Closing the door on April

April was for the most part, a cold and rainy month. But it is a new month, and a new moon, so here is to hoping that April Showers do bring May flowers, because I am so ready for those lovely colors to be popping up everywhere!

Last weekend was the last weekend in April, and we spent the majority of it outside. The first nice weather really this spring and we were making the most of it. Saturday we spent messing about in our small garden, trying to get things ready for planting, and admiring our new blueberry bushes and cherry tree that we planted. Midway through the day we took a break to drive into the city for a bike garage sale at Back Alley Bikes, which is a non-profit that works on bikes with kids and volunteers fix up bikes that people donate which they then sell cheaply to raise money for their mission. They also will give a free bike to any kid over the age of 5! The last Saturday of the month they have a garage sale where they sell off some of their fixed up bikes and my husband who is a bike nut wanted to go take a look at the bikes. So we did, although I was not really super interested as I am not a great bicyclist. So, it was to my surprise that I fell totally in love with an old bike from the 70s, a Sears and Roebuck Free Spirit, red. My husband had attached our bike rack just in case, so we paid our $50 and headed home. It was getting a little cold and dark by this time so I didn’t get a chance to try it out, but I am looking forward to giving it a whirl. Although, that might be a while…

Sunday we got up early and decided to visit Belle Isle. The sun was shining, and everything was almost technicolor in it’s beauty. We drove around, then got out to look at the conservatory, the gardens, and the koi pond (which freaked me out- did I mention I am weirdly afraid of fish?) I took a billion photos, one of which the Belle Isle Conservatory actually shared on their own Instagram page, which was pretty cool!

These were all taken around the koi pond. In all the times we have visited, we have never walked around in here!

After we had explored to our heart’s content, enjoying the beautiful tulips everywhere, we got back into our car to visit my mom for her birthday. We had a lovely visit complete with ice cream cake, and then as we were getting in the car to go home, I had a bit of an accident. I was putting stuff in the back of the Jeep, and when I shut the back hatch door, which swings up, I forgot the bike rack was still attached. And slammed it down on top of my head. It was instant searing pain, and an instant enormous goose egg on my forehead that my husband wouldn’t even let me look at. We went to the ER where they decided I was ok, but told me as I left that it was going to get really ugly…and they were so so so right. Even as I sit here now typing this 6 days later, I still have two black eyes, a bump on my head, and bruising down my cheeks to my mouth. I spent most of my week laying as low as I could, taking care of Wyatt but not doing much else. For a few days I couldn’t even really read due to swelling, although ice packs every twenty minutes one day took care of most of that. (thank goodness for moms who will take care of your kiddo so you can put ice on your eyes) I’m feeling and looking a lot better, but it was not an experience I ever want to repeat again! So a little PSA for you all: when you take the bike off the bike rack of your car, take the bike rack off too, if you are not someone who uses it a lot!

How about you all? How did you spend your last days in April?

Spring Break Staycation

Last week was my son’s spring break from preschool, and for the first time in a very long time, Wyatt and I found ourselves looking at a week that didn’t have any doctor’s appointments, therapy (usually three times a week), school, or even work for me, as my boss (and cousin lol) was on a family trip for their spring break. I had planned at first to work on some potty training for my little CP warrior since we had all week to do it, uninterrupted. But, this kid works so hard, you guys. So hard all the time. So, I changed my mind. I was taking advantage of this wonderful gift of time, and letting Wyatt just be a kid.

We spent a lot of time outside – the weather was amazing, spring making its way to the Mitten state, finally! We took lots of walks, had picnics in the yard, ate lots of ice cream, practiced pedaling on the tricycle, and just lots of “play momma, play”.

We also went on a “zoofari” together. We picked three animals to go find at the zoo and then went and found them! He picked the zebra and giraffe, I picked the otters, one of my favorites – although Wyatt picked my other favorite, the zebras! He loves the giraffes, and I found out last night that his cousin does too!

We planted a few seeds for our garden – moon and star watermelon, cinnamon basil, and lettuce. We were also really excited to find a new friend, a neighborhood groundhog that we have named Stan. He lives under these steps of a church, and is always just hanging out on his porch. We would go check on him everyday, of course hanging back to not disturb him or interfere with him.

I even managed to get some adult time in! I had book club with my buddies, and then Billy and I reconnected with a friend who we were so close with for years and years, and then kind of fell out of touch for a bit. We met for dinner and it was like time had never passed since our last visit together.

It was a very full and wonderful week, full of lots of good times, laughter, friends, and just all those moments that make up life, everyday.

 

Saturday Snapshot

SaturdaySnapshot

Saturday Snapshot is hosted by West Metro Mommy Reads

In July, we went to a kite festival on Belle Isle in Detroit. We had gone the year before and it was such an amazing sight, all the multi-colored kites flying through the sky. This year was a little different. No kites. No wind. It was a still, hot, humid day. If the kites could have sailed through the moisture in the air, kite day would have been hopping! Despite the gross weather, we set up shop under a tree and hung out for a bit, listening to music, snacking, and basically just enjoying the day and some family time.

I remembered not to touch the fuzzy caterpillar! And I loved our shade tree – doesn’t it look like a woman, arms outstretched, head back, dancing in joy? I could be a little fanciful I guess.

Billy took a little walk, investigating the the food trucks that were lining the street. Wyatt and I stayed in the shade, waiting to see what Billy had found. Billy bought Wyatt his own snack, but somehow that little hand kept sneaking over and eating our chips and guacamole…. He of course was welcome to them, it had just never crossed our mind he would want it!

A short little outing, but we enjoyed some good tunes and family time. We are looking forward to next year – and hopefully a cooler, breezier day!

Northern Michigan – Vacation Part Two

I have always wanted to go to the wineries on Mission Point. I finally got the chance to, albeit with a preschooler in tow. We didn’t get to do as much wine tasting as we would have (my 3 year old niece, my brother and sister-in-law were with us too), but my SIL and I decided that a girls trip there is an absolute must in our future! We at least got some good ideas of where we wanted to go.

We did get to do some cool stuff, besides gawking at the beautiful scenery that surrounded us. First we headed to the end of the peninsula to the lighthouse. I think this one of my favorite parts of the whole trip! The history, the water, the trees and the forest surrounding it – I could easily imagine being a lighthouse keeper there, in the middle of winter, with my snowy owl visitors from the Arctic.

 

 

After traipsing about with the other tourists, we headed toward Brys Estate Vineyards and their Secret Garden. It was the perfect place to go with our littles. A big beautiful garden for the kids to explore, pick blueberries, cut lavender, and enjoy the riot of color and flowers.

We walked around the garden for quite a while, until the rain that had threatened all day began in earnest. Chrissy and I took a moment to run into the store and look around while the guys loaded up the kids. If you do go to the Secret Garden and you have the chance to buy their lavender shortbread, do it!! It was delicious!! I wish I had bought more while I was there, since the whole car wanted to devour mine, including the kiddos. I of course shared but had I known I would have bought more. Chrissy and I also took advantage of the rain and the kids sleepiness to enjoy a record breaking for time wine tasting at Brys Vineyards, up the hill from the gardens. The ones we tried were delicious! I particularly enjoyed their deep reds. Yum!

By this point it was time to meet the rest of our family in Leland (Fishtown) one of our favorite parts of the whole trip every year. I love touring through the stores, and I of course love the Dam Candy Store. I also pop into the book store every year to make a purchase, of course. A few years ago there was a campaign to Save Fishtown! And I am glad they were able to. My husband has gone backpacking on Manitou Island, about three hours by ferry boat from Fishtown, and it would not be the same without the gray, weather beaten shacks turned stores that remain of the old fishing village.

Afterwards we headed back to the cabin, and laid low for the rest of the night. We sat by the lake and took turns with our kids, drinking wine under the stars. It was a wild night, with high winds, which I loved because then I could wear my new thrifted sweater that I got for the trip. I can’t wait for autumn to arrive so I can wear it more frequently!

The next day was our day to go home! Vacation flies by so swiftly. We said goodbye to our lake, with the clearest, calmest water that it had had the entire time we were there. We packed up, headed out, and made our first stop at a nearby small town, Frankfort, which my brother had told us had a beautiful beach. He was so right. We stretched our legs and took in some beauty before we had to get in the car for the long haul home. We then detoured across the fingertips of Michigan to Hartwick Pines, a state forest. I went there once when I was a kid and loved it, being surrounded by the old growth woods. There is something about trees and me. I love to stand silently in a wood, with tall pines and trees all around. The woods speak to my soul. I loved it there. I want to go back one day again, and spend a little bit more time there. Billy had to pull me away from the large windows, there were just so many birds!!! Evening Grosbeaks, Red-Breasted Grosbeaks, Hummingbirds everywhere. I could have sat there for hours. The visit newly invigorated our desire to start visiting as many National Parks as we can (a desire that is also being fueled right now by the book I am reading, Dear Bob and Sue).

All in all, it was a pretty great trip. I can’t wait to see what next summer ‘s adventures up north brings!

Saturday Snapshot – Northern Michigan, Part One!

SaturdaySnapshot

Saturday Snapshot is hosted by West Metro Mommy Reads

vac 1

We just got back from a short family trip to northern Michigan, one of my very favorite places! The natural beauty that is Michigan is spectacular and I love the chance to get back to the tall trees, cool breezes, lakes, and birds. But first we had to get there, and the drive from the Detroit area is a little  longish with a three year old. So we pulled off for a quick pit stop for lunch and to stretch our legs in Frankenmuth, a tourist attraction in its own right. Designed like an old German village, they are known for their large family style chicken dinners. We skipped the chicken and went to a local pizza place instead, which turned out to be perfect. We also stopped for cheese at the Cheese Haus.

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My little mouse.

We stopped for the night about an hour outside Traverse City, to save a few bucks on a hotel. We were going to get there late, and didn’t care about being in Traverse City proper until the next day. We had fun just bumming around with each other. Wyatt really enjoyed the Ikea catalog I had brought with me.

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The next day we got up early and heading into Traverse. We were meeting my brother and his family there, and were going to spend the day shopping around and then eating a celebratory dinner for Billy’s birthday. It was a sweltering and busy day in TC, with high temps and humidity, and the Film Festival going on as well. Jane Fonda was supposed to be around somewhere but I never spotted her. We traipsed in and out children’s boutique stores (I bought Wyatt the cutest Tea Collection shirt!), and many bookstores, our favorite. I would say most of our day was spent browsing the shelves of bookstores, one of my fave things to do.  I bought Wyatt a lovely book about flowers and insects – and I learned that bees like caffeine too! Some flowers contain caffeine and the bees like those flowers – this fact makes bees even more cool in my eyes. I also made a huge list of books that we need to check out from the library or add to our own home library!

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We had an earlyish dinner at The Jolly Pumpkin (omg that white wine Sangria was yummy on a hot day!) then headed toward our lake cabin home for the next few days. My dad was meeting us there with his wife, and my nephew. The graciously treated us to the time there – my stepmom has been going to the same cabin and spot on the lake for 28 years, and when we joined her family, it became a little bit ours too. It is a nice tradition to share!

The next day we headed into Glen Arbor, a little town we always drove through but I had never been to. It was super adorable! That bookstore alone..I could happily live in Glen Arbor if I could work at that bookstore. A girl can daydream! If you are ever nearby, check it out – The Cottage Book Shop.

I was also excited to see that an organization called Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes was helping to make Sleeping Bear Dunes, the beach, and the lake more accessible to those with disabilities! As a nature loving parent of a child with mobility challenges, we constantly are trying to find ways to connect Wyatt with nature more. Hikes are easier now, since he is still a little guy, but as he gets older we may have to get more inventive or seek out organizations such as this one.

And that house! So picturesque! It is an inn called Thyme Inn, and it has an enormous garden in back that you can see from the road. I would love to stay there one day, but maybe on a different sort of trip, one that doesn’t involve my three year old. Lol. A girls trip or a getaway for Billy and I, perhaps. We have not gone away without the boyo yet, but maybe in the next few years we will start.

 

Dino-Might!

I love dinosaurs. I always have. I used to dream about being a paleontologist when I was a kid, but then realized I was better at words than math. I have a love for the sciences even though I am not great at them, and I want to pass this along early to my son. I started collecting dinosaur crafts and projects and coloring books and all sorts of fun things to do with him in July, which I deemed would now be known as Dino-month.

So I was super excited when I saw that a nearby indoor playscape/preschool/wellness center was having a drop in class for preschoolers and toddlers all about dinosaurs!! There would be songs and stories and sensory bins and a craft – all for $12! I was so excited to take Wyatt. I knew he would love it. Then I realized…I would have to socialize too! My biggest nightmare as an introvert super shy momma, is interacting with other parents. But, like we push our kids to move past their fears, so must we as parents push past ours. And it is good for us to get out of our comfort zones too – I need to grow and move forward as well. So, this was it for me. Wyatt needs to do this sort of thing, it is so good for all kids to interact with their peers and all that, and especially for Wyatt. As a kid with some developmental disabilities due to his CP, he picks up a lot of language and movement by being around other kids. So, it was time for this momma to toughen up and go talk to some strangers! Lol.

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I had this super cute outfit laid out for him to wear – but then it got breakfast on it and had to be changed. Note to self: put cute outfit on preschooler after he eats..

We finally rolled up to the place, which was in the middle of an adorable neighborhood. I was feeling nervous, made worse when I walked right in to the end of the baby and mom yoga class that was before the Jurassic Wonders class. But the yogi (whom I actually knew, I met her when our husbands worked together years ago) is a sweet welcoming soul who made me feel less awkward and less like bolting back out the door. Wyatt and I took a seat and waited for the class to clear out then I put him down to explore. The place, Nature’s Playhouse, was super accessible and I totally loved its vibe. Natural materials, solid and sturdy wooden toys everywhere, tables scattered about, puzzles, a rocking board. I felt like I was in a kid’s secret fort. Wyatt dug it, and enjoyed that shoes weren’t supposed to be worn in that room, since he hates wearing shoes. He had a big grin on his face the whole time we were there.

As the rest of the parents and kids trooped in, we circled up with our kids for story time  and songs. Afterwards, there were two sensory areas, an area with dinosaur books to flip through, including a cool one with different textures to touch, and the craft, which was painting a dinosaur with sponges and paint. Wyatt and I started with the painting, getting the messiest out of the way first.

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I think he did a great job! After that we headed over to the sifting through the sand bin, where the kids used paintbrushes to brush away the sand to find the dinosaur stickers hidden under the sand. Wyatt seriously loved this the best. Most of the other kids liked the area where you dug through beans and did some pouring and jazz, but Wyatt liked the sand area. We happily played over there, I made awkward (on my end) conversation with another mother, then, it was time to go! The class passed by super quickly.

I am so glad that I went – Wyatt had a blast! I will have to watch for other classes that fit into our crazy life schedules, even if it is just to drop in and play. It is worth it for the big grin I saw on my son’s face the whole time we were there.

Walking back to the car, I noticed the sidewalk full of acorn hats, something I had missed on the way in. I stopped and picked one up. Acorns are special to our family, almost a talisman. My Wyatt is my acorn, my tiny boy – and like my grandma said, “From tiny acorns grow mighty oaks.”  Stumbling on these acorns was a reminder, I think, of how we all need to grow, to be strong and to be mighty..

I am looking forward to our next visit!

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