Wednesday, October 7, 2009

My Parents Are Here!

We only have 5 days left with my parents. They've been visiting us here in Oxford for the past (almost) 2 weeks, as they're en route from Nigeria to home assignment in the U.S. It has been so unbelievably great to watch the kids and them get to know each other in person. I wish it could last longer.

This morning we decided to play a board game, since we've been talking about playing games but hadn't yet accomplished it. We played the kids' version of Cranium, called Cadoo. It's a multi-sensory game, involving play-dough, acting, drawing, and thinking skills. We all had a great time! Josiah and Naomi understood the questions, and each team had a turn at winning (we played 3 rounds).

Steve took the kids to the playground while the rest of us did chores at home before lunch. After lunch, our pastor Peter Comont and his wife Judy came over for a visit. I'd really wanted them to meet my parents, but it was also good to catch up with them ourselves. Steve and I love our church and love the Comonts!

As soon as the Comonts left, I took off on our bike to get fresh fruit and veg at my regular Wednesday market in city centre. It was raining by this time, so I had on my rain jacket, but my trousers and hair got wet anyway. I was already late for market, and knew they'd have a more limited selection by then. But I was horrified to discover, upon my arrival, that I had left my cash and my debit card at home. I found 2 pound coins in my backpack, bought some bananas and broccoli with it, and then raced home to retrieve my money.

When I returned 30 minutes later, the market was being put away, but I was still able to get what I needed. I was grateful for our bike, which makes getting to town so much quicker than walking! I also stopped in a hardware store to get a few bolts and nuts to fix the kids' scooters. I got home wet and tired. Over a cup of tea, I read a Today's Christian Woman article to my mom. (She can't read the small print of magazines anymore.)

Mom helped me prepare hamburger curry for dinner, and for once, everyone cheerfully ate the entire meal! Even Ethan ate his meat. Dad played guitar for us afterwards and Ethan joyfully bounced to the music. He loves to hum and is quite good at keeping a tune. Once the kids were in bed, I read a few mystery short stories aloud to Steve, Mom and Dad. Now I'm late for bed. Another day in the life of the Gertzes...

Brief Updates from my Facebook

Oct. 5: My parents told my kids that I used to race snails when I was little. Josiah looked very quizzically at me and then said, "I guess you won a lot, Mom!" I didn't understand at first, but then realized he thought I was racing against the snails and was always faster. We laughed so hard...

Oct. 4: Kids flew their first kite today, and my parents went punting with us for the first time. I'm so thankful for sunshine, even though it's getting chilly.

Oct. 2: Steve comes home tomorrow!!!! We survived 4 weeks apart.

Oct. 1: I'm dreading moving house in two weeks...

Sept. 30: I love having a mom who can sew (mended and hemmed a pile of kids' clothes today) and a dad who does computers (we've saved all our queries for him!)

Sept. 28: I sang with the City of Oxford Choir tonight -- gorgeous music, lovely voices. If I can work out a reduced fee, I'll be so happy to join them for the year!

Sept. 26:
I am SO happy with Naomi's choir (Oxford Youth Choir). She's only 7, but learning about enunciation, reading music, posture, listening, tonal accuracy ... and having a great time, as well! Her two teachers are amazing, and I'm so grateful she has this opportunity.

Sept. 25:
I'm having fun, catching up with my parents in person! (lovely, too, to have some extra help with the kids and dishes)

Sept. 22:
I love watching and listening to my kids demonstrate what they're learning by incorporating it into their play. Today we discussed "Great Plains Native Americans," made some paper tee-pees, and the kids immediately went off and used their Lego people to re-enact what they learned!

Sept. 21:
I think the book "Watching the English" by Kate Fox should be required reading for all foreigners living in England, and strongly encouraged reading for all English!

Sept. 21:
I am SO excited to see my mom and dad on Thursday for the first time in 1 and 2 years respectively. They're visiting from Nigeria for 2 1/2 weeks. They'll be amazed at how the kids have grown!!

Sept. 21:
My early-bird son makes me smile. Josiah came running to me as I lay in bed this morning saying, "Mom! Mom! I saw the sunrise!!" and later "Mom! There's a hot air balloon right outside our house!" Now if only the rest of us could wake up as alive and cheerful as he.

Sept. 20:
Anybody want three kids for real cheap? Free? Mine are on offer for a *limited time only*!! Don't miss out on this amazing bargain!

Sept. 19:
I just got some great tips and encouragement for helping my boys from Steve's cousin, Judy, who is a speech & language therapist. Now to put it all into practice!

Sept. 19:
Naomi said this was the "best day of her life -- except for her birthday" because we went to an old park that had been updated with some new equipment as well as painted. N liked the zip line and the bird's nest swing the best. The park's transformation was truly amazing!

Sept. 19:
We're halfway through our month without Steve. All four of us (at home) are still alive and speaking to each other. This is a good thing.

Sept. 18:
I *loved* attending our church's first film club of the year. Knowing "Slumdog Millionaire" would be inappropriate for my kids, I brought along my laptop and some kid dvds, set them up with blankets and pillows in the back room, and we all had a good time. What a movie -- thought-provoking, heart-breaking, sweet ... good conversations afterward.

Sept. 17:
We had quite the interesting day yesterday, between losing my toddler in downtown for a scary ten minutes and having a toilet disaster with one of my older kids (who shall remain anonymous). Could have been worse, though. Everything turned out okay in the end.

Sept. 16:
Home-educating is quite unusual and unknown here in the UK, so I'm looking forward to a fun publicity and solidarity HE event today: bubble-blowing on Cornmarket Street. After an hour there, complete with media coverage and interviews, we'll walk to the Natural History Museum together and picnic (and I'll face-paint!)