Wrap Up to the Weekend

The weather was, for the most part, glorious this weekend, with the exception of Saturday morning.

It was gray, cold, rainy and damp. It was awful. Billy went to the movies and left Wyatt and I to our own devices. And my devices believed we needed scones. I am not a person who bakes a lot, but my grandma baked all the time, everyday almost. And she was so good at it, turning out delicious pies, crumbly jammy tarts, cookies, and scones, just to name some of her specialties. I have never made scones myself, but I have eaten plenty over the years, and I spent much of my time growing up watching my grandma and then my mom make pastry. I felt slightly prepared, and the recipe looked pretty simple. I used a recipe online, I need to find my grandma’s for next time, although this one was very similar to hers.

scones

And they turned out awesome, if I do say so myself. Wyatt and I nibbled on those for a bit then later we took little man for ice cream, because it was a beautiful afternoon compared to the morning, and ice cream was required. And swinging on swings in the park, which we also did.

wyatt ice cream

This kid takes his ice cream seriously.

On Sunday we went to a vintage bike swap meet, where there were literally hundreds of old bikes. It felt so much nostalgic and buddy movie, like The Goonies or Now and Then or Stranger Things. There were many, many sparkly banana seats, banana seats with stripes, road bikes, dirt bikes, old bikes – like super old. There was an old Schwinn cycle truck, with a gigantic basket. And the cutest little kid bikes ever. We don’t know if that is  something that Wyatt will ever be able to do with his Cerebral Palsy, but you never know. We will just keep working hard, and maybe one day. If not, there are plenty of amazing adaptive bikes out there too, even bikes that are designed for someone to ride and someone to do the pedaling. So, there are many options.

I also loved all the different names of the bikes – I am not a bike person, so I don’t know all the terms. My husband does, he is a bike fanatic. So I will just call them the names. There were so many different ones! The Meteor, Stingray, Stardust, Phantom, Hornet. It was my favorite part, I think reading all these different names and kinds. We also saw tandem bikes, and unicycles, and really old bikes, like Penny Farthings. The sun was gleaming and shining like crazy off all the chrome and it was just a beautiful day, with the sun finally shining. We had a great time.

And seriously, isn’t that Lil’ Tiger adorable!!! The woman selling it told me that her son learned to ride a bike using that bike. And I love the addition of the training wheels and bat. So darn cute!

Back to the same old routine today – preschool, cleaning, work. Blah. But at least the sun is still shining and we had a great weekend. You can always look back on a happy memory for a pick me up!

Phoneless and free

black-coffee-caffeine-cell-phone-878236 (1)

On Sunday, my phone quit forever, dying the true death.

At first I panicked. Then I ordered a new phone through my service provider.

However, said new phone wasn’t going to be here until Wednesday or Thursday! That meant at least two full days without a phone, maybe more. This was terrible news! As a stay at home mom to a special needs child, I feel isolated a lot. I often feel like my phone is my link to the world, to other people, to social contact. I have a laptop, but it is hard to sit down and work on it right now with Wyatt so young. Wyatt and I usually have a pretty busy schedule of appointments too, and when at home we are hanging out together.  So, it’s not really in the cards. I do use the laptop when he is at school, like right now though.

Monday morning was rough. Then slowly, slowly, I found that I didn’t really care as much anymore about not having it. I felt a weight lifted actually – a certain freedom. I didn’t need to check emails or Facebook; my feeling of being really busy was gone, although, my to-do list never changed. I think on some level, having a constant connection to everything makes you feel you actually need to be participating at all times in your email and social media, even though we really don’t. We don’t need to answer an email as soon as we hear that ping. We don’t need to immediately respond to people on Facebook or Instagram. It can wait.

Ironically, I am also reading a book right now called The Nature Fix by Florence Williams. It is fascinating. Not a quick read for me by any means, there is a lot of neuro-talk and physiology and science, which slows me down a bit as I am not naturally inclined towards that realm of learning. But, I am loving this book and learning so much, nevertheless. It’s all about how nature helps you to heal, how it is healthy for you, emotionally and physically. Just five hours a month can improve your mental and physical health greatly. This book talks about how nature straight up affects your brain, how most of the time we operate “top-down” using our active brain and focus, while nature allows us to be “bottoms up”, to allow our brains to relax, taking away all that stimuli that makes us work that frontal cortex constantly. Williams mentioned a study that took place in Michigan about why drivers choose to take a tree lined scenic drive rather than a different route, even over the faster route. Or a study that showed that when recovering from an illness, just being near a window can reduce recovery time and amount of pain medicine taken.

bright-countryside-dawn-302804

I remember when Wyatt was in the NICU – I had been in the hospital myself for a month before he was born, then he was in the hospital for the next six weeks. It was a long time to be in a hospital. His incubator was always on the far side of the room, away from the windows and the light, and I started to get this feeling that if we were near a window and he could experience sunlight (muted of course, not direct!) that he would flourish. So when the next window spot opened up, I asked the nurses if Wyatt could be moved. And those sweet women did it, although it took a tremendous amount of extra effort on their part. And, a week and a half later, Wyatt was discharged. While I know that it was the hard work and care of his entire massive team of doctors and nurses that healed my son, I like to think that having a week in the sunshine helped just a tiny wee bit. I know that it helped me, being able to sit in daylight for a change, rather than shadow.

Honestly, this book has so much information that I found valuable and interesting. How our senses interpret nature, from scent to audio to visual. I highly recommend reading it!

Some alarming things I have learned: The average person looks at their phone 150 times a day. IPhone users spend 26 minutes more a day on their phones. There are less than a dozen places in the United States that are devoid of man-made noises and contain only the sounds of nature. As I write that sentence, I hear birds singing outside my window, some sort of power tools being used, and a car driving by on the street, my coffee maker beeping. My fingers typing on the keyboard.

Everyone has been saying to me, “Oh it must be so hard”, or “Ugh, that must be so annoying!” to not have your phone. But, it has become a little easier. Since I haven’t had it, I kept track of things I have done differently. My own tiny observations, if you will.

Our mornings have had a different rhythm. I feel more relaxed, not getting up and checking out what happened over night or checking my emails. I am on medicine for high blood pressure, and when I checked my BP this morning as usual, it was super low – 98/62!  I also feel I have more time. On Monday, Wyatt and I went to my brother’s house and hung out with my mom and my niece, the kids were playing and having fun while mom and I had tea together and chatted, where we would usually have a phone conversation. Williams said people are built for social face to face interaction, and it was much nicer for Wyatt and I, and my mom and Chickadee, to all be together for a while. It was really fun, actually. I took a nap when Wyatt did later that day too, which was pretty awesome. I have more time, and things are getting done that I haven’t had time for – which is sad when what was getting in my way was checking my phone! Wyatt and I spent some time outside too, in the sun listening to birds, and Wyatt even tried to imitate a robin’s trilling song. And I have been singing more in the car, now that I am not talking to people on my Bluetooth. I have also been able to notice how much time my husband spends on his phone, since I haven’t had one. It’s been enlightening. I feel like I have had a detox and honestly I like it.

On the other hand, I still need a phone. While I have felt more free, I have also missed a few really important phone calls. I also had to tell Wyatt’s preschool to call my husband first since I am unavailable by phone right now. My husband is at work and would have to chat me, which works but is not the best way to do things. I like to be available if I am needed in an emergency. Today is also my mom’s birthday and I can’t call her to wish her a happy birthday. So, I definitely need a phone. I just don’t need to be on it as much as I apparently was. I am going to stay balanced – I like this new feeling of not being as anxious, tethered, but I also want to receive calls and get information when I need it!

How about you? How often do you get outside in nature? Do you feel like you couldn’t exist without your phone?

bench-freedom-grass-258145.jpg

Goals y’all. Lol.

 

Let’s Begin the Season of Flea Markets!

I always joke with my friends that I don’t know how anyone finds anything at flea markets or garage sales or rummage sales. When it comes to that, I have no eye. I walk around and see things all spread out willy-nilly on a table and think “this is all just trash!”. Lol. Now, I know this is not the case. I am just not good at seeing things apparently for what they could be.

My friend Kelly however is a mad genius of taste and decorating. Seriously. Her home is beautiful, like something out of a magazine despite having a two year old. One day I will do a series on her house maybe – it deserves to be talked about. She has an innate ability to know what will look good where, what colors to use, and of course finding treasure at flea markets.

We are entering the season of these sales in our area, and we are all excited to start going. I love them, despite my innate inability to visualize new homes and lives for the things that people are selling. I am a curious sort of person, I like to see what people once liked. But this year, I am challenging myself to look beyond, and to see what an object could be. I am sure most of the time I will fail. But, I have been studying magazines like Country Living and HGTV for ideas, and to read about what other people do. And I asked Kelly what her magical secret is, other than it being her own natural creative talent. She told me I need to go in with an idea already, something I am already looking for. Like art for a specific wall, or a piece of furniture I need, or just a little something extra, but to have a plan.

So this morning Billy and I popped in spontaneously to a church rummage sale. I didn’t have a plan, but I did have an idea. We are redoing my office, and my “theme” is Michigan artists and writers – even if it was just for a brief time, like Ernest Hemingway. It was inspired by a postcard I found of the artists colony in Saugatuck in the 1920s, and I am pretty excited about it. So while we were poking around, I spotted something in a box on the floor under the table and was rewarded for my eagle eye nosiness.

A vintage calendar of block prints by Gwen Frostic! I was so excited. Gwen Frostic is a Michigan artist and poet. She even graduated from the same high school as I did! She moved north to Benzonia, just a few miles from where our family vacations every summer. And she loves nature, just like me. So I was super excited about my discovery! I couldn’t wait to show Kelly and Chrissy, who both validated my instinct.

We also picked up a bunch of other stuff – it was fill a bag for $1.00, so we threw more stuff inside. I added a small green Pyrex bowl for Chrissy, who has a collection. A grey cardigan that looks perfect for winter days writing or reading or exploring. A slate tile with a fox engraved in it from Wales (Trallong, Brecon). Billy added a small silver frying pan, an old fashioned ice cream scoop, some weird little silver pans that he said are used to poach eggs, and also an 80s era light blue Camaro t-shirt for me. Wyatt’s contribution to the bag was a roll of Christmas ribbon with Nutcrackers on it – we aren’t sure why, but hey, if he wanted it. He does love the Nutcracker episode of Daniel Tiger, so maybe he did know what they were. And then finally, an oval box with Christmas trees. That was a random pick up as we were walking to check out.

My husband noticed too, that the calendar from 1979 actually matches date and day for our current year – weird! So I can actually use it this year and then frame it at the end of the year.

So a pretty random assortment, but I feel like I got at least two or three pretty cool items! I am looking forward to what else we find this year.

What’s the coolest thing you have found at a flea market or rummage sale/garage sale?

April Book Club

Bottle of WineBook Club

Chrissy was our hostess this month, and the book we read was The Hideaway by Lauren K. Denton – and I loved it.

It was a full house this time, with all of us able to go. We all loaded up our plates with pizza and cheese and bread, filled up our wine glasses, and took our places in the living room, where we admired Chrissy’s new couch. It has a “cuddler” feature, which juts out just a bit more, making it so you can curl up with a book or a toddler or cuddle with your sweetie while watching a movie. It was very comfy! But made us all super anxious – we were all paranoid of being clumsy and spilling our pizza or wine on it! I don’t think Kelly set her drink down all night!

Whenever we get together there is the normal chatter, catching up on this and that and the other. We talked about our kids – over the years we have all become moms! We talked about Jill’s upcoming wedding, Chrissy’s plans for their house, Alyssa’s job; about our families, our pets. What we have been up to since last month. It was a gorgeous night out, spring might be finally here (fingers crossed, it’s been such a long winter!), so we had the setting sun behind us as we drank and ate and talked and laughed.

the hideaway

We finally arrived at the book. I loved this book, I read it so fast. It was one I read whenever I could get a chance, waiting to pick up my son, before bed, sometimes while brushing my teeth. I have to say, it was a little sad. The story begins with workaholic Sara Jenkins learning that her grandmother has died – a grandmother that she never really made much time to go and visit, a grandmother who raised her when her parents died, a grandmother who was her only family member. Sara reluctantly heads back to her small hometown, away from her life in New Orleans, which really isn’t much of a life, as she lives for work and not much else, for the reading of the will and to tie up loose ends.

Instead, she gets much, much more.

She learns so much about her grandmother, a woman who embarrassed Sara when Sara was a teenager because of her eclectic ways. Sara though, begins to know the woman her grandmother really was, and the story of their home, an old B&B that was no longer much of a B&B, aptly named The Hideaway. Sadly, Sara missed out on knowing her grandmother when she was alive, which made me a bit teary. Pay attention to your family while they are here, darn it! Don’t take loved ones for granted. Talk to them, learn their best stories.

The Hideaway itself was in actuality, a bit of a real hideway for Mags. And it made me think, what my hideaway would be like – not to go forever, but maybe a weekend. Or a place to go with my family, away from everything for a bit. I am a mountains girl – I am all about the foggy mornings and evenings in the mountains, looking out at a forest of old trees, the light streaming through the leaves. So for me, a perfect hideaway would be in the woods of the mountains somewhere, a cabin all cozy and snug. Chrissy is a beach girl through and through, so is Jill. Take those ladies to a beach house, a sandy spot with the sun warming them, and the salt heavy in the air, the sound of waves crashing, the water whispering at night.

My little niece Chickadee slipped down from the upstairs where my brother was hanging out with her while we were all there, and gathered up all her little toy horses to play. She also handed out My Little Pony toys to all of us to hang on to while we were there. I am sure her hideaway would be somewhere with “horsies” and trains, her current favorites. (She is a big fan of Spirit)

Then excitement! My husband called me to ask if I had heard and felt the rumbling – we hadn’t, I guess we were all enjoying our dessert of Turtle Pie too much. There had been an earthquake here in our area – very rare for Michigan! And it was a 3.6! I guess most of our area felt it, pictures shook, it was very loud and rumbly just a few miles further south. Book Club is a powerful force!

Then, all the excitement over, the wine drunk, the chocolate consumed, the chatting slowing down, the insanity of an earthquake, we headed on home to our families until next month.

So, how about you? How do you picture your hideaway?

Saturday Snapshot

IMG_20180309_112235

From earlier this winter – I stumbled across it today, and I still love it so much.

We had his cousin’s first birthday today, where we ate real cupcakes, and we gave her a tea set of her own. One that is pink and plays music, and is so adorable. I feel that there are many more tea parties in my son’s future!

 

SaturdaySnapshot

Saturday Snapshot is a weekly meme hosted by West Metro Mommy Reads.

What Wyatt’s Reading/Book Haul : March

What

I think this is really March part II, but oh well. Lol. Wyatt had a big book month! We are working on the 1000 books before Kindergarten challenge, which is fun for both of us! He absolutely loves books (like his mom!) This is what we read together this month, including books that he received for his birthday! (His own little book haul!)

 

Library List: Booboo by Olivier Dunrea, Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox, and The Very Hungry Caterpillar. (not pictured Punk Farm)

Birthday Book Haul: Happy, Colorful World: Farm and Forest, Five Stinky Socks, Peep and Ducky Rainy Day, The Little Artists Collection, Seasons, Lift the Flap What Are Stars, and Big Fish Little Fish.

Wyatt’s Favorites: While he pretty much enjoyed them all, he absolutely loved Booboo, The Little Artists Collection (which we have to take with us everywhere), and of course, Five Stinky Socks. To Wyatt, there is nothing funnier on the planet than stinky feet and socks. So that book is one we read over and over. And over. As long as he is listening and loving it though, I will read it as many times as he wants. And Booboo – Wyatt is working on developing language skills, and he immediately said Booboo after reading this book. And would ask for it to be  read again, by name! This was huge for us. Words and sounds are coming faster these days – reading is so good for developing speech, so we make sure to read at least a few books together everyday. We will meet that 1000 book goal sooner than we think!

And if anyone wants to know my favorites from here, I loved Happy by Emma Dodd, The First Sticker Book Nature, and Paul Bunyan. My husband and I love the tall tale of Paul Bunyan, his ox, and those giant pancakes. Happy just makes me happy! Such a sweet book, great for cuddling and reading before bedtime. And the sticker book is amazing! I was so impressed by how cool the stickers look honestly. It is very well done. And seriously, who doesn’t love stickers?

We are already hard at work (hardly work, more like) on our April reading!

Still Waiting on Spring

Michigan is still waiting for spring, it seems. Sometimes we get a sneak peek, but then it hides away again. Today is sunny – but also 24 degrees. I have strawberry plants that have arrived and want to be planted, but the ground is still frozen! For now they are living in the house, but I am going to have to come up with a new plan for these guys, my awesome Viking strawberries.

Yesterday was sunny and mild except for the crazy wind. The wind was biting cold when it slammed against you, but when it wasn’t stealing your breath, the day was actually not too bad. Our family celebrated the return of the sun to our area by heading downtown to Belle Isle and visiting the aquarium and conservatory, where we not only got the sun, but we also had humid temperatures, tropical plants, heat. It was wonderful, despite the fact that we were dressed for winter but walking through a greenhouse.

It was jam packed there – I am guessing everyone in the whole metro area was out enjoying the weather. We have had gray skies for too long! This whole state has a Vitamin D deficiency, as we wait for spring.

The garden was beautiful, full of green growing plants, smelling of earth and warmth. We saw a banana tree, a lemon tree, an orange tree, a pomelo tree. Cacti. A ginger plant, pink puffballs. Giant leaves bigger than Wyatt, delicate fronds, wispy ferns. A water fountain. Even signs that a cat lives there somewhere, but not the cat itself, although I would have loved that, and Wyatt would have too. He loves his kitties.

It was a nice day, that we ended with pizza slices from Supino’s, which has the most amazing pizza ever. It was Wyatt’s first time eating there, and he kept asking for more. Another fan is made. We stuck with the basics but I love their pizza with basil – I love basil anything. The slices are huge, thin crusted, so you can just fold them over and eat. But there is something about the crust, some taste, some deliciousness we can’t put our finger on – that is where the magic is. In that crust. We had a car picnic so I didn’t get any photos, but next time I will.

I feel inspired! This week we are going to start seeds indoors. Normally it would be too late, but with this delayed spring I think we should be ok.

How about you guys? Any thing in particular you like on pizza? Are you a thin crust person or a thick crust person?