Synthesis : Scott Becker

Weekend Update – 9/6/2020

Fall is coming. It’s not officially here yet; Tuesday September 22nd is the official start of Fall, but you can feel it and see it. It’s starting to feel a little cooler in the mornings and evenings, leaves are beginning to turn brown and fall off the trees, and the sun is setting a few minutes earlier each day. We even have pumpkins in our backyard this year, and they are getting bigger and more orange each day.

Father/Son Overnight – O went camping for one night with a couple of her girlfriends mid week, so A and I had a solo day. Nothing extreme, we just had fun hanging out in the neighborhood. I got Thai food delivered for dinner. A likes Pad See Ew noodles with tofu. Doordash is great for solo dad night. Then we went on one of our long solo bike/walks for the evening. The next morning we both biked together, to a part of the neighborhood school field we like to call “the canyon.” It’s sort of a dry drainage ditch that runs along one side the field. “The canyon” is much more fun to say. A also likes to say “I want to go on a road trip” which means he wants to ride from one end of the canyon to the other. We watched neighbors toss balls for their dogs, biked around and had snacks – a big component of a fun outing. It was nice to just be on our own, felt like no big deal, and something we should do more.

Cathedral Park Company Outing – Finally had a company outing since the start of coronavirus, meeting up in the park under the St. John’s Bridge. It was refreshing to see everyone in person, and be able to see and hear the people I work with every day in real time living technicolor, not just little boxes on video calls. I brought pizza for everyone, and we played croquet. It was the first time I’ve played that game since the year of my wedding when we bought sets for people to play in the park by our house. Turns out we have still have a cool vintage set at home, so we got it out for A to play around with in the back yard.

Swan Island Beach – We got out to the Willamette river via the small “beach” on Swan Island again this week. Our friends just got the same type of folding kayak as us, as well as an inflatable SUP. We’ve all been enjoying this new novel experience of paddling around on the water. We take turns paddling around and taking the kiddos out, then they spend the rest of the time playing in the sand and having snacks, until the sun sets. This is a really nice way to end a weekday after work.

Khan Academy Kids – I’ve been itching to try this app with A, and finally did this week. So far he seems to like it. I’ve kept it to about ten minutes each time so it stays interesting, then we go do some other non-phone activity. It’s neat to see what he understands (big vs small, more vs less, color distinctions, associating pictures with letters). I like most of the activities and characters I’ve seen so far. Some of the activities seem arbitrary free play with no real goal/reward, like: draw X and tap the green button when you’re done! It doesn’t matter what you draw, it doesn’t check – but this is probably similar to any kind of drawing activity in pre-k school. I think it’s to give them a fun break, get them thinking creatively, and possibly lay groundwork for later things. A couple small frustrating things – the character in the corner (Cody I think) constantly says “tap me if you ever need help!” so A tried it a couple times and it either didn’t do anything, or it just repeated what it just said again. Some non-app specific things are – taps sometimes don’t register with the app (little fingers and the subtle skill of tapping a phone with the part of your finger the phone will recognize), tapping/dragging near the edge of the screen can make the phone actually switch to another app, and random phone notifications popping up on top of the app. There may be a way to disable some of that using “Guided Access.” We’ll try that next time.


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