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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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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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Z found this gnome hanging out near the urban farm, complete with chickens and goats, created by the amazing folks at Seattle Tilth.

Some friendly pollinator types had their own house.

I’ve been reading Early Spring, a book by an ecologist-mama, who looks at the effect of climate change on the environment from a personal level.  One of her observations is that the appearance of prematurely blooming flowers are not coinciding with the seasonal return of their natural pollinators (e.g., bugs).   This is certainly the case here in Seattle.

We adopted some caterpillars, seen here munching on their food and minus their protective covering.  Z’s housing them in his room until we can release them as backyard butterflies.

Z’s field guide score.  How can a wizard and fairytale obsessed kid not be entranced by poisonous mushrooms with names like Death Cap and Avenging Angel?’

And we’ll be growing some edible mushrooms courtesy of the fine folks at Fungi Perfecti.  Science + Food = Awesomeness.

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Tiger Mountain. Last Friday.

The Swamp Monster trail has a series of storyboards. Either intentionally or by accident, they sort of peter out before the end of the trail, leaving us to wonder if the storyteller was, in fact eaten by the evil creature lurking in the muddy forest.

Today. At home. We played our first game of By Jove, which has a Monopoly-meets-Greek-Mythology vibe to it (a Goodwill score). For a boy who’s obsessed with the heroes and villains of the ancient world, there was no better way to play with math than in the context of vanquishing perils like Medusa and the Minotaur.

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We took advantage of the unseasonably dry and warm weather Sunday and hiked at Carkeek Park.

The sheer number of buds forming on young tree and native plants moved the coming of spring from theoretical to reality.

Z decided to bring a laminated field guide so that he could keep track of anything he might find along the way.

Wolf?  Z t hinks yes, based on lengthy cross-referencing on shape and size.

Z did not bring his mushroom guide, so  this fungus remains a slightly creepy, yet delicately colored mystery.

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This past week was one that lacked a rhythm or much sense of purpose from day to day.  Z had a nasty virus all week, a hair cut on Tuesday during what is usually his quiet time, and a long diabetes appointment at Childrens on Wednesday.  Taken singly, none of these things would have put him down for the count, but together they conspired to do so.  Feeling things especially keenly and having a hard time with changes in routine are a hallmark of the over-excitabilities of kids like Z.

There were two bright spots to hang on to.
On Wednesday morning, we met a local Gifted Homeschooling Forum family at the zoo and totally hit it off.  Two kids, G (5) and V (3.5) who clicked with Z and vice-versa.  It was great having a chance to talk to another mama who has similar challenges and joys and to know that there are other kids like Z.  They’ll be coming over to our place next week to play.

Friday, we hiked a Kubota Garden, at Z’s suggestion after flipping through Take A Walk In Puget Sound.  It’s one of our favorite places, and it was one of the only times this week that  I saw unmitigated joy in Z.  We hit the animal jackpot:  ducks, turtles swimming and sunning, a dragonfly hunting in the water and the air, and a bunny that took a particular shine to Z.

On the reading front, we finally finished The Hobbit and dove right into Chitty, Chitty Bang, Bang.  After several fantasy read-alouds, we were all ready for something different.  He’s loving the combination of fun and adventure.

Z and Nilo spent almost two hours building and playing at Golden Gardens. The water bubbles up from an underground stream and makes a cold journey back to Puget Sound. The boys worked together to move rocks to create dams and islands, and they were fascinated with the bubbles of sand and water coming from the bottom of the pool.


After dinner, Z played with his new set of real tools. We talked about how we trust him to use them mindfully so that he can actually build things instead of pretending to work with plastic tools. He used his pliers and hammer to strip bark from branches, then decided to make some art.
After using his new markers to draw the Misty Mountains, he used his dot sponges and was so proud of himself for figuring out how the ink flows through the sponges. (“I’m teaching myself how they work, mom.”) After that, it was on to tempera paint and fingerpaints. He even helped to wash the brushes and put paint away before snack and stories.
I worked making the wall pockets from Amanda Soule’s amazing new book, the Creative Home, taking breaks to open paint jars and talk with Z while he delved into his color exploration in the studio with me. This was one of the first times that Z was happy just focusing on the process of art and creating without letting his perfectionism take over, which results in his frustration because his product doesn’t look like the creation in his mind and his asking us to make what he’s looking for. I’ve been talking a lot to him about how creating art is often about the process and not the end result and it was so amazing to see that idea at work. It was the type of flow and togetherness while we make and do and be that I’m hoping we capture in moments every day.