September Is For Paleontologists

September 30th, 2011

Well, let’s see, we started the month with a puppet show at Bella Terra. Katya said she didn’t want to go at the last minute, and I told her we must, since we invited people to meet us there. She then told me A) “Making people do things is called forcing” and B) that she wasn’t going to have fun. We got there, she laughed hysterically through most of the show, and then on the way home she told me, “That was a bad puppet show.” Lesson learned. She is now taking a more active role in our scheduling. As for the adults, we are both ramping up work on some ongoing projects, and thinking of starting some intense chiropractic work/related exercise program, so this will be the last exhaustive entry for a while.

The theme of this month was: Paleontology!
*We dug up 5-10 million year old sea shells in San Pedro with the Southern California Paleontology Society. While we were there, we had lunch at Mama Joan’s Soul Food, and visited the Cabrillo Aquarium as well.
*We visited the Discovery Science Cube again.
*Plus the La Brea tar pits.
*L.A. Natural History Museum, twice. That’s actually a T. Rex puzzle for the kids to do. We also enjoyed the halls of mammals, both extinct and not. On the first visit with Maddie and Emily, she used her allowance to buy gummy candy dinosaurs. A piece of the clear plastic wrapper with light green ink showed up in her poop at least a week later. Ew.

 The L.A. County Fair. Mostly we went for the Jurassic Planet hall with animatronic dinosaurs & more dino stuff like this real bone you could touch. We did some other things afterwards like go to the Shark Encounter and the Princess and Knight section but it proved overwhelming.

In a fun coincidence Katya dreamt the night before that we had a bearded dragon named Sumo who roamed around the house while we slept, and followed Max around during the day, and then in real life she got to pet two at the fair! We also went to Prehistoric Pets twice this month to see such things and feed the 200lb tortoises lettuce.

On a tangental note, we saw lots of skulls, teeth, and vertebrae at the homeschool day at the Aquarium of the Pacific. Mostly though Katya spent 2 whole hours playing in a boat on a playground outside.

At home we made paper toy pleisosaurs, did dinosaur puzzles, and read dinosaur books as always. Katya dictated this story, which we made into a word search, for her great-grandpa’s 90th birthday: “The Ancient Egyptians died because of climate change. That’s how they became mummies. Bad weather.”

Unrelated items:
*Art activities included “Draw Tattoos on Alex” night, which was a bigger hit with the adults than expected, gift wrap decoration, many projects with translucent dot stickers, salt dough puffy paint, and marshmallow sculpture.

*We got some new games! We have been making domino-style multicolored snakes, doing story sequence mini puzzle strips, playing with a Leapfrog phonics game in the car (usually on the music-making setting), and making lots of silly stories with the help of  “The Storybook Game.” Katya was intimidated by the patterns on the box of the 5 by 5 “Playskool Color Cubes” set at first but is now confidently making her own.

*We read Different Like Coco a few times and started a rag doll like little Coco Chanel made. This activity quickly evolved into play sewing machine maintainence and hiding tiny plastic animals in the bobbin compartment.

*Talk Like A Pirate Day at the library–a REAL pirate came to do a show! and Pirate Bedtime. Likewise, pirate snacks? Also a bigger hit with adult men in this family than expected. I highly recommend the picture book The Old Pirate of Central Park.

*Hailstorm! And 3 am earthquake! Though K slept through that.

We went for a bedtime flashlight walk looking for opposums. Bill had 2 work parties and Katya came to the data center luau.

We rearranged our weekends so there is a weekly “Daddy Date” while I plug away at things at home.  Right after listening to the civil war Magic Treehouse audiobook, Bill took K to a reinactment. They loved the parts without loud scary noises. They’ve been to Tewinkle park a few times.

In the realm of kitchen-y plant-y exploration, we’re regrowing celery hearts by sprouting the bases, managed to harvest the sunflower seeds from…um…one sunflower before Squirrel Friend, and Katya has been periodically been FILLED WITH JOY when she notices seeds in something. The Seed Collection has been going for a pretty long time.

Still listening to Magic Tree House audio books. Katya insisted on buying a copy of one of the books at the Page (tar pits) museum with her allowance even though they have it at our library. K started copying Jack and Annie by asking me, “Are you nuts?!” As in, “So, what it’s saying is that tiny ratlike mammals could make the giant dinosaurs die out by eating their eggs.” “Are you CRAZY?”

*Katya FINALLY met her local great-grandmother but refused to be photographed with her. She also met her great aunt and uncle Toni and Paul.
*Climbing up the slide
*synagogue service other than as a tiny sleepy baby/Hebrew–she said “Shana Tova!”
*face drawn, on a paper pumpkin!
*wild watersliding, at Evan’s lagoon birthday party!
*changing a whole outfit of “official” Barbie clothes without asking for help (as opposed to wrapping various other things around her which has been going on for a long time)

Languages are definitely an interest. Katya is forever making something up and telling me what it means in “Fanif”. She’s pretty excited about Hebrew too. We have an Alef-Bet puzzle. We just burned CDs of children’s songs in both so we’ll see how she likes them!

 The last week of the month was “Halloween Day” all. week. long. On Halloween Day you “leave your clothes on. Don’t wear costumes.” When Katya gives people plastic food, they are supposed to give her candy. We have been reading Halloween books and decorating. We used spooky warning stencils on the driveway. That night when Bill pulled up Katya ran outside yelling “Beware! Beware! Beware!”

House news: We finally got some plastering/floor damage completely fixed, and the next day the apartment kitchen cabinet pulled out of the wall on one side. You win some, you lose some.

I forgot something, and that’s OK. It was a lovely month.


September 1st, 2011

*Uncle Tom’s birthday with soda geysers and an impromptu toddler instrument dress-up hootenany

*our 6th anniversary with a kid-free date to 118 degrees for raw vegan lasagna, stuffed mushrooms, and chocolate
*the birth of Miles to friends

*Johnny and Adrienne’s wedding, with a present of “a world of candy” collected at such locations as The Moscow Deli (K tried a chocolate that was “from Poland like Buffalo Grandpa’s parents”)

*juggler, silly balloon, ancient Mexican music shows
*at the fair: mini family circus, friends riding elephants, Peking Acrobats (inspiring much balancing in strange positions on couches), the Chainsaw Chicks ice sculpting show (inspiring a temper tantrum when she was not allowed to bring a 150lb sculpture home)
*Dumbo and Tangled
*sunflowers growing taller than us outside the dining room window

home improved::
*massive hacking off of the neighbor’s trees at the property line, generating bags of carob pods for health foodie friends
*new window screens!
*finally, a total purge of the rest of the toxic waste from the garage and yard!
*paint drip removal has commenced
*7 foot weed with blueberry-like berries that turned out to be deadly to dogs and children dug up by the football-sized root

milestones rolled::
*babie’s 1st jet ski ride!

*1st awareness/discussion of homelessness after I handed a man an energy bar out the car window. Katya’s conclusion: “I think you should get a job.”
*babie’s first bank account. We added K to my BofA account so she could get an ATM card so she too could get into museums free during their promotional days. She wasn’t interested in signing the paper until I suggested using her foot. They hadn’t seen THAT at the bank before.
*1st family dog grooming at home!
*K’s first real extended imaginative play with other kids (“catching lions and alligators”)
*1st Christian proselytizing (I didn’t completely expect that when I let my Jewish kid go in the Noah’s Ark at the fair that they’d go straight to telling her that Jesus died on the cross for her sins, and that sins are things you do that make God sad, but hey, a good conversation came out of it)

*balloon paintings, in which you paint a blown up but not knotted balloon and then let it go at paper
*Shrek tiara
*Polly Pocket (doll-sized) tiara, Rapunzel wig, and Rapunzel mask
*wax resist paintings
*a number of new words and phrases. For example, last time the kitchen CD player suddenly stopped when I turned a burner on, K told me, “That’s called cooking the story.”
*new ways of making tunnels for the water to run through when she washes her hands
*an entire outfit just from wrapping yellow yarn around her body
*sweaters for plastic animals, using buttons we bought out of a bubble gum style machine at Piecemakers

*fruit leather from figs we picked ourselves
*more animal crackers, though 1 batch was mainly shapes as K didn’t want to help with the time-consuming cookie cutter part. Her response? “I’m horrified. You horrified me.”
*fresh local organic strawberries pretty much daily
*”dinner faces”

*56th Street beach with the Christiansens and Dana Point baby beach with Luka and Sadie Jane
*Heritage Park (with splashpad), Tustin park with castle where she twice managed to score candy goody bags from the birthday parties of people we don’t know, Dinosaur Park where many fossils were discovered, Balearic Park with my new favorite play group, Eisenhower Park in Orange to ride the sea horse
*Jakey & Summer’s house for play in the new pool
*Discovery Science cube for dinos and Mr. Potato Head making, Bowers Kidseum where she made her 1st clay pot, and Pretend City children’s museum
*Muth Interpretive Center at the Back Bay, where we were lucky enough to see some snakes constricting & swallowing mice
*Borders to say goodbye (sniff) and while we were at it buy plastic human and crocodile skeleton kits
*mildly insane free day at children’s museum Pretend City, where she discovered the joy of independent scissors use and made the first of many “cut pictures”
*Irvine Spectrum carousel, while waiting for hundreds of people to leave Pretend City so we could get in

animals particularly appreciated::
*the Pacific Animal Show especially the albino wallaby because WE LOVE ALBINOS
*Big Al the 13 ft alligator at the fair
*our “Schnau” Max despite his new late night anxiety attacks. One night he tried to get on K’s pillow/next to her so much while she was sleeping that she had an elaborate dream about a kangaroo joey coming to sleep in her bed
*honey badgers, via the picture book Honey, Honey, Lion and YouTube
*locusts, mention of which seems to be popping up everywhere in the last few weeks
*walking elephant robot named Peanut she rode at the Spectrum

planned by the little person::
*a move to a houseboat when she grows up (because the big yellow house is “too small,” which means she either has big/small mixed up, or is thinking of something along the lines of the only boat with beds she’s been on, the Queen Mary)
*acquisition of a pet Triceratops named Cythrodon
*daily attendance at “Tunnel School”, where she has already gone several times to ask questions like “What do flamingo bones look like?” “What does tarantula venom look like?” and “What does Triceratops eat?”

*to first the first set of Magic Treehouse books on CD, and now books 17-24

*K: Now we can draw on the [blue-painted] gnome to make it look like the package! Does that sound good?
A: Uh…
K: Good! I’m sending an error message to the air museum! (turns on handheld fan) Here you go! Wind mail!

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