Sunday, 31 May 2009

Road Trip North

We had a blast this weekend up-island celebrating Mitch's birthday. The kids made about 130 movies of themselves. The adults spent hours howling out loud at their crazy adventures...

The Mismatched and the Misinformed

It is at gatherings of unschooling families that kids of all ages are free to express their outward appearance without negative judgement or comment. They are free to be themselves and this happens so organically that it ends up being one of the greatest fringe benefits of attending such a get together.

Of course, our kids know no other way. They wear clothes that make them feel good. They brush their hair when it is no longer comfortable to lie down rather than for the sole purpose of not getting looks and comments in public. They go months without wearing shoes. On the way home from the conference, stopping to get milk, a cashier smiled at Fergus and said that she liked “her bed-head”. The kids reactions were typical - Ferg ignored her and Effie gave me a big knowing grin. Today, they don’t care. In the future, they not only will not care, they will be even more sure of who they are. This is not to say that they won’t take care of themselves - there is a massive gulf between not caring what others think and not giving a shit* about yourself.

Hey, our family gets a tonne of sneery-faced looks out there in the real world. I grew up trying my damnest not to get noticed so this is something I can’t seem to shake from my mind. Not that it bothers me as much as I’m just aware of it and since I sneer with the best of them I often reciprocate anyway. I don’t feel too guilty about this but I do feel guilty for giving sideways glances at, for example, those families dolled up and dressed to the nines and thereby pre-judging strangers the same way people pre-judge us. I shall work on that. The greater public can continue being ignorant, but I shall work on that. Ha!

Last Thursday, at the office, I wore the wonderful combination of dress pants, black socks and white sneakers. Not a look I would normally covet, but the best I could come up with in a pinch given that I spent the first four hours of the day in one black dress shoe and one brown dress shoe. It’s not even dark out in the morning these days when I leave the house so I don’t know what was going on there - like the day a few weeks back when I wore a golf shirt inside out.

I’m no fashion plate - obviously - but over the past few years I have always had this thought in the back of my mind that, when out in public with the kiddos, I had to somehow compensate for their often “natural” look. At the hand of what I guess are my own insecurities and lack of confidence, I thought that if my hair was sort of neat and my clothes matched then perhaps people would not automatically assume we were hobos or a band of gypsies (nothing against hobos or gypsies since I’m positive that they’re good people). I still want to shout out loud “These kids are not neglected. They are the opposite of neglected!!!” But the perhaps-not-so-odd thing is, is that my kids, through their own built-up confidence in who they are, and therefore what they wear and how they look, are slowly influencing how I feel about myself. To the extent that by the end of day Thursday I was quite comfortable in my little white-shoed getup. Perhaps one day I'll be comfortable in mismatched shoes. Can’t wait for the looks when I wear my pj’s to the office.

*Gillian cussed during her conference talk so I’m giving it a go here!

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Sunday, 24 May 2009

LIG Scenes

Emma and Effie


Fog machine dance

Buds and a Rolo Scooter

Ferg is having a "hotel room" day today - obviously resting up for the big barefoot boogie dance tonight! More accurately though he is spending some quality private time building legos and playing nintendo while patiently waiting for his friends to get back from their (obviously SELFISH) day in Portland. He and Mitch and Kin have formed quite a team playing their various games (star wars, power rangers, even some soda advertising skits) throughout the hotel. It also helps to have three other families from wee Metchosin, Canada all beside us - this makes for some superior hallway action.

Effie can generally be found wandering the halls with one of her friends, or by herself, and taking in the odd funshop. Today she's taking it a little slower as well, keen to spend time drawing and painting with her new art supplies. Gillian and I, meanwhile, want to get as much unschooly refueling in as possible before everyone goes their separate ways after tomorrow's noon time picnic.

Saturday, 23 May 2009

Friday, 22 May 2009

The sun shines out of her behind

Gillian rocked her talk today, "The Sun Shines Out Of Our Behinds"... a story of her continuing journey with emotionally intense kids - through the mess and the challenges - toward seeing everyone in our family shine. Yeah Hobe!!!

Thursday, 21 May 2009

Life is Good

Ferg being terrorized by some crazy Scottish guy:

Now that there are lots of people here at the conference hotel, and using the pool, Ferg is a little reluctant to go swimming. Eff's still keen but Ferg prefers to go up and down the elevator and scoot about the compound, chatting people up...

Eff did well selling her cards tonight:

Wednesday, 20 May 2009


It is impossible for us to come to this part of the world and not go to Nobb Hill. One day maybe we'll discover some other funky Portland neighborhoods, but for now this place suits us perfectly. Mmmmmm.... Ken's:

Trader Joe's...

I don't know what these will taste like (or smell like!) but couldn't resist these yummy looking freeze dried southeast asian tropical butt cracks:

Ferg was very keen to find the elephants he hung out on last year with Max and Otto. We soon clued in that they were pigs not elephants. Still, we miss Max and Otto and family terribly this year!

We spent the final day before the official start of the conference with just Fergus as Effie went shopping with the Waynforths. Ferg picked out a shiny new scooter.

Yeah, unschoolers:

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Pre conference action in Vancouver, WA...

Effie and Linnaea


Swimming? Yup, Ferg surprised us by wanting to go in the pool. Later in the week it is supposed to be hot here. It most assuredly was not tonight.

Sunday, 17 May 2009


Sand volcano


Sunny day

Loopin' Louie

Eff's commute

Saturday, 16 May 2009

East Anglians are here...

... and they brought their killer robot:

...and their chip butty making skills: