Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Trace's Interview 4 Years Old

     Why interview your children? You'll never get these moments back, and believe it or not, you won't remember all the cute things they did at this age. Write it down and treasure it. You can do this weekly, monthly, bi-yearly, yearly, etc... For younger children, write down their words and how they say them. For example: When my son was about 18 months old, he called birds "doyt doyts." We interpreted that he was trying to say "tweet tweet" which is what a bird says. It was adorable and thankfully that is one of the cute things I can remember.

Here is how our interview went today:

  1. What is your name? Traco (Tray-soh)
  2. How old are you? Four
  3. What color is your hair? Dark bwond hayer
  4. What color are your eyes? Red (They're actually blue.)
  1. What is your favorite game? Pwants Verses Zombies
  2. What is your favorite movie? Robot movie!
  3. What is your favorite toy? my dinosaur toy
  4. What is your favorite thing to do? racing 'round of cars (He runs around the room as he says this.)
  5. What is your favorite thing to do with Mama? play
  6. What is your favorite thing to do with Daddy? Play Pwants Verses Zombies and watch movie with Daddy
  7. What is your favorite song? green music (Gangnam Style)
  8. What is your favorite animal? dinosaur
  1. Are you excited to be a big brother? mhm
  2. Is it going to be a boy or a girl? No no no.
  3. Where do babies come from? from bellies
  4. What makes you happy? Nanny and Jewey and Kenny and Grandma and Papa George too.
  5. What makes you cry? for eating 'cause I make a mess when I'm sorry (Well, that's interesting...)
  6. What do you dream about when you sleep? on the moon. (This morning he said he had dreamt about Nanny and Jewey because they make him happy at Nanny's house. I asked him because in the middle of the night last night he yelled in his sleep.)
  7. Who is your best friend? Dawson
    1. Why? 'Cause he's my brudder.
Trace's Recent Milestones
  • He has become much better at playing with others and sharing.
  • He has recently started taking afternoon naps.
  • He has started making excuses. "I can't." "I'm too little." "I'm too big."
  • He likes to be a "big helper."
  • He can unbuckle himself and get himself out of the car (when I ask him to).
  • He can now walk in the store (or anywhere else) without going too far or causing too much destruction.
  • He hasn't had a #2 accident in over a month (maybe two).
  • He has had very few #1 accidents in the past week.
  • We've been working on him getting himself dressed. He's finally learned how to put on his pull-up and pants all by himself. They are still often inside out or backwards. ...We're working on it.
Things We're Working On
  • Fine motor skills
    • scissors
    • threading
    • buttons
    • pinching
  • Getting dressed and undressed
    • Getting the clothes, shoes, and jackets on
    • Getting them on the right way
  • Potty Training
  • Buckling himself in

Friday, January 16, 2015

Fine Motor - Color Sorting with Fruit Loops

     There are a lot of activities toddlers and pre-schoolers can do with Cheerios, beads, straws, and Fruit Loops, etc... Yesterday, we sorted the colors on colored toothpicks stuck in play-doh. Sometimes he put orange Fruit Loops on the red toothpick, but he got most of them right. I also babysit a two year old who participated in this activity as well. They both did great and really enjoyed eating the leftover Fruit Loops once they were done. 

     Another activity for the day was a pre-writing activity with pom-poms. Trace had to get the pom-poms on the dots to make an "A". Though he may not have done it perfectly, it still looked like a very neat letter, "A". This worksheet was provided by: http://totschool.shannons.org/do-a-dot-letters/ She has several varieties of useful free printables such as lower-case letters, numbers, worksheets, and more.

 Inspiration for the play-doh color sorting activity provided by:

Monday, January 12, 2015

DIY Maternity Photography Session

     This could potentially be my last pregnancy. Because of this, I really wanted to get some maternity photos done. I am not the best behind the camera and neither is my husband, but I thought this could be a money-saving project if we did the maternity pictures ourselves.

     What I've learned from this experience:
  • I am a lot more advanced than point and shoot.
  • I am terrible with editing photos.
  • I need to learn how to use Photoshop.
  • I need to pay more attention to those pesky shadows.
  • If you want something done right, you've got to do it yourself.

     Several of you can probably relate to that last one. You know what you're working with. You create a vision, and somehow, that vision can be very hard to capture. Are you the model or are you behind the camera? Either way, it'd be nice to have a mirror behind the camera so that you can position yourself correctly and see what the camera sees. Then remote or time click to take the photo (What is the proper term for this?). I felt like I needed to be in front of the camera and behind it at the same time in order to get what I really wanted. The only way that works is if I'm pointing the camera into a mirror and that was not part of my vision. Fortunately, my husband, +Justin Lee Mattis, was very helpful and surprisingly willing to work with me, learn, and take advise. I saw a lot of improvement throughout the rest of the day once I taught him to move around (especially up and down) with the camera.

     This is what we got (after my edits). I welcome gentle constructive criticism.

     I loved searching for ideas on Pinterest. Check out this board I made with ideas specifically for winter maternity.

Follow Sara Mattis's board Winter Maternity Photography Ideas on Pinterest.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Fine Motor - Pom-poms and Cotton Balls

     During my search on Pinterest for Fine Motor activities, I found a pin for a game called, "Claw Grabbing Machine." This game helps those hand muscles in fine motor skills. Children are encouraged to pick up a pom-pom with a clothes pin and drop it into a slender cup or bottle.
     Seeing as my son has been having trouble with his fine motor skills, I decided maybe we should do a shorter and less complicated version of the game. The pom-poms were placed on the table. I showed him how to pinch a clothes pin and picked up a pom-pom with it. Then, I asked him to do the same. When he did, he was very excited. All of these activities are big accomplishments for Trace and he's very proud of what he's able to do. He picked up two matching pom-poms, held them up and said, "These look like Mickey Mouse!"
     Once he'd successfully done this activity, we moved on to another Fine Motor activity. This one is very similar to the Claw Grabbing Machine. Instead of picking up pom-poms with clothes pins, he picked up cotton balls with his hands. Then, he had to stuff the cotton balls down into an empty bottle through the narrow hole. This was somewhat difficult for him, but not so much so that it was too difficult. It was the perfect amount of challenge for him. Some of the cotton balls got stretched out and misshapen, but that's okay! He worked very hard to get the job done. I even loosely screwed the lid on and asked him to finish screwing it on. He tried, but he simply couldn't do that. It was worth a try though. You can see how proud he was once he was done by looking at the picture above.
     He loves doing these activities and has even started asking me do to "class time" with him. I'm so thankful for the opportunity to spend this quality time with him. Thank you, +Justin Lee Mattis, for being a wonderful supportive man and allowing me to stay home with our kids.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Fine Motor - Rubber Bands

     When I was looking for Trace's first Fine Motor activity on Pinterest, I came across this pin.

     Unfortunately, when Trace and I attempted to do this activity, it was simply too hard for him. Our rubber bands were thick and small. I grabbed smaller can after smaller can and he still couldn't quite get them to stretch over the can.
     Fortunately, I thought, "Beading and threading are fine motor activities. I wonder if I have something small enough for him to just put the rubber bands on." At this point I continued to convince myself this wasn't a waste of time and that this idea was actually beneficial. If nothing else, it'll be fun and keep him off of the ipad for a few minutes. I grabbed the syrup out of the cabinet and showed him how to put the rubber band onto the neck of the bottle.
     He was very proud of himself for getting the first rubber band on there. I shared in the excitement. We were BOTH very proud of him. Once he'd gotten alllllll of the rubber bands on the bottle, I asked him to take them back off and put them back into the box where they belong. Taking the rubber bands back off of the bottle was slightly more challenging for him. It was the perfect amount of difficulty. He completed the task all by himself. Overall, we had a positive outcome. He's practicing his fine motor skills and we're spending quality time together.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Combi Coccoro Review

Dear Combi,

     My son is 3.5 years old. I am so fortunate to have found the Coccoro before he was born. I bought this car seat with the money I got from my baby shower. I have always said it was the best purchase for my first child that I made. I have a mental list of my "best purchases" and this is #1! 
     Trace, my 3.5 year old, is my first and only child, so when I first bought this car seat, I had difficulty installing it. I read the directions, but installing car seats was a whole new world to me back then. I do, however, have some things I think you could improve on. The foam padding located under the cover broke very easily and did so every time I had to re-install the car seat. Also, the car seat was slick. Even after installing the car seat as tight as anyone possibly could, the car seat had a tendency to slip out of place. It would recline or slip upward. Now, I didn't have a big issue with this, but if I had more kids that had to crawl into the car and constantly touching the back of the seat, it might have slipped out of place a lot more than I would be comfortable with. I'm also wondering how well three car seats across would fit in a back seat. The fabric snagged very easily on my wedding ring. Unfortunately, my son grew out of this car seat around 2.5 years to 3 years old. He was not too heavy, but he was too tall. 36 inches. The shoulder straps could not adjust any higher and the straps were going below his shoulders. It was so disappointing to have to say goodbye to the car seat we both loved. 
You can see a couple of the material snags in this picture.
     Now, on to the things I love: I love the colors! I bought Keylime. I loved how comfortable my son was in this. When he had the option of choosing which car seat to sit in, he chose this one 9/10. I loved the infant insert! I loved the cushion and how comfortable the seat was. I love how breathable the fabric was. I love how easy it was to clean!...especially since my son often gets carsick.  I love the shoulder pads. I loved the crotch/buckle pad. It wasn't in the way of the buckle like some are on other car seats. I LOVED the buckle! I loved that I could push down to release the buckles. I find the pinch type buckles are far more difficult to unbuckle. I feel that they also invade the child's private area as I am always having to put the back of my hand on the child's crotch to create enough pressure on the button to squeeze/release the buckle so not to hurt the child simply by pushing on the button. You get MAJOR brownie points for the push-down buckle release. I am ALSO loving the way the chest buckle clips. Again, the squeeze/front and back button/latch is FAR more difficult. I love that I can release my child with one hand from the Combi Cocorro. 
The shoulder pads were too long for his little body at this time. To be safe, they need to be scrunched up or removed in this situation.
     Overall, I highly recommend this car seat. I LOVE it and I've done plenty of research with other car seats including the Diono Radian RXT, Clek Foonf, and Britax Marathon Click Tights which I would consider to probably be 2nd, 3rd, and 4th best to the Combi Cocorro. Nothing is perfect. Everything has pros and cons, but Combi Cocorro just puts in the effort and makes it affordable compared to our other amazing options. I have no personal experience with Diono, Clek, or Britax.
Unfortunately, most of these colors have been discontinued.
     No one or company paid me to write this. This is just my honest review of the Combi Coccoro and I want to share it's pros and cons for anyone who is trying to decide on a carseat.

To add: Combi has eliminated several of the colors that were out when I bought my Keylime colored car seat for my son in 2010. I really miss the Carrot Cake colored car seat that I would've loved to have had for my little one that is due in February 2015. Unfortunately, Combi will also be discontinuing the Keylime color, but they will be bringing in Grape and Cinnamon. The biggest difference in these car seats and the ones of the past is that they don't have that cream color on the infant insert or the white stripe that outlines the bucket of the seat. I HATED the cream/white combination of colors.

Other Helpful Reviews:


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