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?

 

My YouTube obsessions

Lately, I have discovered the wonders of YouTube.

I feel like a tween. Or a teen. Sometimes though I want to just chill and veg but don’t have more than 15 minutes. And actually, they also have some pretty cool stuff for the boy too!

What I put on for the boy:

Sesame Street Celebrity Songs – Wyatt loves these. He constantly is signing “music, music, please” to us. I have to admit, I like these too..

Dave and Ava: These are also wonderful! Wyatt, who is working on gaining speech in therapy (and at home of course!) actually has started saying some of these words, along with the songs!

And then what I watch:

Zoella – I’m not into beauty or fashion really, but, for some reason I watch all of Zoella’s videos. I found her at Christmas, and loved her monthly favorites. And those were my gateway Zoella videos.

Clutterbug! I just found her stuff the other day and love it! I am so busy reorganizing and redoing our little house, and I love all her tips. I also discovered that Billy and I are butterflies. We are not messy, we just are trying to use methods that don’t work for us! And that is my story and I am sticking to it, thanks to Clutterbug!

Living Big in a Tiny House: I am fascinated by how creative these tiny houses are! I am in love with this one. So cute and adorable!

Little Book Owl: I watch a few book bloggers on YouTube, but Little Book Owl is my favorite. And if you read my book blog (Quixotic Magpie) she is the reason Billy and I read Nevernight, one of my new favorite books!

I’m open to suggestions too! Anyone have any recommendations? I would love to hear them!

 

Third Birthday Celebration

My little guy is three. Three! I can scarcely believe how fast these years are going by. It seems like just yesterday he was a tiny peanut in the NICU.

The day Wyatt was born was the coldest day of the year that year. This year, we had a severe winter storm alert the night before. Schools were called off, big snow, ice and just generally crappy conditions were forecast. We were disappointed since Billy had taken the day off of work for us to celebrate as a family. And when we got up, the weather was pretty nasty. But within the hour, it began to warm up, and thaw. And melt. Huge snow clumps were raining from trees and telephone wires and house awnings, like enormous snowflakes. The sky was blue, the air was not blisteringly cold, and there was no bone chilling winds. So, we loaded up with multiple coats and layers to prepare for the day and whatever it might throw at us, and headed out into the blue.

First stop was Tim Hortons. Our guy loves doughnuts, and as a special treat, we had doughnuts for breakfast. Wyatt devoured a doughnut with sprinkles, most of his father’s sour cream glazed, and then followed that up with a few bites of Timbit. Not his normal breakfast obviously, but a special birthday one. I had a giant coffee and my favorite chocolate dip. Billy had the remnants of the doughnuts that Wyatt didn’t eat. I guess I lucked out since Wyatt is not a chocolate fan. šŸ™‚

Once Wyatt finally stopped eating doughnuts, we set our sights north to the Detroit Zoo. We have a membership to the zoo, and we love it. One of the things we love most about it is that with a membership, we never feel pressured to “do” the whole zoo in a day, if we don’t want to. We can show up, walk around for an hour or so, just visit our favorite animals. We do of course visit all the exhibits some days, but most of the time we amble about, taking our time. And we love to go on weird off days, when we have it mostly to ourselves. And Wyatt’s birthday was perfect – almost empty, probably due to the fact that it was midmorning on a Friday, and that the weather had been miserable in the morning. Plus, you know, it is winter. Lol. So, we had the zoo to ourselves.

First stop was the amazing Polk Penguin Center. It is seriously awesome, with a 4-D experience to enter, like you are on a boat headed to the Antarctic, complete with day and night changes, storm simulations, and even a little rain and water spray. Wyatt loved that part, getting wet in the spray. He loves the penguins, probably because he can get face to face with them!Ā  That little trio of Gentoo penguins waddled on over to preen and show off and pose – the volunteer told us that the Gentoo are the friendliest and love to have their photos taken! If you want to see the penguins in action, you can check out their webcam feed.

From the Penguin Center, we headed further in, toward the River Otter habitat, one of our family favorites. This little river otter family is so delightful and entertaining, the way they zoom around, and play. We could stand and watch them for a long time, and we were the only ones there besides the volunteer for a good while. She shared some pretty fun stories, and the exhibit itself is relaxing, made of solid wood like you are in a cabin up north. It was a good moment, watching the otters play, in the brisk air, the scent of pine around us. We were so delighted by them we didn’t take photos!

Next we had planned to go through the Reptile house to warm up, but it was way too humid in there, and after being out in the cold, it was too much of a temperature change so we headed back out. At least the reptiles were comfortable though!

We decided to just walk a little further before leaving – the zoo is pretty huge and we didn’t want Wyatt to get too cold. So our last and final stop were the camels. Usually this family is sleeping or just relaxing all together on the ground, but today they were up and at ’em, super active. There was one right by the wall too, we could hardly believe it! They are pretty cute, especially the babies! Wyatt was entranced. He is usually a ham, posing for the camera (just like the Gentoos!), cheesing it up, but he couldn’t take his eyes off the camels to look at me long enough for a photo!

All in all, it was a fantastic visit, albeit short. Next time we will see more, the Red Pandas, the lions, the wolves, the kangaroos, the polar bears (our Nuka just got a girlfriend!). All favorites of ours. One thing I love about the Detroit Zoo is how many of their animals are rescues. They do such a great job, and while I don’t know the percentage of their animals that they have rescued, I do know that a great deal of them were. It’s definitely worth a visit if you are ever in the area!

We headed back home and had one of Wyatt’s favorite dinners – fish sticks and macaroni. The night sky even showed off for his birthday, with a clear sky and a giant brilliantly bright moon. My boy loves to be outside at night, stargazing, so this was the perfect ending to our day.

He was a happy little boy.

 

What Wyatt’s Reading

What

Reading is huge in our house. I grew up with my nose always in a book, and I read whenever possible now, even if all I have time for is an article or two online. My parents were readers, and now, my son loves to look through books and is always asking me to read them to him. We went to the library tonight and brought home a huge haul! He usually picks a few out, and then I pick some out. Do other parents do this? I can’t help it. I used to work in an elementary school library. I have favorites I want to share. Oh, I guess I answered my own question. We all probably have favorites to share!

Here’s what we checked out:

cecil the peteaster micegnomelittle white rabbitlittlest bunnyminerva louisemy gardenpeas

I did most of the picking out today…Wyatt was exploring the library with his dad, socializing and then looking for me in the stacks. I adore Kevin Henkes, so I had to get these two super springy looking books. And Little Green Peas looks adorable. And I needed to get some Easter ones too, right? Then Wyatt’s birthday is this weekend and his party is gnome themed, so let’s read a gnome book. And finally, Cecil. I saw it on the shelf and was intrigued. It does not look like a typical children’s book. So I checked it out. More for me than the boyo. And I read it immediately when we got home, while making dinner. (just spaghetti, but oh so good spaghetti! Ask me about this later)

I freaking loved Cecil, the Pet Glacier. Loved it. I need to own it. It is so wonderful and different and quirky and not typical, and that is exactly why I love it, and why it is so fantastic! I say read it. Go on, get it. So good.

So the spaghetti. Billy and I usually hate spaghetti, but Wyatt loves it, so we eat it. I have not ever made my sauce (I know, eek right?) which might be why we don’t like it? Although neither of us has ever liked it, even as kids when our parents did make their own sauce. So maybe not. Anyway. I bought Newman’s Own Tomato and Basil Bombolina sauce. It smelled amazing when I popped the top, like summer in a jar with all the basil. That alone was awesome. But then Billy did this trick that he learned on Binging with Babish, a youtube show about cooking. When the noodles were done (we used egg noodles, Wyatt’s favorite), we drained them, then added some butter, and mixed it up. Then slowly, Billy folded in the warmed sauce into the noodles. Finally, we topped it all off with freshly grated parmeasan cheese, and seriously, it was the best spaghetti I have ever eaten in my life.Ā  We both went back for seconds, it was so good. Never before have I enjoyed spaghetti. So thank you Babish.

And wouldn’t you know it? Wyatt hated it. šŸ™‚ Ah. Toddlers.

 

Hello 2018!

May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you're wonderful, and don't forget to make some art --

Happy New Year! I must confess, I am not the biggest fan of New Years. I usually find it is a melancholy day for me, saying goodbye to a year. It just makes me sad. But this year, I feel inspired. I feel inspired by all those quotes that say we have 365 days to make new experiences, 365 new chances. That we have a blank book upon which to write. To live our wild and to voyage our soul.

Neil Gaiman always writes the coolest New Year’s wishes. This is an older one, but it’sĀ  my favorite. I think it sums up perfectly, every year, what I hope for.

I don’t like to think of these as resolutions, but more like changes in my life that I would like. I would like more time with husband, the two of us. We very rarely go out and are usually home hanging with the boyo. Which we love, but we need to make time for us as a couple as well. This is the hardest change to make, as it is dependent on grandmas and their time, and I don’t like to ask too often, although I know they love the kiddo.

I also want to create more this year. I want to write more, go back to the stories I had started and never finished, write the ones in my head. I want to bake more, cook more. Learn how to embroider. My husband got me the coolest embroidery kit for Christmas, designed for beginners. I am so excited to try it out, but I am a total weirdo about Christmas gifts. I like to hoard them all together in one spot, and look at them, like some sort of dragon. So, soon, I will pick it up and work on it.

I want to learn Swedish this year. I have always loved learning new languages – in high school I took four years of Latin and a year of French, and in college I took Russian. I taught myself some Gaelic one year, through internet lessons. I don’t remember much of any of them, but then, I don’t use them either. I probably won’t use Swedish either, but I am currently fascinated by these Nordic countries and their culture and lifestyle, so..Swedish it is. Maybe one day I will move there, and it will be handy to know the language. šŸ™‚

I want to get outside more – I love being outside but we have some barriers to overcome to the outdoors. This year I plan to figure out how to accommodate my son’s needs to get him into nature more – firstly by figuring out how to use a back toddler carrier. Any suggestions? He has cerebral palsy with very limited mobility so he can’t help me, so when it is the two of us, I need to think about how to do it. I would front carry but he is getting so long, and I am so short! Lol.

Finally, I want more plants in my life. I think they just make a house more cozy, more magical. More something. I told my cousin this and she said that in Sims your room score goes up when you add art and plants. Lol. We have lots of art, but I need more plants. I am also currently addicted to throw rugs, which I have scattered all over the place right now. It’s been nice to have islands of warm and soft to retreat to, with our negative cold temps!

What about you? Any hopes and dreams for this year that you are willing to share?

 

Snow Day!

This is our season.

There is something so refreshing, so vitalizing about being out in the snow, in the cold. Feeling the sun on your face, the crunch underfoot the only sound you can hear. The crisp air, that seems so much fresher and cleaner in the winter.

We are bigtime fans of winter and snow, can you tell?

We used to winter hike all the time, even more than we did in the summer, honestly. But when Wyatt was born, we didn’t venture out as much. He was so small, born early and weighing a whopping 2 lbs 13 oz, he is still a little guy. But tough like crazy. He also has cerebral palsy, and while we are working on walking, he is not there yet. We are determined not to let this stand in his way, and want him to enjoy the winter as much as we do.

So today we bundled him up to the gills, popped him into a sled, and set off. And boy, did he have a blast! Big smiles on his face, mine, and his fathers. This time, laughter ringing through the mostly silent woods. We didn’t take a long walk, but long enough. Next time I will bring a scarf for his face, and we can go a little further.

The Norwegians have a word – friluftsliv, which means “free air living”. As different from hygge as you can get, which is about being cozy inside, friluftsliv is about living in the great outdoors, embracing the elements and nature year round.

This year, I want to embrace both concepts. Incorporate both into our lives. We don’t need to be exclusive. Some days call for cozy afternoons, snuggled up reading in the warm house, thick socks warming your toes, listening to a crackling fire, sipping a drink that warms your insides and soul. Other days, you need to move, explore the outdoors, to connect with nature and life and fresh air.

I just checked out a book from the library, There is No Such Thing as Bad Weather, which is part of the Norwegian expression, there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing. We did well on the walk for today, and now, we are enjoying some cozy time inside.

Friluftsliv meets hygge, the perfect blend.

Rainy Day Weekend

Lately, I haven’t written much here. I sit down to write, but first I usually scan Facebook. Then honestly, I get too depressed to say anything. My stuff just seems so trivial, so little in the scope of what is happening around the world and United States – devastating fires, hurricanes, earthquakes. Shootings. Where does my little post about what we all did over the weekend, or what I read, or what we ate fit. And then I thought, it is like everything else. We grieve. We try to make things better where we can. And we live our lives. That’s all we can do. So, I have gotten back to being me, being us. Celebrating life, this world and its wonders. Because amazing things happen amongst the sad – like that woman who biked her way out of the California fires, with her 70 pound dog in her duffel bag. That was some serious grit and determination, and love. All love for that dog. She wasn’t a big woman by any means, but she and her dog got to safety – on a bicycle. Like I said, just dang amazing.

Our family spent the weekend celebrating the Halloween season. It’s my favorite time of the year, and now with a two year old, I am even more excited about it. We started off the weekend festivities Saturday night, when we went to the Detroit Zoo Boo. It was rainy but not too terrible, and it did not stop us from having a good time. My son was all smiles in his adorable skunk costume, loving every minute of the night. I was soaking wet, but I didn’t care. (He wanted to be carried by his father so, dad got the umbrella with the baby. I really need to add another umbrella to my shopping list so we have more than one!) They had some fun entertainers at the end of the trail, people performing with flaming batons and magicians and bands and music – it was a good time. Plus, I got to eat some candy. Lol.

The next day we were off and running again, this time to the apple orchard, a time honored Michigan fall tradition. This is a Midwest thing I found out, or at least it is not a widespread United States thing, which makes sense. Going to the cider mill in the fall is one of my favorite things we do all year – and we had awesome autumn weather. Blustery, gray, windy, rainy – at one point my son and I were sitting on the wide front porch of the shop, eating donuts, when a crazy strong gust of wind practically blew us off of the porch. We just laughed in the face of that wind!

Before we had the boy, we searched for a cider mill without the gimmicks, and found our perfect one – Bennett’s Orchard. Simple, great prices, great products. There are no bounce houses, bands, or booths of vend, which is fine if that is what you like. For us though, it is all about the locally grown and made products. Pumpkins, jam, doughnuts, honey, popcorn, and .. for parents .. hard cider, made on site. By law they can only serve three tastings per person, so my husband and I got different flavors and tried each others, splitting them. We have different palettes apparently – he really liked the crisp apple that had strong cinnamon flavor to it, while I liked the more tart ciders. We both agreed though, that the elderberry shine was so good that we had to buy a howler to come home with us. Perfect for around the bonfire.

We had a great rainy day weekend, spent outdoors. Remembering what is important about life. Family, experiences, making moments and memories.