around home

Here are a few moments from our week:

Gavin searched for new computer games to play. He’s interested in other things like Plants vs. Zombies or MineCraft. He loves to play Civilization so maybe we’ll look for games in that vein.

We tried a new recipe for peanut butter chocolate bars few days ago. It’s not quite what we hoped for so we tried another today. It was the right taste but a little too gooey, so next time we’ll try it with more crushed rice crispy cereal in it.

Lilah put the harness on Luna and then on Star. Neither of them liked it much. She read more of her book about clicker training cats.

We walked to the library in the rain to return a handful of books and check out several new armfuls of books plus a dvd called The Secret Lives of Cats.

A deer left a gift in our backyard, an antler was sitting by the rose bush today. We did a bit of research and found it’s shedding season, when the deer lose their antlers for the year and begin to grow new ones.

We all watched a video of a bald eagle chick hatching.

We made sushi and the kids did a ninja course with friends.

Chris read Neil Gaiman’s Fortunately the Milk to the kids.

We’ve been working on getting the garden area ready for raised boxes by digging and tilling and pulling out rocks, boulders and so much glass. Here’s some of the various “buried treasure” we’ve unearthed:

I did a huge amount of research about covers to keep the deer out of our raised garden beds. Also, we ordered SO MUCH DIRT to fill our new boxes. The kids were amazed dirt costs so much.

We made brownies and played Race For the Galaxy.

Gavin and his friends swapped MineCraft videos to watch, places to download mods and ideas for making their own character skins.

We played outside with cut bamboo.

We watched the deer visit, rest and munch in the yard.

Life is sweet.



science project day at the park, exploding capsules, dry ice bubbles, chromatography and lots more


more pumpkin patch fun with friends (slide photos taken by my friend Teri)

celebrating Diwali at the Hindu temple with music, dancing, rangoli (chalk painting) and good food followed by fireworks


creating Halloween costumes: Minecraft black and orange cats

carving pumpkins with family

at the park


collecting leaves and punching leaf confetti with fancy hole punchersimg_3295

holding snakes and other reptiles with friends at a Halloween party

picking apples in our yard with a long armed picker


sorting jelly beans (thanks Gma and Gpa!)


night swinging


game playing (new favorite this time: Above And Below)


hike for me (with bonus elderberry picking & subsequent cordial and syrup making)

bookshelf assembly with Dad and decorating for Lilahimg_3343

silly dinnertime fun watching reflections in the window

supermoon through our skylight lit up the hallwayimg_3348

phone for the kids to share means lots of cat & owl photos and videos, and lots of texting

img_3351the texts are wonderful and fun, especially so if I am not in the room with them and get to decipher who is writing to me at any given time. So far, I’ve been right about which kid I’m texting with.



park time (I read some poems to the kids and then Gavin picked up the book for more)

civilization (Gavin is playing as China and Lilah as …)img_3354

an epic story being acted out, and then they realize they are being documented and give me a pose




Taking care

There was coolmathgames.com this morning.  And some My Little Pony watching and then afterward, playing.

They built with the marble maze some more.

Lilah made a card for her friend.  Gavin built with Legos.

I went on a long walk along the river by myself.  The kids didn’t want to go and I needed to get some exercise.  There were lots of birds enjoying the cool weather.

After lunch we listened to some John Coltrane from the Ken Burns Jazz collection while reading Ponyo.

I read some more of The Wizard of Oz.

In the evening we went to our family scouts group where the kids are working on computer coding.  Both of them had fun solving puzzles and Gavin was working on creating his own game at the end.  They really enjoyed it and I’m going to try to help find more opportunities for similar exploration.

We spent a good portion of the next day exploring the Jordan River parkway south of us, watching ducks, testing out new playgrounds, crossing bridges.


We saw a group of ducks take off and then later floating down the stream.  I pointed out to the kids that they looked like they were going fast.  Gavin answered that they were going fast because of the current.  A bit later we stopped at a pond and Lilah was putting a stick in the water.  Gavin asked her if she could tell how deep the water was.  I love taking them outdoors and watching them test things out and figure out how the forces of nature work by trying things rather than being told about things.

When we got home they played with Legos.  Gavin built a car for my phone.  First we tried just putting the phone on some wheels, but it rolled right off, so Gavin set out to make a phone holder on wheels.  Two minutes later it was complete. Wheeee!

There was reading at the pediatricians office, waiting for a vaccination.


At bedtime, after I left the room, Gavin came out and told me “Lilah needs help.  She’s sad.”  She’d been quietly crying.  I went in and climbed on Lilah’s bed and held her.  She cried and cried.  I asked her if she was just sad or if she was sad about something.  She didn’t answer.  So after a while she began to calm down and I told her that she could let me know when she was ready for me to go.  Eventually she told me that she’d been sad because I “did not very much funny stuff”, meaning when I was cuddling with her at bedtime she felt I wasn’t playful enough and she was sad because she felt I was more playful with her brother, and then she said that I could go.  So I told her I could do more funny stuff tomorrow if she reminded me and told her I loved her and left. I am grateful that Gavin let me know what was happening.  He doesn’t usually need to take care of his sister but when he does he does a good job.  I am grateful that I was able to just be with Lilah through her upset and eventually that she was able to put her sadness into words.

In the morning there was perler bead building.


3-D style, this time.  Gavin wanted to make something for a friend who likes minecraft so we made a minecraft style box with 6 pieces that fit together into a cube.  Lilah worked on a capital B for her friend.

Lilah made a necklace and crown for her stuffed bird.

Gavin’s friend came over and they played Tsuro while Lilah and I made macaroons.


Lilah tried out the keyboard, then walked away, then came back.  I think we’ll be hearing some music in the next few days!