List Post

I have a lot going on and I know that if I don’t get it out and record it here then I will start balking at blogging at all. So here goes.

  • After 93 1/2 years, 5 with dementia, and 8 days unconscious without food or water, my gramma died. I am not sad about this though of course am mourning her. She was never a big presence in my life due to having moved promptly to Florida after her husband died, which was the year before I was born. I was mostly concerned as to how my mom would handle this. She got the call that she transitioning a day after the two year anniversary of her husband’s death, which was very long and drawn out and painful. My mom went every day to sit with her mom and visit with the other family who made it to say goodbye. I was not able to go as it is a long drive and not something I felt Wallace was ready to participate in. We will go to the memorial in August, which I am sure will be a lot of recounting how hilarious my gramma always ways.
  • My mom left today for a European cruise with her friend. I’m very happy for them that they are going after the last few years they have both been through. Wallace, on the other hand, is missing his gramma quite a lot. He is such a sweet sensitive kid and likes things to be predictable. She also spoils him, ha. She set up a bag of little presents for him to open one each morning. When he takes the last present from the bag then he will know that she will be coming back the next day. Today, he got a little journal and he is dictating to me what to write for him. I had him make her a card, which was stuck closed with a sticker and she was given instructions to not open it until she is on the boat. Wallace is insistent that she will stand at the front of the boat when she opens it and then it will fall out of her hands into the water. Oh, crud.
  • I got a new to me computer for my birthday and I am typing on it now! My previous computer is a PowerbookG4 that I got for my 20th birthday. It is on it’s second hard drive, third battery, and second power cord. It is pre intel processor and is so outdated that most programs will not work on it (no Netflix, no Skype, and it is so slow). So, this is what I asked for, researched, and somehow managed to narrow down with a little help from friends. I am really not good at anything technology and am working on transferring things the hand me down computer I had been working on for the last year and from my ancient Mac. A functioning computer is crucial for my Amazon income and very helpful for everything these days. The hand me down computer could not be unplugged and therefore could only be used at the desk. There’s no way I could head out on the road with it and be able to get online and get work done. One thing I am good at is typing and I am loving the way this keyboard clicks and clacks just right.
  • Wallace got his haircut again! About a week after his last haircut, he started asking me for shorter hair, probably because it was starting to get really hot. I adore the chin length shaggy look he had going on but it was time to cut it again. My mom wanted her hair done before her trip so Aunt Leah (my step sister) said she’d come over last night after work. My mom asked if she would do Wallace’s again and she said yes. I sent her a picture of what Wallace said he liked and she replied that she didn’t think she could do it because she doesn’t have a whole lot of clipper experience (she’s high end salon cut and color type). Wallace started to cry and I had to hold him while my mom sent some texts to beloved Aunt Leah. He really just wanted her to cut his hair as he seriously adores her. He has seen me shave my head so many times that I didn’t think he would be scared of it, which was her concern, so I took him in the bathroom and showed him all the parts of my clippers. I turned it on and touched it to his hand, arm, and forehead and he was totally fine. I told Leah that she can do whatever short style she feels comfortable doing on him. It turned out great, of course, and I am still adjusting to seeing all of his sweet face and the soft hair on the back of his head. I also realized he might actually have my ears, though not nearly as large or sticking out.
  • Nina is doing alright these days, yay! She is on only canned cat food and CBD oil. I find the lowest phosphorus levels in the discounted cases of grain free food and go with that. If I give her raw food, she throws up. If I give her transfer factors, she throws up. She has gained a little weight and even though she hangs out more away from us than she ever has, she is very cuddly and sweet and sometimes even playful. I do not have the spare money to take her to the vet to get her thyroid and kidney levels checked but I am content with how she is fairing, which is a million times better than when she was on the thyroid medication.
  • I have been taking CBD oil for 2 1/2 weeks and it needs its own post but I want to say that it is helping. I have been eating a bit too much sugar and non AIP foods and not getting enough sleep, but before that I was down to one migraine a week. Sometimes I could even just take an extra dose of CBD oil and it would go away. A couple times I have taken naproxen and it worked in conjunction with the CBD oil.

 

On that note, my goal is to be in bed before 10:30 tonight and I want to read for a bit before bed to relax my eyes and brain. I will try to add pictures to this from my phone tomorrow.

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Cars and Carts

I am working on coming up with things for Wallace to do in the car and at stores (while I source books) that don’t include screens or begging me for snacks. I emailed with Screen Free Parenting and she suggested I make a waiting places bag. These things are set aside for when waiting is necessary like doctor’s appointments, restaurants, and road trips. They also had a good post about long car rides. I started looking up busy bag ideas that could work in a car seat or cart as well as looking around the house for things we already have. These could be put in a ziploc bag, a zipper pencil case ($1 at Walmart and Big Lots!), a hard pencil case, or a shoe box and then stored in the trunk or in a spot inside near the front door. A lot of these things we already have and the homemade ones are easy to assemble.

Pre-Made Ideas

Homemade Ideas

What do your kids play with while waiting or have around that would work for this? I would love to come up with more homemade ideas as they have been fun to put together with Wallace.

*I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. By clicking any of the Amazon links above, and doing your shopping, I will receive a portion of the sale at no cost to you. You can purchase the items I have linked or use it as a starting place for your shopping.*

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MicroBlog Monday: Series of Events

A few weeks ago, I received an email response to a nanny job I replied to two years ago. It would have been great except the job is in Chicago and I am not. I guess I had never changed my profile on Sitter City to reflect the move back to Michigan (there wasn’t much in this area before so I wrote it off), so once I explained that to the woman, I updated my profile and found two jobs to apply to.

Then I forgot about it.

Meanwhile, I was working on setting up a local parenting resource site and called the WIC peer counseling office to get the class info. I also mentioned that I’d been trying to get a chance to apply to be a peer counselor. She said I’d just missed it and they’d hired two new people!!! But, to keep an eye on the site incase one of them didn’t work out. I started checking the WIC tab on the county job board and one day decided to check the health department tab… and there it was! I filled out my application right away but didn’t have much hope.

Then I put it out of my mind.

Not long after that, I got a response to one of my local emails on Sitter City. She had a list of days she needed and we met right away to suss it out. We talked and the kids played for over 3 hours! So yeh, a good fit. I worked some shifts for her over two weeks and got a voicemail from the health department to schedule an interview! I was not expecting it because I figured they just forgot to take the ad down and it was already filled. The interview was Friday and it went well.

On Saturday, we went to an event at a local library and a mom started talking to Wallace and I about trains and Thomas. This morning, she sent me an email through Sitter City because she was browsing for some childcare and recognized us. What a fluke! If the first woman hadn’t emailed me two years after the fact, then I wouldn’t have gotten the first job and the other mom wouldn’t have found me on there.

Posted in background, Microblog Monday, Parenting, Single Mother by Choice - SMC | 4 Comments

July Outdoor Challenge

Simply put, let’s make a point to get outside with our kids everyday! Screen Free Parenting is doing a challenge and I’m in. Anyone else want to join me? There are a list of ideas but it’s by no means a guideline. I will just start a blog list of what we did outside, updating it as I go. Speaking of, we need to get outside this evening as we haven’t yet today.

Posted in Linked Up, Parenting | 4 Comments

Chapter Book Reviews

Last spring, I decided to start reading chapter books to Wallace. My mom thought he was a bit young, but he really enjoys sitting and listening to the stories. We usually read a chapter at a time and I give a little refresher and ask questions the next time we read. Many early chapter books have some pictures, so that helps jog our memories and of course are nice to look at. These are also a nice break from the same Thomas books he likes to have read to him over and over!

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The first book I had on hand to try was Charlotte’s Web. It might not have been the best book to read to a sensitive three year old, but he loved the talking farm animals. We later got the movie from the library, which was too scary for him. Wallace says “I liked when the girl went to school and the pig jumped over the fence and then on the bus.”

After that, I started keeping my eye out for chapter books at thrift stores and at the library. I asked some friends for advice and looked through my own books. I much prefer the classics as opposed to new series, but we are reading for Wallace’s sake, not mine. The first two in the Pooh’s Library: Winnie-The-Pooh, The House At Pooh Corner, When We Were Very Young, Now We Are Six (Pooh Original Edition) were great to relive. We started a game where we would make up chapter titles starting with “in which…” in the style of Winnie-the-Pooh. Wallace liked the random made up songs and poems that Pooh wrote and I had to sing as I went. My dad taught me to play Pooh Sticks when I was a kid and I have been playing it with Wallace for a couple years now.

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Playing Pooh Sticks on Mother’s Day.

The biggest dud we have had so far was The Hidden Stairs and the Magic Carpet (The Secrets of Droon, Book 1). It is a fantasy series with monsters and bad guys and magic, so maybe he will get into them more when he is older and reading them on his own. I did not enjoy the writing or story and read through it fast just to get it done. I felt the concepts were too advanced for him and the non kid characters weren’t real enough. He thought the book was funny but didn’t really get it.

We then started reading the Magic Tree House Boxed Set, Books 1-4: Dinosaurs Before Dark, The Knight at Dawn, Mummies in the Morning, and Pirates Past Noon series, which I had read a few of to a nanny-kid years ago. The premise is that a brother and sister find a tree house in the woods in the park. It is filled with books about different places and when they point to a picture and wish to be there, the tree house takes them there. The books are educational as they explore different places and times, the first being that of the dinosaurs. They also explore social concepts like working together and kindness. I don’t find the writing as entertaining and lovely as classics from my childhood, but they are broadening Wallace’s interests and imaginative play. When I asked Wallace what he likes about the Magic Tree House series, he said “all of them.” He then listed all of the books we have read.

One book series I have been looking forward to reading to Wallace since before he was born is Pippi Longstocking. I have always loved these books and they shaped part of my childhood. My brother and I always played Don’t Touch the Floor and I dressed up as Pippi for halloween when I was 21. (If I had a picture, I would totally share it.) If you aren’t familiar with Pippi, she’s a feisty, fast talking, Swedish orphan who lives by herself in a house on the edge of town. She is the epitome of childhood imagination and uninterrupted self directed play. She makes friends with two neighbor kids and has a monkey and a horse as pets/family. Her antics are entertaining but also might give your kids ideas you aren’t ready for them to have! According to Wallace, “she just is hilarious!” and if we read a chapter before bed, he giggles to himself as he falls asleep remembering the story.

A while ago I discovered the other books that Astrid Lindgren has written. The Noisy Village series are just as adorable and well written as Pippi and I highly recommend looking into them. They are a glimpse into what Swedish life was like then and the deeper aspects of the culture. The stories continue to show the free spirited nature of childhood that I strive to nurture with Wallace. There are also some Pippi stories that have been taken from the chapter books and illustrated as stand alone books. We have Pippi to the Rescue (Pippi Longstocking), which I think will be great as an early chapter book for Wallace to read to himself now that he is familiar with the story and characters.

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Channeling some Pippi over here today.

We hit the jackpot when we found the Mercy Watson Boxed Set: Adventures of a Porcine Wonder. The story is of an overly cheery childless couple who have an obliviously pet pig who loves buttered toast. There are two older women who are sisters living next door. One likes Mercy and one is crotchety and doesn’t like anyone or anything. There are a lot of great illustrations and the chapters are short, so we typically read a third of the book at a time. I can see these books being read over and over by me and by Wallace once he starts reading on his own. The sentence structure and flow of the story is easier to follow than the other chapter books we have read so far. Wallace’s comments on the books include “Eugenia was mean to Mercy” and “Mercy thought that [Leroy Ninker] was making some toast for her.” Leroy Ninker was a burglar who is a wannabe cowboy, so now Wallace is afraid of burglars and goes around singing “yippee-i-o!” Never a dull moment…

Have you begun reading chapter books to your kids? Do you have any current favorites or ones from your childhood that you can’t wait to read? This is just a sampling of the books we have read so far and I have a small pile of more that we are looking forward to!

*I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. By clicking any of the Amazon links above, and doing your shopping, I will receive a portion of the sale at no cost to you. You can purchase the items I have linked or use it as a starting place for your shopping.*

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Greening Your Life: Sunscreen

I grew up wearing sunscreen. It was part of our summer ritual as soon as school ended. We are pale and live in Michigan so all winter we are stuck inside work and school, then swarm the beaches of small lakes and promptly get sunburned. Even with regular sunscreen use we usually burned an area a year. I have a vivid memory of helping my best friend’s little sister with aloe on her beet red back because she played in the sprinkler without sunscreen on.

My brother and I were prone to burns on our scalps due to our very blond hair.

In my early 20’s, biking and walking all over Chicago, I stopped using sunscreen as I was naturally outside all the time, slowly increasing my sun exposure and building up a light tan as the seasons changed. I purchased a zinc based sunscreen stick to apply over my newly healed tattoos, but once it ran out I never thought to get more. I was learning a lot about the ingredients of the products I put on my body through the Skin Deep database and had already begun to green my toothpaste, deodorant  and menstrual products.

When I moved to Denver, I was warned to wear sunscreen due to the higher altitude. I found I didn’t need it and over the two summers I lived there I never burned, not even my nose or bald head. This might be in part due to my darker French skin, my dad and I tan very well while my mom and brother have a lighter skin that burns more easily. But also, being outside year round is a big factor. This isn’t possible for everyone so thankfully there are safe alternatives to the mainstream sunscreens I grew up with.

Getting outside any day we can to get some sun, air, and exercise. Slowly decreasing layers helps to prevent sunburn.

Poofy Organics carries THE Sunscreen and THE Sunscreen Stick that have ingredients that are safe and organic. There are even explanations of what ingredients to avoid and what the ingredients in their products do, so I won’t reiterate that here. Something that I see a lot of people do is apply sunscreen incorrectly. No matter the type, it needs to be applied at least 20 minutes before going outside in order to be effective. It needs a chance to be absorbed into your skin (yep, the carcinogens and other toxins in mainstream sunscreen get absorbed and enter your bloodstream). If by chance, you do get a sunburn, there is Poofy’s Organic After Sun Spray to help soothe and heal.

THE Sunscreen, THE Sunscreen Stick, and the After Sun Spray

Maybe you aren’t really into label reading yet, it’s a process and I understand because I’m there too. There are other reasons to switch to natural sunscreens, like the dying coral reefs. Though I don’t live anywhere near an ocean, all water is connected. If the toxins in the products we use are effecting coral it likely is effecting local plant life, and on up the food chain. The higher up the food chain an animal is, the higher the concentration of heavy metals and toxic chemicals… hmm, who’s at the top of the food chain?

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MicroBlog Monday: Insight Timer

When I was taking online classes, I was super stressed, my mind always going, and I had a really hard time falling and staying asleep. I’d also sometimes be up until midnight because my only quiet time to work on school was after 9pm. I learned about valerian root tea and added it to my bedtime routine, or at least after I was done writing anything for a class. I loved its calming effect and it didn’t make me loopy (there are contraindications so check before taking). I didn’t wake up in the middle of the night unable to stop thinking about school and life and money.

When my semester was over, I stopped drinking it and a friend told me about a guided meditation app she had tried. I found Insight Timer and love it. I have been studying Buddhism and meditation for half my life but had not ventured into guided meditation. Now, every night before bed, I put my screen on night mode, open the app, and pick a meditation. I get comfortable in bed with the phone speaker to my ear (I share a room with Wallace and can’t use headphones due to the daith piercing I have for migraines) and drift off to sleep. I sleep more soundly and usually only wake up once in the early morning to feed Nina and go to the bathroom.

I have yet to use the app during the daytime, but do plan on finding something I can listen to with Wallace on a regular basis. Time for some “Breathing Into Sleep.” Goodnight!

Posted in background, Late Night Post, Microblog Monday, Sleep | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments