Friday, July 31, 2015

Stop. The. Judgement.

Stories of children being left in the car. They're tragic, they're popping up far more than I'd ever care to see, and they definitely tug at my heartstrings. I'm sure this post will have me pegged as heartless and un-caring, but that's the opposite of how I feel about children being left in cars. It's horrible. But so are the comments people make about the parents.

Scroll the comments of any Child-Left-In-The-Car article on social media and I 110% guarantee you'll see a whole lot of this:

"That mom/dad should be left in a hot car to die."
"Lock him/her up and throw away the key."
"That person needs to be put to death for what he/she did."
"(S)he totally deserves to die for what (s)he did."
"Let me at him/her. I'll make him/her regret doing that soooo bad."


Sometimes, people do very cruel things that we will never understand. I'm not denying it.

But sometimes, human beings make mistakes. Let me share a story with you.

One day, when I lived in Ohio, and Hendrix was about 10 months old, I was driving to work on a typical day. This would have been late summer or fall. My mind was busy. I was focusing on one of the 13 never-ending to-do lists circulating in my head. Perhaps I was thinking about plans we had for that weekend, what I needed to grab at the store for dinner that night, I don't know. We live in an age of distraction now more than ever, folks. It could have been anything.
 
Hendrix's daycare was right next to my office - almost in the same parking lot. I had the radio on softly, and I pulled into work. I reached over to the passenger seat, started rounding up my things for work that day: my purse, my lunchbox, etc. Then I looked in the backseat. Maybe Hendrix moved, or maybe it was instinct, but I looked in the backseat, and there sat my sweet blond little boy. Not making a peep. Just looking at me. In silence, as he often was while in the car. Probably looked pretty similar to this:

 
My kids can't stay silent for more than 2.578 seconds these days, but when they were young and before they could talk, they didn't tend to be noisy in the car at all. If they weren't crying, you'd never know they were there.

I had driven right by Hendrix's daycare, pulled into work, and was getting ready to get out of the car and go into my office when I realized I had forgotten to drop him off and that he was still in the car. Fortunately, I ran him quickly to daycare, worked my day at the office, and all was well.
 
I pride myself on being a very loving, organized, has-it-all-together type of mom. I plan each week, down to the smallest details. I make menus, buy groceries on the same day each week, make sure my kids have what they need every day for special activities or snacks at daycare and school, etc. But I almost forgot my child in the car while I went to work one day.
 
Before you immediately make horrible comments about a situation, please consider that there are facts of which you are 100% unaware. Because you weren't there physically, in that car. You weren't there in that parent's mind to know all the thoughts, emotions, and distractions present.
 
You. Don't. Know.
 
In absolutely no way, shape, or form, am I condoning putting your child in danger. Yes, you should *always* check the back seat before getting out of your car. That's common sense.
 
But we are human beings. We err. We make mistakes. We forget things.
 
Stop crucifying someone for making a mistake, unless you've never made one before in your life.

And my best guess is that that's exactly 0% of the population with decision-making abilities.


Have a good weekend, friends.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Circle B Campground - Angola, Indiana

As I have mentioned before, my bucket list for this summer is long, and time remaining in the summer season is short. It makes me sad, though I can't say I'm not ready for fall either. I guess we just have to make the most of the time we have left.
 
We finally got out and went camping this past weekend, and what fun we had! Our good friends from Ohio met us, so the boys got to play with their friends as well.

I got off of work a little early, we hooked up, and headed out around 3:45. We arrived to the campground around 6. It was sooooo busy! We had to sit and wait in the vehicle just to check in, but the check-in and pulling into our site went smoothly.

The boys got right to playing as Matt and I set up the camper.


 
Saturday morning, all the boys woke up and we discovered that all four of them had on Spiderman PJ's. Definitely couldn't pass up that photo opportunity. :)

 
Friday night, Hendrix was off playing, and then he came up to Matt and I and asked if he could go to the playground with his new friend, Caitlyn. Hendrix and Caitlyn were thick as thieves on Friday night, but she and Jameson became best buddies Saturday. Especially when we discovered that she has celiac disease like him.
 
Saturday, before lunch, we were going on a walk around the campground, and Jameson and Caitlyn were walking behind Matt and I. They were chatting it up, and Caitlyn was asking Jameson about his diabetes and his pump (you can see his site there on his left arm).
 
Without any drama or skipping a single beat, Jameson said to her, "That's my pump site. If I take it off, I'll die."
 
Ok, folks. I'm glad he appreciates the importance of getting insulin, and the reality is that without insulin he would eventually die, yes. BUT I don't really want him thinking he's that fragile, nor do I want him telling his friends this. People already don't understand Type 1 Diabetes, and I don't want to further spread any misinformation or a false sense of drama. (If there's one thing that grates my nerves, it's type 1 families moms acting like every high or low is the end of the world.) I didn't say anything, but I think we definitely need to sit down and have a talk.
 
He's started understanding that when he's low, he needs to eat and that when he's high, he needs insulin, so it's starting to make more sense to him now that he's older. I think it's a good time to be honest with him about both the severity of the disease - **IF not well controlled** - but also the fact that he's not a fragile little flower and that he can do anything he puts his mind to.
 
Aaaand that he's not going to immediately perish the moment we take his site off. Hahaha. Silly little boy.

 
Anyway, sorry for that little tangent.
 
Saturday afternoon, we headed down to the swimming beach and swam our hearts out! I didn't take my phone or camera with me to the beach for fear of them getting lost/stolen/ruined, so I have no pictures of our fun, but it was great. Hendrix fished with his buddy Wes, then joined us for swimming later. We swam for a couple hours, then the kids wanted to go to the playground, so we just let them kind of lead the way, and the moms followed and got to chat.
 
Good grief I miss being able to chat with my girlfriends.
 
Saturday evening, everyone pitched in for dinner. We had grilled chicken, cheesy potatoes, pasta salad, and fresh fruit with a very good fruit dip for dessert! We all ate plenty and it was delicious.

 
 
 

 


 
 




 
 
 
I was pretty impressed with the campground. You never really know what you're getting into when you base things solely off of a campground's website. I mean, what website is going to say, "It's a nice campground, but gets really crowded and the bathrooms tend to get pretty nasty when it's hot out." Ha!
 
As I mentioned, it was definitely full and crowded, but I'd say about 80% of the sites are seasonal (meaning people park their big rigs in May and don't pull them out until September/October), which I think plays a big part in keeping the grounds nice.
 
The bathrooms were pleasantly surprising. Nothing special about the toilets or stalls, but the showers were an unexpected piece of awesome. They were not cinder block or cement, as I expected, but rather fiberglass, stalled out showers. They appeared completely clean. Soap scum and the thought of sharing showers with strangers tends to really gross me out, but I felt comfortable taking a shower Saturday afternoon. Hot water was not an issue either.
 
There was not a pool, but rather a small swimming beach. The beach looked small and the water looked a little dirty when we checked it out in the morning, but when we went down to swim that afternoon, I didn't feel overcrowded, and the water seemed to have cleared up a bit. Maybe it was because all of the splashing kids pushed the dirtiness away. Ha.
 
The one thing I was most pleased with was the noise level. With the large number of people camping, and the close proximity of the sites, I was worried that people would be loud late into the night, but I had no trouble falling asleep, nor did I get woken up during the night due to loud or unruly campers.
 
Overall, it was a really nice place to camp, a good mid-point for the buckeyes and Michiganders to meet, and I'd definitely be up for camping there again!
 
We had a great weekend, and are already starting to think about meeting up for a fall trip.
 
Do you like to camp? Where's your favorite spot?
 
How do you camp: tent? pop-up? big rig?
 
 

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Garden Update - July 2015

Happy Wednesday!
 
I realized last evening that I haven't shared any garden progress in a while.
 
I planted a lettuce bed twice and it didn't come up either time. No idea what I did wrong. I know I planted the first time too deep. So I barely sunk them the second time - still nothing. Lettuce was a fail. I'll try again next year.
 
My cilantro came up and did great, but I couldn't use it fast enough, it seeded, and we now have coriander. Ha! My dill is thriving, and I need to get it picked and dried so I can use it all winter!

My tomato plants have given us a lot of grape tomatoes, and we've eaten them in salads all summer so far, but the plants are very sick right now. The leaves have all turned brown and they're dying a slow death. Sadness.
 
My sunflowers - they're a tragic story that pains me to repeat.  I had a row of about 10 sunflowers. They were thriving. They were taller than my kids, and the top set of leaves were as big around as the steering wheel on my car. Then the deer came and decimated every single one of them in a single swoop. Gone. I'm still working through the heartache.
 
I've got a couple pods of peas on the far west side of the garden that I need to pick before we head out for our camping trip this weekend!
 
My corn is taller than the kids, and a few ears are tasseling. (Please ignore the weeds.)
 
 

 
My jalapenos and bell peppers are growing fantastically! I can't wait to chop some of those jalapenos up into salsa, and grill the bells!
 

 
The zucchini is also thriving. I haven't got a ton of flowers, but they're growing! Those will probably go into either loaves of bread or brownies. Yum.

 
My pumpkin patch is full and huge!  I've had two female flowers that have opened up that I have hand-pollinated, though I don't think there's any shortage of bees. Now I'm just waiting for the bulbs to turn into big orange beauties! I'll try to get some photos of the pumpkin plants to share with you soon!
 
I've decided that I'm going to put any birthday money that I get this years towards a mini-tiller. I've tried to keep up with the weeds manually, and it's just impossible. I'm sure it's possible, but not in the amount of time I have to dedicate to the garden each day. I spend about a half hour a day watering, and a couple hours a week weeding. But with my full time job and busy life, I unfortunately don't have more time than that to dedicate to it.
 
A mini-tiller should do the trick. I can go up and down each row a couple times a week, and that should really help control the weeds. They're crazy!
 
Do you garden?
 
What are you growing?
 
Any gardening tips you'd like to share?
 

 

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Fitness Rewind!

Living healthfully isn't a race to the finish. It's a lifestyle or a journey (which you've heard 8,000 times, I'm sure), and there are bumps in the road.
 
After I had Jameson, I started running and lost thirty pounds. I felt amazing.
 
I weighed somewhere between 125 and 130 pounds when we moved to South Dakota. If you follow me on Facebook (which is currently and temporarily de-activated, by the way), you might remember me posting the red bikini pic.
 
Then I decided I wanted to start lifting weights. I'm so very glad that I educated myself on female lifting. It's a super empowering thing to get into, and so interesting how it's not only the action of lifting weights, but the diet that really can turn your body into anything you want it to be.
 
But with weight lifting came weight gain. Some of it is muscle that I never had two years ago. But most of it is me trying to out-train my crappy diet and as a result, gaining fat.
 
I'm currently navigating one of those bumps in the road. I'm nowhere near where I was two years ago, nor anywhere near where I'd like to be. But I don't give up.
 
I'm going to start doing what I did three years ago to lose the baby weight and get myself back to where I want to be: tons of water, super healthy food choices, and running.
 
I tracked my mileage religiously, and plan to start doing that again.
 
There is no right or wrong body weight or body composition, but it's awesome to set goals for yourself. That's exactly what I'm doing, so please don't get offended because I want to lose body fat and get fit. I'm doing this for myself and no one else.
 
I have a blogger friend and high school classmate that is a runner. She just had a baby and is going to get back into running, and she does a weekly blog post on Mondays with the previous week's mileage. I think I'll do something similar.
 
It feels great to:
eat healthful and clean foods
get your heart pumping
be outside
shattering goals
sleeping well
enjoying treats in moderation.
 
And that's exactly what I intend to do.
 
Hope you can join me along the way!
 


Monday, July 6, 2015

Independence Day 2015

And here I am posting about July 4th. I can see summer flying by right before my eyes and I'm not loving it. I feel like we haven't done NEARLY all the things I had on my summer bucket list. We still have time, but as quickly as these last couple months have passed us by, the leaves will be turning orange before I blink again.
 
We have a camping trip planned for a couple weeks from now, and we'll be heading back to central Indiana again in August when our nephew is born (yay!). Then, Mr. Hendrix is going to be starting school. It's going to be a busy few weeks ahead of us!
 
This past weekend, Matt had to work on Friday and Sunday, while I was off. The boys and I decided to pack up and head to Portland for the weekend! I felt bad about leaving Matt home alone, but had we stayed in Michigan, the kids would have spent the weekend getting bored and fighting, which would have left me frustrated and snippety. So, Matt got three days of relaxed silence at home, and the boys and I had fun with family!
 
I got off work around 2:30 on Thursday, picked them up from daycare, and we headed out. We stopped for dinner, and arrived in Portland around 7 pm. The kids played for a bit, then went to bed. It was a relaxed evening, which was good because the next day was crazy. :)
 
This picture should have been an indication of the level of exhaustion that was to come!

 
 
Friday morning started out relaxed. Ha. I always say that coffee tastes better when you drink it in the company of people you love. The kids played while I drank coffee and talked with my parents. It was perfect.

 
After we formulated our plan for the day, we headed to Muncie (about 40 minutes SOUTH of Portland) to meet my good friend, Amy, and her daughter for lunch at Qdoba. $20 worth of food for the 2 boys and I and they each took about one and a half bites. Awesome. Anyway, we enjoyed Amy's company, and the boys liked seeing Kenna.
 
After lunch, we went back to Portland, re-convened at my parents' house, then put on swim trunks and headed to Berne (about 20-25 minutes NORTH of Portland) so the kids could play in the splash pad. They had lots of fun!
 

 
After we got back to Portland, we rested for a little while, I took a shower, then we headed out to my sister's house, which is in Ridgeville - about 25 minutes SOUTH of Portland. My sister lives in the sticks. Ha! We had a cookout and the boys continued to run out every last bit of their energy with their cousin Rylee.


 
They stayed the night at my sister's house, and they LOVED it! This was their first sleepover at someone else's house where I did not stay with them. My sister called me before they went to bed, and I walked her through adjusting Jameson's basal rate, and she called me at breakfast so I could help her dose bg and carbs. She's a nurse and a rock star, and it was a huge success. Saturday evening, Hendrix asked if he could stay with them again. Ha!
 
I used my "me time" on Friday night to get together with some friends and it was relaxing and fantastic to catch up with the people I've known so long, but have seen to little in the last few years of my life.
 
Saturday morning, we went to the parade downtown. Now, I've lived in three different states in the past 8 years, and I've been to several parades. They always leave me disappointed. I'm pretty sure the parades in my hometown are the reason for that. The parade went on for a good 40 minutes, everyone was very spirited, and it was just fun to watch. Love it.

 
Granny and Grandfather with their boys.
 
One of the big sources of pride for Jay County.




 
After the parade, we had plans to go to El Camino - the best place to get Mexican food. They were closed. Booooooo. So we went to Pizza Hut instead. Gluten-free pizza is always iffy. It's hard to trust something that's prepared in the same kitchen as a food known for the abundant gluten it contains. But we tried it.
 
Not only does Pizza Hut serve GF pizza, they go above and beyond to train their employees on safe preparation and storage also. I was so excited to see this! Check it out:
 
 
After lunch, the kids played a little while, and we rested before heading out to the fairgrounds to have a cookout with my brother-in-law's family and watch the fireworks.






Jameson was fascinated by Travis's half-missing finger. Ha.
 
And this is basically how the week leading up to this past weekend went, versus the speed with which the actual holiday weekend flew by. Sadness.
 
We headed out Sunday morning around 8:45. After a stop for gas, a potty break, and lunch, we got back home around 1:30 pm. Jameson discovered that the fingernail polish that Rylee had put on his toes came off and he was distraught. These tears were legitimate sadness. No fit-throwing here. Just grief.
 
Sweet boy.
 
Jamers and I took a nap together, then we just messed around the house, the boys took a much-needed bath, and went to bed a bit early.
 
Matt discovered this ridiculous wasp nest under our second story deck while we were gone. That needs taken care of ASAP, but makes me super nervous.

 
Hendrix refused to nap all weekend, and insisted that he wasn't tired at bedtime Sunday night.
 
Alright, man. You aren't tired. That's cool. :)
 
It was a much-needed weekend with all the people I love. It's a LONG drive to Indiana (though much better than the 19 hours it was previously), but it's really worth the time and exhaustion. The kids just adore their grandparents and cousins, and play so hard they can barely walk.
 
We can't wait to visit again in August so we can meet our newest little family member, and the boys can play with their Metz cousins!
 
See you again soon, Indiana!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Memorial Day Weekend 2015

Hi! I hope you all had a great Memorial Day weekend. Can you believe we're already staring at the first of June!? I can't wrap my head around that!
 
We had one of the most productive weekends we've had in a long time. We did a ton of manual labor, our bodies were very sore and sunburned, but it felt so good. Do you get a lot of satisfaction from working your tail off in a manual way? I certainly do!
 
The first thing I did when I woke up on Saturday morning was head to the garden! My goals were:
1) Re-plant the corn and peas. I planted them too deep the first time.
2) Transplant my pumpkins.
3) Plant zucchini seeds.
4) Transplant tomatoes and peppers (purchased as starts).
 

One of my pumpkin starts.
 
Hendrix was off running around, but Jameson was my garden helper. We took a selfie with our matching mosquito hats. Ha.

 
After the garden was done, we took a lunch break, then set up the pool we got!
 
I really wanted to get the 48" deep pool, for my own selfish desires. But after thinking about it, I decided against it. I got the 30" deep pool. This way, the kids can both touch the bottom, and while they still need supervised 150% of the time, there's less of a risk and it will be more enjoyable for them.
 
In a couple of years, we can get the deeper pool, as long as it's something we will be using a lot. And I foresee much pool usage in this crazy humid Midwest.

 

 
We got the pool filled up, and it was green. Ugh. I balanced it, chlorinated it, shocked it, and it was just green. Very frustrating. So we turned to the googles and learned that we most likely had an iron problem. I took my fourth trip to WalMart for this silly pool, put a dose of Metal Control in the water, and it cleared up very nicely.

 
At the end of the day on Saturday, I was fried. No sunscreen was a big "oops" on my part. It's now Wednesday and it's just now starting to turn from pain to itching. Ha.
 
Saturday evening, we grilled some pork ribs and relaxed.
 
Sunday morning, we went to church, and when we got home, Matt got busy....
 
...building this!!!!!
 
 
In my garden research this year, I learned that what the soil needs most is compost. I learned that it's difficult to find, and when you can find it for sale, it's really expensive.
 
So we're going to start making our own! Hopefully, next spring, I can amend my soil with nutrient-rich compost and it'll produce an even better crop of homegrown veggies. My soil this year is lacking it, I purchased a couple bags of mushroom compost and some chicken manure, but I feel like that's barely going to suit it. We'll see.
 

 
Looks gross now, but it's going to turn into some mighty fine black gold!
 
 
Small pile. But don't worry. It's going to grow. :)
 
We are re-training ourselves to put things into the compost bucket in the kitchen now, rather than the trash or the garbage disposal. We're using everything from fruit and veggie peels, egg shells, coffee grounds, basically anything that isn't meat or dairy! I've also added paper towels and shredded junk mail, along with yard trimmings, twigs, and dried leaves. Good, good stuff.
 
After Matt finished the compost bin (which was made 100% out of stuff we already had lying around the house, by the way), he got to work on our "thicket" as we call it. We don't have a bush hog or anything like that, but there are a ton of little stick-trees growing out by the garden. He pulled them up by hand (they came up easily), then mowed that area to make it much more pleasing to the eye.
 
The kids like to play back there, and I worry about all the bugs and possibly snakes in the overgrown grass.
 
Sunday evening, we had dinner and relaxed some more.
 
Having lived in the Black Hills for a little over two years (which are amazing, by the way), I had forgotten how GREEN everything is in the springs and summers of the Midwest.
 
Our woods have bloomed like crazy, and you can't even see the road from our backyard anymore. Love it.
 
Well, except for the mosquitos, of course. Turns out, West Michigan is the 12th worst place in the entire country this summer for mosquitos. Awesome.
 
 
Monday equaled much relaxation.
 
It was a very busy and exhausting weekend, but one I'd LOVE to repeat soon!
 
 
 
This coming weekend, our friends from South Dakota are bringing our camper to us! I could not be more excited to get the camper back, and am already planning a camping trip for the following weekend, hopefully.
 
I also have big plans for the interior of the camper, so stay tuned!
 
What were you up to over the holiday weekend?
 
Do you have any friends or family members who gave all in the service?
 
What are you most excited about for summer 2015?