Katie and I have been making homemade soap as a way to be creative and study science. She enjoys choosing the soap base, scent, add-ins (like oatmeal, blueberry seeds, dried rose petals, etc), and coloring. It is an opportunity to review color mixing and to talk about the states of matter (melting the soap base from a solid to a liquid). We’ve been making gifts and also some for ourselves. A few days ago we made a honey almond oatmeal shea butter bar, a eucalyptus mint bar, a plumeria blueberry seed bar, and an orange citrus zest bar.

The process is straightforward, a good balance of repetition (melt, mix in the scent and color, pour into the molds, cool) and novelty (what scent? what color? what add-ins?). This balance, I think, makes this an especially appealing activity for a learning three-year-old. She can master the steps, while still having room for play. After I showed her this activity, she has been asking to do it almost everyday!

Katie and I have also been leaving Eric with daddy and going for afternoon swims at our association pools. Katie’s swim lessons start in a couple of weeks, and I want to take her as often as possible before then to reacclimatize her to the water. We did quite a bit of swimming last summer, including mommy-and-me lessons, but it has been awhile and this year her lessons are without me in the pool. She wants to do it, but when she first learned I wouldn’t be in the pool with her, she had a moment of concern. Swimming together in the afternoons is a way to diffuse some of that worry.

Eric has been Mr. Hose, just like my brother was after he could walk. Whenever we go outside, Eric trots over to the hose first thing and has total joy when I turn it on to drizzle out a little bit. He wanders around and around with the hose, watering himself and everything else. Yesterday, though, I told him, “Eric, go water the lemon tree!” He went right over to it and stuck his hose in it! He loves that lemon tree and was right by me when we planted it. To test him, I then said, “Eric, go water the olive tree.” And he walked over and did it! He has an affinity for the outdoors, and I wonder if somewhere in his baby mind he remembers all those many days last August when we would all lay outside on a blanket in the shade, letting his newborn body get some sunlight to lower his bilirubin levels more quickly. I wonder if he associates comfort with the rustling of the wind in the trees?

One of his first words was “ou-sigh” for “outside.” This is his second most used word, other than “Is it?” and the very direct “THAT!” when he sees the Graham cracker box or blueberries. He also appears to say “dir” for dirt. I want to hear this a few more times before logging it officially, though. I tried teaching him the sign for “all done” but he actually just mimics the audio, “done!” He doesn’t really say Mama (although sometime if he cries for me, I seem to hear it). We think he is using “Da da da” to talk about Bill.

Last night I had a mom’s night out with my friend Lauren. This was actually a first for me! Although I have been out on a few dates with Bill, and although recently I’ve had a couple night events with my dad, this was my first mom’s night out ever! We grabbed hit chocolate at the nearby Starbucks. It was fun to go out by myself and meet a friend. I felt even more appreciative of my family (and I already am so thankful as it is) when I returned: balance usually has that effect!

Today is Nana’s birthday! Time with my grandma is precious to me. And my aunts are down from Berkeley! Can’t wait to see everyone today!

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