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Today was a mittens-over-every-heat-grate-in-the-house kind of day. Sunny, with the temperature just about to the melting point, it's almost a crime to keep the kids in the house any longer than it takes to stuff a snack in them.

One part of homeschooling that I desperately missed is the luxurious feeling of being beholden to an institution's arbitrary schedule. We aren't completely free with our time and schedule as of now, with Birdie in afternoon preschool, but with Smootch homeschooling again, our mornings no longer suffer the puncture wound of having to make it for the morning bell.

This morning brought us a leisurely saunter around the trails by the Red Deer River.  Birdie figured out, after a mixed amount of success, how to use the primitive breaking system on his sled (a plastic handle that sticks down into the snow when pulled) to steer while travelling down the icy slopes on the trails.  I was quite glad of the steep snowbanks on each side of the trail, otherwise Birdie would of steered himself over the edge and onto the river.

This afternoon, Smootch and I did a little beginner birding.  Really, super beginner.  We identified two types of chickadee (Black Capped and Boreal) and Bohemian Waxwings galore.  I've been reading Dan Koeppel's To See Every Bird on Earth, a memoir about Koeppel's father whose life long obsession with birding led him to see over seven thousand different species, so I am aware of how incredibly sad my three bird list is - three types of birds you could hit twenty of if you were hooligan enough to toss a rock, especially as the waxwings are lit out of their feathered little minds on fermented Mountain Ash tree berries - but since I only just realized there was more than one type of chickadee, I'm going to call it a good start. 

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Later the kids played with neighbor friends, the boy child playing baby-Jackass in the front yard on his scooter and the other building some sort of frighteningly unstable structure with large pieces of compressed snow created when our city plowed our street a few days ago (effectively eliminating half of the on street parking and bringing our block into a unprecedented agreement about how silly the city's snow removal policies are).  At the end of the day, my house smells like wet snow gear and we are all happier for it.

Tomorrow I hope to get Smootch back out on the trail to see if we can spot a magpie or sparrow.  Of course, we do not have to actually leave our yard to see either, but it's more fun to go out to try to find them than to just go out back and shoo them away from the compost.  Besides, I think that a grand part of homeschooling is the elaborate and adventurous paths we can take, if it suits us to do so, to find out what we already know. 

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