August has so far been an amazing month. A month of reflection as I turned 40 and took stock of the last ten years of our unschooling journey. On my 30th birthday I was newly pregnant with Alfie and hiding my exciting secret at my birthday barbecue. So much has changed since then and I have grown together with these three wonderful children. There are some sorrows along our journey, as we lose Nanny to the evil of Alzheimers for example, but many, many joys. This last decade has been totally awesome.
So, what have we been up to this month?
We had a lovely day out at Rodbaston Animal Zone with Nathan, Bex and Violet. This is a wildlife park that is part of the local college, used for the students training in animal care. They also have the World Owl Trust lodging with them whilst their new centre is built in Dudley. Alfie loved holding the barn owl
We spent a fantastic couple of days staying in the Peak District with the Kelly crew. A lovely, sunny day at Chatsworth, paddling in the Cascade, climbing trees, admiring the amazing gardens and tasting the vegetables in the kitchen gardem.
After tea and a night in the youth hostel, we headed to Eyam Hall. The children enjoyed doing the trails around the house – a code breaker involving looking for facts in all the rooms for the big three, and an I-Spy for the little ones. We walked over to the playground afterwards to let off some steam, before heading home for tea at the Crown Carvery.
Back home, Amber and I spent the day with Nanny whilst Dad went to London to get Matt’s flat ready for his visit. We had a lot of drama when the carers got Mom stuck on the stairs and we had to phone for the paramedics to carry her back up, after trying everything for an hour to no avail. Mom was happy eating roe and chips on the landing Amber was a star, doing her magazine and keeping everyone entertained. When Great Uncle Martin turned up later, he was treated to a Minecraft tutorial I was pleased to get out for my birthday curry with the lovely Elaine, Bex, Jenni, Kate and Clare, after all the drama!
The next day we met the lovely Charlotte, Mark, Katie Rose and Bella the dog at Branston Water Park for a play, walk and feeding the ducks
The next day we travelled to Canons Ashby NT for a fun day with Uncle Steve, Aunty Andy and cousin Toby. The kids had a great time playing hide and seek, exploring the gardens and playing garden games
The next day we went to Nanny and Grandad’s for lunch and to see Uncle Matt, Mei and Great Uncles Martin and John. It was lovely to see Matt and Mei Mei over from Singapore We took a walk down to the local playground after lunch.
The next day was a trip to Calke Abbey NT with Elaine, Jacob and Jess, where we explored the amazing new wild woodland playground.
The following day was my 40th birthday! Four whole decades!! How quickly they have flown by! We headed into town to continue our Big Hoot owl hunt, with a lovely lunch at Cherry Reds and a coffee break later
The next day we went to the cinema to see Two by Two, followed by and awesome afternoon at Cannock Chase with Rachel and her five fantastic small people There was a bit of drama when Alfie got stuck in a tree, but luckily Cian managed to guide him down!
A day of contrast next – a lovely spa day at the Fairlawns with six wonderful friends – Sally, Sally, Bex, Sarah, Rachel and Elaine. The kids enjoyed a day at home with Daddy after a busy few weeks.
Next day, a play date with the wonderful Miriam, Caleb, Flynn and Niamh. Lots of fun – and lots of protests at home time (notice Miriam’s encumbrances whilst trying to exit!)
The next day – Sutton library for new books and audio CDs, lunch at Pizza Express and a walk in the park to find more Big Hoot owls
The following day – gardening and crumble making with our garden picked fruit, followed by an afternoon of fun at Phoebe’s Fireman Sam themed 4th birthday party
The next day, fun at Brixworth Park with Granny and Grandpa. Alfie completed the summer quiz trail, the girls raced Granny on her scooter, and Poppy made new friends in the playground.
A lovely day paddling in the stream, making clay tree spirits and getting stuck in mud with the Kentish crew at Northycote Farm came next.
A visit to Cannock Food Bank with HE friends to see how it all works. Alfie got a chance to work in the warehouse labelling donations, sort and label goods and pack emergency boxes. He loved it and it was very humbling and rewarding. Afterwards we picked up the girls and some chips, and headed to see Nanny and Grandad, and Matt and Mei Mei before they flew back to Singapore.
The kids had a well earned quiet day at home whilst I had lunch with old friends Sally and Jo the next day.
Back on our adventures at the Lickey Hills the next day though! More playground fun with friends, more owls, a chance to try archery, badminton and basketball and, of course, more mud!
New chickens, Bluebell, Diamond and Lord Business collected the next day – a rescue of ex caged hens by Fresh Start for Hens.
Lots more gardening and house chores, plus gate sanding and painting, whilst we supervised the new chickens integrating with the ten oldies. We harvested a big boxful of apples, which Amber turned into crumble
Today, Alfie went on an amazing adventure at Warwick Castle with HE friends, whilst the bgirls and I had a lovely lunch at Pizza Hut with Caroline, Lauren, Martha and Tom. Happy days! And who said HE kids don’t socialise???