Wednesday, October 4, 2017

School started after a fun summer

Miles is just about too big for this mini 4-wheeler
Alice on the boat with Captain Grandpa Sam.
Our summer has been filled with fun in the sun and making the most of the warm weather. We have had several mini get-a-ways these last few months. One especially memorable trip was our venture to Nebraska to see the solar eclipse. We had such a fun adventure and great visits with family. We initially planned to watch the eclipse in Kearney but soon found out that a big chunk of the Marshall family was going to be in North Platte at Aunt Beth's place. So we decided to make the trek there.
Testing out our eclipse glasses.
Nana Linda just happened to be in Kearney and we stayed with her for the first two nights. We visited Grandma Irma and had lunch with her. Then the day of the eclipse we made our way to North Platte. All the while hoping that the sky would stay clear and cloud free. We got our wish and had a wonderful time with Grammie Julie, Aunt Carlos, Aunt Beth and a couple of cousins. Although Alice missed a good part of the totality because she was in the bathroom. Have Aaron tell you the story some time. 
Aaron and Miles waiting for the total eclipse.
Jen, Miles, and Aunt Carlos with our stylin eclipse glasses.
Aaron and Jen, sun worshipers
Miles started Kindergarten in August. Now, I've heard lots of moms say they cried when they dropped their kids off at school for the first day. I honestly didn't think that would be me. I am not one to get too emotional over these milestones. Or at least that is what I tell myself. I often want to experience the moment and not lament too much that the kids are "growing up too fast". I love experiencing these things as a mom. So it came as a complete surprise to me when I broke down after I dropped Miles off at school that first day. 
My goofballs on the first day of Kindergarten and Pre-K
 We live about a block from Miles's school, so I walk him to school every morning. We arrived a bit early on the first day, hung up his back pack, put his lunch in his cubby and looked for his desk. There was a lot of chaos on that first day, parents jostling around dropping off kids, and he was pretty clingy. I figured he would be but then I looked down and he was wiping tears from his eyes.
That was it. I was melting. I had a hard time keeping it together and Miles wouldn't let me go. I looked up and the teacher was busy with helping other kids and the teacher's aid was no help. Then I saw the school counselor there. Miles had met him over the summer at a camp he went to so he knew him and he was a familiar face in the classroom. I kind of gave him this look like "help me!". He was great. He came over and took Miles's hand and helped him find his desk. I was so grateful.
Then on the walk home the tears flowed freely and the whole rest of the day I was crying over my computer as I worked. I guess it just goes to show that motherhood is full of emotional moments, even when you don't expect them to be. 
Face painting at the Jimmy block party.
Summer fun at the park, Alice found the mud.
Telling my story about my "free" dog at the ArtSpark opening.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Summer is coming - break out the sunscreen

I love warm weather! I mean LOVE it! My bones seem to thaw when it gets warm and I jump for joy when I can start wearing shorts and tank tops. I was raised in Florida. That means that the heat doesn't phase me. This past weekend I had a picnic lunch at the park with the kids and some friends and the discussion of heat came up. Several ladies said it was the perfect temperature. I don't know exactly what it was, but someone said they wouldn't like it if it got much hotter. I shook my head. Not me, I can take the heat. It's the cold that gets me and I admit I do suffer a bit in the winter time here in North Dakota. 

That is why we soak in as much summer as we can up here. I am instilling a new summer tradition this year. We are going to have picnic lunches every Saturday at the park. I want to switch it up and visit all the parks around town. We do have quite a few of them. I am inviting all of our friends to join us and have the kids run and play while we soak up the outside sunshine.

If you know me you know I am nuts about sunscreen. I lather myself up with it and my kids. I also bug my husband about it even though he rolls his eyes at me. However, he complains that I didn't remind him to apply it when he gets a sunburn. I am that mom! I am the mom who has researched the best sunscreens for kids and buy the more spendy ones that have the ingredients that won't stunt my kids' growth or interfere with their immune system. I also send them to school and daycare with specific instructions for their care givers to use the sunscreen I provide. In parenting we pick our battles and make choices on things to be picky about, sunscreen is my thing.

The Environmental Working Group has some great guidelines on sunscreen, gives them a best vs. worst score and provides links on where to purchase the sunscreens. Most are available on Amazon, but I did find one good scoring sunscreen at Walmart last year.
These are two that we like. Blue Lizard.
It is my impression that Australians have done the best job in creating sunscreens that work and don't make false claims. This stuff leaves a bit of a white film and takes a while to rub in. It does provide good coverage and protection. But always remember to reapply after swimming and after 2 hours. The bottle also changes color in UV light. So that is cool.
Badger is great! This stuff smells great and rubs in well. I favor this one. It does leave you feeling like you have a think layer of lotion on, but I haven't found a sunscreen in this category that doesn't. This stuff can also be found in health food stores. However, we don't have any of those in my town, so as usual I order it from Amazon.

I will talk sunscreen all day. Something I don't put on my kids is the spray sunscreen. First of all I don't trust the coverage. Something about spraying it on just seems wrong. I don't feel like it is a thick enough layer to protect from the sun. Second most contain the chemical sunscreen oxybenzone, that has hormone disrupting properties that can harm children's growth and development. And the way I use sunscreen on my kids, this could be a big problem. Just because the marketing is good like putting Hello Kitty or Elsa and Anna on the bottle doesn't mean it is good for your kids. Here is a link to the EWG's easy printable guide on what to look for and what to avoid in a sunscreen.

So there is my sunscreen lecture. Keep your kids covered and safe. Don't put crazy chemicals on them, use the physical blocking sunscreens like zinc oxide or titanium oxide that sit on the surface. Happy outside play everyone!! And remember to reapply at least every 2 hours.

Kids crafting at the library during Love Your Library Week. 
My new hair for the summer.