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!

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?

 

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. 🙂

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!  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.

 

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!

 

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.

A Friday Look Back

First:

Snow! I love snow. I don’t like the accidents or problems it can cause, but – I love snow. Especially that quiet hush as it falls, or walking through a wood covered in snow. One of my top favorite things to do. Last month we went on an Owl Prowl, and the air was crisp and cold, winter was on its way. As we stood quietly, our eyes glued to the horizon for incoming screech owls, I closed mine instead. And just stood there a few beats, feeling the cold and the dark and the silence, soaking it in. The past few days have been full of snow showers, those big ol’ flakes that fall fast, and accumulate like mad. (and incidentally, we watched White Christmas, one of my faves)

We had a pretty great week!

Last Saturday Wyatt spent the day with 2 out of 3 cousins – we began the day with his Aunt Chrissy and cousin L., making gingerbread houses at the library. They were constructed from graham cracker and frosting and all this delicious looking candy – the hard part was keeping the kids from eating it all! I told Wyatt that we don’t eat our art usually. I think we did a pretty good job!

Next we headed to my dad’s  house, which is a little over an hour away, to visit and go to his cousin Brayden’s tenth birthday party. Wyatt went bowling for the first time! His Aunt Katherine held him and let him put his hand on the ball before she threw it. She claimed he gave her luck, as she bowled very well after his magic touch. We also spent the night at his grandparents that night, and I think that was another thing Wyatt enjoyed – a sleepover with grandma and grandpa!

Tuesday little man had an eye doctor appointment, my least favorite of his multitude of appointments. At 2, he doesn’t understand what is going on, and I imagine it must be scary and invasive. At least this time they didn’t dilate his eyes – that joy is reserved for next time. The doctor said that his eyes are improving (he has nystagmus), but he wants us to patch him for an hour a day for the next 6 months. It looks like the whole family will be hanging pirate style for a while, as I don’t see Wyatt keeping that patch on without a little encouragement. Any tips?

We are getting down to the wire with Christmas – and I am still not done! I need to buy a few more gifts, stocking stuffers, make cookies and take boyo to see Santa. Santa at least will be done tomorrow morning. Oh, and then wrap. How is everyone else doing? And I even decided to do a small Christmas this year! I felt for our family, that we were going to try to have more moments and less things, so we are doing just three toys for kiddo, books, and a pair of boots. For Billy and I, we are just doing books and socks and maybe a gift or two, but nothing big.

I think tonight we are going to wind down the evening with hot chocolate, wine for me, and a viewing of Emmet Otter’s Jugband Christmas. Anyone else remember that? I love that movie and I am so excited to show Wyatt. I remember the very night that it aired on HBO. We didn’t have that channel, so we went to my cousin’s to watch it. I was so excited! (and very young..) Still one of the top of my list Christmas movies.

 I am trying to blog more here – it is such an important thing to me. I really need to write, whether it is a simple recitation of the week’s events or something more fun, or even thoughtful. It’s how I process my days, the events of my life. So that is going to be a definite goal for the new year for me.

Anyway, that is my quick look back at the week! I hope you all had a great week too!