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a trip for only two of us

Chris and I were lucky enough to be able to spend a few days in Southern Utah, just the two of us.  My parents invited the kids over for those days which I heard was fun for all of them. We are so grateful that they all like each other enough to be able to enjoy it! Thank you so much for the precious gift, Mom and Dad!

We went down to a cabin near Moab and explored Canyonlands, Moab area and got a permit to hike into the Fiery Furnace in Arches.

We saw some petroglyphs and pictographs, an old cowboy camp and an old Native American grain storage structure.

We saw flowers, lizards and sheer rock walls.

 

We explored red rock furnaces and arches and reflecting pools and we enjoyed celebrating 17 years of marriage. I am incredibly lucky to have so much love, fun and partnership in my life with Chris.

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coming and goings

We’ve been reading and gardening and watching birds. In the past few weeks in the yard we’ve spotted hummingbirds, bullocks orioles, ruby crowned kinglets, robins, lazuli buntings, finches, hawks, chickadees, wood peckers and blue gray gnat catchers.

We went to the trampoline park with friends and Lilah made it across the slack line.

We celebrated May Day with friends. Lilah and I made flower crowns.

We’ve been playing games like Hero Realms, 5 Minute Dungeon, Power Grid at home.

We’ve spent Sunday’s with my parents chatting and playing games. So enjoyable to spend time with family.

We went out to some springs in the Tooele desert looking for a ghost town but the road was being dozed so we stopped at the springs instead.

Lilah’s been doing some drawing and practicing French. Gavin’s been practicing German and Manga drawing.

We’ve begun a Dungeons & Dragons campaign for the kids and their friends (and some of us parents too!) at our place. It’s a big project but really fun and so good to see them all enjoying it together. Chris is running the game and has been putting a lot of effort into that planning and preparation with enthusiasm which I appreciate so much! We’ve met twice and the kids have so much fun. They defeated a giant and acquired weapons in this latest session which was a huge excitement!

Lilah started a cross stitch project- her first. It’s going to be a butterfly. She’s enjoying it so far.

We had a lovely Mothers’ Day celebrating with family. Lilah wrote me a poem and Gavin made me magical potions. I also got a picture of the three of us!

Gavin’s been mowing my parents’ lawn for them this season. This is his first go at the grass. He’s been very happy to help and to earn some money. Currently he’s saving for a Nintendo Switch game system to play Legends of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.

We are planning some rock hounding trips in the near future, when it’s less rainy.

It’s raining again today, like so many days lately. The kids are playing a made up game where Gavin is creating a character (like in a computer game) with Lilah listing the choices available and explaining how they work.

Gavin: “What are the available iris colors for eyes?”

Lilah: “Pretty much anything you can imagine.”

Gavin: “Okay, how about blue violet with green to contrast? Then I select “next”.”

Lilah: “So, next is body composition, like body shape and size.”

When they finished with this part they started telling a story with Lilah speaking for the world and Gavin speaking for the character he just created!

Lilah: “He tosses the collar that was around his neck for you to look at.”

Gavin: “I look at it.”

Lilah: “It’s one of those collars that’s made you know in the red maze to keep shape shifters from shape shifting.”

Gavin: “Or looks like that?”

Lilah: “No it is and then he turns into a bird, flies over to you, lands next to you and shape shifts back.”

Gavin: “I throw it down, I place it down in a spot where the dragon wouldn’t see, search for any more children.”

Lilah: “Uh, you see the girl again and another boy.”

Gavin: “Where’s the boy?”

Lilah: “The boy is climbing on the dragons back.”

Gavin: “Oh, then I….”

 

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Snow Canyon

We camped in Snow Canyon this past week. It showed us an array of Southern Utah spring weather while we were there from chilly and rainy to windy to warm and sunny and finally, hot and sunny!

We did a bunch of hiking as well as some just sitting and enjoying.

We saw many lizards, bats who came out at dusk and flitted around looking for insects, a canyon tree frog, a tiny scorpion who’d been sheltering underneath our tent and who we found as we were packing up, tadpoles in pools, tent caterpillars roving around their netted homes in bushes and trees, mountain bighorn sheep, deer and we heard an owl our last night there.

 

The rock formations there are beautiful, large and sloping and white, coral, pink, red sandstone. There is some black volcanic rock there from an old volcano as well. It is a fun place to explore and near so many other great places too, like Zion and Coral Pink Sand Dunes. We played in the sand dunes for a bit one evening and enjoyed the orange sand.

There are petroglyphs nearby from Anasazi people who lived in the area long ago. They’ve found many artifacts and remnants of houses and other ancient spaces made by the Anasazi there too though the one we passed by wasn’t much to look at since it was an underground space and has been buried by years of sand and weather.

We admired many wildflowers and blooming shrubs and trees, beautiful in the rain with tiny jeweled drops perched on their leaves and petals and in the sun, glowing.

 

Now we are home and enjoying spring in our yard, opening our windows, picking flowers, reveling in the sunshine.

 

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lately

We’ve been baking

and making

and hanging out with friends.

We’ve seen lots of baby farm animals

and planted some vegetables inside.

We’ve been working on new fuzzy ear and tail sets to wear with friends during cat and wolf “real life” play. (The kids often choose to create scenarios where they explore games or settings or characters in story telling and acting and they call this “real life MineCraft”, “real life Lord of the Rings” etc.)

We’ve gone to see some performances at local theatres.

The kids have been building a medieval MineCraft world to use with their friends.

We’ve been reading

and taking a new kite out for a flight.

We’ve been visiting grandparents

and going to the library.

We’ve been going to a an art installation gallery with family.

It’s been good.

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ghost town

It’s felt a bit springy here and I had a hankering for adventures so we left to discover a ghost town we’d never visited before: Silver City. It was a mining town, as are most ghost towns in these states around us.

It’s closer to home than many others and there are no intact buildings but so many fascinating walls and foundations left! The smelter is huge! There were several areas with pools of water and one underground room that we could just peer into that had water about 4 feet deep.

We found crucible bits (used for melting glass and metal in) and lots of bricks, core samples, and other odds and ends.

We found a new friend. It’s some kind of horned lizard but I’m not sure which variety. It was quite willing to let us stroke it’s back and hold it and even had to be nudged to leave my palm after we were finished admiring it.

Afterward we drove up the canyon a bit to see if there was more to explore and it looked quite promising so we will be back soon.

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A whole lot of Holi

We celebrated the Indian holiday Holi with friends in the middle of the week at a park and then again this weekend at the Hindu temple nearby with thousands of people. Both were so much fun!

In preparation for the day with friends we tried making our own color powder and while it was interesting is was so time consuming I don’t know that we’ll try it again. It took hours to dry and then it wasn’t as colorful as we had hoped. Traditionally during Holi, a spring holiday, you throw colored powder at friends and family until everyone is very brightly colored. When you throw color at someone, it is seen as an act of love and blessing. It also symbolizes a victory of good over evil. The kids loved running around and getting messy and coloring each other.

Before the color throwing, the kids roamed the park, climbing trees and fighting with foam swords Gavin brought.

Gavin also got out his Magic The Gathering board game and happily played that with his friends for an hour or so.

There were a couple of huge hawks building nest right above us and we watched them fly overhead and bring sticks back to finish off their huge nest.

We also tried some Indian dessert recipes at home and made laddoo with chickpea flour, grain halwa with oat flour and carrot halwa. They were all quite delicious!

At the big temple, they had yummy Indian food to eat and music and dancing and a huge color throw on the hour each hour where so many people throw simultaneously that it creates a rainbow cloud for a few seconds. We try to go every year because we enjoy it so much. Lilah was thrilled that her favorite dessert, the halwa, was mango flavored this year!

 

We went home rainbow-colored and happy, twice.

 

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steam punk project

Gavin and his friends love the steam punk aesthetic. Steam punk is a genre of science fiction or science fantasy that incorporates technology and aesthetic designs inspired by 19th-century industrial steam-powered machinery. It is also a style of design and fashion that combines historical elements with anachronistic technological features inspired by science fiction. The latter is what we’re talking about here.

So, Gavin’s friends’ birthday was coming and he wanted to make something special so we brainstormed and came up with the idea of transforming a toy dart gun into a steampunk toy dart gun. We looked up some approaches and went shopping. This is what he chose to work with:

 

We also picked up a couple at the thrift shop to make sure we didn’t run into trouble with just one to work with. Next he sanded them all over to look more used.

We also spent time at the local thrift shop looking for additions to accessorize with. We came home with a toy with plastic crystals and a small sewing machine which the kids took apart for pieces.

Then we spray painted the dart guns black.

After that he rubbed on metallic paints in different areas to make the surfaces look like old metal.

 

Then we added some bits and pieces from the sewing machine and some other items we scavenged to add to the effect.

All three turned out pretty great but especially the one he added to and gave to his friend.

 

Lilah also made a special something for the birthday friend whose favorite animal is a fox. I didn’t get a picture of the cute critter before it was taken to it’s new home but the felted fox is already on top of our friend’s dresser in a place of honor! She’s got plans to work on more soon so I’ll be sure to capture pictures of those.

I love supporting these two in their creative endeavors!

 

 

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