Friday, July 23, 2010


Well, I should have known after this morning's post that something would come along to spice up Team LaJoy. Now, I realize there are very few people who would get so darned excited about this like we did, so grant us some Geek Concessions, ok?

I have asked around to see if we could find some old National Geographics or Smithsonions to use with school. Having just a handful...and I mean maybe 8 or so, I found we are using them like crazy to learn about cultures, maps, the world in general, so I decided it would be handy to have a few more around. Just this week we used a map on bird migration, another on the world's water supply/rivers, a couple of articles from the 1980's on poaching in Africa...see what I mean? So I asked Dominick to put a request out on Craig's List to see if anyone had any to donate that were just sitting around their garage. Within less than a day we got a response from a guy in Grand Junction, who said he had some and would sell them to us for $20 but he was having a garage sale today and tomorrow so if we wanted them we had to come get them ASAP. Hmm....well, with nothing better to do I woke the kids up this morning with a "It's a No School Day!" and off we went.

Driving up there (it's over an hour away) I was thinking what total geeks we are...we are singing the music from Mama Mia at the top of our lungs (and not singing well, I might add), next listening to African acoustical music, then a Mennonite choir singing old hymns (So lovely sounding!), on our way to get old National Geographic mags. Could we possibly go higher on the Geek-O-Meter??????

Anyway, we get there and it didn't look all that promising. We walk in and I can't quite figure out what is going on. It is either a store going out of business that has not been a floral store for many years but still had stock, or it is a family of hoarders which is deeply sad to me, or...??? No idea, but the folks were really nice but as we were down in the basement of the building Matt mentioned seeing a King Tut mask and the guy in all seriousness said "Shh...if my wife hears that she'll never let me get rid of all this stuff!". Although you could barely walk anywhere, and I admit to being a little uncomfortable, it was also sort of like a treasure hunt...around every corner was a surprise...old pipes, 7 old style arcade video machines (the big ones), a beat up tractor, McDonald's toys, an old set of Childcraft Encyclopedias like my parents sacrificed to buy for us when we were kids (no, I did not give in to temptation!). We were led out to an old shed as well.

Imagine my surprise and delight that this gentleman intended to give us almost FIFTY YEARS worth of National Geographics for $20!!!!!!!!! SCORE!!!!!!

What a wonderful surprise it was! Now, we don't have every issue for every year, but the majority for every year is there dating back to 1947 and we have several years where there are two and maybe three entire annual sets. The drawback? Some of the mags in the shed had water damage and there was some mold on a few issues, but overall not that many. They had all been grouped and wrapped by year and that helped preserve a lot of them but we had a lot of decay left in our car after removing them.

I knew we were in trouble when Matthew couldn't wait and on the way home asked if we could unwrap a few so he could read them, and his nose was buried in them the entire drive home.

Arriving home the Team went into action, and I do seriously mean action. I thank God every day for our family, but there are moments when I step back and watch as an observer and realize we are far more blessed than at times I give us credit for being. It is hot here, and without a single complaint they spent over an hour sorting through them at the car (Matt's job), hauling them all inside after we discarded the bad ones and arranging them in order by year. I didn't say a single word to them other than "OK Guys, let's get to work!" and they were off and running. Interesting as I realize now that I didn't delegate tasks either, they all took it upon themselves to take responsibility for certain portions. I went in the house after helping at the car side of things and OIesya had put all the groceries away we had purchased on the way home including having washed the fruit. Kenny took on the challenge of organizing by year and Angela offered to help. Josh and Olesya then hauled everything from the car into the house.

It was like a well oiled machine, amazing to watch as an adult to see such young kids working without direction and attacking a task at hand. As I sat down on the couch myself to check out the pictures I took, Angela takes it upon herself to empty the dishwasher when she is in there getting a glass of water, and sweet Matthew spends yet another full hour cleaning up the car after that huge mess was left behind. He grabbed the shop vac from the garage, and the big trash can and went to work, coming in only for a glass of lemonade and the glass cleaner. I am still floored that he spent almost 2 hours out there voluntarily in the hot sun doing an icky job, and not a single person asked him to do it. And once again, I receive the gift of parenting children I not only love, but deeply admire in so many ways.

I also feel we are SO fortunate in having daughters who come to us as much older children, who show such great compassion for others. Twice today we say little old men walking, one of whom had parked his car in the middle of the lot and not in a spot but seemed oblivious. The words of the kids are all so heartwarming "Awww...I feel bad for him...I hope he is safe!" and "At least he is out walking around instead of sitting at home all day!". Then we saw the second older gentlemen who really walked with the most unusual gait, sort of dancing and Angela said "Oh look Mama...he so cute!! I like him!".

I also totally cracked up when Olesya asked "Mama...other mama's homeschool do this?" when asking about the magazines as we drove home filled to the gills. Kenny started laughing so hard and said "No, only our mom's crazy like this!".

Here are a few more pictures of what we have been up to this summer. Nothing costly, pillow fights and couches surrounded with books...and gender bias has no place in our home as you can see from the following pictures. In Team LaJoy, boys can read Fancy Nancy, and girls can rough house, build houses and beat up the boys in pillow fights too!

There are a couple of other pics of us at 4th of July in the parade as well thrown in that I received from a friend.


Anonymous said...

Cindy, You Scored!!! That sounds like a great collection. I feel so badly that I didn't get the National Geographic Mags off to you like I said I would. With my daughter's wedding and all - I just didn't get around to it. Do you still want them? They are from 1983 - 1995.

Vicki (in California)

Anonymous said...

Cindy - It looks like a great collection! I'm so sorry that I didn't get the National Geographic Mags off to you like I said I would. With my daughter's wedding and all I just didn't get it done. Would you still like to have them - they are from 1983 - 1995?

Vicki (the one in California)

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry that posted twice - my computer said that there was an error!

Hilary Marquis said...

That is awesome! You are in good company...I'm the one that took pictures in the Louvre with the intention of teaching a unit on the Greeks and Egyptians! We geeks have to stick together :)

Anonymous said...

Come on, you expect me to believe that you have these incredible kids when I had ones that--oh, yeah, mine weeded sugar beets and onions, built fence, fed hogs...Good thing that I know you and your kids and they and you are just as fantastic as you picture in your blog. I think they let off steam from those pillow and water fights, the bike riding, the trampoline jumping. Maybe if our children were challenged with physical and mental stimulation, we would see less meltdowns and more compassion. Hmm, just a thought.

Lael in a philosophical mode