Saturday, December 14, 2013

The Great Tree Adventure

The holidays are a time steeped in tradition for me. Every year, one of the first big events for our family was heading out the tree farm to choose a tree. DP and I haven't done this many years, mostly because he doesn't seem as keen as me to spend hours trudging around the acres of tree farm, trying to find the most perfect tree. The last year we cut and decorated a traditional tree was the year I was pregnant with Eamon. The year Eamon was nearly a year, I crafted an alternative, toddler friendly non-tree, and last year we had a simple rooted tree that we kept outside (apparently it wasn't fantastic enough to blog about, but I did snap a few pictures of it.)

This year, our tree fetching plans have been delayed quite a bit. Though DP's new work schedule allows us more time together on weekends, the busy nature of the holiday season and the unpredictable weather mean we haven't been able to get out to the tree farm until this weekend. When I mentioned going to the tree farm to Eamon, the conversation looked like this.

"Eamon, Daddy and I would like to go get a Christmas tree this weekend. How does that sound?"

"That sounds good. Can we go now?"

"Well, we will go in a few days. We are going to go the Christmas tree farm and pick the perfect tree-"

"The most perfect one? Can we please go to the Christmas tree farm right now?"

"It's not open today. We will pick the perfect tree to bring home with us."

"Yes! I want to get my favorite tree."

"Then we will cut it down and-"

"NO! I don't want to cut down a tree! I don't like that!"

What's a family to do when the three year old is opposed to cutting a tree, even when you explain that Christmas trees are grown to be cut, and that another will be planted in its place? Head off to the local nursery, of course. 

But then... The nursery was closed, and Eamon was asleep in the car. Perfect opportunity to cut a tree and him be none the wiser (he thought we were going to the Christmas tree STORE to find a tree and no, we wouldn't have to cut it down.) We headed over to the farm in the pouring rain. I decided to go in search of the perfect tree, leaving the boys in the car to stay snug and dry. When I found a tree, I texted Chris a picture, and he came out and cut it down.
This is the picture I sent to Chris. "I want a tree like this one this year, okay?"
When we got the tree home, we had to cut a fair bit off. See what happens when we are in a hurry, trying not to get soaked to the bone, and not out there together? We cut down a tree taller than our ceilings. DP came in and said, "There's thirty dollars worth of tree on the front porch. I hope you do something really good with it."
Eamon pretending to be the tree!
Adding his baby's first Christmas (but not really) ornament.

All Eamon cared about was putting the star on top... He wanted to do that first.

The finished product. It just needs some presents and stockings!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Some Recent Montessori Work

As the boys and I move further into our Montessori journey, I find I'm spending more and more time reading Montessori blogs, and my pin board is growing really fast. I try to introduce two to three new materials a week, depending on what the boys are showing interest in. Here's a few materials I've introduced recently.


The sand tray with pre-writing symbols. This work is wonderful because it will be useful for a long time - as the boys master the current cards, I will add more complex symbols and then move into numbers and letters. This tray is actually filled with baking soda because it is a finer texture and provides a new tactile experience, and because sand=play to these boys.


Various closures on a turkey. I saw this on Pinterest, but each feather was attached with a button, and I wanted to add some variety. We have dressing frames, so this is just another way to practice. In addition to attaching the feathers, we talk about the names of each type of attachment and where it might be found.
Another fine motor activity. The tiny loops on these ornaments are fussy even for me, so they provide a big challenge for the boys. This work also incorporates balance - if you put all the balls on one side of the tree, it falls over.