January 7, 2018

Staying healthy during flu season

Over the holidays both kids had strep throat. Prior to that we passed some god-awful bronchial infection back and forth to each other so many times I was considering taking up separate residences until we were healthy again. And yesterday I heard a news story that the flu in Columbus is up some insane number compared to last year. So here’s my plan to keep my family as healthy as possible.

First hit up the drug store.

I ran over to Target today and grabbed a few essentials. Saline nose spray - I still buy the infant nose spray by Little Remedies, even though my kids are 4 and 7, because the nozzles are small and I change them out every season, so there’s less waste. Twice a day, in the am and before bed, will help keep their little noseys moisturized and clean. Vitamins - I love Olly brand kids chewables. They come in a few different combos, like Superfood or with probiotics added. This time though, since both kids just finished a dose of antibiotics for the strep, I went with a separate chewable called Ultimate Flora by Renew Life. I’ll give them both the vitamins and the probiotic with the breakfasts in the mornings.

Second, get to work in the kitchen. 

My kids love elderberry syrup and it's so easy to make at home. I feel like it's better for them, because I know exactly what's in it and where it comes from. I have tried a LOT of recipes - Pinterest abounds. But this one from Real Food RN is my absolute fav

I give them this after school or with dinner. Elderberry syrup is high in vitamins A & C and is an anti-viral - which lord knows we need right about now. Cooking it makes the house warm and steamy, perfect for a fridged winters day. Plus it smells strong, kind of like if you boiled Burgundy wine on your stovetop, and who doesn't want their house to smell like wine? 

Aromatherapy FTW.

I've also got the essential oil diffusers going around the house. Both the kids have the InnoGear models in their bedrooms as show above, and while there are diffusers from InnoGear which I do like, I wouldn't recommend these - they are hard to open, but they do the trick for now. We're all healthy at the moment, so I've been using lavender oil to promote good sleep - which always helps keep the germs at bay. 

Stock the shelves.

Feeding the whole family healthy meals and snacks is not alway the easiest, but it goes a long way in keeping everyone in the house healthy. We have a snack shelf in our house that the kids, and adults, can serve themselves from whenever they like. 

And, last, but not least - constant reminders to wash those hands. This is a struggle with my daughter and half the time she dials it in by passing her hands quickly under the running water and skipping the soap altogether - but it's a work in progress.  

What are you doing to keep your family healthy? 
August 11, 2017

Bison In Columbus - Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park

Last weekend we had such a blast exploring Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park in Columbus. We love exploring our city and this place is one of my favorites because A) there's animals involved and B) it's eco-conscious and full of indigenous plants and animals. 

Previous mentioned animals are the bison (don't call them buffalo around my 4 year old) who roam around two enclosed prairies and are available for viewing in several places. 

There is parking in several places, but we parked near the playground area, had a nice picnic, and then headed on a lovely walk through a wooded area that opens up onto a prairie full of yellow flowers. Once passed the bison we came to a nature center. 

This place is very nicely done. It's striving for Leeds certification, has a green roof and is full of things for the whole family to explore inside. It's also a nice spot for a little bathroom break and quick snack before the hike back to the car. 

Flowing down the middle of the nature center is a 53 foot stream filled with all sorts of local creatures - turtles, frogs and fish. There is also a room full of pelts of animals found in Ohio that both horrified and intrigued my children. All-in-all a great day at one of my favorite metro parks. 
July 26, 2017

Deliberate Communication with our Kids

As the leader of an Attachment Parenting group in Columbus, OH I give parents the tools to connect with their kids and build a strong bond that fosters mutual respect as kids grow. Much of the time the "tool" I'm talking about come from group conversations based around core principals. Using gentle touch (massage, hugs, cuddles), for example, is a deep form of communication that lets kids know they are loved and cared for as they venture out to find their independence. My point is, I'm not giving them anything physical, perhaps a hand out or resource list, but our meetings are mainly focused on changing hearts and minds and supporting those hearts and minds, when needed.

Recently I've come upon two amazing Kickstarter campaigns that are aiming to provide actual, physical tools to help parents in their peaceful parenting goals. I'm happy to say, they've both been funded, but you can help them reach their stretch goals, as well as get your hands on some really helpful additions to your parenting "tool kit."

The first is Lori Petro's Concious Communication Cards. I can't wait to get these in my hands. I am an AP leader, but I often flail in the heat of the "bad behavior" moment with my kids and end up making the situation worse. I plan on pinning these all around the house - mainly in the kitchen, we always seem to be int he kitchen. When I imagine my 4 year old in the throws of a melt down - it's always on the kitchen floor. These cards will be a life saver.

The second by another parent educator, Suzanne Tucker, the Time-In Tool Kit. I have been talking up the benefits of time-ins, as opposed to time-outs, for a long time now. We have the "happy place" in our house where the kids go to chill out and get their emotions in check, sometimes they ask me to go with them, sometimes they want to be alone. I am really excited about adding the Time-In Tool kit to the "happy place" to assist them in learning about big emotions and how to deal.

I know a lot of adults, not excluding myself, who could have used more help in the emotion management department - if you know what I'm saying.
March 29, 2016

Musings on Personal Evolution

In a different life I wrote my MFA thesis about discovering myself as a person. It was, it still is, a collection of short stories - "a novel of publishable length," was the requirement. I called it Skins. The stories are about the personalities I flowed through while growing up to end up the adult I was when writing it.

The loafer wearing, prudish, smart-girl in the under-performing middle school.

The patchouli wearing, Deadhead morphed Phish Kid, who followed the band in the summer, but sneaked off to hotels to shampoo and shave, while the die-hard's went au naturale at the campgrounds. 

The record collecting, show-going, Indy rocker who hid Martha Stewart Living magazine like contraband under her bed.

The college-age, activist-feminist who felt kissing girls and guys who were not her significant other was fair game as long as it was during spin-the-Crown-Royal-bottle.

The college grad facing real life, mourning a dead boyfriend and spending nights at the corner bar.

At 26 when I was writing the collection I felt solidified. But a decade later, I realize that I have continued to morph this entire time.

The empowered, single, confident, city dweller with different dates every weekend.

The female half of a dual income, happy couple living in sun drenched So. Cal, enjoying monthly facials and lunches al fresco.

The new mom giving all those previous people she'd been away in exchange for this new little person and then searching for the next identity the comes.

And so where am I now? The first thought that came to me was Costco membership having Ohio mom. But fuck that. No offense to Ohio mom's, but when I was a person who thought herself an artist, a writer, an adventure seeking occasional guitar player, I would not have been satisfied with that definition of myself.

But defining yourself in a moment is always easier in hindsight. So here's another crack...

The mature, working mother, who hasn't given up on worldly adventure, but has put it on hold for a moment until she gets her money right and the kids are old enough to travel more easily. 

So where have you been? Who are you now?