Wednesday, September 11, 2013

First Day of Preschool - Letter A, Number 1, Circle, and Primary Colors

Today was Aidan's official first day of preschool - and what a day it was!

We started our morning out with assessments to figure out exactly where we are starting from. I explained to Aidan that this was not a test and there wasn't a right or wrong answer. I hoped to ease his mind and help him de-stress so he wouldn't feel pressure when answering the questions. Half of the assessment was figuring out what uppercase and lowercase letters he knew, what numbers from 0-9 he knew, and what letter sounds he knew. I didn't do colors or shapes because I know he knows those well. He did OK on the uppercase letters, but not so hot on the lowercase and the sounds. Which is exactly why we did it! The second half of the assessment was completed by me, answering questions about his learning style, his concentration, as well as his fine motor skills. I used flashcards to go through the letters, sounds, and numbers. (These flashcards are part of the Letter of the Week program from Confessions of a Homeschooler and can be found here: )

Once the assessments were completed, I had Aidan use the restroom and grab a snack while I got our Circle Time board ready and what we were going to be using this week. This week's focus is the letter A, the number 1, the shape circle, and the primary colors red, blue, and yellow. We started circle time with the Pledge of Allegiance, then sang the Alphabet Song, and the Days of the Week song. Then we discussed what day of the week it was, what yesterday was and what tomorrow will be, and what the weather was like. We discussed the letter and sound of the week, as well as the number and the shape. I then had Aidan complete today's page in his Preschool Binder.

After that we did some cutting practice and I had Aidan cut the lines for this week. (Found in the Letter A of the Letter of the Week program) An important reminder when teaching your child to use scissors is to be sure you have a GOOD pair of children's scissors with a lid to keep them sharp. Also, make sure you are sitting with your child and constantly making sure they are holding the scissors the right way. It is very easy for your child to fall into a bad habit of holding scissors incorrectly and very hard to break.

 After cutting practice, we took another little break so Aidan could get some water and I could get some coffee. I didn't want him to get stale sitting for too long. Then he colored the "A is for Apple" page!

Once we completed the "A is for Apple" coloring page, we played a number recognition game where Aidan jumped to large letters on the ground when I shouted them out. I forgot to take pictures of this activity. Sorry!

Then it was computer time. We use and LOVE IT! My first grader uses it as well and we love it. You can create lessons plans or have the program create them for you. Your child earns tickets as lessons are completed that he or she can use to play games and buy fun prizes. It's a great way to get your child familiar with using technology. Today, we completed lessons for the letter A, for the shape Circle, and for the primary colors red, blue, and yellow.

Then it was time to use the restroom again and get the wiggles out before sitting down to read a story. We read two stories - one from a book we have and one from about the primary colors.

After reading time, we made reminder bracelets of the letter, shape, and number we are working on this week!

Then we focused on the shape Circle. Aidan knows his shapes really well, but it was part of this week and I think it was good for him to do something he felt really good at! These circle worksheets are from Another good reminder is to have your child write his or her name on all the work - it's good practice for Kindergarten!

We finished the school day off with our primary color Red book! Aidan did a great job coloring, cutting, and stapling his book!

Tomorrow we will continue our focus on this week's letters and numbers, and will introduce a few new concepts, including community helper, the police officer! Now it's time for chores and then we're off to the park before picking up big sister at school!

Circle Time Prep

Aidan and I have begun some of our preschool activities, but our actual Letter of the Week curriculum is starting next week. I am so incredibly excited about the lesson plans I've put together and the wonderful things we are going to learn about!

One of our activities every day will be circle time. This is something done in all elementary classrooms, whether it be called Circle Time, Rug Time, Group Time - whatever - it is an opportunity for the teacher to work with the class together. We are going to use this as the opening of our school time, which will range from 2-3 hours a day, not including any time outside of the "classroom".

As a visual aid for our Circle Time, I created a traveling board. I made it movable in case we decide to take our Circle Time outside of the classroom - maybe downstairs, outside, or over to Grandma or Nana's house. Having the option to move outside of the classroom allows us to be creative!

The tools I used for this are as follows:
A cardboard tri-fold
Scrapbook paper
Cricut and cartridge of your choice
Cricut straight edge
Print out's from the "Letter of the Week" program by Confessions of a Homeschooler (link below)
Calendar (mine is missing)
Lamination sheets

To begin, I purchased a cardboard tri-fold from Walmart for a couple bucks. It was pretty plain and I wanted one with a colorful background, but this is what they had.

When I was ready to create the board, I started by printing out the items I wanted from the "Letter of the Week" program, which you can purchase here: I used the "What Season Is It?" item, the "My Personal Information" item, the "Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow" item, and the "What is the Weather" item. I printed them, cut them out, and laminated them so they would hold up well. Then I backed them with a piece of scrapbook paper to add a little pizazz.


The laminator I use is the Scotch TL901, which can be purchased at Office Depot. I purchased mine from my neighbor for $10! SCORE! I use the Scotch Thermal Laminating Sheets with it.

Next, I used scrapbook paper to cut squares for decoration behind my Letter, Shape, Number, and Word of the Week section. I then used my Cricut to cut out the words.


Months ago, I found scrapbook paper with letters and numbers! It was perfect for this. I cut the paper into squares to make it easier to run through the laminator. I then cut each letter and number out individually to use for the letter and number of the week. I have flashcards I will be using for the shape and letter of the week.

I am still looking for a calendar to fit the space I left on the board. I will post a picture once I have that added. Until then, happy Circle Time Board making!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

For the Love of Lovenox

The loss of our sweet baby in February of 2011 still brings tears to my eyes. It has proven to be the most difficult event my family has ever had to overcome. However, here I sit, more than two years afterward, smiling at my strong 15 month old. He is proof there is a rainbow after the storm.

Unfortunately, having a healthy baby after discovering my blood disorder isn't as easy as it was before. I have to take medication daily to ensure my blood stays fluid and nothing inhibits blood, in turn oxygen and nutrients, from getting to the baby. So I take a daily blood thinner injection in my belly every morning. Yes, every... single... morning.

And yes, it is as terrible as it sounds.

 The prescription comes in 10 individually wrapped shots, which is very convenient. I don't have to do any measuring at all. I get the generic version of Lovenox, of course. This medication lasts for 24 hours, which allows me to only need one shot per day.

 The shot is pretty small and flimsy, if you ask me. It comes in a plastic applicator and I suppose it serves it's purpose.

The needle is the worst part. When I pull of the grey cap, a little bit of the medicine seeps out. Unfortunately, no matter how much I wipe it off, that little bit of medication makes it burn so badly when I put the needle in my skin.

 To prep for the shot, I use an ice pack from the freezer to numb the skin. Today, I used my son's Cars lunchbox ice. I simply just hold it to my skin for about a minute before the shot, and it typically numbs the skin enough so I don't feel the shot go in. Then the key is slow and steady as I press the medicine in. VERY SLOWLY. I am so psycho about this part that I put the dogs outside and sit away from the kids so I can guarantee the medication goes slow, preventing it from burning too badly. It still does.

When everything is said and done, the needle is pulled back into the shot for safety and I discard of it. Usually afterward, I ice some more and rub the medicine in to limit the amount of bruising. Unfortunately this time around, the medicine has been leaving a lot of bruising. Not so cute.

Although this isn't what I envisioned for pregnancy for myself, it is necessary to ensure baby is healthy. Even though I used these shots my entire pregnancy with Ronan, just a few short days of no shots at the end of the pregnancy left a blood clot the size of my fist in his placenta. That alone was proof that no matter who disagreed with the use of daily blood thinners, it was necessary. His goofy smile is enough to keep my going in the morning even when the mere thought of another shot brings tears to my eyes. 

Sunday, September 1, 2013

8 Month Eviction Notice

I have the most amazing family in the world. I have been married to the most wonderful man for seven years. He's so funny and easy-going - it's just easy to be friends with him. We've created quite the life. Our oldest daughter is almost 7. She's just gorgeous, so bubbly and full of life. And she adores being a big sister. Next in line is our middle son who is almost 5. He's so incredibly witty and bright. He's funny in all the right ways. And our youngest son is 14 months. He's quickly taking the role of the family spitfire and loves spending time with his older siblings.

In short - we are very blessed.

In early 2011, we lost a sweet baby in the 16th week of pregnancy. It was the hardest thing our family has had to overcome. And although I can talk about it today without crumbling, we have never forgotten that sweet baby. He or she would have celebrated their second birthday in July.

Danny and I have always known we wanted a big family. From the beginning of our relationship (literally our 3rd date) we discussed how many kids we wanted, having a loud and vibrant home, and always having a tight knit family. It's what we've always wanted and what we've worked hard to achieve. People comment on our home, which could be stretched a little to accommodate our family. They don't understand that I want a small home right now, while my children are building relationships with each other. People always comment on the size of my family, as if we should be shunned for choosing not to have the American average 2 children. And yet - never have I put a mother down when she's chosen not to have a family or to stop at one or two children. The point came in my life when I stopped talking about such things with others. I was so exhausted of hearing the negative comments about the lifestyle my husband and I have chosen.

Until today.

Today I realize, with help from my husband, that there is nothing to hold back. There is nothing to be ashamed of or to explain to anyone. If anyone has a less than positive remark, that is their prerogative and they are welcome to it. But we will not hold back our excitement for the sake of avoiding the critics.

So we issued the eviction notice. It went well... at first. Until we explained that Ronan has until April to make his way out of the crib and into his big boy bed to make room for a little brother or sister. Ronan quickly calmed down with the help of his siblings.

His reaction was so funny! Pictures don't do it justice. We are so incredibly happy to be welcoming another baby into our family. We are expecting our next Little Foot in April of 2014!!

It's been a rough start, as usual. I'm so sick all day long. The exhaustion is out of this world. And I swear my belly looks like I swallowed a 4 month old fetus. It's insane. I am CONVINCED pregnancy gets harder with every baby. Convinced!

As with Ronan, my rainbow baby, I have to take daily Lovenox blood thinner injections. In my belly. UGH. It hurts, it burns, it leaves bruises, and it sucks. But it keeps my blood thin and prevents clots from forming in my placenta or umbilical cord, which clearly is worth it. 

I also received such a sweet gift from a very dear friend of mine, Julia. She brought me the sweetest New Pregnancy gift. Now - we do not know the gender, obviously. It's a little early for that! But, she knows how desperately we want another little girl. 

We couldn't be happier about our new pregnancy and are excited to share it with our friends and family!