Play Track Meet

Isaiah really wanted to go to a track meet today, but it wasn’t really possible to make it work. He was heartbroken, so we decided to have our own track meet. Isaiah trotted over to the neighbors’ house to see if the kids wanted to join in. They thought it sounded fun, so the adventure began.

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Annie and Wyatt warming up

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Isaiah showing off his muscles

I grabbed some sidewalk chalk and drew a line on the sidewalk, then told the kids to run to the line and jump. When they landed, I marked it with their initial. In the end, Annie had jumped the farthest (it probably helped that she’s the tallest kid).

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Jumping

Next up was a sprint. I sent the kids to the end of the sidewalk and marked a finish line. Annie decided to hang back a little to give the little ones a shot at an event, so the boys shot ahead of her and managed a perfect tie. We couldn’t accept a tie as the final score, so the boys ran again. For this race, I held out my hands at the finish line for high-fives, to make it easier to tell who got there first. In the second race, Will just managed to take the lead at the very end.

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Race number 1, with Annie being such a nice big kid

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Race number 2

Next up was a game planned by Isaiah, who’s been battling a nasty cough (allergies?). He wanted a coughing contest. He happily coughed and made noise, with Annie laughing and joining in. Will had a little trouble at first, but even he joined in by the end. Thanks to Isaiah’s real cough, he managed a clear win on that one.

So, the score was tied at one win per kid. It was time for another event. I pulled out Isaiah’s foam balls from his t-ball set. They had a pitching contest, which even the grownups joined in for. Annie won that one, hands down, even against Michelle and me, much to her great pleasure.

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Throwing their balls

Since the balls were out, Isaiah really wanted to play t-ball. We pulled out the t-ball stand and the boys used it to see who could hit the ball the farthest. Since Annie is so much taller, we opted to pitch the ball for her. This gave us all a great laugh, since I had to throw it and, let’s just say there’s a reason I don’t play sports. It took several pitches before the ball came close enough for her to even attempt to hit it. Oops.

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Annie showing off her bridge while I set up t-ball

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Will hitting a ball as hard as he could

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Laughing at me...

Then it was time for the final event: mini golf. We put out the two “holes” that came with Isaiah’s golf set. For the first hole, all they needed to do was hit the ball across fairly flat ground. For the second, they had to keep it inside lines drawn on the sidewalk on a hill (not enough flat sidewalk by our house). The first hole was easy, but the second proved quite difficult for everyone. Again, grownups had to participate, this time to help the boys to finish the game.

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Golfing

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Being goofy

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My turn!

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Michelle giving it a try

In the end, everyone had won something and they were all quite happy. Annie and Isaiah drew some pictures on the sidewalk while they waited for me to make some awards to hand out. We ended the fun with a simple award ceremony, in which each competitor was given a badge before posing for a group picture.

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Award ceremony

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The happy competitors

Thankfully, we ended our fun just before it started to rain. Our friends headed for the shelter of their homes and Isaiah and I came in for some supper and cuddles.

**A huge thank you to Michelle, who saw my abandoned camera (couldn’t take pictures and run events at the same time) and took the majority of these pictures. Without her help, there wouldn’t be any.

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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.

Isaiah Got Mail Today

Isaiah discovered that there was a package in the mail meant for him. He brought it to me, bouncing and yelling. I helped him cut it open, then decided to pull out a camera because his excitement was so cute. Inside the package was a Starbright Baby giraffe that we’d ordered a while ago. Isaiah loves to chew on fabric, so I’d been looking for something appropriate for a while. This seemed the perfect solution. Isaiah agrees.

Opening his package

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Posing with his new giraffe

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!!!!

Art Works

We’re within a reasonable drive of a couple of art museums. Today, we decided to check out the Joslyn because we haven’t been there in Isaiah’s life time. I’d been there a few times as a teen, but didn’t have much reason to bring a little kid because it’s a pretty serious art gallery. They recently added a special kids’ section, though, so that it’s more inviting to the younger crowd.

Isaiah started with a tower in the middle of the room that has pieces that can be hooked together to create a giant piece of art. He carefully attached brightly colored shapes, stopping to bounce and wave his hands with joy after each piece was placed. When he was done, he stepped back to admire his work, looking quite proud of himself.

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Building

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So proud

Next up was a window with dry erase markers. There were chairs on each side, so that kids could draw “on” someone else’s face. Isaiah started by just drawing a fun picture, then allowed me to draw funny things on his face. He was delighted by the silly mustache and hat I gave him.

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Carefully starting to draw

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A finished drawing

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My drawings on Isaiah

In one corner, there’s a big touch screen built into the floor for painting. There are brushes, scrapers, and a bucket that interact with the screen, allowing children to “paint” all sorts of designs. Before starting to paint, we got to choose the type of canvas and thickness of the “paint” we wanted to use. We ended up experimenting with different options, to see what we liked best. Isaiah liked the really wet paint because it was easy to splash around. I preferred the thicker paint that could actually be controlled to create an image.

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Painting

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The cool touch screen ''canvas''

Joslyn Art

This is what the canvas looked like with wet paint

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And again, with thicker paint

One wall has a bin full of rings and metal posts lined up that the rings fit over. Isaiah, my mom and I really enjoyed creating different patterns with it. Some got pretty complicated, while others were very simple.

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Isaiah's pattern

Isaiah really enjoyed drawing on the Greek vases that have been finished with a coating that allows kids to draw on them with dry erase markers. There are pictures of real vases on the table, so kids can try to imitate the real pieces or make up their own designs. Isaiah drew a raptor on his.

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Drawing happily

By the time we left, Isaiah had played with just about everything in the room and was determined to go back as often as possible. It’s a good thing it’s not too far away and entry to the museum is free!

Conversations With Isaiah: Poop

Driving through the safari park, looking for wildlife…

Buffalo

Posing with a buffalo statue

Me: Well, I know there are buffalo because I see buffalo chips.
Isaiah: Chips?!?
Me: Buffalo poop.
Isaiah: EEEEEW!!!
Kat: Did you know, if you’re lost, you can light buffalo chips on fire and keep warm.
Isaiah: EEEEEW!!!
Me: Scientists use poop to track animals and learn about them. Like, Chris and Martin used to pick it up and show it off on Kratts Creatures

Time passes…

My mom: Oh, look, elk poop.
Isaiah: EEEEEW!!
My mom: What? I saw elk poop.
Isaiah: EEEEEW!!
My mom: Everybody poops!
Isaiah: Oh, brother. *facepalm*

Oh, brother.

Swimming

Summer is here! Since we now live in a place that has a town pool, we’re going to be spending our summer swimming. Isaiah was pretty sure he didn’t want to spend his summer at the pool because he was afraid of it, but the pool here is zero-depth, so I promised him that it would be fun and got a pass for the year.

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At the pool

Isaiah still wasn’t sure, but we got out swim suits and headed over. The pool allows flotation devices and toys, so he’d gotten to choose a Puddle Jumper to wear in the water. After cautiously making his way into the water, he decided it might be kind of fun.

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Not so sure about this...

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''Swimming'' in the shallow (1 foot) water

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In the water

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''Ok, this is pretty fun!''

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Smile!

Isaiah gradually made his way into deeper water, until he was floating in water just deep enough that his toes didn’t touch. Once he was there, he realized that he could kick his feet to move around. Soon, he was paddling short distances and figuring out how to turn.

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Swimming

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So proud of himself

Soon, Isaiah had decided that he needed to try out the slide and figure out how to jump into the water. By the end of the day, he’d even started blowing bubbles and dunking his head under the water.

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Splashing

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Bubbles

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Coming down the slide. Still short enough to get turned around on the way down. Oops.

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Splash!

In just a couple of hours, he went from being absolutely terrified of swimming to begging to stay a little longer and being quite adventurous!

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Time to head for home.

Some video clips from his fun in the pool