School holiday highlights

july beach.jpg

The school holidays will be over after this Friday; I have mixed feelings about that. I love the break from the daily school and work routines and hanging out with my kids, but if we don’t go away anywhere then managing everyone’s activities and different needs and energy levels can become quite a bit of work. Anyway, here were a few highlights from the last few days.

Community service camp for the eldest:  She spent three days with friends visiting a nursing home and hospital, gardening and cleaning for our parish, and playing team-building games. The fourth day was a treat – they were taken to the beach. I thought that was a strange choice for the middle of winter but she said they had a great time.

Beach day: Then, weirdly, I found myself at one of the city’s beaches with my boys on Monday for a couple of hours and it was gorgeous. The sand was warm, and the water at 18 degrees C was ok for splashing one’s feet in along the edge. We got there around midday and apart from a few joggers and swimmers had the place mostly to ourselves. Although by the time we left there were plenty of people with frisbees and balls and picnics and things down there. I’ve never been a beach person and found visiting that particular beach in February a purgatorial experience. I’ve just never been there under the right conditions, obviously!

Lazy local park days and home days: Either on our own or with friends of the kids. These are always good. Yesterday it was just me and the kids and the boys decided to stay in their pyjamas and play with Lego or on the trampoline all day, while the girls cleaned out the cars for me with intermittent help from their brothers. I cooked a massive shepherd’s pie and no one hassled me much to go onto the computers or watch TV until the late afternoon.

First Friday Adoration: I often forget to go when our parish hosts 12 hours of Eucharist Adoration each first Friday of the month. This time I made it for an hour from around 7pm. During that time the priest led us in Evening Prayer of the Church and that was very beautiful. I was happy to stay until the conclusion at 9pm but that final hour had been pegged for a specific devotion and I really had just needed some quiet time to unfurl my own thoughts before God. When the kids are back at school next week I’m going to have to schedule this kind of time into my weeks and stop relying on serendipity to get it!

My daily walking streak: is continuing and it’s nice to be doing it with the kids during the day when it’s warmest, at the park or local bushland or wherever we happen to go. My legs are sore from yesterday, walking and running on the sand for two hours is quite the workout.

Hanging out with family: Apart from all this time with the kids we had my husband’s sisters’ birthday lunch at my in-laws’ on the weekend, and my dad, who has just retired, is cooking lunch for us tomorrow.

Reading in the evenings: I have this little ritual happening where at the kids’ bedtime (which is late at the moment) I park myself beside my husband on the sofa while he watches a Spanish drama (he’s learning the language along with our eldest boy, and I figure better him than me) and read a bit before going to bed myself. I found a couple of good books at the library when I took the kids at the start of the break, especially one about food, The Omnivorous Mind by John S Allen. But this week I’m also continuing my reading of St John of the Cross (The Ascent of Mount Carmel currently). Incidentally, John was a Spanish mystic but I’ve no interest in reading it in its original language…

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