Sunday, 28 December 2008
We had a lovely, quiet time. Christmas eve my Mum came over to stay with us the night, then Christmas day we went to hers and I cooked for the three of us. Christmas day was beautiful here, so we went for a walk in the morning, the sun was so bright it was almost warm! For the rest of the day we had delicious food, wine, and some great presents. I had the bright idea of putting on King_Lear (on one of the digital channels) in the evening, which was thoroughly depressing. I loved the perversity of watching a miserable film on Christmas day, but I don't think my Mum appreciated it much, especially the eye-gouging!
Boxing day me and A went off to visit our friends, and had a lovely day of left overs and chatting/playing, and another beautiful walk around a local loch.
I've been really crap with photos - took none at all on Christmas day (!) forgot my camera Boxing day, and really regretted it when we came across a group of swans on the loch. But I did get this one:
yesterday of the frosty beach when we went out for a hike with some other friends. I would have had more, but after two pics my batteries died. We had a good time anyway, with flasks of coffee and hot apple juice, and some crisps and chocolate. The kids had fun playing on the frozen stream, and scavenging on the beach.
Tomorrow we are going, with my Mum, to visit A's other grandparents for lunch. All three grandparents together - a perfect day for A! This will be a lovely family time, as luckily we all get on really well, and A will get such a lot of attention.
Just a last pic of A's favourite presents:
Monday, 22 December 2008
Didn't get a picture of our lovely cake (its long gone now!), so here is one of the fire to warm you up:
We also had our home ed group Christmas party on Wednesday - a huge turn out for it. I was a bit nervous when I walked into such a full hall, but soon relaxed and chatted to a few lovely people. Lots of faces there I didn't know, but I'm starting to get to know a few people a little bit now. The kids had a fantastic time, someone came and did some games with them, which worked really well. I'm so glad that such a strong network of HEers exists up here.
A very strange party game (thats A wrapped in toilet roll!?)
Monday, 15 December 2008
After her bath this morning A sneaked into bed with me where I was reading the Gatto book I mentioned in the last post. She asked me to read it aloud to her, so I read the remaining half of the chapter I was on, then asked her what she'd got from it. "Well, a lot of big words, but basically that at school they try to turn you into a robot". A pretty accurate description of what he'd been saying really!
After a walk down to the shops and back, we put up our Christmas decorations, as you can see:
Hanging angels (not as cruel as it looks!)
We did a bit of maths from the workbook, working on division and remainders at the moment, so we got the marbles out to help. I've been trying to find different ways to help A with her maths as she finds it very hard to work everything out in her head, and even with fairly simple stuff seems to lose track of where she's going with it. I've encouraged her to use lots of extra paper for her workings out, but the marbles seemed to appeal much more - not only was she sorting them into groups of 7 or 8 or whatever, she was also making sure the groups of marbles were all colour co-ordinated! It seemed to make it more interesting for her anyway.
Saturday, 13 December 2008
A has been on good form, she spent yesterday morning writing several poems, while I sat and watched the washing machine (there is a mysterious leak which only happens when noone is there to see it. The other day I found a puddle of water under the machine after it had been on, so called a guy out to look at it - of course he could find no leak of any kind. I've since sat and watched the whole cycle twice and not a drop of water on the floor. Even as I type this I am thinking 'how much more exciting can my life get??') anyway - back to the poetry - one of these was titled 'Why men?', and brought up a whole load of concerns about the cynicism I may have passed on to her (it was pretty scathing about men generally, in a way you wouldn't expect from a 9-yr-old!). I do try to be fair and balanced, and we do have some lovely male friends and relatives in our lives (including her beloved Nonno), but I suppose there are certain experiences she is aware of at some level. She has also been watching Eastenders at Granny's house, which may have something to do with it! Its times like this I really wish my Dad was still around (A was 4 when he died, and he was pretty far down the road with Alzheimer's when she was born so she didn't really know him at all), he was such a great geezer; a real solid, down-to-earth, funny, quietly caring and easy-going bloke. I just know that A would have got on brilliantly with him.
Another of the poems was about goths, and was very impressive, hopefully she'll put it on her blog.
A enjoyed her HE drama group on Wednesday, and I enjoyed chatting a bit with a few other Mums. Lucy very kindly lent me a John Taylor Gatto book: Dumbing_Us_Down , which I am getting stuck into.
This is a picture I took on the way home of a beautiful setting sun - you cant see all the lovely colours (I shall blame the camera), but you get a hint.
Thats the only photo I've managed to take this week. Had a great opportunity today at the Lantern-lit Christmas fair of A's old Steiner school, but of course I forgot my camera. I really am rubbish sometimes.
It was interesting how much I enjoyed the experience this year - it was very different not being involved in all the build up, having to get the baking done in time and do your hour on the class stall. I felt much more sociable and relaxed. We ended up coming home with an extra child, which was lovely for A as she hasn't had a chance to play with this particular girl for ages. Even better - Granny has magically whisked them away to the local pantomime, so I have a chance to blog!!! A's friend's Mum is coming over to join us for lunch tomorrow before they head off, so I will have a chance to catch up with her too.
Friday, 5 December 2008
We also baked a chocolate cake, just to balance things up a bit ;o)
We had a great day Monday, did loads of fun stuff, including finally getting round to looking at the learn_Italian CD-ROM someone gave me ages ago. We discovered that the book is missing, which was a bit disappointing, but we had a great time playing word games on the children's disc. I think we'll pick up a lot of words quite quickly, but may need another resource for developing sentences and phrases (Nonno perhaps).
We've also been working on our craft Christmas project, making little presents for various friends and family members. We'll need to get them finished and posted soon!
Another project we completed was the 'quiz box' (see below). A had designed a detailed set of intructions for this a little while ago, so we set to work and created it. Then we spent a while drawing up quizzes for each other - I did one on the human body, A did one on the solar system - using books from A's bookshelf. I think she did better than me on the quizzes in the end!
The box seems a bit pointless to me (as a boring adult!), I didn't say that to A of course! But the action of putting in the tick or cross, rather than just saying 'right' or 'wrong' makes the whole thing much more interesting for A, which sums up her visual/physical approach to most things.
The thing I was most impressed with was the set of instructions. This is one of the many wonderful artistic and creative designs A comes up with when in bed at night. It has just hit me this week how she is such a 'night time' person (a bit like me really). Up until now I had been regularly returning to the concern that 'A needs more sleep', and trying to encourage her to get settled and lights out (or dimmed at least) by a certain time each night. The reality is she is getting as much sleep as she needs - she's not tired or grumpy during the day - so I don't know why I'm so obsessed with this idea. It occured to me that what I'm actually doing is trying to limit her most creative moments. So what we've decided is that she will usually go to bed at about 9, but after that its up to her what she does (until I go to bed when all the lights go out, but she's always asleep by then anyway). I pointed out that if she stays awake very late all the time she will feel the effects during the day, especially if its a day we have to get up early and have a lot on, but she'll work that out herself anyway. It feels right to be allowing her a bit more autonomy, she's growing up really fast, and responds well to more responsibility.
Sunday, 30 November 2008
We got some snow today! As you can see below, it was just a little sprinkling, but I had a lovely walk home through it after dropping A off to her Quaker meeting (her Granny goes too). I was all wrapped up in my big coat and boots, and a scarf wrapped round my head (very stylish!) so was warm enough to appreciate the beauty of it.
We had a day in Inverness on Thursday, got a few bits and pieces we need, and some Christmas shopping, and then met Nonna during her lunchbreak for a bite to eat - lovely. We went to see Nonno at work too, but he was busy with customers so we just waved and pulled faces at him and he gave us a big grin.
Friday we had some friends over, then went into town with them to see the Christmas lights being switched on. There was a big parade with a Narnia theme, and there was a really good chaotic/carnival atmosphere. I usually don't like busy, crowded things like that, but I quite enjoyed it and felt fairly relaxed. We had chips too, which always helps :0))
Below is my mad photo of some of the Christmas lights, it all went a bit wrong (must learn how to use my camera properly - its a mystery to me) but I like it so I thought I would share it.
The highlight of my week was receiving my PIF (Pay It Forward) gift from lovely Hannah - a twelve days of Christmas ring. The photo below doesn't do it justice, its beautifully made and a lovely idea. Am pondering what to fill the stockings with, A immediately suggested sweets, but no no no!
Wednesday, 26 November 2008
Probably not!! But I am quite impressed with myself. Off to get some wool tomorrow and will attempt some stripy arm warmers next.
Sunday, 23 November 2008
The masks were quite unnerving to begin with (have a look at the link for some examples), but were very effective. And an interesting storyline about human nature/failings, and redemption. We weren't sure before we went whether it was aimed at kids or adults, and I'm still not sure, but I think we all enjoyed it equally (our group ranged in age from 9 - 84).
After the show the audience were all invited to look around the set and play with the masks and puppets - a great idea, we had to drag the kids away in the end!
Its been a fairly quiet couple of weeks, colder weather has meant a lot more of this:
Tuesday, 18 November 2008
I am now an atheist, but was once a devout Catholic considering a vocation, and there is still something about monastic life that appeals to me. Cant quite figure that out, as its all about praying when it comes down to it, so without the belief its a bit pointless. Maybe its the silence.
This big stone was once part of the monks washing facilities.
This was only my second visit there, but my first to the Cathedral. I took loads of photos but most of them were rubbish - my camera seems to take mood swings. Here are a few that aren't too bad.
Sunday, 16 November 2008
Apart from that incident A did enjoy the time spent with her cousins, and there were other things to look at and play on aside from the scary stuff.
Wednesday, 12 November 2008
I enjoyed learning a bit about Rothko, its not the sort of art I would usually be attracted to, but he was certainly a very interesting person.
After a couple of hours of Rothko we went and had some lunch, then went back and looked around another floor of the gallery. A lovely day.
One of our first trips while at my brother's was to the Spinnaker_Tower in Portsmouth, where there was an 'Alien Invasion' event. The kids were extremely happy cos they got to meet a real, live dalek!! There were lots of other exhibits from various alien themed films.
Monday, 10 November 2008
Had a lovely holiday, went to loads of good places and caught up with lots of nice people, but two-and-a-half weeks was a little too long for me. I get a bit claustrophobic in a house full of people, I'm too used to having my own space I suppose. By the end of two weeks I was just about ready to punch someone, nobody in particular, I just get to the point where I need to be ALONE! Anyway, I managed to get a grip and not punch anyone, but am glad to be home.
A had a great time with her cousins, very few falling out moments. There is only six months between A and my oldest nephew (M), the other one (D) is three years younger (and tends to get left behind a bit, but it doesn't seem to bother him too much). A and M are so different - almost opposites really, but they have always got on really well.
I'll get started with the pics - I took lots so I'll do it in stages over the coming week.
Tuesday, 21 October 2008
Had a lovely day at Landmark today, with my friend, her two daughters, and another of A's old school friends. Very chilled (in more ways than one - it actually snowed a little bit!).
The tower - looking up
A with Jess the dog
I'm hoping to get into town while we're down South, to take A to the Tate Modern to see the Rothko exhibition. She's shown quite an interest in modern art, so I want to encourage her any way I can. She spent over an hour studying a book I have on Dali the other day, I think thats the longest time she's ever spent looking at a book! We had spent some time online looking at info about Rothko, and she was very enthusiastic about seeing the exhibition. It will be a very expensive day out, a proper treat, but hopefully I'll be able to make it happen.
Not many plans for the rest of the holiday, lots of time with my brother and his family, visiting various relatives, and meeting up with a very old friend I haven't seen for ages. We'll just see what occurs - I'll let you know ;0)