Sometimes inspiration comes from an unexpected place.

Like when this:

Takes you here:

Where did your kids find inspiration for new explorations this week?

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A new buddy emerged from its cocoon yesterday morning.
Its name is Frank.


As soon as J got home from work, Z ran downstairs to grab his facepaint.

And a crocodile emerged in time for dinner.

How do you explore the concepts of change and metamorphosis in your family?

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We headed to the Seattle Art Museum yesterday, mostly to check out the Calder exhibit.


His use of balance and color spurred Z to try some new projects, even before we left SAM.

Other highlights included real coins from Ancient Greece, hieroglyphics and funerary objects from Egyptian tombs,  and the amazing aboriginal art collection.


A new-to-us Calef Brown came home from the SAM store with us.

In two hours, Z saw that art can be balancing and building.  It can be looking at everyday items of ancient and indigenous cultures through fresh eyes. It can be taking a new perspective on telling old stories.

We played in the Family Room and created in the studio (free to all in the Art Ladder without even paying museum admission).  Z led me through most of the exhibits, telling me that we were wandering everywhere like were in the Minotaur’s maze.

I’m pretty sure we’ll be back.  Often.

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Z does a lot of storytelling and playing with words. A lot.

Under the reef
And under the sky,
A pouting fish
Wants to cry
.

Sometimes he asks me to write them down, like he did with this poem. And this story . . .

Thor the Thunder Orc

So…

In the house there is an old widow. But there was a particular enemy that lived up up up in the tallest mountain. With a forest next to it. And that forest was not just a normal forest, it was a dark deep spooky forest. And this was not just a normal dark spookiness. It was a murky spooky forest.

But that forest had three dwarves that were living there. But not just normal dwarves, they were ale ale ale dwarves. But that had a particular yumminess too. That was a seed cake.

But there was an orc in the tallest mountain. But that orc wasn’t just a normal orc. That was Thor, the Thunder Orc!

But there was a particular treasure that the orc owned.  It was a ruby diamond.  But that was just a normal diamond.  And that orc had a favorite thing to eat.  That was dwarves!

The orc had a particular two other treasures.  Those were golden boots. But that wasn’t just normal boots. That was magical golden boots!  But then the dwarves decided to take a walk on the mountain.  But that wasn’t the smartest plan for dwarves to do.

Because orc ate dwarves. But the favorite thing to do of the orc was not just to eat dwarves, it was to feast on dwarves! There was also another treasure that the orc owned.  hat was ruby slippers. That wasn’t just it of the treasure. There was one golden emerald but that wasn’t just a normal emerald. That was an enchanted emerald. When the dwarves came onto the mountain in the top of the mountain where the hole was, the orcs ate the dwarves.

Then the dwarves chopped off the head of the orc and came out. They were Viking dwarves.

The End

These stories and poems and drips and drabs of his mind become a prized possession for Z.  He asks me to read them in lieu of “books” and shares them as a way to connect with others.

For me, they go beyond a view into his imagination and help me to see why he gets so frustrated when it comes to writing and making art.  Very often, Z just doesn’t have the small motor skills to execute what he sees in his mind.  It’s a constant struggle to honor his desire to create through dictation while subtly encouraging him to try to produce on his own.

This book struck a chord with Z when I brought it home from the library this week.

I’m looking forward to helping Z balance  his drive for perfection with more Ish-ish endeavors, especially by modeling new learning adventures for myself. Knitting and sewing have been two areas particularly ripe for showing growth through mistakes.

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It’s amazing what you can discover when you turn things upside down.

And when you look at things from a slightly higher vantage point . . .


the beach becomes a giant notebook for writing secret codes.

It’s also the preferred for a young perfectionist to practice writing, since he knows that every letter inevitably will be erased by the tide.

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Ice + Salt + Food Coloring =

Iridescence. (Actually, it reminded Z of the bioluminescence found on many of the deep-sea creatures that he spends hours upon hours studying.)

Thanks to 5orangepotatoes.com for the idea.

And, in other news, Z woke up to find that his caterpillars pupated overnight.  Butterflies for spring!

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I know that our decision to learn without a classroom is the right one for Z and our family at least at this stage in his development and our lives.  That doesn’t stop the waves of full blown parental panic as I watch many of my mama friends make the rounds of kindergarten open houses.

As I start seeing the end to our regular play with our core group of buddies, I realize that we need to bolster our community – both online and in person – for myself and for Z.  I’ve been doing just that over the last few weeks to restore my sense of excitement and comfort in our daily rhythms.

I’ve also started revisiting some of my favorite books to bolster my sense of purpose and confidence.




Where do you seek community and strength for your days?

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Z really, really wanted to plant seeds this week.
He’s all about the garden this year, and his excitement is hard to contain.


It’s still a bit  early to attempt even peas in the garden, so it was off to get some materials for indoor starts.

He planted oregano, basil, dahlias, and forget-me-nots.

Waiting patiently for some indirect sun, which has not made many appearances this week in the Northwest.

Seeds aren’t the only thing we’re sprouting.
The caterpillars are growing at an amazing rate.  Here they are at one week old.

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Hanging out with friends.
Ducks swimming in pairs.
Budding trees and bursts of color.

Dipping for caddisfly larvae in their protective shells of sticks and stones and dirt.

Turning over logs and finding bugs, like this millipede.

Are you seeing and celebrating the first signs of spring in your community?

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After many days of outside adventures and a long and restless night of diabetes issues for Z, there’s always chilling out at home.

Especially if there is a robot to build.

It was a two-person job.

Test run.

Discovering that brush robot doesn’t travel well on tablecloths.

He’s pretty fast on the floor, though.

And it’s back to sea creatures, following a Valentine cookie walk to Larsen’s Bakery.

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