Hazy Days

the shadow of the life to come

Hazy Days

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Body World

In Mid-March Craig and I decided to take the kids on an educational outing… Since we’re doing anatomy for science this year, I figured that the girls would benefit from seeing Body World. Well, Kiera’s sensitivities got the better of her a few days before and she forfeited her spot in favour of her cousin, Holly.  The boys, we figured, were too young.  So off we went, with only 1 of our 4 for our family educational outing! 

We couldn’t take pictures inside the exhibit, but we were allowed to take this photo…


We really enjoyed it – if it is possible to enjoy a 1 1/2 hours of viewing dead bodies!

Katie and Holly had a ball and enjoyed their Kauai date with Craig and I afterwards.


Here they are showing us that even bodies with their skin ON can look pretty gross…




Yum yum.


Most poignant for me was the beginning and the middle.

The first exhibit is of the development of life, from the smallest zygote to the newly born baby. Looking at those little exhibits made me realise just how amazingly intricate our creation and development is. Looking at those ‘bundles of cells’ shouted “I am human!” – not at all what the pro-abortion lobbyists would want you to believe. I walked on from the exhibit being incredibly moved by God’s intricate planning in our lives, right from the very beginning.

Interestingly, though, when Craig and I came to a cross-section of a man’s head, my feeling was polar opposite. We were face-to-face, quite literally, with a man in his 50s or 60s. Every pore on his skin was scrubbed and clean. There was still stubble on his chin and a place or two where the razor didn’t quite reach. His eyes were closed, yet they look like he would, in any moment, ‘wake up’ – open his eyes and begin a conversation. Except for the fact that half of his head was on the right of the plate and the other half on the left. We were staring at the cross-section of a man’s head. His skull and brain cross-sectioned to reveal the intricate convolutions of the brain. He was dead. And his brain was nothing but a meaty mess of channels and vessels. In that moment, our mortality, our finite cellular make-up stared me in the face.

The oxymoron is startling and yet obvious. We are nothing but cells. Yet we are made in God’s image. We are all going to die one day, leaving a body of skin, bone, muscle and other mortal fragments. Yet, we are so much more than the body we leave behind. My ironic reaction did not escape me – when staring at a floating blob called a zygote, I felt deeply moved at God’s creation of humankind. When staring at a recognisable human being’s centre of reason and life, a man’s cross-sectioned head, I felt deeply aware of our nothingness – our biology of cells that function until they die. How odd – yet, how significant at the same time. For God’s interest in us was way before we were recognisably human. He came to save us long before we were even that floating blob called a zygote. We ‘enlightened’ humans hold so much more value in the human represented by the man’s head on a plate – more than the human represented by the white, floating tissue. Yet, GOD loved us BEFORE…

It makes the whole pro-choice/pro-life argument seem utterly absurd.

Noting November

I started a trend this year of summarising the previous month with a photo-round up.  I began with an alliterative title, and continued the trend despite the cheesiness it’s deteriorated into!  Cheesy title aside however, there is still lots worth journaling this November, so without further ado:

Studying cells this month ended up with some fun activities like this one:



Sam has had a mostly child-directed learning experience this year – it’s what happens when you’re a middle child!  But, he’s learning at pace and enjoying his growing skills.  This is a sweet note that he made for his friend, Matt.  That’s a globe with a smile on it.  It reads “me and mat is for evu frens hra”  Which translates into “me and Matt is forever friends. Hurray!”


Sam also completed his second I Can Read It! book.  Such delight!


Granny and Grandpa returned from Australia with some gifts from cousin Jesse for the boys:


And T-shirts for the kids


Another Enzi chair shot of Sambo.  We still love our chairs and they are a permanent feature around our table.  To think we’ve had these since our eldest was 4!


Granny and Grandpa’s return to CT meant that we got to hang out and eat lunch together.  Yum yum.  The grumpy kid faces was indicative of their camera-fatigue.  Poor kids!


November was also the month I got to enjoy a full day of spiritual nurturing.  First at the Cape Town Women’s Convention and then later at bookclub with some inspiring women.  The Convention was particularly inspiring thanks to the great teaching of Lesley Ramsay who spoke on a topic called “Is my God too small?”  Read more about it here: http://cesa.org.za/cape-town-womens-convention-2012/


Thankfully, Craig was not away when this visitor came to hang out at our home.  I was working on my laptop in bed late one evening; Craig fast asleep beside me.  For some random reason, I felt to look up towards the opposite end of the room.  That’s when I gently nudged Craig and said, “sorry to wake you babe, but I’m not going to be able to sleep with that guy in our room.”  Craig’s blurry-eyed response was, “Jeesh, that’s big!”  My Knight-in-Shining-Armour kindly relocated this guy across the road to a bunch of bushes in front of the opposite neighbour’s perimeter wall.


Debbie kindly invited us to join her and Charise for a strawberry picking outing.  Yum yum!  The VB family joined us too – hats and sunshine and strawberries!  Love it!





Plus a visit from the local cat….


We stopped for tea at a lovely, beautiful tea garden on the way home – it was beautifully decorated.  Just beautiful!


The kids were enthralled with this parrot that talked up a storm!


And we had a relaxing-ish tea!   We determined that it was a place to revisit with our husbands one day, sans 11 kids.


We picked up pizza one Sunday for lunch from our new local pizzeria, Prima Pizza.  Well, let’s say that I’m sold on their pizza.  Delicious and COVERED with great ingredients.  Yum yum. 


One of the last Sundays in November saw us hit Camps Bay beach so that Craig could take some photos of a prop bottle floating in the water – for the artwork of my book cover.


Given that I am most likely going to self-publish, and do so on a shoestring budget, my talented sister, Kelly, agreed to try her hand at a cover photo for my book.  But she needed a bottle-floating-in-water shot for the cover she imagined.  Perfect excuse for a family outing!   We spent the first couple of hours running around the beach, playing tag with the tennis ball and catch with the waves.  Here’s me tormenting Kiera:


Hubby took some beautiful shots, but it was difficult to get decent bottle floating shots!  I took a few shots too with my phone:


And my half-dying Canon EOS 350:


Craig has some stunning shots too – he put a couple on the Facebook page.  After our trip to the beach, I left the bottle in the flower bed outside our front door.  Ever the absent-minded (and, let’s be honest, lazy) person, I neglected to pick it for a few days.  That is, until Micah picked it up and then smashed it all over the driveway!  Thankfully, it was in keeping with the story of the book, so, before we cleaned it all up, I grabbed the opportunity to take some shots of it. 


We started our Footprints on our Land (South African Heritage) curriculum in November – getting a head start on what we planned to start next year.  One of the fun activities, related to the story we were reading, was a water experiment.  So that the kids could learn a little about the water cycle we place a little ramekin bowl inside a large jug of water that was covered in plastic wrap.  The little bowl was free of water.  But, the stone placed on top of the plastic, directly over the bowl, caused the little bowl to collect water through the process of evaporation, condensation and then precipitation.  Love this photo of the boys enthralled!  It wasn’t that long ago that Kiera and Katie were 6 and 4 and enjoying Science experiments with the same degree of fascination!



For once, I’ve been fairly organised with Christmas gifts.  And for once, I remembered teachers’ gifts before the term’s end, rather than way afterwards!  The kids and I had fun putting together pressies for teachers.   It was rewarding seeing their delight as they talked about their various teachers and what they loved about them.  There are some well-loved teens/young people who teach my kids at Children’s Church and Kids’ Club!


This year, our Christmas tree decoration night shifted from Dec 1 to Nov 29 because Craig would be away for the weekend.  There was far too much Christmas excitement in our home to wait until he returned.  Can you see the delight?


We ordered pizza from Prima Pizza again (yum yum!).  30-IMG_9858

And so began the Good Night Christmas reading experience for another year.  Kiera got that book for her 1st Christmas.  We read it to her when she was 2 and a bit for the first time and have read it to our kids ever since.  Kiera is out-growing it, but the others still love the squeaky voice of Night Light, the narrator.  I love the memories we have of this tradition and this photo warms my heart! 


Since Craig was heading off to a business trip on Friday, he shaved his Movember Mo off a day early.  Really chuffed with my non-gimmicky-fund-raising-style husband for taking up his boss’s challenge to do the Movember thing.  He figured that if he was going to do this thing, then he may as well have fun with it – and so he grew a handlebar moustache!  I couldn’t look at him and not think of a Harley-riding biker dude.  On seeing the pic below, Bev (his mom) declared that he looked like a Mexican Bandit!I have to agree – but a gorgeous bandit none-the-less!

craig movember

November ended with our final Nature Club of the year.  We went to Arderne Gardens to learn about some of the Champion Trees there.  We had fun doing a scavenger hunt that I picked up on the geocaching.com site.  Unfortunately, the geocache itself has been archived (no longer in the garden) but the fun scavenger hunt was still doable and so we did!



And ended it off with a lovely picnic under a beautiful tree.


The rest of the day was a bit manic – it involved a visit to the doctor to establish if Sam had indeed broken his arm when falling off Kiera’s bed that morning, or if it was just a really sore bruise.  We soon established that it was just bruised and Sam proved that within seconds of walking out the doctor’s office by hanging by his fingertips from the administrator’s desk while I coughed up a whole bunch of money I didn’t need to spend!  Then it was race Kiera to choir, race others to kids’ club, race Kiera to her gym awards evening, race back to the VBs to fetch Katie and then race home to put kids into bed early enough so that we could race out of the house in time for Sam and Katie’s gym display/awards the next day!  Phew!

Kiera was super chuffed to receive a platinum award, which we were all really surprised about.  When I heard the scoring required for bronze, it sounded quite high, so I wondered if perhaps she would be getting bronze.  So I readied the video camera for bronze.  No Kiera.  Silver then?  Ready camera….  No Kiera.  Hmmm, Gold then!  Yay!  No Kiera?  By then I thought they’d forgotten about her!  But it turned out that WP have just introduced a platinum award and now they take the extra 5 points from the vault jump into account, hence the higher scores.  Kiera was thrilled to be called up for the platinum award.  And I was thrilled for her.  She has worked hard this year with the ability the Lord has given her and has improved enormously.  Well done, my sweet girl – a lovely note to end November on.


Smiles for Science

Kiera gave me a good chuckle the other day when she grabbed the boxed juice container after draining a cup of juice. 

Speaking aloud to herself while she scrutinised the nutrition label, she said, “Hmmm, how much did I give my Mitochondria?  Hmm?  Oh about 105 kilojoules!  And what about my Golgi Bodies?  How many fats and proteins and carbohydrates did I give them?  Hmmm.”

If ever I doubted that our most recent science learning was sinking in, that moment dispelled it totally!  

Edible Cells and more

While we’ve been in quarantine, thanks to the Whooping Cough Lurgies, we’ve had some really slooow school days.  I was too ill for most of last week to do anything with the kids, but they got on with their independent work without much prompting from me. 

But this week, we got back into the swing of things and got to some of the fun things in our first chapter of our new Apologia Exploring Creation science curriculum.

We’re doing Anatomy and Physiology for this term and the rest of next year.  Chapter 1 is all about the building blocks: cells.  I was a little intimidated by the content – the kids would be exposed to terms like ‘mitochondria’, ‘lysosomes’ and ‘endoplasmic reticulum’.  Terms that I barely remember from high school biology.  But, true to the reviews, Apologia explains these things in a wonderful narrative way.  And with a few fun reinforcing exercises, even my brain remembers them off pat now!

We played a kind of Simon Says game when we first learnt the terms.  Each term would be assigned an action.  I’d sit on the couch like a lazy lump, shouting names of cell organelles while the kids jumped around energetically, trying to remember the right action for the right organelle.  Then, tables were turned and they had fun shouting commands at mom while mom bounced around.  Thank goodness we do this in the privacy of our home, and my kids aren’t as trigger happy as I am!

This week, in consolation we made a huge poster.  Katie heard that we were going to draw it (again) and sighed, “bo-oring”.  Then she heard that we were making a HUGE poster together and she was suddenly all inspired.  Trying to keep tabs on what inspires her is quite a task!  Mostly it’s just hit and miss.  I’m glad this one was a hit!


Apologia explains each organelle’s job by comparing them to jobs of people within a city.  The cell membrane is the city walls, the mitochondria are the power houses, while the lysosomes are the policemen and the endoplasmic reticulum are both the mailmen and the garbage men.  The kids stuck with this theme as they labelled their cell.  Pencilled in next to each red circle are their notes as to the actual functions of each cell.


This week we are going to concentrate on finishing the tasks from our Junior and regular Notebooking Journals, so I don’t have pics of those yet.  But, we did do the fun Edible Cell activity at the end of our cell chapter.

We made a “cell” out of jelly and various sweets, talking about what they were and their role all while doing it. 


First we made the jelly (jello, for you Americans!) These photos are with my phone, so they’re blurry and not great, but you get the idea.




Then we filled our cytoplasm (the jelly like substance inside the cell) with the organelles.  Here are the organelles – mints for lysosomes, lollipop sucker head for the nucleus, cherry gum sweets for the E.R. and silver balls for the ribosomes, Sugus sweets for the centrioles and liquorice allsorts for the golgi bodies. 


Hard at work making their cells:




Sam’s was the only one we managed to decant from the bowl.  Here you have it – Sam’s Edible Cell!


And speaking of Sam – here he is with his second I Can Read It! book certificate from Sonlight


He is loving reading. Sue lent him the first in the All About Reading series of books. It’s part of an intensive and excellent reading programme that she uses with Caleb. It’s lovely. But we’ve already got a programme we’re happy with, so I’m not changing. But the book Sue lent him has been a wonderful confidence booster for Sam. It is filled with short CVC word sentences that he can easily read. But, it’s this thick book, just like his sisters read, and he can read it! He has been walking around the house with it tucked under his arm, reading it at every opportunity. He has even taken it in the car with him and insisted on reading it to me when he woke up this morning. Long may this love affair with reading continue!

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