you came to me like a dream, the kind that always leaves just as the best part starts, it all ends so abruptly

It's New Year's Eve. Ethan fell asleep around nine o'clock and my husband is home from work early to rest off day four of Manbola. All this means is I have some quiet time to sit on the couch (granted, I probably should be cleaning my house but where's the fun in that?) and maybe turn my brain off for a few minutes. You know, exempt myself from the pissing contest that is "who had the best 2014" statuses on Facebook. I'm not in the running. Not even close.

The beginning of 2014 was amazing in the way that makes you feel like you're floating through each day, your feet unable to reach the ground because you're so inflated with happiness and goodness and promise. All of the incredible milestones in my pregnancy helped make the beginning of 2014 the dream that it was. I got to watch Ethan slowly fall into his role as big brother, one that he wanted and looked forward to and took seriously as he helped me paint his baby sister's room for her. For a while, we were so happy. We were getting ready to bring home our second child and then the middle of 2014 hit and we wound up bringing her home a lot differently than we intended. In the span of two weeks, the dream that we were living slowly morphed into some kind of sick, twisted nightmare and I'm still trying to get myself to wake up from it all. I feel dazed. I'm also slowly adapting to permanently feeling dazed. It's probably normal to long for your old self back but at some point you realize your old self isn't going to come back so the best you can do is learn to live as the new you.

2014 gave me a beautiful daughter. It took her away, but it gave her to me first. My body and my life and this world are all changed because of the impact her tiny body left behind. 2014 was the year that let me hold her and kiss her and there will never be another year to let me continue my time with her. It's a sad thing to feel grateful for, but I'm grateful for it, the time I was able to spend with her. It will never compare to what could have been, what should have been, but it was time spent with her.

Of course, the beautiful little boy sleeping so soundly in his bed with a pile of matchbox cars by his side and a toy plane in his hand, decked out in seal pup pajamas. He is the beauty in each day. He is my motivation to get up in the morning. He is the reason I can smile and mean it, laugh and feel it. He is happiness tucked into harem pants and raglans with spaghetti sauce on his nose and dirt in between his toes. When I first found out I was pregnant with him, well, I thought he saved my life then. The truth is, he saves a little bit of this life for me each day.

I'm still healing. I'm wanting to rid myself of every ounce of pain that 2014 insisted we feel but I'm not wanting to wish away the moments that I spent with Ethan. I have cherished each one. I have taken in every hand hold and shared laugh and conversation and song. I am grateful for his joy that he so generously shared with us every day of 2014, even the painful ones. I have found hope in his smile. It's hard to want to fast forward through the immense joy and strength he has given me.

2014 was a hard year. We lost a child and that kind of grief doesn't end when the year does. All I can do is take the hope that Ethan gives me without realizing it, take the strength that he lends me, and push on.

2014 taught me the meaning of friendship in a raw way. It taught me that when tragedy strikes, you'll know who loves you by who swims upstream to reach you while you're suffering. Thank you to everyone who reached us. Thank you to everyone who stood next to us as we marched on after Wylie's death. Thank you to new friends who came into our lives because of grief, because your strength rubs off on me a little more each passing day. Thank you to everyone who never let me think for a minute that we were in this alone. I did a lot of growing this year and not by any choice of my own, but the world looks different from my new view and with my new perspectives.

This is probably the first year since I was a teenager that I've stayed up until midnight on New Years Eve (I mean, I have an hour to go but, still, a record for me). It's not on purpose. I never really know how to turn my mind off and it felt appropriate to make a post to say goodbye to the most painful year of our lives even though I began this post by not wanting to reflect on it.

See you in 2015.


meet jennifer reina of jennifer reina photography

Sometimes the world works in funny ways and you're just sort of thrown into meeting someone you wind up being really grateful to have met. That was me when meeting Jennifer Reina. After Wylie died, I was invited to a couple of different events and was nervous to attend given that the main focus was (what else?) babies but I went with my gut and went to the events and wound up leaving with a new friend in Jennifer. You know how sometimes you just click with someone, like you just get this vibe that they're a really special person and you should exchange social media handles? Well, I felt that way immediately about Jennifer. I'm a big proponent about moms building up other moms and Jennifer is, too. When my friend and I launched Kids & Coffee Clothing, Jennifer stepped in and gave us an amazing photoshoot to help us launch our line. I wanted to take this opportunity to introduce you to someone really special with a beautiful story and an incredible talent.

That up there is the artist herself, the lady behind the camera, Jennifer Reina of Jennifer Reina Photography. Based in South Florida, Jennifer churns out some of the most incredible newborn photography that I've seen. When you take a peek at any of her images, you notice immediately the level of true talent and passion for newborn photography that Jennifer has. There's no over-processing, no crazy photoshopping, just beautiful, serene, organic newborn portraits that completely capture the essence and beauty of infancy and how truly amazing these new little lives are.

Getting to know Jennifer more in depth, I began to understand her passion for newborn photography and why she feels so strongly towards capturing these new, fresh, special moments. Having moved around a bit before landing here in South Florida last year, Jennifer felt drawn to newborn photography and wanted to pinpoint it as her creative niche. Having struggled with infertility for six years before the birth of her beautiful little boy, Jennifer understood the importance of capturing these precious moments and how big these tiny little lives were to the parents who love them. Jennifer's attention to detail and ability to create these flawless photographs and memories as these little ones begin their big lives are her way to contribute. While Jennifer and I have different stories and different struggles, I understand where her heart is coming from and, let me tell you, it's coming from a place as beautiful as her work.

From the moment we stepped into Jennifer's studio, you just felt the calm totally take over. Jennifer's studio is completely serene and that is the perfect way to describe a space created with natural, organic photography in mind. I couldn't believe Jennifer's array of accessories and props. Instead of the crazy, vibrant, bothersome and distracting props you'll see in other photography studios, every last item in Jennifer's (super impressive and incredibly organized) stash is calming and natural. They are accessories, not the main focus which is exactly how it should be. Jennifer's studio clients include newborns and their families. She is currently growing a wardrobe collection for parents and siblings as well.

Jennifer's love for photography doesn't end there. She also loves to help her clients figure out the perfect way to display their photographs. I'm a social media oversharer, too, but Jennifer makes a good point how you'll want your photographs displayed somewhere other than your social media accounts in the long run. She offers a free design service with every session as well and offers many packages that bundle the digital images with some art prints as well.

To my South Florida readers, friends, family and people who know someone who knows someone who is expecting, I encourage you to read Jennifer's blog post on how to select the right newborn photographer. Actually, Jennifer's entire blog is pretty excellent, so check it out (and ooh-and-aww your heart out over all of the beautiful images she shares!).

A girl after my own heart, Jennifer is also a social media master so stay connected with her on Facebook and Instagram.

Thank you to Jennifer Reina Photography for the beautiful images, insight and letting me introduce you and share your story!

If you're in South Florida, contact Jennifer to set up your little one's newborn shoot.


they just weren't thinking

"They just weren't thinking."

My mother says this to me all of the time. Whenever I come to her exasperated and in disbelief by the comments someone made to me ("be lucky you don't have a baby and can sleep in," for example), before I can even finish my tales of woe and frustration, she spits the words out at me. "They just weren't thinking." Of course they weren't, right? If they were thinking, they would realize that it's probably a terrible idea to tell a mother who gave birth to a dead baby seven months ago that she's lucky she doesn't have a child. After all, these are relatives and friends we're talking about. Relatives and friends don't want to intentionally hurt you. Same goes for each "it's different, you only have one child" or "that's because you only have a boy" that fleck off pieces of my flesh each time they hit the air around me. "They just weren't thinking." It's supposed to comfort me, knowing they weren't thinking. It's supposed to make me say "oh, okay, so it wasn't intentionally malicious" and wipe the sweat off my brow and go back to whatever I was doing unscathed. No one has to be accountable when they aren't thinking. They can just say "I wasn't even thinking about that" and everything is peachy. Right?


It doesn't work that way. Because the that that they weren't thinking of is the daughter I carried in my body for thirty weeks. The one who looked just like her father, a real life recreation of his baby photos. The that that they weren't thinking of was the terminally ill diagnosis I received, the way I laid in bed at night feeling her move and knowing our time with her was limited. It's the way my world started falling apart at the seams when the first specialist first used the term "incompatible with life." It's the way my world continued to bleed out in front of me when the movement stopped. It's the way I screamed in pain and terror as she left my body and the room was silent because she was dead. It's the fact that I'm not even thirty and I have a really, really long life to live without ever seeing her face again. Her face. My child's face. That is the that that no one is thinking of. I'm hard pressed as to how I'm supposed to find comfort in the thought that seemingly no one close to me is ever thinking of my daughter. Each "they just weren't thinking" fits more like a "no one really cares" and "they forgot about that already" and they weigh down on my bones until I feel them breaking. The foundation of who I am is so creaky and cracked and, yet, it's the ones I love the most, the ones who pride themselves on being bandages on my wounds, who are slowly ensuring my bones will eventually altogether implode.

I am sensitive. I have always been sensitive, but I am probably even more sensitive now. Single friends post memes congratulating one another on making it through the year without getting knocked up and having to put down the booze in exchange for bottles of milk and boxes of diapers. I curse their insensitivity, though they aren't trying to be insensitive. I roll my eyes at Facebook statuses about expectant parents hoping the baby is one sex over the other as if anything could remotely matter more than a healthy, living, breathing child and try to settle the anger in my stomach by rationalizing that this person doesn't know the pain I do -- and I can't crucify those who only know naivety. I explain the power of words to people and they make it seem as if I expect people to walk on eggshells around me. As if they should all shield their pregnant bellies or their newborns away from me, as if they shouldn't ever use the words "pregnancy" or "baby" because I may fall into the fetal position and will myself to die right there in the middle of My Gym. Really, that isn't so. Really, all I want is for people to stop throwing bricks at my face -- which is an awful lot what it feels like when they "just don't think." Of that. Of her. Of the trauma we went through that forever changed us. Of the fact we are obviously different than who we were before May 12th when we learned we would be parents who got to choose an urn for their child instead of finishing up the nursery.

I have friends who remember Wylie. We talk about pregnancies and they ask about my pregnancies with both children. "Were you more sick with Ethan or Wylie?" "Did you have the same cravings for both kids?" "Were both kids big or was Wylie smaller than Ethan because she was a girl?" "Did you have a c-section with both?" There are the friends with newborns who ask me if I want to hold their baby and don't treat me as if I'm going to bolt out the door with their precious bundle of joy in tow and set up a sweet plot for a babynapping Lifetime movie. These are the questions, the conversations, the actions that work towards healing my heart. The fact that she died seven months ago and I still hear her name in conversation, well, it's the closest thing to spending time with my infant daughter that I'm going to get -- and the same will go ten years from now, twenty, thirty. When life is breathed into her name and her memory, she feels less gone. I feel less alone. My arms feel less empty. But when they just don't think about that, when people act as if it's the sound of her name that will hurt me when it's the silence that kills, when I get told how much easier my life is because I only have one child in it -- it's a thousand steps back.


on the ideal age gap between siblings

There's an internal debate that goes on inside a mother's head following the birth of her first child. Sometimes this debate is moved to a moms group online where thousands of women weigh in with their overly-analytical responses, all of which are wrapped up with paper and pretty little bows and tagged with either The Only Right Answer or Because I Said So.

The debate on when to have a second child is what I mean, of course. The when is the right time? and what is the best age difference? and are only children so bad? that send the internet spiraling, screaming, crashing into balls of I Have All The Answers flames. I mean, maybe before losing Wylie I thought I had all of the answers, too. I just knew I wanted different than what I had, being nearly eleven years older than my only sibling, for Ethan.

This is a debate that shuffles up all different responses on what is universally best. There are the saccharine future-predicting tales of friendship and closeness, sibling soulmates and other halves. There are the promises that your only children will turn into psychopathic killers with complexes and a desire to destroy. There are those who insist children should be at least five years apart as there is a void forever in their hearts if their parents cannot guarantee solo attention at all times. Of course, there are the anecdotes and reflections of the opinion wielders own childhood. You'll read the "I always longed for a sibling" or the "my mother ruined my life by having my sister ten months later" or the "my brother and I hate each other's guts" or the "my sister is my best friend in the world" and you'll think I want that one. That life, right there. That scenario. That situation. Sign me up for that one.

But life doesn't really work that.

As with most baby loss mothers, the naivety is sort of stolen from underneath our feet. We stumble and fall and when it comes time to pick ourselves back up, we realize that you can basically plan nothing. Heck, sometimes you can't even hope for anything. You just sort of have to wake up and shrug your shoulders and take each day as it comes because anything more than that will make you completely crazy, or crazier than you already feel on a daily basis. People will say "the Frozen dolls are sold out at Target, my daughter's life is over" and you will want to hurl scalding hot coffee at their faces and resist the legitimate urge to do so. And that desire to hurl scalding coffee, well, it taps me on the shoulder and gives me a sly little grin whenever these Child Planning conversations find themselves filling up my social media feeds. Maybe before May 12th, I would have been another voice weighing in for Team Anything But What My Parents Did. But now, I scroll through the conversations and try not to read them or too much into them. I was naive once, too. I was giddy once, too. I thought the world was a beautiful, magical place where I could say something would happen and it would. For a long time, it did. And then one day, well, it just didn't anymore.

As I sat in my OB's office next to my husband as we waited for our first prenatal appointment for my pregnancy with Ethan, I noticed a photo frame hanging on the wall. It was given as a thank you to one of the doctors for delivering these four babies, all born four years apart in boy, girl, boy, girl order. "That's what I want," I said to my husband. "Look how perfect. Boy, girl, boy, girl and four years apart. Of course, two and a half years of Ethan's life went by and we decided it was time to have another baby ("oh, he can have a couple of years to grow up with her before he begins school," "oh, I can tot school two children in our little classroom at once," "oh, he wants a sibling just like all of his friends have at this point," "oh, I would love to have another tiny, little baby to care for," "oh, I want them to be best friends like everyone on the internet says their children will") and so we did. But then she died.

My internal debate happens nightly. I realize that I can control nothing. I realize that it doesn't matter what I feel the ideal age gap is because it means nothing and suddenly the only ideal is having a child who survives. Still, I back and forth with myself. Before falling asleep, I give myself a good half hour of "holy shit, I may wind up doing exactly what my parents did" and "no, that's it, we have to try to conceive again right away" and exploring all of the other crevices in between. My children will never be friends, I convince myself. I may never have another child and Ethan will be a future guest on Lock Up, I worry. And did I mention the ol' holy shit, I may wind up doing exactly what my parents did one? Because that one is the headliner every night.


That's my sister. You can't tell anymore, but she's blonde and has blue eyes and a nose ring and a thigh gap and we look nothing alike. She was a hip hop dancer for many years and listens to music that raises my blood pressure and makes me feel like I need to bathe in bleach. We don't like any of the same things. I don't just mean that because of our age difference, but just because we are on opposite sides of the Spectrum Of All The Things. We used to say we were Daria and Quinn until she decided she no longer liked Daria, probably because I do.

I was almost in middle school when she was born. I was busy dealing with periods and backstabbing girl friends and classmates who understood the parts in Grease that just made me feel confused. Still, I loved that little girl. My friends and I begged to babysit for her. We begged to plan her parties. We begged to hang out with her, do her make-up, dress her up, spend every waking moment with her. When I was eighteen and leaving for college, I couldn't let go of her. I sent her a postcard or letter just about every single day that I was gone. I drove home to have lunch with her in her classroom. She'd grab onto my arm and say "this is my big sister" with pride. She was the 12 year old maid of honor in my wedding. She was there the day Ethan was born. And then, eventually, a nearly 30 year old stay-at-home mother and an 18 year old high school senior stopped having any common ground. We weren't friends anymore. Right now, we're not really friends anymore. Our conversations usually include her turning down any plans I try to make or offers I extend. I tell her no, stop that, don't do that, go away and roll my eyes when she speaks in a language that I don't even begin to understand. I still love that not-so-little girl, but we aren't friends right now. In ten years, we will probably be friends again. Maybe even in five years. I realize there comes a time where the divide isn't so wide, where it feels a lot more shallow, but right now it's deep. Right now it's big and wide and lonely and empty and I curse my parents and their excuses as to why they waited so many years to have another child. Right now I need a sibling. Right now I have someone who, for cash, may be willing to watch Ethan long enough for me to pick up take-out at Chipotle.

The thing is, this is my reality now. I don't get to snap my fingers and welcome a baby into my womb and then the world. I don't get to pick and choose and make wishes and have hopes. I'm also coming at life with a perspective of knowing that just because my children are close in age, it doesn't mean they will be friends. It doesn't mean they will like one another. It doesn't mean they'll be close or spend holidays together or have children together and fill my living room on Sundays for family dinners and together time. That, too, is just a dream. Just a hope. Just a daydream. I don't have those anymore.

What I do have is my reality. A reality that is filled with people telling me that one day we will bring home a living baby. A reality that may mean my children are eleven years apart. A reality that may mean one of my children will be eighteen when the other is twenty-nine and maybe it's the twenty-nine year old who still lives at home while the eighteen year old has just traveled Europe and has their sights on a family life in the suburbs. Loss lets you see the gray area that sometimes you miss out on when you're blind to a certain level of pain. It's a level of gray area that these debating mothers on the internet can't really see and, in a way, I envy them. I wish I was as sure of anything as they are of everything that sits just so out of their control.

Tonight, I made a promise to myself to embrace the gray area. To say goodbye to these ideas of perfect and ideal and perfectly planned and in my (not so) humble opinion and to know that whether or not Ethan grows up to be an only child, he won't be on Lock Up. And if he is, it isn't because of his lack of siblings. And if Ethan winds up having siblings born from my own body or through adoption and if they are six years apart or sixteen years apart, all I can do is continue to take each day at a time. To do what I can do. To see things for how they are and not how people on the internet insist they will be. I said goodbye to my dream and my ideal and my perfect, and the best I can do is to rebuild from here and know that there is no perfect. I must grow to love the crumbles and the fault lines and the chipped paint and the brown grass in the proverbial yard. And that's what my parents did, the best with what they had. The best they could do with what life gave them. I don't roll my eyes when my mother recounts her stories of all it took to conceive my sister, the struggles and the appointments and the doctors and the fear. I understand it all now and, in that sense, I am doing just what my parents did: the best I know how.


christmas 2014

Christmas Eve has been the holiday in our family for as long as I can remember. Despite being Jewish, my mother always threw a big Christmas Eve party for our family and friends. Last year, we had just learned days before Christmas that we were expecting Wylie. It was a very happy Christmas. This year was a little bit (okay, a lot bit) of the opposite. It had been difficult for me to juggle Ethan's overwhelming happiness at finally understanding the concepts of Christmas (or the ones we celebrate, like Santa and his reindeer) and then my overwhelming sadness that Wylie isn't here to celebrate with us. I had heard the first holiday season was the most difficult but I'd been doing okay, or at least I thought, until Christmas Eve. That was when I couldn't distract myself or keep myself busy any longer. That was when it became so very obvious that there was one family member missing, one of my children not there to open gifts. Knowing very well this would be a rough Christmas Eve, we scaled down our celebration this year. Instead of a big, crazy party at my mom's house, we invited my parents, sister and one of my best friends to our house instead. We had a little dinner and a whole lot of cookies (Ethan and I spent the week baking our hearts out) and opened gifts here. Ethan thought it was the best party ever and that was all I wanted.

Bunch of crazies!

We gifted a whole lot of Paramount Coffee this year. Bonus points to any coffee company who makes coffee in your dad's favorite ice cream flavor.

Grandma and Grandpa bought Ethan a Hape dollhouse and he is in love. I love watching his imagination at work as he plays.

Reindeer food for the yard!

Ethan asked Santa for two very important things: blocks and a stuffed Piglet. I couldn't wait to see his face when he saw all of the Duplos and the Duplo table and, of course, the Piglet. He was so excited that Santa came and knew exactly what he wanted!

We spent Christmas Day just as quiet as we did Christmas Eve, visiting with family and watching Ethan explore everything he got for Christmas. I think, despite it all, we gave it a good go this year and I hope Ethan had the magical time that he deserved to have. I'm a little sad to watch Ethan at this very age and stage say goodbye to Christmas until next year when he will be so much older and so much different, but I'm also a little relieved that the first Christmas after losing Wylie is over. It's more of that bittersweet, the happy and sad, the joy and the pain that I'm still trying to figure out how to balance.


your voice like the sound of sirens to a house on fire

Tee by The Blue Envelope. Use code TBEREP3 for 10% off your order!

I've been referring to Ethan as my little elf. He is all about the holidays this year. The blow of Hanukkah ending has been softened by it being Christmas Eve tomorrow when he wakes up, confirmed by his promise to me that he's going to dream about reindeer and Rudolph and all of the cookies we've baked as he settled in for bed tonight. "I'm going to dream about it all, mommy." It's been easy to put all of my energy into Ethan this holiday season especially now that he's at an age where he understands and wants and hopes and sees all of the magic of the holidays himself. It's been easy to go along with his plan and to pack our days and nights full of all of the holiday activities we can muster. (I may or may not have stayed up until midnight last night baking even more cookies for Ethan to decorate tomorrow.) We are hosting Christmas Eve at our home and Ethan is so excited about this, about all of it, and so it's been easy to live each moment for him and for his joy.

It will be, of course, our first Christmas without Wylie. There is still one child who we didn't get to buy any gifts for this year, two pairs of matching Christmas pajamas tucked away in a drawer because there's no need for them anymore. There is still one child who wasn't toted around to light displays with us and who didn't get to sit on Santa's lap any of the four thousand times we visited Santa this season. There is one family member who will be missing from the photographs. I couldn't bear to send a picture of all of us on our holiday card this year. Something about "family portrait" feeling crass and unjust and, more than anything, incomplete. Can it be a family portrait if one member is missing? If one member will always be missing? I worry about this, too. I worry about doing these family things for Ethan because he needs to feel part of a family and I need to reassure him always that he is. It's a confusing web to walk through and it's sticky and messy and just so much easier to stay up until midnight baking cookies and thinking of Ethan's joy when he wakes to see them. So that's what I've been doing, of course, submerging myself in Ethan's joy. His joy is my own and it always will be.

As I stood folding laundry in the living room tonight, rattling off my to-do list before our Christmas Eve get together tomorrow night to my husband, I thought of "fake it 'til you make it." I felt like I was faking it and hoping I was really making it. And then I felt guilty. I thought of Ethan and how I wasn't faking anything, how much his incessant need to celebrate every minute of every day had been saving me more than I realized. How easy it was to feel joy and happiness and magic when he was there by my side. My two children live in two different worlds. I think of Wylie and I am faking it until I make it while being entirely sure that I'm not making anything. I think of Ethan and I am being saved by a three year old little boy with a heart of gold and kindness and goodness, with little hands that have weaved this completely perfect Christmas for all of us.

I don't smile for him. I smile because of him.


tot school - christmas & hanukkah holiday week - age 3 1/2

We are officially back from our longest break from tot school ever. We wound up unexpectedly taking two months off and it feels so good to be back. I'm trying not to beat up on myself too much considering we didn't take a summer break, but we're back in action and Ethan was so, so excited to wake up and see a whole new set of tot trays waiting for him!

I did a holiday theme for our grand return back to tot school. Ethan is so in love with the holidays this year (we do Hanukkah and Christmas in our house) so I knew he would be extra excited to see this as the theme.


I made up a batch of snow dough and paired it with some Christmas themed erasers from the dollar store and some cookie cutters. This tray kept Ethan occupied for hours every day until the dough finally dried out to the point where no added conditioner could save it. I loved watching him build snowman, make "sugar cookies" and create little winter wonderland scenes with the erasers. He had a blast with this one!


For this one, I made some "latkes" out of construction paper and labeled them with different words. On paper plates, I wrote the opposite words. I gave Ethan a spatula and he had a blast practicing balancing and working on opposites as he flipped each latke to it's opposite plate. This was a fun way to incorporate Hanukkah into our tot school lesson and he loved doing it!


I found a tube of small ornaments at the dollar store. We used this activity to practice adding up to 5. Ethan got to place an ornament on each circle and practiced adding. When he counted how many there were total on each card, he found the corresponding number and added it after the equals sign. I think he liked this tray the least out of all of the trays, but he still really enjoyed it the first couple of times!


Ethan has been obsessed with helping me wrap all of the holiday gifts this year, so I gave him a little tray to practice on his own. He got to wrap little boxes all by himself and trim the paper with his scissors if it was too long (which he insisted he didn't need to do, because the paper I left was "just right"). He did a great job!


For this tray, Ethan got to decide which gift would be wrapped in a small, medium or large box. I gave him a few sets of little cards each with a small gift, medium gift and large gift but each picture printed the exact size. Ethan got to think critically to figure out how to sort each item in size order. He really liked this tray!


I found some peppermint sticks at the dollar store in two different sizes and thought they would be perfect to make letters with. I turned this into a vowel tray where Ethan got to practice making the vowels out of peppermints. He was a little aggravated that his O looked more like a square, but he still enjoyed doing this tray and learning more about what letters were vowels and why vowels were important. From this tray, Ethan began seeking out and pointing out the vowels whenever he saw signs or words written somewhere. Surprisingly, we made it the whole week without him sampling a peppermint stick.


I stuck some golf tees in a little box and gave Ethan a cup filled with gum drops. He got to use the tongs to pick up each gum drop and balance them on top of the tees. This was a little tricky so halfway through he gave up and decided to use his fingers which was still great practice for balancing.


This one is play sand, food coloring and some glitter. I paired it with little cards with the letters and Ethan got to practice writing each one. He is really into writing letters and words right now so he was so excited for this activity. He couldn't wait for my husband to come home so he could show him the way he could write his letters.


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