Yesterday did not leave much time for reading. It was time for doing. My only goal (beyond no one landing in the emergency room) was to make it a sensory day.

The morning found us in the basement, once again, continuing to unpack. That is, mama unpacked whilst attachlings played, explored and imagined.

Some of the toys and puzzles I unpacked hadn’t been seen for over a year, as we kept many boxes closed and stored during the purgatory…uh, I mean, time in the apartment.

Whingari loved all the puzzles. The boys loved the transformers toys I dug out for them.

And then I found Cranium Hullabaloo.hullabaloo

This was a christmas present for the boys a few years ago. It has been well-played and well-loved, but I forgot all about it. Now that we have a big basement (and no downstairs neighbors to consider) it was a great find.

If you are unfamiliar, basically this is a very active game of twister. The little plastic circle-thingy gives directions, like ‘spin to a circle,’ or ‘crawl to a musical instrument.’ And the little plastic pads are what they move to…there are animals, foods, musical instruments, each with a shape and a color. Although this could be a good game for reinforcing color and shape recognition…it’s really just about wiggling around. And wiggle they did.

After lunch, and the realization that Whingari had no interest in a nap, we headed outside. The radar showed that although we had a beautiful, sunny sky…rain was coming, again.

Our development, which currently has about 6 homes, is divided by a well-traveled by narrow road. On ‘our’ side of the road are a few homes. On the other side, there are a few more homes, and then the 7 acre lake, the path to the appalachian trail, and the currently 300 acres of forest for community use.

So, with Whingari in the Kozy on my back…off we went to explore the lake.

I am a friendly person, by nature, I must report. But my months in Bethesda changed my expectations. The anonymity and pace of being close to DC meant that people never greeted us, nor meet our eyes. It’s all rush, push and ignore.

I say this to give a context for my surprise when a neighbor came out on his front porch to inquire if we were the ‘new neighbors’ and invite us to come and meet he and his wife. I was surprised and not sure how to respond. Um, ok? And then I saw it…a burgundy minivan, a chevy venture, just like our own. They had children! I’ve seen this van meet the schoolbus, twice daily, for weeks now. 😀

The attachlings played long, and hard, with their aged golden retriever, Charlotte, and their roly-poly puppy golden retriever L.C. (little Charlotte.)

The neighbors and I talked about children (they have boys 8 & 6!), the beauty of the area, and the other neighbors. And I felt welcome. Not spied upon, not mistrusted for being ‘out-of-towners.’ Just welcome.

Eventually I coaxed the attachlings away from the now-exhausted dogs with the promise of going to the lake. It was a long walk, but at least Whingari was on her feet at this point. And made it to the lake we did.

Nic spied them first: tadpoles. Hundreds of tadpoles, thousands of tadpoles, tens of thousands of tadpoles. Everywhere we looked. I know almost nothing about frogs or tadpoles, except to say, ‘yep, that’s a tadpole.’ But these were beauties. They were all black and quite vigorous. I did a google search for pictures (darn it! I forgot to take along my camera…next time) and here’s a photo that seems pretty close to the ones we found:


Nic looked at me like I’d lost my mind when I told him he could try to scoop some up in his hand for a better look. Yeah, like I said, their lives need to be less mental and more sensory. But once he realized I was serious, he went to work. It took perserverance and patience and refining his technique, but he did get some and showed them to Theo and Whingari. All of them tried to gather some up…but only Nic and I were successful.

The water was clear and very, very cold. The leaf litter right at the water’s edge made a perfect pollywog nursery, it would appear. Oh, and pollywog? I’m not sure why, but Theo calls them pollywogs instead of tadpoles.

Unfortunately a scan of the western sky told me that we needed to scurry back home. The threatening clouds were nearing.

As we walked back the boys were full of questions. I tried to answer those that seemed tangible and relevant without pontificating. I am really trying to talk less and encourage them to experience more. I don’t want them to justknow* alot of details. I want them to have experienced them, firsthand, when possible, and really *know* life.

We did get rained on, a little, but got home before the true storms hit.

The attachlings had much to tell Papa Chris. Hullabaloo, neighbors and tadpoles, oh my! Pollywogs!!! yells Theo.

Yep, pollywogs.