Hello June!

Wow, how is it June already? It seems like the year is flying by!

June is the month of the Strawberry Moon, and I am so excited to begin this month! This month I think we want to really soak up the month, as I am not sure where April and May went to so fast!

Summer begins in June, and it always brings to mind that freedom and joy felt when you are a child, and the whole summer is stretched out before you like a blank canvas. Mornings of sleeping in, lazy days reading under a tree, chasing fireflies and playing tag, trips to the cool library on those really hot days, visits to the zoo and beaches and walks through shady woods. Peeking under rocks for bugs and just laying back in the grass, staring up at the clouds. Playing with friends and cousins and backyard cookouts and pool play dates. Summertime feels like freedom, and we lose that feeling so much as an adult, with all of our responsibilities of work, whether it is a work out of the home job or stay at home. But if there is one thing I have learned in the past few months, it is that time is short. We all only have so many summers and while we do have to take care of lives, and can’t live with the utter carefreeness of a child all of the time, we can incorporate some of that spirit into our everyday. Stop and take half an hour or an hour on a busy day to just be. To enjoy and savor your life. Make days just for playtime and family and fun days out. Try and make the most of these days. The other day my husband came home from work and although it was dinner time and we had lots of things we could have and should have been doing, instead we hopped in the car, stopped at a bakery for pizza rolls, and headed off to the marsh for a sunset. A spur of the moment dinner picnic. It was good for the soul.

This summer, we are planning on many trips to the library, little morning hikes, and lots of evening front porch sitting. We are enjoying gardening and the farmer’s markets that are popping up, and we are looking forward to many backyard bbqs and fires, chilled white wine, iced lavendar coffee, and of course, lots and lots of ice cream! Mint chocolate chip for Wyatt and Billy, chocolate for me. Wyatt also started adaptive swimming lessons which are fun, he loves being in the water. He also really loves to splash! I think the two of us are going to the zoo, and to a few farms around here together, and we are planning on going strawberry picking with my brother and his family, including Wyatt’s cousin L. But we are also seeking out just those quiet moments too, sitting in the grass on a blanket surrounded by books and cookies and lemonade. Iced tea parties and poetry. Lounging about in our pajamas on a lazy morning, eating pancakes and listening to music. (My son loves Down by the Bay and will sing along, quite loudly…) Dancing around the house to Prince and Van Morrison and Tom Petty and Eric Church. Spontaneous trips for ice cream for dinner.

We had our first outdoor evening, soaking up the beautiful weather, warm and breezy, at my brother’s house the other night and it was perfect. Birds singing their evening song, burger and hot dogs, chips, cold beers, and bubbles for the kids to play with. I am looking forward to many more this summer!

What do you love about summer? Do you have any favorite memories from when you were a kid?

Road Warriors

My husband is a bit of a bike fanatic.

He has at least four bikes, all for different purposes and of differing values. He has a fancy fancy Specialized bike, an older bike that he has made fancy with a special Brooks leather seat (or saddle, if you will), an old bike he fixed up to ride with Wyatt, and then a beach cruiser. I have an older bike as well, I just thought it looked cool sitting there all vintage-like. However, I am not a bike person. I am that person who is afraid of riding bikes. I am a bit nervous and not super confident of my biking skills, so I often do not go on the bike rides that Billy takes with Wyatt. But Billy always wants me to go, so when he requested a family bike ride for Father’s Day, I couldn’t deny him!

 

One of the parks near our home has a 6 mile ride that is closed to car traffic for a bit on Saturday mornings, so our plan was to go early before it got too hot for little man. After figuring out where to park, we slapped on sunscreen, hopped on our bikes, and hit the road.

It was a beautiful ride, smooth sailing, gorgeous scenery right in the middle of a city. A true greenspace. Wyatt thought it was hilarious that I was riding along with them, across from him. It was his first time seeing me on a bike, and he kept cracking up and waving to me. Billy and I soaked in the scenery, enjoying our ride. We went about three miles, and decided to turn around to head back to our car, to make our round trip six miles instead of twelve.

That’s when disaster struck.

Somehow, Billy and I got really close. And I panicked, thinking that my wheel was going to bump theirs, and cause them to crash. So, what did I do? Jerked my wheel harshly to one side, basically throwing myself at the ground. I was so afraid Wyatt would see me laying in the road, with the bike on me, and not want to go again that I jumped right back up immediately, despite some gross wounds.

Long story short – that effectively ended our pleasant ride. I limped my way over to a picnic table by an access road, while Billy and Wyatt finished their ride to the car and came to rescue me. I had time to check out my injuries and they were all pretty superficial, although they looked ugly. I did go to urgent care over one of them, a tiny wound on my foot from my pedal. The doctor was more interested in the gigantic bruise on my arm – he wanted to x-ray it to see if my arm was broken. I had to explain to him that my family just bruises dramatically. (and apparently, bike ride dramatically too..)

While I sat there waiting, I thought about all those huge falls the cyclists in the Tour de France take, and how they mostly just get back up and keep pedaling! They are some hardcore dudes, riding with broken legs (Valverde, if I recall did that in 2014, at least for a little bit), nasty sprains and breaks and gashes and fatigue and just in general, probably not feeling super. And they ride up mountains and over cobbles and through the rain and storms and hail. Past crowds booing them or cheering for them, getting in their way, on little sleep and still sore from the day before. I think people view cycling as kind of an easy peasy sport, but I think you need to be so tough, mentally and physically, to endure the Tour.

Speaking of, the Tour starts Saturday! I am so excited, I can’t wait! I am forever amazed by their intensity and drive, and then sometimes you get that break in their concentration, where you see a bit of their personality peek through too – I love those little glimpses. Every year I pick a different cyclist to root for, and I am still up in the air for this year’s pick.

Anyone else getting excited over it?

Phoneless and free

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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.

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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?

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Goals y’all. Lol.

 

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!

 

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.  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. 🙂 Ah. Toddlers.

 

Runny Noses and Roo

Last week passed in a flurry of Kleenex, chicken noodle soup, and Winnie the Pooh movies, with both the boy and me catching a wee bit of a cold. It seems like most of the country is sick with something right now, so I was unsurprised when we got the sniffles. Not happy, but not too surprised either. It made for days of cuddles, hanging out in the bedroom watching movies- lots of enforced down time. It sucked that we were sick, but as I lay there, I thought about how these little moments fly by so fast. In a month or two little man starts preschool, and while he will only be gone two days a week, for just a few hours, I am a mixture of emotions, from nervous to sadness. I have to admit, I got a little teary thinking about it! Listening to this song a million times over the course of the week probably didn’t help either..

I mean seriously Carly Simon. Could you pull the heartstrings any harder?

By Sunday we were well enough to go for a walk with my brother and his family – and the weather was wonderful, warm and sunny. Although waking up to a winter storm warning and blowing gales of snow on Monday was a bit weird. And felt sort of like betrayal after the weather we had experienced over the weekend.

Needless to say, my week was very slow paced. Lots of movies, lots of books and reading, and in between, I did a little online shopping. His doctor in charge of all his therapies and specialist visits wanted us to try leaving off his leg braces for half the day, and to really use them only for when we are specifically working on walking and standing. Wyatt only has shoes that fit over his braces, which are two sizes two big. So for the first time ever I got to buy shoes for Wyatt that fit his actual foot! It was pretty exciting for us, honestly. I ended up getting him Ikiki shoes – they look so cute! And they squeak! They are supposed to come today, and I am really looking forward to Wyatt wearing them. I think he is going to love them!

We also got his little play kitchen, which I am in love with. He loves to play pretend and we set up the cutest little area for him, with a table and chairs and a little kitchen with wooden dishes and pretend food. We have been limiting our outings so I thought it would help with being stuck inside a lot. If you follow me on any other social media, you have already seen this set up a million times, so I apologize for talking about it yet again! My biggest challenge is keeping our cats off of it! I love these stinkers, but wish they would stay off the table. Lol. (That is Miso by the way, our rescued Himalayan. She is a bit squinty, she and one of our other cats got into a “cat fight” over a seat on the chair the other night and she has a teeny scratch. She is ok though. Marlow is Wyatt’s buddy, the all gray cat – also a rescue)

This week and next are busy with appointments and thankfully, fun things too. I have book club tomorrow and Craft Night next week. I am ready to get out of this house for a bit, and relax with friends and a glass or two of wine!

 

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’s  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. 🙂

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?