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Sunday, December 05, 2004

Speaking of homeschooling ... Sophie just finished her fiftieth chapter book. We started counting at the start of the academic year, in August. Some of the books were very quick reads, Junie B. Jones sort of thing, but many of them were far more challenging. Among others, she read Prince Caspian, Magic by The Lake, The Princess and the Goblin, Bedknob and Broomstick, Mrs Frisby and the Rats of Nimh, Ballet Shoes, Five Children and It, and The Story of the Amulet. And yesterday she started What Katy Did.

So we must be doing something right. (She said, a tinge of defensiveness in her voice).

In other news, the kids had another bouldering comp. today. There was an 11-and-under category, and then Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced for men and women. Sophie won the girls' 11-and-under. She was unbelievably thrilled. Ems was totally bummed though; she entered in Intermediate Women, but her score was way high, so they bumped her up to advanced, with all the late-teens/twenty-something women, where she placed fourth. So she didn't get a ribbon or prize. She doesn't see any honour in having been bumped to advanced, she's just miserable that she outclimbed all her friends, but doesn't have a place and a ribbon to show for it. Steve climbed really well too, and he doesn't mind not having got a ribbon though, thank goodness.

Right now Bobby and his folks are outdoors wrestling with Christmas lights while I lurk here at the computer. This is the first year we've been in a house, so this is the first year we're doing the decorating thing. I can hear ominous clanks and worried noises so I am keeping very quiet and hoping that no-one remembers I'm here and asks me to come help.

It's funny, we saw The Grinch when we were still in South Africa - must have been Christmas 2000 - and we thought that the house decorating thing was pretty much a Seussian phenomenon. Now we realise that the movie actually did a pretty good job of describing suburban decorating rivalry, and that people actually do risk their lives clambering about on their roofs with strings of lights and giant blow-up Father Christmases.

I do love the way all the decorated houses look though, inflatable musical snowmen and all. The lights and the colours and the chill in the air make this time of the year feel quite magical.

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