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Saturday! Saturday! Saturday! 

It’s Saturday! Saturday! Saturday! And you have to say it three times in a sing-songy kind of way like a European police siren. All of last year and this year as well, I’ve been prepping Jacob and Toby on Friday nights when I tuck them in to bed that the next day is going to be Saturday (Saturday! Saturday! Saturday!). I tell them that I don’t have to work tomorrow, and that we can have the whole day to spend together and play. We talk about what we’re gonna have for breakfast and where we’re gonna go and what we’re gonna do. I tell them all of this is going to happen because it’s gonna be Saturday (Saturday! Saturday! Saturday!), and I don’t have to go to work. But first they have to go to sleep and sleep through the night or, like Santa Claus, Saturday will never come.

On Saturdays, I’ve always enjoyed starting the day by listening to Weekend Edition and drinking coffee.[1] The boys prefer their steady diet of Super Why, Dinosaur Train, and Thomas and Friends, so am forced to fall back on a Sony Walkman FM radio.[2] I feel so old fashioned. All that to say, my morning starts with coffee and NPR, and the kids haven’t really changed that.

Stephanie has declared Saturday as her day to sleep in. I have mixed feelings about that, but mostly I’m fine with it. I’m glad she can get to sleep in, I’m gonna be up anyway (because Weekend Edition is 6-9, and I don’t want to lose half a day of the best day of the week sleeping), and I love hanging out with the boys first thing in the morning. The only thing is that I miss Stephanie hanging out with us too.

Saturday is a special breakfast day too. Sometimes I’ll make pancakes, sometimes waffles, and though you may not think this is too special, the boys almost love it most when I make oatmeal. Both boys love it, and I’m always surprised by how much they eat.

By nine o’clock, breakfast is (usually) made, Weekend Edition is over, the coffee is consumed, and PBS switches from kids programming to the New Yankee Workshop, and the kids just aren’t in to watching middle ages white guys build elaborate book shelves and end tables with a table saw, and so it’s time to wake up Mom.

Whenever Stephanie is awake, she is the de facto care giver, no matter what either of us do. The kids shift to her, and I start thinking about what’s next in our day. There are the usual chores like taking the trash to the transfer station. Then there are other things we try to do special for the boys.

Yesterday, the boys and I headed out. It’s also a treat for the boys to ride in Dad’s truck, something they rarely get to do. I put the booster seats in the backseat, and they jabber the whole way, pointing out everything they see. We went to the transfer station to drop the week’s garbage. While we were there we watched the big garbage truck hoist the dumpsters over head and empty them into its back. We watch all the people come and go, leaving their own debris or picking through the leavings of others. It’s an active place.

From there we went to feed the ducks on the Chena river. Down river from the power station here in Fairbanks, the unnaturally warmed water never freezes, and a population of ducks remains over winter. They were glad to see the handout of week-old bread, but they were rightfully wary of two little boys. Jacob got a toy duck caller as a party favor this week, and he couldn’t wait to get there and use his duck caller to call all of the ducks to him. The ducks gathered around us because they knew we had bread, but Jacob was blowing his duck call continuously and with abandon. I am sure he believed all these ducks were waddling around him for that reason alone.

Jacob had asked on Friday night if we could go mountain climbing for our special Saturday outing. I told him yes, of course we could, but I wasn’t exactly sure how we’d do that. He’s four, so I knew we weren’t literally headed for Denali. Instead, I figured I’d take him up to the UAF campus where there are some good hills and opportunities for sledding. I brought two sleds along in anticipation of this.

The main sledding hill at UAF is a real monster. There were college guys blasting down it. I got the boys there on the edge of the hill, about halfway up. The three of us piled on to one sled and rode down a short distance in a sedate way. We walked up again and Jacob wanted to go it alone. I gave him a shove and watched him ride his own way down. I was so proud. At the bottom he got sideways, tumbled out, and got a face full of snow. He cried.

After I went down there and dusted him off, his only request was to go up the big hill. I said no, that hill was too tall. But he said he really wanted to, so what’s a dad to do? I was scared. I was watching college kids ride halfway down and tumble out of their sleds with limbs flailing. I was a little anxious about riding down with two little boys and a camera, imagining making it halfway down, tumbling out and having to deal with all of the bumps, bruises and tears.

But we all did fine. In fact it was great. We rode down two or three times, faster and further each time. They boys loved it. They would have clamored for more if I hadn’t bribed them with the promise of hot chocolate at home.

On the way back home we saw smoke in the sky and heard the sound of fire engines. I know this shows a distinct lack of class, but I thought the boys would like seeing firefighters to the rescue! So we cruised by the scene of the fire and saw the big engines. We couldn’t get close enough to see much, so we headed for home.

We spent the evening after dinner watching a movie and eating popcorn all together on the couch. They got to stay up a little later than usual, but no one was ready for Saturday to be over yet.

As I tucked both boys into bed, we talked again about the fun things we had done that day, and what they enjoyed most. I know they had fun, but they can’t begin to know the deep joy that came for me on this favorite day of the week. At least until next week, because you know what day it’ll be then, right? Saturday, Saturday, Saturday.

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[1] We’ve ditched the drip coffee maker in favor of the French press. Though we’ve used the French press for years, it has always been relegated to special occasions, but hell, isn’t every day a special occasion? And ever since Stephanie’s Folgers revolt, we’ve been grinding fresh African beans roasted right here at our local coffee shop. Might as well do it up right. And so we do the French press method every morning. It’s no more work to set up or clean than the Mr. Coffee is. And it’s so good.

[2] I remember the first Sony Walkman I ever had of my own. It didn’t even have a tape player; this one was just an AM/FM radio. It came along at the time in my life that I was riding my bike all over my home town every evening. With the addition of the Walkman playing some sappy love ballad I was in my own little world of sound being all goofy romantic and feeling sorry for myself. Good times.

Posted on Sunday, November 8, 2009 at 11:13PM by Registered CommenterBrian Rozell | Comments3 Comments

Reader Comments (3)

Brian,
Its good to see you back here again
The pic's are great and I enjoy reading your tales of the family and with them
Keep them coming.
Mary lou
November 9, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMary Lou
Once you go to French presses and specialty beans, there's no going back.
November 9, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLauren
Great post. I love the French Press. The one thing...and this sounds like I'm an AARP member...the oils are actually bad on the heart. the paper filters them out, the French Press pours them into your cup. So, when your cholesterol numbers skyrocket, you'll know the culprit. Nevertheless, a small price to pay I say.
November 17, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterwatson

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