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!