Friday, 30 May 2008

Trip wrap-up

We spend our holiday time at unschooling gatherings for too many reasons to document. Best check out what he said. Here are some post euphoric-conference ramblings...

- During the conference, Effie was a peripatetic wonder - always on the move. I think she was looking for Jayn?
- Fergus took hours, each day, to get himself to a comfortable state amongst the crowds of people. He also seemed to thrive on wandering and at times it appeared he would have been happiest simply running a groove in the carpet from our room to Max and Otto’s room next door, to the elevator, down to the vending machines and back. But then there were the times when he and Max went boulder hunting (they had many, many lengthy discussions about rocks, the moon and lava!) as well as the times the two of them relentlessly pursued squirrels. He also engaged in an equally relentless pursuit of his sister and Daniel. So, no sitting quietly in funshops for him then. Until, as it turned out, the dance. While everyone was shaking about (some crazier than others!), he sat in a room intently watching some kids play Nintendo Pokemon.
- The Fergus draws the attention of teens, pre-teens, adults, etc. Gemma, Story, Qacei, MJ, Chloe, Madeline, Ducky and a whole load of adults in particular, attempted over and over again to engage him. For this they were rewarded either with a sneer, a frown or a playful, laughter-filled (though power-packed) jab with any number of his flailing limbs. And he has several it turns out. But Gemma saying “hi Fergus” on day 4 after countless rejections on days 1 through 3… that’s why we hang with these people.
- Three fourths of our family combined with Martin and his wee ukulele to sing a song at the talent show. I thought I was the one massively going against type until Effie decided to join in at the last moment. Comments from the MASSIVE crowd included: “the ukulele was in tune”. Though the event was recorded by Rachel, it shall not make THE video. If anyone finds me a gold lame suit, I guarantee even more laughs next time around.
- While the three of us wowed the masses, the fourth member of our family was reportedly off in the corner attacking some teenagers.
- Fergus has discovered that he gets car sick. He now somehow manages to eat, in his car seat, with a vomit bag pressed to his lips. He takes his responsibilities seriously.
- We got to go to a real live Lego store with the Chicagologians.
- We spent 10 straight days with those Chicagolinos and could have done 20.
- For a full 45 minutes, in the heat, at an Obama rally, with 69,999 cool people at my side, I actually pined to be American. Well, not actually “pined”, maybe “longed”? Yearned? Suffice to say, He was that good.
- Gillian shone. Brightly.
- And now, in withdrawal we wallow.
- Erm, withdrawal from our friends that is, not Gillian shining brightly. She always does. I’ll stop now.

This weekend’s agenda is pretty straight forward: make French fries, eat French fries, play Zelda, watch Monarch of the Glen, go to the Circus, sleep. And make and eat pancakes - finally (Vancouver, WA could never - by the way - be confused as the pancake capital of anywhere).

Thursday, 29 May 2008

Chip Butties for Tea

Since the mountain is slow to go to Mohammed, direct from Eng-ger-land, to us, arrived a chip-butty-making-machine AND the original UK release of the new(awesome) James (awesome) cd. The music and the fat fryer just so happened to accompany the Waynforth’s on their great post-conference west coast adventure. We’re delirious to have them (people, artery clogger, music) - we’ve been anticipating this for a while: old chip butty post.

That there is David perfecting the double-dip technique on ye olde (and expertly titled) “Fry Daddy”. The infamous chip butty (French fries, white bread, butter) is so simple, yet so incomprehensibly tasty, it is a wonder it has not caught on in America. Next up for the Pimp Fry Daddy: Mars bars!

We’ve also played around a bit, including Simon and David winning us some new songs with their stellar sKills.

Monday, 26 May 2008

In Concert

And we title this picture "take the microphone away from the guy who had a few too many drinks prior to going on stage" (Martin, Effie, Craig and Gillian perform their "duet" at the "talent" show):

Sunday, 25 May 2008

500 member tribe

Well, there's not much time for going on and on about what a fabulous time we're having, but... this kinda says it all:

Yup, life IS good... and even better when you get loved up by some of your closest friends:

Friday, 23 May 2008

Scenes from the Life is Good Unschooling Conference

Here at the conference, Effie spends her days roaming the halls with her friends, going to funshops and making some dough off of her homemade cards. This year she hosted her own 18 inch doll funshop and did so in record time (preferring to be in the room for but half of the allotted hour!). Fergus, meanwhile, made it into the main presentation room by day two but has yet to enter a funshop room. There is something he's not comfortable with but we're not sure what just yet. He is, however, comfortable with his teen buddies and manages to beat up on MJ and Ducky quite regularly it seems! He also enjoys hanging out it the hotel room with his lego and usually can find Max and Otto doing the same, or working on their art projects, next door.

We all appear to be having a great time and are thriving in this wonderful environment. We live for this.

Effie selling cards at the untrepreneurial fair:

Fergus with his pasta and his "it gives me energy" gatorade:

Fergus helping Ronnie bang her groooovy drum:

Linnaea and Effie making clocks:

Wooping it up at the Amy Steinberg concert:

Wednesday, 21 May 2008

Cold Weather Cold Water

Back during one of our hot hot hot Portland days we took the streetcar to a downtown water park for some cooling off. None of the kiddos were interested in even dipping a toe in the fountains and pools. Too many other screaming kids perhaps. But today, at our new location across the bridge in Vancouver, WA, and in February-type weather, they were all really keen for an impromptu splash about. Strange kiddos!

There must be an unschooling conference about to start nearby or something!?!

Tuesday, 20 May 2008


That there is Effie and Felicity. Felicity was picked up by Rachel, Max and Otto from the American Girl store in Chicago prior to their flying out here. Rachel made an interesting video of their adventures in the store (here) as they more-than-kindly carried out our request. Watching the footage from the store makes me cringe a little but it provided Effie with enough excitement to want to board a plane for Chicago this very second. Felicity has not been out of Effie's sight since.

Portland Scenes

Monday, 19 May 2008

Fergus' Portland Weekend

It is a bit of a challenge keeping rural-hick-boy from running into traffic, but otherwise Fergus is having an awesome time (as are the rest of us). Here's Ferg in punch-buggy heaven (Portland has more Bugs, old and new, per square mile than anywhere, save for Mexico City I suppose!).

Max and Fergus Inc.

Three boys asleep at dinner:

Cotton Candy at the zoo:

Riding the rails (today we went on a train, a zoo train, a streetcar and an aerial tram):

Some late-night action at the gelato bar:

Sunday, 18 May 2008

Obama Rama

Martin and I abandoned our families and headed off to the free, open-air Decemberists (woo-hoo!) concert today along the Portland waterfront. However, after lining up for 20 blocks and 3 hours we missed them by a good hour by the time we finally entered the compound. We did, at least, have fun at the rally that followed.

Yup, a German and a Canadian doing their bit for American democracy!

Saturday, 17 May 2008

Hotted Up in Oregon

We left downtown Victoria today on the boat... in the middle of a May heat wave!!! It was so hot driving to Portland that Fergus even took off his boots at one point and Effie wished for a return to rain. And then, even more shocking, we actually turned on the vehicle's AC. We made it to Portland in time to meet up with the Chicagweigians for some serious light sabre action.

Thursday, 15 May 2008

Big Trip Prep

We make a run for the border in less than 48 hours... so of course there is lots of important stuff that needs to get done.

Like washing the car dots:

And scuffing up the bumper stickers so they look like they weren't just put on today:

Wednesday, 14 May 2008

In the arms of all I'm keeping here with me

Well, this confirms it! Three of us spent two solid months wandering aimlessly outdoors while the fourth remained inside and played video games...

Movie :: The Wonderful Happenings of March and April, 2008

Sunday, 11 May 2008

Mother Day Feasting

Mother's Day Eve Death Star Popcorn balls

Mother's Day C-3PO Pancakes and Yoda Soda

Mother's Day Rhubarb pie

Oh, and some Mother's Day Hoeing

Monday, 5 May 2008

Along for the ride

Effie, 8 year old explorer/ memory like an elephant, got it into her head (and there's no getting it out) to go hunting for clay all of a sudden. Clay? She seemed to remember seeing - from many, many months ago - a "wall" of clay, down the trail and near the bridge. "Pshaw", we told her (well, not exactly that exact word... and not "gfaw" either). Though admittedly (and foolishly) skeptical, I followed... and lo and behold: