Monday, March 23, 2020

The new normal

Almost every country in the world is in some sort of a lockdown, all businesses and education centers shut down and life goes on within the walls of your own home. Something like out of a science fiction movie ..... a virus attack that is causing havoc and death. I used to love reading Robin Cook books which had a lot of books around this theme. This one isn't a fictional virus but is real and subtle, increasing death rates faster than we would want to know of. It goes by the name Covid-19 or the Coronavirus. 

Living in the Netherlands, the country was a little slow in realizing the impact than some others. But surely, they caught on and schools closed on March 16. All the restaurants, cafes, sports clubs were closed too. For a country that doesn't legally allow homeschooling, this tiny country began it's very own the first school supported home school. 

Benjamin attends lessons on their Microsoft teams and continues with homework. Elijah picked up all his books from school and has work set out by the teacher for the next few weeks. And watches lessons, does dictation, checks answers on What's App. David has also received a packet by post from school along with craft activities, links to specific concepts on school tv and other activities. As exciting as it was, it was stressful too. At least the first week. It was chaotic and tense at least until 14:00, after which they were done with "school", lunch and settled into screen time or a movie. By which I was knackered and didn't have any more grey matter left for my own work at the school, my speech therapy, and my masteral dissertation. But I learned a few things. 

  1. Wake up earlier than the kids and get some work in.
  2. Accept the fact that you might not be able to do things the way you used to and settle for that.
  3. Things will settle.
  4. Use "Stress Away"(Young Living essential oil)
We are into the second week now and things have settled. Kids are managing on their own and just need an "All okay?" call once in a while. I am still not putting in much work but I am getting clever with my time.

Somethings that I am enjoying:

  1. Short walks with the family in the neighborhood.
  2. No school drops, pickups, sports and other after school activities.
  3. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner all together all the time.
  4. Small 15 minutes of decluttering around the house.
For an extrovert, I am doing okay without social contact,  but I miss a few of my closest friends. which we have managed to meet through Zoom over a glass of wine or tea! So, all in all, we are fine and we are blessed to be together and safe. Our families are safe and well.
Our local church went online and 63 connections attended "church"

Speech therapy through Zoom
We celebrated Benjamin's 13th birthday this weekend

Friday, March 8, 2019

De Hoge Veluwe National Park

This Carnival break we had a lot of playdates planned out. Other than the kids enjoying long days with their best friends we went out for a day trip. We have never visited the Veluwe area and thought it would be a good time to do this. 

We cycled from the parking area through the park and reached the Kroller Muller museum. With rains predicted throughout the day we weren't sure how the biking would work out. But, weather reports were wrong and we had great spells of sunshine , enough to enjoy the outdoors.

The museum was interesting enough that the kids enjoyed it equally. It was a personal collectors dream opened to the public .The Kröller-Müller Museum is the lifework of Helene Kröller-Müller.  This museum boasts almost 90 paintings and more than 180 drawings, making it the second largest collection of Van Goghs in the world. In addition, the museum is home to top works by modern masters including Claude Monet, Georges Seurat, Pablo Picasso and Piet Mondriaan. 
The Kruller Muller garden

Artists trying to recreate a part of a Van Gogh
Another artists serious attempt

That small bit almost like the original
Not a Van Gogh but reminded me of Harry's Hole in Donegal, Ireland

My favourite Van Gogh sketch

Capturing the Van Gogh 

One of his few self portraits

Benjamin's fav

Elijah's favorite

Depicting a night scene without black


Spot the eye

Modern art critics in the amphitheatre 

Catching the sun on a rainy day

They learned about perspective and how it changes.The outdoor garden  had sculptures from artists all over the world. 
When we approached one from the side , Benjamin said it looked like the head of a Roman soldier. As we approached it closely and faced it forward, it looked completely different. The word "dog poop " was immediately suggested. Of course, the words poop or fart has to grace a conversation when there are boys involved! From Rome to poop! 

We talked about modern art and what makes it art. There was a wonderful collection of Van Gogh paintings and sketches. Each of us chose our favourite and spend a couple of hours enjoying the paintings. We got to discuss about his life, and kids remembered parts of his life from the books they read. They noticed themes, styles, textures, colours. 

A relaxed wonderful day out with the boys!

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Erin go bragh..... Ireland for ever

It's always been a dream of mine to visit Ireland. Partly because its such a beautiful country (as seen on TV and pictures) and when I was a teenager I saw the movie " Far and away". Tom Cruise in his glory days and Ireland as the backdrop to a part of the movie. The accent, the music, the people, the landscape and of course the story attracted me to this magnificent country. 26 years after the movie came out , I got to see Ireland. Being besties with an Irish helps. We love holidaying with the Armstrongs, close friends of ours. The kids are close friends too. This was the second time we travelled with them. During the May holidays we flew to Dublin, and spent a day there. The next day we drove to my friends family home in Portadown and got to spend some time with her mum who just celebrated her 90th. It was indeed special to see the place where she grew up. We drove up to her sisters holiday home in Donegal . The next week was magical. Every place we hiked up to or saw was amazing. And every time I would think I don't think I am going to  see anything more beautiful than this, I am floored by the next beautiful sights and experiences. The kids had an amazing time with their best friends.


Inside the Trinity college Dublin

On the bus in Dublin

Portadown Patterson farm

The first climb to the dunes
The Armstrongs didn't start us off easy! Climb the dunes they said!
Kids rolling off from the top...
After the dunes we found this deserted beach. It was a sight indeed
When it started raining.. like it always does in Ireland , we found this cave to  keep dry. Well, sort of dry.
Heading back... we walked through this magical woods.... Right out of the Lord of the rings movie ...

Marble beach. The kids enjoyed a couple of afternoons here.

Buddies at the lighthouse

Glenveagh National Park, Donegal

Look at that backdrop! Even more ....I am blessed  to have a friend like Pamela

Church service on Sunday

Glenveagh National Park, Donegal

Off to Harry's hole

Benjamin jumping off at Harry's hole

Pre historic tombsite

The highest sea cliffs in Europe

Ice cream at a harbour town after fish and chips 

Last day... a rainy day at the reptile museum

Good bye Donegal.. until next time

The gang at the holiday home in Donegal