The Dog-Days of Winter

The last few years mike has been an Ion Award finalist. This Tuesday Mike found out that he is Not an Ion Award finalist this year. He is disappointed, however it is better to not be a finalist than to be a finalist and lose. He can never submit any games that are finalists again to the Ion Award, so if they didn't make the cut this year, he can continue to develop them and submit them next year.

On Wednesday we had this week's carnival party. The kids worked really hard spreading woodchips last week, so we offered them a great treat, and they picked a cake from the grocery store bakery. We invited the Dalyais and the Guertlers over to make masks - we cut them out of cardstock, decorated with glue and glitter, and stapled on elastic to hold them on. Then the kids played on the piles of woodchips decorating our yard. The cake was a huge hit and totally worth the effort for them. We're having a lot of fun with Carnival. We have one more party this coming week, and then it's Mardi Gras and the grand finale. Alison's thinking of options for that.

Thursday Mike went to Board Game Design Guild for the first time in months (it was fun), and Alison and the kids watched 101 Dalmations 2. It was about as good as any sequel; the kids enjoyed it anyway.

This week Alison finished another room of Organized Simplicity: the spare room/home office/Gideon's old room. She cleared out everything that was stored on the shelves in there and is using them for our new Montessori space. The kids will be allowed to go in and select a work and bring it out during Montessori time. It looks very nice, like a Montessori room should, and hopefully it will be motivating for the kids to work with the materials and keep them orderly. That's the Montessori theory, anyway. We'll try it out starting Monday.

On Saturday we worked hard. We went to the Habitat for Humanity ReStore and bought a replacement door for our garage shed, since the old one was almost in splinters. The ReStore is great; the replacement was only $10. It was exactly the right door, but we discovered that the old door was in such bad shape because it had been badly installed, so Mike had quite a bit of work to recess the hinges properly so that this one will work. With an organized shed and a usable door, our storage solution seems much more reasonable now.

On Saturday we went to Maceys, and got a Pinata for the next carnival party. Timmy wanted a zebra, and they had one, so we got it. Mike knocked it off the top shelf with a broom. The kids were worried. The zebra is named "Stars and Stripes Timmy Zebra"

We spent the rest of Saturday spreading woodchips again. Alison is digging out a border around every garden bed and having the kids line it with rocks; then Mike is filling the beds with woodchips. We'll also use woodchips to bury our hand-pump water feature so the kids can really use it this summer. We're hoping the yard will look decent and require little water and upkeep; it's been absurdly warm and dry this winter, so we're really worried about water this summer.

Saturday night was Stake Conference. Before we left, Alison told Mike what she was hoping would and wouldn't be part of Stake Conference this time. (Lately our Stake Conferences seem to have talks divided between "You're not doing well enough at XYZ" and weird doctrinal discussions [abuse, domestic violence, and apostasy in the past year], and she was hoping for more encouragement and faith-filled talks.) When we arrived, the presiding Seventy, Elder Warner, introduced the evening with almost exactly the same things Alison had been saying! It was an awesome Stake Conference, very spiritually enriching and filling.


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