The Finches

Charlotte and Ella: Two moms who met on the Internet and love design, simplicity, and sustainability.

 

 

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Saturday
Mar222014

I Always Knew We Would Find You | Pet Loss And Children

One week before Miles was born our house suffered a tragic loss, one we didn't see coming.  We lost our beloved 7 year old cat quiet suddenly and quite dramatically.  She had been a little off, but we thought it was just the wood floors we put in, then, then she started having trouble walking and hiding strange places.  We took her in to an emergency clinic immediately and it was all down hill from there. 

I remember the day we adopted Gwen.  We found her between rushed appointment and a dress fitting as Gray and I were planning our wedding. She was an amazing companion, and really bonded with Wes once he was born.



The end of her life was pretty hard on us too. This was our first go around having to make decisions between what was best for her, what worked for our finances and what we wanted was a challenging balance. It sucked. A lot. The worst part though, as a parent, was watching our son's face as we told him that she had died and then these past 6 months of him mourning, while not truly understanding the loss. He has struggled with the loss of his buddy who fell asleep with him in bed at night, who he played with and cuddled.  His friend who kept him company while he was sick on the couch.  She was always there.....and now? 

We did everything all the books said we should do. We were supportive, loving and gentle. We spoke in concrete terms and we were honest.   We reassured him that he had nothing to do with her death. We were controled with our emotions surrounding the death. We kept up our normal routine.  But it has been a rough road for Wes, and a rough road for us to watch. He has still be crying one every couple of weeks about her, and says that his "heart is broken" (not sure where he learned that!), he tells us he is sad, and that he misses her.  

Our poor sweet Gwennie 


Well, today we took a plunge, and we adopted another family member from Rancho Coastal Humane Society. Gray and I have been discussing it for a couple of months, and I have been browsing the cats that come through online for a few weeks.  I had it in my mind that I wanted an older kitten, and that is who we ended up with. We were able to talk about our needs with one of their (super patient) adoption counselors and the result is a sweet young thing, we have named Emily. 
 

She is a perfect blend of what our family needs in a cat right now, and what our other cat needs.  Wes has welcomed her with open arms....and Emily? She is doing okay...

 
She is currently in Wes and Miles' room while we go through the whole cat introduction thing. I was about to walk into the room to check on the boys when I overheard Wes talking to Emily (who has taken to sleeping on his bed just as Gwen did), and as I paused to listen, he was telling her "my Gwen died. I am sad.  And we thought and we thought and we thought and I always knew we would find you. You are our family".  

I think his heart is on the mend. 

Saturday
Feb222014

Geocaching With Kids | San Diego Family Activities

 

 

I have always know what geocaching was, but never gave it much thought.  Then, I kept seeing pictures in my facebook newsfeed of an amazing family we know geocaching all over...well, the world. It looked fun, it looked kinda easy as far as not needing anything special goes and we figured there was no harm in trying! 

So, now we are hooked.

Wes especially.

A few friends have asked what Geocaching is, and I thought it would be easiest to explain it here!

So, Geocaching uses GPS coordinates to direct you towards, what amounts to, a treasure chest (a cache) that someone else has hidden for you to find.  Cache (the treasure box) sizes can be big, or small.  Easy to find or insanely hard to find. People get crafty, and sneaky and...it is awesome. Sometimes the cache has little prizes in it.  Other times the unit is so small, as pictured above there is just a log big enough to sign. 

What do you need to get started Geocaching? Nothing that you don't already (most likely) have.  You will need....

 

  • A (free) account on www.geocaching.com so you can figure out where you want to go
  • Something that can track your GPS coordinates with, like a smartphone or a handheld GPS navigator - On Gray's phone (android) we have downloaded (for $10.00) the geocaching app that gives you access to all of the cache coordinates and you can search for sites using the purchased app.  On my phone (iphone) we have the free geocaching app that shows you the cache sites that are closest to you, ONLY.   
  • A pen
  • A small trinket or two to place in the cache so your child (or you) can take a piece of swag IF there is any and the cache is big enough. 

 

How we roll...

 

  1. We decide to go geocaching
  2. Scope out the area we want to go geocaching in, either on our app, or on the computer.
  3. Then, we think about swag (treasure), and hunt down something in our house to make or bring. 
  4. Next up, we grab some water, a pen, our swag and our cell phone
  5. We head out the door (because with two kids, it is just as simple as walking out the door, right?)
  6. We pull the location up on our phone and follow the guide to get to where we are going! Wes likes to pick up trash while we make our way to the coordinate site. He thinks he is a trash truck....we just go with it. 
     
  7. When you get to the GPS location, you start your hunt.  It can be made of anything and hidden anywhere.  Geocaching.com will tell you how big the unit is so you can be a little prepared, and also know that if you are wanting your preschooler to take the lead with finding the cache, you most likely don't want to choose a micro cache. 
     
  8. When (if) you find the cache, sign your name on the log, check out the swag, and add something. Wes got a sweet ninja the other day - this was one of the bigger cache containers we have found.  The smallest being a mini altoid box. 
  9. The general rule of swag is that IF you take something, then you need to leave an item of equal or greater value. Gray has been making some fun wooden figures to leave as our calling card.  

It has been quite a bit of fun for us as adults, and it has been a wonderful conversation starter as far as tracking goes with Wes.  In the near future I am hoping to get a trackable geocaching item so we can leave it as swag, and then, since it is a trackable item, you can log on and see where it is traveling to around the city/state/country/world/universe (there is a cache on the International Space Station). 

 

 

Sunday
Feb162014

Meet Bork! | Personal Project

I don't really know where this got started, but our family has a new friend.  He is a sassy, sassy boy who enjoys a healthy meal.  He doesn't like when people don't use their manners and in general he is a bit of an odd ball.

Really, he fits in perfectly, and Wes couldn't live without him!

Friends, meet Bork!



Wes is seriously smitten with Bork, and thinks he is one of the more humorus things in his life.  Yes, yes he is a champagne cork  with some sewing pins stuck into it. Nothing but the finest over here in our household.  

So, while picking up some supplies for Small Life Studio at Michaels, I saw some wooden spoons and thought Wes would flip his lid if Bork had parents. 



He did.

Miles loves them too.

I don't know why those boys loves these guys, but they do!  

Wednesday
Feb122014

Getting Crafty | Small Life Studio

Look. It has been awhile.  A lot has happened. Charlotte left me high and dry, she had a baby, I had a baby (The rolls, oh my!  His, not mine, I don't want to talk about mine).  Life.  Man.  It has a way of just kind of happening, huh? Then, before you know it, BOOM! It is 34 years later and you still haven't written that blog post that has been on your mind.

Sorry.

Life man. Life.

ANYWAYS. I have been wanting to come around more. I like you.  I like you a lot.  The issue has been, well, I just don't have that much to say.  I was thinking about it, and, life here is just kind of calm.  In a two kid, "Holy crap is Miles eating Wes' shoe again, oh dear lord Wes get down from there, we don't need anymore medical bills" kind of way calm.  

Oh snap.  Miles? Let me introduce you. He is pretty awesome. He doesn't like sleep, but he is awesome. 
my super sweet girasol bronze rainbow wrap from Risaroo

.....And the wild beast that is Wes? He is a handsome, loving and kind big brother. 

And my husband?  Yeah. He is cool.  He is cool and talented.  Remember all those creative and jaw droppingly fun things he has made for Wes, like this rock wall loft bed that was featured on Apartment therapy or this play kitchen he made that was featured on Disney Baby?a

Well, he decided to open up his own Etsy shop a few weeks ago.   It is pretty nifty if I do say so myself.

The shop?  Small Life Studio, head on over and check him out. There are some fun things in there! 

So yeah, this is us now!  I miss my dear friend Charlotte, a ton.  Not having easy access to her has left a void in my internet life, so you will be hearing a lot from me here! 

Gray wanted me to photoshop his hair looking combed, so please, just pretend I did that.  Because, yeah.  I don't even know what that means. 

Tuesday
Apr232013

Let Them Read | Bibliophile 

(Ignore the messy straps, carseat and hat, and forgive him for being a tiny Padres fan)

I could sit here and find you hundreds of links to research articles that tell you how important it is for your child to be read to, and how important it is for your child to read on their own (if they are older), but you know what, let me spare you. We all know reading is important, we all want little bookworms. 

....and I freaking hooked one.  SUCKERS. Be jealous. 

I just didn't hook one the way I thought I would. 

See, I had visions of my child having his nose buried in a hardback book, that I had painstakingly hand picked just for him because of the beautiful message and deep meaning behind the story.  Turns out, my kid likes knock, knock jokes about Bananas and crazy bouncy balls, and you know what?

I am estatic.  

Tiny Titans by Art Baltazar and Franco Aureliani

I couldn't care less that there isn't a deep connection to respecting the planet we live on and hard work embedded in the story line (or is there?). Nope, all I care about is that right now, during the earliest moments in his reading career, he has something that he loves, that he cherishes and someting that he wants to read. At this point in his life, he views reading to be something enjoyable, he views it as something fun and he has something that grabs his attention, and to me, these are all huge wins. 

Sure, he is what, almost three?  Who cares that he likes studying each page of his favorite comic book like he is looking for a precious dropped fruit snack...I mean, you know...if I let my kid have.....those...oh whatever.  He gets fruit snacks. I am the devil. I get it, that isn't the point.  The point is, is that I totally care a lot about my child wanting to read, not what he reads. 


We all have met those kids, or maybe we were one of those kids who "didn't like to read". They don't want to read the books their teacher assigned, or, maybe your parents...and just being hypothetical here, didn't think it was okay for you to be reading Fear Street Cheerleaders because it was "too scary" (MOM!), and that was the one thing you really wanted to read, that grabbed your attention, but it wasn't something that was available to you. There are a lot of reasons that kids say that they don't like to read, and they are all valid.  

If you don't have something that you want to read, you are not going to like reading. How could you?

National Geographic Little Kids (A huge hit in this household)

Thankfully, kids today are lucky, they have so many different things to read, and a ton of ways to read them.  From WeGiveBooks (kids can read popular titles for free digitally, while at the same time helping get books into the hands of children who don't have them) to  Graphic Novels to e-readers to Magazines geared specifically to kids and their diverse interests (National Geographic Little Kids is Wes's favorite). There are so many different ways to get reading, and so many different things to read, it is hard to run out of options. 

But, can we stop here and talk about Tiny Titans and Patrick The Wolf Boy for a second? Because seriously, I don't know if anyone else has gone shopping for comic books that are appropriate for a young child, but the pickings are slim.....or super violent. I can take some fighting, but with a kid who asks "why" to everything, I just don't see the need to explain the violence in traditional comic books yet. Which means, we are left with Sponge Bob Square Pants, Superman Family Adventures, Scooby-Doo, and maybe two or three other ones.  Good options, but, Tiny Titans is a really fun read, without it being the characters you want to shove under a couch and magically loose (sorry Sponge Bob). 

Thankfully I stumbled across Art Baltazar's shop and found all of his amazing comics that have been perfect for a tiny dude. Also, $2.50 for some reading material that my child will pour over for large expanses of time? Sold! Over and over again. 

I don't know why magazines and comic books are Wes's style, but, I guess it doesn't really matter.  He loves to read, and fostering that positive connection is enough for me.