Let’s Catch Up: Gideon Goes to Bolivia

On January 14th of this year, Gideon and I boarded our first airplane together. Gideon was as prepped as a 2 year-old could be. He’d heard the stories, read the books, and watched the videos about airports. He was so calm and quiet going through security and waiting for our first flight. I could tell he was taking it all in, and wanted to do everything “right”. My little Type A boy.

At CVG airport, waiting for our plane to park at the gate.
Gideon on his first flight ever!
Friendly pilots allowed Gideon to sit in the cockpit. He was a little overwhelmed.

Gideon could not have been a better travel companion. He was such a trooper. I thought we’d have a longer layover before “the big one”. I planned on letting him run around a little, grabbing a bite, changing him into some comfortable PJ’s, all before boarding. But … nothing goes as planned sometimes. We barely had time for a diaper change before boarding the longest flight, and Gideon was tired and hungry. He held himself together so well, and just went with the flow. He only cried as we boarded the plane. When I got him situated and fed, he was back to being his content little self. I had mentally prepared him for having to sleep on a plane, so he had no trouble falling asleep with his head on my lap. He was so exhausted, he would have fallen asleep anywhere at that point.

I didn’t sleep a wink on the Miami to La Paz flight, but I’d mentally prepared myself for that too. Gideon didn’t sleep great, but at least he was horizontal. He woke up in a really cranky mood, and the poor little guy was done with airplanes. I got some breakfast in him, and the iPad came to my rescue. While waiting for the third leg of the trip to take off, I found out that they had gotten our seats mixed up. The flight attendant approached me on the plane, and he told me that they had Gideon assigned to a seat 3 rows behind me. So, I looked at him without blinking once. There must have been 10 seconds of silence between us. I stared, waiting for him to state the solution to the problem. He stared back, waiting for me to get me and my dark circles together, and take my 2 year-old to his assigned seat 3 rows away from me.

After the 10 seconds had lapsed, and realizing that this was going nowhere, I opened my mouth. “So, what are you going to do about it?” He stared at me confused and said “Well, your son has that seat over there”. I have to add that this whole conversation was in Spanish, and most of the passengers boarding were Spanish speaking women. So at this point, everyone is staring at the flight attendant completely horrified. I’m not sure if he was new, or just having an off day, but I decided simple talk would be the best way to get through to him. And I was just done with him, to be totally honest.

“I’m not going to sit away from my son.”

“But your seat is here, and his is over there.”

[self-talk happening]”Then you need to do something about it, because we are not sitting apart from each other.”

At this point, some lady stranger friends start chiming in and putting this flight attendant fella in his place. I give him one last chance to be rational.

“My son here is 2 years old. He is not going sit away from me. Please figure something out.”

Without a word, he left the plane, and didn’t get back on.

Other than this one incidence, every single flight attendant, across multiple airlines, and across 8 flights total were incredibly helpful and supportive.

Two days after leaving Cincinnati, we arrived.




Gideon and the church cat. ❤

Product Review: Crystal Wash

If you have been reading my blog for a while, you are aware that in our home we are constantly striving  to simplify and declutter our home and lifestyle. Since we had our son, Gideon, laundry has become a big part of yours truly’s life. We cloth diapered until about a year ago, and I was on the hunt for the perfect DIY laundry detergent recipe for clothes and diapers. I tried making big batches of liquid homemade detergent, but the process was too cumbersome and time-consuming. I switched to a powder recipe, but still did not like the chemical harshness of the Borax, and how de-natured the product was. I felt like I had to wear a mask when I was making the stuff, so as to not inhale it. I will tell you I liked the money-saving aspect of DIY laundry detergent. Really liked all the money being saved.

So I kept hunting  for something better, and finally came across a product called Crystal Wash. The clouds parted, and sunshine came through the day  I received these lovelies in the mail.



I was hooked on this product from the moment I used it. The first thing to be tested were my musty towels. No amount of Pinterest solutions could rid my towels of this odor that was driving me out of my mind. I kid you not, one time in the wash with Crystal Wash and my towels smelled perfectly like … nothing! They were just fluffy, clean towels that smelled of nothing. There was much rejoicing in the laundry room.

I have since given my parents my first set as a gift because I love them and want them to enjoy the simplicity of the new laundry process and expense. I got my second set in the mail a while back, and am still really enjoying how clean, stain-free, and fresh my laundry is. I don’t see myself turning back until some genius comes up with a fabric that never stains or requires washing.

They have their own little basket by the window, because they need their Vitamin D. They are solar powered.

What is this??

Each of these balls contain little marbles composed of minerals that are known for their anti-bacterial properties. When the water in your washing machine starts to move, the agitation activates the little marbles and begins to change the chemical properties in the water to neutralize the pH. [See an official description here ].

How does it work?

You put the dirty laundry in the washing machine (stain treated if applicable), grab the crystal wash balls, throw them in the with the clothes, add your usual fabric softener (I use vinegar), and voila!

The minerals are solar powered, so you should lay them out in the sun once a month to recharge.

Why is this better than store-bought or DIY laundry detergent?

  • It’s cheaper.
  • It retails for about $50, but if you stay on the website long enough, an ad will come up with a discounted promotion for around $37.
  • The product claims to last for 1,000 loads. That means that if you average a load of laundry per day, one set could last you around 3 years. That’s $50 over a 3 year period.
  • It requires no work. If you DIY, there are 3-5 less products on your grocery list, you don’t have to combine ingredients, boil large batches, transfer to small containers, etc.
  • In terms of clutter, it’s one less big container of something using shelf space in your home. That’s a big deal to me.
  • There are no chemicals put into the fabric, other than whatever you use to treat stains or soften fabrics. That is huge considering my son has ultra-sensitive skin.
  • It’s better for the environment.

One thing to consider

There is one color of clothes that Crystal Wash was not found to be as effective with, and that is whites. It does not whiten them like store bought laundry detergent with boost or bleach would. So that is something to keep in mind.

How does Crystal Wash do with stains?

I have a two and a half year old. Doing his laundry takes twice as long because every other item of clothing requires some stain treating before I wash it. Here are some pictures of a piece of clothing that was absolutely saturated in food and grease stains.

Now, some people are particular about how they wash their whites or reds. If you have a detergent that works for you, go for it! But consider that even if you use Crystal Wash with towels, linens, and other things that go in the wash, you’ll still be saving money!

Please let me know if you have any other questions, and remember that you can always go straight to the Crystal Wash website.

DISCLAIMER: I’m not sponsored or anything at all. I just want to share something that has made my life easier, and is easier on the wallet.

Be blessed as you do laundry and take care of yourself and your family!

My Little Stud Muffin

I have had several projects in the works over the last few weeks. They have taken up most of my free time, and now that they are completed I can return back to my other hobby. I have a few things I want to write about in the next few weeks including product reviews and recipes, but the first order of business is an update on the little guy. I could post dozens of pictures, but I’ve chosen a few (mostly from my phone – don’t always have time to to transfer and edit from the DSLR) favorites to share with you.

Gideon has been home and sick since Sunday, and he is making a slow but sure recovery. Poor little guy has a little ear infection and a bad rash over most of his body, so we’ve hunkered down and focused on keeping him as comfortable as possible. He finally slept through the night last night. The three of us were in desperate need for a long stretch of sleep! I’m hoping that if the rain lets up tomorrow, we’ll get him out of the house for a bit.

Any ways, here are some pictures from the last month.

Gideon breaks in his new back pack.
Gideon breaks in his new back pack. “Mochila!”
He looks like such a big boy!
He looks like such a big boy!
Gideon and his love for books.
The boy loves his books!
Gideon Reads
He’ll take every single book from the bookshelf and pile them all around him

Gideon Reads

He makes himself right at home at the library.
He makes himself right at home at the library.
Read and Play
We recently discovered a park two minutes away from our house. And I’m reading “Wheat Belly” which is rocking my nutrition-knowledge world.
2 going on 20.
I’m in trouble. What a stud muffin!

We are watching Robin Hood, and then it’s bed time for Gideon. Tonight’s project is working on Gideon’s Halloween costume. More on that later!

“Mommy, I’m So Happy”

Today we hit the ground running, and still haven’t stopped. Daniel got up with Gideon and let me sleep in for an extra hour which was wonderful. After the three of us took a few moments to wrestle and pillow fight, we got ready and headed downtown. There is an area behind the football and baseball stadiums called “The Banks”, right on the Ohio River. It’s full of modern apartment buildings, restaurants, and a really nice riverside park called Smale Park.

We’d heard through the grapevine that an old WWII warship was docked at the river, and open for tours. So we made today a family outing day.

boarding the ship
boarding the USS LST 325

Every time I take a tour or walk through a museum that is war-related, I always get a little introspective and quiet. Today’s tour of the USS LST 325 was no different. This particular ship is called a landing ship. I didn’t know what the meant at first, but then Daniel explained that these were the ships that would land on beaches and unload soldiers as well as heavy weaponry and tanks. Naive as it might seem, images of “Saving Private Ryan” crossed my mind, and I realized that for me personally this was not going to be a fun, happy-go-lucky experience. While I enjoyed learning and taking pictures, I had a great sense of appreciation and honor to walk through the places that men once walked who lost their lives fighting for … well … me, and Daniel, and Gideon. They were thinking of their families and their descendants for years to come. Not to mention, men and women on this ship knew their fate would almost surely result in injury or death, and they didn’t cower. I really respect and appreciate that.

Gideon helped order our tickets.
It went on and on!
It went on and on!
The Mess Hall. It was significantly downsized when the Greeks bought the ship. But this is where the men and women would play cards, write letters, and eat.
The Mess Hall. It was significantly downsized when the Greeks bought the ship. But this is where the men and women would play cards, write letters, and eat.

LST 325

This part of the ship was truly sobering. These cots could not have been more than 5.5 feet long.

This part of the ship was truly sobering. These cots could not have been more than 5.5 feet long.

We followed the LST 325 tour with a trip to Whole Foods for groceries and lunch, which we always look forward to. Once Gideon was down for a nap, I headed to a nearby park to photograph a dear friend with her wonderful 5 year-old son.

perfectly unedited. It was such a delight to be around them.
perfectly unedited. What a delightful family. It was a very special experience.

After a dinner of Cod with salad, which I will never make again because – while it was yummy – it stunk up the entire house, we loaded our bikes in the truck and went for a little off-roading adventure. It was a single track trail, so we rode with Daniel in the lead, Gideon in the middle, and I took up the rear. At one point, Gideon stopped in his tracks, got off his bike, walked up to me, smiled and said “Mommy, I’m so happy”.  I think everyone in the park heard me yell time after time as he rode away “I love you! I love you so much!”. I never want to forget he did that.

I took a pretty good spill during our adventure, so Daniel gave me the night off and is doing kitchen clean up. Love him! Going to take a nice long shower and relax with my honey.

An Emotional Day

Today was such a great day where Gideon was concerned. We just clicked, and things went so smoothly. I didn’t get all of the items checked off of my to-do list, but what I did get done was so pleasant because Gideon was involved, and we took turns doing what the other needed or wanted. He helped me with my chores, and then it was time to wrestle and tickle or just play together. I thank God for giving me this day with Gideon. He’s such a blessing in my life!

In another aspect of my life, today has been very emotionally charged and not for the reason that you might think. Even as I type right now, it’s so distracting. There is a wide rainbow band covering the top of my WordPress browser and I just have to roll my eyes because #truelovealreadywonlongagorightoutsidejerusalem and #rainbowsareasymbolofsomethingmuchgreaterthanlgbtpride.

No, today was emotionally charged because here in the Cincinnati area thousands of people were tuned into the funeral events for a city police officer who was killed in the line of duty a week ago.

Officer Sonny Kim and family
Officer Sonny Kim and family

Daniel was recently promoted from Corporal to the position of Sergeant (so proud of him) and is a member of the Honor Guard, and so he was one of the many faces present at this event. He stood in the pouring rain, one of many officers lining the path to Officer Sonny Kim’s grave site.

Daniel is second from the right.
Daniel is second from the right. [source]
There is no question I know the risk Daniel takes every time he puts on that uniform and does his job. The community he works for can feel more at peace because he is making it safer place.

But sometimes, days like today, the selfish/weaker part of me wants him to find another career. I would much rather he spend his days in an office or somewhere business or retail-like where the risks are minimal. Then I realize that, while there is no place that is immune to safety risks these days, he is a great part of the reason there are still places where risk is minimal. And I respect that.

The strong/unselfish part of me tells me that Daniel is wonderful at what he does, is with a great group of people to support him, and this cannot be an added area of fear in my life.We have made dear friendships with some of his co-workers and up until work schedules did not allow, we led regular Bible studies together. To this day we attend weddings, and each other’s children’s birthdays. I’m so glad Daniel is part of such a great team of men and women.  Fear already has enough of stronghold in my life, and it won’t have this part of me. The part that prays and has full faith that God is watching over him, and will have His way in Daniel’s life, no matter the outcome.

My deepest condolences and prayers go out to the Kim family.

Terrific Two’s: Meltdown City Part 1

 Gideon is officially of age to begin taking some daily activities into his own hands. He wants so badly to be independent, and have control of something. When he feels too tightly bound or like no one is listening, those famous toddler tantrums ensue. I avoid talking or reasoning with him too much when he is in the throws of a fit simply because he’s too upset to process whatever I’m trying to communicate. 

a toddler fit? me??
I am learning that no one discipline style fits all the moments of Gideon’s life that require discipline or guidance. He’s not a robot and I can’t presume to help or “fix” him with a manual-following approach. 

Parenting Gideon has become more difficult – not because of Gideon, he is a 2 year old who is acting and behaving appropriate for his age – but because this new important phase of his life requires me to humble myself and practice self-control and self-awareness like never before. He needs guidance, and I find myself being the one who requires the discipline.

My goal is to model the fruits of the spirit for my son, and show him how much better life is if we confront the challenging moments in life with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. That means I’d better get cracking! And it’s tough!   

I’ve been making my way through this book

I read books like these with the goal of finding things that apply and are useful to my personal life. While I don’t agree with everything the author believes, she makes some pretty solid points. Not to mention, although she appears to be  a secular writer, she inadvertently emphasizes how vital the fruits of the spirit are in raising happy kids. More to the point of this blog entry, she believes that parenting has more to do with the parents’ behavior and how we act, and less with how children perform at different stages of development. I could not agree more!   

gideon and his cousin taking it easy at the pool today

Next up in part 2 of this little series I want to note the strategies that help me keep my mommy meltdowns to a minimum and guide Gideon through his age-appropriate ones.

A glorious weekend!

This Memorial Day weekend we packed our bags and headed out to eastern Ohio for a few days in the countryside.

Gideon enjoyed some new toys and activities I had prepared specifically for the trip.
Gideon enjoyed some new toys and activities I had prepared specifically for the trip.

My sister-in-law’s family owns 80 acres of land in that part of the state. A farmhouse that dates back to the Civil War has been beautifully rehabbed, and other relatives have built log cabins and lodges through the years. There is a myriad of trails and a few ponds scattered through some of the wooded portion where you can often find beaver and enjoy some fishing. It’s lush with woods, prairies and hills. In short, it’s a countryside paradise!


The three-floor lodge we stayed at. Such a neat place!
The three-floor lodge we stayed at. Such a neat place!
Log cabin in the woods!
Log cabin in the woods!

One of my favorite things about the whole weekend (besides the natural beauty around us) was how welcoming and social my sister-in-law’s family was. We took walks to see who happened to be on the property, and family members rode golf carts up to the lodge where we stayed at to visit us. Kids played and ran around while adults sat and caught up on life.

Taking a hike through the woods.

The barn cousins at the barn IMG_9384 IMG_9387

It was such a refreshing experience. I didn’t realize how much I needed to be in nature, and an opportunity to decompress. This place lent itself to that completely. The we had no agenda except to do whatever we wanted, and there was no schedule to follow. We ate when we wanted to, the kids went to bed much later than usual and we didn’t mind one bit.

It's all Gideon talked about on our way to the property.
It’s all Gideon talked about on our way to the property.

Push me papi! Swing!I am so thankful! It was a weekend to remember.