Sunday, July 19, 2009

"Where did the cat go?"

This weekend we visited my parents in Canton. Vacant of plans we took time to explore some of my childhood haunts including Sippo Lake. Stark Parks has done a tremendous job revitalizing this park. I remember fishing, nature walks, and paddle boat rides ~ all of which is still possible; however, there are additional opportunities for exploration and education, including the new Perry Twp. Branch Library overlooking the lake.

Ava loves being outside and it was a beautiful day to explore. We looked for turtles and toads and pointed out all of the pretty flowers. But most confusing to Ava were the cat tails.

Looking out from the bridge leading to the walking trail Ava could see hundreds of cat tails growing out of the swampy part of the lake. My mom and I explained to her that the soft brown things groing straight up were called cat tails. Unfortunately, we couldn't reach one to show her up close or to touch. "Do you see the cat tails?" I asked. With a look of concern Ava looked up and asked, "Where did the cat go?" This became her new mission: to find the missing cats whose tails were left behind.

Funny. So the question begs... how do you explain cat tails to a toddler?

Thursday, July 16, 2009

"My kitty!"

We have a new addition to our little family! While visiting the vet to pick up medication for our dog, my darling husband fell hard for a 7 week old kitten that had been abandoned. One donation later and Kris brought home "Ava's early birthday present."

Ava was thrilled with the new kitty. She has desperately wanted to be friends with our cat, Moxie, but it has taken a long time for Moxie to warm up to the idea of a small child. We choose the Maisy for the kitty ~ it's cute and Ava has no trouble saying it. She loving carries Maisy around by the neck. When Maisy meows Ava pats her and says, "You're fine." Maisy even gets rocked as Ava sings Rock-a-bye Baby.

I love the idea of Ava growing up with pets. She has never been bothered by animals and shows a loving interest. Maisy has become comfortable and grown on even the most hard-hearted (Moxie Cat). I guess Kris is just a sucker for a cute face!

Favorite kitty books:
  • Ballet Kitty by Bernette Ford
  • Kitty Up! by Elizabeth Wojtusik
  • Kitten's First Full Moon by Kevin Henkes
  • Kitten Red, Yellow, Blue by Peter Catalanotto
  • The Color Kittens by Margaret Wise Brown
  • Cookie's Week by Cindy Ward

Friday, July 3, 2009

Ava Grace is Two!

My sweet, sweet girl is two. It is so hard to believe how quickly the time has flown. Truly is seems like yesterday we were wishing for her. When I dreamed about being a mother I hoped my child would be healthy, happy, and smart. Never could I have imagined a child this amazing. Ava has been a pure joy.

At two, Ava Grace loves books, singing songs, art, playing pretend in her kitchen, and Elmo. When she laughs it almost seems as if it comes from her toes. Every new experience clicks in her little mind and gives her a fuller understanding of the world. Ava loves red shoes and her babydoll. My girlie girl gives the best hugs and the sweetest kisses.

Happy Birthday Baby Girl!

Ava Grace Around the Web

Lately my little monkey has been popping up around the web!

Recently we had an amazing photo session with Jessi of Everyday Studios. Jessi gave us a little preview of the session!

As we prepared for the big birthday, I purchased an adorable birthday shirt for Ava from Chakra Pennywhistle's lovely Etsy shop and was so excited to see Ava's photo on her blog!

And to our surprise we were gifted with this fabulous accordian album!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Celebrating Art

This past weekend was the Columbus Arts Festival. Ava and I made a special trip to enjoy the sites and sounds. Her favorite booths featured clocks in the shape of cat faces, wooden toys, unique birdhouses, and any booth feature purses or bags. Ava loves being outside and has always been comfortable around different groups of people. She was very interested in the art we were viewing and enjoyed exploring.

Ava is at the age were she is extremely interested in creating her own art whether drawing, painting, or playdough. There was a great area set-up with activities for children but she is still a little young for what was offered. Maybe next year she can take advantage of the children's area.

We shared a delicious dish of Jeni's Ice Cream and danced to the music of a jazz band.

To celebrate a weekend of art, we are reading new picture books that feature exceptional illustrations.
  • Moon Rabbit by Natalie Russell is a story of friendship with simple but sweet illustrations.
  • Hello, Baby! by Mem Fox and illustrated by Steve Jenkins pairs simple rhyme with beautifully executed cut-paper collage.
  • The Secret Circus by Johanna Wright shares a secret circus performance through dreamlike illustrations.
Sharing stories with appealing illustrations will help foster Print Motivation in your child. For older children you can extend the connection by creating art in the style of the illustrator.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss!

In honor of the good Dr. Seuss' birthday Ava paraded around this morning wearing her cat hat. It thrilled her to pieces once she realized that her hat and the one the cat wears are identical! She has been caring around the Cat in the Hat for a couple weeks and is currently her favorite. I find that plush book characters help to extend the story beyond the pages and really encourage building Narrative Skills. Ava's cat has been involved in all sorts of adventures including a trip through the Ikea store in Cincinnati.

All week Ava and her friends will be enjoying stories and activities that celebrate the work of Dr. Seuss - green eggs and ham for breakfast (Green Eggs and Ham), making hats, feet painting (The Foot Book), apple prints (Ten Apples Up On Top), and decorating fish (One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish). There are many other fun activities to help make the stories pop off the page. Visit Seussville for even more fun!

Of course no celebration would be complete without the great books by Dr. Seuss. Here is a brief list of our favorites:

And to Think that I Saw It on Mulberry Street
The Cat in the Hat
Fox in Socks
Green Eggs and Ham
Hop on Pop
Horton Hears a Who
The Lorax
My Many Colored Days
One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish

These books have endured generations because of the impact they have on young readers. Not only are the silly and memorable but they pave the way for success as readers.

Happy Birthday. Dr. Seuss!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

A is for Ava

Lately we have been enjoying all things ABC! Ava has taken an interest in pointing out letters (and numbers) and to my great pleasure she has begun recognizing several with frequency. One of her favorite toys at home is the magnetic alphabet letters. The set we have has the chunky letters and numbers which are perfect for little hands to manipulate. The set also comes with word cards indented to insert the letter for the beginning of each word. We name the image and sometimes spell the words. This activity has spilled over into our reading habits.

There are many, many alphabet books. Some that are excellent and many others that are not. At 20 months we are focusing on alphabet books that prominently feature the letter and one image. While reading we trace the letter and talk about the imagine (this also includes making the appropriate animal sounds). When looking for ABC books for my toddler I am looking for interesting illustrations that lack clutter. The ABC books on our shelf right now are Bruno Munari's ABC, Little Bird's ABC by Piet Grobler, and Eric Carle's ABC.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Double the Fun!

Ava and I shared a fun day at the Franklin Park Conservatory a few weeks ago and we hope to return very soon! Especially now that we are members. This will be a fun place for us to get out of the cold and enjoy some green! Last weeks Garden Storytime inspired me to share these photographs. As our day was ending, we came across a giant mirror. Ava had tremendous fun playing with the baby in the mirror!

Sharing the experience of being at the indoor gardens helps make the connections of the stories we have been reading encouraging Print Motivation. Some of our favorite garden books are Muncha, Muncha, Muncha by Candace Fleming, Tops and Bottoms by Janet Stevens, Planting a Rainbow by Lois Elhert, and Growing Vegetable Soup by Lois Elhert.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

You Can't Ride in My Little Red Wagon

For Christmas Ava received a red wagon. Kris was very insistent that this was going to be her big gift this year. It was so sweet watching him assemble it on Christmas Eve and attach a big red bow. I think he was more excited than anyone else this year. Ava was thrilled with her gift (which only added to her daddy's excitement). She wanted to sit in her wagon to open all her other gifts and then all day we took turns pulling her around the house. Fortunately the day after Christmas was beautiful - warm like a late Spring day. We were able to get outside for a walk and to play with Ava's new red wagon.
As we were walking through the neighborhood a favorite storytime song popped into my head - Little Red Wagon. We love the Wiggleworms CDs! Lots of great songs to get you moving and that is so important with a toddler running around. Music is an excellent way to help get your child Ready to Read prompting Phonological Awareness. So during the winter months we can pretend we are riding in Ava's wagon by singing along!

Just for fun! Here is a link to a video of a different version that works really well with older children. Little Red Wagon.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Decorating (and redecorating) the Christmas Tree

Decorating the Christmas tree has always been one of my favorite holiday traditions. While this is Ava's second Christmas it was her first experience decorating the tree. She was very serious about the process. Thoughtfully she choose each ornament and tried very hard to hang them. Most of her ornaments were laying across a small section of the tree and as she turned to choose her next ornament I would hang them from a nearby branch. My beautiful little girl continued until all the ornaments were carefully hung always under the careful watch of our decorating supervisor, Moxie Cat.

Every day since the tree went up Ava has removed a few ornaments to rehang. And I look forward to the excitement on her face as we come down the stairs in the morning to see the tree all lit up.