Chit Chat Coffee Time

It’s been a week! Wyatt is finding his voice more and more everyday, and I am so thankful for this. Also, I was sort of unprepared for the onslaught of words and constant chatter! I was a quiet kid; I am a quiet adult. My husband was a chatty kid, and a chatty adult – it appears our son is like his father. And I am glad and thankful but some days, I just need to find some quiet corner and peace out for a minute. Fun backstory: Billy and I met in fourth grade, when we were in the same class. I was super quiet, never said a peep. Billy got in trouble constantly for talking. So, our teacher put us at the same double desk assuming that Billy might stop talking if he sat next to the quietest kid in the class. Didn’t stop Billy from talking to me, but I did get pictures drawn for me everyday in return. I wish I still had one of them! He also used to ask me for my lunch and being the timid kid that I was, I gave it to him. He never demanded it, just politely asked if I was going to eat my whatever it was that he wanted, and I handed it over.

Billy also treated himself to a critter – a ghost mantis. I was not super enthused about this critter actually, at first. I like bugs but outside, not in as a pet. Plus, I thought it looked sort of creepy. Then it arrived, and it won me over. (however the centipede that was in our bedroom yesterday made me run screaming..so still not a fan of all bugs..)

We have a terrarium all set up for it in my office but right now it is too tiny to go in there. I guess it wouldn’t be able to find it’s food! So for now it lives in a little glass jar with a mesh top. We named it Poe. When it gets bigger it will look like a leaf! I mean, I guess it looks like one now but it is tiny and hard to see.

I listened to a podcast the other day, Our Numinous Nature, where the host Philippe talks about being a person who gets excited about all the small things, all these critters and wonders of nature, and how sometimes you might feel weird but really who cares? As you can imagine, I identified so hard with this. And it is one thing I really want to teach Wyatt, to be curious, to look closely at the world around us, to ask questions. To not care what people think and just be himself. He will have a harder row to hoe with his disability, I know this, but I want him to feel proud and confident and feel free to pursue what makes him happy. And if he wanted to be an artist and nature writer when he grows up, I would totally support that… hint hint Wyatt. (I kid, I want him to do whatever he wants as long as he is happy and kind)

Speaking of art, my dad got him an easel for Easter and he got a chance to use it yesterday. We have been doing free paint Fridays together, and we are enjoying it. I put music on, we sit at the table, and we both work on our own painting projects. My brother has actually been painting with his daughter at night too, and I love this. Art, like nature, is something I always want to be accessible to our family.

Billy and I have been watching The Irregulars all week. It is so good, although the connection to Sherlock is very thin. In fact, it is almost basically a completely re-imagined world of Sherlock Holmes so far removed I wouldn’t even call it a Sherlock show. However, if you can look past that, and enjoy television shows that have paranormal/supernatural themes, then you might like it, because Sherlock stuff aside, it is a fun show to watch. We are also watching a lot of the YouTube channel Weed Em’ and Reap. I for sure want a goat now. Why are they so cute!! This family has a farm right in the middle of their suburb in Arizona and that blows my mind. My city won’t let us do anything cool like that. And they have a Luna too! They have other animals too, geese and chickens and pigs, but the main focus is definitely the goats. You can find them here.

Well, I better start getting ready for the day. I have to pick up groceries, drop off my niece’s birthday gift, and meet my brother at my mom’s to help pack up her house that we are getting ready to put on the market for her. Busy busy all day.

What have you been up to?

Homeschool: Duck Week!

I think we all enjoyed duck week around here! This was a request from Wyatt as this kid has loved ducks for just about his whole life. I also coordinate my niece’s homeschool right now, and my mom, niece, Wyatt, and I all had fun with this unit! There was just something so spring feeling about it, and let’s face it, ducklings are adorable!

We spent time talking about the anatomy of a duck, the life cycle of a duck, working on sequencing and patterns, then moved on to dabbling, diving, and domesticated ducks. I did not tell my niece that some ducks are raised for meat, she is super sensitive to that, so we just said that they lived on a farm. We played a duck matching game for vocabulary reinforcement, did a kindergarten “deep dive” on mallards, and discussed what ducks eat and their habitats. We also learned that ducks are waterproof due to an oil they spread out over their feathers – and then just when I thought Wyatt hadn’t been listening, he told his dad this fact. And we read lots of books and made a diorama!

Wyatt got a little overzealous at first with the nest building. Also, one of the eggs he put into the nest almost rolled into the pond area, which made me think of one of the books we read, I am a Duck.

And we all chose our favorite ducks! Wyatt liked the Cayuga and Red headed ducks, I liked the Khaki Campbells, my niece liked the fancy Wood ducks, and my mom liked the Mallards.

Overall this was a fun, easy, springtime unit! This weekend we are hoping to get to a farm to see domesticated ducks and a marsh to spot those wild ducks – so crazy they are, those wild ducks.

Resource Round-Up!

Duck Unit Study Guide by Stephanie Hathaway

Books That We Read:

(This section contains Amazon Affiliate Links)

Ducks by Gail Gibbons || Lucky Ducklings by Eva Moore || On Duck Pond by Jane Yolen || Ducks Don’t Get Wet by Augusta Goldin || Just Ducks by Nicola Davies || Duck, Duck, Dinosaur by Kalie George || I’m a Duck by Eve Bunting

Next week is a request from my niece, for flowers!

**Our theme units are always extra in addition to our regular curriculum from Blossom and Root**

Talk Nerdy to Me

If you have been around my blog before, you might know that I am a giant nature lover. I love science, I love nature, and this past year I have been doing a bit of a deeper dive on topics I enjoy. When I was in school, I always felt like I wasn’t “good” at science. And, depending on the type of ology, I wasn’t. I am just not mathematically minded; it comes a little harder for me. But that doesn’t mean that I can’t like it. I think that is a misconception a lot of us labor under – that if something is difficult then it is not for us. I have learned as I have grown older that this is simply not true. I have been reading more nonfiction than ever before, on all sorts of topics. I am listening to podcasts that teach me. I am putting in the time because I want to know more and understand more. And sometimes, our learning is more hands on, with getting out there and exploring nature, connecting with it personally – even bringing it into our home. The feeling this has given me is one of fulfillment and happiness- I am more content. I have always been a curious person, one who gets excited about the small things, and I am hoping that I am passing this on to Wyatt as well.

Anyway, my list! I have found some podcasts that I absolutely love, and here they are, in no particular order.

Ologies with Alie Ward: This is listed as a comedic science, and Ward makes listening to some of these topics more fun than one might think. She does use language that not all people would be comfortable with, but if this doesn’t bother you, this podcast is fabulous. I have learned so much! If it is an “ology” you might be able to find out more about it here! My favorites so far: Gluteology (BUTTS), Bryology (MOSS), and Lupinology (Wolves) (photo is from the episode about gluteology)

Our Numinous Nature: This is a new favorite for me, but it was an instant favorite. One episode in, and I was hooked. It is described as “a collection of reverential stories about nature & its effect on our souls. We’ll be hearing from folks with a deep connection to the natural world, from herbalists to hunters, wildlife rehabilitators to trappers, artists to homesteaders… The hope is to weave together these disparate lifestyles through tales of profundity, love, and awe. Find a comfy log and join us at the sonic campfire.” I am so in love with all of this. And I have lots of thoughts. The diversity in this podcast makes me happy, as this world is not so black and white, there are many shades of grey. The episode that hooked me: Herpetological Spring with Caroline Seitz, a Wildlife Educator

The Critter Shed: Another no-brainer for me, as I have been slowing adding critters to my own home. This podcast is about “leggy things like spiders, frogs, scorpions, newts and more…. In a shed!” So if you like creepy crawlies and little critters and more, then you need to check out this pod! My favorite so far: Snail Tales in “the Love Shack”

Nature’s Archive: This one takes a look from a different perspective – not only are these people experts, they are people actively working on making changes and an impact upon our natural world for the better. It is very inspiring!! I just started listening to this one, so I haven’t heard too many but my favorite episode so far is The Pollinators Posse on Monarchs

Earth Rangers: This one is for kids, but I love it too! Wyatt and I listen together and I love how they present the information in a fun, engaging way for kids. I will turn them on sometimes just randomly in the afternoon, and we listen as we go about doing other things- cleaning for me usually, and playing for him, but then other times I use them to accompany different unit studies we are doing. Wyatt’s Favorite Episode: Big-Eared Bats, and Big Cat Countdown

Do you listen to podcasts? Any science or nature favorites in your playlist? I would love to know!

My Sunday-Monday Post

My Sunday Post is hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer
Sunday Salon is hosted by Deb at Readerbuzz
It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is hosted by Kathryn at Book Date

This past week was pretty non-eventful, like most of our weeks these days. I do see more adventures in our future as the weather warms up though, and I am looking forward to them! Billy got his second vaccine yesterday, and I get mine tomorrow. Between that and setting up my new shelf unit in the office as the highlights of my week, we are pretty exciting around here. I’m looking forward to getting all my art on the walls now! Also, notice the small terrarium tank on the bottom row – Billy treated himself to a new creature. A ghost mantis. It is en route to us, and Billy is super excited. I joked with my dad the other day that maybe by the time everything is back to normal I can line up a new job – I can take all of our creatures to schools for small assemblies.

Read Last Week:

I’ve been soaking up the goodness that is this book. I just love it so much.

Reading Next Week:

I started Skymeadow and while it is really good and entertaining, I think I need a little break from nonfiction. I will probably continue to read it over the next few weeks. In the meantime I will finish up Watership Down and then start The Nature of Witches.

Posted Last Week:

Chit Chat Coffee Time

Currently..April

Day Out in Detroit

A Pretty Perfect Day

Watching:

We watched The Pembrokeshire Murders on Britbox this week, and it was excellent! We also watched a few episodes of Father Brown. We have already watched them a few times but I guess I really love Father Brown. Wyatt is watching Wild Kratts, Peppa Pig, Sesame Street, and Molly of Denali these days.

How about you all? What is going on in your corner of the world?

Chit Chat Coffee Time

Good morning!

This week felt so long for some reason! By Wednesday I felt like it should be Friday and it is not like anything went wrong or crazy or anything, it just crawled along to the weekend.

Tuesday we met Wyatt’s new physical therapist. We were so sad to say goodbye to Stacy, who had been part of Wyatt’s team since he was a year old. I was nervous about meeting a new therapist, honestly. We had previously had a poor experience, before Stacy, at a different facility. Wyatt and I would leave in tears every week, they just didn’t “get” him there and didn’t believe in him. I heard things like “Well this might be all Wyatt is capable of” from them all the time, which for a child under a year old I felt was really short-sighted, considering their entire job was to encourage him to do more, to teach us how to help him, to help him themselves. I wasn’t accepting this – I wasn’t giving up on him before we had even tried or gotten started! I switched therapy centers and the experience was night and day. Every single person at his facility now has all of Wyatt’s best interests at heart, always. They genuinely like him. They advocate for him, believe in him, and have done so much for all of us honestly. They changed our lives. So it was so hard to meet someone new. And – we love her. She immediately made us both feel at ease, and had Wyatt giggling within minutes. I feel so relieved. And while we will miss Stacy, Hannah is going to be a wonderful new therapist for Wyatt. I can tell.

Billy gets his second vaccine today! Living in Michigan is a little nerve-wracking right now, which if you watch the news you can see we are exploding with the virus. Our entire state is red on the map and listed as extreme high risk. My county is averaging about 900 new cases a day right now alone. So, the small steps we were taking to go to stores, etc has been put on pause for us. We are still seeing my brother and his family and my mom in outdoor situations, because they are locked down as much as we are, but no more indoor anythings for us for a bit, unless it is needed. (therapy, work, and crickets for the lizards basically – I can’t get them curbside) And then I get my second vaccine on Monday. We have basically zero plans for the next four days – we figured we would take it day by day. Everyone we know has had very mild side effects after the second shot, if any, so fingers crossed and all the prayers we follow suit. But we plan on just laying low and probably just hang out around the house.

We watched The Pembrokeshire Murders on Britbox this week and it was amazing. We thought it was so well done! The actors were superb, we were riveted to the story, and neither of us even glanced at our phones during the watching. (which we are both guilty of usually..) If you have Britbox I highly recommend it!

Speaking of television, which streaming services do you all watch? I feel like Billy and I switch them up all the time, but we always keep Britbox and Netflix. Although we honestly watch Netflix the least. We have had Hulu, Disney, Acorn, off and on. Currently we have Netflix, Britbox, and Discovery+ and I have been binging lots of TLC shows like Sister Wives and HGTV shows like Beachfront Bargain Hunt and the lake house version too. We don’t have cable and we stream everything, so it was nice to be able to watch these shows again. I was hesitant about keeping this service at first but now, we are keeping it, at least for a bit. I guess I should add we have Amazon Prime but we would have that anyway.

Little Luna is doing well! She seems to be recovering from her problems, and is eating and active and even growing, which is great news. If you look under her belly in this photo it still looks dark, which usually means an issue. We have decided since she is doing all of the things that she needs to and it is has been three weeks since we got her, that she might just have translucent skin there, more so than Harry. So, good but also, yuck? We also have decided that she is a mack snow morph leopard gecko. There are a billion different morphs, like pokemon. (but we are NOT going to try get them all, despite appearances otherwise lol)

And.. I hear my kiddo getting into something that I should probably go check on. I will stop here this morning – I hope you all have a wonderful day!

Currently…April

It is time for Anne In Residence’s monthly Currently post where we answer one word prompts about different things we are doing and feeling. I always love the insight I gain from these, taking inventory of my own life. This month we are looking at what we are arranging, craving, discussing, enjoying, and preparing.

On with the show!

Arranging: Safe mini getaways for the summer, fall, and even next spring! My brother and I were texting all day the other day about a spring 2022 trip to Chincoteague Island with our families, our mother, and my sister-in-law’s mother. I even started looking at vacation rentals! We have a private campsite reserved already for June (the only campsite there, and on a vineyard!), and I hope to rent one of the “Getaway” cabins for August, then in the fall, a possible camping trip to northern Michigan.

Craving: Longer days, more sunshine, nights by the fire with family, outside get togethers with friends.

Discussing: small adventures, possible road trip field trips for next school year (already thinking that far ahead!), our plans for the next two rooms we are going to “refresh and redo” – our bedroom and the family room!

Enjoying: All the green growing things, from the plants I started from seeds indoors to the bulbs that I planted in the fall starting to bloom!

Preparing: Our garden beds! I hope that in two weeks we will have them all ready to go.

Day Out in Detroit

It has been so so long since we have been to Detroit. We used to go all the time, every weekend, hanging out with friends, trying all the cool new restaurants and bars, just enjoying the city. After Wyatt was born, our nights in Detroit became days downtown, with the rare date night out. But we still were always there, enjoying the museums and parks and sometimes just driving around. Since COVID, we have been missing our usual haunts and routines. On Saturday we took a distanced trip to Detroit, not stopping anywhere necessarily but checking out some of our favorite spots, crossing our fingers that they were surviving. And we were happy to see that most were doing well!

We started out easy – Belle Isle. We spend so much time here, driving around, visiting the museums, the nature center, hiking around the island. We were so excited to find a field of daffodils! It was a windy day, a bit chilly, but that did not deter us from getting out and grabbing some pics. (note: we did not pick any flowers, that one was laying there already)

Next stop was Avalon for cookies! Billy went in and picked out two cookies for each of us, plus a turkey sandwich with pesto for us to split. We happily ate in the car, watching the people go by. (Avalon by the way, did an excellent job with safety- only 4 in the store at a time, masks, gloves, the whole shebang) Everything was absolutely delicious!

After that we just drove around, no particular destination, just enjoying the day and our time together. We did drive by the restaurant we have designated as our first restaurant we will go out to when we can – we are dreaming of chips and salsa, margaritas, Mexican food, not at our dining room table but out. With people. Mexican Village, we are looking at you…

Eventually we headed home, but it was a good day. An easy day, but a good one. Detroit, hopefully we will see you soon!

A Pretty Perfect Day

There is nothing I like more than heading to the woods on Easter morning. And we had a beautiful morning for our hike! But first of course, Wyatt had to find his Easter basket – and when he did, he promptly ate a Reese’s Peanut Butter egg, just like his mother always did. They are the best! Just try and change my mind.

We grabbed coffee and granola bars and hopped in the car, the sun shining, the grass a vibrant green, the sky so blue. Nature was showing off it’s beauty for sure. The roads were empty, and we had the woods to ourselves too, with the exception of all the little creatures that live there.

There is a peace to be found in the woods, even with a six year old. The quiet of the morning, the only sound that of the birds singing their morning songs, and the woodpeckers tap-tap-tapping on the trees. Wyatt loves to listen for the woodpeckers, I think they are his favorite. I love them too. And yesterday, we had a rare spotting! A pileated woodpecker! I have been looking for one for ages and then yesterday, there it was! They are uncommon in our area but you will occasionally see them if you are lucky. And yesterday was my day! I was so excited. I tried to get pictures but I only had my camera phone so they are not the best. We actually saw two, I am sure they were a mated pair.

We also stumbled across bees that we called dirt bees, but after some googling I think they are called Mining bees. I could be wrong though.

On the way home, we stopped to listen to the spring peepers.

Then in the afternoon we just relaxed. We had two driveway visits but for the most part we just chilled out for a few hours before ordering dinner. I decided that this year since it was just the three of us we were going to order Middle Eastern, one of our favorites. I had rice almond salad which is so darn good, hummus, and of course, hot bread. Wyatt loves the bread too, but otherwise he stuck with chicken fries.

After dinner we went to my brother’s for a fire, and hung out with them, my mom, and my SIL’s mom. It was so nice, especially after a long winter inside and not really seeing anyone. The kids played in the yard, the adults drank their adult beverages around the fire and talked and laughed and it was so so nice to be with family again. By the time we were ready to leave, both kids were covered in dirt and chocolate – pretty much the perfect ending to a fantastic day.

If you celebrate, what did you do? If not, how was your Sunday?

Chit Chat Coffee Time Post

It’s a pretty good Saturday morning. I have a fresh cup of coffee, the sun is shining through the windows of my office, cats at my feet, and I can hear my husband and son singing along to “their” song, Starting Over by Chris Stapleton. They sing it together every morning and then again when Billy comes home from work. It is pretty catchy.

My break week started with more work than I had planned but then ended much better. I actually spent a lot of time running around getting things done that needed to be done. Our lease was coming to a finish so we needed to work on that, but me being me, I could find the registration for the Jeep for 2018, 2019, then couldn’t find anything more recent and it took me a while to locate it. I was finally victorious though and we traded the Jeep in for ..the same car. Another Jeep Compass, black. I just didn’t want to deal with anything else right now with the pandemic numbers rising in Michigan again so I just went for easy.

Anyway – before we picked up our new car, Wyatt and I wished bon voyage to our old Jeep with a McDonalds car picnic, with chicken nuggets and french fries and Sprite – because fountain pop is the best version. Then it was goodbye old Jeep, hello new one! And look, my new one had a hidden little fun thing – a gecko under the windshield wiper! It was meant to be..

We did do some fun things though this week! We had a small playdate with my niece and my mom one day, we were testing the waters of expanding our bubble. Right now we kept it short and we all wore masks but hopefully by the beginning of next month we will be able to loosen up a little bit. My brother and his wife are going to keep pretty locked down still so we will be able to have Wyatt be with them, hopefully maskless is the goal. And we are going to allow grandparents visits with masks for now, but this is a big step for us! Wyatt is on the high risk list so we still need to remain vigilant and safe. But the two kids had a blast, giggling and laughing and playing hide and seek.

Then yesterday Wyatt and I finally had our painting party! He loves to paint, and we don’t get to do it as much as he wants. So yesterday we spent a good chunk of time just having a blast painting. I got a book for Christmas that is supposed to teach you to watercolor, so I played with that a little and painted this fern! It is designed to teach technique and color mixing and has the picture faintly outlined for you to fill in following the directions. It was fun and I feel like I did learn from it!

Our menagerie is also doing well. Our new addition Luna is growing which is good and we are down to one gecko bath a day, rather than two. Here is my little family of lizards… Harry playing at being a jungle gecko, Dash, and Luna taking a little bath.

Today I think we are going to play a bit in our garden. Tomorrow we are going for a hike and ordering Middle Eastern for dinner, before meeting up with my brother, mom, and my SIL’s mom for a fire at their house. The first of the year, and I am so excited!

Happy Easter to all who celebrate, and have a great weekend friends! How is your week treating you?

Etsy Artists – For the Love of Rabbits

Spring is here! That might be a bit optimistic of me to say, as we had snow all day yesterday, just flurries, but it is bone cold. However, it is spring. I am going to keep saying it until it is real. And if you have hung around here long enough, you might remember that I reread Watership Down every spring. And that I love rabbits. And that I would love to add a rabbit to our family but I don’t because cats. So I enjoy the rabbits I see outside (I still get so excited every time I spot one!), and also, add them into our house in different ways…mainly through art and books and jewelry.. and I love the work that these Etsy artists have created!

(Contains Etsy Affiliate Links)

Rabbit Art Print by artist FainaLorah – I am having a having a hard time deciding on which print to get for the office! I have found so many I love, including this one. I just recently purchased a fox print from this same artist, and it is absolutely gorgeous. I am in love with this one as well – her work is just so rich in color and whimsical, that it makes me happy to just look at her pieces.

Watership Down by RivuletPaperCompany – But then, this one is pretty amazing too. And Watership Down is my favorite book of all time. I am thinking maybe both? This one is smaller and would work on my bookshelves..and I am pretty sure I just solved my problem!

Rabbit Lover Watercolor by Alanna Cahill – I love the simplicity of this painting, and the story behind it is beautiful as well, about how animals help people to heal. This one shows life returning to the woman as she holds the rabbit, and is intended to convey comfort and healing and love.

Six Rabbit Notecards from Alex Boon Art: From his Lapine Botanica series. These are gorgeous! They are notecards but would look beautiful all framed together, either as three or five. And then save a few to use, if you can part with them. (also available from this store are downloadable coloring pages from the same series, which I thought was cool)

Bunny Earrings from SeedandSky– I don’t normally wear a lot of jewelry but these earrings are just so pretty! I love how springtime and little and delicate they are.

Fern and Rabbit Terrarium Necklace by Ragana Handcraft – I love this unique piece that combines both rabbits and plants – two things I adore! Wyatt actually really likes this one too- he is sitting next to me today as I type and he commented oo mama when this was up on the screen. I have to agree Wyatt. It is very ooo!

Listen to the Moon pendant from Silver Wishes – I actually have this piece, Wyatt and Billy gave it to me last Mother’s Day and I am completely in love with it. I haven’t taken it off since I opened it up. Billy had it engraved to say “My son needs me” on the back – he said the rabbit’s alert posture made him think of me. I wanted to include it since I love it so much.

Teeny Tiny Bunny Knitting Pattern from Dot Pebbles Knits- What is this cuteness! It makes me wish I could knit but I lack the concentration, patience, and coordination. This is just so adorable!

Geometric Rabbit Etched Glass by Ausome Printing – Maybe I should start a collection of animal etched glasses, since we bought otter glasses for Valentine’s Day. If so, these are next on the list!

Hare Notepad by JoJo Stockdale – This is a definite for sure on my wish list. I think I need it to take on our spring and summer picnics!

Hare Cup by JadeFlower – I think these are so adorable! I might have to get one for the kiddo. He would love it; he says he loves rabbits too. But then the fox and owl are so cute too…

And wow that list got long fast! I didn’t include everything on my rabbits and foxes Etsy Favorites list, but if you are interested you can check that out here.

Do any of you have favorite animals? Or something you collect? I would love to hear!