We Are So Blessed!!!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

"It's Official..."

Maletch is officially a beginner reader!! Yep, that's right!! Way to go, Maletch!
Hard to believe that he has known all of his phonics (sounds the letters make) for almost 2 years already. He learned them around his 2nd birthday, thanks to watching a few DVDs (from the Hooked on Phonics program).
Even though naturally the next step would be to learn how to 'sound out' words with phonics, I didn't feel he was ready for that (at age 2) since he was so young. Since he had mastered the lessons up to then (they were getting too easy and boring), I did go to the next lesson in the program and was surprised at how fast paced they went after that. So I felt it was way too much, and decided to put it all away for a while.

Meanwhile, we started what we call "school" for him last year. It started when I bought some Pre-school workbooks and he sped through the whole stack quickly since he loved them so much. When I say he loved it, I mean he would do an entire workbook in one day- if I would let him. I always had to limit him to no more than 6 pages in a day because I thought it would be too much. Not a day would go by that he wouldn't ask, "Can we do school now mommy?" Like I said, he plowed through the stack I bought, so I kept buying more challenging ones as he would plow through.
I decided to plan like a 'balanced curriculum' (with as many subjects as I could), mostly to see how he liked different things. I used the recommendations by some doctors and experts and bought a boatload of educational toys and teaching aids from a School Supply (I want to do a separate post about some of those things- I want to share since they are awesome). Anyway, I introduced beginner: math, science, computers, art, and lots more. There isn't anything he doesn't like so far, I take that back the only thing he doesn't like are coloring books- he thinks they are boring (but he likes tracing, drawing, and doing connect-the dots). He mostly enjoys books that have problem solving and logical questions, but his FAVORITES are doing mazes, and working with pattern blocks, and puzzles (mazes are his all-time fav though). He doesn't like easy mazes, if I give him an easy one, he'll make a face and say, mommy can I do a different one- and he'll flip to the back and find a really big difficult one that has only one correct path where he has to really think about. It's funny his mazes are so hard now, sometimes while he is working them, and I am trying to look ahead to see where he should go, sometimes I struggle and then have to try working it from the end point (backwards) to help me :) All of his workbooks are for ages 6 and up now: they all range from Kindergarten to Second Grade.

I had felt like he was ready for a while, so a few days ago, I decided to pull back out the Hooked on Phonics program to see how he liked it.... he LOVES it! He followed right along and immediately began sounding out '3-letter words.' He is so excited! Every night, "Mommy can I read tonight?" When I say yes, he starts jumping around, it is so cute! He's already said, he can't wait to tell everyone that he can read! He even started naming all of the people he wants to show and tell! Like everything else, I am tying to keep his pace slow and steady, because he is wanting to race through it. The rate he is going though, I'll bet he will be reading at a pretty decent level before his 4th birthday.
Although I didn't plan on teaching him this just yet, he has also been learning how to tell time (mostly on his own) and he has been asking me to teach him that too.
I really wish I knew how he learns so many things without being taught, I still can't figure it out!!

Monday, January 9, 2012

One Word..... AWESOMMME!!

We went to the Disney's On Ice Toy Story 3 show last night and it was even BETTER than we expected- and I did expect it to be great!!
This should be on everyone's MUST SEE list!

We got to watch one of my family's favorite movies acted out -on ice- right in front of us! This was a 2 hour performance and was entirely based on the movie plot. Disney always knows how to put on a fantastic show with the perfect music, the voices were the real actor's (from the movie), and the dancing and stunt ice-skating just made it electric! I actually was so drawn in that I laughed out loud during MANY parts and even teared up at a few parts (and I NEVER do that in movies).

John and I laughed so hard at Ken's performances (Barbie & Ken). Even though Buzz, Woody, and Jessie are supposed to be the main characters- Ken's performance was just friggin hilarious- he stole the show! He NAILED the character- remember the movie- the funny scene where he tried on clothes (modeling for Barbie) and was dancing and posing like a dork- he was SPOT on and just so funny to see a man doing it live! The chemistry between Barbie and Ken was so incredible too!

So Ken was our favorite (John and I), but Woody was Maletch's favorite. That is who Maletch 'plays' when we act out Toy Story. Just like with the Fresh Beat Band (see previous post) when Maletch 'assigns roles' he always assigns the same way: he is always Woody, daddy is always Buzz, I am Bo Peep, and Sariah is Jessie. So Maletch couldn't take his eyes off of Woody! Woody was played by an amazing actor/ice-skater who was very animated and VERY spot on! His voice was Tom Hanks just like the movie. Interestingly to John and I, many of the lines were straight from the movie (so they could have been dubbed) BUT... many were changed a bit- and only someone who has seen it 10,000 times like we have- would know.... but this means that they did an entire soundtrack with the 'big-name' actors (Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, and more) JUST for this Disney on Ice show- and we were impressed by that!

Disney also amazed with the stage 'scenery' changes (I really didn't expect that in an ice-rink arena, which is much different than a theater, but somehow they made it feel like one) and I was also surprised by some incredible scenes with army man troops (picture hundreds of army men taking the stage, marching on ice-skates) and again when tons of aliens took the stage and "The Claw" appeared and dropped from the sky!

Once the toys made it to "Sunnyside" (Day Care) things got bad when Lotso Bear made them prisoners- and I was amazed at the HUGE Dumptruck on the ice- I'm telling you- great show!! The movie was still followed as Lotso changed Buzz to Demo mode to control the toys- but all was restored when Barbie tied up Ken and got the manual to change him back- except he went into Spanish mode!
Somehow they made this show the perfect blend of mostly 'regular acting' with just the right amount of musical theater performing thrown in. I sort of expected it to be entirely a musical, but it wasn't, and having so much real acting I think made it better for storytelling especially for kids who would miss a lot of lyrics in songs- especially when singers often times go crazy with the vocals. I was surprised that it was as easy to follow as watching a DVD at home- but FAR more entertaining!

It was awesome all the way through to the very end where we got to watch the bitter-sweet ending: when Andy is going off to college and says goodbye to his toys, remembering the good times he had as he gives them away.

I was super pleased with how Disney handled the ending (which was sad on 2 fronts): the plot was sad, and the show was over- and just when I was worried that all the kids in the place might get emotional and cry (including my own)-- then out came a whole PARADE of Disney friends (that weren't in the show): Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Donald, and more came out from nowhere with high energy singing and dancing, and out followed the entire cast which FILLED the entire ice arena! They did a few numbers and then ended with a happy goodbye song and told the audience goodbye in a "good to see you friends, we hope to see you soon" kind of way- just perfect- everybody was happy!

Maletch was so excited to see the show that he couldn't take his daytime nap, and not only did he stay awake for the whole show- he was so excited he stayed up and wanted to talk about it all the way home (the whole drive back from Long Beach)! Sariah stayed awake for the whole show too, hehe- and she was also really into it! She won't be able to tell you about it like Maletch undoubtedly will, but she liked it too. I am sure Maletch will also be telling you about the souvenirs that he got- he just loves his new Disney On Ice (Toy Story) toys.

During the show, Maletch whispered in my ear, "Mommy, I want to go out there and skate with them, I want to say hi and talk to them, but we don't have any ice-skates." I thought it was cute that in his mind, not having ice-skates was the only reason we couldn't go out there. Although we couldn't go out there and skate and talk to his Toy Story friends, I assured him that we will see them (the characters) soon at Disneyland and he could talk to them about the show. He has mentioned wanting to go ice-skating now several times since the show, so I will definitely be looking into taking him soon. That is something I have always wanted to learn, and now I will have a skating partner, hehe, but undoubtedly he will be better than me within 5 minutes, but I think the whole family will have fun trying it! I already looked up a near-by ice rink too- looks like FUN!!

I will definitely be looking for future Disney on Ice events to go to- I saw some old info about Beauty and the Beast on Ice, but that show is not playing anymore- which is too bad since Maletch has a crush on Belle now, hehe. But I did see that they are doing a Disney on Ice "Dare to Dream" show which won't be like Toy Story 3 (where it follows one movie all the way through) but is a 'collage of scenes' from different Princess movies (including Tangled, Cinderella, and more) and I know he would love that since he has a crush on almost all of the princesses- and he acts out all of their stories (his favorite parts are the villain scenes with lots of action)! That show would ALSO be a little girl's dream- and I hope it will still be playing when Sariah is about 3! They don't have anything on the schedule right now in the L.A. area, so I will have to watch for when they will be here.

I will post photos and videos from 'Our Night with the Toys'!!
.....coming a little later today.....

Note: We took several short video clips during the show and rather than posting them all- I will chose a few at random to post for now-- BUT John is going to melt them all together and edit it in Pinnacle- which I think will be very cool to watch- but he probably won't get around to that for several weeks.

Disney On Ice Toy Story 3 Slideshow!!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Two Exciting Events Coming....

We have some fun and exciting events marked on our calendar!!
First I was able to score 4th row tickets to see Disney's Toy Story on Ice show for this Sunday (Jan 8th)! I have heard it is an awesome show and I am looking forward to seeing Woody and Buzz Lightyear on skates, LOL! Maletch is a HUGE Toy Story fan, so I know he is going to love this! We do get to see the gang at Disneyland, but this performance will be very different from anything he (or we) have seen before!
I posted a youtube link so you can see some clips (to get an idea of what it is about). Check back soon as we will have lots of photos and videos from our night...

That is the first event, scroll down for the EVEN better event...

Event # 2: DRUM ROLL Please.....

I need a Drum Roll please for the MOST exciting event....

Maletch is a HUGE fan of the Fresh Beat Band! For those that don't know who they are: They have a cute show on Nickelodeon that stars this Pop/Hip Hop band and they are actually really good! The actors/band members are in their late 20's, but play teenagers and they have a sitcom kind of show and they always perform multiple songs throughout the show. They also have music videos. It comes on TV in the mornings, but we watch shows and music videos "on demand" whenever we want.

When Maletch was 18 months and we gave him his drums and piano, he used to pretend 'we' were the Fresh Beat Band.... and now, 2 years later, he still does, and now he adds in the role-play/acting (in addition to the music playing).
He ALWAYS assigns the roles in this way:
Maletch: "I'm Twist"
"Daddy, you are Shout"
"Mommy you be Kiki"
"And Sariah can be Marina"

When I found out they would be in Southern California, I was all over trying to get good tickets. It was harder than I thought, they were sold out all over Los Angeles, San Diego, and more- (which I was surprised since the tickets had only been open for sale for 3 weeks- they are very popular).
Now for the BEST Part:
While I was searching for the best tickets I could find, I found out for a heftier price they offered (to a very limited number of people): a VIP Party Package which includes: front row seats, BACKSTAGE passes to a private party with the band, of course meeting the band, posing for pictures AND the band even teaches the private party-goers a special choreographed dance and dances it with them---- you know I HAD to get that! That is quite the experience!! Well getting THOSE tickets is way easier said than done, but with a lot of perseverance and pulling a few strings- I DID get them!
We do have to travel 3 hours to the nearest venue that had that available, which is a little far, but we will just make a mini vacation out of it! We will get a Hotel for 2 nights, and party with the Fresh Beats, hehe!
This just happens to be on our anniversary weekend too- what a fun way to spend our anniversary! I couldn't think of a more fun thing to do!!

Even though this is band mostly for kids, I am 'cool' enough to admit that I actually like their music, hehe! I have actually caught myself (multiple times) saying, "Oh this is my jam" and dancing to their songs, yep I'm a dork!
I CANNOT wait to tell Maletch about this HUGE surprise because he is going to FREAK- and I can only imagine his face when he meets his idols (especially Twist, who Maletch always 'plays'). We will tell him about 1-2 weeks ahead, so the countdown of days won't be too long- but I am bursting with excitement to tell him now!

Now I need help figuring out what the kids should wear to their first Hip Hop concert and backstage party... I'm thinking it needs to be Rockstar-ish but I haven't figured out what exactly... please share any ideas??
My mom had a good idea, that we could all dress like our 'characters'. This is what they always wear, and this is Twist. Anyone know where I could get a yellow hoodie similar to this (his has a DJ, record type logo on it).

The characters if you are curious (left to right): Marina (Sariah), Twist (Maletch), Kiki (me), Shout (daddy). So we could try to dress like this -OR- what would be appropriate for a: not-quite 4 yr old and 9 month old rockstars? (the ages they will be in Feb)
Please remember that he DOESN'T know yet, so don't mention it to him yet. The event is Feb 17th and we will tell him towards beginning of Feb (please check with us first).
With the concert, backstage party, and dance with the band- I can't wait for this event, and I can't wait to take lots of photos AND videos!!
I wish everyone could come and share this experience (especially the grandparents and cousins), but unfortunately just since last week, when I purchased the tickets- the VIP tickets are SOLD OUT there too! General concert tickets are still available, but the front rows are sold out (and the VIP packages are reserved for a small group that have preferred seating).
If anyone is interested in doing this, contact me, because when they come back on tour in Southern Cali, I'm sure we will be doing this again and I can help you get your VIP tickets/packages at the same time (next time)- so let me know now, so we can plan it (because this sells out almost instantly).
*Update*: We told Maletch and he is SUPER excited! Please feel free to discuss it with him!!

OUCH... and WHAT???

First the OUCH....
OMGOSH, tonight Maletch cut his mouth on his new trumpet. He was running around in the kitchen playing it when he tripped and slammed into the dishwasher. The mouthpiece jammed in his mouth and made a very DEEP gash (under his tongue)- poor guy! I am not one to freak too much about blood- but it was gushing out- all over him, me, and the floor- it was a LOT of blood. When he opened his mouth, it was pooled up around his teeth, he was swallowing it- it was not a pretty sight!
Anyway, I am pretty good at first aid- thanks to my dad (who is like MacGyver) teaching me lots of tricks and having 2 crazy brothers, LOL! OK, so I had to find the gash (which was tricky being in his mouth and with so much blood) but I got it cleaned up, put pressure on it, etc.
This bordered on an Emergency room trip since I knew it could definitely use a few stitches, but I also know that they rarely stitch in the mouth since our mouths are made of special cells that are quick healing. So I called the on-call doctor to explain and get advice since it was late, John was at work, and I preferred not to drag my 3 yr old and 7 month old in for an all-nighter if they would just send us home (and ask us to come back in 1-2 days).
In the end, I couldn't get it to entirely stop bleeding, but I got it to slow down to an ooze (it was still a deep open wound).

Now for the WHAT???
As I was speaking to the answering service, who would page the on-call doctor, I was answering questions on the speaker phone (my name, patient name, phone number, etc)
Maletch was right next to me saying the answers before I did:
Guy: "Last name?"
Maletch: "Pollard."
Guy: "Birthdate?"
Maletch: "March second."
Guy: "Phone number we can call you back?"
ME: "area code 909"
before I could finish, Maletch said, "seven nine six, three seven six three"
Wait, What??
I stopped talking to the guy and asked, "Maletch, do you know our phone number?"
He said, "Yeah it is 796-3763"
What the heck??? No I didn't teach him this, and neither did daddy. He has only heard me give it out (maybe a few times) and he remembered the numbers and sequence?? John and I still don't understand this? I asked him to say it again a few more times, and sometimes he would add the "909 area code" and sometimes he would just say the 7-digit number (probably since he has heard me say it both ways).

It was funny when I got off the phone and I realized that my 3 1/2 yr old son could have actually made that call on his own- he didn't need me, he knew how to answer EVERY question the guy asked and even could explain what happened as well as I could- pretty crazy!

Oh, and after I got off the phone, Maletch said, "We need to tell daddy, this is an emergency!" Of course we called daddy and Maletch told him everything (how it happened, the whole story), and he even added, "I am bleeding and there is a lot of blood everywhere... and daddy, mommy was scared." Oh sweetheart, I was hoping you didn't know that!

Merry Christmas!! 2011

We definitely had a Merry Christmas and Santa must've thought Maletch and Sariah were especially good (maybe they made the nice list TWICE, hehe) because they got a load of presents!! We did a little better this year because it only took them 3 days to open their presents (from mommy and daddy), rather than last year (where it dragged out over 5 days- ok that was a crazy amount of presents). Hey we shaved 2+ days off our time, LOL!
I am sure Maletch will want to tell you all about the fun things he received for Christmas, but until then, I'll share some....
This year Santa brought a boatload of learning/educational toys (a few that I want to share and recommend and I will do a separate post about those). Santa also brought a track set for cars (motorized cars came with the track too) but it is also perfect for his "push" cars (diecast cars) too- we have always wanted a designated track for those- so that was cool! Another cool thing Santa brought was a Melissa & Doug Puppet Theater for the kids to perform with and of course he brought a BIN-full of puppets to go with it. With every kind of puppet imaginable- I am sure they will make up great stories with their selection of puppets!

Then they moved on to presents from mommy and daddy, and Maletch got some new Thomas wooden trains, tracks, and destinations, new Geotrax stuff, superhero action figures, a Buzz Lightyear Spaceship Command Center plus lots of action figures, a Stomp Rocket and they both got lots of Disney toys and a boatload of new DVDs.
There is just too much to list so I will post some photos of their loot!

I will post some photos from both Christmases soon (I've been wanting to go back and post our Christmas 2010 photos- that was during the time I wasn't blogging/ pregnancy complications) but I still want to share! Our pics are on the other computer in the office and the kids are not allowed in there, so it makes it harder for me to get time in there!

...Photos still being added to the slideshow below....

Christmas 2011 Slideshow!!