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moments from the week

the boys at the Seder table

different than other nights

Happy Easter! Here are a few moments and images from the past week.

Harvey and Zion chopping up the last of the snowman

finishing off the snow

Lijah with tears and a little face paint

sad face

Lijah standing by a croquet set

classy at homeschool park day

communion elements at the Maundy Thursday dinner

Maundy Thursday

the boys watching kids play DS at pokemon league

the glamor of Pokemon League


Passover and Easter report

It's the holiday season! On Saturday we celebrated Passover with the Bernsteins, and then enjoyed a fun-filled Easter Sunday yesterday. Passover was lovely, if a bit stressful: a seder feels very long to our children, who usually stay at the dinner table for a maximum of twelve minutes. Leah doesn't think that Lijah was as horribly disrespectful as I do... and there may be something to her assessment. After all, he didn't break the wineglass any of the times he tipped it over while fooling around. Harvey, on the other hand, was very respectful and attentive, and he's the one who broke the water pitcher when he dropped the grape juice bottle on it. On the positive side, he earned $5 finding the afikoman. I didn't take pictures of any of that, but Leah got a beautiful one.

For Easter the boys got a little dressed up.

the boys in their pink Easter jackets

Easter pink

With Leah working these days she didn't have time to make bespoke suits for them, but that's fine: their activity level doesn't match up well with fine tailoring. Zion was overwhelmed and clingy during the Easter service at church, but he came alive for the egg hunt and was willing to sacrifice both body and light-colored fabric in the pursuit of the egg.

Zion crawling under a bush in search of eggs

dedication to the hunt

Of course, the hunt at church was but a prelude to the main event at our house. We had nine kids hunting, but Harvey and Zion were quickest off the mark.

kids running into the yard to start our egg hunt


I did a good job hiding the 200 eggs this year; it took the kids about half an hour to feel done, and they had a fine sense of accomplishment after figuring out some of my trickier hiding spots. Harvey found the golden egg to bring his take for the weekend to six dollars—it's no fair being the biggest.

After the intensity of the egg hunt, everybody was happy to relax for the next few hours. The kids traded plastic pokemons in the play house, and the adults sat around the fire and tried to stay warm without getting too smokey. Hot dogs are perhaps not the most traditional of Easter foods, but I'm not sure why not.

food on the table

the Easter spread

I hope your holidays were as enjoyable!


our iPad

We have an iPad. Two, actually, though one is almost entirely broken. The newer one, technically Harvey’s since Grandma gave it to us on his birthday a few years ago, was heavily used upon first receipt then had a period of being regularly ignored. Now it’s back in heavy use, thanks to the addiction of three Archibalds to Pokemon online and one Archibald to Levar Burton’s Skybrary (formerly the Reading Rainbow ap). Leah has her own technology. I have what you might call mixed feelings. On the one hand, I really wish that we could all be spending more time on creative endeavors and wholesome outdoor pursuits. On the other, I’m in favor of individual decision-making, and also Pokemon online (and to a lesser extent Skybrary) is super fun!

The iPad can do other things too. It has music on it that we can listen to in the car if the radio isn’t performing to our satisfaction. We can look up things we’re curious about—not only Pokémons, but flora and fauna, maps, and historical trivia as well. And with the addition of a keyboard I can do my own work while the boys enjoy the library or the play space. Theoretically. In actual fact I find myself required at a frequency which prevents any real concentration—but it’s early days. I have high hopes for the future. The keyboard works fine; I’m using it to type these very words now, from the comfort of my bed. If the keys were only lit—and maybe a little bit bigger—it would be perfect.

Or we could get rid of the thing tomorrow; that would be fine too. The great thing about mixed feelings is that you can be happy with either outcome! But for now we’re doing technology; and that being the case, I’m off to play a little Pokemon before I go to sleep.


moments from the week

the boys, all in pikachu sweatshirts, in snowy Arlington

pikachus in snow

Moments from the past week.

Lijah at the church egg hunt

on the hunt

kids trading egg prizes in the playhouse

easter trading

Harvey playing at board game day

epic game of Quest for El Dorado

the boys hiking

hiking season begins

snow falling outside out flower-decorated window

spring snow

Zion and Lijah in the bike at the pole capping

Pika patriot


Patriot season

Saturday was the pole capping here in town, marking the beginning of the Patriots Day season. The holiday starts early in Bedford. We biked up to take in the festivities.

fifers and drummers in colonial garb

marching into reenactment season

We paid special attention to the reenactors' outfits because we're just beginning our unit on Colonial times (I told the boys that morning that we would start in on Monday; Harvey asked, "why not today?!"). I took more photos of people's backs than I usually do.

a backpack, bedroll, and canteen on the back of a reenactor

historical details

It's interesting to see the different styles—the balance between historical accuracy, individualism, and comfort. I noticed comfortable walking shoes—black, but definitely 21st century—on the feet of some of the older reenactors. This morning we looked at the pictures and talked about why people were wore the things they did, and how they might have made different parts of the outfits. I do always think that studying clothes is a great way to get into any historical period. There may have also been an extended discussion about firearm technology.

We didn't talk much about the music we heard, though that would be a fun thing to explore too. Harvey was the videographer for the expedition, and captured nearly the whole parade; we'll take a look at that tomorrow and see what we can come up with in the way of a band.

Harvey videoing the parade

for future reference

And we're looking forward to lots more Patriots Day fun to come this weekend!


moments from the week

Harvey looking at reenactors at Monroe Tavern

living history

Moments and images from the past week.

Harvey and Lijah playing in the sandbox

Harvey's wooden video game system

the boys playing in summer clothes

spring action!

macro crocuses

another sign of spring

Harvey and Zion hiking with their co-op buddy Sam

hiking with new friends

reenactors firing a volley



Happy Patriots

Today is Patriots Day, which means that people in Massachusetts (and Maine!) get one extra day to do their taxes. And... that's about it, since torrential rain means all today's festivities have been cancelled. Never mind; we had a good dose of historical pageantry Saturday afternoon, when we took in the big reenactment at Tower Park.

reenactors wreathed in gunsmoke in the woods

the fog of battle

After a beautiful sunny morning Saturday the weather turned overcast and wintery cold by afternoon. We were well-bundled in preparation for the late-afternoon event—hats, coats, even blankets—so we didn't mind the cold too much, but the gloomy sky made the photography trickier. I did get the one good shot that I put at the end of yesterday's post, but that was about it—if you want to see what it would have looked like in better weather, there are some photos from last time we went.

There were horses then; I was disappointed that nobody brought theirs this time. But there were plenty of guns and fine outfits, and a couple of cannons that made lots of noise. Too much for some: Leah was made to keep her hands over Lijah's ears the whole time (doesn't he have his own hands?!). We saw lots of friends, some that we planned to meet and others that we hadn't seen in years (or ever for some of us). It isn't actually clear what happened in the battle, but that doesn't matter for our purposes. There were historical details to observe! And a chance to get out all together as a family, something that's rare these days. Yay holidays! Happy Patriots Day


water week

flooded riverside woods

water water everywhere

Monday's rain may have cancelled the Patriots Day festivities, but it didn't stop us from having fun. As it rained and rained we played with friends inside where it was warm and dry. Then mid afternoon Harvey finally had enough sitting around, and went out to run around. He found a pretty deep puddle.

Harvey standing knee-deep in a puddle in the pouring rain


Of course, then all the other kids had to join him—and I did too. But unlike Harvey, who went barefoot, everyone else made the mistake of wearing boots. It took them three days to dry. It was pretty fun, though.

All the rain lately has swollen the local waterways impressively. On Tuesday we took a short excursion to the boat launch on the Concord River to play in the water. It was sunny when we left; it had turned cloudy and quite chilly by the time we got there, five minutes later, so we stayed dry this time. But it was still delightful to see how high the river was among the trees. The land is so low on the approach to the boat launch you really could imagine the whole world being flooded.

Zion standing in water right outside the van door

is our car floating?!

Seeing all that water, we decided we had to buy a canoe. So now we've done that. We're waiting on paddles and life jackets, then we're going to launch our life afloat!

Harvey wading in the pond

another day, different water


moments from the week

Harvey, Zion, and friend approaching a beaver lodge

visiting the beavers

Moments and images from the past week.

Lijah and Kamilah dancing in pretty dresses

dance party

Zion standing in a puddle in the pouring rain

good thing he wore his boots and raincoat... ?

Zion feeding some goats

they're new moms so they're hungry

snow falling the yard

April snow showers bring May snow flowers

Zion and Lijah watching a movie on the iPad at the card store

alternate entertainment at Harvey's Pokemon tournament


weekend Pokemon

On Saturday, Harvey played in his first official Pokemon tournament. It was a prerelease event—that means everyone there got a box of random cards from the upcoming release, and then had half an hour to put a deck together with the best of those cards before facing off in three 20-minute matches. Needless to say, Harvey took it seriously.

Harvey looking through his deck

first deck search in his first official tournament

The bad news is that, out of the seven boosters and one 23-card prerelease pack, Harvey didn't pull a single ultra-rare card. The good new is he went undefeated and probably would have won the whole thing had there been a final round (since there were six juniors they didn't all get to play each other, so two of them made it to three wins; of course I know Harvey's deck was better so I have no problem thinking of him as the winner). And it was a fun scene—more a party than a cut-throat competitive event. I enjoyed chatting with the other old people, and the juniors played tag outside between rounds. Besides all his cards—and his glory—Harvey came home with a lovely orange Pokemon t-shirt; his brothers, who endured two and a half hours of relative boredom in a hot, crowded store, got bouncy balls, candy, and McDonalds for lunch.

It was totally worth the $30 dollar entry fee—and the $2.25 for chips. We're looking forward to the next one in a few months, and now Harvey is ready to enter his first standard tournament too. I'm so proud to be a Poképarent!


moments from the week

Lijah up high above the Concord River; other kids on a pavilion nearer the water

on the river

Moments from the past week.

Lijah working in the mud kitchen with Havana

mud kitchen

Zion tossing a stone into the Merrimack

another river

Zion pointing at a giant skeleton at the Harvard Natural History Museum

natural history

the kids climbing on a giant, many-trunked evergreen shrub

the tree of the world

Lijah in beautiful multi-colored face paint

art face (by Mama)


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