Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Another Quiet Holiday

Our big excitement for the day was going over to Out of this World during the day. It was pretty crowded, but Orion had a great time. He went up into the tall play structure by himself for the first time. No hesitation at all, and he even used the really tall enclosed slides. I think those would freak me out a bit! It was a nice group there as well. Every other time we have been there, it seems like the older kids have been rough and kindof mean. Well, I guess I shouldn't say that about kids.... Maybe I should describe them as clearly lacking in getting to experience power in their home environment. :) But the kids today were great. There were several older boys letting the smaller kids go ahead of them in line, and one even commented on how cute Akasha was! Speaking of which, she was the belle of the ball. There was a Korean family there having a birthday party, and the girls were just in love with her. She had four of them all over her and asking me questions. I also saw a woman in a burka nursing her toddler and a boy who looked about 4! I thought it was interesting how it was clear she made an effort to have her arms and legs fully covered, but didn't seem worried about nursing in public at all.

We had a nice dinner - steak for Ron and salmon for me. Ron wasn't feeling too well, so we didn't do much else. We figured we would all stay up together, but Orion all of a sudden got very tired, so I think Ron might be ringing in the new year putting him to sleep!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Sleeping Like a Log!

Metaphors and similes - part of a basic English class for older kids - but Orion is already all over it.! He heard this phrase the other day and asked me what it meant. He seemed really amused by it. Now he often says first thing in the morning, "I slept like a log!" This is just one of those many things that people feel they have to "teach" children, but they totally get it already, even at 4! And if you don't make a lesson out of it, they are naturally interested and will even use these oh so complicated concepts correctly. Imagine that!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Defeating Monsters

A friend was recently talking about how her child is often scared while watching movies, and it got me to thinking about Orion's development and history in relation to this subject. He also used to be fearful at any hint of a scary character or plot development. He would cry and scream at us to turn the TV off if a character looked the least bit shady or a situation seemed to be heading toward fearful.

Enter Super Paper Mario. We started playing that with him around the same time we were getting into the unschooling philosophy and decided to pretty much let him play it as much as he wanted. We had alot of fun working through it, and he was particularly delighted with all the pixels. On the other hand, he was quite afraid of several of the bigger monsters and the ones that were drawn with mean faces. As the game went on, however, he realized more and more that there was usually an easy way to get around them. Sometimes it was as easy as flipping the character into 3D and walking right past them. Other times, there was a pixel you could use to easily make them disappear or sneak by.

After playing for awhile, he was more and more able to solve difficult situations on his own, sometimes in very creative ways. Scenes he wouldn't even try at first became favorite pasttimes to work through. I soon noticed he wasn't afraid of scary characters in most shows anymore. He is sometimes still afraid of imaginary monsters, especially when he is having a stressful day, but I think having the video game frame of reference has made it easier to also pretend to have magical weapons to send them away. I really believe playing this game gave him a sense of empowerment and increased his problem solving skills. Not to mention he learned to read several words! This is just another perfect example of pushing past the negative stereotypes of video games to see the learning and positive influences that are there if you look closely enough and with an open mind.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Six Month Comparison

The latest in the ongoing installation...
Can still see Akasha's face is so much squarer, but the other big difference now is the hair! Orion had so much more! And where are Akasha's curls! My other two both had curls as babies, and Ron has pretty wavy hair, so.... we'll see!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

The Snow is Gone...

... but the fun lives on.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Argh Ye Buckles!

Time for some day after Christmas fun! The pirate ship has been the toy of choice, and all the pirate talking has been hilarious. Orion’s favorite phrase is, “Argh, ye buckles!” Ron’s guess is that he heard “ye buckos” at some point and this is his version. I tell you the kid is a crack up! And the accessories have made appearances all over the house. Air hockey was a close second favorite, and here we see both toys in action: We also had some interesting discussion over how the air hockey table works. I think Ron must have talked to him about the air coming up through the holes, because later on, he kept asking us if certain things would "catch air". We had no idea what he was talking about until he took them over to the air hockey table. Basically, he was using scientific experimentation to test different objects to see if they would get the same floaty effect as the puck! He didn't have much luck as most things were too heavy, but argh, it made a great battlefield Matey!

Here is the three eyed alien!
Orion is very into asking me to take certain pictures and then looking at them right away. He was delighted with the last one, so that started a bit of a theme....
Stress balls for they eyes? Maybe they relieve tension headaches!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas at our House....

...apparently means taking a zillion pictures all day.

Except for in the morning. Orion usually takes awhile to wake up, so we were totally unprepared when he zipped out to the living room so fast he left a smoke trail LOL. His first reaction was, "Just what I wanted!" about the pirate ship, and then he saw the air hockey table and yelled, "Awesome!"

We did get a couple of morning shots. Ron thinks Akasha looks stoned in this one haha.
That is Ron's new bedazzled Puzzle Cube. Look, Akasha finished it!
The coveted pirate ship, just like Owen's!
Red on red nursing.
Kona's new chew toy lasted, oh, about an hour. We all had a big laugh over this.
Seemed like a good day for a bath. Have you ever seen a cuter baby? :)

Then later I got to thinking it would be nice to take some pics in front of the tree.

Surreal accident:
Love the natural light, but they were almost all blurry. This was the best of the bunch.
Hey, look what I got off the tree!

Up close and personal with the greenery.

And the dog.
Kona brought her the ball!
She has all of a sudden taken quite an interest in Kona. I think Orion did too right around the same age. And interestingly enough, that is when Kona has seemed more interested in return in both cases. She also started bringing Orion her ball around this time. I wondered to Ron tonight if it was because she can see this is the age they start flinging toys, but his idea is that Kona notices them taking an interest in her. Not sure, but either way it is cute!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Silent Night

Or at least it is now. We usually have a nice dinner and open wrapped presents from family on Christmas Eve. Here are some highlights...

No idea what was going on here, but I thought it was cute.
I decided to see if Akasha would be interested in some peas while we ate....
Doesn't look like it LOL. I think I will stick with the CLW approach. Now if I can just remember to set things aside before adding spices and such.

Present time! A Pooh Puzzle!
Akasha working the wrapping paper and brother exercising restraint with difficulty.
A dolly! Akasha is more interesting in eating the paper hahaha.
Aw, baby with a baby.
Opening Daddy's puzzle box. It kindof looks like a giant chocolate or something! But it actually a very cool handcarved piece of wood with little drawers from the Saturday Market.
Another one for Daddy. He loves him a muscle car. Now to put on his patient hat for putting it together with Orion....
Present yoga?
A Diego Scooter! How cool!
I would say he liked it. He walked it all around the house actually talking to it. "C'mon, little scooter." Hilarious.

Couple random shots courtesy of Orion with the camera.

Now it is quiet. Santa has a tray out with gingerbread cookies AND oatmeal cookies. There is also a cup of milk and a cup of juice - Orion's idea. I wonder what tomorrow will hold....

Magical Night with some Humor and Tears

It's that time of year again, and I just discovered a funny song for your holiday pleasure:

So this guy was so funny, I checked out some of his other stuff. If you are a liberal who can laugh at yourself, you will love them. I thought these two were hilarious, despite just a couple things that triggered my offensive button a little bit:

He has tons. If you like them, go to Youtube and search for Roy Zimmerman. But he isn't always funny. Get your tissues out for the last one. And to everyone this year, all over the globe, especially those overseas who wish they could be with their families, Merry Christmas.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Sitting Practice

Good for endless fun around our house, especially on long snowbound days. Sit Akasha up on the bed, wait for her to fall over, hilarious laughter, repeat.

Goofy girl. This picture reminds me of her most common nickname these days: Happyhead
It's also all about the feet these days!
Maybe this bear can teach me to sit up!

Upside down Happyhead. Does that make it a frown?
I shall pounce on you and eat your nose any second!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Blizzard of '08

I wonder what this will come to be known as. I guess it was never really a blizzard.... But supposedly this is the biggest snowstorm Portland has seen in about 40 years! Yes, there is even more! Now we have snow, then a layer of ice, then more snow. It is really cool, like geology layers!

I really wanted to get us all outside in the snow, but Akasha had nothing to wear. Then I remembered we have an 18 month sized snowsuit. Funny, funny site:
Christmas Story eat your heart out!

Out we go into the snow!
Icicle bush!
Ron's motorcycle is buried!
This was a planter....
Our street! Or lack thereof!

Our neighbor came out and shoveled his driveway. Not sure why. He ain't going anywhere in that miniature car of his!

Favorite Akasha pic of the day.

Orion has been very worried about the birds in the yard looking for food, so we decided to put some bread out for them.
Didn't manage to get a picture of any near the door, but maybe later this winter we will!

Only a few more days til Christmas. Looks like it will be a white one even if it doesn't snow any more because I don't think this much will melt that fast!