There was computer play and Strawberry Shortcake watching.

Gavin rebuilt his Lego game, with new pieces and new directions.  They played with that after he was done setting it up.

Then we began painting the costume again!  Gavin and Lilah set to work painting the entire torso piece blue while I put some more brown on the hair and painted the mask/bandana blue.  We cut and glued some black mesh behind the holes for Gavin to see out of and then painted blue over the exposed bits.

We admired a tomatillo husk from the garden that has weathered and is now just the fibrous bits, like a ball of lace.  It made a beautiful shadow in the autumn sunlight.


Soon the torso piece was ready for us to draw the details on in pencil and begin painting them.

I painted the white, black and dark blue and the kids worked on the gold.

While we were waiting for those to dry we went to the park.


Gavin rode his bike and Lilah and I walked.  We brought some hotwheels to race around.

There was monkey bar crossing and hanging upside down.

We looked at how objects make crisp, clear shadows down low to the ground but vague, soft-edged shadows up higher.

And more car racing.

When we got home it was time to put the finishing touches on the costume.  We added the second coat of gold because it was not very opaque the first time and then I painted the lightning on and did various other touch-ups.  Gavin tried it on and it looks great!  He’s very excited!  I am very happy it’s ready to go!

Lilah put on her skates and played tag with Gavin around the house until dinner was ready.



There was computer play to begin the day.

They got out Lilah’s Lego Creator set that builds either a cat, dog or rabbit and put the rabbit together.  They carefully read the instructions, found the right pieces and negotiated who did which parts of the building.


We worked on Gavin’s costume more after breakfast.

A few more holes were cut and then more paper mache was added.  When we finally finished the paper mache process, Lilah disappeared into their room to read for a while and Gavin designed and built a Lego game.  After breakfast, they played his new game together.  There was lots of giggling and explaining.


Here’s a close-up of the game board, all set up.  As a player, you choose a character who navigates around the board, rolling a dice to decide the outcome of various challenges.



After lunch we practiced some Spanish and then painted a little bit on the parts of the costume that were dry enough and that needed the colors of paint we had in the house already.  Brown for the hair and yellow for the face.


There was more Lego play for the kids while I painted the eyes and eyebrows black on Gavin’s costume.

We happened upon a really fun science video: http://themetapicture.com/refraction-magic/ showing refraction.  We all want to try this out!

Then we headed to the roller skating rink.  It was crowded today because the district has off for UEA weekend, but still plenty of room for us.  The kids started without the supports, then skated with them and afterward, both of them skated free and happy and even begged to stay later to skate more on their own!  They are getting better and better and it’s really fun to watch them enjoy it.  They always like to try things too on the rink, like skating backward or turning around in circles.  Today it was skating in a crouch.  I practiced my slowing and stopping and bringing my skates together and apart without lifting off the ground.


When we got home it was time to paint the eye highlights white while Lilah put on her skates and skated around the living room and then it was dinner time.


Chris headed to the craft store to get lots of blue paint while I read and sang to and cuddled with the kids before bed.



Gavin began with the new Lego Creator game on the computer.  Lilah played a princess Lego game.

There was Lego play off the computer, with our blocks.  “Up, up and awaaaaaay!”


There was a disagreement about playing girl characters in their lego play so we had a long conversation about boys and girls and what the difference is, in real life and in tv and movies.  Gavin and I talked about how he likes actual girls, but not girl characters most of the time.  Many girl characters from tv shows and movies are not very appealing to me either.  I hope he and sister can grow to see the difference between actual girls, who are strong and funny and powerful and silly and smart and talented and awesome just like boys are, and caricatures of femininity that are so often full of inability to act or make decisions, and who inevitably need rescuing.  Ugh!

We dug out some good books we own that we haven’t enjoyed in a while and read together and separately:  Monster Hug by David Ezra Stein and Polka Bats and Octopus Slacks by Calef Brown.  I also read to them from Searching For Dragons by Patricia Wrede while they finished up their lunch.

There was Lego store making for  buying spaghetti dinner supplies, with cashiers and costs and change and bags.

Lilah did some drawing.


We did some Spanish practice together – clothes and question words this time.

We measured, cut and glued the torso for Gavin’s costume together, glued on some scrunched up newspaper for hair on the head and then we cut newspaper strips and began paper mache on the head and a tiny bit on the edges of the torso.  We still need to cut eye holes, arm holes, do a second round of paper mache, paint it and find a shirt and pants that will work with our color scheme!!  I don’t have any photos of the paper mache process because Chris wasn’t home at the time.  Maybe tomorrow we can get some when we do another round.

After de-gluing ourselves, there was dinner and books and songs and cuddles.



There was Pokemon watching and Dora The Explorer playing on the computer.  (Spanish practice!)

There was Lego play.


We read a picture book about riots and racial division from a kids perspective called Smoky Night by Eve Bunting.  It’s a beautiful book, story and illustrations both.

We went to the library to return an armful of books and to check out new interesting ones.  We came home with quite a few kids poetry books – Yay!  I am really enjoying taking the kids to pick out books in the kids non-fiction sections as well as fun picture books.

Then the three of us headed up the canyon to hike.  We went to Lake Mary and then Dog Lake.  It was chilly but not miserably so.


There was snow on the ground, though only in bits and pieces yet.  We spotted chipmunks and birds.  We even saw what I think is a grouse very close.  It didn’t mind us being in its’ space so we enjoyed a good view before heading down to Lake Mary.

The lake was very low today.  We talked about how lakes and rivers and streams change with the seasons and with the amount of snow and rain fall.

Gavin and Lilah did some experimenting by tossing snow into the stream and watching it melt and then tossing packed snow in and seeing if it did the same thing.  They decided the packed snow stayed together longer and must be colder than the unpacked snow.

We took a quick peek at Dog Lake which was more of a pool.  Then we headed back down with stops for rock climbing and puddle stirring and skiing on the snow in our shoes.


On the way down Gavin asked if we could make lasagna for dinner.  I explained that no, we would not have time.  It takes hours and it would be dinner time when we arrived home.  He asked if we could make it tomorrow.  I said that I was concerned with getting his costume done so I would like to focus on that project for the day or days it takes to finish and if we have time after that then maybe.  He understood and was perfectly happy with my answers.  When I see how much more flexible he is able to be now that we are unschooling, I am so very grateful.  Things not happening exactly as he expected or hoped was a huge problem for us, regularly causing big upset in our house.  So, the ability to step back and feel alright with things being done in a different order or on a different schedule than he’d really prefer for his own immediate interests is such a huge success for us!  I am so excited that he’s feeling comfortable and heard and respected enough to make that jump this afternoon!  I have seen it in other conversations recently too and it makes me so happy for him and for us.

On the way down the canyon the kids read Charlie and Lola books by Lauren Child we checked out of the library today.

My sister came over for dinner and then we read books and had cuddle time and talked about plans for the week before bed.






There was Pokemon watching and Coolmathgames.com playing.

After breakfast there was more Playmobil castle play.

“Mama, will you read us a chapter of Wise Child?”  “Sure!”

We worked on the Lego costume some more.  We realized what we’d done last night wasn’t wide enough so we started over.  We cut the cardboard, added a neck piece, taped it together and then hot glued it.  We held it in place with a ball to keep it as round as possible.  Next we’ll either begin on the torso or we’ll paper mache the head.


We finished Wise Child.


We looked at our new vanilla extract batch, started yesterday, just starting to turn golden after being clear yesterday.  While we were in the kitchen, the kids examined the drawers in the kitchen, noticing how they roll on wheels and comparing them to the drawers in their bedroom.

We went to the skating rink and we found they open later now so we headed back home, sewed some elastic on Lilah’s wings for her hands and then it was time to return to the rink.


We skated for almost two hours before heading home for dinner and bedtime. Every time we go, we each get a little bit better.  Gavin is now enjoying himself and getting along fast with the support.   He can also make it well along the edge or holding hands.  Lilah is able to skate on her own, though she still falls fairly often.   She enjoys using the support too, but doesn’t really need it anymore.  I am getting better at different foot patterns, slowing down and stopping which I never knew how to do.  It’s important when there’s a kid in the way and you need to avoid them or when you want to exit the rink!  So much fun!




Gavin played Chima Online.

There was Pokemon watching.

Then we got our our newly unearthed Playmobil toys from their closet and they went to work building castles.


Gavin had the gray one put together in no time.  Lilah had a harder time with hers so they ended up playing together with the gray one.  Later on Gavin helped her put the white and pink one together.

After lunch we headed to several stores to shop for halloween costume making supplies: felt, paint, a floral wreath, and lots of cardboard.

When we got home we began working on the butterfly costume.  Lilah got out her old wings (We made monarch wings last year) for reference and we printed a picture of the butterfly she picked: the Utah Copper butterfly.


With some chalk, we traced half of the old butterfly wings and then, looking at the picture of the Copper, we altered the outline.  Then I carefully cut it and then folded it in half and cut the other half.


Next we got out red, and various blue felt colors and began making the pattern.  Lilah placed them on the butterfly and I helped her adjust them.  We plugged in the glue gun while we cut felt.  When we were done cutting all the pieces, we glued them on.  Lilah was very interested in how hot the felt was right after gluing and how quickly it cooled.  We finished making the design, but I’ll need to sew on the elastic for her to wear it another day.


While Lilah and I worked on her costume, Gavin researched Lego minifigures on the computer and chose a character.  We printed out a picture and then he made a list of paint colors we will need.

After we finished the butterfly design, it was time for Gavin to go to his soccer game and Lilah to go to Spiral Scouts.  Lilah and Chris dropped Gavin and I off with our bikes and then headed to scouts.


After the soccer game, Gavin and I biked home, about two miles.  It was his first real experience biking on the roads so I think he took a lot in about where to ride, where to stop and where to look for traffic.  We even went across the train tracks and had a very close view while we waited for a train to pass.


When we got home we had a few minutes so we began measuring and cutting cardboard for Gavin’s Lego minifigure costume.  He set up the table for us and got out the ruler and box cutter and we cut a piece out for a cylindrical head.


Then it was dinner time together and cuddles and songs.




Gavin played Lego Chima on the computer.  Then they watched Pokemon and Leapfrog: Amazing Alphabet.

There was Magformers and pony play.  Then breakfast and more pony play.


“Let’s play Real Ninjago but in the real world.”  “Okay!”  They play Real Ninjago almost every day together.  It’s a pretend game based loosely on Lego Ninjago, but populated with whatever characters/environments/challenges strike their fancy that day: dragons, Pippi Longstocking, poisonous plants, slavery.  Sometimes they use toys as characters, sometimes it’s just oral.  They negotiate together and tell a story that weaves their many interests together.  It’s a beautiful thing to watch.  I’m not ever invited to play and I’m glad that it’s their world, just for the two of them.

Then we began a big project:  cleaning out and organizing the kids’ closet.  It’s mostly toys, supplies in there rather than clothes though there are some of those too.  We took everything out.  The kids loved this part as they found long-lost favorite toys.


We sorted things into groups.  We have a big pile of things to keep, another big pile of things to give away to bring someone else joy, and a few things that the kids aren’t excited about using but we will keep for other friends or perhaps Gavin and Lilah’s kids someday.  The kids did most of the work of pulling everything out, making decisions, putting things back in their places with my assistance.  I got to take several armfulls out to the recycling and garbage bins, but other than that they did most of it.  Now the closet is organized and cleaner and the kids should be able to find what they’re interested in pulling out and able to put it back when they’re done.  Woohoo!

Lilah and I picked tomatillos, serranos, carrots and cherry tomatoes.

After lunch, we pulled out a bunch of games from the closet to the game shelf in our living room and put some in the closet.  It’s fun to switch what’s out.  We played with our stacking tops and then Lilah and Gavin decided to play Connect 4 and spent several hours trying different approaches and techniques.

I left for a hike on my own for an hour or so.  It’s been more a struggle than I had expected to have bits of time on my own.  I find that I feel guilty, more than I used to when we were not unschooling, if I am not with the kids, even when I know it’s not a problem.  However, it’s important for me to just be alone here and there, just explore my own thoughts without interruption.  It helps me feel happier and healthier and be more present with the kids when I am with them.   I enjoyed spotting butterflies and enjoying the sights  and smells and sounds of fall.  The clouds in the sky swirled like the top of a latte when I was walking back down the road.  When I got home the kids were playing together and had the chess set out.

Then it was time for Lilah and I to drive to her gymnastics class and Gavin and Dad to play Civilization and make Palaak Tofu for dinner.  That’s an Indian dish with spinach that usually uses Paneer, an Indian cheese, but we use tofu instead.  Yum!





We began with computer time for both kids.

After breakfast we picked up my sister for a walk up City Creek Canyon.  We parked right under a chestnut tree so we spent some time collecting chestnuts, mainly for my sister to take to her group of after school kids to check out.  Chestnuts are so beautiful when they first come out of their prickly shells.  We saw empty shells, old crushed bits, and a few shiny chestnuts.  We took a few home too and the kids loved opening them and admiring the swirls on their shining surfaces.

We walked up and then headed down by the stream for bark floating, mushroom finding, log bridge crossing, path finding.

Up a bit we saw water skaters and a small fish in the creek.  We took a different path and found what Gavin called a teepee so we explored that and then added to it.

We headed onward and found ourselves back by the stream but on the wrong side so we built a bridge out of large sticks and small logs and a stone or two to cross.  We saw milkweed seeds coming out of their now brown pods.  We saw small butterflies and chickadees and a turkey vulture.  It smelled wonderful there and is always beautiful.  The possibilities to explore are endless which is just such a wonderful, exciting feeling.

After lunch we cleaned up the Legos all over the floor, sorting them into our three bins: regular blocks, itty bitty “special” blocks and big “special” blocks.  We decided we need to have a family conversation about how to handle Legos in a way we can all feel comfortable with so they are not spread across the entirety of the living room shared space and upsetting me and getting lost or broken but so that the kids have space to play and keep things together.

Gavin did some magazine browsing.


Then it was time for Lilah and I to collect her friend from school.  We spent a bit of time on the school playground and then came home to play with ponies, Magformers, stuffed animals and Lilah’s bobble head cats.  There was cat carrier building, shopping, hair-do admiring.


After Lilah’s friend said good-bye, we practiced some Spanish – food and plurals today.

Then Gavin and I headed to the park on our bikes to do loops around the parking lot and then cross the park to the other parking lot and do loops there. It was just after sunset and the sky was still lit but the ground was beginning to gray.  We talked about how there are several words for this time of day: twilight, dusk, evening, the gloaming.




There was computer play followed by tumbling and nest making.  They brought blankets and pillows out and made their own cozy space.


They wrestled.


The Goldie Blox sets were opened and stories were read and blocks built with.


We did some Spanish together – more animal and food words.  Soy un vegetariana.

We watched an episode of Cosmos: a Spacetime Odyssey.

Next we headed to the rink to roller skate.  This was the kids second time roller skating and they were still working hard to get it, but enjoyed it nonetheless.  They began without the balance supports and did a few laps and then when they got tired and frustrated with that we rented the supports and they had a ball twirling around in the middle of the rink.  I skated too and realized I need to learn how to stop better.  We skated for a good hour and a half before heading for home and dinner and family time and bedtime.