We now officially have a teenager in the house. Our beautiful first born turned 13 at the end of June and I am pleased to say she has not changed at all. I keep waiting for the often talked about teenage belligerence but we haven’t seen much of it from our Zoe. Her birthday, like all other birthdays, began in the dark. She made her Frankenstein cake with only a little help from me and needed help from the rest of the family to eat it. The day was very quiet because all the birthday girl wanted to do was play Minecraft. That is what birthdays are all about in Casa Christenson, doing whatever the birthday child wants, and the other two never complain. They also get to eat their fill of the garbage food that is off limits for the rest of the year.
Recently, we allowed them to chat to some friends on an Australian Minecraft server, Addstar, via a voice chat app. To say the least, they love it. I like that they know they are chatting to other children because they can hear their voices. Interestingly, there are quite a few homeschooled children in the group. But they tell me they usually only chat about the game and they know not to ask or answer any personal questions. Yes, we are very protective and proactive about our children’s online activity and their computer lab is under the lounge room, so I can hear everything they say :)
At the end of September, the Boy turned 10. Seriously, ten years since this little guy arrived. How can the time go so fast? At least his birthday didn’t start in the dark but it was a long, quiet day of… you guessed it! Minecraft! I had them run around the house every half an hour or so, just so they didn’t get all cramped up from sitting so long but they would have happily sat at their computers and only come upstairs when they were hungry. Henry received some really cool gifts this year including a Tinker Crate from KiwiCo. I have a few of these crates waiting for birthdays and Christmas and this is the first one we have used. Henry loved putting together this pack, which is a catapult arcade game. The instructions are excellent and there are videos that show step by step how it goes together. It also comes with a little magazine with instructions to make other things.
As you can see from our photos, we have been quite busy with life and learning. Recently we took Basil up to the kennel where he was born so he could have a long-overdue clip. I tried to clip him when he was little but I nicked his ear and I nearly fainted at the sight of blood (yes, I am soft!) So we take him back to where he was born every couple of months and I don’t have to worry about cutting him again. While we were there this time, the children helped out our dear friends and awesome mini schnauzer dog breeders, Andrea and Georgina, by holding some newborn puppies. This is not the first time the monkeys have been lucky enough to cuddle puppies but it is exciting every time. You can see Zoe with the mum, Indigo, who is pure black and such a lovely dog. We are very fortunate indeed to be able to visit regularly and get to know how the breeding world works. We love hanging out with all the mini schnauzers, they are as different as children and almost as fun!
The children have been working hard playing their violins regularly and are looking forward to the end of year performance. I just want them to play together more often, but they much prefer solo performances. It really is amazing how much they can achieve with just 20 minutes of play most days of the week and a half hour lesson once a week. I still don’t know how to read music let alone play an instrument, but I love that my children can!
The weird weather had us at Redcliff contemplating a swim in early September (way too cold) and we actually braved the pool at Southbank a few weeks later. It was still way too cold and the Boy, who has not a gram of fat on him, was blue after a few minutes but he was going to brave it as long has his sisters. We then went home and curled up on the couch together under doonas.
Many days, after our schooling is complete, the children begin some kind of craft. Last month, Lily spent days constructing towers out of straws, sticky tape and printer-paper, for Henry to pretend he was a giant and cut them down with printer-paper sword. The watercolour paints and paper come out at least once a week and while none of them want me to give them a lesson, they still manage to create some lovely paintings. Another craft we like but have only done a few times is suminagashi, which is the Japanese craft of marbling. This time we tried to marble one of Lily’s shirts. It didn’t really turn out but she still wears it. We also have a huge pile of marbled paper that will probably be used as backgrounds for future paintings.
The children have begun drama lessons with other homeschooled children. Drama Works is very professional and so far, we are all enjoying the drive to Albury Creek each week. The children have made some lovely friends and even Henry is getting into being a drama llama! Term four has them preparing for an on stage performance at the end of the year. All three look forward to Thursday lessons and I get to chat to the lovely mums while we wait :)