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!


“After You” #sol16

Isabelle and her friend, Y, were born 15 days apart. Last year, they were in the same preschool class three days a week. This year, they’re together five days a week. Next year will be more of the same when they go to Kindergarten. They may not be best friends, but they get along nicely.

One of the many times I noticed Y insisting that Isabelle go ahead of him.

One of the many times I noticed Y insisting that Isabelle go ahead of him.

Today was the final day of Isabelle’s spring break so Y’s mom and I decided to take the kids to Sky Zone and for lunch at Wegman’s. Y’s mom and I were sitting on the floor while the kids were taking turns jumping into the foam pit. Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed something lovely happening. Y motioned his arm out to the side and said “after you” to Isabelle. I don’t know who should’ve been first on the line, but he insisted she go ahead of him. I motioned to Y’s mom who noticed too. As a result, we complimented him on his manners.

But it didn’t end there. I noticed Y gesture to Isabelle to go ahead of him a few more times. However, she didn’t always take the spot ahead of him in line. Sometimes, she let him go first!

So often we catch kids doing the wrong thing. Today, I caught these two five-year-olds taking turns and using their manners so beautifully. It made my heart smile.

In Praise of Wawa

The Wawa in Princeton was more than a mere convenience store to many of us in high school. Wawa represented freedom. It was under five minutes from my high school, which meant it was the perfect distance away from campus if one wanted an alternative to school food (usually yucky) once each of us turned 17 and obtained a driver’s license. I always bought a Turkey Shorti if I decided to leave campus for a quick lunch. I don’t know if I was the taste of the hoagie roll, the taste of the turkey, or the tang of the vinegar, but it was a delight for my 17-year-old tastebuds.

My days of eating Turkey Shortis at Wawa are long gone. First, I can no longer eat gluten. Second, the nearest Wawa is over an hour from our home. (Apparently Wawa’s a New Jersey thing, not a Pennsylvania thing.) However, I still have a deep affection for stopping at Wawa whenever possible. 

We traveled back to Pennsylvania from New England this afternoon. I announced I’d be napping before we reached the Merritt Parkway. However, I requested to be woken when we reached Phillipsburg, NJ.

“Where do you want to stop?” Marc inquired as I propped my pillow behind my head.

“How about Wawa? We can get gas there and I can go to the bathroom. They *should* be open even though it’s Easter.”

I woke up just before Phillipsburg, NJ, which left Marc with enough time to consult me about the kind of snack he wanted from the convenience store part of Wawa. “How about peanut butter (unintelligible)?”

“Peanut butter and crackers?” I asked. This Wawa has a huge healthy snack display so we could probably get that without a problem.

“No,” he paused. Then he lowered his voice, “Peanut M&M’s.” Clearly, he didn’t want Isabelle to hear this.

“I could go for those,” I thought. Not the best snack. There would be so many other options: yogurt, fruit, kale salad, nut mixes… But no, it was decided. We were getting M&M’s. “They’re kinda like health food since they have peanuts inside.”

Marc smiled. 

I walked into Wawa while Marc and Isabelle remained in the car while getting gas. (Isabelle couldn’t miss the chance to watch someone else pumping out gas. Gotta love full service in NJ!) I used the facilities and then went on my search for Peanut M&M’s. I found two sizes. I went for the insanely large family-sized pack. Because why not sweeten up the last two hours of our road trip?


Look at all of these smart choices! I don’t remember the Wawa of my teenage years having healthy grab-and-go options.


Eight ounces of joy.


Back from South Africa — for Now #sol16

Rachel and I met during sorority rush my freshman year. She was a sister in a sorority (not the one I ended up pledging). I was hobbling around rush on crutches, which attracted a lot of attention. Rachel came over and asked the question I heard time and time again during the first round.

“What happened?”

After I finished telling my story, Rachel noticed the last name on my name tag. “Are you related to Jeremy Shubitz?” 

“Yes,” I replied. “He’s my first cousin.”

“We went to high school together,” Rachel replied.

And so began what’s been a 20-years-and-running friendship.

Rachel and I went out to countless brunches when we lived in Manhattan. We’d water each other’s plants and check each other’s mail when we were out of town. She has been by my side in the best of times and the worst of times.  Even this past year, when she’s been working abroad in South Aftica, she was there for me in real time (despite a six-hour time difference) as I navigated my miscarriage. Now that’s a true friend!

I can’t believe I was lucky enough to be in town the one week-end Rachel was back on this continent! (Granted, I was almost an hour away from her condo, but an hour’s drive is way better than a 16-hour flight!) I drove to her condo. We hung out there and then went out for frozen yogurt. Afterwards, we got our nails done and went to dinner. Nothing too wild and crazy, but a wonderful afternoon spent with a dear friend.

Dinner at Sweet Grass Grill

Books are a necessity. #sol16

Isabelle is getting ready to visit her grandparents this weekend. I asked her to pack her bag. Maybe it is because she knows I will pack her clothes or maybe it is because she values books, but this was all that was in her suitcase:

No toys. No games. No clothes. Just books.

I love this kid!


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