I've been bound and determined to avoid the winter blues this year, and so I've tried to be really intentional about keeping the girls and myself productive and happy. I'll be real, 34 weeks pregnant is not always conducive to physical productivity. But if I'm not feeling super energetic, reading books to the girls on the couch is always a good option ;) I kinda just wanted to record what our days have been looking like lately. Literally for posterity, and for me later on. I just finished reading my grandma's journal from when she was raising my mom and her siblings, and it made me want to write more about our day-to-day happenings. I'm SO grateful I have so many pictures and videos of my girls thus far, but they won't remember what went on behind the scenes...and I might not either! So I'm writing it down.
I started a preschool co-op with jane and got her out of german school. I've been wanting to do this since I moved here but was never able to find more than one mom nearby who wanted to do it with me. Then the stars magically aligned when 2 of my good friends decided to get their kids out of their current pre-school and voila-- joy school. Holy cow it has been SO much better for jane. Her behavior has improved drastically, she has way more energy (when she was going to german school, she HAD to have a nap daily), and she doesn't come home complaining about other kids hitting and pinching her every day. It's only 2 days a week, which is perfect for me.
She is still loving ballet/tap dancing class. She also wants to do gymnastics and soccer. She has spent many afternoons lately practicing "hand stands" ;)
On the days she doesn't have joy school, we try to have very structured mornings. We start with breakfast, the big 5, (brushing teeth, getting dressed, saying prayers, cleaning room, and getting hair done!), then we practice a poem or scripture that the girls are trying to memorize. After we are all ready, I play some fun music while we do a chore, and then it's school time. I only spend about 30 minutes with each girl. With Jane we've been working a lot on reading, and Lyla has shapes/colors/letters etc sticker books that we work on. I try to teach them about all sorts of things and have been using the Usborne Children's Encyclopedia as a good guide.
After school time, it's snack time then creative time. Some variation of painting, coloring, crafting, etc. I have gotten quite a few fun creative activities for the girls recently. For any other moms of toddlers reading, the biggest hits have been this, this (with activity books to go with them), this, and this. Perfect activities to pull out to bust some boredom and get their minds stimulated. My girls are happiest when they are creating! After all that, lunch and naps for lyla. Jane and I love to play games while Lyla naps. Lyla is just starting to be able to grasp a few games, or at least have enough self control to "be on my team" ;) Candyland is about the only one she can play for real.
Anyways, lest any of you think this goes smoothly and flawlessly every morning, think again. But it has helped my sanity, and the girls' to have a schedule. In the afternoons we either have activities or play dates, or just a lot of the girls running around playing hide and seek, reading books, playing baby dolls, or playing with toys, and lately- a lot of playing outside in the snow! I have absolutely LOVED all the snow we've been getting in Germany. 10 times more than we've gotten the past 2 winters combined! I love how beautiful it is, and that the girls get so excited to play in it. SO much better than just being cold and brown everywhere :) And we will throw in an episode of Planet Earth once in awhile too. Jane loves to get a piece of paper out and draw pictures of the animals she is leaning about.
Jeff and I have been trying to take the girls out on saturdays to do something really fun since those sorts of things might be more limited for awhile after I have another baby. Swimming, and Megafun, and shopping. Etc. One saturday our "fun" plans fell through and we convinced the girls that we could go to a candy store. (just a big grocery store in the big town near us) We let them pick out their own candy and ride the mechanical horse, and they thought it was about the best thing to ever happen to them.