~a month in the life of a lifelong learner~ portal to the overworld

he’s a certified car vacuuming technician from way back. (apart from normal you’re-part-of-the-household chores that are not money-earners, there are above-and-beyond chores that do provide that opportunity. running the shop-vac around the car is one of them, and motivated by a new deck of pokemon cards, the lad did a fabulously thorough job on my car, which was long overdue for a cleaning.

 

this is the mandala he copied from his original drawing onto his green prayer flag for our wedding! the “seed” in the middle is a letter q.

we are attending a weapons class at our dojo on wednesday nights for a few months, and one night a special guest showed us some bo staff moves. they are similar to what we have been learning with eskrima sticks, and just as fun.

making the most of summer low tides! it was a crabby sort of day.

we pondered these bones for a while, so quinn could decide what animal he thought they came from, and give evidence to support his conclusion. i love his gestures here as he works through his reasoning.

this hearkens back to the days of toddler eating, with many items each in separate receptacles, except that one bowl is all mixed up salad! i’m noticing a definite increase in quinn’s openness and initiative on trying new foods, such as a doubling of his approved vegetable list (carrots- both orange and purple, and broccoli, are still favorites. a rekindled love for cauliflower and romanesco (another brassica cousin) and a brand new love for green beans, all of the above eaten raw, dipped in ranch, has developed this summer. he has also asked me for tastes of whatever i’m eating from time to time, even things like biscuits and gravy (he likes biscuits with jam but has never been into the gravy) and huevos rancheros, two of my standard breakfasts for the adults in the household.

post-haircut trim photos with a particularly photogenic boy beside one of our redwoods.

quinn’s fourth of july camping was abbreviated to just one overnight this year, but we made the most of our short time.

 

i like watching quinn’s way with the younger kids. he has a gentleness and patience for helping koala, and is quite obviously enjoying himself and laughing throughout such play times, not seeming to be in any hurry to go off and play with anyone closer to his age. i enjoy seeing him stay in the present moment with a toddler.

he does spend plenty of time playing with his cohort, especially his buddy panda. he got his yearly immersion in the creek, splashing up to the “rapids” with the big kids and walter, the dog.

a lot of time was spent with all of the kids playing games together, including quite a few rounds of what time is it mr. fox and mother may i. we also had a good time setting off fireworks, and there was a fair amount of play in the play kitchen, including a restaurant that featured punch cards (leaves) which, when punched 3 times, got the card holder their next meal free.

then quinn was at his dad’s for two weeks, and when he returned, it was almost time for the wedding, and all of our family to start arriving! quinn also began his two-week theatre camp session during this time period, though none of that is pictured in this post. i think theatre camp provided the lad a bit of “normal” and routine in the midst of quite a bit of departure-from-routine at home. it was wonderful departure, and he was happy to be a part of it, but he also seemed pleased to be doing his second year of theatre camp, feeling like more of a veteran camper. i was impressed that he had specific counselors he requested when he was given the option, and loved who he picked. he ended up in a great group, and in next month’s post, there will be photo documentation of the performance!

during his two weeks away, a friend had helped me get our new trampoline put together, so before i even got the car turned around in the driveway, he had jumped out and run down to try it out. he also seemed approving of the play kitchen i had brought about with paint and an old computer desk. the “rainbow restaurant” made use of quinn’s old play kitchen utensils and pans.

first, the pancakes arrived! i admire how little time it takes for them to run off and play, picking up where they left off many months ago. i would put a caption on this photo of their picnic on the trampoline reading, “why eat real dinner when you can eat pretend dinner on the trampoline?” because it truly was hard to captivate their interest in visiting the parental area for feedings or other items on the personal care agenda.

next, we added mario and luigi into the mix! the pancakes had never met quinn’s cousins, but they still wasted no time getting down to the business of playing. it was a wonderfully compatible group, with great imaginations and creativity in abundance. as the oldest, and the mutual acquaintance of all children present, quinn naturally fell into somewhat of a leadership role. i know there was a ton of minecraft-centered pretend play, quite a bit of lego pirate ship activity and whenever a kid needed a bit of down time, piles of rainbow artwork were generated, or a small person could be found curled up with a book. after all the festivities were over, quinn told me how they had divided up the four lego pirate ships so that everyone had a ship to use (quinn and mario shared one) and gave me a little tour. they each provisioned their ships in their own way. b pancake’s had lots of supplies (food, hats, books, spare beards) and was decorated with flowers. some of the ships had more crew, while others were focused more on weapons and gear. it was fun to watch them get lost in their imaginations!

they never seemed to mind the lack of space in quinn’s room, they just made it work. and played and played and played! it helped that there was plenty of space outside for running around. bubbles were also a popular activity throughout the week.

five children i love very much!

the child clan adopted 6 more children when wedding boss hosted our whole family for a get together picnic two days before the wedding. it was a lovely summer evening for our east coast and west coast and oklahoma families to meet!

this is what rehearsal dinner looked like at the kid’s table.

and this is what my son looked like while i was having my hair crown-braided and putting on my wedding dress! when i finally remembered i should see to his hygiene and clothing situation, rich’s son had already prompted quinn and taken care of everything, right down to the ponytail and glasses. it was not the first, nor the last time that day that i got a little choked up.

trying to show the wedding from the perspective of quinn is made possible only because of my wonderful photographer friend, because i was quite focused on marrying the guy up front, and could not have even told you where quinn (or anyone) was sitting, or with whom. the beauty of getting married in our own backyard, was that he felt comfortable. he sat with his cousins and aunt and followed along with the ceremony. the only feedback i got from him was that he never imagined it would be our yoga teacher “telling the story!” and that was much to his delight. he likes her a lot, and i like it a lot that he thought of it all as a story, something i know he loves!

and then, because of the getting married at home factor again, he could disappear to his room for some quiet time as needed. once again, i only knew this because of the photos!

this will be one of my favorite photos of all time, forever.

these are among my favorites as well. quinn had to be patient and smile for a bunch of photos, but then it was back to play time.

my boy has become very self-sufficient, and got all of his needs met, almost entirely without me that day. he was sailing in a sea of interchangeable parental units and grandparents and could raft up to any one of them at any moment. he also had a great group of kids to absorb himself into.

the next morning, we all ate pancakes under the big reception tent. i can’t remember who told me that there was a lego wedding reenactment at one point, and the kids seemed to gravitate towards special wedding areas like the loveseat rich and i sat on for the reception, and the “wedding trees” and ceremony area.

the kids played all day… straw bales were now fair game for climbing and walking on, and the “wedding trees” became known as “the portal to the overworld” in the ongoing minecraft game.

popcorn and quesadillas with mario. i noticed that quinn spent special one-on-one time with each of the kids.

he also spent time with my best woman, and noted he does not have far to go before he will exceed her height!

quinn set up his own tent beside mario and luigi’s on the last night of their stay with us so he could join in the camp out. since rich and i were driving my best woman to the airport that evening, quinn got to spend quality time with just their family, and ended up having a great time going bowling!

i felt theatre camp was again a welcome distraction and anchor to routine for quinn, so that the many goodbyes after such a lovely week of visitors weighed less heavily on him.

this was not an average month of lifelong learning, but a month of lifelong learning it certainly was! it was a month in which many lessons were undoubtedly learned in the department of relationships with family and friends, and some that mama may not have had any way of documenting or even knowing about. summer learning provides a great opportunity to step away from the academics and focus on the things that matter most in our lives; loving our people and savoring our time together with them.

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