Thursday, August 27, 2015

Another Chapter in Child Care

We had a whole mish-mash of kids this week. Some of the days we had few (4), and some of the days it was a full house! (7) I always have a helper for their outdoor time, so on the days that we had only four kids, I was able to take a couple of the kids to the big pool. And it was nice and warm!

Both Noah and Thomas have improved so much at swimming over the past year. Thomas used to cling to me even though he was wearing his life jacket. This year he is so much more confident, and I'm so happy for him! He can enjoy it that much more!

Noah can swim around the whole pool on his own now. This is the year he has learned to swim!

He still needs to work on getting stronger, obviously, but he's well on his way!

I finally got a new phone last weekend. I'm so happy that I have a much better phone camera now! (If you thought I was outta control with the pics before...) But I also got a waterproof case. I assumed, as did the sales guy, that this meant I could take pictures underwater. Noah and I were very excited to try this out. Alas, it does not take pictures underwater; it merely survives. First world problem. ;)

Anyhoo, it was great to know that the case does work to keep the water out, and that I can bring the camera around the pool without worry that it will break. Okay, enough about my phone, are you seeing Thomas's perfect back float in the background?!

Just look at that confidence. I know from watching many of my son's and daughter's swim lessons that putting one's head back for a back float is a pretty scary thing for kids, in the beginning. Looks like Thomas is very comfortable with this, and enjoying the peace it brings. Sweet little guy!

Oooooooohhhhhhhmmmm. It is so nice to see the kids in a Zen-state-of-mind now and then. It balances out the hysteria. ;) Way to go, boys! Your hard work shows!

These five photos were taken by Noah, with his own camera. The ones of David are absolutely beautiful!

Snapshot of lunch time, when the kids are enjoying their Jello Popsicles.

And Maryam post-nap. She loves to cuddle Mickey Mouse at bed-time!

Okay, now back to my pics....

I don't recall Marcus ever trying on others' shoes before (though this is a favourite past time for many of the older kids). Earlier this week, he was determined to walk around in Riley's old shoe, and my gigantic size 10 running shoe. I have no idea how me managed to keep the shoes on for as long as he did!

The following video was taken before the pictures above were taken. You can see him working at this in the video. And you can tell that it does take a lot of focus and determination.Perhaps he was inspired by the music. ;)

We are thrilled that Thomas has been able to spend some time with us before he starts school. (And in case you're wondering, Riley has other plans for the last 2 weeks of summer. We'll have her over for lots of play dates during the school year!) The other day he requested that we go for a walk. It was the perfect, cool day for it!

For the first half of our walk around the big block, the kids were all about jumping.

And for the second half....well the second half was plain old silliness. They wanted me to play a funny game with them, that we used to play during our walks together.

Basically, they sit down on a curb, or rocks, or a lawn, and I start to sing a counting song about how many kids are sitting. Once I have counted the correct number in my song, one or more of them will get up, so that I have to recalculate.

The absolute greatest for them is if I pretend to get really frustrated, because, what kid doesn't love to drive their mom, dad, childcare provider, teacher, or any adult for that matter, CRAZY?! It's all about the power to throw someone off their game. ;)  (Of course, they're smart enough to know it's pretend frustration.)

I know you get the idea, but I gotta post the video I took too. They made me do this about 30-40 times, so I had lots of chances to capture their cuteness!

They also pretended to be stuck in jail (y'know, under a tree - makes sense). Then they would miraculously break free. ;)

What a beautiful gang of kids!

And let's not forget our two littlest, who we prefer to keep safely in the wagon during walks like this. You can just tell they'd cause trouble, can't you?! Haha!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Toronto Public Library Helps Home Daycare Literacy

Noah and Riley joined the Summer Reading Club at the Toronto Public Library. They both received a little booklet in which they can get sticker rewards for reading in a variety of ways. One of those ways is to make a reading nook, and read in it. 

So, I helped Noah and Riley make their own reading nooks. Riley's is on the left, in the picture above. Noah's is on the right.

Riley read to the girls in the beginning and Noah read alone. But then Noah thought he'd like someone to read to as well.

His little sis was happy to oblige. ;)

We went to Baird Playground the other week. Noah has perfected climbing up slides.

Maryam can climb higher on the structure now, and likes to hang out in the tunnel.

And it's always a picnic by the wading pool.

Noah is the heartiest of our waders. He loves to get soaked, and soak others (which is not always well-received). I don't know how the kids do it. It is beyond freezing!

This little girl is beyond cool. In this moment, she struggles to maintain her poise, despite the nearly impossible task of taking a drink of water from this water bottle half her weight.

Aaannd....she does it!

Also, how grown up does she look here?! Playin' with the big kids!

Thomas has come to visit us on a few occasions this summer. As I tried to get a shot of him in the wading pool, he requested that I take a picture of.....

THIS!!! Great idea for an action shot, Tom!

In the picture below, Noah gives us the inside scoop to his day at camp. Apparently he had a really, really good day.

I only had Maryam on this day, so we picked Noah up from camp, played at the park, and spent a little time at the wading pool. The water is still cold, but MUCH more bearable at this time of day. It was nice, for a change!

My little bear. Now a big bear. :)

This is David. He is 4.5 years old and is spending time with us in August, to help with his transition to school this fall. He has a sweet personality and everyone loves him already! He adores "baby Marcus", as he calls him.

Back to the bear. (I'm sure you've gathered by now, that this is my pet name for Noah). He is really growing up before my eyes. He helps so much with the little ones now! Usually Maryam isn't really into the swings, but she sure is when Noah's pushing her! It's so great.

Amadea looks so grown up in this picture too. How sweet is she?!

These two shots must be included because they might just win the award for "Most Random Daycare Shots". Of course, such an award would have to exist in the first place. ;)

Leila in the foreground, Marcus in the background.

It is certainly a full house these days! Can I just say that putting sunscreen on 7 kids each morning takes a lot of time? And then I want to kick myself when I think that snowsuit season is actually easier! haha! It's all good. It seems to be turning into one big party at the daycare this summer. And when one kid is away, we love to have Thomas over for the day, or one of Noah's buddies for a play date. Everyone is learning so much from everyone else, and stronger connections are being made every day. In particular, I notice Riley bonding with Marcus more. And David is quickly becoming friends with the little guy too.

Somebody loves his spaghetti!!!

David, though a very active little guy, is also quite the little academic. He is crazy about the alphabet. One morning I got the kids to put each lower case letter underneath its corresponding upper case letter. The kids blew me away!

David, Riley, Dea and Leila are letter superstars!

When the littlest are asleep, Riley and David love to do puzzles together. Puzzles are one of David's biggest passions.

Again, inspired by the Toronto Public Library's Summer Reading Club, Noah and Riley have been writing books. I cannot tell you how happy this makes me! Riley has now written two books, complete with illustrations.

Noah wrote his first Novel. ;)

I took my own kids to the library one night last week, and Noah got a sticker on one of his pages for his work.

He also got a sticker to put in Riley's book for all her hard work. At the same time, we got a pre-reader booklet for Leila and Amadea, so they can join in the literacy fun!

Again, Noah and Riley wanted to make reading nooks. Each child took a turn reading.

At Amadea's and Leila's age, pretending to read is just fine for the purpose of the little booklet. And, of course, trying to sound out letters and/or words here and there. (The little booklet has reading activities for them to do to earn sticker rewards from the library. If it increases the child's comfort, enjoyment, confidence and interest in literacy - which covers more than just books anyway - then it's a success.) When it was Leila's turn to read in the reading nook, I expected her to tell us the story of the book she was familiar with from memory. Instead, she sounded out every letter for us. Good work, Leila! Amadea was too shy to read, or even pretend to read yet, but as you can see in the video, she is very interested in letter sounds. Perfect work for a 2-year-old. You are a literacy star already, Dea!

Here is a cute video of Noah helping his little sis to read a word. Thanks, Noah! 

I leave you with cuteness, as always. Til next time!