Karen McLaughlin

We had a particularly nice day yesterday...thought I would share!

We started out the day with all four of us snuggled under the duvet until
close to 9:00-it was cold, windy and overcast so we didn't feel too
motivated to get out of bed. We could hear all the schoolkids outside making
their way to school (we live a block from the school). We finally got up so
Joe (dh) could take Nathan (4) to his gymnastics class at the Y. After
Nathan and Joe left, Noah (almost 6) and I (still in pj's <g>) started
making some oatmeal cookies, which Noah had asked to do today when we were
tucking him in bed last night. Noah was running back and forth between the
living room (watching Scooby Doo Christmas video) and helping me with the
cookies-he really only likes to help with the measuring parts (and the
eating of course). As I was finishing up baking the cookies, Joe & Nathan
got back. Nathan was very excited about using the trampoline and the balance
beam and "slithering like a snake" at gymnastics, which he demonstrated for
me with gusto.

Joe had a quick lunch and went back out to do some yardwork for one of his
lawncare customers. The boys and I weren't hungry for lunch yet (too many
cookies <g>) so they watched a bit of a video, played with Legos/Bionicles
and a Power Rangers CD on the computer. They're all excited because they've
inherited our old computer so they don't have to wait for me to get off the
computer anymore! While they were doing all that, I was reading email and
setting up a few things on the new computer system. An email came through
from one of the women on our local homeschool list, saying that there was a
picture of Joe and the boys (Joe pulling the boys on their tandem
trail-a-bike) in that day's paper. I thought this was pretty funny because
neither Joe or I knew the picture had run (I didn't even know it had been
taken in the first place; it had been taken on Wednesday when Joe was coming
home from running errands downtown with the boys and he had forgotten to
mention it to me). So I went and picked up the paper which was sitting on
the dining room table and found the photo. I showed it to the boys, they
thought it was no big deal (reminded me of Sandra's article about how Holly
takes the world for granted-this is Noah's second time in the paper and
Nathan's third, so I guess to them it *is* no big deal!).

We finally all got hungry and the boys decided they wanted veggie dogs for
lunch. I made them two each (only one bun each though) and they polished
those off and asked for more. There were only 3 more left in the package so
I cooked them up and they split them. I had some leftovers from the night
before. We all had another cookie or two. By this time I was really feeling
like I wanted to have a shower and get dressed so off I went while the boys
went back to their Legos. As I was getting out of the shower, I hear someone
coming in the house. I figure it's Joe running in to pick up something he's
forgotten, but it was my parents dropping in for a surprise visit (very
unusual for them!) They live a half hour's drive from us so usually visits
are planned but they were on their way back from a Woodcarving Show and
decided to stop in. Nathan ran to get them cookies and we visited for a bit,
then my dad helped me set up my new printer/scanner/copier which I am very
excited about! We then tested it out by making a copy of the newspaper photo
for my mom, then we scanned the photo and started playing around with it.
After my parents left (close to 4:00) I realize I never started the laundry,
so I run downstairs to do that. The boys decide they need popsicles so I
grab some from the downstairs freezer on the way up. I also realize I don't
have a clue what I'm going to make for dinner and that Joe and I are going
out to see a play tonight (our anniversary gift to each other). I rummage
around in the fridge, see we have peppers, a patty pan [summer] squash,
carrots. I remember that I wanted to use up this "tofu helper" mix that I
bought for our camping trip this summer but never used, so came up with a
tofu, veggies and sauce concoction with orange couscous for dinner. Joe came
back and we sat down to eat, but the boys weren't hungry (not surprising
after 4 hotdogs each!) and continued playing.

They started playing this "raccoon game". We have been reading this story
called _A Week of Raccoons_ (basic premise: an elderly couple go outside
every morning to find damage done by raccoons-in the garbage one day, drank
the sugar water from the hummingbird feeder, ate a fish out of a bucket of
water, etc. The man sets a wooden-cage type trap every day, catches a
raccoon, and drives him out to the pine forest. Every day he catches a new
raccoon and the whole trap-trip thing repeats itself). The boys had taken
the two large boxes from the new computer and were pretending they were the
raccoons in the traps. Noah wanted to be the Wednesday raccoon, and Nathan
wanted to be the Monday raccoon. They asked Joe to put them in the fire
engine tent and drive them to the pine forest, so he did. It was *very*

After dinner, I was desperately trying to clean off our large coffee table a
bit so the babysitter wouldn't think we were total slobs-it was covered with
Lego, videos, books, part of a jigsaw puzzle and these cool plaster of paris
dinosaur fossils Joe made with the boys the other day from a kit Nathan got
for his birthday last weekend. I picked up the fossil pieces to put them in
a place where they were less likely to get smashed, and remembered that the
boys had asked to paint the fossils but we hadn't got round to it, so now
it's probably going to be one of today's projects.

Our babysitter (much loved by the boys) arrived and the boys were showing
her around our new place excitedly (we moved in July and she hasn't sit for
us since we moved). As we left they were all snuggled up on the couch with
popcorn and a video.

Joe and I took the bus downtown to see the play (a musical comedy called
Beehive featuring lots of 60's tunes) which we really enjoyed. We got home
just after 10 pm and Nathan was asleep, but Noah was still awake so I went
and read him a story - a new one we just got from the library that the
sitter had read to him and he was really excited about. He was quite
concerned when we got to the part where a little boy was riding a Snow
Leopard. He looked at me quite seriously and said "Mom, he shouldn't be
doing that! Leopards are carnivores! He's going to get eaten!". We talked a
bit about the difference between make-believe and real life, then I gave him
a goodnight hug. He said "mom, you're the best mom a boy could have". What a
great ending to a fun day!!!


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I am trying to place the feeling I have today, peace, joy, contentment, or
all I am not sure. The reason is really something simple and I am sure a good
number people would look at me like I was nuts if I shared why with them.

My husband took our son snowboarding today, well, actually to work to teach
snowboarding. Not such a big deal but to me it is. Pete doesn't have to work
today, he told them yesterday he would come in if he could. He did work
yesterday and I took him and later returned to pick him up, spending about 3 hours on
the road. This has been a big commitment on all our parts. What is so
wonderful to me is that dad is taking a part and willingly. He has always been a great
dad but he was raised in a family that does not take children seriously. When
I first mentioned that Pete was going to take this job I could see my MIL
thought I was crazy, that this was going to be a big waste of my time. My own
mother said she wouldn't do it but she can see that I am fine with it and want to
do it and that she supports whatever I want to do.

My 23yro son told me during a conversation the other day that "Dad has really
changed since we (the older boys) were younger." He is so right!

So, my joy does not come because I did not have to drive, I would have
willingly. My joy comes from knowing that dad understands (or is beginning to) what
we are doing. He went today because he wanted to, because he knew if was
important to Pete and because he wanted to spend the time with Pete in the car, he
told me it was quality time, LOL. If you would have told me 5 years ago that
this day would come I am not sure I would have believed it. This is the same
man who I had to talk into letting me pull the younger son out even though "He
wasn't having any problems" in school. The same man who has agreed to attend
the Unschooling Conference in August..WOOHOO!


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