We have disappeared for a bit! I will now attempt to update on all our goings-on, but it may just be a collection of photos with brief descriptions. Once I'm caught up, I can perhaps then properly post something of interest.
The boys and I spent a week at Grandma Cat and Grandpa Jim's house while Papa went to a conference in Florida with several of his best buddies. Amazingly, I discovered that we have finally hit an age where my children feel far more transportable, despite still being in carseats. I think it was not having the pressure of maintaining my house and my life that allowed me to do nothing but visit and run errands and explore with them.
So the second day in town, we went to the Children's museum. There was a special exhibit about materials science. I didn't think it was very well done as the descriptions with each display required some basic information that was lacking. Still, we played with things. Bastian hit some xylophones.This was really super cool. It's a liquid that has iron particles in it, so when you move a magnet close to it, they all are drawn to it, forming solids. There were several similar exhibits including some mud stuff where you stuck your hands in big rubber gloves in a box and played with it, then moved a magnet over it to "freeze" the mud.
The boys are always fascinated by the Lego display there. I'm not entirely sure of its purpose, but I think there's a Lego club that either uses the space or is affiliated somehow as we saw a case with some Lego awards in it. Aleks really wants to be in a Lego competition since I pulled out my Lego award that I won when I was 9.
Of course the boys played with the Lego there too, even though they do that most of the time at home already.
There's a giant two story (maybe more) slide inside the building, as well as tubes that go up into a room with a glass-ceiling. The glass ceiling mostly looks out onto the roof and there's some trees beyond it. It's not a terribly exciting view other than being up pretty high. It's also very warm in the room. During the winter, this is an excellent side-effect of chasing wee ones up. In the summer, not so much.
Even though it wasn't supposed to be, the tidal pool was open so Bastian and I could touch starfish and anemones. I had no idea that the skin of humans is unaffected by the anemone. Upon googling, I find that this is not true for all anemones, but some of them.
The boys always like dancing in the room with the screen that senses you as you dance to music. It's very colorful. I like playing in it too, but didn't want to ruin the fun for the million toddlers crowded inside.
We were told there was to be a demonstration on materials science wherein there would be lots of smashing of things, so we decided to go. It turns out that an old family friend was actually doing the demonstration. The boys got squirmy as the smashing didn't take place until a lengthy explanation about materials science that I felt was a little above their understanding of things. It was as though in order to really get what he was talking about, one had to have a basic understanding of physics along with an understanding of the language of physics. Things like "matter" or atomic structures. Maybe I'm just too interested in a complete understanding and they did fine.
He did mix some polycarbonate compound together to create a foam that grew, which was exciting. I don't think the boys had any idea what a polycarbonate compound was though. Now we're the proud owners of two cups of foam that I don't know what to do with.
We wanted to see the otters get fed, but decided to keep moving instead since Aleks tried to climb in with the turtles. The otters were quite friendly and active. That's always awesome.
The next day of our visit, we went to an old high school friend of mine's house who has three unschooled boys. A friend of hers' was also there and had four unschooled boys, plus my friend was babysitting a baby girl. Poor girl was outnumbered 9 to 1. The boys played lots of Lego and Wii and promptly disappeared a box-and-a-half of Thin Mints. I love Girl Scout cookie season.
In the evening, the boys broke out Lord of the Rings Monopoly and Aleks made up his own rules. Later, he drew his own game board based on it, made money, used small figures for game pieces, and wrote a list of rules that made no sense to me. His game is called Maco. I'm not sure how you play. I think you pretty much make up rules as you go along, much like Creature Cards, and try to have them favor you winning. This is not the kind of gameplay I'm good at, however, much to Aleks' disappointment and frustration.
Friday night, Bastian started nursing again! Argh! He nursed to sleep! We weaned in August, so this is...weird, mainly.
Saturday night, I got to go out with old friends from high school (to a drag show with some of the fanciest trannies I've seen in awhile) while Grandma Cat watched Bastian for me and Aleks spend the night with his cousin, Noah, at Grandma Cathy's house.On Sunday, we went to a pancake breakfast at a local nature center. For a pre-paid donation, Aleks got to take home a half pint of maple syrup made from sap collected on the property including a bucket with his name on it. After eating, we toured the Sugar House where the syrup is made and found Aleks' sap bucket. Then we went to see all the animals. The sheep were still pregnant, but lambing season is fast a'coming. There were super cute piglets and a calf that would run whenever the boys got near. He may have been a teenaged bull, though, come to think of it. All the photos are stuck on Jim's camera, so I'll have to add them to this post later.
After the brunch, I went to see yet another friend from high school who had just had a baby girl. I knitted her an eggplant hat earlier in the week and put it on her baby head:
The boys spent the last of our days using what Aleks has claimed as His camera. We had an old Sony Cybershot that broke. When I bought a new camera a couple of years ago now, I bought another, slightly higher end Cybershot and thus ended up with two batteries (which is very nice) and then didn't have to buy a new memory card. Aleks took the old dead camera out of a drawer where it had been until I figure out how to recycle it (or bother to figure that out) and put a battery in it. Miraculously, it just worked again. So now he says it belongs to him. Which is nice because he was surely going to break my new one anyway and really, kinda already has a bit.
Here's Grandpa Jim after dinner one evening:
Both boys together (I like this picture a lot):
Bastian's squished face!
Ziggy, the cat, who hid most of the weekend away from the boys. She's the last of the housepets (the dog, Bootsie, sadly died just after our visit at Thanksgiving) and is getting old. Ziggy was discovered at about four weeks old on the windowsill in the snow by my sister Natalie when she was in second grade. She's now about fourteen. Poor kitty.