Saturday, April 18, 2009

At Play

We have had some days in a row at home this week. Our normally busy calendar has slowed down a bit, especially with Dad and David up in San Francisco/Berkeley and Mom sewing drapery for the new house. Of course we have chores and things that keep us constantly busy around our home, but we also focus on playtime enrichment for Kate.

When we're not out and about, I try to do at least one big outdoor session for Kate per day with another little one squeezed in somewhere if I can. After breakfast, we usually go for a big walk. We stop and talk about flowers and anything that catches our eye. We talk constantly and my walk time with Kate is precious because we get to be together appreciating nature and because it is the perfect time to saturate her with language and new vocabulary. We love our walks, and she likes them even better in the umbrella stroller because she has more access to her environment that way---she is more a part of the action than in the baby stroller.

We always end our walk with time at the park. We play and talk and sing and I recite Mother Goose and other silly rhymes while we dig. When we return home, I usually make lunch. We've both been having apple slices, cheese, and crackers. Then we read. While she naps, I get some more exercise on the bike and also lift my weights.

On Friday, Grandma came for a visit and we had fun with her at the park, too.

We were amazed to see dozens of ladybugs all throughout the grass at the park. What luck!!! Of course we proceeded to have a ladybug hunt. Kate caught on quickly and had amazing powers of detection. I think it is genetic, because Grandma used to search for them when she was a girl, and I am skilled at spotting them, too. Life is so good, so generous with the beauties of nature and with filling every nook and cranny with entertainment. We spend lots of time examining the dirt in our own yard---whole worlds exist in dirt, neverending magic if you look.

Looking for ladybugs....It was pretty hot yesterday, so we didn't stay out too long...

Grandma took this one of us playing. I am going to miss this little park when we move. But if there is one thing I know, it is that magic and memories can be made anywhere your heart goes.

Have I mentioned that Kate loves Meerkat? ;-) Hello, Meerkat! We are starting a tradition that any new toys that come home always are welcomed to the family the first night by joining our time in the cozy reading chair. Everyone in our house is expected to be a reader, I guess you could say. It is the toys' initiation into our home culture. Even bouncy balls join us. Nothing is too oddly shaped, big, hard, etc. Then, each night, Kate picks some toys to sit with us. She really likes this. Although sometimes Mommy has very little room for her arms! ;-) Anyway, it turned out that Meerkat LOVES to read. He likes to ask questions and make comments about what we're reading.

A few days ago we built a fort in our family room, and of course we are leaving it up awhile. Kate loves, loves, loves to be in it. We read in there and we spend time organizing our treasures. It has pillows and even secret "rooms" depending on how you reposition one of the blanket flaps. The fort is pretty cozy, I must say. As soon as Grandma arrived, Kate wanted to take her into the fort.

This picture is from a few days ago at the park. We took one of the smaller bouncy balls with us. I love this picture because Kate has just thrown the ball and we captured it in mid-bounce.

Where do you want to go next, Kate? To the slide? Okay!

She looks at me as if to say, "Let's go, Mommy!" I love how purposefully she strides. I love my happy girl.