sometimes out of him.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Divas and Divas in Training

This weekend, my cousin Michelle got married to Travis Armitstead in the L.A. temple. Her dress was beautiful! Brooklyn came to the temple with her cousins Caden and Caleb while one of uncle Calvin's students babysat them. Brooklyn loved being there and admiring the beautiful bride and the temple. The reception was very formal and fancy as well. I wish I could have taken pictures of all the beautiful arrangements on display (food, lights, flowers, fountain, etc.) but I was a little busy at the sign-in table taking pic's of all the guests for the photo guest book.

So here is Brooklyn "modeling" her new Sunday kicks. (I never thought I would find cute, cheep kids clothes and shoes at SEARS of all places!) In case you were wondering, YES, they have a tiny little heel! (Stephen is rolling his eyes about this one!) Who knows if she'll really get that much use out of them at church, but they were such a steel I thought they would at least make some cute dress-up shoes that actually fit her feet! Her word for fancy Sunday shoes is "slippers" because that's what Cinderella wears, glass slippers. (Eye-roll from me about that one!)
I have more pics. of recent stuff, but I have to flip them before posting them because the good ones are all on vertical orientation - boo!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Merkley Mania

Two weeks ago Saturday, Robin and Kendall Merkley hosted the first ever Merkley/McKendrick Birthday Bash in which we celebrated every family birthday and anniversary occuring in the months of July, August, and September. It was a good chance to mingle as a newly-combined family. Thanks Robin and Kendall! For the handful of you who don't already know this, my grandma Grace recently married and was sealed Glade Merkley, former Stake President of the Glendora California Stake. These two have known each other for nearly 50 years, but probably never would have guessed that their lives would someday merge into an eternal marriage! They are the only couple of 75 year-olds I know who can honestly say they are newlyweds! (See May 2008 posts for wedding pic's!)

Brooklyn made a splash in her new Roxy swimsuit from Nini. With no help from her own mother, but plenty from her adoring aunties and (grandma) Nini, Brooklyn has become quite the fashion plate in her young life!
Can you tell in the picture above who has been to Hawaii lately and who has not? This is no trick question.
I thought it would be fun to have my mom capture on camera two pregnant sisters jumping into the pool together (I'm sure this was to the horror of all the other swimmers there - I could have sworn the pool emptied rather quickly at this time - NOT). This is the best shot we got after only a few attempts. I know you are all thanking me right now for sparing you the full-body maternity swimsuit shot.

Another Wonderful Weekend

It seems like every weekend has been packed with family gatherings and we love it! What ever will we do when all the summer weddings, birthdays, and family reunions are over? Two weeks ago Friday, we visited Long Beach to see Eric and Cindy for a couple hours before they left for their weekend cruise to Mexico. We ate lunch at In-N-Out, then played at a park/beach area. Brooklyn loved swinging through the air between the pushes of her Daddy and Uncle Eric while her Mom and Aunt Cindy chatted in the shade. Later that night, we met up with the McKendrick clan for some BBQ chicken and ribs. I don't know what possessed me to turn around and take this shot, but I love how candid everyone is here. I think mom is on the phone with Calvin and Carol, who would be arriving shortly. Pip and Jeff look like they're having a serious conversation, and I'm sure Stephen is listening in on Pip and Jeff's discussion, another shot shows him turning back adding his "two cents." Dad was in Atlanta that weekend at some wood-working (his latest and greatest passion) convention. After dinner, Brooklyn was having so much fun "playing" arcade games with her cousins that she couldn't even pause for a potty break. Oops! Thanks for the back-up diaper/underwear coverage Calvin and Carol! Who said white and red little-boy-briefs couldn't look cute on a two-year-old?

Saturday morning, Nini took the grandkids for a carousel rides. I think she gets her "outing" ideas from Mary Poppins!
Saturday night we had a blast at the Merkley's birthday bash. Those pic's to come in the next post!