Ian returned home on Friday, after his week in Benin. I didn't go to the school so I'd be home when he arrived. We spent a quiet afternoon together before the kids returned and life returned to organized chaos.
We have switched our main door from the back sliding glass doors to the heavy wooden front door. The glass door worked fine, but there has been an increase in the number of break-ins lately so we decided to err on the side of caution and pulled the metal grate closed and padlocked it. The front doors also have a metal grate we can shut and lock should the need arise, and the wooden doors are a couple inches thick with deadbolts at the top and bottom. All in all, we feel safer at night.
So, the kids wanted to swim, and we went out the front door where Sable was hunting something in the tangled roots of a nearby tree. On closer inspection we found a baby mouse, probably fallen from a tree top nest. Katherine was appalled I would allow it to be tossed in the trash, and was convinced we could save it with warm milk and a visit from the vet. I can just imagine what a local vet would think if we called to have him help rescue a wild mouse, where mice are a disease-ridden pest (except in the form of the agouti delicacy). We compromised and kept the mouse in our bug house. If it made it through the night, we'd see what we could do. Needless to say, after being dropped from a tree, tossed by the dog (no, Katherine, it's not wet from rain, that's dog slobber), smooshed by a broom and thrown in the trash, the mouse with its eyes still sealed shut did not survive the night. We were all saddened by its passing. Today, we put it to rest. After much debate where Ian wanted to flush it and the kids wanted to bury it, we chose cremation. In an aluminum can with flammable propellant soaked dried grass, little mousy went up in smoke. Katherine and Ian did bury the final remains in a quiet corner of the yard.
But our entire weekend wasn't veiled by death. Yesterday morning, bright and early at 7, Emily stopped by to pick up Katherine for a jog. Katherine has never jogged before, but has it in her head that it's great fun so she asked Emily if they could go together. They planned to be out for a half hour. Katherine lasted 23 minutes. There's been no mention of going against next weekend.
Emily stayed at our house most of the day. We played the card games Holy Cow and Labrynth. Emily taught us Speed Scrabble. We flipped through travel books and heard about her spring break trip. We ate omelettes and brownies. In the afternoon she went home for a bit while Ian was called in to work and the kids swam. Then we picked her up for dinner at Philapat's, a nice restaurant near here with good pizza. Jonathon was bushed and kept saying it was too late, he wanted to go home and go to bed. We did just that, then opened up our mail from the past week. A box from my parents revealed perfectly intact Easter bunnies along with ingredients and recipe for a lemon cake. My mom knows how much I love lemon foods. Some new books and new shoes for Rebecca and Jonathon (for our trip) rounded out the parcels.
Today, we had a late start. Last night Emily stayed to watch a couple episodes of CSI and that always means a late bedtime for us. When I finally crawled out past 8:30, the kids were having breakfast and watching cartoons. Works for me. We made an Easter tree as our Sunday project. I'll put a picture up, it turned out really cute. We all got suckered into playing several rounds of musical chairs before lunch. That was seriously funny especially when it ended with Ian and Jonathon going head to head.
This afternoon we had our funeral pyre followed by letter writing time. Every week the kids write letters or cards. Since it's become part of our routine, they don't complain about it nearly as much as they used to. It's a simple rule to complete a letter: write as many lines as you are old. The salutation and the closing do not count. Aside from that, pretty much anything goes.
Following up on my last parenting post, I received numerous e-mails with suggestions (or commiseration) on the issues of towels and dinner time. For dinner, step one has been to make sure the table is completely set before anyone sits down. If something is omitted, it's usually an item or two, and I tell the kids to ask for what they need so I can either let them go, or I'll get it for them. It's much more pleasant now. For the towels, they have a single towel to share. They aren't liking it, but guess what, it did get hung up. I will move them up to 2 towels soon, and we'll see how it goes from there. I still need to safety pin their hand towel so it rotates around the bar. But I haven't had to pick up a towel in 3 days now.
All in all, a good and fun weekend. Ian has off tomorrow for Togolese Labor Day/May Day, but as usual the kids have school. I wonder what the Togolese teachers think about that. And do they get overtime pay?