Today we decided to take the day “off” and go for a hike in our beautiful drakensberg mountains. It has been years since we went and we wondered how the little guys would possibly manage. Well little Maisy (aged 3.5yrs) walked all 3.5km! So I’d say they all managed pretty well!
As we reached a particularly difficult scramble up hill everyone else had already disappeared out of view and she looked up at me saying, “Mommy it’s too hard, I can’t do it.” Just then Neil’s voice wafted from some where ahead of us….
“Maaaaaisy. Maaaisy. Come on girl.”
She looked at me. I looked at her.
I asked ” did you hear your daddy’s voice. Did you hear him calling?” Neither of us knew which direction we were headed but as he called we climbed up toward his voice. Suddenly it didn’t seem so steep or scary but rather an exciting anticipation of when we’ll find him. We kept looking till suddenly there he was. What a rapture of joy as Maisy saw her daddy standing there waiting for her. That last scramble was one of pure delight and love.
Later as we descended upon a steep path I told her to hold my hand and we’d walk this part together. When she asked why I explained that sometimes Jesus will call us and we need to b follow his voice and other times we need to just hold his hand and let him do it together with us.
What a full heart I took home with me. I had learned so much about my father in heaven as well as being mom. This Being Mom thing is not just about school and clothes and food and sport. It’s about walking beside our children – training them to hear, see and recognise their heavenly father. And as mom I need to not be their saviour rescuing them from every hardship but rather walk beside… Had I picked her up and carried her on those hard paths neither of us would have seen what God wanted to tell us about him in struggling the difficult moments in life. Slowly, slowly this mommy is learning what Being Mom is really all about.
With Kadin in hospital recently we needed to do something special and differnt with the other children – yet we didn’t want to leave Kadin on his own for long. So I was really excited when I remembered that the Sharks Board we situated across the road from the hospital. I remember going there as a child and I have vivid recollections of the demonstartion. The sights and smells are still so real today that it felt surreal that in such a fast changing world – there could be someting I could share with our children just as it was when I was a child. Amazing how nostalogic we become in our old age 😉 Then again just as we loved to hear about things our parents did – in the old days, so our children like to hear about us in the old days and to have the opportubity to visit somewhere I went to as a little girl was just as exciting as teh outing itself.
And we were not disappointed. On arriving we bought our tickets and were ushered into a room to watch a movie on the history of sharlnets in Kwa-Zulu Natal. This was a really great opportunity for the children to see footage of the old beachfront as well as to apprciate how far technology and general development has come and yet some things just stay the same as they are alreay working well – so why change them.
After this we went to watch a shark disection. This was really facinating – and just as smelly as I remember it to be. They found a baby shark in the stomach of the shark which means that would have been one of its last meals – before it was caught in the nets. After the talk we browsed the museum and shop before heading back to the hospital. The children learned so much from the hands on experience and it opened so many discussion points over the next few days. This has really created a special memory during a hard, chaotic week of our lives.
This morning began with a flurry of baking at 6am – just because this Mama ain’t so organised to have her cookies baked before 😉 By 9am we were dashing up the highway and by 11:30 we were heading home with hearts full not only with having blessed others but knowing our gifts had been used to bless others.
Today our group of homeschoolers got together to partake in our annual “reaching out” to the elderly day. It is such a simple concept that as one old lady said to me as we walked out, it allowed her “to live again today!”
We simply make a time to go to an old age home and each child performs a simple item. It maybe a poem, song, dance, musical piece or anything they’d like to do. We then hand out little packets of biscuits that we bring along for each resident. So simple and yet so life giving to these people.
I was so proud of my little people for all they did:
Kadin played his violin 20141003_095811
Nate recited “Ozymandias”
Joy-Summer recited “Shall I Compare thee to a summers day”
Lily-Grace sang “Joyful Joyful” 20141003_100334 (please click on this link was just too sweet!!)
and all 5 of them sang “Little boxes”
No it was not perfect, yes they forgot words and went out of tune BUT that was just it! Today was NOT about us and how well we could pull off a show it was simply about blessing someone else by stepping out and sharing a little bit of what makes us who we are with those around us! The result being that not only were they blessed but every child came home feeling that bit more confident, proud that they were able to share a bit of themselves with someone else!
Oh my for so long we have counted the months, weeks and days and finally Joy-Summer and Lily-Grace can tell the world that they are 6! With their birthday right in the middle of December we decided to have their Princess Party in mid-November.
It was a simple party, they made princess paper dolls, iced biscuits, had to ward of brother dragon who stole the party packs and then they had a real tea-party! They did however savor every moment and it was a roaring success.
This last week however the “real birthday” arrived. True to tradition they woke to find the breakfast table set and they a breakfast treat awaiting. This time it was waffles and ice-cream!!The excitement of opening presents was however too much and so little was eaten – for a change!
We then all got ready to head off to Butterflies For Africa for the day. We had organised to meet up with granny and grandpa there so we had a full day ahead… Browsing their little butterfly shop is a treat in its self but spending the morning holding butterflies and searching for little caterpillars was so special. The girls were in their element!
They fed the fish and stoked the stick insects -aagh! A picnic was in order during lunch time. Oh and did these little princesses eat!! – before heading back into the butterfly house yet again. By 3pm we bundled 5 dirty,full and happy little people into the car to head home. It was such special day and, “Yes, NOW you can tell everyone that you are 6!!!”
Our weather here in South Africa has been amazingly HOT about 40 Deg C (104 deg F). With effect that we haven’t ventured out the house much-except to the swimming pool! So today I decided no matter what the heat was we were going on a nature walk in our botanical gardens.
When we pack for a nature walk food is a must, but so is our nature bag. In our nature bag each child (and mom) has a drawing book, we have pencil crayons and crayons as well as other stationary, tweezers, magnifying glass, zip lock packets and such.
So even though we were wilting ……..we put on our cheerful faces and headed out.
One of the highlights is to ring the old ship bell that stands at the entrance to the avenue of Plane Trees.
While reading all about the bell’s past adventures….
Then as in all families with little people nothing goes well till the tummies are full. So we found a fantastic picnic spot! Please note the new lunch boxes – they have changed my life! Instead of one box for all – everyone has their own packed lunch what a pleasure 🙂
Then special times of bonding together. I love how close the children are and that even though the age gaps are big they still love to hang out together.
Everyone took turns swinging each other around in circles
Whilst chasing a lizard up a tree – some investigated whilst others clambered up an old vine entangled around the tree.
Little people learned how to use a magnifying glass.
We were chased by geese.
While some terrapins came to say hello….We took some time to draw what we saw.
We went for a nature walk and besides seeing some interesting birds Maiden #1 managed to just miss been splatted on by a hadeda.
As we strolled along we stopped to look at some bugs and interesting plants.
We listened and laughed and ran and crept. We took time to day dream and just be.
No we didn’t do maths, or language arts, we didn’t write a report or carry clipboards. But we learned SO much. We learned to stop and take time to just enjoy being together in nature. We learned to just stop and be still. We learned that goslings can make us shriek with delight while terrapins held us awestruck. The Hammerkop’s cry kept us captivated while while mysterious paths keep us intrigued.
“Mommy, is God as big as those trees?”
“Wow” stands in silent awe and then: “What a huge God we’ve got”
A day well spent I’d say!
Take a few minutes today to take some time to really look at an object today. It may be a flower, a shell, a garment of clothing or a toy.
Take time to look at it, feel it and smell it. Afterwards talk about it. Tell each other what you like best about how it looks such as its colour or shape. Talk about what you think it smelt like and how it felt and what this texture reminded you of. This shouldn’t be school type discussion or a sit down activity but just something you draw into your day when you notice something you think looks interesting. It may be as you are carrying the groceries in that you see a weed pushing its way through the drive, “Wow – look how strong this little flower is. Have you seen a flower like this before? Look at those petals what do they remind you of…..”
It’s at times like these that make children form a relationship with and an interest in the world around them.
We just spent a week in the drakensberg but we didn’t get around to buying all the kids raincoats. We could have let that stop us from enjoying our walks in the mountains on rainy days BUT we didn’t. That was simply because we took some black plastic bags with us. We cut a small hole in the bottom as a head hole and a hole at each bottom corner or arm holes. We needed to tie it up a bit but it kept most of their bodies dry. (Just remember to throw the bag away afterwards as you don’t want you little ones playing with it when you not around.) We found so many exciting creatures that we would have missed if we had let the rain keep us at bay!
Take time today to observe your shadows.
Watch them jump and move with you. Look at how they grow and shrink. Take some paper outside and put it down near a friend or a plant and trace the shadows.
Believe it or not shadows teach a child so much about their position in space, it increase their vocabulary, draws their attention to comparisons, they learn about the sun, light, movement as well as how special and individual they are.
Hint: don’t talk too much. Just make a few observations and let them connect dots, ask questions and explore this exciting extension of their body. (Or even add a few bodies together to make some strange shapes!)
With spring upon us we have had a wonderful time outdoors. Our pre-schoolers have stood in awe of all the amazing mysteries happening around them. As we’ve played outside we’ve been drawn towards the new flowers budding or the tiny leaves poking through the dry earth. Leaves of all shapes and sizes are bursting off our trees and insects galore have taken up residence in our garden. Finding time to stop and look at all these amazing miracles not only leaves them with a sense of wonder and awe that will be carried into their adult lives it also helps develop a host of other skills.
By looking at these tiny developments and bursting of nature they develop an eye for detail, their visual discrimination and visual figure ground and visual constancy skills are honed. As you compare different flowers and leaves they will be developing their sorting skills. They will begin to notice different patterns and similarities and differences on the various objects. Notice how all the caterpillars walk differently and how one bird runs along the ground whilst another hops. Take some time these next few days to just enjoy being outside with your child and they will be developing a host of preschool skills that you are not even aware of!
Take time to stop and look at the little things in life. These include flowers, bugs, stones and leaves. By learning to stop and notice what is around us we learn a host of skills including the development of the habit of attention, observation and detail. Take a few minutes out of each day to “stop and stare.”
I will be the first to admit that play grounds are not my favourite places! As much as I love my children and love being Mom I’ve just never managed to get excited about sitting and watching children climb. On a recent picnic I did however see once again just how good climbing structures are for children!
These climbing apparatus not only develop the obvious gross motor skills but a host of other skills as well. A few of these skills are social ones as they need to learn to take turns and not push each other off!
As they watch others go higher and slide faster they are challenged to move out of their comfort zones and will climb to heights they may not have before.
They also learn about their limitations and what they personally are capable of. Imaginative games emerge and hours of fun are created on and under these huge structures.
It was then that I realised that although I’m less than enthusiastic, if I find a calm play park, take a picnic basket and a good book maybe climbing structures could not only provide my children with hours of fun and development but maybe I could read a page or two of my book as well!!