Still Playing School: July 2012


By Devany LeDrew | Labels: 1 Comment
Doing My Best was inspired the first time she received a Crappy Day Present from a friend.  She now organizes a Crappy Day Package exchange. The current exchange is closed for sign ups, but it will be the second one I have participated in.  They are so. much. fun. both to make and send and of course, to receive!

Here is what I got for my CDP exchange back in May from Sandy.  Contents included:

Super cute packaging!  Glitter nail polish which I've used on both E and myself.  A sweet note.

A super cute zippered pouch (from etsy!) that cheers me up just by looking at it!  I told her I loved anything to help with organizing.

JEWELRY that she hand made!  First the purple chain ring that fits nicely above my wedding band (I wear my engagement ring on the other hand).  

Rainbow inspired necklace and bracelet!

 I didn't tell her at the time that I was pregnant with my rainbow, just that I loved rainbows and this is what she sent!  It was fun to wear both before and after we told people we were pregnant as a little reminder of how lucky we are to have the baby.

Edited to add:

I almost forgot the edibles.  These delicious salted caramels and an Archer Farms coffee drink.  Yum!  
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Local Consignment Sale

By Devany LeDrew | Labels: 1 Comment
I wanted my local friends and readers to know about a new consignment sale coming to the Lebanon Expo Center this fall.  I first heard about Berks Kids Closet via Macaroni Kid Lebanon (If you don't already subscribe to them, you SHOULD!  Please let them know Still Playing School sent you!)

Here's what you should know:

- The sale is Saturday, September 8th, from 8 - 2.
- They are still accepting consignors who will earn up to 70% of the profits of your items. Email to register. I've been in touch with her and she's wonderfully helpful!
- Consignors and volunteers will be able to shop at the pre-sale on Friday night.
- After the sale, all items remaining are donated to two local non-profit charities.

This is so much easier than having a yard sale! I'm looking forward to it!
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It's a...

By Devany LeDrew | Labels: 11 Comments


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Homeschool Preschool Plans

By Devany LeDrew | Labels: , , 1 Comment
As I continue planning our curriculum, I am getting more and more excited to homeschool preschool E this fall.  She shows us signs that she is ready for more organized learning and she's even self directing these activities occasionally.

Waiting for friends at a restaurant, she looked at the word search on her place mat and said, "I color all the Es pink!"  Um, YES!!!  Great idea and adapted to her level!  Wow!

She assigned Daddy to find the Rs (for his first name) to color with a different color.  I was over the moon!

My tentative plan is to continue with our calendar time daily. Next, we will begin monthly themes to base our curriculum around. We'll start slowly, practicing our routines with farm animals in August since we will be attending several local fairs. Once we see what works for us, September will bring a more formal start with the theme of apples. I want to include literacy skills (letter identification and matching, letter sounds, pre-reading skills, etc.), math skills (patterns, matching/sorting, shapes, number identification, counting, making sets, etc.), Handwriting Without Tears, journal pre-writing, science inquiry, real life discovery, pretend play, sensory play, and art.

We will have two planned mornings a week this fall when we have activities outside of the house (library story time and a moms' group where E will attend an age grouped classroom separate from me) primarily because I want her to get used to listening to an adult other than myself.  I also want to make sure that she continues to socializing with new and familiar peers in many ways, including these two outings and other play dates.  I am also considering dance classes this fall.  

Winter will be more complicated, because E will move to the next age for library story time.  It will then be held the same day as the moms' group, so we'll have to make a choice or attend a different library (I really love the teacher where we currently go) plus we'll have the new little one in tow.  

That leaves at least two mornings a week for focusing on homeschooling, plus one day for other activities.  I am already using these planning sheets from Infarrantly Creative for our schedule, so I will just need to add more homeschooling curriculum to their content.  We will be flexible with our scheduling by selecting 10 - 20 curriculum activities per week that we will complete based on our day, E's mood and attention span, other tasks that need to be done, etc.  

She amazes me every day.  This morning, she is attempting to role play through some toddler emotions.  "You hold doll.  I take it.  You ANGRY!"  I respond with an I-message, "I feel angry when you take my doll because I don't have another one to hold!"  We work out different scenarios, including asking for a turn, how it makes me feel when she shares, and how we can solve the problems so we are both happy.
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Funny Things E Has Said Lately

By Devany LeDrew | Labels: Be the first to comment!
E loves when I get a Scentsy shipment.  She says, "Ohhhhh, Scentsy stuff!  Smells nummy!"  Yesterday when an order arrived I told her that she couldn't take any of the bars because she didn't buy them, other people did.  So this morning, she handed me a fake quarter and said, "Here money. I buy it."

The other night she put her arm around me on the couch and said: (mumble, mumble, mumble) "...whole wide world."
Me:  "What?"
E: (points to me) "YOU are!"
Me: "I am what?"
E: "Mys best friend whole wide world!"

When I am hurrying E out of the house lately, reminding her of her shoes, her drink, hurry up, we'll be late, she says: "Ohhhhhh kaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay, slooooooooooooooow dooooooooooown!" but I think she may be trying to tell me to CALM down.

I was closing up a box and it made a suspicious sound.
E: "Mommy, hiney toot!!!"
Me: "No, E, that was the box!"
E: (looks at me firmly) "Not box.  Just Mommy!"
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Missing Her, The Moon, Musings

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At the suggestion of a stranger on someone else's Facebook page, I started tracking my moods in relation to the moon's phases.  I know it sounds crazy, but there is a clear pattern between the new moon and my sadness.  The full moon, too, but not as much.  That new moon floods me with grief.

When you learn your baby's gender during the pregnancy, you start to bond in a new way.  It's a little glimpse into who they might be someday.  The clothes they will wear, the name you will choose, how they might bond with their sibling(s) and fit into the family all fall into place, at least in your dreams.  As I am getting to know our rainbow in this way, I was realizing that there was never really a time that I "knew" Violet and didn't know her diagnosis, or at least that something was very, very wrong.  The two facts, the essence of who she was (is) as a girl, our second daughter, a little sister, Violet, and her problems came at the same time.

And yet, it seems incorrect to type that something was wrong, even though it clearly was, at least physically.  Once I got to meet her face to face, look at all of her, and say, "Ohhhh, it's YOU," it hit me that her abnormalities made her who she was which was part of the reason why I loved her so fiercely.  Just as every part of E and our rainbow will make us love them as individuals, every chromosome of Violet made her the sweet little fighter that we met.

I am so proud of her.  No matter what my other children accomplish in their whole (hopefully long and normal) lives, I have no doubt that I am as proud of Violet for all she was able to achieve as I will be of them for all they can do.
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Rainbow Baby Update - We Know the Gender!

By Devany LeDrew | Labels: , 3 Comments
Yesterday, a year and a day after Violet's diagnosis, we returned to Maternal Fetal Medicine to have our 19 week anatomy scan for our rainbow baby.

I would be lying if I said it was all happiness walking back into that building, even though we knew we were most likely getting good news.  

We took the elevator up, talking about how we had our labor/delivery and breast feeding classes for E there.  They had us put a ping pong ball in a inflated balloon and squeeze it out with the squeezes being contractions, the ball being the baby, and the balloon being the uterus.  My ping pong ball wouldn't come out and my balloon popped which we now joke was a sign of our need for a c-section with E.  So the building isn't all sad memories, but it is definitely a bittersweet place where we've visited with all of our pregnancies while some women never step foot in there for a detailed scan.  

It's also where we learned  a lot about Violet, where we saw her monthly on the monitor with her percentages so small yet she was so darling, always hiding her face from the ultrasound wand.

Her little sibling was NOT that shy.  The baby was moving a lot because I drank orange juice so we would have an active show and learn the gender.  We did get our answer right away as the baby wasn't hiding a thing!  The tech told us not to give this one OJ after s/he is born because it wouldn't hold still.  We got a lot of great pictures.

They took the measurements they needed.  This baby's percentages are mostly on the large to average size, with some of the measurements being at least a week ahead.  

A doctor came in and reviewed the scans, took a look for himself, and said, "The baby looks good."

Good meaning healthy.  Such simple, typical, expected news, but what a gift.

We are doing a lot of gender reveal celebrations over the next few weeks, but I will also share the news here after everyone we are telling in person knows.  It's kind of fun, but difficult, to have it as a family secret for now.  And you won't get any reliable information out of E.  Even though we've told her the news, she is still talking about both a boy and a girl baby, using the names we had picked for each.  
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Summer Virtual Book Club - July

Toddler Approved is hosting a virtual summer book club. Each month this summer will feature a different author. Bloggers will choose and read a book by this author and then plan a fun, educational activity based on the book. Here was our activity for June with featuring The Pigeon Has Feelings, Too by Mo Willems.

July's author(s) were Don and Audrey Wood.  We chose to read Silly Sally because we already have this book at home!  

When I taught kindergarten, Silly Sally was part of our Shared Reading curriculum.  We read the book daily for a week for repetition.  We planned an activity to go with the book that changed each day.  I taught half day kindergarten, so I read this book 10 times for a week per year that I taught.  I can recite the book by memory and it is a favorite!  

This activity is one we did in my class which I adapted for E.  In kindergarten, I asked the students to write their name and an adjective to describe themselves that started with the same letter (like Silly Sally).  Then they would draw a picture of themselves walking backwards, upside down.  

For E, at age 2 1/2, I wrote her name in highlighter.  She was to trace over it, but as you can see she completed it instead!

Then together we drew a picture of her upside down (just by flipping the paper over).  While drawing, we had a discussion about HOW to draw a person, which is extremely important at the pre-writing/drawing stage that she's in.  

Before I taught kindergarten, I used to think I was stifling a kid's creativity by talking about how we draw, but it's really just thinking out loud about how I draw, so the creative freedom is still there.  We just discuss details, such as how many eyes we have, where our mouth should be, what color hair E has, etc.  We do the same thing when we think out loud about how to form letters and numbers correctly.

Capital E formation, in Handwriting Without Tears speak, which we will be using to homeschool pre-school in the fall:  Big line down, frog jump up, little line across at the top, little line across at the middle, little line across at the bottom.

To add to the fun, Momma and Daddy did a page each, too!

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By Devany LeDrew | Labels: , 6 Comments
July used to be my favorite month.  Stuck right in the middle of summer and full of sunblock, lightning bugs, and corn on the cob, it was perfection.

Until 2011.

I remember the 4th, sitting at a picnic, surrounded my friends who were touching my belly and hoping to feel the baby move.  That's my last real happy memory of being the old me.  So now fireworks and red, white, and blue themed foods are like a painful reminder of being so happy and hopeful.

July 8th, 20 week ultrasound when all we thought we would learn was the gender of the baby.  A girl, another GIRL!  I will never forget my husband's shocked and happy face reflecting mine.  We thought for sure she was a boy!  Then the incredibly long time they took measuring her heart and her brain.  I still didn't realize anything was wrong in between the ultrasound and the appointment with the midwife, where we sat in the waiting room and I imagined digging out all E's adorable clothes, imagined my girls in each others' weddings, imagined them sharing a room, secrets, and crushes.

At the appointment, they mentioned there were several ultrasound findings they were concerned about so we should see Maternal Fetal Medicine, just to check, everything could be fine, don't worry.  We picked E up and told her she was going to have a sister!  On the drive home and then googling the markers afterward we started putting together the pieces.  What was Trisomy 13?  What was Trisomy 18?  Where were the stories of the babies who had the same things as our baby but ended up just fine?  Where did the air in the room go?

Over the weekend, we named her.  Violet.

July 12, the Maternal Fetal Medicine ultrasound that confirmed the findings of the week before and found additional problems in our perfect little baby.  An amnio was done that day.  The doctor told me I would find the strength.

July 15, the phone call.  My husband worked from home that day and ran up the stairs when he heard the phone ring.  I remember where I was standing.  I remember holding up my fingers to signal to him...1...3.  Trisomy 13.  Our baby girl.

A year later and so much has happened.  So much has come to pass and changed.  I found the strength and lost it, a never ending cycle.  I have so much to be thankful for:  my husband, E, meeting V, getting 2 days with her when we planned for minutes, hours at the most, and now our rainbow.  Our family and friends and all they did to surround and comfort us this past year.  The new friends I've met because of Violet.

A year later and I am different now.  I really don't like July anymore.
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