Magnification, Plants & Flowers

We went to Red Butte Gardens and saw a few flowers, lots of trees and birds and old nests and snow and snowdrops and icy ponds and fish.


There have been many games of Magic the Gathering.


As always, there’s been some Lego building.

Gavin has been practicing using his magicians set.  “Now, don’t look while I get it preparated.”  “I think you mean prepared.”  “Yeah, prepared.  Don’t look.”


We’ve been using the new microscope pretty much every day.  We’ve looked at onion skin, carrot slices, pistachios, metal, sand dollar shells….  “Mama, look!  I’ve got the pistachio shell in focus!  Do you wanna see?”

Lilah went to gymnastics class and practiced her skipping on the beam and cartwheel dismount with help from her coach.

We brought in a small paper wasp nest and checked it out under the microscope.  It was interesting to see the back, where it was attached with a small protruding spot of wasp nest material.


We visited the art museum and enjoyed looking at paintings up close and then farther away.

The kids used magnetic letters to write a message about things they cherish.  (Owls and cats.  I added my own addition in the top corner: love.)  They signed their names too, but we pulled names off before we left.

They loved trying out a typewriter and looking at the Alice in Wonderland art and books.

I asked Lilah to make the same face as this ceramic sculpture had.  It was titled Breathless.

We talked about how some art represents abstract concepts with visual “stand-ins”, like a sculpture of morning we visited has a man lifting a cloth, a rooster crowing, a trumpet being blown all on top of a cloud.  I talked about the phrase “the veil of night” and Gavin informed me he didn’t like that phrase.  I told him that’s fine, but other people do sometimes use that visual concept; night as a curtain of darkness keeping the sun from shining through.  He was NOT impressed, as it’s very unscientific.

We admired a canvas filled with triangles of bright colors that looks haphazard at first glance but is actually very carefully planned out in fascinating patterns.  I pointed out a few and then the kids took over.  They hypothesized the artist began in the center since there is a simpler pattern in the very middle with only two repeating colors.


They worked on making flowers with wire and paint from Lilah’s craft kit.  We looked at some pictures of real flowers to figure out what parts they were working on and what other parts are and are for.

We went to a plant store and picked out some succulents and a large rubber tree for our living room.  The kids weighed in on what they liked and each picked a succulent.  Gavin is keen on the idea of having a plant in their bedroom, which almost never gets sunlight.  I told him I love the idea but we need to do some planning before jumping in.  Gavin pulled the wagon around the store while Lilah helped by carrying our basket of tiny plants.  They both liked looking at the fountains, the cacti, the sculptures and the plants.  Gavin asked why the plant signs often had two names on them so I explained latin plant names and common names.  They enjoy helping and I enjoy giving them opportunities to help.

As we walked out the door, an employee listened to me telling Gavin that if he thought he could manage the wagon out to the car that would be great, but if he needed help, to let me know so I could help or take over.  He graciously commented on the kids helping so much, my intent to let them help and how much they must be learning at the plant store.  It made me feel really great.  When we got home, Gavin asked what the Latin name of our new plant (a rubber plant) was… so I looked it up!  Ficus Elastica.  That’s a pretty great Latin name to start off with.  Here are the new succulents with the cactus Gavin chose on the right and the small two-tone that Lilah chose on the left.