May 122016
 
Sometimes I wonder if I am leading my sons towards the Geek path.  Being the child of 2 card carrying Geeks they may have a genetic predisposition anyway.
I became a geek all on my own, my parents weren’t geeks and didn’t push anything on me and just allowed me to pursue whatever interested me.  In my children’s case, both parents are geeks so they have been exposed to it since birth.  They both know the ways of the force, that the answer to life and everything is 42, that time is wibbly wobbly, etc.  They are developing their own fandom preferences and get excited about their unique geeky preferences.
 kids-by-now-you-know-mommy-is-a-nerd-ive-taught-you-about-the-force-muggles-ned-stark-direwolves-gandalf-one-ring-to-rule-them-all-and-bazinga-57a8c
We don’t push it on them but they have taken to it, specially Star Wars, Doctor Who, Marvel and Lego.  So while many kids are in soccer and baseball, my son is in Lego Robotics.  We are not against sports if they asked for it.  We originally looked into soccer for them but the combination of incompatible schedules, limited access to transportation and the fact that neither I nor my kids like to be outside in the heat led to us to never signing them up.   They took Kung Fu classes for a while (indoor and air conditioned, yay!) and they loved it but it didn’t work for long, the Sensei’s fault not my kids.  I am still interested in finding another martial arts program for them but once again, transportation and schedule obstacles.
When opening a box of science supplies yields the same reaction you see on Christmas morning... your son may be a geek

When opening a box of science supplies yields the same reaction you see on Christmas morning… your son may be a geek

 

Being realistic, I don’t think that my first born will ever be a jock.  His hand eye coordination is practically non existent but he has excellent engineering skills to make up for it.  He is very STEM inclined preferring coding and robotics to any physical activity.  He also seems to have inherited my husband’s gaming tendencies.

Lego and Star Wars are big in our house

Lego and Star Wars are big in our house

My youngest has quite the throwing arm and is more physically inclined, he REALLY loved the Kung Fu classes but he hates being outdoors when it’s hot so many sports are ruled out as a result.  He is developing a love for comic books and geek shows such as Doctor Who and The Flash.

I don’t stress about it, I just chuckle when I think about our routines and family activities as we recently celebrated Star Wars day,  got our free comics at Free Comic Book Day and are looking forward to attending Comic Cons and the Star Wars Celebration next year.
Time will tell, but I think we are right on track for some well rounded geeks 😉
Mar 142016
 

prep-quoteI have been feeling a primal urge to prep like I never have before. I am avoiding the “tin foil hat” AKA conspiracy theory websites but just looking at mainstream media headlines is enough to make someone nervous. The urge is subconscious and it’s strong so I am trying to indulge it as my budget allows for peace of mind.

Right now I can only afford to do $5-$10 per month but it’s better than nothing. Why? Because I can’t count on the government/FEMA to take care of me in an emergency, one only has to look back to Louisiana during Hurricane Katrina to know how much people suffered because they weren’t prepared.

My gut has always been accurate in the past and I have regretted it when I haven’t listened to it so I don’t want to ignore this urge. I have been an urban prepper my whole but have been woefully unprepared since I relocated to this area. It has always bothered me that I don’t have as much food and water as I’d like, that our gear is disorganized and we have no bugout bags.

I don’t have the resources or skills to be a full fledged survivalist but any little bit I can do to make us self sufficient even for a few days is better than nothing. If the shit hits the fan and the world as we know it ends this week we are screwed but if there is temporary disruption such as a hurricane our chances are looking a little better as each month passes by.

Part of this urge is on defense and firearms preparation. Why? Because I can’t carry a cop in my pocket and by the time 911 sends someone it can be too late. Ever since I took the class in January my obsessive compulsive instincts wanted to kick in and research, research, research and practice, practice, practice. Going to the range isn’t as easy as I’d like since I don’t have a car and it gets expensive so I am doing the best I can and have been able to practice every 3 weeks.

I got my concealed carry permit last month and this month I lucked out on a great deal on my first gun, a Ruger LC9s brand new for only $5 over new rugerwholesale cost which is more impressive given that this model is in such high demand that it’s out of stock everywhere else.

Now with a weapon in the house there are the added safety precautions with children. I used the NRA’s Eddie Eagle Gun Safety curriculum with my boys and they learned it well but I still carry on my body during all waking hours and use a safe during shower and sleep time. My husband and I are in the process of selecting a code word that the kids will recognize as “get down now!” if they are with me or “stay in your room until I get you!” if they are upstairs and I am dealing with a confrontation.

I already had an EDC (Everyday Carry Kit) so the Ruger was just an addition to it. These are items that I always have on me when I leave the house, just like some people check to make sure that they have keys and wallet when they leave, I make sure I have these guys with me. If you search Pinterest and Instagram you’ll see hashtags such as #edc dedicated exclusively to this giving great ideas. Some people’s kit are more geared for survival if stranded, others are geared more for protection, others combine both.

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My EDC Kit

My budget EDC kit:

  • Cellphone– this is such a versatile tool, not only to call for help but with apps I can get GPS, flashlight, camera and many other features. My cellphone is always on my body, never on a bag.
  • Pocket knife– the picture doesn’t do it justice, this is a gorgeous rainbow blade that I got for less than $10 until I can save to upgrade to a better one. But just because it’s cheap doesn’t mean it isn’t good. It’s SHARP and has a partial serrated edge so I could cut a seatbelt with it or use it camping. I usually have it in a pocket or in the bag if my outfit is not conducive for it.
  • Monkey Fist– this is a keychain but I don’t have any keys of my own to put on it. It’s a steel ball wrapped in paracord and it can do a lot of damage if an attacker gets close enough to hit, just swing it and it’ll cause good pain and damage wherever it touches. If I were stranded the paracord has many uses. I usually have it in my bag but will carry in my hand if walking out alone. I got it “free for shipping” so less than $5 and it’s not hard to make your own.
  • Tactical Flashlight– This is a compact LED with a very bright beam, it also doubles as another weapon if attacked and can be used to break a car window if trapped. I also got it “free for shipping” so less than $5. It replaced my basic $1 store LED flashlight.
  • Ruger LC9s 9mm pistol– this is the new addition to my kit, I still have to take it to the range to properly break it in but so far I am happy with it.

There are other items that I sometimes add to my kit and I always have a folding “credit card knife” on my wallet but due to bulk and space these are my core items.

 

Do you have an EDC?  Let’s see it!

Mar 032016
 

I’ve had so much on my mind lately that it was too much of a jumble to really write as the last month has been full of change for us.

What has taken the bulk of my attention is the fact that Zen has been diagnosed with a long list of food and environmental allergies and we had to wait over 2 weeks between the testing until we talked to the allergist about it and I was doing all I could to not go all OCD about it and research the heck out of it all stressing myself out even more.

Such a sad sight, he was so brave

Such a sad sight, he was so brave

It saddens me that it took so long to get these answers and that he had to suffer as a result.  Most of his symptoms were not typical allergy symptoms so his Pediatrician kept dismissing them until I insisted on an Allergist referral to rule that out as a cause.

We knew that he was allergic to tomatoes which we had been avoiding since he was a year old but there was something else at stake, we didn’t know how bad it was until we watch his back light up like a Christmas tree. Imagine our surprise when we saw how long the list of reactions were. He is allergic to: Soy bean, peanuts, cod, rice, strawberry,  grape, tomato, orange, cinnamon.  On the environmental front we add dust mites, dog dander, mold, a type of grass and Cypress trees.  He has an additional 5 food allergies that are mild enough to not require elimination.

It is overwhelming  to think about but I remind myself that it could be worse and I am thankful that it’s not.

We are making progress, while there is some more testing to be done because he tested negative to a food that we know he reacts to, I feel a lot better about things (or maybe I have just recovered from the shock). We are adapting.

So now we have added “Allergies” to the list of reasons why we homeschool. If Zen went to school the doctor would have had to submit paperwork for an allergen free classroom and we would have had the stress of ensuring that the school followed up on it, he was relieved to discover that he would be at home and encouraged us to keep him there. He also has several environmental allergies will also be better controlled at home.

Our extensive collection of stuffed animals had to be put away. I couldn’t bear to part with them completely as most of them are linked to fond memories. I now need to ask family to please not give any stuffed animals as gifts.

pollen forecast

Our daily forecast

I now look at the daily allergy forecast the same way other people look at the weather forecast. A benefit of this is that it is helping me with my own environmental allergies.

Zen is handling it surprisingly well, despite some of his favorite foods being off limits he doesn’t complains because he likes feeling healthy. At 3 years old he is being incredibly mature about this but there is still learning to be done. He is allergy to 9 different foods so he hasn’t memorized all of them yet. He still doesn’t automatically refuse when people offer him food or remember to ask if peanut/soy/rice, etc, etc are on it.

His older brother is becoming very good at policing that and although he also hasn’t memorized all 9 allergens, he knows most of them and knows that Soy is in a lot of foods so he always ask “does that have soy in it?” before allowing his brother to have it.

Still for my peace of mind I plan to get him a medical alert bracelet. Because I notice other parents and kids sharing food when we go to the park and while I plan to be there to advocate for him, I’d rather they didn’t offer in the first place. His allergies weren’t deemed severe enough by the specialist for him to prescribe an Epipen so I want to play it extra safe just in case.

Planning to get something like this. Too many allergies to list.

Planning to get something like this. Because… too many allergies to list.

There are a variety of bracelets to choose from. Due to his multiple allergies the customizable charm ones were the best option in theory but they have a maximum 6 charm capacity and he has to avoid 9 types of foods. So instead I have ordered a generic “I have allergies” bracelet until I can order a customized “Do not feed me” one.

I also get to print “Chef Cards” and will have to request Allergy Menus at restaurants, some types of restaurants won’t really be an option for us anymore.

We have follow up testing in a couple of days and I hope that we will get a prescription for an Epipen when we see the allergist after that. I hope that we never have to use it but it would give me peace of mind to have.

Last year we participated in FARE’s Teal Pumpkin Project for Halloween. This year, my child will be one that will benefit from people participating in that project.