Thursday, 18 July 2013

Happiness is swimming!

We went to the lido again yesterday.  We met up with three other families and had a blast.  

Freddie was in the water from 11.30 until 2.30, and had his lunch in the car on the way home.  He spent his time water bombing (this was ok with the lifeguards.  It was strictly banned when I was a kid!), and generally swimming about.  He can do front crawl for a few strokes, and was really pleased with himself.

Betsy spent ages practicing a series of balancing moves.  She loved playing with one of the other mums too.

Meg had itchy feet.  She wanted to be in the kids pool, then the big pool.  Then the blanket.  Then the kids pool, the big pool.  Repeat many times!

The girls were exhausted afterwards, and for the first time in ages Betsy slept in the car and all the way into the house.

This morning we studied Swedish culture, i.e. we went to Ikea.  Sorry, crap joke!  The kids wanted to go into the creche.  They played for the full hour, and I had breakfast and converstion with some other home ed parents.  Then we wandered around the store, playing in a couple of the pretend house.  Betsy was upset when we left, as she wanted to play longer.  The others were hungry for lunch.  

In the afternoon, Freddie played minecraft and the girls painted stone and loo rolls in the garden (followed by a shower to remove the paint from feet and legs!).

Later, Jarvis invited Freddie and Betsy swimming with his mum and gran.  Betsy was absolutely delighted!  Usually only Freddie goes.  She came back so happy, saying it was the best day ever.

My mum is over now, she's babysitting so Rob and I can go out to celebrate 10 years together :-)

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Hot hot hot

We accidentally went on a long walk today.  We met up with two other families at the local nature reserve.  Our planned activity had been bumped thanks to a large school group, and we were sent off in the opposite direction with paper and pencils, and advised to find a tree to sit under.

Off we went.  We walked.  And walked.  And walked!  There were shrubby trees, but no trees with grass and a view to draw.  And it was hot!  The kids did really well, even though this isn't their idea of fun.  We walked so far that we realised there was no going back - we may as well carry on around the rest of the lake.

We saw some interesting things along the way.  The kids found a bee on the ground.  It didn't look well.  It's proboscis was clearly visible, something none of us had seen before.  I picked it up and put it in a flower.  I'm sure it died anyway, but it looked like a nicer place to be than the dusty ground.

The wild flowers were beautiful, and we saw many butterflies dancing around them.

The kids missed the baby spiders safe in their nursery, they'd walked quite far ahead.

We walked for about 1 hour 40 minutes, at a slow pace and including a few stops.  Fred and Betsy were relieved when we got back to the car!  We walked around the lakes here:

Freddie said he didn't enjoy it, but he was amazed that he did it.

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Butterfly World

Yesterday we went to a local lido.  Now that Freddie is 8, the world of swimming pools has opened up to us.  Before, I couldn't take 3 under 8s by myself.  Now it's not a problem!  The lido was great.  It cost £13 for the 4 of us and we were there for hours.  We swam, paddled and splashed, and had a picnic on the grassy poolside.  Some home ed friends met us there, and we went to the woodland playground afterwards.  A busy, fun day in the sunshine.

We had another fun day in the sun today.  Someone on a home ed Facebook group organised a visit to Butterfly World.  It's only 30 minutes from us, which is a bonus.  

There was lots to see and do.  We explored the gardens first.  I love this bit (we visited a few years ago when they first opened).  The first garden is giant, making you feel like a miniature creature.

There was a bug hotel garden.  The kids loved crawling through the tunnels.

My favourite garden is like a fairytale house, inside out.  There is a bed,  dining table with a magical feast, a desk, a mantlepiece, walls, but no ceiling.

We walked through a giant plant pot into a garden with metal spider webs, and walls made with reclaimed materials.

Here and there were interesting sculptures and objects.  

And the flowers were just beautiful.

We stopped and had our picnic in the play area.  It has a couple of good slides, big sandpits and a huge climbing frame.  After lunch it was time for the education session.  The staff managed to pitch it pretty well, considering the age range was 0-11.  They talked about the lifecycle of butterflies, and the kids got a chance to hold a stick insect and a cockroach.

We left after a while as the girls had itchy feet, and found the UK's largest colony of leaf cutter ants.  The rest of the group came in as the session was continuing in there.  Freddie stayed as he was really interested, while the girls wanted to go and see the tropical butterflies.

We went back to get Freddie, and then went to the play area again. 

 It was an excellent day.

Monday, 8 July 2013

Parties and sunshine

Another busy few days here.  Friday was the home ed day at Camp Mohawk.  We all love it there, and I think it's made me a bit complacent.  

Each time we've been, the kids have gone off and played and had enormous amounts of fun.  This time, Freddie took the sword he'd bought at Legoland.  That really changed the dynamic of how he and his friends played.  There was a boy he hadn't met before, and the group splintered into an 'us v them' situation.  Freddie hit someone with the sword.  He got called a son of a bitch.  There were reports of them putting another boy into a bush.  Ugh.  When we talked about it, Freddie observed that taking the sword had made things more troublesome.  And I observed that I had not paid enough attention.  Lessons learned!

On Saturday I took Freddie to Billy's birthday party.  They watched the first (new) Star Wars film, and had a massive water fight in the garden afterwards.  

Meanwhile, Rob was under instruction from Betsy to organise a birthday party for her new baby bat.  They decorated cakes, played pass the parcel and everyone had a lovely time!

Sunday was all about the Wimbledon mens finals.  Amazing, amazing amazing.  Luckily the kids played a lot at Jarvis's so they weren't too horribly neglected for the afternoon.....

Rob also found time to go to the allotment and harvest 2.5 kilos of strawberries.  Awesome.  

It's a new week now, and the sun is still shining.  We headed to the splash park, to what is becoming a regular park meet up.  It was really well attended today, with 7 or 8 families.

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Day trippers

It's all about days out at the moment.  We went to the splash park in Leighton Buzzard on Monday for a home ed meet up.  After a day off at home on Tuesday, we went to Legoland for a friend's birthday on Wednesday.

First of all we went around the Star Wars exhibition.  It was amazing.  The kids (and the grown ups) were really impressed by the models, and how they'd set the scenes up.

The rest of the day felt like it was spent walking from place to place (the area is huge!), queuing, and taking kids to the loo (Meg is nappyless, and doing really amazingly well on day 3).  The time spent on rides was small considering we were there from 10.15 until 5.15.  I prefer smaller theme parks, I think.

The kids particularly enjoyed the boat school, the driving school, the laser shooting ride and the small roller coaster.

The busy pace continued today with a trip to the zoo.  Our annual pass expires this weekend, so we had one last visit until we renew in 6 months or so.  We saw loads of animals!  This was in contrast to last week, when we saw the hippos and spent the next 4 hours in the new playground.

We watched the bird show and loved the parrots at the end, then headed to the sealion show.  The kids sat in the blue splash zone, and did get a bit wet.

After lunch and the obligatory visit to the playground we went on the steam train, and stopped for an ice cream.

We saw the lions and the meercats, the cheetahs and the zebras.  We drove through the Asia area with all the beautiful deer.
We were really lucky at the giraffes, as they were having a snack on some beech branches.  Freddie chatted to the volunteers there, who had giraffe skulls and vertebrae to look at.
The Discovery Centre was empty, except for a few teenagers.  Really, the whole zoo was pretty empty.  Last week it was heaving with school trips, and I was expecting it to be the same today.

Betsy's ring tailed lemur came along, and had a lovely time climbing trees, eating lunch, and visiting his relatives ;-)

We got back, I made dinner, and quickly worked on this post, and then Jarvis came round to say there were some people doing something interesting in the park nearby.  Honestly, my heart sank.  Washing up everywhere, lunch bag full of picnic leftovers, everything to prepare for tomorrow (yet another day out).  But, we grabbed buggy, scooter, bike and water and headed out.

After a very grey day, it has turned into a beautiful sunny evening.  The kids made a beeline for the skate park.

Then we watched the people we'd heard about.  They were doing something interesting, some sort of balancing/bouncing on stretched webbing.

Very very cool.