~black and white wednesdays~ tractors and lace

a lot of the photos from this trip seemed to lend themselves to black and white…


resting up before the flight… he must have been a little tired from his first week of fourth grade!





these three again…


these five… i’m letting myself sneak in just this one image, no faces, no names. there’s something universal about climbing on a hay wagon. all the kids are currently in the three school grades that grammy taught during her career: 1st, 3rd and 4th. the cousin quintet.











something new stands out to me every time i’m back on the farm. this time is was the afternoon light pouring in through the knot-holes in the barn siding. since my dad and i talked about it, i’ll record here that the barn was built in 1903, and the beams are red beech, while the siding is hemlock. my grandfather bought the farm in 1948 when my dad was just 4 years old.



obviously, i couldn’t get enough of this effect, and am only showing a subset of the barn light pictures i took. i also spent a lot of time up close to the barn siding on the exterior, up a ladder with a paintbrush in my hand.



same hoop, new generation of rews…



manly stuff going on here. dad and rich were working on tightening one of the cables they put in to help stabilize the walls of the barn. dad was on the outside, and is climbing down the ladder, which you can see from his reflection in the combine that is parked inside. rich is up in the hayloft checking on the come-along. they also used chain saws together on this trip, and dad seems to think i should hang onto the guy. i think so, too.


quinn climbed trees that were planted prior to 1948.


my mom, painstakingly documenting each apple she identifies. i’ve said a lot about lifelong learning, and if you met my parents, you know where i get that from. mom reckons she would like to find a college course in pomology to take. i reckon she has learned so much from her own self-study that she could probably teach it!



other posts you may enjoy:




in spite of attempting all week to catch the traditional stair step cousins picture again, it still had to be influenced in order to occur. there were a few semi-finalists that would have been okay in a pinch… one hurdle to achieving a certain photo is that these are three sentient beings with relatively unbroken wills. when trying to influence the photo on numerous occasions, one boy would invariably walk the opposite direction, or pull the classic lay down on the grass to spite the photographer move. those photos will be cherished and chuckled at by the parents and grandparents, i am sure.


another “issue” was that quinn kept ending up in the center of all the organic photos, which is sweet and speaks to his sense of belonging right in the thick of things as a cousin, it just didn’t make the age/height order thing happen as readily. still, freestyle jedis and apple pickers in red white and blue shirts are their own brand of wonderful.


and so, to review….


Picture 622 walk

the original from may 2013, that inspired this whole tradition

cousin stairs Picture 302

october 2014

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august 2015


and this year’s finalist… september 2016

one of the most exciting things about this year’s trip was that we got to meet two more cousins, but because they are foster cousins, much discretion with photography must be exercised. so for now, we will maintain the tradition as a cousin trio, but know that in our hearts there are really five kids in a row walking in those new york fields. quinn’s cousin quintet, we might call it.

other posts you may enjoy:

~rainbow mondays~ goldenrod, periwinkle, red violet, the whole crayon box a.k.a. mama’s new york rainbow


red: so many apples…


red: hard to choose! this one is named chenango strawberry.


red: numbered apples awaiting grammy’s careful identification process.



red: view of the barn through the apple trees


red: all the colors were accented with goldenrod this trip.


red: red hot, that is. this amazing guy.


red: happy bonfire participant


red: chatting with mario at the bonfire.


red: crazy barn reflection in the cellar door window.


red: the barn. so much red in this rainbow, and the barn is now a little bit redder since we painted some of it during our visit! we also got in on some roofing work.


red: quinn was pretty proud of being able to get one of the huge nails into the roof all by himself, using his great grandpa’s hammer.


red: roof all prepped for metal sheets, time to paint!


red: that’s as far as we got, but at least we won’t drip paint on the new part of the roof next year…


red-orange: just starting to see some maple leaves turning…


orange: bonfire fun








orange: chased quite a few monarchs around the farm, they appreciate the abundant goldenrod. edited to add: this one is actually a viceroy not a monarch! thanks sister-in-law, for the correction! here are a few monarchs, now, for comparison:





orange: boneset sunset


orange: seems like a nice road to have grown up on.


orange: i took a zillion pictures of boneset backlit by the sunset, so i’m oversharing them. i love breaking photography rule number one and shooting directly into the light, and i also love the way the little hairs on the stems of boneset glow when i do.


orange: daisies


orange: more boneset. it was breezy, i can kind of still feel it when i look at this one.


orange: heart-shaped lens.


orange: kitty adorabubble.


orange: potentially foreshadowing our next new york visit…


yellow: or should i say, goldenrod?


goldenrod sunset


goldenrod farm


yellow: daisy glow sunset


that goldenrod sure has a lot of gall.




yellow: black-eyed susan were also in bloom, notable because they are not goldenrod.


yellow: apologies to non spider fans, i couldn’t resist this one.


yellow: the goldenrod behind these other meadow plants is making them look more yellow than they are.


green: apples and fields.


green: lots and lots of this view.


green: praying mantis with farm in the distance


green: these ferns are all around the orchards.


green: between praying mantises and green lacewings and other beneficial predators, the apples should be pest-free.


green: this guy might also like to eat bugs.


green: kite flying and lots of cousin time.


green: a boy is in the top of this big mama tree.


green: helping grampy tag trees 64 and 65.


blue: ford 4000 and blue sky.


blue: ford 4000, blue silo, and mad farmer in blue plaid making his way down the hill through the underbrush.


blue: chokecherries and wildly blue sky


blue: pigeon on the barn roof


blue: people on the barn roof.


blue: people coming down from the barn roof, with the moon overhead.


blue: rusty metal wagon parts. i don’t know why i love them so.


blue: jeans with an accidental heart in barn paint


blue: jet blue terminal jfk, deep blue restaurant, blue shirt, blue headphones. this boy is so content with an audio story and a plate of sushi. also, pretty creative with chopsticks.


periwinkle: another good crayon in the box. chicory has always been one of my favorites.


blue-violet: wild grapes are abundant in the apple orchards. grammy is collecting them in her freezer to make some jelly later on.


purple: clover


purple: clover with a pretty moth


purple: joe pye weed competing with goldenrod in the perennial field flower olympics.


purple: a dainty field find


purple: nothing says new york like black raspberry ice cream.


red violet: pokeweed stems.


raw umber(?): enormous old-growth puffball mushrooms.


tan: some of the praying mantises are not green.


brown: or perhaps burnt sienna? one of the many uses grammy has found for her apples… apple cider soap, complete with homegrown dried apple decorations. i wonder if anyone will notice “the picture” from last year in the background on grammy’s table… stay tuned for this year’s installment of three boys in a row.


white: my mom’s wedding dress.


black: good night, farm, and good night moon.

~rainbow mondays~

a splash of color on monday morning evening

a photo study documenting the colors of the spectrum: the balance points between light reflected and light absorbed

other posts you may enjoy:

~rainbow mondays~ quinn’s new york rainbow

a double-header of new york rainbows tonight… the first one is brought to you by quinn! we spent lots of time in apple orchard mode while we were visiting new york this time, and quinn chose to document his own rainbow using my camera during one of our excursions to tag, sample, and collect apples from the 79 (and counting!) rew apple trees.


red: view of an apple in grampy’s outstretched hand from a vantage point i just can’t pull off from my height! i just love this one.


orange: jewelweed



orange: i also don’t get very many pictures of myself from this vantage point.


yellow: the predominant flora of this trip, besides apple trees, was  goldenrod!


yellow: grammy with goldenrod backdrop


yellow: mama holding more specimens


green: a green variety in grammy’s hand


green: a caterpillar quinn found


blue: chokecherries, i do believe.


purple: asters will soon compete with goldenrod for most abundant flora…


brown: the antique apple picker – what a great shot! i will have to keep handing him the camera when he asks for it! way to go, quinn!

~rainbow mondays~

a splash of color on monday morning evening

a photo study documenting the colors of the spectrum: the balance points between light reflected and light absorbed

other posts you may enjoy:

~black and white wednesday~ late summer textures

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bw crab IMG_9434

bw fort IMG_9435

bw rust IMG_9441

bw ruby IMG_9449

bw broke IMG_9448

bw trails IMG_9442

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other posts you may enjoy:

~rainbow mondays~ exhale like a whale

red IMG_2016-08-29-13274492

red: i didn’t have a good red photo for this rainbow, but then i realized voltorb was expressing my current mood perfectly. in a bit of a funk – must mean a rainbow shortage! so i set out to post one while there’s still some monday left…

orange IMG_9461

orange: a little after sunset over the pacific ocean.


yellow IMG_9443

yellow: sea rocket turning yellow in the late summer dry warmth.

green IMG_9523

green: attempted ninja selfie

green IMG_9483

green: shamrock cookie green, that is. this boy walks up to a wall of paint colors with confidence and immediately  points at the one he wants. shamrock cookie was just what he needed to complete his lego habitat… it’s receiving finishing touches including a mountain range.

blue IMG_9490

blue: finding myself heading oceanward on a frequent basis lately.

blue IMG_9548

blue: such as tonight when we ninjas finished karate, and went to catch a pokemon or two near the beach, and also got to watch a whale breaching multiple times. this was the best i could do once i got my camera out of the car, but it was pretty great to see an airborne whale, it has been a while!

purple IMG_9500

purple: i’m being followed by a moon jelly… moon jelly, moon jelly.

purple IMG_9431

purple: sea rocket in full bloom. hope you are getting your ration of rainbows and sunshine and whale exhalations, and storing them away for winter!


~rainbow mondays~

a splash of color on monday morning evening

a photo study documenting the colors of the spectrum: the balance points between light reflected and light absorbed

other posts you may enjoy:

~rainbow mondays~ poke abundance

rainbow veg 20160806_083736

rainbow veggies again! i never get tired of lining up beautiful produce in rainbow order.

red IMG_9424

red: chioggia beets just before i juiced them yesterday.

orange IMG_9088

orange: dragon from a poke-walk with quinn. he traded me the phone for my camera so he could take some photos of it, too!

orange IMG_9206

orange: i took a few hours off last wednesday morning so quinn and i could take advantage of $5 wednesdays at the aquarium. we actually did look at the animals, not only the abundant pokemon available for capture.

yellow IMG_2016-08-13-08213984

yellow: pikachu lives in a yellow submarine!

yellow IMG_9427

yellow: what to do with an organic yellow watermelon that was dropped on the ground: put the pieces in the blender and freeze them, then put the ice cubes back in the blender with liquid of your choice to make a fun blended drink. we liked it with ginger vodka, and i plan to try some with juice when i get a chance to make one for quinn.

yellow IMG_9110

yellow: tattered traveler

otter IMG_9233

green: at the otter feeding.

green IMG_9259

green: made some more fun summer memories with friends having a random thursday evening backyard campout.

blue IMG_9070

blue: beautiful objects hanging around at the clay studio where i have now thrown and trimmed my first bowl… it should be fired by now, i’m very excited to glaze it!

blue IMG_9068

blue: i think i like this glaze!

blue Screenshot_2016-08-11-12-38-17

blue: sometimes i go for walks to incubate quinn’s poke eggs while i’m at work. it makes me feel like i walk on water as a mama (actually i was only walking in the mud flats on a very low tide, but thought the image was kind of funny.)

blue IMG_2016-08-16-16404924

blue: between karate camp and karate classes last week, we had some fun poke bonding moments. squirtle being held by a cute ninja here.

blue IMG_9175

blue: seal window!

purple1 IMG_9247

purple: lots of dollars, we are so wealthy to live where we do!

~rainbow mondays~

a splash of color on monday morning

a photo study documenting the colors of the spectrum: the balance points between light reflected and light absorbed

other posts you may enjoy:

~a month and a half in the life of a lifelong learner~ camping, camping, theatre camp, kid’s camp, and pokemon go

i’m going to report on a 6 week time period of learning because my regular month ended right in between the first and second week of theatre camp, and it seemed more reasonable to report on the whole camp situation in one post. who knows when i will get around to posting about the next month, anyway! it’s a busy summer of learning….

belt test new blue IMG_20160624_181858 new blue belt IMG_20160624_182845 blue belt IMG_20160624_183453

quinn’s belt test! i was watching ben harper that night (doh! when new year’s resolutions get in the way of being there for your kiddo… alas, we had bought the tickets before the belt test was even on our scheduling radar…) it was a dad week, so thankfully he took a video of the test for me. and you!

 congratulations to our blue belt!


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this season of learning has been dominated by various camping experiences. quinn spent a week with his dad at crane prairie reservoir, their summer fishing spot. quinn showed off his boat, frog, to me, as i was dropping him off with his dad to head out camping. quinn got to help a lot with the fixing up of his boat, including climbing under the bow to connect the wiring for the running lights (which he is hugging here), as well as wiring up the turn signals on the trailer.

as soon as he was back from camping with dad, we headed off on another camping trip…. our annual family fourth of july tradition.

big kids IMG_8211 big kids IMG_7785 big kids IMG_7808 big kids IMG_7958 big kids IMG_8060 big kids IMG_8148 capture flagIMG_7948 q josiah IMG_8106 poke IMG_7742 poke IMG_7758

quinn and the big kids… pokemon, capture the flag, phase 10, and creek hikes!

capture the flag IMG_7865

guarding his team’s flag

balance IMG_8140 balance IMG_8139 q kora help elsie noel IMG_8136 balance IMG_8145 balance IMG_8310

quinn and the little kids… helping with balancing on the tight rope, holding hands for creek crossings, cuddling babies, organizing “what time is it mr. fox” games, pushing youngers on the swing, and blowing bubbles for little girls to chase.

littles IMG_8208 q z miniIMG_8302 kids kora IMG_8126 s q IMG_8117 s q elsie IMG_8120q s IMG_7922 q s IMG_7914 z q IMG_8293 z q IMG_8289

q bubbles IMG_8241 q bubbles IMG_8244

q bubbles IMG_8245

q raftIMG_8056 q catch raft IMG_8077 q catch raft green IMG_8079 q catch raft IMG_8073

also catching the raft full of littles before it floated downstream, and hauling back up again to let it go floating gently down the stream once more.

q sparkler IMG_8340

writing on pavement with sparklers!

comics hope q IMG_8253 mb kabob IMG_8318 q crab IMG_7986 steelhead IMG_8163 steelhead IMG_8160

reading comics, building kabobs, eating crab legs, touching steelhead eyeballs!

q IMG_7776

thinking deep thoughts…

q IMG_8276

taking time for himself…

summer has been so refreshing after a full year of public school. i have been stewing on a post for a while (since before the camping trip) concerning schooling and research i have been doing about kids like quinn and how to make their learning experience as positive as possible. when i do get it written, it will explain why summer unstructured learning time is so important to a kid like this one. hurray for camping fun and learning!

back at home, we resumed karate and quinn and i practiced side by side during one open mat class. as we were stretching, he went into a perfect pigeon pose, my very favorite yoga pose, one that happens to be a rather extreme hip stretch. i asked him how he learned it, and he told me it was something he came up with on his own in order to stretch “right here” (pointing to his outer hip – loving his awareness!).

i also witnessed a recent instance of quinn getting into crow pose (a yoga arm balance) in his room… in an august post from 3 years ago i referred to quinn doing spontaneous yoga poses, in this seasonally appropriate quote about unstructured summer learning: “…repressing my urge to plan and schedule quinn’s long list of unfinished projects into completion in the next 2 weeks, and instead letting him spend entire half hours in plow position on the bed, humming star wars theme music and being elsewhere in his mind, no doubt coming up with a dozen more projects to begin.”

q IMG_8598

IMG_8604 IMG_8603

albeit much too brief, we got to enjoy some ruby time!


i managed to complete one home improvement project in our family bathroom, which i’ve decided is going to have a star wars theme… project number 1 in the star wars bathroom was to make quinn a mason jar droid organizer to help him remember his three jobs upon entering the bathroom: brush teeth, wash face, wash hands. bb8 is now waiting to hand him his toothbrush and toothpaste, a washcloth is peeking out of r2d2 to remind him to wash his face, and r3d5 dispenses soap for hand washing. so far it has been helping this absent-minded professor get his “bathroom chores” done with marginally fewer reminders from mama in between each and every step. droids are designed to make life easier for humans, right?

pokemon go

blue IMG_8681 IMG_8683 IMG_8684 IMG_8685

i’m sure it comes as no surprise that quinn is interested in the game pokemon go. observing the incredibly opinionated masses on the subject of this game has been amusing, and we feel like we’re approaching it in a  balanced way, letting it be a game, using it as a way to connect not disconnect from each other, making sure our priorities are straight, and keeping our awareness. quinn is of course excited about it and had already heard about it when he came back from his dad’s. i looked into the pros and cons, discussed them with quinn, and then we spent several days trying to get it to work on my phone (his screen name is quulltrex.)

while waiting for the game to start working, quinn spent his afternoons mapping out our entire backyard on graph paper because, as an “ace gamer,” as he called himself, he came up with a plan for us to be able to play the game here in our yard together while the technical difficulties were getting sorted out. i’m sure you’ve heard how the game is getting people outside and walking; it got us doing that without even being able to play the game. (while we were sitting in the grass mapping things out, we found 3 grapevines trying to grow in the lawn!)

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once we were able to play the actual game, his first pokemon was caught in the dining room: a bulbasaur. he was pretty stoked.

he assured me we will still do our paper version as well, which hasn’t been played yet, because we’re still measuring the yard and making the map! but when it’s done, we’ll take turns hiding pokemon on the map for the other one to find. “mama, will you please make togepi one of the pokemons that i get to find?” personally, i can’t wait to find suicune, who “embodies the compassion of a pure spring of water. it runs across the land with gracefulness. this pokémon has the power to purify dirty water.” suicune is also purple and green, perfect for me. neither of these favorites are found in the app so far, but we are not limited by such constraints, we have an ace  gamer under our roof. we’ve been using graph paper, tape measures, and consulting the survey map of our property ever since this fine learning opportunity presented itself.

in the meantime, there are lots of pokemon to catch by the performing arts center, as opposed to the pokedesert surrounding our extremely rural house, so we had a great way to spend the hour between theatre camp and karate classes while we hung out in town! speaking of…

theatre camp!

  theatre camp phantom of the pac IMG_8770 theatre camp ace and bobby gar IMG_8781 theatre camp purple IMG_8783 theatre camp flowers IMG_8787

this was quinn’s first year of theatre camp, and he had a blast.

when i was picking him up from his second day of camp, i was intercepted and told, “i think maybe there might have been a little bit of a meltdown.” cue that sinking feeling… i went inside the auditorium where they were finishing up their day, and the leaders were reminding them to take home their dirty socks, etc.  i got to the front after they were all dismissed and quinn was still standing there (most kids had walked out the side door to go get their stuff) and he was talking the ears off two of the high school-aged counselors. he was in a great mood. one of the leaders saw me and came up to talk to me.

the three of us walked into the green room (quinn was proud of showing me he knows his way around behind the scenes) but he tried to tell me, “there isn’t anything we need to talk about, so let’s go.” the leader talked to him directly at first, which i loved, and reminded me of how i talk to kids. she asked him, “how did your day go?” and he said good.  she asked, “how was it doing the machines game?” and he said it was fun. his answers were short, and it seemed unlikely that he was going to open up right then and tell me what was up. he seemed like he couldn’t relate to the “feeling frustrated” or “felt unheard” that the leader suggested maybe she wondered if he had felt. the leader turned to me saying basically she walked in on the game and did not see anything out of the ordinary going on. she gave me enough information to know something happened, it wasn’t terribly serious, and i concluded that if i wanted to know more, i would have to piece it together. someone labeled whatever happened as “meltdown” while quinn was telling me absolutely nothing, and i was hearing only a piece of a second-hand account as it was.

i appreciated the leader’s approach. it gave me a chance to mention that i was guessing that if there had been any frustration during a day at theatre camp, it could be amplified by someone not eating his lunch or having any water to drink, and quinn confirmed that he had not, he had eaten 5 blueberries all day out of his lunch and did not touch his water bottle… and i was grateful to pass this bit of “forgets to pay attention to self care” knowledge on to someone who might mention nutrition and hydration in his range of hearing over the course of the next few days.

quinn was ready to go, “ok, mama, we’re done talking,” but i requested 2 minutes to check in with the leader, and asked him to wait in the lobby for me. he said no. i offered him my phone’s timer to hold me to the 2 minutes and he wanted to negotiate to one minute. i stayed firm at 2 minutes but said that when the timer got to 30 seconds left, he could start walking back from the lobby to the green room, and he did that. in that brief check-in she asked if there was anything she should know? inside i was kind of at a loss and also kind of freaked out, but i answered that there is nothing that really qualifies as “need to know” but said that he really experiences things intensely, so if he’s frustrated, it can feel like the end of the world to him, while if he’s happy, he can be overjoyed… that most of the time he goes with the flow, but that when he feels strongly he feels s t r o n g l y. i told her that he doesn’t have any labels that fit, but that if he experiences a series of frustrations, and the first few are not resolved, that third one might lead to him having to sit it out for a period of time, because it can really push him over the edge to meltdown. i said he is brilliant, but forgets to drink water, and gets caught up in the amazing fun he’s having. i was getting lots of nods and smiles and could tell she got it. at the same time she was saying she really didn’t see anything that was a big deal, she had walked in after it had already blown over… so maybe he reacted to something, but he didn’t seem to take long to get himself back together, so that was encouraging.

that night as i was processing, i think i hit on something key to unlocking the mystery of why quinn can get stuck like that. he’s really into theatre camp and excited about it. the first night at dinner i asked if he thought he’d continue to do theatre camp next year. he said he would be doing it “all the years.” he was explaining to me how one day he will be one of the older high school kids at which point he can be a counselor, and then when he grows up he can be one of the leaders…. he only talks about his most beloved other activities that way, like karate, where it’s not just about having fun now, it’s also about one day earning a black belt and having his own dojo someday. so i know that means he is going to be intense about this activity. if he’s bummed, he’ll be super bummed. it’s not like school where most of it doesn’t matter to him, so most of it… isn’t intense.


i did not get any further information from quinn while we chatted, though he was quite willing to share about his day with me over dinner again. his favorite thing of that second day was a toss-up between machines and the small group play they put on. he decided the play was his favorite. he told me all the kids and all the counselors who were in it. he said they all came up with the play together, and this was how it went.

it took place in the temple of pans and there were two people and a talking dog. the two people were recruiting other people to join the “unit”. the unit was a group of 3 people who were already attached to one another, whose line was, “we are all one. come and join us.” in unison. quinn was the middle person in the unit, with “ginny weasley” to his right and another girl to his left (i had asked him about “ginny” on day one and he obviously thought my nickname fit, and bothered to learn her actual name the second day as well). the rest of the people would come in one or two at a time, get asked to join, and then they’d join. “joining” looked like this: the people and the unit would exit off stage, stomp their feet and make screaming noises, and then come back on stage as a whole chain with the new people added on to it, all saying the line in monotone unison. after they had recruited and attached everyone to the unit, the talking dog (quinn’s new friend cameron whose name he also established on the second day) told the two temple people that he believed, “we are all beautiful as individuals, we don’t need to all be a blob.” and then the dog broke apart the chain and turned the unit members back into individuals. then the two temple people fled and the rest of everyone celebrated their individuality. (mmm-hmmm, yup, that’s how great theatre camp is. incredibly affirming to the artsy, long-haired, blue-haired, quirky, creative individuals who attend this thing!)
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for the machine game, his group was a blender, and i only learned after he told me all about it that choosing a blender as their machine had been quinn’s idea. i’m now wondering if it wasn’t that he felt unheard about that idea, but maybe he then had ideas within the blender idea that weren’t followed and he might have felt like they should have let him be in charge of it… anyway, he didn’t indicate any frustration or anything in the telling. he told me all the people in that group and explained the blender. cameron was the button, and another kid was the person to push the button, and then william was the blade and he spun around like this, and three big kids (the counselors) were joined in a circle to be the container, and then there were kids to be the fruit in the blender.  i asked, “and were you fruit?” he smiled, “yeah, how did you know?” hehe because i’m mama. i asked if they had to be on top of william the blade, and he said no, they crawled on the floor in a circle around william and he spun his arms around above them. i told him i could picture it because he described it so well, and i thought that it sounded cool, and by the way, whose idea was it? which is when he told me it had all been his idea.

the bus stop is another classic game they played that day, where two people sit on a bench chatting and being in character, waiting for whatever bus to wherever they’re going, and then one gets up and leaves (gets on the bus) then another person comes and sits down in their empty spot, and it can go on indefinitely with lots of improvisation… i asked quinn how that went for him and he said he was just checking out how that game worked. he did not jump in but just watched, and seemed like he loved just doing that.

i was able to continue chatting with all of the leaders and the counselor who actually witnessed the “moment” the next morning. i love the theatre peeps. i just went into the green room, and the counselors and leaders were all in there so i sat down with them and i just let them know that i had gotten zero info from quinn, so i knew the truth could be found somewhere between the words “meltdown” and “everything seemed fine” but that i still really didn’t know what had happened. the counselor who was in quinn’s blender group happened to be sitting there too, and so i asked if he wanted to tell me what happened. he had been giving quinn some feedback on something, and he could see quinn kind of shut down, and tense up, ball up his fists at his sides, as though fuming but not speaking. the counselor asked him if he was okay and finally quinn responded, “i’m just trying to figure out if i should punch you….” or muttering something along those lines. i thanked him for sharing what had happened, and reiterated that i think quinn is super intense and explained to them all (which was awesome to get to do) that this is up there with karate for him, his intense LOVE for it and how he wants to do it forever and grow up to be a leader, and how i think because of that, and because he is a perfectionist, he might take it hard when he gets feedback. i followed that up with that i WANT him to learn how to handle feedback, i’m glad he is getting to practice having that. one leader commented that it’s great that he processed with words, instead of doing any hitting, and leader number three was saying how intense theatre camp is for everyone, and they all nodded like yup, definitely some tears will be shed, he’s definitely not the only one whose emotions will run high. they were happy to hear that quinn was all about it, and that he felt yesterday went “great!” that he didn’t want to share details wasn’t a big concern for them, they want him to have positive associations with the whole experience and i confirmed that he definitely does.

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best of all, the people in the room this morning all know my face now, they know whose mama i am, and they know a little slice of his  story and quirks, which is all for the better for his experience. they all expressed that “he’s such a great kid” and shared that he seems thoroughly engaged and having lots of fun. they all know what strategies i talked to him about, mainly that we talked about specific go-to people he could count on to help, and i got to share that he really looks up to them all.

i handed quinn off to his dad for week two of theatre camp, and saw him and heard from him very little all week (except for a text on thursday morning asking what pokemon i had hatched!) but then thursday evening, rich and i got to attend the theatre camp performance, both the 2 and 6 o’clock showings, and got to see what an amazing time he had been having. each group (quinn was in group 5, he told me, though their skit went first in the line-up of the 6 groups), performed skits aligned with the theme of “local legends.” quinn’s group performed “the phantom of the p.a.c.” complete with ghost busters theme music and whole-group running up and down the aisles of the theatre, chasing the ghost.

quinn’s role in the skit went by the name ace, and he informed me “i’m acting the role of an actor who is acting the role of a knight!” he was quite excited about the nested layers of richness in his theatre experience, and sharing with me the play-within-a-play effect they got to perform. i can’t help thinking of one of the great examples of this type of effect in film, a wonderful film whose story-within-a-story is supposedly based on a work of fiction by a non-existent author named s. morgenstern.

it was a thoroughly entertaining skit entitled, “the phantom of the performing arts center” in which the actors are all being bullied by their mean director, who accuses them of causing lots of problems (which are actually being caused by the ghost). quinn’s character, ace, was a “secretive guy” as quinn put it, and had a bodyguard, bobby gar, into whose ear he would whisper whatever he wanted to say to the group. bobby gar would repeat his statements out loud. this happened several times as the group tried to problem solve the haunted p.a.c. situation, including hiring some ghost catching specialists (cue the ghostbusters theme music) and running up and down the aisles of the p.a.c. as a group, until at one point bobby gar says, “hold on! ace has something to say!”

everyone freezes, and ace whispers into bobby’s ear.

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bobby announces, “ace says, ‘ahhhhhhh!'” and the running and screaming recommence. (quinn told me about this scene before the play, and was thoroughly tickled to be included in what he considered the funniest part of the skit.)

later on, the director of the play ace is supposed to be rehearsing for is off stage, and the group is considering what to do about the play now that they’ve befriended the ghost, and ace whispers in bobby’s ear. “ace has an idea!”

ace steps forward, and says his line out loud for all to hear: “oh, buttercup cumbersnitch!”

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the director storms in, fuming, “what have i told you about using my full name?!” and then promptly sees the ghost and faints. the actors, ghost, and ghost-catchers all celebrate. the end.

beaver bones “discovery”

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quinn walked down to the bayou with rich and i one night, and “discovered” for himself (though we had pointed it out to almost no reaction on earlier walks) the beaver skeleton lying on the ground. he decided right then and there that he needed to collect the bones, research how to articulate the skeleton, and start practicing how to do that on this perfectly wonderful specimen. he and i walked up to get a cardboard box and he gathered the bones into it. more to come on this wonderful self-imposed biology lesson in coming months, i’m sure. i have replaced the faulty keyboard on my old laptop, and it is now quinn’s laptop from which he can google all the ways to articulate a beaver skeleton.

kid’s camp

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we had a wonderful kid’s camp weekend at camp boss’s house. kickball, duck duck goose, zoom boom bocce

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red rover

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put a baby on this boy if you want to distract him from a bad mood.

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pokemon go was played both in app format, and in the “redneck” format, as camp boss calls it, of walking around a field catching pretend pokemons by throwing apple pokeballs at them.

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we got to spend a few wonderful moments reconnecting with friends passing through town. quinn and his pisces brother were fun to watch, as they simply picked up where they left off. they clearly maintain their mutual affection over time and distance.

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quinn has been using air quotes quite a bit lately. it is really amusing me, his little sarcastic side. there is a tracking device in pokemon go, which doesn’t appear to have anything to do with the actual pokemon in the vicinity. quinn refers to it with large air quotes as the “so-called tracking device.”

also worth recording, he said something funny when he was talking about a poke-stop. the one he was referring to was a church, so he was searching his memory for its name, “when we go past the… christian… the episcopal… the church of christ, that’s it.” but it was the way that he said eppi-SCOPE-al that was awesome. i smiled and he asked, “what?” and i said, “episcopal.” and he laughed, “well i read it!” there is a meme about that… something to the effect of not making fun of me for mispronouncing words, because it means i learned them from a book i read! yeah. that would be my kiddo.

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and already another six week cycle of karate has passed. i haven’t been taking as many pictures, but i noticed in looking at these few, that quinn has made great strides in some of the body mechanics that he practices at every karate class, such as keeping his elbows tucked in when he does a side kick. (you know, not flailing both arms in random directions when you do your kick.) just the other day, quinn earned his first black tip on his blue belt! it was an interesting day to watch him testing, because i could tell he was really sweating whether he would earn his tip or not, by the expressions on his face. in the rather more difficult blue belt curriculum, there were a few moves he was still a bit unsure about. for one of his techniques (clutching feathers, a self defense move for when someone grabs your long hair) he immediately knew what to do when his teacher actually fake attacked him, though he was drawing a blank when it came to doing it solo. he also needed a reminder on another move, and i could see his concern written all over his face, but then he pulled it together. at the beginning of the class for warm-ups, one of the junior instructors had them do leg lifts, holding their legs off the ground 6 inches (which the instructor did alongside them), and another of the students kept dropping or lifting his legs, resulting in added time for the whole group. quinn was clearly in agony, and at one point a sob actually escaped him, and yet, he persevered and did not quit doing the exercise, in spite of the hardship. (also of note was that he did not lash out at the student who was causing the added seconds.) i think between the grit he showed during his warm up, and his teacher’s acknowledgement of his steady effort and progress (not perfection!), quinn is absorbing wonderful take-home messages from all of his favorite activities these days. it’s wonderful to behold.

other posts you may enjoy:

~rainbow mondays~ the height of summer

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happy rainbow monday! let’s celebrate it with lots and lots of flowers, butterflies, cute boys, fruit, veggies, tie dye clotheslines, and other vibrant summer color! it’s no wonder my very first rainbow monday post was written this time of year, with the abundance of color as far as the eye can see.

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red: crocosmia at my outlaw’s house.

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red: wild strawberries growing in the dunes.

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this color defies naming but fits in the spectrum somewhere between red and orange, i feel (except of course for the green undersides; i love green flowers). friends took rich and i out to dinner to celebrate our engagement, and brought us a lovely bouquet of zinnias.

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orange: beach photo self care walks have been a thing for me recently.

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orange: the professional cuteness committee has taken up this sleeping bag as a new hiding/napping spot.

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orange: speaking of tigers…

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orange: can you find the butterfly?

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orange (and yellow): this sunbleached swallowtail was looking a little the worse for wear, as he fluttered around my mother-out-law’s beautiful garden.

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peachy-yellow: sister’s dahlias

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yellow: evening primrose watching the sunrise

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yellow: another swallowtail with some chunks missing.


yellow: a refreshing cider on a lovely afternoon date with rich in between the 2 and 6 o’clock showings of quinn’s theatre camp performance.

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green: kid’s camp at sister’s house with lots of kids and fun!

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green (and purple): huckleberries thinking about ripening on a beach walk.

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green: zinnia

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green: estuary self care walk without even a camera, but i did have a phone along.

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blue: egg treasure

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blue: the mood isn’t blue, just the outfit. he looks intense because he is mapping out the entire backyard in order to make an on-paper version of pokemon go (he plans to hide pokemon on me, and have me hide them on him). there was also a version played at kid’s camp using fallen green apples as pokeballs while walking around a pasture.

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blue: estuary jelly

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blue: when the mood does get a little blue, just put a baby on it.

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purple: beach pea.

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purple: the awesomeness that is theatre camp. there will be more words about this in lifelong learning posts…

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purple: pretty foliage at outlaw’s.

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purple: estuary clams. have a great week, and remember to take care of you in the middle of the busy summer whirlwind!

~rainbow mondays~

a splash of color on monday morning

a photo study documenting the colors of the spectrum: the balance points between light reflected and light absorbed

other posts you may enjoy:

~black and white wednesday~

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other posts you may enjoy: