I have been erratic as usual in blogging what we have been up to, which often happens when we are too busy doing it to write about it. I am really tired at the moment, and have been going to bed as soon as the children finally settle, but I have made myself stay up tonight in an attempt to catch up. The holidays started with a relaxing and fun Easter weekend at Granny and Grandpa’s. The children enjoyed lots of arts and crafts, cooking and playing, and I enjoyed having time to blog about it all – a one to one ratio is very civilised! Since then life has been a little more hectic. I had two days at home, mainly occupied with washing and packing before setting off annual trip to Butlins in Minehead for Spring Harvest. It is a… well I’m not sure how to describe it… Christian holiday/ conference type thing. I’m sure there’s a better way of putting it. We are the group organisers for our church, and we enjoyed spending time with the other families in our group, as well as meeting new people.
Our Spring Harvest highlights this year:
- soft play and Bob the Builder world – we spent a lot of time there, as always
- the children settled in well to their group activities in the mornings, and had a lot of fun
- I managed to attend four of the adult sessions this time – a significant improvement on my previous best, and a testimony to the fact that life is getting easier as the kids get older (though that did make me a bit sad – it was weird being at Spring Harvest without a little baby)
- the Big Start in the big top – an all-age introduction to the day’s theme
- the evening all-age worship – a very chilled out end to the day
- having two extra children with us for 24 hours while their parents’ drove home (four hours each way) for their eldest son’s confirmation. This was a lot of fun, and also a highlight because it felt like quite an achievement that it all went so smoothly, and it was nice to be able to help our friends out. Six children? Easy!
- some evening socialising with the other parents (thanks to Supergirl) and daily chats over coffee
- swimming (for the children) and not swimming (definitely a highlight for me and thanks – again – to Supergirl. I love swimming but not the kind that involves standing at the bottom of slides getting cold and hoping your children will emerge safely.)
- setting foot on the beach (for about 15 minutes, in between all the other things the children wanted to do – there is never enough time to fit everything in!)
- feeling proud of Owl who had a little more freedom to explore this time, in the Skyline where the book stall and exhibition stands were, and was very responsible about coming back when he said he would (usually only about 5 minutes at a time, but it was a good experience for him.)
- twinning our toilets (I kid you not)
- Tiddler’s birthday, which was the last full day. All four children were extremely lucky to be chosen to dance onstage in the final Big Start in the morning (the link is to someone’s video from Week 1 and we were there in Week 2 but it gives you the idea!) Later on, to celebrate Tiddler’s birthday we had lunch with three other families (19 of us in total) in one of the restaurants on site. And for me another highlight of the day was catching up, briefly, with my lovely friend (Owl’s godmother) who came for the day and joined us at the all-age worship in the evening.
I always come back from Spring Harvest feeling tired but happy, and inspired about something new. This time I got most excited by a conversation with others from our church about the idea of starting a “messy church” service, which we have been wanting to do for a while. It was good to discover that the others liked the idea too!
Since then, we have had a quiet few days at home, trying to catch up with laundry and housework, but also having fun with the children and enjoying unstructured time before the term-time routines start up again. They have played with their trains and cars, Lego and puzzles, and set up a shop selling toy food. We have enjoyed time together drawing, colouring and working on sticker and activity books, and playing with playdough. Monkey, Rabbit and Tiddler made food, and Owl made a red planet with a space police prison on it (apparently this is based on the Lego Clutch Powers movie!)
On our way to and from Spring Harvest we drove past Stonehenge, and the children drew some great pictures for our Prehistory project when we got home.
We have also started a new project based on a Friends and Heroes DVD which we bought at Spring Harvest, along with a curriculum pack for home educators. And today we have been making the most of the sunshine with a whole afternoon of messy play in the garden, involving rice, split peas, flour, shaving foam and water. I really need to blog that separately I think. Tiddler hasn’t been very well for the last few days, but he seems to be getting better and he really enjoyed playing in the garden today. I hope Spring is finally here!