Our first theme of the summer was the ocean. So, I went straight to pinterest to find everything ocean themed. I found some great ideas that I'll link to below. First thing was first, we needed to hit the library to get books about the ocean. And boy did we get a lot of books - ones about the largest creatures, the scariest, sea shells... you name it, we probably had a book about it!
One thing I've learned already is that this theme of the ocean can't just be covered in one week. Not only did I want the kids to enjoy their first week of summer, I also didn't want to disturb any free play where the kids weren't fighting. So, we didn't get done nearly as many "ocean" projects as I had originally planned.
We actually already had this ocean floor puzzle, so this worked out perfectly. Not only did it get the boys working together to assemble it, but then they had to find and count each of the listed animals at the bottom. You can find this on Amazon for less than $13 or check your local library, they usually have a great variety of puzzles!
I found this next activity on Pinterest and the first time I tried to get the boys to help, they weren't in to it at all. So I waited a couple of days and tried again. This time around, they really got in to it. We researched how big some of the ocean animals we were reading about were, then we drew out a measuring tape on the driveway. The person who posted it on Pinterest started with a whale that was 100 feet! Our driveway isn't 100 feet long, so we stuck with smaller animals. Once we got the measurements chalked out, I had the boys lay down to mark how big they were. Then we drew a 6 ft sea turtle, 9 ft dolphin, and a 20 ft great white shark. They loved seeing how their size compared to the sea creatures.
I had gone to hobby lobby to buy the supplies to make "handprint lobsters" but once I got the paint out they were no longer interested in making hand lobsters. They wanted to make their own ocean landscape, so who was I to tell them to do differently! So, if your kids want to make the cute little handprint lobsters, click here for a visual (there are also some other great ocean crafts listed too!) Sometimes you gotta let go over your controlling side and just go with the flow :)
The boys sifted through my Pinterest crafts and they liked the idea of doing an "ocean in a bottle". I would not recommend this craft unless you actually have all the necessary ingredients to make it on hand. I went to 3 different stores just to get all the supplies. I went to Hobby Lobby to find sea creatures small enough to fit in a bottle and they were $10! Next time, I'll just cut out foam fish and call it a day! I went to Target to get the baby oil, and then to Lowe's to get the sand. After 3 stops, I was over this craft!! We waited another 2 days before actually assembling the darn things. Although it was a chore getting everything, the boys have enjoyed looking at them, shaking them up and then watching how everything settles back into the layers.
We ended our ocean week with a trip to the Shedd Aquarium. It was awesome to say the least! If you haven't been up there, I highly recommend going. We've been twice in the last year (if you know you'll visit at least twice, I suggest getting the membership because it'll save you money in the long run) and every time the boys find something different that they love. This visit they were obsessed with the jelly fish - how they don't have any bones or brains - My oldest was baffled at how something can move without thinking, ha! I told him he had a younger brother that moved constantly without thinking :)
Since I did a post about my mom on mother's day, it's only fitting to do one about my dad on father's day. I've always been a daddy's girl and he's always been my biggest supporter. My dad was always willing to help make my dreams come true and I'm eternally grateful for that. Like many little girls, I had a dream of competing at the olympics as a gymnast. He spent a lot of his time at gymnastics meets and a lot of money on training, camps and equipment. For my 13th birthday he got me a trampoline for the backyard! He never batted an eye, when I asked to go on a week long gymnastics camp in Texas to train with the legendary Bela Karoli. Unfortunately, all that training and hard work couldn't make up for the fact that I kept growing and eventually got to be too tall for gymnastics. So, I switched to volleyball, ha! I think he welcomed this switch because the games weren't nearly as long as gymnastics meets and it wasn't quite as expensive :)
My dad is an accountant by trade, so he thinks about money and how to save it all the time! I probably inherited a little bit of that too - a trait my husband is thankful for! He's also a successful entrepreneur - he owns a printing company (bopi) and also a horse farm (Hunter Oaks). I've known for a long time that my career path would eventually lead to entrepreneurship. I'm always grateful to be able to call my dad and ask for advice or for references on who to call for help.
My dad is an awesome grandpa to my kids. My oldest is obsessed with his homemade waffles and asks at least once a week, "when can we go to grandpa Tom's and have waffles?" Actually, the whole family never misses an opportunity to eat his waffles - they are THAT GOOD!!
Whenever my kids are around my dad, they always have smiles on their faces. He knows how to make them laugh, how to wrestle with them, how to compete with them and most importantly how to love them. It's a joy to be able to watch your parents make that connection with your kids. It just melts your heart!
So Happy Father's day, to my one and only Dad - Life wouldn't be the same without you! Thank you for everything you've done for me, thank you for everything you've taught me and thank you for being an awesome grandpa! We love you with ALL our hearts!!
A little love for my husband - the father of these crazy boys we have!
I also need to give a little shout out to my husband because he's a great father too! Ryan always told me he'd always have boys and never any girls - well he was right. I love my 2 little boys, but Ryan definitely knows how to parent boys because sometimes I think he still is one :) What's that saying? Men are just boys with bigger toys... SO TRUE!!
Those 3 are like little cub lions - they wrestle, chase and run circles around each other and love every minute of it (well, until someone gets hurt!) Pictures say a thousand words.... and from them, you can tell that he loves being a dad to these two and they think he's the best thing to ever walk the planet!
Side note: the black and white picture of Ryan with our oldest on the soccer bench is one of my favorite photos!
Melissa Ash - mom of 2 energetic boys, wife, and business woman. Just trying to "do it all".