Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Consignment Finds 2014


Consignment sale season is here again! This past weekend was one of my favorite sales. I happen to be on the committee that plans the sale and it's a fundraiser for Henry's ECFE program. Since I volunteer for the committee, I get to preshop the sale. And, this year's sale was one of my most successful hauls ever! 

First, the boy stuff: 



This included: 7 polo shirts, 8 t-shirts, 3 sets of pajamas, a sweater and a winter coat!

I have noticed that bigger boy stuff is getting harder to find at consignment sales. There's always less boy stuff but the bigger you get {most of this stuff is 3T or 4T} the less quality stuff there is for boys. I'm sure boys are just harder on their stuff and it just doesn't last.

Next, the girl stuff:


This included: 5 sleepers, 3 onesies, 4 dresses, 2 shirts, and 5 outfits.

For me, girl clothes are the last stop I will make at a consignment sale! There is SO MUCH stuff. Here the sizes are pretty varied, but I found a pretty good variety in all sizes under 12 months. My problem was not knowing what season to buy for Nora in what size. If she grows like Henry it could completely different than her age. But for consignment sale prices, its worth the risk. 

Finally, the toys: 



These are my favorite finds! I got some amazing deals and avoided anything plastic or that required batteries. 

For Nora I found: 4 soft toys, a small bell roller, a SkipHop pull toy, a Melissa and Doug flower clacker, Manhattan Baby wooden bead rattle, small wooden xylophone. 

For Henry I found: 4 wooden vintage puzzles, wooden peg pounder, Wonder World wooden tool bench, vintage pattern blocks, wooden spinning word and animal blocks, and {the best deal I got} a Plan Toys wooden parking garage {for $18!!}. 

Toys are always the first place I go when I'm shopping a consignment sale. Wooden toys tend to go very fast and you need to move quickly. I was shocked by the selection this year, and I'm thrilled with the deals -- and so is Henry. 

Grand total for the clothes and toys -- $100!! I can't imagine buying all of this new. Consignment sale shopping is really a blessing and makes our new {mostly} battery-free lifestyle possible! 

 Have you gotten any good deals this spring?! 

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Monday, April 28, 2014

Letter I Tot School

Letter I was a surprisingly fun week. I is not the easiest letter and we were a little limited, but Henry was very into a few of the trays. Thanks to a snow day (yes, we are still getting some snow days) for tot school co-op, we had these materials for two weeks, and Henry actually used and enjoyed some of them the whole time.

The first tray was an instrument matching tray. The object of this tray was to match the instruments to the letter that they start with. If it was done correctly, the instruments would fill in the letter I. Henry is very interested in what letter things start with so this was a big hit. (And as a special treat, Hen actually let me take some pictures of him working!)




The second tray was a variation on the ice cream tray I made last time we did the letter I at tot school. At that point, we were just talking about the color of all the scoops. This time, I included some pattern matching cards to follow. I like this because it worked on a new pattern -- bottom to top matching. It was just the change Hen needed to stay interested. Although, as a dairy-free kid he STILL has no idea how ice cream cones work and was convinced that the small end was the top.



The third tray was an ice sorting tray. I completely forgot to get a picture of the ice before it melted. But it had 5 different types of ice, tweezers, and a sorting tray. I liked this because Henry is still reluctant to consistently used a tool to transfer. But, he hates being cold. So, this encouraged using the tweezers instead of his hands!




Other things we did included:

We did another special week for one of the kids at the co-op who has a few i's in his name. One was a puzzle where if the picture was complete it would also spell his name. The other has a a shape matching bubble sheet which spelled his name.


Henry loved using this tray to sort the colors and shapes. His initial reaction is still to sort by color, but he did a great job with the shapes too. It was a good change for him.



I didn't get pictures, but we also had a Letter I magnet sheet, Letter I sensory bin, and a sandpaper letter and salt tray.

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Sunday, April 27, 2014

32 Weeks

Another month down. Yay, but yikes. We are nowhere near ready for this baby to come home, and I think our recent labor and delivery scare has made this very apparent for everyone. But, we're trying and we'll get there. 

This month I've just been tired and slow. I have the constant "baby sitting on my lungs" out of breath feeling. My heartburn is bad, and I need to start taking iron. Sleeping is getting harder, I'm more uncomfortable and I'm wide awake super early every morning. But, really I feel pretty good. It's just hard explaining to Henry why I can't run around all the time and need to take breaks and rest. 

I've started to notice some weakness in my hands. I think I have a firm grip but then whatever I'm holding is on the floor. I've obviously been having some Braxton Hicks/contractions, they started a long time ago, but since our scare have been a lot stronger and more painful. My doctor checked my cervix again at my follow up appointment and thankfully, I'm still not dilated. I just need to stay hydrated and not over-do-it. 


The good news with going to labor and delivery is that we got a really long look at Nora. The nurse said her heart rate (in the 150's) was amazing and that she was seeing patterns that they wouldn't expect until 33+ weeks. So, she's advanced already - haha. Nora is the hiccup queen and constantly has them. She had them while we were being monitored which was funny to hear. She is also still moving like crazy, she really knows how to punch me right where it hurts. 

However, my doctor did say she is measuring on the small side. My belly is measuring a full week behind and the doctor just said she feels small. I've only gained 12 pounds so far this pregnancy so I'm not totally shocked. But, the OB did say things could change as I get closer to delivery, but not to expect an 8 pound baby -- which is fine by me! 

Hopefully, we will avoid any more trips to L&D and will finally have a nursery by the time my next update comes.

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Monday, April 21, 2014

Labor and Delivery


After a perfectly healthy pregnancy with Henry and 31 uneventful weeks with Nora, we had our first pregnancy complication this weekend. Easter Sunday pretty much started out like a normal day. I woke up early super hungry and ate in quiet before anyone else was up. A quick cat-nap later and we were busy celebrating Easter. 

It was a beautiful day, so Morgan and I decided to walk the few blocks to our church. Its not an unusually long walk for me and we didn't think anything of it. During Mass, however, I noticed that I just couldn't hold Henry without getting a contraction. Still, I didn't think too much of it. I've had a lot of Braxton Hicks this pregnancy and I figured that's what was going on. We walked home then headed to brunch after I downed a glass of water. 


Throughout brunch, around 1:30, I noticed that the contractions were really picking up despite the fact that I was drinking plenty of water and just sitting. I was feeling cranky and off by the time we got home. It was still really nice outside, so I drank some more water and sat around our deck. The contractions continued.


By 3:00, I was starting to get a little worried and decided to time them while laying on my left. After an hour, they were averaging every 5 to 9 minutes apart. By 4:00, I figured I should call the nurse line for my OB. The nurse wanted me to drink 3 more glasses of water, and time them for another hour. So I did -- by 5:00 they were coming every 4 to 7 minutes. 



At this point, the nurse and on-call doctor felt it was best that I go to Labor and Delivery to be checked out -- and not just any hospital, the one with the higher level NICU in case I was delivering that night. By this point, Morgan and I were panicking. We quickly packed, found a place for Henry, called our parents and headed to L&D. 

By the time we got to the hospital, I noticed a big change in the contractions, they were more painful and coming more consistently. The nurse was great and quickly hooked me up to monitors. The contractions were coming every 3.5 minutes at this point. They ran some tests to see if they could figure out what was causing the contractions. They also checked my cervix to see if I was dilating. Thankfully, my cervix was closed and all the tests came back negative. During this time, Nora looked awesome on the monitor and was moving like crazy.


So, it was just a matter of stopping the contractions. One terbutaline shot later and the contractions finally stopped. The terbutaline did cause some unpleasant heart racing and shaking but it was very worth it to keep Nora cooking.

The doctor said they often don't know why these things happen. And, there's no way to know if it will happen again. For now, I've avoided bed rest but I've been told to "take it easy." Whatever that means with a 3-year-old. Right now, I'm just counting my blessings that Nora is still cooking away. Today, I've felt pretty good, with only a few "normal" Braxton Hicks and was able to relax thanks to my Mom and Dad taking Hen.

Overall, it was a pretty scary and stressful afternoon and evening. Let's all hope and pray that Nora stays inside without much trouble for at least the next 6 weeks! 


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Friday, April 18, 2014

Mid-Pregnancy Renovations

In mid-February Minnesota had wonderful {or so I thought} thaw. A couple of 40 degree days were the perfect reprise from an otherwise miserable winter. Henry and I went outside to enjoy the "warmth" and came back in to water pouring into our kitchen from the window that looks out to our sunroom. The window was a weird leftover exterior window from when the original homeowners put on the sunroom addition. 


The water lasted on and off for two days until the cold weather was back. Morgan did his best to clear the roof of the ice and snow and clean the damage. Unfortunately, when Morgan started doing some investigating it was clear that that spot on the roof had leaked for years. The drywall and insulation were completely ruined. Morgan cleaned up the damage, which left a huge hole in our kitchen. And a renovation at a really inconvenient time. 



Flash forward to mid-April -- renovations have included {or will when we are finally done} removing the window, filling in the hole, replacing the drywall/insulation, replacing the door to the sunroom, new light fixture in the kitchen, new paint for the kitchen and sunroom, and new trim for kitchen. 



The renovations have completely thrown off our baby preparations. We can't move our tot school classroom our of our nursery until they are complete -- since tot school is moving into the sunroom. It's been a major source of stress for me with no obvious end in sight. It will be great when we finally finish, but its just hard getting there.

So, that's where we are at. Anyone else dealing with unexpected renovations this year? 

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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Fears for Baby Number 2

Nora's is going to be here in a little over two months! Every day that fact simultaneously thrills and terrifies me. Sometimes, I have these moments of "what the heck were we thinking!?"  We are finally getting a tiny bit of independence around here. Henry still doesn't consistently sleep through the night. He's more attached to me then I ever thought possible. But, I'm also so excited to meet Nora, and see Hen as a big brother, and baby snuggles! 


So, my fears for baby 2, which I hope you will all tell me are completely normal and will fade as soon as I meet the Wiggly-one... 

  • That Nora will be just like Henry as a baby -- I don't know if I can go back to months of colic, reflux, worry and high-needs. 
  • That Nora will be completely different than Henry and I'll have no idea what the heck I'm doing. 
  • I won't love Nora the way I love Henry. 
  • Baby girl diapers.
  • That Henry is going to lose it and completely hate the baby and me. 
  • Henry is going to smoother the baby with his love.
  • We're going to have problems nursing
  • I'll end up with a c-section. 
  • Henry will stop sleeping, and/or start having potty accidents
  • I won't be able to handle it all.
  • Morgan and I will never be alone again. 
  • I'll have to think about having more kids. 
I think that's it for now. Or all I can bare to list. I'm normal, right?!


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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Letter H Tot School

Letter H tot school was another one of those weeks where Henry just wasn't super interested in going up to school. I'm not sure why, sometimes the more I push, the more he resists, so I've been trying to take a step back. When he would work, he did seem to enjoy the trays. 

On the first tray was letter H hide-and-seek. I created a sheet with a bunch of letter H objects hidden among non-letter H things. Then I included a small bowl of hats. The goal was to cover the letter H objects with a hat. This was Henry's favorite tray for this week. He is very interested in knowing what letter an object starts with and he's getting really good at figuring it out. 



The second tray was a set of community helpers (from a Safari Ltd. Toob). Then, I made corresponding pictures of the helpers' hats. This was a good exercise in less direct matching and really good vocabulary for Henry. It led to lots of discussions about what type of work each helper does, in addition to what they wear.



The final tray was a repeat from the first time we did letter H. It was a set of pattern matching horse stamps. The goal was to find the stamp that matched the picture and follow the pattern. Some of the kids in co-op were able to figure out this tray, but Henry still struggled with it. 



Other things we did this week included: 

Geoboard: To make the letter H or other shapes and letters. This is always a favorite. 


Henry Spelling: Henry is getting really good at spelling his name, so this was on the easier side for him. But he needed to place the numbers in order, then match the letters to the numbers. 



Letter H sensory bin 


We also had a magnet board and the salt tray, but for some reason I didn't get any pictures of those this week! 

Tot School Montessori Monday
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Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Early April Blues

Yesterday was Elsie's -- our first loss -- due date. Had that pregnancy not ended in miscarriage, we would have a 1-year-old. 

It's crazy to think how much time has gone by since Morgan and I have held a baby of our own in our arms. I didn't blog about the due date for our fourth loss, but that also passed in March. I've been trying to focus on the beauty that is my baby bump and the wiggly little love growing inside me, but it's not always easy at times like these. 

I hate that seemingly happy times in our lives are still marred by so much pain and loss. I hate how much it still hurts to think about the babies we will never hold. I hate that this pregnancy has been filled with so much anxiety, worry, and distance.


I don't think that April 7 will ever be an easy day for me. I don't know why the first loss has been the hardest for me. Maybe it was that I was pregnant the longest -- carrying for well over a month? That we had an ultrasound? That it was the first? That it broke my pregnancy innocence? That it required a D&C? Whatever the reason, April 7 has come to embody our entire journey with pregnancy loss. 

I hope that Nora's eventual birth and life are healing. She is a true gift from God and the miracle that we never thought we would get. I wish that was enough for me right now. Maybe I'm terrible for it not being enough. Someday it will be, I hope.


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Monday, April 7, 2014

Letter G Tot School

Henry is 36 months old. 

This was another week where I expected Henry to really enjoy the activities, but that didn't really happen. I'm not sure if he is in the same late winter/early spring slump that I seem to be in, or if my ideas haven't been connecting with him, but it has been a struggle to get him to repeat his work.

On the first tray was a basket of Easter grass with some hidden letter g words. Then, a sheet to matching sheet to match them too. Henry always seems to enjoy the sensory aspect of this activity. But, I've come to the realization that it is just way too easy for him now. Sadly, matching only words is still too hard. He's in a weird middle ground now.


The second tray was by far Henry's favorite tray of the week. This seems to be the kind of matching that Henry is really attracted to right now. Here, I included all the uppercase sandpaper letters from the letters we have worked on so far {A-G} and a small object that starts with each letter. I thought this would challenge Henry a little, but he knew them all right away. He loved sounding out that initial sound. Several of the parents at co-op were also surprised how their child could sound out the object to match correctly.



The third tray was a counting tray. I made a set of garden cards with a different number of vegetables in each. The children could then match a number card to the number of veggies present. Some kids had the patience to count out the veggies -- Henry did not.



The final tray was a green object sorting tray. Henry liked this too, but refused to try the tweezers. Many of the kids were great at sorting with tweezers.



Other things we did:

Replanted our class plant to get a taste of gardening.


Letter G Sensory Bin


Gardening Tools 3-Part Cards: These were printed from Montessori Print Shop.


G Magnet Board


Letter G salt tray


Tot School Montessori Monday

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