~a month in the life of a lifelong learner~ sprouting spring spirit

spring means sprouts… bringing back an old favorite easter tradition, we grew some wheat grass in an easter basket. r2d2 and baseball eggs filled with jelly beans rounded out the holiday fun, since easter (and christmas) were all still in storage.

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we celebrated our traditional st. patty’s day family gathering a little belatedly. i took surprisingly few photos of my kid, who had fun playing chess, watching baseball, and eating bertie bott’s every flavor jello.

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dying easter eggs ~ always has been, always will be, one of my favorite seasonal traditions. highlights this year included rubber band egg die dying, and dying the dino egg green.

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the larval herring are growing, and looking like little strings with eyes, swimming around in the tanks at my work.


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it’s not the sun, but it’s yellow. it’s a little bit like the moon, because the reflection of the sun bouncing off of it brightens up our world; it’s the national geographic section of the household library. we will have such fond memories of the vacation house, and this one photo of my hobbit perching by the picture window near the front door sums up so much.

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reading… it didn’t really seem to matter that so many of our books were in storage this past year. between the housemate library (quinn has enjoyed pulling out vintage peanuts comics off the shelf), the public library (we’re continuing with the spirit animals series, and listened to the audio book of the swiss family robinson – quinn thoroughly enjoyed this, although *spoiler* i wish i had remembered the part about a boa constrictor eating the family’s donkey grizzle so i could have skipped that for quinn’s sake; otherwise he found the shelter-building, exploring, inventing, adapting, harvesting, hunting, living-off-the-land-ing very enchanting), and the school bookshelf (quinn has begun reading percy jackson; as my best friend said better than i could, “i have waited for this his whole life,”  he has not wanted for books.

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expanding into his writing game, all the wonderful reading has inspired him to start writing fan fiction. he came to work with me one day while his dad left for camping and wrote a spin off story to the spirit animals series called (working title) a guide to the great beasts in which a character named quinn must bond with all of the spirit animals from the series. quinn has actively been working on his writing all during the school year, writing fables and using writing as a tool to make lists for things like his fantasy baseball team.

because you’re so nice for reading this blog, i will treat you to paragraph one of his great beast guide, which blew me away!

   Briggin felt hot. Despite the cave’s cool air Briggin felt very hot. He lay down and looked at the cave entrance. Suddenly He felt a tug he knew it well. It was a tug of bonding, and all of a sudden, he was gone.

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we took a trip to the beach after school one afternoon, enjoyed the sun and climbed aboard imagination log ships, brought along imaginary log dogs when we settled swiss-family-robinson-esque dune islands, and had a grand time running around in the sand.

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sensory sand time is so important for recharging my boy’s neurons. it isn’t nearly as in my face as it used to be, but quinn is still a pretty sensitive guy to sound, smell, and certain tactile sensory experiences, especially around his head/ears/hair/scalp, that i think i automatically put calming sensory experiences in his pathway to counteract the stress he can build up from one too many sensory stimuli. he was particularly on edge one afternoon and i popped his headphones on with sparkle stories and parked him in front of the bird seed bin. i don’t know a lot of 9 year olds who crave the calming feel of sifting bird seed through funnels, but 30 minutes of that really mellows this kid out.

he also got to spend some time in the pool on a friend’s birthday, and sitting on the poolside, i realized that i needed to get him some goggles and earplugs to see if that would help him learn to swim. he is quite eager to learn now that he sees his peers gaining proficiency at it. i think 90% of his reluctance to swim thus far has to do with his head being underwater, or having water in his eyes, nose and ears. sitting there, i realized that i think the ears might be the biggie, and shortly after the pool visit, bought some for him to try soon.


we have spent time outside again playing whiffle ball, enjoying more glorious sunshine.

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homework made an appearance in quinn’s life for several months (not until the second half of the school year did his teacher assign any) and he handled it fairly professionally.

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this time around, quinn earned his black tip during his karate tip test; so did a lot of the other kids. it reinforced that no one is being singled out, shamed, or made an example of, and also reinforced that as a group, they can help each other stay on task and achieve their goals. not a team sport, and yet…


quinn articulated his philosophy on the eating of sprouts; this avoidance of nature interference now extends to not participating in the feeding of live sea monkeys (i.e. live fish food) to the larval herring in my lab. he is against it and refuses to participate in such barbaric activities. i am hoping he holds off a bit longer on really thinking all of these food concepts through, because it’s already hard enough to get food into the child.

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at last, a pancake visit!  we have sure missed our pancakes, and it was so lovely to have them stay for a week long visit.


on pancake arrival day, we waited for pancakes while celebrating his recent earning of his black tip with a food co-op treat date.

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soon they arrived, and fun was had! baseball was played, basketball games were watched, playgrounds were frequented, a birthday mama turned 38, fluffy purple fabric was gifted, and mousse was consumed.

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quinn had been to the library in anticipation of the pancakes coming to visit, and chose wonderful books to read to the girls – he picked out age-appropriate books about unicorns (uni) and a dinosaur ballerina (brontorina). it was cute to see him being thoughtful of their interests and preferences, while sharing favorites of his (owl moon!) with the girls.

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there was some epic extended-pretend-play going on, including an elf king, a princess (as b pancake explained, it’s because she’s wearing pink) and a tagger: “if she tags us we get game over. and she throws hot dogs at things to burn them.” and stuff.

i had to laugh and sigh at rich’s son’s description of his youngest daughter when she wakes up in the morning and sneaks around to attack his feet… he described the way he is semi-aware of her being awake because of “the sound of cheeks” as they’re getting ready to smile.

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grandpa got his time in with the pancake granddaughters. they wanted to play yahtzee, and he was just the twinkly eyed and crinkly smiled expert they were looking for to teach them. z pancake has a way of saying her older sister’s one-syllable name with 3 syllables and in a bronx accent. b pancake has grown so much into an almost kindergartner that i just kept shaking my head and gasping, sighing and smiling some more. they are so great.

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b pancake now fits into (with some cuff rolling) the karate uniform that quinn has now outgrown; it was found underneath the stairs as we were moving out of dragon house 1.0, having belonged to rich’s son many years ago. it is making the family rounds! it needed new elastic when it was unearthed but once i replaced that, it was quinn’s tried and true uniform for many months. quinn doesn’t relinquish clothing items easily, but happily gave his blessing when it came to passing it down the pancake line.

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it was over too soon, we miss the little lines of pink rainboots and unikitty/princess leia/hermione spaceships underfoot, the unmistakable signs of little girls having been here.

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quinn got to go on several fishing trips with his dad this month; one quite remarkable event occurred that i will not tell much about other than to say that quinn told me an osprey stole his fish from right beside the boat just as he was about to net it; he requested i not tell much about it, because he did not want to disspell the magic of that moment, and i will honor that request, while still recording the hint of the memory here for him to come back and be reminded of one day.

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still a fan of the garbage can! even after all these years.

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my assistant baker helped me make cinnamon rolls for rich’s birthday.


also continued to help in the pizza decorating department.

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we enjoyed playing with new baby chicks with adopted cousins.

at parent teacher conferences, we learned that quinn’s test scores remain pinned at the 99th percentile. but he’s never really had much use for percentiles, anyway.


(height/weight stats from his first year scrap book!)

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on another day at work with me, i think because his dad had a test and there was no school, he told me, “you smell like fish. and plastic gloves.” he said this with no judgement, good or bad, just a completely neutral observation. i was highly amused! he also built a mouse droid out of legos and spent each walk between lab and office rescuing caterpillars that happened to be going across the sidewalk. sidewalks, all interfering with nature and stuff.

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quinn’s idea of helping move into the dragon house is emptying each box onto the floor and spreading its contents out so that nobody can walk. i am endeavoring to set up his room in such a way to maximize floor space; the more space to encrust with legos and layer with pokemon cards, the better.

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we got to experience a sizeable flock of doves flying over and roosting in trees by the vacation house, on the very day prince died. i was glad we got the doves, and not the purple rain.

every morning i peel back the flannel sheets from this boy’s head, and inhale deeply as i kiss his cheek: morning  breath, sleep warmth, the baby cake smell of burts bees shampoo and the native cinnamon that he was born with. every day, it’s a good day to be a mama.


other posts you may enjoy:

~this moment~ check this off the bucket list


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~a friday ritual~

a photo capturing a moment from the week.

a simple, special moment.

a moment i want to pause, savor and remember

other posts you may enjoy:

~black and white wednesdays~ kids these days

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other posts you may enjoy:

~rainbow mondays~ stop and smell the roses

and now, back to our regularly scheduled monday program.

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not sure what color to name it, but it seemed like a good way to begin the week.

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red: busy times. but you gotta make sure you stop and smell the roses.

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orange: watch cat awaiting our return.

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yellow: vacation lilies and dragon roses (they smell like a rose fruit salad!).

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green: spring grasses

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green: kids these days

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green: selfie

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blue: longer days with bluer skies. my type of season.

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purple: of course i always like purple in my sky, too.

~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:

~the adventures of flat bride~ chapter one ~ introducing flat bride!

pull up a comfortable chair and sit your inner child down for a tea party and a story.

there once was a little girl named mary beth, and she dreamed of one day meeting a handsome man, falling in love, and getting married and living happily ever after. she was a well-rounded child and had many other interests, but when she was thinking about her grown up life, romance and getting married were a big deal to her, and she spent time in between piano lessons, barn chores, and softball practice, writing and illustrating love stories, planning the details of her wedding, making long lists of first-and-middle names for any number of boy-and-girl children, and designing the gown she would one day wear to walk down the aisle. then she’d run off to collect tadpoles in the pond or build a lego kingdom on the living room floor with her brothers.

her dress designing drawings one day took a bit more shape in the form of a nine-and-a-half inch tall bride made of paper and dressed in lace, fabric, beads, yarn, gauze, and crayola marker make-up. her veil was 12 inches long, almost 3 inches longer than her actual height.

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introducing: flat bride!

this bride paper doll was dressed, of course, in white, with a few pink yarn accents at the waist, sleeves, and hair. the skirt was gathered at one side, to reveal a lacy layer underneath, and the lace matched that at her neckline and along her sleeves. her brown hair hung long, and she wore white high heeled shoes. i am pretty sure the lacy fabric for the sleeves came straight out of grandma rew’s attic. i can smell the musty, hot mingling of cedar and moth balls as if i am opening the clackety metal latch and peering up those steep, paint-chipped stairs now.

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the little girl was probably 9 years old or so when she made this bride doll. we’ll call her “flat bride.” aside from the obvious flatness of her physical features, which coincide with my own lack of cleavage, you’ve heard of flat stanley, right? no relation. but stay tuned for blog updates about her travels around the world, in the style of the flat stanley travels you may have seen or participated in. also, i am currently formulating flat bride’s travel itinerary, so let me know if you’re interested in hosting her! i plan to post candid thoughts about whatever comes to mind as she goes off to see the world and sends back pictures of her adventures. your only jobs as host are to send me pictures of her time with you, and send her on to the next host on her itinerary. you’re also welcome to guest post if you’re so inclined, and supply your own candid thoughts about whatever comes to mind when you have a nine-and-a-half inch tall manifestation of nine-year-old mb’s romance obsession in your hands. come on, it’ll be fun.

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flat bride currently resides in oregon. she was unearthed on a trip to new york in 2014, and the grown up mary beth showed it to her grown up practically-fiance, who laughed and laughed. every now and then, when they talk about the wedding they will one day have, he sometimes brings up flat bride, and the folder full of wedding plans tucked away by a little girl long, long ago, in a land far, far away. he seems to imply that there is very little planning left to do. grown up mb overlooks his teasing because he is the most wonderful prince in all the land.

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here is an exhaustive list of the contents of the folder in which flat bride was found: a list of wedding guests, the full lyrics to the song the wind beneath my wings, bridesmaid dress design drawings: one each for spring, summer, and autumn, (though not winter; apparently young mb had already ruled out a winter wedding), with notes on the side about throwing birdseed, and a drawing of a very fancy wedding cake with tiers and pillars and bells and icing roses and a bride and groom reaching for one another on top. it’s clear that little girl mary beth would have chosen wedding colors along the same lines as shelby from steel magnolias: “blush and bashful”; or as her mama, m’lynn would drawl, “her colors are pink and pink.” (actually, one of the bridesmaid dresses has written in the margins: “dusty rose and either candy pink or baby pink.” golly, how would i ever have decided between those two shades! pink was definitely my signature color at one time.)


bridesmaid dresses; there are seasonal considerations, after all


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flat bride in profile on the oregon coast in springtime

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flat bride decides to take a walk down to the intertidal zone

residing in the same folder are two other items. one is a piece of cardboard on which little girl mary beth had copied down chinese characters from her library books. sixty-three of them, to be exact, drawn in a nine-by-seven grid, some of them with translation, and others without. in addition to her foreign language studies, little mb  was also studying geology, using the how and why wonder book of rocks and minerals (copyright 1960), most specifically, the “identification chart of major specimens” on the back cover. two carefully traced copies (one colored in, one half-colored) of said chart are with the book, archaeological artifacts of a girl who was suddenly possessed by the need to draw bridesmaid dresses mid-geological-study. and maybe also foreshadowing her future with a man whose parents took him on geological family vacations every summer of his childhood?





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maybe you never dreamed of marrying a fairy-tale prince, and most likely even if you did make a 9-inch tall bride doll, you did not keep her forever and ever and find her again in your thirties. maybe you had dreams of marriage, maybe you didn’t. maybe you are married, maybe not. maybe you did marriage, and have closed up shop in your heart, unwilling to run the risk of it being trampled upon again. maybe that’s how you felt a year ago, but this year cautious optimism stirs. maybe you are foregoing the marriage tradition in favor of a less traditional relationship, maybe something that doesn’t fall neatly into one of the relationship status options supplied by facebook. well, this series is about exploring the tangled web of thoughts that arise on this large continuum of a subject, for me, my flat bride hosts who feel like sharing any candid thoughts, and even for unsuspecting people standing near me who i might chance to overhear on this subject.

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anemone gazing

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“her colors are pink and pink”

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because, let’s face it. love is as universal a subject as there ever was. and i think somewhere, deep inside us all, is a wish for a happily-forever-after ending. your archetype for that might look slightly different from mine, but i’ll bet it’s not any less vulnerable than a 30-year-old paper doll traveling in a padded envelope. i’ll also bet it’s every bit as resilient, in spite of all the bumps along the journey.

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other posts you may enjoy:

~rainbow mondays~ happy surprises and love everywhere i look

just 23 of my favorite images from the past few busy weeks.


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red: seeing the vacation house spring blooms appearing is a happy side effect of living there 2 or 3 seasons longer than we originally anticipated. it has continued to be a haven of beautiful wonders to behold, you gotta love providence.

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red: last night quinn tagged along with me on a market training and tour of the farm i work for every other saturday. we were csa customers for years and have toured there several times, but never before in this early spring season. i am so glad i brought my camera along.

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orange: the farm stand restaurant is another haven of beauty, with so many details creating a feast for all senses, not just the tongue.

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orange: i love to be involved with this farm, because a little part of me will always be homesick for the farm i grew up on, and although it’s 3000 miles away and not a dairy, this farm has a lot of little reminders… an antique manure spreader and a silage chopper, bending like an old dinosaur reaching to munch on some of the nearby vegetation, could easily be spotted at either farm.

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yellow: sunset over the apple blossoms at the vacation house.

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yellow: another old farm equipment photo for my dad, i love the way there are some vivid yellow lichens growing on the hood, as if to match the truck’s original paint job.

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green: farm stand in the afternoon sunlight.

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green: reflection ussie.

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green: even better reflection, like something out of a dream of mine.

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green: i don’t even really need a special lens anymore to see hearts everywhere i go.

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green: april showers.


green: lemon balm, a happy surprise growing next to my doorstep at the new dragon house.

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blue: lots of happy surprises there, as we discover little secrets in every corner of the yard. my mom was reminding me that i have always loved forget-me-nots, and they were also one of nana’s favorites, which makes them extra special to have around my  new home.

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blue: opting out of the compost tour, he decided to chill on the flatbed truck and listen to sparkle stories.

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blue: see what i mean? love is all over the place.

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blue: if you have to do homework, at least you can do it outside on the front porch.

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purple (and green!): one of these things is not like the others….

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purple (and green!): lilacs of the dragon house. oh so happy about this.

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purple (and green): these are in the stone flower bed in front of the dragon house. one more happy surprise!

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vacation house… this azalea’s blooms got pinker, though i had been calling it purple. file under: red violet.

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pink: vacation house apple blossoms

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pink: the earliest rhodie at the dragon house is in full bloom, a lovely vanilla ice cream with a hint of strawberries.

i hope you are taking many moments to enjoy the feast for the senses spring is bringing you, wherever you may be planted!

~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:

~rainbow mondays~ pink trees and pancakes


it’s a birthday week rainbow!

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black: quinn outgrew rich’s son’s karate uniform, and now b pancake fits in it… almost! bringing her to karate was probably the highlight of quinn’s time with the pancakes…

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pink: approaching cautiously, we are able to observe the elusive birthday man species in his natural setting (pink-flowered trees, naturally.)

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pink: i enjoyed the way the sun shone on the various rosy hues worn by these women on the beach, as well as the universality of women’s behavior, regardless of culture and religion, to flock together, talk incessantly (we’ve got a whole world of problems to solve after all), and take group selfies.

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red: woodpecker all fluffed out and preening.

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red: the red/purple combo is a favorite of mine. i love the way the neighbor’s red rhodie is intermingling with their lilacs.

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orange: more new life springing forth; sister’s chicks glowing in their heat lamp.

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yellow: and other yellow birds…

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green: tree pose superimposed on a back yard tree. savoring the last weeks we’ll be living at the vacation house, and the favorite spaces and angles of light we’ve grown to love here.

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green: belated easter wheat grass table centerpiece.

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green: these are some of the trees that come with dragon house 2.0…. speaking of angles of light and growing to love a place… oh, it’s getting very exciting. we took our pancakes for a tour while they were visiting… so many memories to be made…

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blue: when he was a bun in the oven, some referred to this kid as mini-boo, after my college nickname, boo. there are some who say he is living up to the reputation of being my mini. i think i will end up being his mini before too long, in an epic mother-son role reversal as he surpasses me in size in a few short years. i was just reading back over some seemingly prophetic things he said when he was 3 along those lines:

“quinn yesterday was naked waist-down and splashing in tide pools yet again. (it was super nice and warm, for february). he would get ready to splash through yet another one and first he’d shout “into the heathers of the waters!” and splash in. i have asked him what the heathers of the waters are. last night he said “it’s the heathers of the wind!” oh them, ok. love his made up words/meanings. i think it’s ripples? or something along those lines. i love it.

then he told me “i’m TOO COLD!!!!” so i stripped him and zipped him inside my jacket. he had on only his fleece jacket and was wrapped around me (i hadn’t brought the sling) and he snuggled down. then he looked back up out of my jacket  and said, “when i get bigger i will put on a big jacket and when you get little i will put you in it and carry you.” (tucked his head right back in.) i said, “oh wow sweetie, that means a lot to me that you’d do that for me.” and he replied, “yeah, that means a LOT to you!”

after that, while still zipped in my coat: “sing me a quiet song about the indigo girls.” definitely my mini in music preferences.

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blue: played with shutter speed one day while raindrops playfully careened off the corrugated porch roof.

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blue: i finally got one to stand still enough to be able to see its blue face feathers…

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purple: the lilac half of the red/purple combo, right around sunset.

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purple: guess who passed his tip test? this purple belt. here’s to perseverance!


~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 in the life of a lifelong learner ~ green eggs and herring eggs

2-23 to 3-23

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herring embryos under microscope; it’s bring your child to work day more often than once a year in my world.


the new hatchlings under my care; tiny eyeballs with tails!

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in the body cavities of the adult herring who supplied the gametes for our experiment were many worms of the genus anisakis, which made my former employer (a parasitologist who works down the hall from my current lab) very happy. quinn acted as her personal assistant while she observed and preserved some specimens to identify later through genetics. he’s getting to be legitimately helpful at this age…

anisakis video (click only if you like to watch parasitic worms move!)


pokemon chess; our housemate got quinn 144 or so pokemon figures for his birthday, and he quickly invented a new game, of course.


birthday grace periods are lengthy around our household, so this is how he looked opening his birthday legos (minecraft ender dragon set) from grammy and grampy.


grammy and grampy were featured in his “thankful list” written one night on a page of his journal. i suggested this as an “assignment” because he was a bit stuck on a negative thought spiral concerning one of his classmates. he readily embraced the challenge and quickly had a list of ten items written down… and more importantly, was thoroughly centered and cheerful once again.


the last time we played dungeons and dragons, quinn took me through another dungeon and reminded me that my dragon opalonyx was granted a power of blue fire by the old man of 189 years of age. i have in turn been creating a new dungeon for him that contains a dragon skeleton dig site, and a dragon egg for him to discover. we also obtained a set of story dice we could print on card stock and glue together (they are filled with rice to give them heft). these have been a fun enhancement to our adventures.

we accidentally discovered a defunct series of star wars adventures books and cards that comprise a role play game, somewhat more basic than d and d, but we’ve been able to grab a few of the books and print some of the cards online in spite of this series having been out of print much longer than it was ever in print.


that sam i am

do you like green eggs and ham on dr. seuss’s birthday? he just kept shaking his head while taking bites of his breakfast, saying, “this whole thing is just great.” his school did a whole week of  funky socks, hair and hats in honor of the good doctor, but i think i blew his mind with my breakfast surprise.

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pinewood derby

we had a winner this year! quinn’s red car (built with his dad, since it was a dad week preceding the race, and oh yeah, dad has more power tools than mama) placed first in his division, and also won an award for “sleekest.” he enjoyed his giant almond joy prize!


holding a future pinewood derby champion.

training other kids one of his karate forms during an open mat session… back to working hard on earning his next black tip, and bringing smiles.

IMG_4919 red IMG_4791

drums! i sat in the basement with him and sang “the mighty quinn” along to his drum beat… he was playing a basic 4/4 time standard beat, but when i started singing a song in 3/4 time (the rowing song by patty griffin, one of his favorites), he was able to quickly adapt what he knew so far to come up with a 3 beat rhythm to match the song.

he was telling me one day that he thinks about when he is grown up and that he wants to be a parent “but i also don’t want to do it like you and dada. like, you know, be broken up.” (sad face). i asked, “oh you want to have a partner you stay with?” “yes.” i know i thought a whole lot about those big things as a kid, so it’s not that surprising to me that he goes there. not surprising… and yet, it rather takes my breath away to realize he is tackling such huge concepts. i am glad to be providing a positive example of a “together” relationship with rich that, whether he realizes it yet or not, will probably have some influence on him in his future relationships.

he also recently requests “a sibling” with some frequency. other kids might say “brother or sister” but quinn and his vocabulary choose the word “sibling” instead. it’s a big opportunity for me to offer empathy (i felt the same way about wanting more siblings even though i had two perfectly good ones) and yet not alter reality according to his desires.

i got a sense of how he spent his spring break from a chat with coparent at karate: the highlight was fishing; he is really excited to fish in the lake in the new boat they fixed up together, frog. it’s named after frog girl, quinn tells me, which is a conservation-oriented tale of youth empowerment. they fished 3 times, and the first time caught 7 fish, one of which was a cutthroat trout quinn reeled in himself, the biggest of the lot. the next two times, they had one that got away, and nothing else. coparent says quinn seems to have a certain zen about that, and seems to understand that you have to go fishing a lot and will only sometimes have a good catch.

i also heard about how quinn picked out a totem in an antique store that he simply had to buy (enough that he was willing to use his own money for it) of a bear with a salmon in its mouth. quinn decided, “maybe it’s the fish god!” reverence and gratitude training, courtesy of fishing. they’ve also been having some fly tying fun, with bunny mammoths and woolly buggers.

walk-to-read and walk-to-math were completed for the school year by mid-march, in order to accommodate all the testing the kids have to get done before the end of the school year. i notice quinn seems not only unfazed by testing, but maybe even seems to like proving what he knows. he doesn’t always take tests seriously, and it is interesting to me to realize he seems to have a sense of which tests “matter” and affect his placement  (such as for walk-to classes, about which he proudly spoke of having to walk all the way to the other end of the school to the fifth grade rooms). and yet, i have watched him completely hack a test that he was taking, when it was a quiz in his raz kids reading app on the classroom ipad. he went through and answered all 10 comprehension questions “a”;  without reading any questions, he then went back and answered all the ones that still had red x’s instead of green check marks “b”; by the time he got to “c” most of the questions were green checks, so the last couple he changed to “d” and in the amount of time he would have needed to answer just a few of the questions by reading them, he had moved on to the next book to read. somehow he seems to have a handle on exactly when he needs to apply himself and take a test seriously, and when a simple hack will do. partly, he seems to like to prove himself, and other times he just wants to get back to the stories. as his mama, i have a few lessons in zen left to learn about all this testing and letting  go of my beliefs about how tests can be detrimental. this kid has always been one of my best teachers, though, so i am just holding on for the ride at this point.

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38 is great!

my 38th birthday started off a little bit earlier than i might have preferred, but it was for a good  reason. i needed to feed my 32 tanks full of larval herring their breakfast, which is a 2-hour process each morning, and i am the sunday fish feeder… and instead of doing that work from 8-10, i decided to do it from 6:30 to 8:30 and go pick up my boy.



rich got up with me at 5:30 (yes, it is true love), and we ate granola and strawberries and drank coffee together, and then i made myself a quart jar full of fresh mint tea (first mint harvest of the spring season from my farm that i brought home the day before) and off i went to work.


the place i work is really quite lovely. i noticed there are these delicate lilies growing along the walk between the lab where i keep my fish and the other labs where i grow their food. lately i’ve been walking in excess of 10,000 steps, just during my work day. it’s keeping me in shape, and the fresh air and flowers are nice.

as soon as i was finished, i drove south to the boat ramp to pick quinn up from his dad. we used to meet at the boat ramp all the time, before we moved from dragon house 1.0. this time i knew we would be heading even farther south and since his dad was doing me a favor by letting me have some of his hours, i had offered to make the drive.


quinn and i had some time to ourselves before rich’s son’s alumni basketball game started (yes that’s right, first pancake visit in a year! lucky birthday girl!). quinn and i made a pit stop for a mexican mocha, a soy milk, and two homemade maple bars, then headed to one of our favorite beaches to enjoy our treats.


quinn gave me “a yard of fluffy purple fabric. i didn’t know what to get you and dada told me to think of things you like and put them together. i thought of sewing, whales, dolphins and purple. when i put them together, i thought of purple fabric! they had one that was not fluffy, and one that was fluffy, so i picked the fluffy one.” i may have to make a fluffy stuffie dolphin or whale out of my yard of purple flannel!


the beach offered up some birthday treasures.


the basketball games were fun to watch, and rich’s son’s team won the alumni tournament again, as they often seem to do. quinn and the pancakes got to eat cheet-ohs and cheer for the red team and play on the playground together in between games.


i consider this rocketship with red violet curtains to be part of my birthday present from b pancake.

when we got home, i got to work making my chocolate mousse, a dessert i used to watch my friend effortlessly make in a blender. it took me some effort, and i was concerned it would not set, but it turned out just fine in the end! it was a very d-i-y birthday in some ways, but this year i just faced that challenge head on and came up with some good ideas, like mousse.


the second good idea was given to me by my housemate, who mentioned a roll-your-own spring roll party she had once attended, which sounded brilliant to me, especially for an early spring-born girl’s birthday. and now that i’ve done this, i think it shall become birthday tradition, because they were soooo tasty!


these were my ingredients:

rice wraps

rice noodles




salad turnips

purple broccoli

wasabi arugula (new variety! inspiring lots of creative sushi/veggie wrap ideas)




green onions

sprouts (been on a sprouting spree the past few weeks! it’s a spring thing.)


peanut sauce: pb, coconut milk, sweet chili, garlic, ginger, lime juice, soy sauce


speaking of sprouts, quinn objects to eating sprouts (or even trying them) on the basis of “i feel like i’m interfering with nature.” he gave me the example of eating the peas from the plant but not the plant itself, before he articulated his nature-interference postulate.

he apparently has no objection to eating chicken. (far be it from me to point out the irony to a growing boy who needs the protein!)


birthday flowers from pancakes!

i got a few other fun presents….





dolphins, post-its, and music, so very me. how wonderful to feel known and loved.


bart patiently awaiting his turn in the bag

after my afternoon fish feed (which only took me a half hour), i passed a pair of deer coming home. there were so many little treasures strewn throughout the day like this, though none of them were out of the ordinary, all combined they made for an extraordinary day.

i had a nice evening with family, watching the pancakes play with gears, and having them request that i take another picture of them each time they made an improvement to their designs. i think i was unconscious before my head even touched the pillow that night, and off to a peaceful, albeit exhausted, sleep.

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