Monday, January 20, 2014

for penny...

It never ceases to amaze me that this life which can offer us so much joy can also, in just the blink of the eye, hand us a giant serving of sorrow. This happened to my dear teaching friend Bethany two weeks ago when she lost her friend and coworker at Maine Mountain Children's House, Samantha Wright, to a tragic car accident.

This is the message Bethany sent me:

Hi Annie,
I have been thinking about you and I wanted to share something with you. My dear friend and director of my school passed away last Monday in a fatal car accident. It has been very sad and hard for our community as a whole (as you can imagine) but the saddest part is she is leaving behind her husband and her beautiful little girl Pennelope Quinn, who just turned 1 in November. The reason I'm telling you all this is that I introduced her to your blog after Penny was born and she has been an avid follower ever since. She creates new lessons for Penny each week and a lot of them are based on what you are doing with Elise. I don't know if you want to mention her on your blog or maybe come up with a neat lesson that a 1 year old would like, but if you do I would create it for her and bring it over to her house. Also, I will continue to follow you and make lessons for little Penny using your fabulous ideas and creativity. I just wanted to let you know just how far you reach and how your work effects a lot of people. Miss you annie. xoxoxo

I never had the chance to meet Samantha, but after hearing more about her these past couple weeks, I am sure she and I would have been good friends. My heart aches for her friends and family, especially her daughter, Penny. Good teachers like Samantha touch a lot of lives, so I am hoping that there is a strong community of people out there offering each other support. All my loving thoughts are with them! As per Bethany's request, here are a few lessons inspired by Penny - if you have any other suggestions of comforting activities for little ones, please share them in the comments!

 1. "I spy" tub:

Elise loved looking for objects hidden in our Halloween-themed "I spy" tub.  Include laminated photos of the objects, and this can be a matching activity, too!

Here's what you'll need:

2.  a box inside a box:

This is a special activity that Elise and her papa have been doing together lately.  Every night after she's gone to bed, he hides a tiny object inside the smallest box - a feather, stone, or some other little trinket.  Of course, the first thing Elise does when she comes downstairs in the morning is open all the boxes!  At first, she only opened the boxes; now, she is starting to close them, and nest them back together, too.

Here's what you'll need:

3.  smelling bottles:

Elise is always sniffing things - maybe it's because her big sister is a dog?  A drop or two of an essential oil like lavender or grapefruit on a cotton ball is fun for a little one to smell, and can lift up his or her spirit.  Place the cotton ball in an empty spice container to preserve the scent and strengthen fine motor control.

Here's what you'll need:

We love you, Penny!  You too, Bethany!!!  :)


  1. It broke my heart to hear about Samantha, and that her little girl and husband will now have to carry on without her.

    At the same time, this post encompasses all I love about blogging: a way of sharing not only ideas but also love and compassion. So let me say that I've been following your blog for a while and I really like it.

    My son, who turned one yesterday, is currently feeling very antsy because he's teething. I'm looking forward to trying these calming activities with him. Another one that I sometimes do with him is to sit him on my lap with a big box of tiny stuffed animals (hand-sized for him, essentially) and go through them one by one. Each one is named, we make its sound, and give it a cuddle. By the end he's usually all cuddly too!

  2. What wonderful tribute and kind comments. Amazing how the blogging world travels and touches others.

  3. I was very moved by your post Anne. You are an amazing person.

  4. A very sad yet beautiful post. I've been out of the blog world for a couple of years now but coming back to your blog and reading this first post has brought all that I love about it back. Thank-you for the box in a box in a box activity. My newly 2 year old will find it to be a wonderful addition to her day (especially if Daddy puts in the special little item)! Congratulations on your beautiful little girl, she is a lucky child!


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