There was also a huge change in how he built them. He used to ask me for help balancing the blocks or even coming up with design ideas. But lately he's been building completely on his own. Which obviously makes me very happy and proud.
Now the only thing he asks from me is to take his picture next to his latest creation.
The weather cleared up some. Even though it still remained very cold, at least the snow melted. It started to feel like spring! Change in the weather meant that M and Grandpa could finally launch some real rockets. You can imagine the excitement!
No snow meant that we could finally go to a playground. Sure, there was mud all over the place, but that just upped the fun factor. Except on the first day when it was so cold that after about 20 minutes M asked me if we could go home already.
In our last week in NY we spent quite a lot of time in the backyard. M got to sit in Grandpa's new airplane! And check out the first greens in Grandma's veggie garden. We also played soccer with this huge dirty mostly deflated Chuck E. Cheese-themed ball. Even Grandpa got in on the action.
We also built this structure (above) from a playhouse someone junked and Grandpa picked up months ago. Do you know what this is? Nope, it's not a house or a castle. And it's not a rocket or a space station or a space shuttle.
Ok, I'm going to tell you - it's a ship. A regular ocean-going ship. M was the captain and I was both the crew and the passengers. My responsibilities were few and consisted mostly of saying "Ay Ay, Captain!". The captain, on the other hand, stayed very busy making snacks and coffee in the galley, appearing on the deck only to fight sharks.
Back indoors we did a couple of projects. I came up with one after seeing this idea on a couple of blogs. This is an art-science project since it combines painting with pendulum action. The set up is very simple - a funnel suspended from a broomstick and filled with paint. It got pretty messy, but M was really into it (and he still doesn't like messing with paint). In fact, he chose the colors and operated the pendulum. He then got into mixing colors with a stirring stick.
The second project was M's own invention. He actually got so into it that he was at it for almost 2 hours straight and then continued on and off for the next couple of days. The setup was much more elaborate and included a printer paper box, some leftover cardboard (from building our hexbug habitat), a large pot, an old broken tripod, lots of sticks, pinecones, and pieces of wood and a space heater (set on low for safety). So what do you think this whole thing is? Ok, I'm going to tell you right away 'cause you won't guess in a million years. Ready? It's a machine for making rainbow-colored hay from ground lunar stones (which explains the moon on the floor in the backgroud). At least it was that on Day 1. On Day 2 the setup was simplified a bit and became a bonfire so we could all warm ourselves up.
In between all this fun we also managed to make it to Brighton Beach. I promised myself not to get M more Russian books this time (I bought him a ton in the last few weeks). But you know me - I can't resist good books. And the ones I saw at the Kids' World store were fantastic. Plus Grandpa insisted on footing the bill. So M got about 6-7 more books, including an awesome Encyclopedia of Space Exploration, this time - in Russian. Then I went to the bookstore for grownups and bought a few more books, this time - for myself, mostly about Russian history and language.
And then it was time to pack and leave. We had to get a mini-van to fit all the stuff we were taking with us even though I left quite a few books and toys and most our winter clothes in the attic. But in all fairness, we had 3 adults, a child, a cat and a pair of crutches to fit into the car. Why 3 adults? My brother volunteered to help us with the move back (I told ya last year - he is (mostly) an angel). And now we're finally back home! Well, we've actually been back for almost a week already, but that's another story.