99 degree days

We’ve been at the pool, working on swimming strokes together, as well as going down the water slide there. We’ve been going to the water parks too. It’s good to cool down when it’s hot outside.

They’ve been reading oh so many graphic novels and we got some fun math books to check out.

We’re working through a puzzle I got for my birthday with lovely depictions of the constellations on it. The kids and I have had several discussions about constellations and horoscopes as we look at the pictures on the puzzle. Lilah decided she doesn’t want to be a Libra. She’d rather be something that has an animal representation.

We went to a new place in the mountains with friends called Cataract Gorge, an area full of waterfalls that’s several miles down a very rocky dirt road that felt pretty exciting as we were bumping up and down. The kids played for hours in the water. Gavin hauled driftwood around to create bridges, docks, an aircarrier and a huge ship with lots of customizations (smaller sticks tucked into nooks in a large log). The waterfalls were beautiful too.

We met a new bunch of people for a Magic the Gathering club and were disappointed. The kids were mostly too young to really be able to play and the kids that were of similar ages we didn’t hit it off with. I am so disappointed about this as I was really hoping it would be a good regular activity with a group of peers for Gavin. I am considering other options for providing Gavin (both of them) regular time with kids close to their own ages.

Lilah started a Makerspace class, where she does tinkering projects. So far she’s made a nametag with LED lights as eyes and is working on a notebook.

She also tried an aerial arts class, where she does acrobatics on long silk pieces hanging from the ceiling. She loved it so much and we’ll be going back often.

We’ve been enjoying harvesting from our garden. This week we picked two green beans, a jalapeno, a pink banana squash, several small pumpkins, cherry tomatoes, a zucchini, a handful of eggplant of various types, a bunch of lemon cucumbers and some basil and Thai basil. Yum! Lilah and I like to check the honeydew and golden melon progress every few days. The biggest melons are about the size of a kids football now. They are less fuzzy than they were. Lilah built a support for one of the honeydews that was dangling in mid air with some sticks and a rock.

Gavin’s been working on some coding, in a new class and on codeacademy.com. He really enjoys solving puzzles and is enjoying messing around with html and css. He says he likes css better because he’s interested in customizing things.

We listened to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl while driving. Such fun! The kids have heard them before but didn’t remember them well. I always have adored how Charlie Bucket’s grandparents have matching names: Joe and Josephine, George and Georgina. So much amusement in those stories.

Lilah’s been working on learning to play the chorus of Let It Go from the Disney film and a song from Moana as well as refining her Yellow Submarine on the keyboard. She’s getting quite good!

Gavin’s been building and rebuilding a Lego Mindstorms robot and then programming it to do different things. It’s huge and very complicated and he’s spent hours working at it. He’s really enjoying working on it.

I’ve been painting a bit. I love it! It’s time consuming but I absolutely love every second even when I despise the results. It’s hard to find the time but oh, so important for me to enjoy, for the kids to see me doing (since it’s one of my big life goals, to make art) and then sometimes they join in either just watching and chatting or sometimes painting too.

I learned back in college that when I make art, most of it is destined for the garbage can. I don’t mean I hate it, though sometimes I do, but I mean it takes a lot of practice, of experimenting, of quantity to create a little quality art. And it doesn’t bother me at all now. Long ago, it really did! Now, I just enjoy the process and enjoy those projects that I value the product too. It’s the making that matters to me. I hope the kids enjoy the making in life too.

Here’s my latest work in progress. I’m still struggling with the texture of acrylic on canvas, but I’m enjoying the struggle.

Here’s Lilah’s latest painting (of a cat, naturally).




They watched an episode of Peg + Cat and played with the train set first thing today.


The kids had a doctor appointment this morning so we hurried through breakfast (and I did my best not to knock over any train track that was meandering under the table and my chair) and took some books to read with us while we waited.  We started a new book: Matilda by Roald Dahl, one of my favorites.  The kids did well with getting immunizations, even though they were both nervous.  The nurse was fantastic at being fast and distracting them so they barely noticed.  I was quite possibly more grateful for her skill than the kids as it’s been really scary for them in the past and there have been many tears and pleadings on their part and worries on my part about having to just hold them down and get through it by force, rather than support and encouragement.

When we got home we finished the first chapter of Matilda.

They made pendants out of Legos to fit on the chains they got at the doctors’ office.

We watched an episode of Cosmos: a Spacetime Odyssey and learned about plants.

There was more train track building and loading the cargo containers up.

Lilah read me How To Babysit A Grandpa by Jean Reagan.


We drew together.  We took turns adding one thing (a shape, line, pattern, concept) to the paper until we felt done.  Maybe tomorrow we’ll add color!

The kids asked to play Spanish games so they both took turns doing that.  They’re working on color names and days of the week still.

Gavin and Chris and I played a game of Magic the Gathering and Lilah was my consultant and die keeper.

Then it was time to pop some popcorn for Spiral Scouts.


The three of them headed off to learn about computer coding (well, Chris probably won’t be learning too much, since it’s what he does for a living) while I stayed home to have a little time to myself and do some yoga.

Here they are coding!


While they were away I put out their pajamas, but I dressed a stuffed pony in Lilah’s and a stuffed panda in Gavin’s.  Lilah had made a sweet request the other day that I put their pajamas on their animals sometime soon (It’s something I’ve done a few times before to amuse us all) so I thought tonight was a perfect opportunity.  When they went into their room there was lots of giggling.