What Wyatt’s Reading: April Wrap Up

What

April in Michigan is usually pretty crazy weather wise – this April was seriously the weirdest that I can remember! In ten days, we had a snowstorm, rain, hail, an 80 degree day, and even an earthquake! That last one was just for additional proof that nature goes nuts in Michigan in April. Lol. So for Wyatt’s reading we focused a lot on weather books. It is not all we read about, but we did do a lot of springtime weather books. And then turtles and fire trucks and ducks and bugs because he likes those things, they are some of his favorites.

 

  Wyatt really loved Raindrop, Plop. I had to read that over and over. He also loved BooBoo, another favorite. I loved Here in the Garden, it was an absolutely beautiful book about loss and how someone you love can stay with you in all the memories you have together. But be prepared, I cried every single time I read it!!

 bug hotel

Which brings us to Bug Hotel – Wyatt’s favorite book of them all. I have read this countless times to him and he plays with it independently as well, since it is lift the flap. I have taken it with us to restaurants and out visiting friends, and it completely occupies him. He loves it so much I bought him a bug hotel of his own! I am not really looking forward to seeing bugs all the time, but I know they provide important services to our planet – except ticks and slugs. What do they do, I want to know. Lol.

And if any of you have kids that watch Spirit, that little horse there is Chica Linda, who is apparently Wyatt’s favorite horse too. Lol.

How about you? Read any good kids books lately?

Gearing up for Storm Season

Spring has arrived, and everything seems to be coming back to life. Birds are chirping in the trees, green shoots are emerging from the earth,  the sun is shining brightly in the morning.

However, spring in Michigan also means storm season has arrived, with severe storm and tornado watches and warnings. My dad works for disaster services, and has volunteered for the Red Cross for years and years. His prepper mentality has rubbed off on me over the years, and while I am not quite to my dad’s level, I am trying to be more prepared for what comes our way, especially with a toddler who I want to keep safe at all times.

So with my dad’s input, I put together a small Stormy Day Kit. The helmet is all my dad’s suggestion – I would never have thought that. He pointed out to me though that so many people are injured during tornados due to flying debris in their home that a helmet is a must, at least for Wyatt. Many times cities or organizations have bike safety awareness events in May, and often they hand out free helmets to kids. Keep an eye out for one of these events, and maybe you can score a free helmet for your safety kit. Or for your child to use while bicycling if they don’t have one already! The one in my picture is the one we put on Wyatt for bike rides or when he is outside in his gait trainer, but I hope to pick him up a spare at a bike safety event this month.

My Stormy Day Kit

First and foremost, a weather radio is a must. I really liked this one by Esky. It is small, easily portable, charged by a hand crank, charges your cell phone, and is solar powered in case you want to take it camping or hiking even. It’s water resistant, has an extra flashlight for you, and has AM/FM/WB stations. We just leave ours tuned to the weather band though during inclement weather.

Flashlights, extra batteries are a given and easily added, and a first aid kit is another necessity, although one hopefully you never have to use, except to maybe  steal a Band-Aid from. (although if you do, replace it!) I got this one at Target for less than five dollars! I am probably going to pick one up for my car’s summer adventure kit too.

Non-perishable snacks and water are a good idea, in case you need to take cover for a while. I also added bubbles to help entertain Wyatt, since I wouldn’t want to run my phone’s battery down too much. I will probably also add a book, and some crayons and a coloring book as well. And since he is still a little guy, a diaper and wipes. You never know right? Kids need a diaper change at the worst times usually – just ask my friend Kelly! An extra phone charger to keep with your kit would be a great addition. Best to have all the chargers in my opinion. If you will need medication, remember to add that in as well, either add in some extra if you have it or grab it on the way to sheltering in an emergency. I also threw in some hand sanitizer, because I always have it with me. Lol.

I also have two fabulous apps on my phone – Code Red and the FEMA weather app. Both are free and will keep you up to date on any emergency situations. Code Red actually alerted us to a hostage situation that was taking place nearby, where a man with a gun had barricaded himself into a building. We hadn’t been watching tv or anything, so we had no idea that it was happening. It really didn’t affect us, but it was a good thing to be aware of. Basically, it made me go check to see that all of our doors and windows were locked. So it was good to have. I will add though, that they do seem to notify me a lot, especially the FEMA app. I don’t know if there are settings I can adjust but it is definitely something to be aware of, especially if that is something that will affect your phone plan and charges.

Your own stormy day kit can be personalized and customized to fit your needs and your family’s need, based on age of kids, no kids, pets, and geographic area. For more ideas, check out Fema.gov and Ready.gov and to just learn more about how to safe this spring and summer. They have all the instructions on what to do during all sorts of weather – they are the experts! I am not a professional or anything, just a person who tries to be prepared and organized. (tries, being the key word!) And that reminds me- I am going to add a whistle to my stormy day kit.

Please make sure to do the research necessary to keep your own family safe – these are just my ideas and what I have in my own kit as suggestions and to get you thinking about what you need for where you live and for your family. A starting off point, if you will. If you do end up making a stormy day kit, I would love to hear what you learned from your research and what you added to yours!

 

P.S. This is not an affiliate post! 

storm kit

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?

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?