Toddlers and Chores

Hey there!

I hope that your Tuesday has been great so far! Bug and I are going to hit Mount Philo for a hike after nap time, and then to the grocery store!

Growing up with horses, has left me with a deep seated appreciation for the hard work that comes with the privilege that comes with having ANY animal in my life. It’s one of the qualities that I most pride myself in having, and I think really helped set me up for the transition that is having kids. What’s a few more delicate creatures that depend entirely on me for survival?

Now that LB comes to work with me almost every day, I wanted to take advantage of his willingness and give him a few little tasks that were “his” to do. I really feel strongly that he needs to grow up knowing that when help is needed, you jump in and help. I don’t want to raise a kid that just stands around watching; so I get him involved, just like my mentors did for me.

img_2377-1

He has a few specific chores around the farm, and the house, that are “his” and believe it or not, he takes them pretty seriously. Since he’s two (almost..hold me) I don’t task him specifically with anything time sensitive or that involves any creatures that aren’t mine.

Every afternoon that we’re at work, he’s in charge of bringing Jake to his stall and feeding him. Jake knows the routine and takes HIS job of being dragged around by the tiny human very seriously. He’s also gotten savvy to the fact that he can’t be super pushy when he sees that LB is the one wielding the bucket of goodness that is his dinner. I took the time to work with Jake before setting the toddler loose on him, and they are ALWAYS heavily supervised.

img_2534

His other job is collecting empty buckets after I feed lunch and dinner grain. I dump the grain and then set the bucket on the floor. LB comes behind me and brings them back to the grain bin. He LOVES to play with buckets, so this was a pretty easy one to capitalize on. He can work on this one pretty independently, and I like that he has something to do that doesn’t require me to be right there. While he’s occupied with collecting the buckets, I can usually get hay tossed and water buckets topped off. Win – win!

img_2947

His last “chore” at the barn is helping me brush Jake, which we do every day. He has his own little green brush and Jake has the cleanest knees in the whole barn. Again, this is heavily supervised chore and Jake is steady on the ground. I use this one as an opportunity to work with him on proper ground manners around the horses, which is super important to me.

img_2041

His chores at home follow the same vein. He’s in charge of feeding Bogan and Bubbles in the afternoons (we don’t have time in the morning) which he absolutely loves. Lord help you if you touch the dog food container without his immediate consent! Again, I worked with the animals first before allowing him to take this stuff on. Bogan is endlessly patient and not food motivated in the least. Bubbles is… Bubbles.

img_2834

All in all, I can see how giving him these tasks is helping to gently mold him into a helpful kid, who understands that being part of the family means pitching in to help with EVERYTHING. Being a single Mom means that the responsibility of raising a helpful, involved kid weighs pretty heavily on my mind. I am endlessly thankful that our lifestyle helps me to do exactly that. I’m also grateful that my animals tolerate it, and are helping me to obtain my parenting goals!

img_2835

Do your kiddos have chores around the house? What do you task them with if they do?

Peace,

Mama

What I’m Reading Wednesday – #2!

Hey there!

Welcome to What I’m Reading Wednesday on… Thursday…whoops!

If you saw my wonderfully awkward Instagram live video, you’ll know that this week was kind of a rough one for me.

If you didn’t subject yourself to that… this week was kind of a rough one for me. Keep reading for the painful(ish) deets.

We’ll start with LB since he chose a really adorable book this week called Duck, Duck, Moose by Dave Horowitz.

The story line is short and sweet, and personally I love how it takes place in New England. Being a born and bred New Englander means that it will always hold a special place in my heart, and this book really brings a lot of the things I love about this place to light. The illustrations are fun, and LB loved pointing out all the different things in the pictures. I ordered him this one off of Amazon to add to our permanent collection!

Moving on to the failure of my reading life this week…

I have, in the last week, gone down the wormhole that is “booktube” (Basically, book centered YouTube videos). This has kicked started my deep seated love for the YA genre… while nothing will EVER replace the literary equivalent of sweatpants that is Harry Potter (Hufflepuff in the house, yo!) I have found comfort in several other series. Thus, my stack this week was mostly YA novels. The first book I picked up was Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake. I was super excited about this book, because it had all of the ingredients to make it something that was right up my ally. I was so excited when I settled into my chair with it, waiting to get sucked into the fantasy that I was convinced it would paint for me… turns out not so much. I. Just. Couldn’t. Do it. I got about 40 pages in and had to tap out. Maybe it was just my headspace this week, after having to come home from a wedding early because of a rather unsettling panic attack. I just couldn’t seem to connect with it. So, I put it on my TBR list to try again another day! From there, I moved on to a book that I would never in a million years pick up were or not for the glorious channels that make up this wonderful land of booktube. It’s called The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani.Never in a million years would I have grabbed this book off the shelf, however it is SO much fun! It’s has a really neat spin on fairy tales and how they come to be, and while it’s certainly geared towards a bit younger of a group of readers, I’m having an absolute blast with it. It’s pretty quick and easy, my mom used to call them popcorn novels, but I think that’s what I needed this week! All in all, a little bit of a different #wirw; but I will not admit defeat. I’ll pick up Three Dark Crowns again in a few months and hopefully find that it’s the story I hoped it would be! Do you have any favorite booktube channels? Let me know so I can enable my newest addiction! Peace, Mama

Weekly Spread!

Hey there!

I hope you all are having an awesome Sunday!

I started my day with my horsey crew in Hinesburg, which I always love. Something about the old barn and the quiet old horses that match is just my happy place.

Then I came home and got BoGo all suited up for his first trail run! I decided to do Eagle Mountain in Georgia, because it’s relatively easy and has a lot of different loops and it’s 99% shaded. I wasn’t sure how he was going to do on leash and jogging over the terrain, but he was a super star. We did a total of 4 miles together and I felt awesome at the end.

After our run, we came home and I picked up the house so I could settle down to finish my book for this week. Bogan used that opportunity to take a solid nap. He didn’t even want to share my blueberries, he was so tired!

It didn’t last long, though, because one of my good friends came over to hike the back woods with me, and Bo came along for that as well. I think he prefers the back yard hikes, since he can be off leash the entire time. We ended up getting mildly lost on the way back, and had to do some literal tromping through the brambles before we flew off in different directions; is there really such a thing as a quick hike?

Liam is home from his weekend with his Dad, and we had our usual Sunday night movie before he went off to bed! I don’t allow much TV watching, so this is always a special treat for him. Plus I get to soak up the snuggles after being away from him for a few days!

After an episode of Dino Trux, his bedtime read, and snuggling him into his crib, I was able to get to my Sunday night routine of spicing up my planner for the week!

To say I love paper planning is an understatement, and probably something that deserves its own post. I’d love to add my Sunday night spreads to my blogging rotation, as it’s something that not only gives me a quiet creative outlet, but also really motivates me to stay organized. I find I have so much less anxiety if I can keep control of my schedule. I have my planner open on my desk, and I love knowing what my week is going to be like, updating as things change, and having something fun to look at in the process.

I do my planning in a Recollections vertical style planner that I picked up at Michael’s with a 50% off coupon. I love shopping at Michael’s because I usually have a 40-50% off coupon waiting in the app, and things go on sale very often. It’s a really budget friendly way to have fun with it! There is also a huge network of Etsy shops to help out with things you might want customized!

Believe it or not, there is also a huge community that goes along with planning; while it has its fair share of drama it reminds me a lot of the horsey community in the way everybody bands together to help one another. It is also the most open minded group of people I have ever met. The community will meet you where you’re at, regardless of your mental or physical struggles. It’s not just incredibly empowering but also infinitely comforting.

I hope you guys have a relaxing Sunday night, and are ready to tackle your Monday like the badasses I know you are!

Peace,

Mama

Swingin’

Hey there!

Happiest of Saturday’s!

LB is with his Dad, and I recently started trying to use these weekends to focus on myself. In my constant up and down battle with depression and anxiety, I’ve learned exactly how important self care has become to my routine (and I’ll probably talk about it a lot). I tend to throw myself into life at 120%, which can get very overwhelming, very quickly… therefore leading to a depressive episode or an anxiety attack. LB needs his Mama to be the best she can!

Therefore, I am doing my best to learn to give myself permission to do what I need during these few days, while LB is happy and safe.

One of the things that I’ve wanted to add to my schedule is yoga but I am decidedly not stretchy and was hesitant to just do a flow I picked at random from a YouTube video. I have seen the consequences that improper stretching has bestowed upon my equine clients! I don’t have a big budget for a fancy gym membership or lots of classes, so I sort of pushed it aside.

When a pop-up aerial yoga class showed up on my Facebook events suggestions for this weekend, however, I immediately sent a text to one of my good friends and asked if she wanted to join. She agreed, and I saved us spots!

Aerial yoga is an awesome variation of floor yoga, using a drape to help support the body through the different poses.

Thanks, Em, for the picture!

This pop up class was done at Sangha Studio here in Burlington, and was for donation. Non- members had a suggested donation of $15, which made it really affordable, and I was happy to set some of my self care budget aside this week to make it happen.

The studio was super easy to find, welcoming, and clean. When I walked in, I immediately seemed to relax and was excited to get started!

Our teacher (aka yoga goddess) Nicole was beyond friendly, quickly showed me into the classroom and I took my place.

After introducing ourselves, we started the class with an easy flow, before beginning to use the drape to move our bodies through a few different different poses to warm us up and get us comfortable to do our first real inversion. Nicole demonstrated the flows for us, and then turned us loose to give it a shot. She walked around the room and gently helped guide us into the appropriate positions, always making sure we felt safe while also pushing us to let go and trust the fabric. As a teacher of sorts myself, she was absolutely fantastic.

We finished the class with the most amazing feeling savasana (which I’m convinced is yogi for “nap”) in our drapes. Nicole really emphasized letting our mind go blank and focusing on nothing. For somebody who struggles daily to quiet her mind, this was a great opportunity for me to work on settling myself and truly relaxing.

Bogo demonstrating a proper savasana.

I honestly didn’t want it to end! Not only did I feel physically challenged and pushed out of my comfort zone (helllllo flipping myself upside down), but I also learned that when I relaxed and let it happen, it was probably the best I’ve felt in a long time. Em and I walked out of the studio completely blissed out, motivated, and plotting ways to hang a drape in the barn so we could do all the aerial yoga!

I’m super excited to go back as soon as I can afford it, and will be renegotiating my self care budget to make it as often as possible… as well as try out some of the other classes that they offer!

I’ll check in tomorrow with a super fun planner spread for next week, but for now I’m heading out to enjoy a wedding! I hope that you all have a blissed out rest of your weekend!

Peace,

Mama

Crack-a-lackin’

Hey there!

I hope you’re having a happy Thursday! I know both LB and I had a pretty hard time waking up this morning… and I’m pretty sure I could take a nap this afternoon.

I think one of the reasons that we’re both so mellow was that we had our first adjustment with our new chiropractor on Tuesday and we feel soooo good.

I won a free exam in a farmer’s market raffle the other week, and finally had some time to make the appointment. LB came with me because after doing some research on all benefits for children, I asked if we could squeeze him in too. Our chiro, Dr. Jason, was super accommodating and was happy to add LB to the appointment.

Since I had never been to his office (Jake was the only one in the family to be seen fairly regularly by an equine chiro) we started out with a brief exam, he explained his way of cracking, the benefits, and then we took some x-rays. We also talked about my health history and he really honed in on the depression and anxiety piece of things.

The general theory of chiropractic is that everything is controlled by the brain and the nervous system. If you have something that is out of alignment, it can very easily disrupt the signals given to and from your brain. Not only does your skeletal system feel out of whack, but your digestive, mental, and muscular health is weakened too.

After listening closely to my history, we took X-rays and then Dr. Jason adjusted me based on what he saw, felt, and heard.

What was really interesting was that I was incredibly weak on my left side… to the point where my left leg was shorter than my right. Yikes.

After Dr. Jason snapped me, I immediately felt better. He used the term “bobble headed” and I feel that that’s incredibly accurate. Not only have I been sleeping like a baby, but my rides have improved and I’ve also seen a HUGE improvement in my level of daily anxiety.

Totally chill.

Now, because LB is LB, Dr. Jason didn’t do quite as hands on of an exam as he did with me. It’s just not as possible with a toddler… but I was seriously impressed by how willing to go along with the treatment LB was. This is the kid who does alligator style death rolls when you so much as put a sock on him, so the fact that he was just chilling out letting Dr. Jason crack his neck was insanely telling.

I noticed right away that LB was a little more pliable during the rest of our errands, but then he got home and took a 3(!) hour nap. He also managed to push out the last two canine teeth he’s been fighting with these past few weeks.

Maybe these things are coincidental, but I’m going to put my money on them being eased along by the chiro treatment we received, and we will both be going back to continue our wellness visits and continue forward on the path to total alignment!

I highly recommend Dr. Jason and his practice! He is charming, knowledgeable, AND affordable if your insurance doesn’t cover the visits (mine does). If anybody in the area is looking for a good chiro, please email me for his info… I’m happy to pass it along.

Seriously. Who doesn’t want a kid that’s so relaxed he falls asleep with his shoes still on?

Peace,

Mama

What I’m Reading Wednesday – #1!

Hey there!

Welcome to our first post in what I hope is a really fun weekly series; What I’m Reading Wednesday!

As a Mama who has discovered that her love of reading makes for a simple addition to my self care routine, I’d love to share what I’m currently diving into as well as hear what you’ve got on your bedside table!

Feel free to follow along on social media using the hashtag “#WIRW”.

Not only am I excited to share what *I’m* reading, I’ll be sharing the book that LB has picked out for his nightly before bed read! We take a trip to the library every Monday, and he loves to spend time playing with the trains, as well as picking out his bedtime book for the week.

If the blog isn’t quite your style, feel free to follow along on our other social media links that can be found in the “about us” section!

So, without further ado, let’s jump in!

This week, my pick was Raven Black by Ann Cleeves.

I can honestly say that I was a little bit hesitant picking this book up because, for me at least, British authors can be a little bit touch and go. If the plot doesn’t grab me, I can sometimes struggle to stay focused.

This book, though, grabbed me right from page one. It’s set in the Shetland Islands, and follows several different characters through a murder mystery. It’s classified as a thriller and while it certainly grabbed me and didn’t let me go, I never worried about unnecessary gore catching me by surprise.

This book is a super fun, quick read that I pretty much devoured in a day. I wouldn’t hesitate to add this one to my “to buy” list!

On the LB side of things, he picked out a fun book by Janik Coat called “Rhymoceros.”

This one is a super fun book that is short and sweet (literally, two words per page… you know what I’m talking about, parents); it makes it the perfect before bed read.

Not only is it quick, but there are super fun tactile surprises hidden throughout, which LB loved. He was anxious to turn the pages to see what was coming next, and often he’s asked for a second (and third) round. The big pages are perfect to allow him to turn them himself, and the contrast of blue “rhymoceros” against the white pages holds his attention even when there aren’t fun things to feel.

We both love this book for all the right reasons, and I absolutely would not hesitate to put it on his Christmas list this year!

So there you have it! Our first ever post (!) and #WIRW! Feel free to tag me in social media to let me know what you are your little ones are reading, and I’m already so excited to share next weeks picks with y’all!

Peace,

Mama

1 4 5