Tag Archives: nature

Right Now: A Few of Our Favorite Things

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   IMG_9951It’s been an unseasonably cold winter here in Texas (yes, a lot has changed in the past eight months — we moved from California to Texas and I happen to be a weather wimp), so I thought I’d put together a list of all the gear we’ve been loving this winter, keeping my boys warm outdoors and keeping them entertained indoors, when it’s been too cold to leave the house. I’m still a bit in awe that it snowed here last week. I certainly wasn’t expecting that.
1. Herschel Supply Settlement camouflage backpack. We’ve been a little obsessed with camo this winter. It’s timeless, unisex and versatile enough to compliment any style and color scheme. My 8-year-old uses it as his daily school backpack and loves that he looks like an “army guy” in it.
2. Gold knit crown from @blessedstyleblog on Instagram. Last March, I opened up a shop for boys on Instagram and have been completely immersed in the world of shopping via social media ever since. If you haven’t tried it, you must. Warning: it can be a little addictive. I purchased these crowns from @blessedstyleblog’s shop and I think they’re the cutest accessory for any wild thing. I love that they’re a thick knit, making them really warm like a beanie, and completely wearable outdoors when it’s chilly. Stylish and functional. We have them in gray and gold, but there are plenty of other colors to choose from. Oeuf has a similar style too, but at a steeper price point.
3. Roxy Marj custom “Wild Thing” pennant flag. Her artwork is so imaginative and whimsical. I just love everything in her Etsy shop. We have our flag adorning the boys’ teepee in our living room, but it really can look adorable anywhere: on the wall, tied to a bed post, or affixed to a bedroom door. She’ll even customize it with a favorite phrase or name of your choice.
4. Camp Wolf buffalo check flannel toddler infinity scarf. Like camo, we’re kind of obsessed with buffalo check these days too. We love this scarf because it’s the perfect size for babies and toddlers and it fits both my 2-year-old and 4-year-old, so they can share. It’s soft and cozy and really keeps little necks warm. Lots of cuteness going on over in that shop.
5. How to Stay Alive in the Woods by Bradford Angier. We’re nature lovers at heart and although I doubt we’ll find ourselves lost in the woods anytime soon, this is an informative, interesting book for any aspiring survivalist. My 8-year-old hasn’t put it down since Christmas. It really is a great read for all ages.
6. Freshly Picked moccasins in weathered brown. My toddler’s go-to shoes because he can put them on himself. He pretty much lives in these. I’ve been a die-hard fan of Freshly Picked moccasins for awhile now, but I just recently discovered this color and it’s a fast favorite. It’s an earthy gray/brown shade that goes with everything and has that naturally “lived-in” look, which I love. These are durable, exceptionally well-made moccasins that will stay on your little ones’ feet and can be worn on any terrain. My youngest has hiked in his frequently and they’ve always held up beautifully, even in mud.
7. Hunter Original Kids rain boot. We haven’t gotten much rain in our part of Texas, but that doesn’t stop my 2-year-old from loving his Hunter wellies. These days, he even likes to stomp around inside the house in nothing but his diaper and boots for fun. They’re great for puddle jumping and getting messy in mud. And they wash off wonderfully.
8. Crewcuts camo notebook. Camo again. My boys love to doodle in this and the cute design makes it a little more playful and stylish than your average composition notebook.
9. Hand-carved wooden animal slingshots. What boy doesn’t love a good slingshot? These adorable animal versions make it even more fun to launch felt balls or marshmallows indoors on those days it’s been too cold to leave the house. As long as they don’t aim at anyone’s face, I’m okay with it.
What about you? What are some of your kid essentials right now?
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A Week in Photos (and a little shameless self-promotion)

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The boys and I were able to get outdoors and explore quite a bit this week.

Last weekend, I took the two older boys to see a movie in an actual movie theatre, which we rarely do. The three-year-old is finally at an age where he can (mostly) sit still through a nearly two-hour film, without too much”Shhhhushing” on my part to get him to stop TALKING OUT LOUD and narrating all the action for us. There was a little bit of this going on, but I think our neighbors were mostly okay with it, since it was a kid’s film after all.

Later in the week, we visited a beautiful arboretum on the campus of my old college, where I was a little wistful reminiscing about being young and quietly studying for exams in the shady gardens there as a teenager, when all I had to worry about back then was studying for exams and being a teenager. I used the outing as a vehicle for not only allowing the boys to study nature, while using their imaginations and getting their hands dirty poking around bubbling streams with sticks and leaving with muddy knees, but to continue to explain the concept of college to my oldest, who had never actually stepped foot on a college campus before.

We stood beneath giant cacti in the sunshine, got up close and personal with vibrant orange monarch butterflies, who let us nearly touch them with our fingertips, and ran through make-believe jungles, pretending we were lost there, using our sticks to guide us through tangled vines.

We also hiked through our favorite canyon this week, under a canopy of oak trees. It was the first time I really let the baby walk around on his own and hike along with us, instead of strapping him into a stroller or onto my body, carrying him on my back. He was giddy with the freedom of exploration, grabbing sticks to carry like his big brothers, stomping around in piles of autumn leaves, touching new textures and throwing rocks. I’ve realized a large part of boy behavior involves searching for the biggest stick you can find on hikes and wielding it as a sword to fight your brother, while also chucking rocks at anything and everything that moves.

“Yeah, boys? Let’s not throw that giant rock at that beautiful bird resting peacefully in that tree, okay?

This week, we also tackled a little project I’d been talking about for awhile, but hadn’t gotten around to. We finally moved the baby’s crib out of our bedroom and into his brothers’ room so that all three boys could finally share a room together and the baby could sleep in his own crib overnight instead of co-sleeping with me, as he’s done since birth.

I dreaded the process because I knew it would be met with major screaming tears on the baby’s part. I wrote about why I was ready to get him sleeping in his own crib here. It’s time for him to learn how to sleep in his own space, without still waking up to nurse every couple hours when he’s co-sleeping with me. I am more than ready to get some solid sleep again. They say it takes 72 hours to break any habit and last night was night three of him sleeping in his crib overnight with his brothers.

The first two nights didn’t go very well, my husband was up with him several times, coaxing him back to sleep, but last night, he did much better. He only woke up once, fussed for a few minutes and got himself to go back down. It was the first time in fourteen months that I was able to sleep a solid six hours without waking up and it was blissful. Let’s hope tonight goes just as well. Fingers crossed.

Yesterday was Thanksgiving here in the US and we feasted and gave thanks along with the rest of the country. This year, it was just us five gathering around our table, which I decided to decorate and make festive for the occasion. My husband roasted a delicious turkey and we collaborated on the side dishes: mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffing, green beans, sweet potatoes, cranberry chutney and pumpkin pie. It was a lovely day and an opportunity to be grateful for our blessings, especially the three little lively boys who have stolen our hearts more than we could have ever imagined.

They have taught me so much about loving and living.

And to tie this week up with a beautiful holiday bow, a book I contributed a piece of my writing to, was released today. It’s an honest anthology of funny pregnancy stories from twenty moms called, “Bumptabulous,” and if you’re so inclined to buy it for yourself or an expectant mom, you (or they) are sure to get some laughs and a candid  peek at pregnancy and motherhood.

You can read more about it here and purchase the book here.

If you celebrated Thanksgiving, I hope you had a wonderful one with your loved ones. I’m thankful for those of you who visit and read about this little life of mine, with my Three Wild Things and share your stories as well.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Inspired

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Some days are more inspired than others in this house.

They’re the days when we’re outside exploring under a giant blue canopy, getting up close and personal with wildflowers or wildlife or anything my wild things can discover that isn’t an incessant loop of animation on television.

Yes, we have those days too. The days where the exaggerated cartoon voices of PBS Sprout or Ninjago are the soundtrack to our Monday. Or Tuesday or Wednesday or Thursday. Where we don’t leave the house for an entire day, where we have the same clothes on from the day before. Where we eat leftovers from last night’s dinner for today’s lunch, where we walk around with bed head knowing nobody’s going to see us anyway, save for the possibility of a random neighbor or the UPS man. Who cares — I’m pretty sure the UPS man has seen it all in his career.

And then there are those days when a burst of energy inspires me and we go outside to discover new treasures, or re-discover old ones.

This week it was a first-time visit to a historic mill from 1816, built by Native Americans. We roamed the old stone adobe building and gardens, where I’m almost sure all the lizards in California have taken up residence, because we spied about 1,000 of them while there.

Later in the week, we reunited with one of our favorite botanical gardens, where the toddler let off some energy running through shadowy groves, made cool and serene by rows and rows of giant oak trees. We spotted turtles and koi fish in tranquil ponds, played chase with neon orange dragonflies and wild bunnies, which zipped and teased us through the brush.

The baby took barefoot steps in fresh grass, while clapping his hands over and over, as if giving himself a round of applause — and tried to eat purple wildflowers for lunch.

Big brother is in summer camp most of the week and at times I feel a little sad that he misses out on these mid-week adventures with us. And then I remember he’s visiting places like Disneyland and splashing around in water parks with his buddies, having adventures and making memories and friendships all his own.

I love that he forges friendships with new friends and reconnects with old ones independently each summer, sealing their camaraderie with a handmade friendship bracelet around the wrist. Because, as he approaches 7 years old, that is much more exciting to him than hanging with his mom and baby brothers all day long.

Next week, if the stars are aligned just right and mercury isn’t in retrograde and there are no summer storms on the horizon — I’m making another attempt to shuttle all three boys back to the beach again. It might just be our final trip there this summer.

May the force be with us.