Well it’s a good thing we listened to Shakira most of last week for … it’s time for Africa!
A friend sent us some ideas from their travels and so off we flew to Cape Town, taking in some South African sights before heading up to the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania! We watched and copied some traditional dancing and then read The Ugly Five by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler. It’s the first time we’ve used a book and a prepared resource but it really worked. I’d ordered the book especially and saved it for today, so it felt special and the kids were enthralled. (The Boy is obsessed with all things Lion King at the moment so this all went down a treat!) We then did an Ugly Five Safari, using a free learning pack from Scholastic (click the link- they’ve got loads to choose from!) Unfortunately, my idea to do the Safari in the woods and fields backfired slightly as we picked the only wet and windy time of day to do it- not exactly realistic! But it did prove they were having such a good time, as they still wanted to go round and do it again despite the lashing! Back home, (when the rain had stopped and the sun came out- typical!), The Eldest actually came up with the biggest hit of the day: bringing down the hammock used to store her teddies in and tying it to the trees outside, just like the one she saw on a video of Zanzibar. I try it out first, just to be safe, and honestly wish I could go to sleep in it! The Boy ties a pineapple and a mango to the branches above for effect and I am totally and tropically impressed that they’re really starting to get into it and take the lead these days!
Later, we have a go at making Koeksisters- a South African sweet that basically involves deep frying sweet dough and soaking it in syrup. By far the unhealthiest thing I’ve ever made from scratch, (and that’s some feat!), but great fun to make and predictably delicious. The Boy helps me cook an Ethiopian peanut curry and a coconut bean stew for tea- and both are also beautiful. Again, they don’t really eat it, but I figure if they’re cooking it and allowing it to grace their plates at this stage, we’ve got to be having some long-term effect on their future palate, right?!
We end the evening with the Lion King 1.5 (of course), and go to bed happy (The Boy), and emotional (The Eldest.) Once more, the kids “don’t want to leave Africa”, and on some level, neither do I!
(* For anyone interested in these themed weekends, I’ve just been recommended a website called tripabrood, who email out free travel packs each week. It’s a bit advanced for us, but there are definitely some good ideas to pick at- especially for older children- and if you sign up this week they send you all of their backdated resources!)
The government announced that Churches are able to reopen… at 10pm last night. Husband is a little bit flustered by all the emails flooding in and pinging back and forth before the Sunday Service. In a nutshell, the response to all of the questions that everyone wants to know this morning is, “this news is out of the blue and barely a few hours old, we’ve had no letter from the Bishop yet… basically, WE DON’T KNOW.”
And it is pretty much the theme of the week. One colleague hits the proverbial nail on the head by stating that all advice and changes coming out of London are basically based on London. We predict we’re going to be sitting tight a little bit longer, up ‘ere North of the Wall.
Still, there’s a lot going on in his poor head this week.
IT’S A GIRL!
I wake up to the news that my sister is in labour and know instantly that the day is a write off. I mean, we attempt to make and write postcards from Africa but I’ll be honest, my hand, eyes and ears are completely glued to my phone. I tell Husband the big news in the morning and he says, “Ah I knew it was today.”
“No you didn’t! Why didn’t you enter the sweepstake?”
“No I mean God told me last night.” (Hashtag Married To A Vicar!)
“What? Are you serious? Why didn’t you tell me?”
“You were asleep.”
“You went to bed before me! When was this?”
“Midnight. I just woke up and God told me to pray for her. So I did. Then went back to sleep. I presumed that must be it.”
Huh! Come to think of it, when their first child was born I also had such a vivid dream that she was in labour, I checked my phone several times in the morning, convinced I’d missed a message. In the end I rang my Mother to find out that it was indeed happening as we spoke! So I text her back today and tell her about Husband too and she replies that the contractions had, in fact, started at midnight.
Which is pretty cool.
Anyway… back to the main event and my lovely new niece actually entered the world an hour before we even found out she was coming! We barely had time to wonder and worry before the photographs came flooding in. What a wonderful start to the week!
So, school was indeed sacked off. Instead, we made a hideous cake that the kids loved decorating and I spent the rest of the day still glued to my phone- watching for updates, shopping for hampers and generally just getting giddy. Some days do allow for that!
So today is The-Day-After-It’s-A-Girl and to be honest I’m still too giddy. The emotional meltdowns of last week seem to have evaporated: now that she is here and safe and home and everyone is happy… all I feel is joy. I’ll meet her in due course. This week is just for smiling and celebrating that she has arrived! Weehee!
We do attempt a bit of schooling today but the kids, “just want to be creative.” And yeah… I think I do too! So I let them loose with the paint and glue again, and when everyone else is busy and happy, The Boy and I finish this:
Again, some days allow for this too.
Ok… maybe some weeks allow for this, actually?! I’m getting the feeling that this whole week is an educational write-off.
I come downstairs armed and ready to get back into schooling and the kids are arms deep in dolls and teddies, concentrating hard on the rescue of a giant Paw Patroller.
“Come on then, I’ve got a fun activity for this morning!” I sing.
“No thanks, Mummy. We’re just playing today.”
They don’t even look up. For a moment I hover around and try and decide what to do. I mean normally, they ask if we can play or paint or something instead. I’m a bit taken back by the matter-of-fact explanation, to be honest! I contemplate insisting and then think better of it. The local council have postponed all school re-opening in our area, the guilt is gone and I feel way more relaxed this week about following their lead. So… play day it is! I make a cup of tea, watch them play, get on with something else.
Unlike yesterday, this morning we have whining and bickering so I decide it’s time to take a lead. I coax them into some work and games on animals for an hour or so, using some of the Scholastic resources. It goes down well, we make a food chain, do a tiny bit of writing and then… the glue is accosted, the recycling bin raided and they’re making castles and flags and allsorts else.
“We’re having a creative day today, Mummy.”
Are you now?!
I make my Mam’s birthday present and tick a few more jobs off the To Do List. In the evening, I manage to get both children to read to me and complete some phonics games on the laptop. I mean… that’s good enough right?!
It’s good enough this week.
In the evening I realise that the website I use to create our annual Photo Yearbook has 40% off until midnight tomorrow . I know I shouldn’t… I still have 6 months to cover… it’s a silly idea… But this week has been such a write off the temptation to achieve a goal and grab a bargain proves too much. I sit up until 1am and have managed three and a half months. Head to bed knowing I only have two and a half left tomorrow…
Except of course, I can’t sleep. My eyes are square and there’s white light where my brain used to be. So I get up. I finish my Photo Yearbook at 4.45am and it is WORTH IT! Does anyone else get a serious buzz out of ticking a big task off a list?!
The adrenaline of doing so gets me through the day, I think. I’ll suffer for it tomorrow…
Anyway. We do another Scholastic resource on sea creatures today and it is fun- and actually helpful! Both do a decent amount of writing and try so hard that I give them pancakes for lunch. Which is, of course, where the wheels fall off and I’ve no one to blame but myself!
In the afternoon, the kids meet their new cousin via Video Chat; though predictably The Boy makes no secret of the fact that he is way more interested in a pad of paper Daddy brought home from work. So much so he shows it to my sister as she attempts to show him the baby!
Eventually, labour chat loses the room, so I take the kids out to the woods and watch them chase each other with sticks. It’s an early night for all tonight, but hey, at least we’re happy!
At the end of the week I think… was that even a week?! It all went by so fast! With the school decision taken away, I definitely feel more relaxed.
Thanks for reading.