Random thoughts

The last couple of months have looked a little different to our usual routines. I’ve had a relapse of the Epstein-Barr virus which wiped me out but I seem to be feeling a fair bit better the last week or so; Ben’s been looking at different job options and has had multiple interviews with several different companies (no decision yet, though). Summer is upon us (hooray!) and I’m getting less and less inclined to do anything that resembles regular duties around here. The combination of the above three things have made for a rather unusual and unpredictable spring.

The girls are all doing well — in good health and spirits (most of the time), for which we’re thankful. Marica and Esther are now both voracious readers, and Laurelin, like a typical youngest sibling, wants to do everything they do. I wouldn’t be surprised if she starts reading at 3 — and not because I’m pushing her!

We’ve got 1 more week of homeschooling before we stop for the summer. Marica and I are looking forward to the break. Esther would like to do school all the way through! I’ve enrolled Laurelin in a preschool for 3 mornings a week starting in July. I’m hoping this will help the two older girls and me get some more focused schoolwork done.

I planted a veggie garden in the spring. It’s been really satisfying to see things sprout and grow. I keep going out there and thinking I should go get my camera to document it… but I haven’t. Gardening is such a nice chore, especially when you get to eat the fruit of your labor. We’ve had quite a few nice salads and herbs already, and look forward to a good crop of tomatoes, beans and more.

Politics is of course one of those topics that you can’t get away from these days. The general sentiment among the people I mix with is one of despondency — having to choose between bad and worse does not fill one with warm fuzzies. My main thought through all this has been: “How did it get to this?!” Ben and I have really appreciated this article written by Andrew Sullivan for New York Magazine that basically answers that question. It’s long, but well worth the read.

This summer is promising to be a lovely one. We’re looking forward to another Hoyt reunion in Georgia; a trip to Tennessee for cousin Hannah’s wedding; a trip to Vermont; several visitors — Ben’s parents, his brother and family, cousins, and some friends; the girls are all doing some sort of ‘summer camp’ — Marica to an overnight one, Esther to a daytime art camp, and Laurelin is doing a special programme at her new preschool. Add to that a plan to have many relaxing days at our friends’ pool, playdates with friends, picnics, ice pops, an abundance of summer fruit and sprinkler fun, and we’ve got ourselves a great summer to look forward to!

And on that note, if the posting on here becomes a little sporadic over the next few months, just imagine I’m trying to learn what ‘relax’ means again after a busy year. (Truth is I’ll probably be trying to get all the things done that don’t get done during the year like clearing out trash drawers and mending clothes and planning school for next year. But those things, when done, bring a certain kind of satisfaction that helps the whole relaxing thing!)

Co-op class pizza night

 

I teach a Narnia literature class at our homeschool co-op, which has been really fun. For me, anyway. Not quite sure what the kids think, seeing that it’s a discussion class and I make them talk. Which is such a hassle, don’t you think? :-)

In our class we’ve been reading all 7 chronicles and discussing them in light of Michael Ward’s book Planet Narnia. Actually, Planet Narnia is the adult version and is quite thick, we’ve been working through the simplified version called The Narnia Code. It’s a thoroughly Christian approach looking at (in a nutshell) how each chronicle is related to one of the medieval planets (Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Jupiter, Mars and Saturn). Lewis was fascinated with astronomy and with medieval cosmology (no, it’s not New Age, and no, it has nothing to do with the modern understanding of astrology). Basically, in medieval cosmology, each planet has a certain character and qualities that then forms the atmosphere for its associated chronicle. It’s a theory, and that’s how we’ve been studying it, but it seems pretty plausible to me. I’ve really enjoyed teaching it!

Earlier this spring I hosted a movie night of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe at our house. The class is mostly made up of boys, so I decided that there’d have to be some sort of food magnet. What better food magnet for young teens than homemade pizza and ice cream sandwiches? They made their own pizzas. No surprise that the first topping to go was the bacon, right? I enjoyed hosting them — they’re a fun bunch!

A Spring Tea Party

In our living room stands a beautiful wooden display cabinet that has been in my family for 3 generations. It displays a selection of pretty tea cups, teapots, milk pitchers and sugar pots I have been given from my grandma, my mum, and Ben’s grandma Tschetter. I love them all, but they’re of course too pretty and special to use on a regular basis… with the end result that they never get used! This is a problem that needed a solution.

So I organized a tea party with some friends! And what better reason to get a bunch of girls together to drink tea out of pretty cups than springtime? The first weekend of April we got together over some lovely food (contributed by everyone), a vast selection of teas and tea pots (some people also brought theirs to share) and had a lovely, lovely time chatting and forgetting a bit about everything else.

I think we just started a new tradition!

Easter 2016

This year’s Easter was a busy but lovely one. We kept up the tradition of making hot cross buns and egg dying, which the kids always love,

 

and on Easter Sunday we hosted a large crowd of church folk for a yummy dinner, followed by some rousing hymn singing. It was such a great time with people enjoying each other’s company and having some great discussions, mainly on theology and life. It was so wonderful to celebrate Jesus’ resurrection with such a neat bunch of people!

Before the dinner we had an Easter egg hunt for the kids, which was of course full of excitement.

And while we were all dressed in our Easter finery, we asked a friend from church to take a long-overdue family photo of us. We had a little fun posing in the street with midtown Manhattan in the background. Unfortunately I didn’t realise I had my transition lenses on (stupidest invention ever), so that doesn’t look the greatest, but that’s okay.

April Fool’s Day

Our family, especially the kids, have taken a real liking to April 1st. The kids plan pranks for weeks in advance, which they then gleefully execute on the day. We also have a little tradition of having waffles for dinner on that night. It started off as dessert for dinner, but we adults had a hard time stomaching that, so we turned it into waffles (with sweet toppings, still!) for dinner. This year Ben and I had a little left-over chili before we had our waffles. We’re getting so old and boring!

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Some fishy characters

For the first few years of our marriage Ben and I had a little dog, Blitzie. When we came to the States in 2010, we gave her away and she’s been living happily every after on a pig farm since. My kids, however, have been petitioning their dad for a pet since then to no avail. Until recently when he finally caved and has allowed some fish into the house. (Small steps!) Maybe it helped that I managed to get a secondhand tank from someone at our homeschool co-op for only 10 bucks?

The Saturday we tripped down to PetCo was filled with excitement as we got all we needed to set up our tank.

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Much to everyone’s disappointment we had to let the tank sit for a few days to settle before getting fish. Then, we got some fish but within a week they got a disease called Ich, so we took them back, treated the tank and then just got some colorful guppies, a ghost shrimp and a cherry shrimp. We’ve only killed 2 of the guppies and the 5 remaining ones have been happy and well for the last couple of weeks. If that stays the case, I think we’ll add a few more fish soon!

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Holy bubbles

I’ve been searching for a preschool for Laurelin for a couple of mornings a week. I think it’ll be good for her, and it will help the two older girls and me get a bit more done in school. It’s either that or a very part-time nanny, but I’ve just started looking so we’ll see.

Anyway, in my search, I came across a preschool that uses a church’s facilities (but they’re not affiliated with them at all). Ben and I scrolled through the church’s page and photos to get an idea of what they believe, etc. out of interest and came across this one. No, I don’t know the context, and each to his own, but…?!

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