~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.


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

  • camp boss

    how nice to catch up with a month post. I love that our lives are intertwined and seeing recaps means seeing my kids and yours together. looking forward to summer fun and memories. I plan on more visiting with ya neighbors!! grandma pam even mentioned a bluegrass bbq this summer, I assume y’all are interested.

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