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 show 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


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.

Monday, 17 November 2014

Being three

For months now, Thea has been telling anyone that'll listen that she's having two birthdays this year like the Queen. And so it was fortunate that her birthday spread itself out over a whole weekend!

Thank you for all her lovely presents!

She had some friends round for playing and cake and the most important commodity of all - balloons.

Ian created exactly what she had requested - a chocolate cake with green sweets on!

We rounded the celebrations off with a meal of Thea's choice - italian pasta with tomatoes and mozarella by candlelight. Not bad!

Monday, 10 November 2014


Ian has been away all week with important work:

So I thought that I would take the kids on an adventure to London! It almost didn't happen - a freak rainstorm (requiring changing of all clothes down to underwear) delayed us on the way to the station, but we did manage to catch our train. Thanks to Nathaniel's running, we actually had 5 minutes to spare, but the train was late anyway......

The kids made up for my grumpiness towards the couple who sat in our seats and declined to move by being charming and playing nicely and holding adult conversations with the surrounding passengers.

And then as the train emptied out, played jungle explorers down the carriage (complete with swinging from vines) until they hurt themselves and I got disapproving looks from people!

Nimmy and James kindly met us from the train and helped us home and the kids enjoyed their transport options as usual.

The next day Nathaniel planned a complicated route through London using the most amazing number of different tube lines.

It all came a bit unstuck when he got totally overwhelmed by Baker Street station, but we managed to press on by a new route which was fortunate, otherwise we would have never accidentally run into the Lord Mayor's Show parade!

The Butchers

My favourites were the Modern Livery Companies (I enjoyed the accountants), and no-one forgot the farmers!

Then we got to our goal - the DLR - and managed to get the front seats so we could pretend to be train drivers all the way to Greenwich.

We had some lunch and a brief play in the Maritime Museum (just enough to make us want to come back to do it properly), and then decided we were exhausted and went home! The important thing was that Thea got to do lots of Tube surfing (which she is pretty good at), and everyone got their fix of interesting stations (I like Canary Wharf) and trains (many, many metropolitan line trains!).

The next day we got to Kings Cross early enough to have coffee in sight of the Eurostar trains and the rather fine architecture which everyone was pleased about.

And then we went home. For about 2 hours. After which we needed more stations, so we went back to pick up Ian!

Sorry about the blurry pictures - not entirely sure about my new phone's camera yet......