Monday, 12 January 2015

Mobility

I'm not saying that walking hasn't been useful, but for us, getting the kids on bikes has been the most useful exercise for promoting real life! And Thea has now joined our happy gang. Here's her first attempt last week on a bike that is at least 2 inches too big for her:

She can't really reach the ground, but when she needs to stop, she's developed a safe-falling mechanism where she sticks one leg out at 45 degrees and then falls until her foot hits the ground! Very entertaining, but hardly safe.

We've borrowed a smaller bike for her, but the dimensions are all wrong and she can't pedal it without tipping herself off the saddle. These problems don't seem to bother her - she's happy on her far too big bike! Today she cycled to school and we collected Nathaniel and a friend and they all cycled back together. I had to jog along side to save Thea in case of unexpected dogs/youff, but this didn't seem to limit her enjoyment.

And her and Finn are having a whale of a time:
She just needs to grow.......

Monday, 22 December 2014

More Advent

Clearly, that wasn't all we have been up to. Here's the rest:

The advent calendar has been a bit more upmarket than last year's. Maybe by next year I'll have painted it!

It has instructed us to do lots of fun things. Collecting the Christmas tree was one, and then we all had fun taking off it's hairnet....

...transporting it to its place.....

....and decorating and then hugging it!

More Christmas crafts have been enjoyed. Snowflakes started to fall on Holgate:

And after Nathaniel did some 2D paper weaving at school, I introduced him to scandinavian heart baskets - weaving in 3D.

The red is from school and the green an actual basket.

Of course, Nathaniel is always up for a challenge - 5 warps/wefts:

On Saturday we met up with some friends for brunch at Meltons Too and then proceeded to the carousel. Thea spent a long time watching it a few weeks ago and has been asking for a ride, so we all went on!

She really enjoyed it after being reassured that that horses were going to stay on board. This is why you shouldn't allow kids to watch Mary Poppins! I got over my life-long fear of being stuck on a horse many feet above the ground at the end of the ride!

We've been enjoying listening to the Nutcracker Suite, and so the kids were most impressed when the advent calendar suggested that they might like to use You Tube to watch some of the ballet. I had assumed that they'd most enjoy the first act where there is a lot going on and a clear bit of story (people arrive at the party, presents are given, children gallop), but actually, it was the Waltz of the Snowflakes that made the biggest impression. Here is our rendition:

And of course we might have made some presents. I don't think this gives too much away:

Happy Christmoooooose!

Friday, 19 December 2014

Advent continues

There's a lot going on! School is a 5-day-a-week extravaganza of fun. Parties, performances, fayres, xmas crafts.... it's all go!

Nathaniel was a line dancing angel this year. Yes, there was more than one line dancing angel at the birth of Christ.

It was, as usual, quite amazing. Nathaniel sported a serious concentrating face throughout, and appeared to get a bit disgruntled with a child who kept dancing in the wrong direction. But he had so much fun! He is very keen on more dramatic activities now!

There have been plenty of nice things to eat. Pomegranate season is always relished in our house!

And the end of term at Steiner led to our traditional day of many Iraqi breakfasts (one for me and Thea at toddlers, and then a reprise after school).

For the uninitiated, Iraqi breakfast consists of date syrup, water buffalo cream and bread. It's much nicer than it sounds!

Everyone enjoyed the chocolate foundation at the Christmas Fair:

Any of course all of this requires copious amounts of cooking! Gingerbread (not all burnt):

And mince pies:

Christmas is a good time for crafts. We started with glittery pine cones:

And obviously there is Christmas card construction. Again Nathaniel gamely created and wrote 24 cards for his school friends and then some more for his favourite teachers. This year we did finger printed reindeer, sleigh and snowmen.

And after the Christmas play, Nathaniel decided that he would really like to reproduce the sheep's streamer wands. Of course. So that's what we did:

And then we danced:

Of course, this misses most of his best moves which he didn't reproduce once I was filming!

It's been a good mix of coldish and mildish, so great weather for tree climbing:

as well as ice smashing:

Last weekend we had the day of Christmas performances. Thea and I went to the Early Music Centre for a kids concert by the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. It was great!

Thea liked the cello and double bass best, and has been singing the songs ever since.

Simultaneously, Ian and Nathaniel attended the Star Wars themed Bishopthorpe panto. I think they had fun, but it was a bit much for both of them. We won't split up again next year!

I wonder if anyone will have any energy left for Christmas?

Sunday, 30 November 2014

How to start Advent

This is how Advent should be started:

By playing with rockets on the Moor:

And then by having friends for lunch and eating cheeses brought back from Paris:

Yes, of course that's reblochon.

And then by cycling to the Steiner Advent Spiral:

For the uninitiated, this festival entails sitting in the cold, dark gym while singing Christmas carols to the accompaniment of a group of musicians. Then, one by one, each child walks through a spiral laid out on the floor with greenery. In the centre, they light their candle (wedged in an apple) from the central candle and walks out again, placing their lit candle on the ourwards spiral. By the end you get a spiral of light. Its rather atmospheric!

Then coming home and making the advent ring, known in our house as the Advent Tray due to our inability to find oasis in a ring shape!

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Teeth

One of Nathaniel's teeth started wobbling while we were in France, but it didn't seem at all keen to come out, so we just concluded that he was bound to keep his baby teeth until he was grown up. Therefore when he claimed that his still not much more wobbly tooth was going to come out today, I declared that it was unlikely.

Clearly I was wrong.