Inspiration

Conqueror

By Estelle

Life is like a big merry-go-round
You’re up and then down
Going in circles tryin’ to get to where you are
Everybody’s been cutting you out
But where are they now?
Sitting in the same old place
Just faces in the crowd
We all make mistakes
You might fall on your face
But you gotta get up!

I’d rather stand tall
Than live on my knees
‘Cause I’m a conqueror
And I won’t accept defeat
Try telling me no
One thing about me
Is I’m a conqueror
I am a conqueror
Ooh oh

Got a vision that no one else sees
Lot of dirty work, roll up your sleeves
Remember there’s a war out there
So come prepared to fight!
You never know where the road leads ya
Not everyone’s gonna believe ya
And even though they’re wrong,
Don’t prove ’em right

I’d rather stand tall
Than live on my knees (Can’t live on my knees)
‘Cause I’m a conqueror
And I won’t accept defeat
Try telling me no
One thing about me
Is I’m a conqueror
I am a conqueror
Oh oh (Ooh ooh)

I am a conqueror.

Songwriters: JARAMYE DANIELS, SHARIF SLATER, JOHN LARDIERI, AKIL KING, CLAUDE KELLY, KYLE OWENS, ANGEL LEONA HIGGS, ESTELLE SWARAY, AUTHOR UNKNOWN COMPOSER © Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd., Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., Universal Music Publishing Group
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Mud Mountain Explorers

How could you not want to go to Mud Mountain?  With elementary aged boys this had all the elements necessary for a great outing: mud, mountain, and a dam guarded by the army.  Technically Mud Mountain is managed by the US Army Corp of Engineers, but there was no explaining that to my two.

Would I make this trip back to just past Enumclaw again?  Probably not.  The dam is interesting, but you see it from far away.  All the photos I’d seen ahead of time (here, here, and here) were taken from a vantage point that we could not get to while at the dam. It looks like in Spring 2015 the short 1/2 mile path that runs from the lookout to the lower dam viewing location is closed about 1/2 way down.

That left us with the woodland trail, that walks along the rim of the valley.  It was a beautiful walk.

Gorgeous spring flowers were out in early April.
Gorgeous spring flowers were out in early April.

We walked for about 5km along the trail.  It was flat, meandering and peaceful. If I lived in the neighborhood, it would be my go to walking spot for walking the dog, but as a day trip from Seattle, there are many other paths and trails before getting all the way to Mud Mountain.

Easy walking trail, long, flat, perfect for walking the dog.  But there are lots more, closer trails to Seattle.
Easy walking trail, long, flat, perfect for walking the dog. But there are lots more, closer trails to Seattle.

If you do visit Mud Mountain – as always the 60 Hikes within 60 Miles of Seattle guide proves indispensable.  The main trailhead for walking the rim is outside the park gates.  Easy to find once you know, but not intuitive for the first time visitor.

Sensory Processing What?

We had a busy, busy summer being introduced into the world of childhood development experts.  For my family that had never been to anything more than an annual pediatrician appointment, with a side of naturopathy to tackle a food intolerance this was a whole new world.  We started down this path, when we were looking for some reasons for why our smart, happy boy continued to struggle with reading, despite lots and lots of school & home interventions.  We started with one small appointment — an “occupational therapy evaluation”…. our knowledge, our list of appointments and our monthly delivery with new books from Amazon grew from there.

As I write the post (my notes in parenthesis) are either the example that’s relevant to my kids, or the way I asked the dr/therapist explain it to me in plain and easy language.

Sensory Processing Disorder or Sensory Integration Disorder ~ we’ve come to learn that kids (and adults) can find just about any of the 5 senses a challenge.  Could be your sense of taste is under (eating wildly spicy food) or over developed (chicken and rice).  Or it could be your sense of touch is over developed (can’t stand labels on clothes, won’t stay under a scratchy blanket, that seems just fine to others in the family).  But it also extends into senses I don’t think a lot about such as:

  •  Proprioceptive Processing – having to do with our understanding of where we are in space.  There’s nothing like watching a occupational therapist ask your child to close their eyes and touch their nose… and learning that that’s an impossible task
  • Vestibular Processing – fancy way to say balance.  Some groups think of this as it’s own disorder all on its very own.

With sensory integration issues, there are a wide range of symptoms (depending on your child), and a millions different ways to address them.  We started our quest of knowledge on the disorder with:

I needed these foundational materials to being the process of understanding what sensory processing issues were all about.  For us it explained a lot of weird symptoms — lots of bruised shins, falling out chairs, running into other kids and being surprised they were knocked down.  There’s a great mom blogger over at Growing Up Gish; she describes it this way: “We were so relieved to finally have some answers, and the more we learned about SPD the more it all made sense.”   If you read her description of her family’s journey to the world of SPD, it’s completely different from our family’s.  But that’s the nature of the disorder, and words she expressed were exactly what ran through my mind: relief, finally, it all makes sense.

So our first occupational therapy appointment introduced me to a lot of new words (common you’re trying to tell me that you know what proprioceptive is?), and was a good starting point to figure out what’s going on with my son.  As thorough as the OT evaluation was, it didn’t cover everything.

One of the other ‘odd’ things we’ve run into at our house is the complete inability to catch a ball — tennis ball, baseball, basketball, you name it.  But it turns out that issue is for another day and another post:  the developmental optometrist.

Amazon Fresh vs CSA?

Updating this post — now that we have had a chance to trial a couple of services. First — I love, love, love Amazon Fresh:

  • Service is great — drivers courteous, always on time, super neat
  • It’s beyond convenient — I can order from my phone or PC; arrange for groceries to be delivered while I’m away from work (so DH doesn’t have to run out for fruit/yogurt/whatever mid-week), or when I’m headed home from vacation;
  • Quality is good — very happy with the produce

So why update the post?  Well…we’re not made of money.  After 3 months of Amazon Fresh, my grocery bill was 1.5x my usual bill.  The theory that I wouldn’t buy any “extras” and that would even out the price…. did not come true at all.  There are all kinds of “extras” to buy on Amazon, and the price delta didn’t help. So other options:

  • Milk Delivery (and cheese, and other dairy) : Not a great fit for us, I’m not trying to increase our dairy intake…
  • Full Circle Produce Delivery — used for 3 months.  Closer to a traditional CSA, when you get a “box of produce” and the choice is based on size of box, not content of the box.  Easy to use website; flexible — easy to start and stop.  Produce was good (not great, but better than Safeway).  Price was reasonable.
    • It wasn’t “local” the fruit was mostly from California.  That was good because I didn’t get stuck with a bunch of root vegetables all fall.  At the same time, if I’m not supporting local business, then I kind of want my pick of produce.

All that to say, I’m back shopping at PCC.  Love that 10% members discount every month. Wonder when they will start a delivery service?


Have you had any luck with Amazon Fresh?  What about a full service CSA (that lasts through the winter).  When we first moved, I started a running tally of CSAs in Redmond/Bellevue.  But I never carried through with the research to find someone that fit our requirements.   Here are my working mom’s requirements for a grocery service: 1) You deliver:  I’m doing this to save myself time.  I can’t be driving for 30-45 minutes to go and pick up groceries.   Added to delivery — I’d clarify that you must deliver consistently, don’t charge an arm & leg for delivery & don’t skip weeks 3) You have a wide variety of products:  Alternatively, I’d be happy with a network of CSAs.  If you could also point me to local farmers for milk, eggs, etc.  I could make that work, but to continue to search for one provider for mushrooms, one for lamb, another from root vegetables…well that’s not going to work 4) You operate year round.  I know this cuts out lots of local farmers… but support of local business is only one reason I want to do this.  The other is health ingredients for my family and saving time on the weekends. 5 ) Wide variety of organic produce: it doesn’t have to be 100% organic — but the heavy hitters — peppers, grapes, lettuce, berries, etc.  The produce that has the worst record for holding on to pesticides needs to have an organic option. 6) Now I’m getting picky — but I would prefer the meat, eggs and even produce to come from small family farms.  No factory farm meat for my boys. Does such a thing exist?  Am I going to be doomed to giving money to the machine and order from Amazon Fresh?  Please share your suggestions.

Review | Low Carb, High Protein Bars

Without a doubt, my favorite bars are “The Simply Bar“.  They have a 1:1 ration of protein to carbs, they range from 150-160 caloires.  Perfect for a snack mid-morning or mid-afternoon.

Becuase i’m based in the west coast, I have to order them online and have to pay for shipping ($14…ouch!).  This means I have to be more organized than I often am and that I have to be at the tipping point of frustration wiht my locally available options.  As I’m not yet at that tipping point, I thought I’d try a few other protein bar options.

My criteria:

  • Less than 200 calories
  • Close to 1:1 ratio of protein to carbs
  • Not too many ingredients i can’t pronounce
  • No aspartame
  • More fiber is preferable to less

Here’s what I’ve tried out so far:

  • NuGO Slim – Brownie Crunch
    • OK.  Innoffensive, didn’t taste like a brownie, or chocolate…. but also didn’t taste like chemicals (a frequent complaint)
    • 190 calories (bit on the high side); 16g protein (good, not great), 19g carbs… higher than i’d like, but the 7g fiber but this into ‘ok’ territory for me
    • Added bonus — Gluten free
  • Atkins — any flavour
    • Couldn’t do it… the ingredient list was too chemically oriented for me.  What’s the deal with all the sugar alcohol?

I have a stockpile of options in my suitcase for the week… stay tuned for other otpions.

Ok… so it’s freezing here

Officially, Bytown Mom is not quite so Bytown anymore.  We moved to Seatle, Washington about a month ago.  I figured this would be a good time to get back and running with the blog.  Not becuase I don’t have enough to do with the new job, new house, move, etc, but rather becuase there have been many, many observations running through my head and I haven’t been able to share them with our friends and family (just got internet and phone running today).

So here’s the thing, it really is freezing here today.  At home in June I would either have the AC running, or I’d have the fan on in the house to get the cold air from the basement to the 2nd story.  Here the fan is running to get the warm air from upstairns down here to the main floor — where I am sitting in slippers and a sweater.  I refuse to turn on my furnace in June.

It is summy outside and looks gorgeous, but it is most decidedly chilly.  I need to adapt to this quickly as the boys are not dressed properly for school — I need to ship them in pants, shirts and sweaters.  Yesterday, Finn wore his fall coat inside all day, becuase I had put him in a t-shirt and shorts.  Oops.