“Gingerbread” Houses

Isaiah wanted to build a gingerbread house, but the kit was an absolute disaster (pieces were warped and it had the wrong type of icing, so nothing would stick). Instead of giving up, we decided to improvise. So, we pulled out some graham crackers and made some buttercream icing. We spent the next while carefully decorating houses made of crackers with an assortment of candies. Isaiah thought it was a wonderful idea because he had permission to eat it when it was finished.

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Ready to start!

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Trying to taste it before it was even decorated

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Carefully decorating

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Isaiah's finished house, with him begging to eat it, in the background

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Time to eat it!

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My mom with her house

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Everyone's finished houses: Mine on top, Isaiah's on the bottom left, my mom's on the bottom right

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Frozen Bubbles

It’s officially COLD outside! We were able to go outside this morning and blow some bubbles that froze in the air for us. I managed to catch a couple on my wand, so Isaiah could examine them more closely. It was pretty cool to watch the ice crystals spread over the entire bubble.

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Isaiah approves

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A closer shot of the bubble

A Trip to the Zoo and a Nature Center

There was no school today, so I had a day off work. Which meant it was the perfect time for an adventure. Isaiah, my mom, and I loaded up the car (we even remembered to pack a picnic!) and headed off.

First on the agenda was the zoo. We live within reach of a couple and Isaiah had asked to head to this one a few times recently, so it was definitely time for a visit. We saw lots of happy animals while we were there, much to Isaiah’s delight.

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The red panda, enjoying the morning sun

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Curious bushbaby

The zoo’s tree kangaroo has a new baby, but it’s still small enough that it stays hidden away in mom’s pouch. Mom wasn’t much in the mood for pictures, either. Bummer.

The naked mole rats were quite active, causing plenty of excitement. Isaiah loved watching them race between “rooms”, tripping over each other, doing flips, and generally causing complete chaos. They may be ugly little critters, but they’re certainly interesting to watch!

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Observing the naked mole rats

Video of the naked mole rats

Isaiah was pretty interested in the snakes today. A friend recently got a pet snake, so he’s started seeing them in a different light. He’s still not sure he’d want a pet snake, but he likes watching them.

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Checking out the rainbow python

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You can't see it in the picture, but he's looking at a very large iguana

We managed to be in the right part of the zoo to catch a creature encounter show. It was about one of the zoo’s macaws, so the keeper had him out with her and let him show off some tricks. The macaw’s name is Elliot and he’s quite the little attention seeker. Any time his keeper put him down to talk, he’d start going through all his tricks, trying to keep the spotlight on him, instead of his keeper.

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Elliot the macaw

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Demonstrating how he can use his beak for climbing

Elliot showing off

We made sure to get some food so Isaiah could feed the zoo’s goats. The bigger ones are a bit pushy, but, in general, they’re pretty friendly. He had a lot of fun feeding them and trying to make sure everyone got a fair amount of the food.

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Feeding the goat

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Making sure the smaller goats get some, too

Silly goat

When we went into the reptile building, they had a number of animals out so that kids could touch them. Isaiah bounced from one critter to the next, petting them and asking their names. He would have happily stayed there all day, playing with the animals.

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Petting a shy ball python

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Skittles the black and white tegu

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Petting an adorable leopard gecko named Casper

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Twiggy the bearded dragon

Before leaving the zoo, we had to stop and play on their natural playground. Isaiah adores all the things they have to climb on and wanted to do it all before we could go anywhere else. He’s been getting braver and was able to jump from one tree stump to the next, as well as climbing to the highest point on various structures.

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Balancing

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Jump!

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More jumping

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Happy spider

After the zoo, we headed over to a nature center. It was getting late in the day, so we didn’t have time to explore all the buildings and trails, but we got to see the buffalo herd and some geese. We walked down one of the shorter trails, along a lake. We could hear frogs chirping all around us, but any time we came near any, they’d get quiet, so we couldn’t find them. After a while of searching, Isaiah finally spotted one and showed us where to look.

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The buffalo were fairly close to the fence

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Talking about pioneer children and collecting buffalo chips to build fires. He was surprisingly enthusiastic about the concept.

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He really loved this feather

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The frog Isaiah spotted

Isaiah was a little sad when it was finally time to go home, but it was a fun day. He can’t wait until we can go on another adventure.

At the Zoo with DJ and Shiloh

We’ve been wanting to meet up with DJ and Shiloh for a zoo day for a while and it finally worked out that everyone’s schedules allowed for a zoo day at the same time. Yay! Isaiah could barely contain his excitement.

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Snow leopard

I wasn’t able to get very many pictures because Isaiah flew from one exhibit to the next, dragging DJ and Shiloh behind him. He wanted to make sure they saw all his favorite animals. Since he’d never been to the zoo with Shiloh before, he was sure she’d never seen the animals before, which made it extra important that she see everything.

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Riding on Uncle DJ's shoulders

I managed to stop everyone in the jungle for a few pictures, before everyone took off again. Isaiah wasn’t sure he wanted to waste time on it, but did manage to give me a few nice shots.

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Isaiah with his favorite aunt and uncle

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Silliness with Gram

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Pretending to eat me

We managed to see quite a bit of the zoo in the couple of hours we had together. We made a few new friends, too. Isaiah found a tiny lizard that followed his finger and my mom had a nice conversation with a cougar.

Talking to a cougar

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Isaiah's little friend (Isaiah took off before I could get a picture of him with the lizard)

Autumn Tree Craft

Isaiah made a tree with real leaves last year and has been asking to do something fun again this year. Unfortunately, it rained before we got leaves collected to do anything using real leaves. Oops.

Since the leaves were a soggy mess, we had to get creative. I pulled out some paint and a roll of paper and informed Isaiah that we’d be painting our leaves this year. At first, he was pretty sure that was a bad idea, especially when I told him we could use his handprint as leaves. Apparently, sticking his hands in a bunch of paint was not appealing.

Of course, we couldn’t paint the leaves without a tree to put them on, so I started by painting a trunk and some branches. I even included a hole in the tree with eyes peeking out. While I was doing that, Isaiah managed to locate the green paint and pour a bunch of it onto a paper plate. He wanted to help and decided adding grass under the tree was the perfect job for him. As he painted, he sang “The Green Grass Grows All Around” at the top of his lungs.

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Trying out the paint...

When the trunk was finally finished, it was time to add leaves. With a little coaxing, Isaiah put some paint on his hands in bright colors. He made some handprints, making sure they hung neatly from the branches I’d painted. Then, he decided that it wouldn’t be a “fall” tree if there weren’t leaves, well, falling off of it. So, he set to work making handprint leaves in the space under the branches and even a couple on the grass.

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The very first leaf

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A falling leaf

Once he’d made a few handprint leaves, Isaiah decided that paint on his hands wasn’t such a horrible experience. He made lots more leaves and even got creative with the colors he was using. Instead of solid yellow or orange leaves, he started using combinations of colors to show the leaves in the process of changing color.

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Paint covered hands

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Carefully placing another leaf

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More leaves

After a while, Isaiah declared the tree complete. He worked on rinsing out the brushes he used while I cleaned up the paint and hung his masterpiece. Then, of course, he had to pose for a picture with it to share with the world.

Conversations with Isaiah: Spiders

The first half of this is borrowed from my mom’s Facebook post. Just FYI.

Yesterday Isaiah was using his iPad in the nearly dark living room and suddenly said, “Gram, there’s something walking on my iPad!” I turned on the light and, sure enough, a spider was on his screen. We caught it in a jar so it can be released into the wild…
However, this morning the spider (still in his jar) has watched Isaiah eat breakfast and helped with a couple of chores. My grandson is trying to choose a name but can’t decide because, “Gram, I don’t know if it’s a girl spider or a boy spider.”
It may be traumatic when it’s time to release his new pet…

Conversation on my mom’s Facebook wall included discussion about how to keep spiders as pets and potential names for the spider. One friend suggested, “Call it Elsa and teach him to sing Born Free as you set the thing loose FAR from your home!” Another suggested Charlotte (from Charlotte’s Web, but he still didn’t know if it was a boy or girl. When my dad arrived home from work, he examined the spider and declared it most definitely female (and spent the next 20 minutes looking for photos on Google to show the rest of us how he reached his conclusion). The spider was then named “Charlotte” and carefully released into the wild (well, as wild as a backyard can be…) where she can build beautiful webs.

Hours later…

Isaiah: It a SPIDER!
Me: Leave it alone.
Isaiah: But I never leave alone a BUG!!!!
Me: Well, you’re fine then because it’s not a bug.
Isaiah: *confused* Oh? But we don’t know if it’s a female or not!!!!