keep your germs to yourself and other sick day pleas

I don't do sickness very well. It's the one area of motherhood that makes me feel stressed and anxious and like I'm not at all remotely qualified to handle anything that transpires. Ethan will sneeze and I'll fall to pieces on the floor sobbing and surrendering to an inevitable pediatrician visit the next day while my concerned husband gives me the side-eye and asks why I can't just wait to see what happens in the morning. And, sadly, that's likely an accurate scenario.

Many parents like to spew some garbage about "just the sniffles" or "just a cold." Sometimes they wipe their kids snot with the bottom of their shirt and say "maybe it's allergies" when we all know that this sudden onset of first-time allergies is totally a cold. Or a virus. Or something that requires antibiotics and throat cultures and medicine that takes CVS four hours to fill while my kid screams in the backseat because he will inevitably catch it. And, considering he gets his crappy immune system from his mama, I'll get it, too. I always do.

I just don't play the "just a cold" game and for good reason: Ethan never, not once in his little life, had "just a cold." His very first experience with illness happened to be a nasty bout of RSV that landed us in the hospital and served as the start of our formal relationship with his nebulizer (or "Nebbie," as the blue plastic bastard is called around here in an attempt to attach some affection and fondness towards it). RSV quickly spawned into RAD which, let me tell you, is anything but rad and basically stands for "you will have major respiratory problems that will one day become asthma, sucker" (or Reactive Airway Disease). From that first sickness on, Ethan couldn't get "just a cold" or "just the sniffles." It's an impossibility completely. A common cold that another child kicked to the curb in forty-eight hours becomes two weeks of respiratory misery for Ethan. Two weeks of treatments and lung steroids and sitting inside our house feeling stifled and bored with every project on Pinterest that we must have done at least seventy-four times each. Oh, and the coughing and the "breathing breaks" weeks after "just a cold" is finally gone, the promise that weeks later Ethan still won't be able to keep up with the other kids or play on the playground without flushed cheeks and a shortage of breath a la asthma. Yeah. No. Take your "just a cold" and shove it, please. We don't play that game. And don't pretend your kids crusty, goopy eyes and face full of snot is the result of being "really tired," either. We don't play that game, either.

If there's one thing other people love to share, however, it's germs. This has made living among society a challenge for someone like me who has a zero tolerance policy when it comes to sharing germs. (Keep those suckers to yourself, please.) If I had a dollar for each time a mother toted her sick kid to a mommmy and me class, museum or playground and had the audacity to utter the words "we just couldn't stay cooped up at home any longer" with the intention to garner sympathy and understanding from me, I would be be rich. Or at least able to fund the Germ Restricting Bubble that I dream of inventing for all kids who are sick of the germ sharers among us.

Dude, just keep your sick kids home. Commend yourself on being noble and brave enough to survive the confines of your home during a time of illness. Take your kids on a car ride or a walk around the block for fresh air like the rest of us, not to the children's museum where your strep-ridden kid is free to lick their hands and then touch everything in sight.

I guess you can figure out where I'm going with this. We're sick. Again. It's been weeks since we left the house (aside from the one day, after day six of my antibiotic and finally feeling fully healthy, I let my friend take me out for a pre-birthday foot massage) and the germs inside these walls are keeping me up at night. No, they really are. Just when I thought we were all healthy, Ethan woke up barking like nothing I've ever heard before which, two hours later, was diagnosed as croup. For some reason, Ethan is really into having croup. He hasn't stopped telling me "I have the croup, mommy" before giving me a totally exaggerated cough which, thankfully, has finally lost the bark. Apparently croup (or "the croup" as Ethan says) does best in cold weather and, luckier yet, it's actually been chilly in Florida so in an attempt to beat cabin fever, my stroller-hating child leaps into his stroller every morning and we've been walking miles upon miles just breathing in the fresh air. We don't do good trapped at home. We become desperate and cranky and stressed out and frantic. On his third bubblebath of the day (because, you know, it's something to do), Ethan declared that he missed My Gym and his friends and hoped they would remember him when "the croup" went away. I assured him that they would. He smiled sadly and gave me an exaggerated cough.

We're miserable.

Miserable and ready to play rock, paper, scissors, throat punch with the next person who thinks sharing their germs is a rite of passage all children must endure to build their immune systems.


celebrating valentine's day with pear tree greetings + $25 store credit giveaway

I love Valentine's Day. I absolutely love it. Spare me your woes about consumerism and commercial holidays and obligation chocolates. The thing is, there's this entire day dedicated to hearts and glitter and love and hugs and goodness (okay, fine, and chocolate) and I just can't help but get behind that. While it's true we should tell those we love just how much we love them all year 'round, I love having a special holiday to get all mushy and gushy with emotion and feelings. I'm a sap, okay?

Remember being a kid in elementary school and decorating little mailboxes for your classmates to stick Valentine's Day cards in? It was so much fun to sit after school and read through each card. Somehow, someway, the sheer beauty of Valentine's Day cards sort of lost their popularity once we finished school. Valentine's Day cards have become very underrated, unfortunately. Sometimes it's nice to get some love and cheer and joy in your mailbox, even as adults!

We've had a ton of rain lately here in South Florida, but a little rain couldn't dampen our Valentine's Day cheer. Ethan and I had a little miniature photoshoot to get some festive Valentine's Day photos that would be perfect for our cards (and let's be real, you knew I was going to share a couple):

Tee by The Blue Envelope, use code TBEREP3 to save 10%

After sorting through our photos, we picked a favorite. Then it was off to Pear Tree Greetings to pick a favorite card! As per usual, the options are endless. Pear Tree Greetings offer so many great Valentine's Day Photo Cards that it was a challenge to pick just one favorite.

Here were some of our top contenders:

If you're in need of some classroom Valentine's Day cards, think outside the box and check out Pear Tree Greetings wide array of Kids Valentine's Day Cards, too!

After much deliberation, I finally picked a favorite that does a good job at capturing the hearts-and-love-and-hugs vibe that I so very much love about Valentine's Day!

So cute, right?!

I'm excited to be able to share my love for Valentine's Day cards with my readers as well. Pear Tree Greetings have offered one of my readers the opportunity to win a $25 store credit to pick up some of your own Valentine's Day cards as well. A winner will be chosen on January 28th, 2015. Good luck!

Even if you don't win, click here to place your order and save $20 (and Pear Tree Greetings will donate $20 to charity, too!).

a Rafflecopter giveaway


thirteen years

As the sky grew dark on January 17th, 2002, I sat at the computer in the guest room of my parent's house busily burning the latest of volume of a mix CD set I was working on. This CD set was titled The Aaron Doesn't Like Me compilation and that night, I was creating the 6th disc in the set. They were a series of CDs featuring the saddest songs I knew, mostly acoustic, low budget recordings from independent emo songwriters with the occasional -- and necessary -- tracks by Dashboard Confessional or The Juliana Theory. Mostly I cried while I made them, letting the sadness of the lyrics resonate with me: unrequited love, the pain of seeing the person you love so desperately have no romantic interest in you. Better off just friends? Better off just dead, I would scribble on the front of each of the CDs in black Sharpie -- a la my favorite Keepsake lyric -- feeling a punch to the gut each time.

Just months earlier, in August, I had started the 10th grade at a new school. Before school even began, a tall boy in a Volcom tee and argyle socks pulled up to his knees walked by me. I didn't know him. We made eye contact for about thirty seconds and I told my friend I was in love. She thought I was crazy but probably rightfully so. Between 8th grade and the start of 10th grade, I was sort of addicted to unhealthy, overly intense relationships with boys who weren't really worth the inevitable tears and drama. Of course, I had professed my sheer love for each one of these boys at least once before they left me sobbing in my bedroom wanting to vomit the remnants of my broken heart. And, you know, when a fifteen year old girl is so in love, an eyeroll is usually appropriate. Over the course of the next few days (teenagers work fast, okay?), I found out that this boy played in a punk rock band and somehow, by the start of the following week, he was meeting me in front of the school to give me an autographed copy of his bands album. We became friends instantly. It was the quickest friendship that I'd ever been able to form. I felt him swallowing my entire soul each time he smiled and I knew things were different. "This is going to be the boy I marry," I told my best friend on video. "I'll give you a million dollars if you actually marry him," my best friend replied on video. (I love to rub that one in her face.)

Our friendship reached that point where a relationship felt inevitable. The point where you swear that the world explodes each time their arm brushes yours and you are almost certain they feel it, too. Of course, then it all flatlined. "What do you think of so-and-so? I think she likes me," he said to me one day. I went home and cried until my pillow case was completely soaked through. That's when my mix CD collection came to fruition. That's when I went on dates with boys in hopes he would feel jealous or in hopes I could force myself to care about someone else and forget him. It didn't really work that way. That night, January 17th, 2002, I sat burning my latest mix CD and talking to this boy on AIM (showing my age?). He began to tell me how much he liked me. How much he always liked me. How nervous I made him. How he never knew the right thing to do or say. And then, at 11:36 p.m., he asked me to be his girlfriend. I mean, he asked me over AIM (typical!) but it didn't matter. Nothing else really mattered.

We had our first date at a local show the following weekend. He had just gotten his license but my mother let me drive with him because he had manners and no facial piercings or criminal records and had straight A's in school. We barely spoke that entire first date but, halfway through it, he reached for my hand and that was it. My future was sealed. I told him I was going to marry him and he promised me that he was going to marry me.


Through the years, other important dates welcomed themselves into our relationship. I loved our wedding, but I felt that our wedding anniversary date could never make my heart swell with the emotion that our dating anniversary did. Every January 17th that passes, I can still feel myself sitting at that desk burning those CD's. I can still feel myself holding his hand for the first time. I can still feel myself being a fifteen year old girl taken over by such adult feelings, by such deep and immeasurable love.


Today marks thirteen years since the tall, handsome bass player in Mr. Varsity asked me to be his girlfriend. Thirteen years since Punxter36 sent an instant message to KissMeImEmo12 asking the most important question that I've to this day ever been asked. We have been through a lot together since those days of driver's licenses and report cards and high school graduations. We have lived through and loved through the unbelievable joys that life brought us and the deepest of pain and heartbreak. In his 11th grade history project, he wrote that he wanted to be a rockstar for a living and spend life out on tour. In real life, he became an accountant who works tirelessly to provide for our family. I am grateful for so much. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to grow up alongside the one true love of my life. Thirteen years later, I can just barely make out he and Ethan singing The Story So Far by New Found Glory during bedtime and, for a minute, my heart swells the way it did that January evening back in 2002.

Teenagers are notorious for making bad decisions. I've made more than my fair share. But that day, I made the best decision I could ever make. There is no one else I would rather spend my life with. There is no one else I would rather grow up with. There is no one else I would rather kiss goodnight every night for the rest of our lives. There is no better father for our children. There is no better husband in this world.

Happy thirteen years, Punxster36. KissMeImEmo12 loves you even more than I did that day when you looked down at me as you passed me in front of Building 7. I'll love you forever with the same desperation and intensity I loved you with all those years ago as I sat in my bed and swore to my journal that I would never survive the pain from not being loved by you in return. You loved me in return all along and you never stopped loving me in return. You stopped wearing argyle socks pulled up to your knees and I stopped wearing a good five inches of black eyeliner but we never stopped loving one another.

And we never will.

It was always you, in my big dreams.


spare the rod, change the world

My sweet boy,

A hundred million years ago, I was in the 6th grade and my friend received a detention. We ooh-ed and ahh-ed over that slip, rotating it in our hands as if we'd just been handed our first pass to adulthood. That night, I asked my mother if she would be mad if I got a detention. "Not really," she said. "It depends on for what. It's normal to make mistakes. It would be abnormal if you never made them and never got a detention." Two weeks later, I purposefully neglected to turn in a project in hopes I would receive a detention. I did. We sat in a portable and did homework while the teacher read a book at the desk at the head of the class. It wasn't exactly the stuff The Breakfast Club was made out of, but it felt completely magical. I felt so validated. I felt so human.

I'm not telling you to mess up on purpose, of course. But the truth is: you will make mistakes. We all do. It's what people do. We make mistakes, bad judgment calls; we do things that, if given time to think about it again, we probably wouldn't do. Purity is a fallacy; the quest for perfection is boring.

I don't expect you to be the best. I simply expect you to do your best. Sometimes your best is doing or saying something that, given a second chance, you realize you shouldn't have done or said. Realizing that, learning that lesson, that's the best thing for you. What's in your heart is what is best.

People remark often how sweet you are, how kind. I like to think I have had a big hand in that. From the moment you were two pink lines on a pee stick, your father and I were committed to raising you gently and peacefully. I mean, we have access to the internet. We see what a huge chunk of the world thinks about kids who are raised gently and peacefully ("spare the rod, spoil the child," the internet trolls will bark behind their computer screens). Still, we knew in our hearts that it was what was best for you. If it were up to me, you would always only know kindness and warmth. All I can do is my best to ensure that my arms, our home, your world are filled to the brim with kindness and warmth. All I can do is prepare your heart to be the kindness and warmth that the world needs. Spare the rod, save the child; spare the rod, save the world. Spare the rod, change the world.

You, my love, have the power to change the world. You can step out into the big world and paint it with kindness, love and warmth. You can charge hearts and minds. Your best could very well be the best thing that happened to the world. In a world where we limit our children in fear of what the bullies may say or do, I want you to be the warmth and goodness that eradicates the idea of bullies.

I want you to argue with me, even when it's hot and we're trying to leave Target and the 78 year old woman in the Buick keeps honking over and over in hopes to get our spot. I want you to challenge me. I want you to take what you know and teach me something new. I never want you to be in a place where you think you know everything and have nothing else to possibly learn. And, more than that, I never want to be in that place, either. I want you to use your heart and conscience and know that respect begets respect. I want you to know that fear is not respect, that love is not fear. If I have done my best as a parent, you will never fear me but simply respect me as I do you. I want you to do your best when presented with any of life's challenges. I want someone to see you as disobedient if it means taking the path that your heart beat out for you and not the one they've set out in an etiquette blog somewhere. I want you to know that it's okay to fail. It's okay to forget how to spell cat, it's okay to do a science experiment that doesn't pan out, it's okay to fail a test or not be accepted into the college your best friend got accepted into. It's even okay to get a detention one day, in the sixth grade, with visions of Molly Ringwald dancing in your head.

Your best will always be my favorite draft that your life has written.


stop screwing up my kid.

The other day, I was putting on lip balm and asked Ethan if he wanted some. "Mommy," he said shyly, "I don't think boys wear lipstick." He looked at me nervously and longingly, wanting so very much to let me apply some lip balm on his lips like we usually do in the mornings when we're getting dressed and ready for the day. Sometimes I pretend to powder his face with my make-up brush and that, hands down, is his favorite part of our mornings. I tried to remain calm and asked him where he heard that, letting him know that was so very untrue. Boys, I told him, do anything that boys want to do. If Ethan does something, and Ethan is a boy -- well, then, boys obviously do it. In the end, he smiled as he smeared the lip balm onto his lips (and cheeks and chin) and we went about our day. He forgot about the incident, grateful for the clarification from the adult he trusts the most. On the other hand, I felt uneasy. And sad. I felt pretty sad for a long time, to be honest.

This isn't the first time that society -- other parents, mostly -- worked diligently at erasing the foundation that I've tirelessly tried laying for our children. In fact, here are some other things that Ethan ran by me shortly after he heard them at some point over the last few months:

- He's too heavy.
- He shouldn't eat too much if he doesn't want to get too heavy.
- He shouldn't paint his toenails because that's for girls.
- He should like dogs instead of cats because dogs are for boys.
- Boys don't cry and especially not big boys. They really don't cry.

So, world, please? Can you cut it out? Can you stop trying to desperately screw up my sweet child? Can you stop trying to limit him or label him or shove him into a tiny corner based on the limitations you see fit? Can you stop trying to give him body issues or an eating disorder before he even turns four years old?

Since these incidents, I've been able to stop them as they're happening. I jump into Mom Ninja mode and shut down the statements as they're coming out of the mouths of the other parents at the playground or relatives who think they're being funny by telling Ethan how big ("fat," the term they've used) his belly is. It's exhausting. It's exhausting now so I can only imagine how much worse it gets the older he gets, the less I'm able to be around him to step in and extinguish a situation before his heart catches on fire and his spirit breaks.

Stop screwing up my kid. Stop limiting him. Stop harming him with your words and silly, antiquated ideals. Stop telling him that you know what he does and doesn't like more than he does.

People will comment on Ethan's size and shape and make some silly comment about how he's going to play football one day. "I don't like sports," Ethan will say. "Yes you do, you're a boy," they'll say. "I don't like sports," Ethan will tell me in secrecy later. "I don't either, buddy. You don't have to like sports. Not everyone likes sports." He snuggles up onto my lap in relief.

Or he'll fall on the playground and another parent will say "you're fine" or "you're okay" and he'll stand up with tears in his eyes but holding them back. "I'm fine," he'll choke out. "Baby, you can cry. It's okay to cry. It's so, so, so strong to cry and show the world your emotions," I'll say as I pull him into my arms. The sobs will be freed, the tears will dampen my shoulder. "I love you, mommy," he'll say and skip off for another turn down the twisty slide. I'm fine, I'll tell myself but only half believing it.

I've survived so many years as a sensitive person, enough to understand that society sees sensitivity as weakness. There were years where my tears, where my heart, where my sentimentality felt like they were pulling me under but now, as an adult, I see it all as a gift. As an adult, I see it as a gift that I so very much want to give to my child if only the world would stop intercepting and pulling off the wrapping paper before he can get to it.

How beautiful the world would be, could be, if only it had one tenth of the compassion and sweetness that Ethan possesses in his heart.


the go-to friend

I've written frequently about parenting after loss. I've made my case for my desire for the world to remember Wylie as I do, the need for her to exist in the world as she does inside the walls of our home. What I haven't written about, and what I know I need to write about, is what it is to be Lindsay after loss. What it is to be me, what it is to wake up one day and have your entire existence drastically altered.

The thing is, to the outside world, to your friends and family, you look the same. Maybe they can nitpick a little about your appearance -- a nudge that some make-up and clean clothes might do you a world of good; a plea to just wash your hair because you'll feel better, they promise. Maybe they'll suggest you join a gym or go out with friends or stop drowning your sorrows in bags of Doritos every night. But other than these little grievances, you look the same to everyone who looks at you. You laugh at a joke someone tells and they think "oh, there, you're happy now. It's fine now." As sad as they are for you, as great as they believe they feel your loss, their lives go back to how they were before. Their lives go on. You live and breathe each day -- you even have really great days -- but your life never really feels like it goes on. That old life sort of stopped when your child died and, at the very tail end of it, another little life sprouts and begins to grow. It grows slowly and delicately. The outside world likely cannot decipher a difference between your old life and your new life, but you know the difference.

Before losing Wylie, I was the friend everyone came to for anything remotely related to childbearing. After all, my husband and I had Ethan years before any of our friends had even begun to consider families of their own. By the time we made our way through the newborn days and crossed the infancy finish line that is the first birthday, our friends were settling down and making plans for future families. We had made it, as far as they were concerned, so we must have all of the answers. I loved talking about pregnancy and childbirth and all those silly little details you don't know about until they're happening to you (oh, hey, someone is going to come in and squirt your vagina clean with a squirt bottle each time you urinate post-delivery during your hospital stay so, you know, be prepared). Any time was the right time to discuss ovulation or ring slings or which shampoo held the lowest amount of toxins. I was just a phone call away to answer a question about registries and car seats and butt cream and weigh in if they should call a pediatrician if their infant has spit up or their OB if they think they may have lost their mucous plug. I loved helping. I loved planning parties. I loved every bit of the excitement that was watching the people we love step on board into the wonderful world of parenting that we love so much.

But then my child died.

No one likes being told that they can't understand things. No one likes thinking that their sympathy and empathy and compassion isn't enough, I get it. But the harsh truth is just that: if you haven't lived it, you can't really understand. For a loss mom, the grayscale envelopes the cut and dry, black and white world that everyone else sees. It's an alternative universe, at least just a little bit. You see, in my new life, as the new me, when someone tells me they're expecting a child my instinct is no longer to throw my arms up, giggle, laugh, celebrate. My mind doesn't race to "let's plan the baby shower!" and "oh my gosh, how will you design the nursery?" Instead, I smile and nod, offer a congratulations (that will get shit-talked for not being excited or genuine enough) and silently hope this baby lives. I will celebrate when it's born, when it takes a breath, when you're discharged home from the hospital with a healthy child in tow. It's only then that I will be able to breathe and share in a piece of the joy.

This doesn't make me pessimistic. This doesn't make me bitter. This doesn't make me jealous. This doesn't make me negative. This doesn't make me a bad friend. This doesn't make me unsupportive. This doesn't make me unhappy. This makes me realistic, because my reality is different than one you can imagine. It's a reality that is different than the one I myself knew before May 12th, 2014 when I first learned I probably wouldn't be bringing home my baby alive.

I don't really like to talk about pregnancy anymore. I don't really like to talk about any of it. If you met someone who survived a shooting, you wouldn't call them up to discuss your excitement over purchasing a new firearm. If you met someone who survived a nearly fatal car accident, you wouldn't call them up and ask them to joyride in your new sports car with you. If you met someone who gave birth to a dead baby, you probably shouldn't call them up and expect them to want to discuss pregnancy. I hear the word pregnancy and I am back on that exam table, the doctor's hand on my shoulder, being told that there's something terribly wrong with my daughter. Just as you wouldn't call up someone who lost their limbs in a bombing and complain about how fat your arms and thighs are. You see where I'm going with this? Because most people don't.

To most people, I am Lindsay. The go-to friend. The one that wants to plan parties and talk about morning sickness and fill you in on how exciting it is when you feel kicks for the first time. I'm the sounding board when you want to complain about your swollen legs and gestational diabetes drink and how tired you are at the end of the day.

I'm not that person anymore.

I'm not that person anymore, and that's okay. It doesn't make me bitter. It doesn't make me a bad friend. It doesn't make me unsupportive. It doesn't mean I don't care. When you see pink lines and think "I'm going to have a baby," I see a tiny little urn on top of the mantle and nine months of a nightmare -- something more like a hazing than a miracle of life -- that just maybe you may come out of in the clear. That doesn't make me negative. It doesn't make me pessimistic. It just means my reality is a lot different than yours.

I'm now the friend people come to when they know someone faced with grief. I'm the recipient of the text message when someone delivers a still baby, when someone's friend's cousin's neighbor learns in utero their baby won't be making it home. I'm the voice on the other end of the phone serving as proof that you won't die even if you're convinced you will. I'm the comfort giver, the I'll-go-through-it-all-with-you assurance. Whereas a year ago I wouldn't begin to know how to appropriately comfort someone who lost their baby, now it is one of the few things I know. (That, and how to raise a kick ass three year old.)

I don't want to be the go-to friend anymore. I don't want to plan baby showers and hear your plans for your child's future on your drive home from your six week prenatal visit. I don't want to know how your morning sickness is the worst thing in the world or you're hoping for a girl because the clothing is cuter (spoiler alert: it's not). This doesn't make me mean. It doesn't make me a bad friend. Now that I've realized that, and now that I've accepted that, I can continue to work on being Lindsay after loss. Because it's only been seven months since I kissed my baby goodbye forever and that is not a very long time at all, especially not considering I had 28 years to perfect being Lindsay before loss.


tot school - new years eve plus introduction to days and time - age 3 1/2

Ethan has been really interested in trying to understand days and time lately so I knew I wanted to make the introduction in our tot school lesson this week. We did some fun activities for New Years Eve as well which Ethan loved, but his favorite trays this week were the ones about the days of the week.


It's been a while since we did a magnet board activity and Ethan was really excited to see one return. This was probably one of his favorite trays this week. No matter what, he made sure we did this tray every single day. He's still at that point where he has to list all of the days of the week on his hands to determine which came before and what comes after, but he is doing great with this and is so proud of himself!


I printed out some little cards of different activities and Ethan got to sort them by morning, afternoon or evening. He did this one a couple of times but by the end of the week was a little bored with it.


I made this clock out of two paper plates. The bottom plate had the minute times so that Ethan could lift up the flap and see 5 was :25 and so on. This tray was confusing for him at first but he really started to get into it. We would choose random times and Ethan's job was to make that time on the clock. One week really wasn't enough for him to fully understand telling time so we will be continuing this tray next week as well.


This being my husband's busy time at work (to put it mildly), I didn't have a chance to finish putting together our tot trays for the week until about 11:00 pm on Monday night. My husband still wasn't home and I realized I was out of contact paper with no chance at getting any before the week started so I just used scotch tape. Here's to improvisation, right? Anyway, the point of this activity was for Ethan to use the tweezers to fill the sticky paper with pompoms. We talked about how it's now 2015 and he started off really into this tray but got bored after a while. It took a long time to fill each number with tiny little pom poms and there were so many other trays he enjoyed more.


I filled a balloon with some dry rice to weight it a little and then labeled some plates with the numbers 1-10. I would call out a number and Ethan got to drop the ball onto the plate with that number. He really enjoyed this little game! By the end, we were tossing the ball in countdown style, from 10 to 1, and then he would exclaim "HAPPY NEW YEAR!"


This was a fun little dry erase tray for Ethan to circle which New Years items were different. I wish I had printed more sheets because there were only so many times he wanted to do this one! Still, he really enjoyed it at first.


Ethan can write most of his letters by now but writing them on lines is another story. We're back at square one there. I thought this would be a fun activity to help him write short words and practice making his letters on the lines. He got a little frustrated with this one as letters he can write with ease were more difficult to write when confined to a small space, but he really enjoyed the writing practice. I'll probably add more writing practice trays each week.


This was our most popular tray of the week which I didn't see coming. I had painted some corks each a different color and labeled them with S, M, T, W, T, F, S. On the tips of popsicle stickers, I painted each with a matching color and wrote out the full names of the days of the week. At first Ethan practiced matching the days by color and then by the first letter and, eventually, he learned the correct order for the days of the week and ordered them accordingly. He really enjoyed this tray and couldn't wait to show his daddy how he learned the days of the week.


We spent a day making some New Years Eve noisemakers out of paper plates, dried rice and pasta and other art supplies. Ethan made quite a few and did so all on his own, minus the stapling which I insisted I help out with. This was such a great independent activity for him to do and he really loved being able to do things by himself from start to finish, minus a little assistance with the stapler.


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