Saturday, December 31, 2005

good ol' Thomas

Imagine my surprise. Me, being the punk rocker that I am, never set out to enjoy half the things that appeal to me as a parent. There are those things you know about before kids come along, even if in passing, and I was somewhat aware that there was such a thing as Thomas the Tank Engine.
Big Brother had an extended passing fancy with trains, probably starting when he was between two and three, like The Boy. The wooden track was purchased for him in the pre-Boy years, though Thomas had not entered the equation at this point. Trains in general were a delight for Big Brother, and one that took a back seat to other interests as he got older. I won't say that he lost interest in trains, he just got older, and his world got bigger.
Credit The Boy with discovering Thomas. I'm not quite sure how it happened. We came to posess two Thomas videos which may have been the start. Thomas is now a phenomenon in our house. Big Brother is almost as crazy about it as The Boy, but he is also into it differently.
Big Brother is slowly memorizing Thomas. We got a set of the original Rev. Awdry Thomas books for The Boy for Christmas, and we've been checking out and wearing out videos from the library. The Boy watches the videos and Big Brother ends up watching as well. Then Big Brother reads the books. Of the episodes we've seen of which we now have the original story in the book, he can tell you the subtle differences.
So I hear Thomas in the background, and sometimes I sit to watch with the boys. I've really grown to love the Thomas stories. How can you not love Ringo Starr and George Carlin reading about cheeky tank engines?
I love the story of the Thomas stories. A parent makes up stories for their child based on something the child loves. The characters take on a life of their own. Somehow these stories are written and published. Because they are good stories, they become somewhat classics. I rank Rev. Awdry with A. A. Milne. Sadly, due to the proliferation of Thomas, I fear that the original stories get somewhat lost, much like the original Winnie the Pooh stories. I dare not go into that rant just now.
I forget now where I was going with this. The Boy, as per usual, is sleeping with Bill and Ben, having added Percy for tonight. It's always Bill and Ben in the left hand, and sometimes someone else in the right. On a tangent, homeschooling edition, Bill, Ben and Percy are all 0-4-0 saddle tank engines. Big Brother has taken a different Thomas toy to bed, but I forget the name of this one. He is the tractor that loosens the big boulder that wreaks havoc on the island.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

some gifts that stood out

This is not to demean the gifts given, the givers or anyone else. I love my family and appreciate the thoughts behind the gifts. I can't pretend that I always buy the best gifts, though I'd like to think I am good at getting people stuff.
So why do these gifts stand out? They all have their own interesting facets, but these three were especially notable for the reasons listed.
Lets start with the coffee. When I say I am a coffee snob, this is not intended to indicate that I like small cans of flavored coffee from the WalMart "gifts for people you haven't taken the time to know" section. Having said that, I will flavor my own coffee if I want to, but I still appreciate that, knowing I like coffee, someone got me something they thought I'd like. However, the only reason I didn't send it home with Grandma is because I hadn't written this humorous blog yet. After reading, you may decide that I still haven't written a humorous blog.
The only corporate name on the coffee is Zavida. The ingredients are listed as "100% Arabic coffee, natural and artificial flavors. No sugar added. Does not contain any nut products."
So far all of that sounds good. It's Arabica as opposed to the lesser quality Robusto. There are neither sugar nor nut products. So allergy issues are placated. Of course, if there are no nut products, then how did they flavor the hazlenut vanilla and the amaretto almond?
Now for the next gift. Momma and I are both cooks, but I'm the cookbook junky. I do use my cookbooks, or at least I use two or three of the nearly fifty. The newest one is good old Jamie Oliver. I've never really liked that guy. He does bring a little gayness out of me, making me want to be his wife so long as my own wife doesn't find out. The cook book has maybe one recipe for every seventeen pictures of JO's faggoty haired ass. Comb your hair you dink! They have combs in the UK?
Anyway, the food pics are really beautiful, as you would expect. This is one cookbook that I may not use much, and I kind of feel for whoever bought it for us. I appreciate the thoughts, but it won't be nearly as useful as the giver hoped.
Last gift to wonder about:
City Kidz die cast free wheel racer. What does that mean? Basically dollar store knockoffs of Hot Wheels. I'm not so brand concious that I care, and they belong to the boys, so as long as they like them, I don't care. That isn't at all the point.
The cars were produced in China and imported by a Canadian company. Most of Canada is English speaking, so the messages on the cars aren't their fault. I have to wonder though how the Chinese company making/painting these cars came up with the slogans to print on them. They look like typical Nascar style race cars. Then when you look closely you start to wonder. So here I will list the things printed on these cars.
On the yellow car:
Extra! Extra!
53 Spain
Two Way Power
Ka Boom
Good Boy
New Recovery

On the black car:
Pall Grace (this is the name of the driver I'm guessing)
Wheaton College
Correction Unit
High Class
Corper Team

On the red car:
First Aid
Cusyom Built
Condos that

Any misspellings or unclear words are copied directly from the cars. I honestly don't know what to think. I do wonder if the American version of toys for import to China have equally odd phrasings that leave Chinese parents scratching their heads as they hand the toy of to their child. From reading through them, several words seem as if a Chinese person heard the English words and used them. Maybe these are words that came up most often in some sort of Google search and got a bit tangled in translation.
Those are the stand outs. There are always some odd gifts. It is Christmas after all. The odd nature of the gifts in no way compromises the love I feel for my family and my inlaws. I appreciate them for more than their gift buying savvy, so please understand that these are not complaints.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

right behind me, or buncha savages in this town

or Men Alone II: the KY Connection
Clerks is on Comedy Central. I should be playing some music, and we have lots of new stuff that we got each other for Christmas. But I can't help it.
I really do love this movie. Sadly, Kevin Smith's other movies don't quite seem to measure up to Clerks in my opinion. Don't get me wrong, I'm a fan of the man's films, but Clerks has this special something. It's one of those random movies that just hits so many different points.
I didn't really plan to blog about the fact that I can hear this movie and see it in my mind. Is that bad?
Having said all that, I'll soon end up running through the Kevin Smith library, those of his movie which I own.

Random thougt:
What is it in people that drives them to hold opinions with no actual knowledge of the subject of their opinion? It's easy to jump to conclusions based on hearsay. It's easy to let a small amount of "knowledge" guide your opinions. I think too often, the leaders in society just give the party line. That line changes based on the postition of the particular leader, teacher, preacher, family. As a homeschooler, I'm loathe to use the perfect example because, as most homeschoolers, I'm sick to death of the "S" word. But the socialization arguement really is a prime example of what I'm saying. People will argue about socialization, will listen to the truth in well reasoned arguements from people who are actually homeschooling, and they will still deny that socialization happens outside of gschools.
That isn't the point though. The point is that people will argue wrongly, full of faith in what they say. You will disprove their arguement with reason, with direct quotes from real studies, duplicated results, and they will offer the sermon or lesson against what they believe is wrong. You can go online to their local library and put the book on hold for them, and they often still won't admit the truth.
Okay, rant off.

Effin-A blogs!!! by crikey!
I can waste more time jumping from link to link, starting with a couple of blogs that I actually care to read regularly. Then there's that random (currently it's a cold) reason that the day is especially lazy. I can read more blogs and still clean the kitchen and feed the boys. I manage to holler at them just enough most of the time. I get a decent little bit of television/video game time. But if I got paid dollars per blog read, I could . . . pay off a debt maybe?

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

currently reading

With the cold weather, I don't spend as much time sitting outside. And when all my lazing is done inside, I tend toward the computer as opposed to a book. Nothing beats sitting in the shade on a hot day with good book and a St. Terese pale ale from Highland Brewing.
So, while I stand outside and shiver and smoke, I'm reading Rob Roy by Sir Walter Scott. He's one of those writers I'd never gotten around to reading. I have to think I was aware of his having written, though having searched the library, I realized I'm very ignorant about his work.
Big Brother and I recently read Kidnapped as his bedtime book. Searching around the internet for information about time and setting of that book I came across references to Scott.
This is a "why I love homeschooling" moment really. Sitting here with the boys, letting them learn, I have been reading some great books, finding resources based on current interests and learning. We don't always learn together, and it's good that we follow our own interests. But very often, our different interests tangle together in interesting ways.
At this moment, Big Brother is reading to TheBoy. They just read The Bike Lesson and are now reading some random book.
Big Brother recently reread The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. We read through the Narnia books together a while back. I first enjoyed my own escape into Narnia as a child and was happy to share these books with my own boys. We have yet to see the movie, and it's likely it will not happen in the theater. The Boy isn't willing to sit through anything that doesn't regularly feature trains. I'm fine with that and used to waiting for the rental.
I think I'll restructure my own day enough so that we just watch movies from now until decent weather. I often think about a movie, but I also think that we should do something productive. At this point I usually turn back to the computer to see if any of the blogs or websites have updates because it's been an hour since I last checked on Home Education and Other Stuff or Punk Parents.

Monday, December 19, 2005

one week more

That whole "having kids speeds up time" thing, that just messes with me sometimes. Just one more week till Christmas. The boys and I have been such complete shutins lately that it seems to have crept especially quickly this year.
I have now wrapped three presents and ordered one more for Momma earlier. It's one of those gifts that will have her name on it, but we'll all enjoy it. Then there's the loot for the boys.
I haven't thought once about cooking for any of the three days that our particular holiday is dragged out to. We'll have a lovely Christmas Eve and Day, two weeks of rest before we drive south for a couple of days for the last family Christmas one week into the new year. I try to make pralines once a year, but those don't fly in Atlanta due to nut allergies, and no one here wants to take as much as I end up making. I may try to halve the recipe, but that might not work at all. I need to make more candy and learn all the intricacies.
Momma keeps mentioning new tattoos for Christmas, and I'm quite certain she knows exactly what she wants. I have too many loose ideas floating around my head, unfinished bits of tattoo ideas that I can't quite settle on.
I've been getting sucked into homeschool blogs lately. I never realized just how many people are posting the same kind of crap as me. I didn't think of doing this without having found a few of course and thinking . . .obviously not a lot . . .maybe I can do this. The problem is that it's like walking into, and here I'm stumped. I can sit here and jump from one link to another, all the while using as my excuse, I'll just bookmark the good ones and come back later. Certainly I can scan through and learn if it's something I want to read again. I can end up with ten tabs open at the top of my page, which I will wade through, Xing out of most. In the end, I while away the day in an attempt to find some blogs that I'll actually find interesting, jumping up periodically to holler at someone or fix a snack. The only reading that isn't the computer happens standing outside the back door smoking and shivering or taking care of a certain type of business best not mentioned.
So goes the past week I suppose. I haven't even written anything here because I keep reading blogs! I suppose that's how they get you.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

slowing down

I don't know that slowing down is the right word for it. I've been moving pretty slowly since the end of monetarily fulfilling work for me. I think I remember a spell of laziness that I considered to be a bit of relaxing.
At some point in time, I could no longer honestly suggest that I was really being anything other than lazy. The house was getting messier and even dirtier in some areas. I've caught Momma one too many times cleaning things that I should have done. She works hard enough, so my lazy ass really needs to scrub the damn toilet.
The slowing down of which I speak is more what unschoolers might call deschooling. Mostly, I'm relaxing my attitude toward a lot of things having to do with the boys. I'm rethinking the concept of rules, making my expectations of them make sense. I've long known I need to work on the yelling and being angry dad.
I've always felt that I needed to expect a certain level of everything from the boys. I've demanded a lot of them that I never needed to. I've forced levels of behavior that are often ridiculous. Now I'm trying to undo some of that. It's a hard moment realizing that you don't meet the expectations that you have for your kids.
Just these early tentative steps have been paying off. Momma has noticed that I'm nicer these days. I think I could have listened to her a few years ago and saved us all some trouble. She has been a little short with the boys, but I think a lot of it was my negativity being so much that it trickled down. Had I been more relaxed from the beginning, she would also have been. She has tried to show me before how I was being a butt, but I was certain I was right and probably argued my point better.
That's parenting. I certainly didn't ruin the boys. They're everything you could want in kids really. And we can all be just a little happier and loving toward each other. I'll do my part by expecting more of myself than I do of them. I'll model how I should be rather than telling them how I think they should be.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

ham and cheese scones

From Food Network, this was actually Emerill's recipe for bacon and cheese scones. I used country style ham instead of the bacon and didn't include the green onions as I didn't want that flavor in my scones.
His recipe called for six ounces of cheese, but after I'd grated about four ounces, it seemed like almost too much. I'll have to make these again with the whole six ounces.
They turned out really good. Seriously, ham, cheese and a scone? Did you wonder if it was going to be good? Silly ass!
I have to wonder if it has to do with geographic location, but every time I make a baked quick bread, I find that I need slightly more liquid than whatever recipe I'm using. I think Alton Brown's biscuit recipe may be the one that came out right. However, everything from my mother's biscuit recipe to James Beard's biscuits always need more liquid in the end. I'll generally measure out whatever the recipe calls for and proceed with the mixing. I can never get everything moist/sticky/incorporated without adding more liquid. The liquid of course is generally milk or buttermilk, and I never need more than a tablespoon or two extra. But it seems that, without fail, all baked quick breads require this same tiny bit extra.
Batter bread, muffins or pancakes for instance, always seem fine, even though muffins are baked. So instead of baked throughout this, I should possibly have worded it differently. Am I going to change it now? Hell no! That would take . . .like work? . . .or something?
yeah . . .

Friday, December 02, 2005

ramen sans packet

Late night hunger and nothing quick, see chips, cookies, any random snack at all; so what DO we have?
Two packs of ramen noodles, somewhere between 2 and 3 cups of chicken stock, some venison, portabella mushrooms, green onions. I sliced everything very thin, all the better to mix in the noodles.
Go ahead and boil the noodles if you want. They only take 3 minutes so you could wait. Stir fry/sautee the mushrooms, onions and deer meat. Toss in a little garlic and ginger, also sliced thin. Toss in some soy sauce and fish sauce, basically deglazing the pan, adding a little sesame oil even because it's really lovely stuff. Add your noodles and some chicken stock. Consider the whole 3 minutes to cook thing, I could happily have thrown the noodles in at this point and cooked them rather than precooking them. It also would have even saved the energy and water I suppose.
I wasn't quite happy with it. I added some more soy sauce and a little oyster sauce in a great what the hell moment, both of which came together, Wonder Twins style, to finish the job. It was delightful.
The deer was left over from Thanksgiving. The rest of the things are pretty much pantry items, depending on what the menu for the week looks like. The boys are lucky come lunch time tomorrow when they get the leftovers.
We still have a small amount of the venison and plenty of turkey. Tomorrow may be turkey salad sandwiches, followed by whatever the Joy suggest for leftover turkey. Tomorrow is turkey clearance day. All leftover turkey must go.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

musical post

Lately, I and the boys have listened to mostly country. We whole heartedly avoid the pop stations that claim to play country. We have very close to us, downtown on Gay Street, one of the coolest radio stations I know of and you can visit and even listen at So we listen also to some bluegrass and old folk music. As it is now Christmas season, we've also pulled out all the cd's of Christmas music, one of my favorites being Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker. We listen to a little bit of classical music, lots of the aforementioned country (think old/outlaw country) lots of punk and ska, and generally whatever we like.
Giving the kids that kind of variety is very important to me. We love different forms of expression, books, art, whatever we like basically.
Earlier today, sitting here at the brain magnet brand computer, The boy approached wanting to be on my lap, and of course he wanted me to find train pictures. I hadn't yet put any music on when he asked specifically for Johnny Cash. I was so happy. I know that it's a tiny bit selfish wanting the boys to like what I like. I do want them to develop their own taste in things, but I feel that providing them with variety is the best way to do that. Of course, that variety tends to consist of what Momma and I want to hear. Of course, they are welcome to find other stuff, which again, will tend to be what Momma and I like as that is what they are going to have access to.
I asked Big brother a few days ago what he wanted to listen to. He asked for Stevie Wonder. Sadly we don't own more than one Stevie Wonder album though we had checked out a greatest hits album from the library. We all enjoyed it (I'm going with DUH here) and I was happy that Big brother had remembered it fondly. We of course checked it back out on our very next library day.
A short time ago, as the Johnny Cash ended, I asked the boys what they wanted to hear next. I offered them Christmas music listing what we own, the Elf movie soundtrack, Stevie Wonder (the one of his albums we actually own, again, sadly), the Nutcracker, Squirrel Nut Zippers and a couple of compilations, Christmas Swing being one. Big brother asked for Stevie Wonder.
Now I'm old enough and punk enough to be a little cynical, cold, sarcastic etc. But Someday at Christmas holds a certain power, along with every other song Stevie Wonder has ever done. So of course I was delighted to play his request.
I also love that my boys are just as happy with Willie Nelson as Stevie Wonder as the Clash as Ozomatli. I have my fear of course of the teen rebellion days that I don't doubt are somewhere in the future. I also know that homeschool families tend to be a little closer, and we are not giving the boys much to rebel against. There are too many paths open to them for them to have to grow that rebellious nature. Then I have to wonder, is that drive to separate from the parents a natural phenomenon, or is it an outgrowth of those damn schools? By giving them such good music, will they one day rebel in favor of whatever replaces Britney Spears on the crap radio charts?
How's that for rambling?

Monday, November 28, 2005

pumpkin bread part 2

The aforementioned pumpkin bread spent nearly two hours in the oven. The recipe called for it to cook for an hour and fifteen minutes. I checked it at an hour and ten minutes. It wasn't even close, though the top was doming and browning beautifully. I continued to check it every ten minutes or so until the tester finally came out clean.
I pulled the bread and set it on the counter to cool and turned the oven off. I gave it a few minutes then ran a knife around the inside of the pan. I pulled the sides of the bread from the pan, turned it over and eased the bread out.
It left a nice size part of itself on the bottom of the pan, and through the hole I looked into the bread and decided it needed to cook a bit more. So I turned the oven back one and replaced the bread.
I let it cook as long as I could justify. I finally decided it was either done or it could go to hell, because it was coming out of the oven regardless. I allowed it a few more minutes to cool before the old invert/remove. After a few more minutes cooling sans pan, I cut into it.
The top is very very crusty, in a very good way. It's difficult to cut through neatly but oh so crispy! However, rather than a nice crumb it's just entirely too moist. I'm guessing the pumpkin itself was too moist, and perhaps that's why it took so long to cook and has such a gummyish consistency. It does have a great flavor, and may dry a little as it cools. I might also should have left it in the pan a bit longer.
Oh well, there's always next time.
For what it's worth, the recipe is Alton Brown's from the Food Network website.

today's coffee

My first cup was bone cold when I finally rolled out of bed. Momma made us both coffee on her way to work. I was happy to finally finish it and make my second cup, expecting the cold weather we didn't seem to get. It's t-shirt weather out there today.
We use a French press and are a little snobbish about coffee. It's one of those things where once I finally tasted truly good coffee, I couldn't go back. Now I'm further ruined by the press. We used it on occasion before, when we had a normal drip maker. Something in the lid of the carafe for the drip maker decided not to work, so we just started using the press all the time.
My first cup, cold, we've been there already. My second cup, I didn't set a timer and completely forgot about it. My coffee, which should have steeped for about six minutes sat waiting my return for about twenty.
That's my typical coffee story. Some days, every single cup is great. Some days, I manage to skirt quality coffee at every chance. But then I remember how good my bad coffee is compared to what most people call coffee.

pumpkin bread is in the oven

We bought two pumpkins, intending them both to be jack o'lanterns. One did while the other sat on the kitchen counter, not entirely in the way.
Momma finally cooked it so that she could make a pie for Thanksgiving, which she made with a shortbread crust. Big brother helped throughout the process. He also helped with the bread that is now in the oven.
He did a great job helping. I however didn't read through the whole recipe. I trusted to my experience with baking to get the ingredients and techniques in line. How different could it be?
So we combined our dry ingredients. We put them to the side and combined the wet ingredients. Then I looked at the actual instructions. We should have saved the sugar to mix with the wet ingredients. We should have saved the pumpkin to mix into the combined wet and dry ingredients. I mixed the wet ingredients directly into the pumpkin, already having included the sugar with the dry.
Knowing some little bit about baking, especially with quick and/or batter breads, I made this recipe as I expected it to play out. I'm sure that all my missteps will not ruin the end product. We have just over an hour before we find out.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

POV and kids I guess

I'm slowly seeing my kids differently. A lot of it is having finally read some books by John Holt. Couple that with finding all the unschooling boards and sites I've come across lately and you are almost required to at least reconsider or think about or ponder for a moment.
I've decided that I'd really like to get to know the boys. Before now, I've pretty much seen them as little lumps that I need to mold into some shape that will weather the hell of life. I'm not such a pessimist as to really see life as hell, but I certainly know how hard life CAN be. I am fully aware of a lot of what they MAY face. So I've been driven to prepare them for that.
I've never been too horribly drawn to "teaching" them, even before we discovered unschooling. I did of course assume there were going to be subjects that I would need to teach to some extent. I've easily let go of that concept, and even before reading John Holt I was coming to some similar conclusions as far as childhood learning is concerned. I was seeing it before I ever read about it.
More than anything, allowing the boys the kind of freedom inherent to most unschooling families is really testing me. I feel that certain limits are within reason, rules of the house. Each member of the family deserves the same respect, and we should all live free of the fear of physical pain inflicted by a family member. There is a certain amount of respect for both family and personal possessions.
So there are some ares in which I am looking, feeling around. I find it kind of funny though that the "educational" issues are those which were the easiest for me to let go of. And in terms of self regulating and children, I'm kind of lost. I'm certainly changing certain ways I approach them, and I've realized I'm interested in getting to know them. I don't want to mold them so much as watch what they become, seeing who they are.
I'm also learning that I need to get off my lazy ass and cook. I get regular meals regularly into bellies, but I've gotten lazy and haven't really cooked in ages. One of the things I've let go of is the kitchen ban. I couldn't accept that the boys wouldn't just screw off and get in the way, which the boy does. But Big brother is very helpful in the kitchen as we've just recently found out.
Right now, I need to finish the cleaning I almost started earlier before finding out the A Prairie Home Companion was on t.v. tonight. BR5-49 only played one song though seeing them on the one episode of PHC on t.v. was pretty cool.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

something to read

Big brother is currently reading the instructions to our new instant read thermometer. With Thanksgiving coming, and the wife having decided that we'd cook the turkey this year, we realized our old, inacurate thermometers weren't going to work.
We have yet to use the new one, but it seems ever so neat. It's kind of like our old one, long pointed probe but with a digital readout on top in a large thumb sized, diamond shaped head. The old one of course was the classic disc, making the thermometer look like a large nail.
So back to the point. Big brother, at seven, reads really really well. He also varies his reading at a whim, enjoying Harry Potter as well as Thomas the Tank Engine. I've seen him peruse Richard Scarey shortly after reading about Pearl Harbor.
I had just taken the new thermometer from the plastic packaging and laid in on the counter when Big brother picked it up and checked it out. In answer to his very firt question I handed him the instructions. He ran straight from the kitchen to the living room where he sat and read the use instructions for our new thermometer.
He's such a cool guy.
In the end, I'm proud of him, but I'm not surprised by it anymore. He is an unschooler after all!

Sunday, November 20, 2005

so right, so wrong

When I make oatmeal, I cook it following the recipe momma found in the magazine Cooks Illustrated. Momma first cooked the oatmeal this way, and we all found it lovely. I, having grown up waking to a huge pot of the Quaker was amazed by this oatmeal. It had a flavor and texture above and beyond the simple additions we made.
I do use this recipe for the cooking. I don't really need to read it anymore, yet I find myself checking up, cooking insurance basically. I haven't ever used the flavoring mix suggested in the magazine, opting for a mixture of vanilla, brown sugar, cinnamon and raisins that I came up with. It's really very good.
It's a pretty simple recipe. Bring milk and water to a simmer, toast your steel cut oats in some butter, toss them in the milk/water and let them simmer. They are supposed to simmer for about twenty minutes, at which point you add salt and let it simmer another ten minutes.
Now here we come to "so right/so wrong." I've made oatmeal a few times. It always seems quick and easy. It is easy, but I have yet to hit the half hour mark. I have never gotten this recipe finished in less than fortyfive minutes to an hour. I wonder if I expect too much thickness. I do like my oatmeal a little thick, but for a recipe to regulary take an extra half hour is just plain . . .I don't know what! The part of this that amazes me is that the oatmeal comes out good. It's never overcooked or burnt by the extra time.
I know that with the weather cooling off, I'll have even more excuses to make oatmeal and figure out where I'm going goofy. I'm determined to figure this out.
On a similar note, when I cook grits, they are done in half the time of any recipe suggestion I've found. Again, they turn out good. If they didn't I certainly wouldn't stop cooking them so early. Just another case of so right, so wrong.

nice kid

My youngest might finally, agonizingly slowly, be approaching ready to use the potty. Perhaps soon it can stop being the potty, though once you've called it that for so long, it's hard to stop.
So back to the boy. Momma was brushing her teeth at the time, while I was on the computer. I heard an Aaaarggh and a swear (she actually said fooey, but that's so out of place in this house, to use a safe swear.) I went back immediately, knowing momma was busy and might appreciate some help.
The boy, deciding to use the potty, had climbed aboard fully clothed, and proceeded to dunk his butt in the water. Momma was a little irritated by this sudden turn, but I was there to take over, remove the pants, calm the boy, place the step stool. I personally was able to see the humor in the situation.
Upon leaving the laundry room where I'd dropped off the wet butt britches, I told big brother the story of the wet butt. He has a good sense of humor. He appreciates a good laugh. Instead, I got sweetness.
His answer to my story was, "Poor guy."

Friday, November 18, 2005

amazed by how it works

I'm really in love with homeschooling. I remember the hatred I had for school, the never ending hours in an uncomfortable desk, the incessantly buzzing lights, the mind numbing boredom. What is natural about forcing children to sit, be quiet and "learn?"
My boys are all about Thomas the Tank Engine right now, and I've always harbored a bit of love for a train. I still miss never getting to hop a freighter and ride as far as I could, ending up in some new and unknown place. I'm too old to expect that sort of opportunity, not old so much in a sense of age but knowing that I won't be able to toss off the responsibilities I now have.
Because of the train theme in our house, I picked up a few books about trains from the library. My son now knows the basics of the steam locomotive. Did I teach him this or make him learn it? Certainly not. That would have ruined the joy for him. I got books I knew he'd enjoy, on a subject that he is currently interested in. And the best part? I now know how a steam engine works. I certainly couldn't build a train, but I learned something interesting.
There in a nutshell is how kids learn and why I am in love with homeschooling.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

setting sail with sam

So, here it is, my break-in to the world of blogging.
I'm currently not going to the grocery store, which I really need to do. I'm also not doing any number of household chores, knowing full well that no desire on my part will ever coax the dishes to just wash themselves.
We are an unschooling family. I stay home and type away on the computer while my wife makes sushi. We have always intended to homeschool, always meaning from the birth of our first son. I've recently read a couple of books by John Holt. Reading those really cemented my desire to unschool.
I really don't have much to say here, just an intorductory blog that I'm not going to do much introducing in.
Besides, the boys are about to land their little butts in some hot water as soon as I go find out what the loud thunks and thuds are. Whatever is happening, they are in their bedroom. It doesn't quite sound like jumping on the bed, but that's usually the goal in playing in their room. Eventually, they will end up on the bed.
So that's all I'm giving up for today. Eventually, as I continue to post, and as people begin to read, you will all fall in love with my veriose fingers tapping out their little messages. One day, I will be king of the world . . .

. . .of blogging about crap!