Dinner Delivery

Today was the kind of day where I felt like I was running-running-running. In fact, this (8:45 p.m.) is the first “down time” since I rolled out of bed this morning. At one point, I doubted I was going to get everything accomplished today. You know why? I needed to make dinner in the middle of the afternoon.

That’s right. I stopped working on the study guide I’m writing for Craft Moves at 1:30 p.m. so I could make dinner.

But why? you might ask. Well, I’ll tell you. Lauren, one of my closest friends here in PA, had her third child earlier this month. Her husband went back to work today and she was home alone with her three boys for the first time today. Therefore, I wanted to deliver dinner to her doorstep so she wouldn’t have to cook tonight.

Even though I was making great progress on the study guide, I stepped away from the computer and headed into the kitchen at 1:30, which I thought would give me plenty of time to make the salad and to adapt and cook the black bean spinach enchiladas recipe.

I thought wrong. By 2:00 p.m., my kitchen looked like this:

What a mess!

By 2:30 p.m., I had Lauren’s family’s enchiladas in the oven, but hadn’t prepped ours yet. (Ours had to be made without corn in the filling.) At that same time, I realized I hadn’t eaten lunch yet!

I wolfed down some leftover pasta while I made our family’s enchiladas for supper. The plus side: I didn’t have to make dinner at 5:30 p.m.

By 2:45 p.m., I was supposed to be out the door. However, I realized I hadn’t wrapped the baby’s gift yet. I ran to the closet, found some baby paper, and wrapped it quickly. Five minutes later, everything was ready to go.

Disposable Containers: Because no new mom really wants to do dishes!

I was out the door by 2:54 p.m., which was nine minutes later than I wanted to be out the door.

While that doesn’t sound like a big deal, I had to drive to the West Shore of Harrisburg. While that isn’t a huge distance mileage wise, it would require me to get onto I-83, which tends to start getting clogged up at 3:00 p.m. Today was no different.

I made it to Lauren’s house ten minutes later than expected. While my lateness wasn’t a big deal to her, it was to me, since I had to go back in the other direction to pick Isabelle up from school by 3:45 p.m.

I took a back route to Isabelle’s school, but the back route meant I kept hitting 15 MPH school zones. By the grace of G-d, I made it to Isabelle’s school with three minutes to spare!

Dashboard Clock

Of course, we had another appointment, ten miles away at 4:00 p.m. Somehow, I made it there with two minutes to spare.

All that being said, now that I’m reflecting on my hectic afternoon, I think I should’ve walked away from the study guide a little earlier.

* * * * *

A few notes:

  • If you like the enchilada recipe I linked to above, I adapted it so it was gluten-free. Here’s what I did: I used Bob’s Red Mill All-Purpose GF Flour and corn tortillas.
  • I received a thank you note from Lauren. Here’s an excerpt from her email to me, which includes her son Jack‘s reaction to dinner:

Lauren:”Ms. Stacey made us dinner.”
Jack: “Isabelle’s mom or Lily’s mom?”
Lauren: “Isabelle’s mom.”
Jack: “Yum! She is a really good cook.”

I agree:)

..big hit here:)

Thanks again for taking such good care of us! It was delicious!

Last Day of Preschool Writing

Today was my final day volunteering in Isabelle’s preschool class’s writing center. While she still has another four weeks left of preschool, her class is studying pets. Parents are encouraged to bring their dogs, cats, birds, etc. into school. (NOTE: I have pet allergies and asthma. Not a good combo!) Therefore, I had to declare today as my last day, which disappointed my daughter. Isabelle knows how bad my allergies are so she understood as best as a five-year-old can understand that kind of thing.

I’m glad I have kept records (on this blog and in Evernote) about the times I volunteered in Isabelle’s classroom this year. Fortunately, I wrote about the first time I volunteered there in September so I’m able to see growth. Here are some things I noticed about Isabelle’s growth as a writer in the past eight months:

  • Her stamina has increased. In September, it was challenging for Isabelle to sit for more than five minutes without whining to produce a page. Today, she spent over a half-hour at the writing center working on her book.
  • Her drawings of people are more representational. In September, her people didn’t have bodies. Now, they all have bodies as well as other features!
  • Her volume has swelled. In September, she drew one page and told a simple story about it. Now, she’s “writing” six pages! (NOTE: She’s not writing strings of letters to represent her words. She’s still dictating to me and I’m writing. However, she’s drawing across pages.)
  • Her drawings contain details. Sometimes she needs help thinking about what kinds of things she should draw on a page to communicate the meaning of the scene, but she’s gotten stronger at embedding relevant details in her pictures. (For instance, in the dance studio picture, top right below, she wanted to draw tap shoes on the girls. She also felt it was important to draw their dance bags since they change out of their tap shoes into ballet shoes at the midpoint of each class.)

She has grown as a writer one Monday at a time. I’m sure she would’ve grown more had I not taken off time for my surgery, work-related commitments, and prenatal appointments. Despite me missing several Mondays, she has progressed this year. Here’s what she wrote today:

On the car ride to school, I asked Isabelle what kind of story she wanted to tell today. Nothing came to mind. (She didn’t want to write about anything that happened over the weekend.) Therefore, I suggested that she could write about her interests. I asked her, “What do you like to do when you’re not at school?” She had a LOT of responses. Therefore, I suggested she could write a book about things she does outside of school. Thankfully, she went with it!


While some of Isabelle’s drawings are a little sparse (e.g., the Hershey Story one), some include lots of detail. Truth be told, she was losing stamina, but still willing to work, by page six (Hersheypark). I encouraged her to add green dinosaurs to show her reader what kind of ride she was on since I told her writers add details to help their readers understand where their stories take place. Fortunately, she added the setting details to her picture without pushback.

Do we have more work to do at home this summer to make sure she feels more confident with writing as she approaches Kindergarten? Absolutely! For now, I’m enjoying the gains Isabelle made this year. As you’ll see (if you look at where she was in September or even where she was in January), she has grown by leaps and bounds!

Head over to http://twowritingteachers.wordpress.com for more slices of life.

Head over to http://twowritingteachers.wordpress.com for more slices of life.

Laughable Legs

I’ve shown Isabelle ultrasound pictures from my 12-week and 16-week scans. She’s been less than impressed when looking at the images of her future brother since she has a hard time conceptualizing how the outline on the screen can actually be a person. Even though she knows a baby starts out as small as a poppy seed and grows into something the size of a watermelon, she doesn’t truly understand how much time it takes for a baby to develop.

I had an anatomy scan of the baby yesterday since I’m almost 20 weeks into my pregnancy. As usual, the Maternal Fetal Medicine Department sent me home with a “parting gift” (i.e., a CD-ROM of pictures and videos). I was hesitant about showing the pictures and videos to Isabelle since I know she hasn’t thought much of the previous scans. In fact, I wasn’t even going to do it. But then she snuggled up on my lap before she left for school this morning. While she was there, asking where the baby was (Even though she knows he’s in my belly, not my armpit!) I found myself telling her where the baby’s head, torso, and legs were.

“How do you know?” she asked.

“Because I had an ultrasound yesterday. Someone took pictures and videos of the baby so I know exactly where he is. Do you want to see?”


I started with the videos since they capture her baby brother opening and closing his mouth. However, each of the videos was two to three seconds long so she wasn’t disappointed she didn’t see that much. (I couldn’t blame her.)

Next, I showed her his profile.


I pointed out his nose, his mouth, etc. She was unimpressed.

I thought the image of his feet next to one another would excite her.


I was wrong. She didn’t seem to care that he had ten toesies. (I sure did!)

I didn’t think anything would excite her as I flipped through the images, but I was wrong. THIS photo made her burst out laughing:


I have no idea what it was about seeing his leg that made her laugh so hard, but she did. And not for just a second. She chuckled for a good 30 seconds!

“Why is that so funny?” I inquired.

“He’s got a leg!” she giggled.

Yes, he does. And thankfully, he has two of them.

Maybe I’ll take her along with me for my 32-week ultrasound. That’s when the techs can get a good 3D image. We’ll see if that impresses her. (Hopefully, the 3D images won’t creep her out like it did to me when I was pregnant with Isabelle nearly six years ago.)


Words That Rhyme

IMG_7427We read lots of books that rhyme, but until very recently, Isabelle hasn’t been able to form rhymes of her own. In the past two weeks, Isabelle has been making connections between words that rhyme. It’s usually one or two pairs of words per day. I love hearing her rhymes when they happen. Well, most of the time.

Today things got silly.

We were practicing articulation after school. She came up with two words — phone and bone — that rhymed. I was delighted. Perhaps too delighted. After making two more rhymes with her practice words her rhyming ability went off the rails. She began making up nonsense words to make them rhyme. While initially cute, it turned our no-more-than-15-minute practice session into a half hour. (Like most kids, she doesn’t want to sit down to practice her speech after school. Hence the reason I promise a short, intense session.)

After about five minutes, I started recording. (I couldn’t resist.)

Robe and bobe? Robot? Rowboat? Oh my!

We’ll keep working on rhyming.

What’s in a name?

My husband and I shared the news with Isabelle nearly three weeks ago. We spent the next two weeks calling our families to share the news. Then, we shared our announcement on Facebook last week. Now it’s time to share the news with my Slicer friends.

We’re expecting a baby this fall!

My first trimester was filled with fatigue and nausea. The past three weeks were going better. However, yesterday I received a diagnosis of placenta previa that will make my pregnancy a bit more high-risk. Overall, I feel good, but I’m a bit nervous about what’s to come. (Aren’t most expectant mothers nervous?) As I’ve said since I found out I was pregnant, I’m proceeding with cautious optimism.

But, on to the fun stuff. Naming the baby!

Isabelle wants to be involved. Take a listen to this audio recording to find out why Isabelle will not be in charge of picking her future baby brother’s name:

Isabelle is excited about being a big sister! She is constantly talking about all of the things she wants to do and share with the baby, which is adorable. She kisses my growing belly and talks to the baby at least once a day. All that said, she’s not going to be in charge of naming this sweet boy once he arrives. That will be up to me and Marc!

Six Pages

“Are you coming to help me and my friends write books this morning?” a little voice asked from the backseat.

“Yes, I am,” I replied.

“Oh good,” Isabelle said.

“Do you have a story in mind?” I inquired.

“Yes,” she said.

“Will you tell it to me?”

“Sure,” Isabelle replied. She told a detailed story about the day she went to Sky Zone & Wegman’s with her friends. Everything she rattled off was in chronological order. She even used transition words like firstnext, and then to frame her story. I was impressed!

I complimented Isabelle as I drove. I threw in a tip, which was to use specific words like “trampoline” and “foam pit” rather than saying “jumped on the thing.” She liked that idea.

I realized, as I continued to drive, that Isabelle’s story had more than three parts. “How many pages do you think your story will be?” I asked.

“I dunno,” she replied.

“Would you mind if I retell the story across my fingers when we get to the traffic light?”

“Sure!” she said.

Once I stopped at the light — which is almost three minutes long — I retold Isabelle’s story across my fingers. I had six fingers raised when I finished. “I think it’s six parts. Did I miss anything?”

“You got it all, Mommy.”

“Then I think you’ll need six pages to tell your story.”

“That’s a lot of paper. I only get three-page books.”

“You can write across as many pages as you need to, Isabelle. I’m the one who usually makes the books and it sounds like you need more pages. We’ll make a six-page book for your story, okay?”

“Okay,” she said.

And sure enough, she wrote a six-page story during writing time today. (And, in fact, I encouraged some of her peers, who told me longer stories when they told them aloud to me, to try writing longer books too. Most of them were excited to “write” longer.)

1 of 6

Page 1 of 6

2 of 6

Page 2 of 6

3 of 6

Page 3 of 6


Page 4 of 6

Page 4 of 6

Page 5 of 6

Page 5 of 6

Page 6 of 6

Page 6 of 6

Yep, I’m kvelling.

Head over to http://twowritingteachers.wordpress.com  for more slices of life.

Head over to http://twowritingteachers.wordpress.com for more slices of life.

Best Intentions

Working in school.

Working in school.

I intended to volunteer in Isabelle’s preschool classroom — helping the kids make books — this morning. However, her school is having a play this Thursday and the kids are being pulled out of class to practice this morning. (Don’t get me started on this because they’re missing all of Wednesday morning so they can rehearse on stage.) I asked her teacher if she knew when the play practice would happen. She didn’t. Knowing that I had a lot of coursework to grade for my graduate students, I knew I couldn’t devote my morning to sitting around and waiting for the kids to go to and from play practice. So, I canceled and told Isabelle’s teacher I’d be in next week.

Isabelle’s teacher was fine with the fact I wouldn’t be coming in to help with writing today. Isabelle, on the other hand, was unhappy. And she let her frustration be known. Therefore, I did what any other parent (whose child won’t sit down and write with them at home) would do… I offered to sit down at the writing center with Isabelle when I dropped her off to work on a book.

“Just with me, Mommy, right?” Isabelle asked.

“Yes, I’ll work with you after you do your morning routines,” I responded.

“Not with my friends. Just with me. ‘Kay, Mommy?” Isabelle demanded.

Jealous much?

“Yes, I’ll work with only you. I have to get home to do my work.” I reminded her.

She seemed satisfied.

We began orally rehearsing Isabelle’s story in the car. At first, Isabelle claimed she didn’t know what to write about. Eventually, she settled on the story of buying a bike with training wheels yesterday. I didn’t think it made a particularly grand story, but it was her story to tell, not mine. So I went with it.

By the time we got to school, she forgot how to tell her story. I made her sit down with her stapled booklet and retell the story across pages, touching each one as she told the story. She lost some of the details she told me in the car. I tried not to push (too hard). Here’s what she came up with in the end:


Drawing the bike was difficult for Isabelle. I modeled a simple bike drawing on a sticky note to help her get started.


I encouraged Isabelle to add some details to the picture that would show she was riding around the toy store, trying out bikes. She wasn’t ready to do that since she “didn’t know what to draw.”


We practiced ending with an action and an emotional statement during the car ride to school. The emotional statement made it into her book.

An Overabundance of Scotch Tape (on paper) #sol16

My supplies are being depleted! Specifically, my scotch tape supply. Isabelle has taken a liking to making scotch tape art. I constantly hear the pull of scotch tape coming out of the dispenser! In fact, she’s used three rolls of it in the past two weeks. It’s out of control. Click here to see what I mean!


Scotch Tape -- Overuse
Today’s the final day of the 9th Annual Slice of Life Story Challenge. Thank you to everyone who stopped by this month to read and comment on slices of my life!

Head over to http://twowritingteachers.wordpress.com for more slices of life.

Head over to http://twowritingteachers.wordpress.com for more slices of life.

Kisses #sol16

Isabelle has been wiping off kisses — as a joke — for the past few weeks. It’s playful and funny. It doesn’t offend me one bit. However, I like to pretend I’m offended. This morning I captured an exchange between the two of us about wiping away the kisses I give her.

Head over to http://twowritingteachers.wordpress.com  for more slices of life.

Head over to http://twowritingteachers.wordpress.com for more slices of life.

How do you pronounce New Jersey? #sol16

Like any mom whose kid has CAS, I am always listening to my child’s speech with heightened awareness. Lately, I’ve been noticing Isabelle has been having trouble with the vowel sound in words like first, fur, glitter, hammer, her, Jersey, and sure. (New Jersey is the one that initially triggered my concern since Isabelle has been saying “New Joisey,” which sends shutters up and down my spine!) I’ve tried correcting her, but I haven’t been able to correct her mouth posturing. Therefore, I brought this issue to the attention of her speech therapist this morning.
Isabelle’s speech therapist worked tirelessly to determine where the problem was occurring so she shuffled through a bunch of /r/ words with vowels. She determined the issue was mostly with the medial /er/. Now, I have word lists and am armed with ways to help Isabelle fix her mouth so she can pronounce the words correctly (i.e., encourage her to pull back her lips into more of a smile when she says the medial /er/, rather than allowing her to round her lips when she makes that sound).
Like all of the articulation things we work on, this will take practice and patience. I know we’ll get there. A little humor will go a long way. So, in that vein, here’s part of a funny conversation I overheard between Isabelle and her speech therapist when they were trying to fix up the pronunciation of Jersey this morning.


Apparently, if you change the name of the state, it will be easier to pronounce!



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