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Thursday, July 31, 2014

Water baby-end of summer

     Here is part two of the progression of JT swimming abilities he has gained this summer. What has amazed me is by in large, JT has done most of this on his own. John and I were able to take his love of being in the pool and his gift of always wanting to move to his full advantage.

     John helped JT with his arm strokes, though that is still a work in progress. He also would have JT practice his kicking while holding on to his hands, then the noodle, then start to kick without anything and swim short distances.

 JT swimming on his own in the shallow end.
 If he's in the pool, he's a happy boy.
 Even happier if he's swimming with his Daddy.

 Making turns in the pool.

Some videos of JT's abilities

Jumping into the deep end and swimming to the side by himself

Running jump into the pool.
Swimming the length of the pool.
     JT has also begun to do a beginning backstroke, minus the stroke. He mastered floating on his back about 2 weeks ago and quickly discovered he could kick and continue to move around. It's been such a joy to watch JT's abilities grow in the pool. I know he will be sad when it's time to close the pool for the season. 

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Water Baby-beginning of summer

     As the days of summer are drawing to an end, I finally wanted to take some time and share the progress JT has made over the summer in the pool. It's been quite remarkable to us and JT absolutely loves being in the water. In looking for photos for the posts, I realized I didn't take quite as many photos or videos of him as he continued to improve through the summer. Somehow to me, water and cameras/phones with camera features don't mix so I probably left the camera and phone out of harms way.

When JT first started using the pool, most of his activity came from jumping to a sister.
Since he was tall enough to stand in the shallow end, JT played with the basketball hoop and splashed around.
Or he would get a bit of help to complete a slam dunk.

Jumping into the pool while spraying his water stick.

As he gained more confidence, JT's showmanship during his jumps increased. One of my favorite shots of him jumping.

Jumping to Sarah
JT playing in the water
JT swimming to Lindsay. This is when he was first getting more confidant in his
ability to swim on his own for a length of time.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Imagination Library

     Our family has a history of loving books and reading. It's something we have placed a high importance for our children from a young age. Thanks to a wonderful program started by Dolly Parton, JT's personal collection has grown each month from when he was a newborn.

     Imagination Library is a program that sends age appropriate books to a child each month for FREE!!!!  The program runs from birth up to age 5. There are no requirements other than the program being available in your area. It originally started in Dolly's hometown area of east Tennessee, but she continued to expand the program as long as there was local community support. In getting some info for this post, I was amazed to see that not only is this program available throughout the U.S., but also in Canada, the UK, and Australia!

     If this excites you as much as it did me, don't wait a minute longer to see if this program is available in your area. Check it out here.

 This is the first book every child gets regardless of age. This story has proven helpful to inspire JT to have a "can do" attitude at times. I will remind him of the little engine that worked so hard and said, "I think I can, I think I can."

 JT sitting with his collection of books we read from every day. The Imagination Library books are missing from this photo (empty space on the shelf). You will see them in just a moment.
 This past June, JT received his last book from the program.
 We have read this book several times every week as we get closer and closer to the start of school.

 Much like JT starting school, receiving his book was bittersweet.


 Though there are a few missing from this photo, this is what our family has been blessed with over the past 5 years.  As JT grew, the stories grew and evolved. What started out as a baby board book is now a lengthy story.
I can quickly look at any of these titles and be brought back to the age JT was when he received that book in the mail. It has been such a special gift to not only JT, but to John and I as we have shared our love of reading to our son. Thank you, Dolly, for starting this wonderful program and making such an impact on a child's life.

Friday, July 11, 2014

New Tooth

     After a month of being toothless, JT's permanent  tooth is starting to pop up through his gum. So far all we can see is a nice row of ridges, but I can tell just how different his smile will soon be.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Pipe Cleaner Bird Feeders

   We had several rainy days recently, so it was time to find something fun for the kids to do indoors.

The supplies needed for our craft. Pipe cleaners, cereal that have holes, and some yarn.

All of the kids went to work on threading the cereal on their pipe cleaners.

Mason focused on his work.

Ella adorable as ever.
JT having fun.

The kids used an assortment of the Cheerios and Fruit Loops to make their feeders.

Of course the activity turned into a mini snack.

Tossing the cereal into his mouth.


Despite the cereal ending up in their tummies, they managed to complete their bird feeders.
We shaped Ella's into a heart, per her request, and the boys requested circles.

Later that day, we went outside to hang JT's feeder. We chose a small tree outside our kitchen that has several windows for bird and squirrel watching.

JT chose the perfect spot for his feeder.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Flag Hands

     Last week we pulled out the red, white, and blue paints and did a fun patriotic craft.

 My summer art assistant, Lindsay, helped me with painting the kids hands.
" Give me five, Mom!"
 I spy Mason peeking through those painted fingers.
 The start of our hand flags.
 The "stars" on the flag were created by using the eraser end of the pencil.
The kids also painted a flag pole for their flag to fly from.

We finished it up with decorating the surrounding area with large and small stars.
 Stamping stars. Yes, that is Darth Vader on the table looking over Ella's work ;)


Ella's flag

 Mason's Flag
JT's flag