Tuesday, January 17, 2012

ABCs and I23s

I feel like I've been swimming in alphabet soup the last month.  Emily is 3 1/2 and attends a full-time preschool while Matt and I work during the day.  From 8 weeks to about 2 1/2 she was in an in-home daycare.  The in-home daycare only kept children until they were 3 years of age and didn't have an extra spot when Lindsay was born so I pulled Emily out.  I've always been a person who believed that children should be children and they will learn when they are ready.  The thought of homework or studying with her never crossed my mind.  Now I'm not one of those mothers who just lets her kid run like a banshee outside with no discipline or sticks them in front of the TV every afternoon (I don't believe there is anything wrong with an occasional Disney movie or some TV.  Heck I even learn a few things after watching Nick Jr.!)  I just didn't focus on education and let her play.  After being in preschool for awhile, I noticed that most of the other students were familiar with their letters and numbers.  Emily knew a few but honestly could care less when I asked her the difference between a "W" and a "D".  I don't want to be a mom who get anal about their 3-year-old doing alphabet drills and then the kid winds up resenting school, dropping out of school, going goth, and married to some skater dude they met less than a week ago.  Aaaahhh!  Okay maybe that's a little extreme but I want her to like going to school and like to learn.  I don't want her to fall behind though so I decided to try "pushing" a few of the more educational toys we own instead.  Such as, "Let's play with LeapFrog instead of with the Disney Tangled doll".  Last night I found the holy grail of fun education toys and I just had to share.

Leap Frog's Go Fish game is awesome!!!!  She really enjoyed playing a game that was one-on-one with Matt or I.  She could practice matching, recognizing the different forms of a letter and she definitely showed me her skills when it came knowing her letters.  Some of the other things that have worked for us are alphabet flash cards (she realized that those were more homework than fun though and now doesn't like to do those) and alphabet puzzles like the one below. 

Each week her school has a letter of the week.  The Sunday before that week we do a collage on the letter and talk about the sound it makes and if she is feeling randy then she will actually practice writing the letter.  This usually doesn't last long but at least its a start!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

New Year....New Focus...New Blog

2011 was a pretty tough year.  I know I should count my blessings and be thankful I have a healthy family, a roof over my head and there were wonderful memories like my sister's wedding.  That being said, Lindsay was a much harder newborn that I had anticipated and also juggling two children was harder than I estimated.  In 2011 Lindsay had surgery for double inguinal hernias, my mother-in-law was diagnosed and beat a very aggressive form of breast cancer, and my father-in-law was diagnosed and lost his battle with leukemia.  His passing towards the end of the year just gave the holidays a hollow feeling.  I am looking forward to a fresh year and redefining of my priorities.

The reason that I started this blog and business was I wanted to do something fun.  I love crafting, decorating, painting, really anything artsy, and partying!  Seemed like a perfect fit.  In a perfect world it would be.  Trying to juggle starting a business, my day job, my marriage, my two children, and attending classes at night to further my education was just too much.  I was focusing less on my family and spending less time with my children.  As soon as the idea of planning a party came up, the first thing I would think of was that there was another weekend I would be away from the girls.  The idea of Pinwheels, Pigtails & Parties is no longer fun and no longer that "perfect" fit.  I do enjoy the blog when I have time for it as it is almost like a diary of sorts and very therapeutic.  If someone else can find inspiration from something I said or created, then great!  If not, then that's okay too.  I'm going to redesign the blog to now be just chronicle of my life as a planner, dreamer, crafter, wife, friend, and mother.  If I'm honest with myself and look back over the last six months, that's really what I was doing anyways!  The name still fits as I work through the week dealing with toys (Pinwheels) and my girls (Pigtails), all the while trying to make life a (Party)!  Ha!    

Well, that started #1of  my New Year goals!  I didn't want to set "resolutions" but instead goals for 2012.  At the end of the year I can do a recap if I actually achieved something.  (Also putting things out there on the wide world web sort of makes you accountable!)  Here they are:

1.  Spend more quality time with my family by focusing on being at home more. 

2.  Lose at least 15 pounds by working out at least 3 days a week.  This means getting up at 5:30am.  Oh, how I will miss sleep!

3.  Stop relying on credit cards.  Budget more and make sure Matt and I are on the same page when it comes to finances.  We have set a budget but I am curious to see how January goes to see how realistic it is.  No more crazy expensive trips to the grocery store three times a week when you were only supposed to get a gallon of milk, or $100 trips to Michaels (wipe a tear).  With two kids in daycare, our discretionary income is almost nonexistent which means finding creative, inexpensive ways to eat, stay reasonable fashionable, have fun, and entertain.   

4.  Learn how to sew and knit.  More possibilities for crafts! 

5.  Make our home more inviting.  I have SO many plans and ideas in the works.  Thank you Pinterest!

6.  DECLUTTER!  This goes hand-in-hand with my goal above.  I have realized that I am one exciting yard sale away from being featured on an episode of Hoarders.  I keep everything which can be a great thing when I am looking for a container or something to upcycle.  A very bad thing when you can barely fit a person in our garage, much less a car!  I am so ready to purge!  Getting rid of stuff is almost as euphoric as buying stuff :).  At least that's what I am telling myself.     

Welcome 2012!!!!!!
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