Tuesday, December 16

Candy House Bonanza

Porter and Matilda each invited a few friends home after school today to decorate houses. I can't say gingerbread house since I just did my usual cheater graham cracker house assembly. However, with all that candy flying no one seemed to complain!
 It's important to sample the supplies. 

 Success, another candy house in the books.  


If you don't hear from me, it might be because I've been entombed in icing.

Thursday, December 11

Friday, December 5

It's Chime Season!!

Hands down, my favorite Christmas decoration.

Wednesday, December 3


I love this shot that Tim captured of Matilda on our hike in Joshua Tree last weekend. She likes to carry a notepad on any nature walk to document her observations, thoughts and quick sketches of any animals we encounter, especially the cute fuzzy ones! It is amazing to me the quantity of little notepads that she manages to fill. Thorough documentations is important in good research I suppose.  

Tuesday, December 2


We are thrilled to be getting some much needed rain. Although water falling from the sky seems to be such a rare occurrence that it's making people act a bit crazy. Walking back to the car at pick up from school, we heard the principal come over the loudspeaker system asking a parent who had left their car double parked in traffic to please return to their car immediately. Don't lose your head everyone, it's just some precipitation.

Monday, December 1

Sous Chef

Porter is all about food these days. He must be approaching a growth spurt because he's eating SO much! Constantly hungry and eating crazy quantities. He is also super helpful in the kitchen. For dinner tonight he made our salad and was very happy to have the freedom to choose all the ingredients and wash/chop/peel/slice to assemble it himself. 
Keeping with the food theme, the week before Thanksgiving break I went into his class to present a lesson related to food. They were doing a food unit and the teacher (knowing my loved for all things food) asked me to prepare something. I found a really great lesson plan online about "Eating a Rainbow!"which discussed the nutrients in fruits and vegetables and why it's good to eat a bright variety of produce. It's so fun to see their minds cranking and turning! After the discussion they all got to make rainbow kebabs for a snacks.
I forgot to get a good photo of all the trays, but they looked really beautiful.
I also made kale chips and sweet potato fries to sample and it was exciting to see how many kids were willing to try them. Beside enriching all of his 25 other classmates, all the prep work was worth it just to see Porter so proud and happy to have me in class.

Thursday, November 27

Cheese Turkeys

Happy Thanksgiving! I'm thankful for so much, including these goofy, big kids.
Hope you all had a lovely holiday, however you spent it.

Friday, September 19

Project Boy

Porter will tell you his favorite thing about kindergarten is the projects. He is really enjoying all the little crafty challenges they have for him, flexing those glue stick muscles. Today he turned in his second biggish homework project, a family book. For both projects, it has been really interesting to see how focused he is, with a very clear picture of how he wants things to look and be done.

We had a pretty big struggle trying to convince Porter to practice his presentation of this book at home. 

For each letter of the alphabet he chose a photo to illustrate something starting with that letter, which relates to his family or things we like to do together. In class he will be expected to go through it and explain all 26 pages! I think he will probably do fine in class, when he turns on his game face, but at home he was just giving us all attitude and mumbly mumbles. For a sneak peak, here's the letter G:

Wednesday, September 17

Heat Wave

This heat wave of ours has been going on for quite a while. After Porter's first soccer game this weekend (three goals by P!), we spent the remainder of the weekend soaking ourselves in various bodies of water. 
First up for Saturday: The Pacific

Next up on Sunday: Neighbor's pool 
The kids took turns riding a Big Wheel in the pool! Bike ride in snorkel gear = wild, good times.

This grocery store display feels really wrong when it's triple digits in the parking lot!

Tuesday, September 16

Dental Adventure

Matilda had her two top cuspids removed today. The baby teeth were overdue to come out and were jamming up the path for all her grown up teeth. Hopefully this will help everything fall in a little nicer for less braces-type intervention later. She was understandably nervous but the dentist did a great job moving things along quickly so she didn't have time to get too worked up.

Her teacher encouraged her to write about her worries today, instead of the regular writing assignment, which I think helped a bunch also. She illustrated her essay with this picture. I can't chose my favorite part of this: her worried expression, the dentist pinching her wrist, the dentist's kooky eyes, or maybe my prominent teeth that are not being threatened. So much awesome.

Thursday, August 14

Away He Goes, Jet Pack Powered

Tim has been plugging away at making a jet pack for Porter for a while now and finished it just in time to gift as a first day of Kindergarten present. All the hard work and time spent buiding it was justified by Porter's enthusiastic reaction! 

 Apparently it's a very serious responsibility wearing this jet pack! 

 One of Porter's immediate concerns with the jet pack was whether it would be safe from wild animals if we left it out on our back patio area. (He is very wary about the skunks, possums and raccoons that frequent our yard.) We joked with Porter that the raccoons were not plotting to fly away in his new jet pack. Funnily enough, as we got ready for bedtime that evening the local raccoon family started making a major racket walking around on the aluminum roof of that same back patio area. Porter was in a panic trying to simultaneously close the back door and go out to get the jet pack from them. We watched them for a long time climbing our tree and growling, squeaking and grumbling to each other. Porter's worry for his new precious toy seemed to subside a bit and so far the jet pack has not gone on any wildlife joy rides that we know of. Well done RD Papa, this imaginative toy is going to get some miles on it. (Yes, totally, pun intended.)

Tuesday, August 12

Kindergarten and Third Grade

Here we go, another whirlwind day of firsts. Both kids were super excited for school to start today. Porter is really happy to be going to Matilda's school now, and Matilda was just about bursting with pride over her new kindergartener today. (Sob.) They both got the teachers they were wishing for. As Matilda said this morning, this might be the best year ever!

Matilda was on cloud nine this morning yelling hello to everyone and seeing all her friends again.

Porter marched right up to the front when his teacher (the same kinder teacher that Matilda had!!) called them. He held his own as line leader and turned back to call out a goodbye to us before leading the class in. So proud. 
  This boy!
Now I just need to shake this panicky feeling of how to most efficiently use my kid-free time. I can't think of the last time I had 6 hours to myself. I think bon bons on the couch are in order, stat.

Tuesday, August 5

Pool, Beach, Pool, Beach

The kids cannot seem to get enough water fun so we just keep repeating these two outings. 

This video of Porter jumping off the diving board is from last week. He is making progress every swim and now looks slightly less like he is drowning. It cracks me up, and definitely says something about his personality, that as soon as he can barely swim he is ready to start throwing himself off of things into the water. 

Monday, July 28


I love coffee more than the average person, but no. Just no.

Friday, July 18

Cornell's Ornithology Lab

On Thursday we visited the ornithology lab, which is on our long list of favorite places to go while visiting Ithaca. There is never enough time to see everyone, eat everything and go everyplace that we want while in town. However, the kids both listed the bird lab and the Sciencenter as a must so we made that happen. 
The indoor space at the Ornitholgy lab is just beautiful with many viewing points out for observation. At bedtime last night Porter listed back all the birds he remembered seeing while chatting with Tim: Canada Goose, Blue jay, female Cardinal, Goldfinch and some ducks.

Porter found a really fun touchscreen kiosk where you could look up a particular bird and see how many sighting had been recorded at the lab in the last month. We learned the Bald eagles are becoming more common! 
The paths around the bird lab are gorgeous hikes in ther own right. It's been such a rainy year here and everything is so green and wet. A nice contrast from LA right now.
The kids have been alternating taking turns staying one night with me at Dad and Kathy's house and then one night with their Grammy. It's been a really nice chance to get one on one time for everyone. Because they were missing each other a little beforehand, on this hike they were particularly goofy and lovey to one another. Slightly less bickering and antagonizing than normal for this pair of siblings!

Wednesday, July 16

Gorge Swimming

The kids got brave and went for a chilly swim in Buttermilk Falls today. As a child I swam here so much and was not phased by the chilly temps! Today it was all I could do to wade in with them! Brrr. They were not phased at all by the 68 degree water!

Tuesday, July 15

From Pond to Table: A Step by Step Guide

After feeding all the beggar fish in the pond, and then finding nets in the garage, the kids had a bit of an epiphany. Turns out it's quite easy to scoop up a fish or two. Or ten. Midway through the fishing frenzy Kathy and I realized we needed to set a limit or we would have way more fish than we could eat! 

A very proud fisherboy with his first catch of the day:
Next we took the bucket 'o fish for a ride back to the house. 

I'll spare you the photo of the other bits, but here are our delicious results! The kids were very interested in the whole cleaning process, with a short attempt at helping to scale them and lots of fish head touching and poking. A good life lesson in where food comes from.

Porter contemplates dinner. He's not the seafood lover that Matilda is but he tried a bite. He loved the process so much but we told him we can only catch fish if they will get eaten so he's struggling with that dilemma a bit.