Posts Tagged ‘school’

Favorite Things: Coronavirus Edition

My asthma has been flaring up, likely from anxiety about spread of COVID-19. There are moments I have to remind myself that I have no fever or other symptoms, and the people in my direct contact are indeed safe.

The pandemic has caused many of us return to the things we tried to give up for lent: nail biting, screen time or alcohol. (My finger nails are a hot mess!) Our house has had a few tensions like any one else’s, but we haven’t gotten it all wrong.

Wes and I have been practicing gratitude by sharing each night for the last year or so one thing in which we’re grateful. Recently his answers have brought me to tears and laughter, and it occurred to me that I haven’t shared a “favorite things” post in a while.

Here’s a few random things that we enjoy and use, and perhaps one of them may bring a needed smile to your face, too.


<<Newest Discoveries>>

We discovered this funny app a few weeks ago. You post on an imaginary social platform, and thousands of bots “like” and comment with ridiculous replies. It has made us giggle and scratch our heads! (Fair warning, though, I haven’t yet found a language filter.)

UNICEF Kids Power Band
Wes mentioned that he misses going to his specials during the school closure – particularly Dance & Drama, where his classmates complete group exercises to “unlock” opportunities to send high-protein food packets to malnourished children through UNICEF. It sounded cool to me, too, and I researched their family fitness program, snagged a couple activity trackers on eBay, and now we’re competing against each other for highest number of daily steps. In a week, we’ve been active enough to “earn” a dozen therapeutic food packets sent to kids who need it most.

Loog Guitar
Wes received a 3-string acoustic guitar by Loog for Christmas, but he’s been intimidated to try it until now. It helps kids learn fingering and strumming in a simpler way than with a standard 6-string guitar, and the company makes chord flash cards and a cool app to keep players engaged. For at-home “Music Class,” he is slowly learning how to play, though he says it hurts his fingers. (I remember those days!) It’s been fun to have an excuse to dust off my old guitar and play with him, too.

Practicing A minor

There are hundreds of homeschooling resources available and many lists of suggested activities floating around. We’re excited about Wesley’s upcoming virtual classes on Outschool – PokéPlants: An Introduction to Plants (and Fungi) using Pokémon! and Zelda and World Mythology. Depending on how these go, we may sign up for a few more during the next six weeks.


<<Baby Favorites>>

Cloth Diapers
We’re a part-time cloth diapering family, but now that we’re at home for the foreseeable future, the diapers are getting even more use. I used a variety of cloth diapers for Wesley’s first year and wrote a blog post on the experience, and this time around, we opted for cheaper ones. I’ve been really pleased with Best Bottom Diapers (similar to the more expensive GroVia) for their simple button inserts and reusable cover. We also have a handful of Alva Baby pocket diapers (bought on Amazon), and they’re just as good as the more expensive brands.

One more suggestion: invest in some Rockin Green detergent, and add Bac Out for eliminating the ammonia stinkies! I pour in about 1/4 cup in the pre-wash cycle.

Baby Signing Time
Still love this series a second time around, and nearly 10 years later! Maisie appreciates that we know what she’s referring to and can communicate effectively with us. While she does babble and “talk” quite often around us, she only says between 10-20 words. However, she can sign more than 50.

The songs are generally catchy and minimally annoying, and even Wes likes to watch one of the four 20-minute episodes with Maisie. We never did get much further than Rachel and the TreeSchoolers, which is another quality educational program from this company, though I know Signing Time is well-known and popular.

Signing “water” while in the bathtub

When Wes was a toddler, we didn’t worry about him falling down the stairs, because the only steps were to the basement, blocked by a door. He also wasn’t interested in moving from Point A to Point B, unlike Maisie, who has already boinked her head more times than we can count.

In this house, we have a prominent staircase with a bannister on one side and a wall with crown molding at railing height on the other. It has made for a challenge in finding the right baby gate to keep Maisie downstairs. I finally found it, though: a removable, retractable gate that can attach at an angle. It’s pricey at $120 – and accessories may be required to attach like on our stairwell. But with all the perks included, so far it’s worth the cost.

OneKid Road Coat
During Maisie’s first winter, my mom got her a unique snow suit with an inner zipper that accommodates a seat belt harness in a much safer way than a regular snow suit or coat. This winter she used a second-hand coat found at a consignment sale, and once washed, the stuffing from the arms gathered in the shoulders and made her look truly beefy. It’s been such a pain to strap her in the car, and I’m sure it’s not safe.

I recently purchased a “transition coat” for less chilly weather from OneKid, the same company as the cool snow suit with the same inner zipper. Granted, we haven’t been traveling in the car too much lately, but getting her in and out has been a huge improvement over her bulky winter coat. I like it so well that she now has a down-filled version for next winter!

Notice the rad unicorn design!


<<Current Necessities>>

Moodstruck Lip Exfoliator
Cold weather may be heading out, but my skin is still so very dry, including my poor chapped lips. This Younique purchase was a splurge, but it’s one of the best things I’ve tried. You don’t know how much you needed a lip exfoliator, seriously.

AYR Saline Nasal Gel
Ugh, crusty noses are the worst. My mom introduced me to this stuff a few seasons ago, and it’s great for the kids as well as my own allergies. If you have dry skin around the nose, or it’s stuffy or runny, try it and be impressed.

Cetaphil DailyAdvance Lotion
Speaking of dry skin, I’ve been washing my hands so often throughout the day that they’re in bad shape. One of my friends asked for lotion suggestions on a Twitter feed, and I mentioned Cetaphil’s line of products. I figure it’s good enough to mention here, too, because it’s become a necessity around our house.

DIY Lysol Imitators
I’ve made my own floor cleaner since my weird MRSA infection last summer because I had trouble finding products that could kill the bacteria. Given the current demand for cleaning products, I’ve been making additional batches of disinfectants. Here are my recipes for floor cleaner and household spray.

Disinfectant Floor Cleaner:
– 1-2 gallon(s) hot water
– 1 cup white vinegar
– 1 cup rubbing alcohol (optional)
– 1 tsp blue dish soap (optional)
– 10 drops tea tree oil
– 10 drops sweet orange oil

Disinfectant Household Spray:
In a 16 oz glass spray bottle, combine (and shake):
– 12 oz rubbing alcohol (or nearly to the top of the bottle)
– 1/2 tsp hydrogen peroxide
– 30 drops tea tree oil
– 15 drops each of oils: eucalyptus, lavender, lemon


We’ve found that spending at least 15 minutes outside each day, regardless of the weather, has also brightened our moods. Today was nice enough to take a family bike ride around the neighborhood – and we were far from the only ones with the idea.

I simply remember my favorite things
And then I don’t feel so bad

Stay safe, healthy and smart out there!

Posted: March 25th, 2020
Categories: Leah
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The Final Countdown

Summer may be over according to the school district, but we’ve squeezed in a few additional things before life gets up-ended with a newborn.

On Thursday, Wesley started first grade. I didn’t get shopping for clothes or shoes done until the SECOND day of school, but close enough. (I think the best thing about this photo is my bathrobe-clad photobomb.)

He claimed to be nervous, but Wes couldn’t stop talking about his day while at the dinner table that night. He’s in a class with a bunch of buddies, and he’s already served as Class Helper a handful of times.

Friends of ours invited us to dinner on Saturday night, and even though I forgot to bring my swimsuit, another pregnant friend (who’s just a week or so behind us) kindly let me borrow the one she was wearing so I could get a few minutes in the cool water. Yes, it seems strange, but you may not understand how good water feels when you’re this far along! It was also a rather funny experience, confusing the kids in the pool – as we look similarly pregnant.

We had planned to attend family day at GenCon over the weekend. After we were dressed (Mario, Mega Man and pregnant Fiona), Steven discovered the horrible news that tickets were sold out. Wes was super bummed to miss it, but he bounced back with, “it’s okay. Maybe we can go swimming instead.” So we did. Again. This time at Mom’s condo pool.

And afterwards, my parents – who now own a truck and truck camper and I have no idea who they are – came over to test a cast iron dutch oven recipe on us before their approaching camping trip. I also helped Dad figure out how to set up a tent canopy. The pretend camping experience was almost as fun as REAL CAMPING!

Mom and Dad were convinced that I would go into labor the day they left, but here I am. Yesterday’s 38w6d OB appointment was good and uneventful:

  • Heartbeat, Measurements, Blood Pressure: 37 cm, 114/72
  • Weight Gain: No change from last week. Still! By this point I had gained nearly 40-45 lbs with Wesley. This pregnancy is so much different.
  • Movement: Though she didn’t move much during the non stress test (per usual), she has been active ever since. Practice/Braxton Hicks contractions have been constant for the last few days (lots of peaks on the NST!), and I hardly notice them except for slight discomfort. Last night they bothered Maisie so much that she moved all night long.
  • Dilation: 3 cm. I have to credit the practice contractions for the slow and steady progression.
  • Cravings: I got an Egg McMuffin earlier this week, and you know what? It wasn’t nearly as good as I was expecting! I’m hungry for salads and deli meat this week.
  • Moods: Mostly calm, but starting to get antsy. Intermittent sleep is affecting my ability to stay focused.
  • Biggest Gripe: It’s not really a “gripe” but I find it amusing that my coworkers are determined to see my water break in the office and have no doubt that I’ll be in active labor, like, in 10 minutes. Every morning there’s a comment or two: “I can’t believe she’s back today!”
    The thing that has bothered me most this week are loose ligaments in my hips and pelvis. It feels like my leg is popping out of socket. And occasionally I’ll shift positions and a bolt of nerve tingling hits for a moment; super uncomfortable. I decided it’s probably okay to take a break from the gym for several weeks. Saturday is my last planned class, and I’m half expecting to modify the heck out of the workout and then endure an afternoon of contractions.
  • Biggest Like: Checking things off the list! We met with our financial advisor tonight to make adjustments in anticipation of our family of four. Wes is helping pack his own bag for staying with my parents when we’re in the hospital. The newest addition to the bag is a gift from my aunt and cousin – a big brother button!
    Wes asked what Steven and I will be doing for our wedding anniversary next week, and I told him we may be spending it in the hospital. “Oh! Could we order pizza and watch a movie?!” Sure, why not make it a family date if it comes to that?

If Maisie doesn’t arrive on her own next week, we have a scheduled induction for August 22 at 7 a.m. A few more appointments to check on her progress are scheduled between now and then – Oohhhh, it’s the final countdown!

Posted: August 9th, 2018
Categories: Leah
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