Monday, January 29, 2007

6 Weird Things About Me

I've been tagged by Zamozo for a game of "6 Weird Things About Me" that's going around the unschooling blogosphere. I have to tell you 6 weird things about me then tag 6 other unschoolers to do the same.

Well, first things first. 6 weird things about me.
1. I have freaky feet! Not only do I have Morton's toe (second toe longer than big toe) butI also have a way big space between my big toe and second toe.

2. I am a total library junkie. I know all the library ladies at my local branch on a first name basis. I frequently have very close to my limit of 50 books out at any given time. I put so many books on hold that I am always at the limit for holds on my card, and have quite a few on my husband's card too. Yes, it might be time for some sort of intervention, lol!

3. My husband and I have been together since we were 16 years old (we married at age 24). Based on past experience when people learn this fact about me, if you don't find this extremely adorable, you will most definitely find it weird.

4. I will fall asleep in the car (if I'm not driving) unless I knot or do some other type of activity to keep my brain alert.

5. I'm a bit obsessive about the cleanliness of my kitchen counters (crumbs-aaargh!!!) and the way my bath towels are folded.

6. My taste in music could best be described as "eclectic". If it's not rap, jazz, country, heavy metal or Whitney Houston, I probably like it (although I might not admit it). I have yet to meet someone else who enjoys both Beethoven and Abba!

Okay, now on to the tagging part. I'm pretty desperate on this, since I've been tagged pretty late in the game, and I honestly can't find 6 more unschooling bloggers I'm familiar with that haven't already been tagged, so I'm going with 4 because I don't have any more time to track more down!

Robin (I can't believe she hasn't already been tagged - if so I missed it - but her blog's still a must read anyway!)

Pam (who hasn't posted for a long while, maybe this will spur her to action?)

Billy Jean (a local unschooling mama)

another Chris (whose blog I've just found and who doesn't know I exist!)

Monday, January 15, 2007

Toboggans, Freezing Rain, and Blackouts

Today was one of those calm and peaceful winter days that make winter worth having! The snow finally showed up yesterday, which was fabulous; however, it changed to freezing rain overnight which left everything as slippery and crunchy as could be. The schools were all closed today, so the neighbourhood was much quieter than usual without the hustle and bustle of kids being picked up and dropped off from school. Once the freezing rain finally stopped after lunch, the local toboggan hill was booming though! We spent a good hour flying down the hill and clambering back up the slippery slope again and again.

Just as I was about to start making dinner, the power went off. We waited 5 minutes, 10 minutes, 20 minutes. Nope, the power wasn't coming back on any time soon. We cooked and ate dinner by candlelight, which was kind of cool. Luckily for us, we have a gas stove, so we were able to cook on the burners, otherwise it would have been peanut butter sandwiches for dinner (not exactly satisfying after an afternoon on the toboggan hill!). After we cleared the dishes away, we decided to continue our game of "semi-perpetual Monopoly" by candlelight. We started the game a few days after Christmas, but because it takes *so* long to play the game to the end, we've just played for 1/2 hour or so at a time, and put the game aside until we're in the mood to play again. It's interesting how the darkness adds a totally different feel to routine, everyday activities. We hadn't gotten far with the Monopoly when the power magically returned - by then, the lights had been out for almost 2 hours and the house was starting to get noticeably chillier than usual. I wouldn't enjoy not having power on a regular basis, but it did add some interest to the day, and added to the quiet and calm feeling (no TV, computer, radio or lights for a couple of hours-ahh, peace!)

Saturday, January 13, 2007

An Urban Wildlife Adventure

Earlier this week, our local paper ran a story about a beaver (possibly *2* beavers) having set up house in the Hamilton harbour. This is very exciting for our community as it signifies a major improvement in the water quality (the last 15 years has seen a lot of work done on restoring our once extremely industrially-polluted harbourfront area).It's also pretty darn cool to have a beaver build a lodge in such an urban location (right on the edge of one of our biggest city parks). As soon as we read about it, we were all super excited to go check it out, but our family schedule didn't give us a chance to do it during daylight hours up until today. So, we all bundled up early this afternoon, and off we went to the Harbourfront to track down the beaver lodge. We didn't have any trouble finding it, and were able to walk up very close to it to take a good look. We didn't actually have a beaver sighting (they usually only come out at night) but we pointed out to the boys where the beaver(s) had chewed down small trees to build the dam (as well as one that had been partially, but not totally, gnawed through). This resourceful urban beaver also scrounged up several used planks of wood to use in building his lodge! The city is considering planting some willow trees in the spring to help keep the beaver(s) from taking all the shade trees. Apparently, willow is a favourite of the beavers (something I didn't know before!) We've seen beaver lodges in zoos before, but this is the first time we've seen one "in the wild" (if the middle of a city of nearly 500,000 people can be classified as "wild"!)

[Here is where I had planned to insert a photo of the beaver lodge; apparently blogger has other ideas right now as I can't get it to upload-arrgh!]

While we were down by the harbour, we also had some fun observing the winter waterfowl. We actually "discovered" a new species that we'd never observed before. When we got back, we got out our bird books (while enjoying a round of hot chocolate to warm us back up!) and identified it as the American Coot. We found out that we'd never seen them before because they overwinter on the harbour, but leave in early spring, and we're usually not spending much time down there until late spring/early summer. Up until we hunted down that piece of the puzzle, I had been wondering how there could have been such a large number of them on the water when I'd never seen even *one* before!!

Monday, January 01, 2007

Family Goals for 2007

At this time of year, I can't help but get very introspective. I always find myself (like many other people, I imagine) looking back over the past year, taking stock of what went well, and what didn't! Then, of course, I like to try and figure out where I'm going in the year ahead.

I always make a whole list of goals for the different areas of my life at the beginning of a new year, and I've set a lot of personal goals for myself already. What I've been pondering over the last few days is, what are the things I want to work on in my parenting and family life this year? Overall, I think we have a great family life, and I really noticed how relaxed and loving we are together over the holiday season. I think the biggest thing that I would like to change is that we have gotten into a habit of not spending much time together as an entire family. The boys are off doing their own thing (together or separately) and I am doing my thing, hubby is doing something else (or is just not here because he is busy working). We definitely still connect and share with each other over the course of the day, but I have often stopped and thought "gee,when was the last time we did something together, all four of us?". Over the holidays we had quite a few opportunities to do things as a family, and I would like to make sure it happens more often! I think what I will do is suggest we have a "family day" one day per week, where the general focus of the day is doing something together as a family. This will probably not be the same day every week, as hubby's schedule is ever-changing due to his work as a realtor (that also means he works a lot on the weekends, the usual time most families have their "family time!") So, we'll have to take it week by week, but I think it should work itself out once we get in the habit of planning for some special "connecting" time together.