Sunday, September 09, 2012

Oh goodness...

Things have been a little busier than normal here in the Pollard household.  Of course, life with five children is always hectic, but add an elderly neighbour needing support after an accident and a situation regarding a teenage girl that could have come out of a psychological thriller storyline, and well, you have more hectic than usual chaos.

On the upside, I've been feeling well.  I've experienced the occasional day of tiredness and lethargic lacklustre, but that is understandable.  My mind hasn't found it very easy to switch off and relax as I've had a whirlwind of thoughts needing to be understood and worked through.  It's getting better though.

I really really need to work on my eating habits and food intake.  It's just not good enough at the moment.  I'm eating such a little amount most days, I often wonder how I am still standing!

The house search is still progressing.  We have come close to forming an agreement on a couple of properties, but they haven't been quite right.  That's not me being fussy.  I am well aware that I will never find perfection - and actually for that I'm actually quite glad.  A lot of the thrill and excitement for me in a new house is watching it evolve into becoming our home.  I am however seeking stability for my family - well, as much stability as a rented property can ever provide.  I very much wish we were able to find someone who would allow us to take on a mortgage but that at the moment is a long distant dream that is doubtful to be realised.  I would love to know that I can provide my children with some sort of monetary inheritance to help them on their way in the future - at the moment I can only provide happy memories and the security of knowing they were loved and adored.  That's not a bad inheritance - but not very helpful when you need money to buy food and pay bills.

That aside, I still have no doubt at all that our dream lifestyle of a property and land to rent will be achieved one day, I know it will happen, and for now I am happy with that knowledge.

Hmm, what else can I share with you?

Work on the Classroom Free main website has been progressing well.  I have a few ideas that I wish to introduce - including a file sharing annual membership scheme.  I know this won't appeal to all home-educators, but I do think it may prove to be useful to some.  Basically it is a way of me sharing the files that I produce for my family's home-education journey without the fear of me having to cover the cost of website and/or file hosting fees needed to share.  As an added bonus to those that support my site, there will also be members-only giveaways (at least monthly) - all carefully chosen to be of use to families or home-educators.  The first giveaway will be a John Holt book, quickly followed by a set of Usborne Info Cards.  You can find out more information about the scheme here.  Once a few members have joined the site, I will start organising the giveaways.   Just a side note to add - The site is still under-construction, with pages still to be created and links added, so please bear with me if all is not working as it should.  Maybe one day I'll be able to afford a professional web designer to give the site the overhaul it needs but for now I have to fulfil that role and it's not one that I find easy.

In other news, Chelsea is looking forward to starting College tomorrow.  For those that don't yet know, Chelsea has got a place on a Beauty Therapy course.  Her long term aim is to go and study further at a College in London and progress on to movie make-up, particularly in the horror film sector.  When applying for College she hadn't got any qualifications to speak of, no examinations studied for, nor portfolio to share.  She hasn't even got any relevant work experience under her belt.  However, during the college interview she spoke enthusiastically with good eye contact and confidence.  The tutor adored her and immediately offered Chelsea a place.  In recent weeks we have gone through the uniform and equipment purchasing procedure (expensive!) and are awaiting the arrival of the discounted bus pass (discounted but still needing over £250 a year).   This going to college malarkey is quite costly!

The whole process has already been a great learning curve for Chelsea.  She has had to seek out bus times and services for the first time (mama taxi can't commit to twice daily treks out at various times, 3 days a week).  Add that to the ever growing list of new experiences - taking instructions from a tutor (not something she has had to do since she was 7 years old), writing out timetables, finding her way around a huge building filled with very samey looking corridors, and generally fitting in with hundreds and hundreds of fellow students - and well, it is actually doing her good confidence and sense of achievement wise.  Chelsea has been fortunate enough to make friends with a girl on her course already and she feels able to contact her to check time details of classes etc, I think she has found that support necessary and reassuring.

Changing the subject, I have recently cashed in our Tesco vouchers and bought a family English Heritage membership.  I know that as a home-educating family we can ring up and book a free "educational" visit in advance if wanted, but to be honest, we just like the freedom to pop in when we choose to without a jobsworth (or lovely volunteer!) saying yay or nay at the door.  Add to this that most of our visiting is done when husband isn't working, ie. at weekends, and more often than not spontaneously, and well a family membership seemed the best option.  I also like having the option of going to the properties during school holidays when events are held for children.

Along with the EH membership, I also ordered some days out vouchers - £130 worth to be exact.  I just need to see where we can spend them now.

Yesterday we decided to rejoin our local zoo.  Paignton Zoo offer an annual membership scheme which includes their sister attraction Living Coasts, and unlimited visits to Newquay Zoo.  There is also free entry to a number of zoos throughout the country.  We have been members on and off over the years, but yesterday lunchtime we were bored of being at home.  The teens had gone off to town to meet with friends, so it was just hubby and I with the younger 3 children. We do like our spontaneous moments, they are often the most fun.  Whilst watching a film on NetFlix, I asked if the children fancied a trip to the zoo to see some animals.  Callum cheered loudly and rushed off to find his shoes.  Tiegan grinned broadly, whilst nodding gently in reply.  Taisia came up to me and started jumping excitedly and tapping my stomach with her hands whilst shouting "Animals, animals, ANIMALS!!!" in the gleeful over the top tone that only a toddler can seem to muster.

Within 20 minutes we were packed and out of the house.  Amazing what can be achieved when the children actually want to go somewhere isn't it?  No shoes or coats were forgotten, no keys were misplaced, no mobiles had disappeared, and food and drinks were packed quickly without squabbles.  The drive to the zoo was filled with animal sounds - dear Taisia is obsessed with animals and knows a huge variety of different sounds.  As we drove along we heard ducks quacking, lions roarings, donkeys braying, monkeys ooh ahh ooohing, sheep baaing, goats bleating, dogs barking, cats meowing and cows mooing.  The zoo car park was full to bursting point so the overflow parking zone was in use.  We groaned at what could possibly be a long wait for entry, but were very pleasantly surprised to find there was no queue at the memberships desk and we were immediately served.  Details were typed, photographs were taken, payment was processed, and membership cards were issued.   Simples.  Now we can visit any time we like and not have to pay a single penny for entry.

The weather was pretty much perfect - dry, warm, but not too hot you are sweating buckets. We strolled around at our own pace, not feeling that we have to squish seeing everything into the visit as we would be returning plenty more times.   We saw the young lion cubs frolicking but they were too far away for a photo, as were the tigers.  Taisia did however find a tiger that was much more accommodating....


It should be said that Taisia absolutely loved her day out.  Animals really are her thing.  She loves them all - large and small, the cute and the, erm, not quite so cute.  It doesn't matter to her if they are furry or scaly, feathered or fierce, she thinks they are all worthy of a pat and cuddle.  I love her for that.

We saw a new to us exhibit - Ring Tailed Coatis.  Very cute to watch.


and we loved this fella,  one of the largest rodents in the world taking a nap...


We cooed over the baby additions, including the giraffe....


and a zebra...


We admired the courageous Orangutan and its tree climbing efforts...


and we loved this little fella who really was literally 'just hanging around...'


seemingly gaining inspiration from this beauty....


Of course, the big boss fella just looked on with couldn't care less bemusement...


which this handsome cutesy attempted to emulate...


 A certain little lady enjoyed having a stroll and relished in the freedom the zoo confines provides...


whilst this handsome beast thought the pace of life should be so much slower....


The meerkats once again provided a great source of entertainment, with this lovely critter stealing the limelight with ease...


We ensured that we took the time to admire the beauty that surrounded us, not always of the furry kind...



and we made sure we took a moment or two to pose and have a sneaky cuddle...


We also saw snakes and crocodiles, parrots and goats, baboons and peacocks, owls and sloths, hornbills and cassowarys, rhinos and an elephant, frogs and lizards, spiders and guinea pigs, red pandas and porcupines, and marmosets and ostriches.   It was a good day!

We built up quite an appetite so took a little moment to refuel in the cafe...


after which we had a little think and ponder....


Don't you just love her catalogue of expressions?

After a good few hours we decided to head for home, with a car filled with the sounds of happy chattering children.  Favourite moments were discussed, giggly snippets recalled, and smiles across faces appeared in abundance.

We can't wait to visit the otters and penguins at Living Coasts now.

The teens were at home by the time we arrived back and it seemed their day had been a good one too.   I love a house filled to bursting with happy children, I don't think there is anything quite like that atmosphere it emits.

Tomorrow we have our Not Back to School Picnic for home-educators within our region.  I'm really hoping the weather behaves itself and we are able to enjoy our time at the beach!  Chelsea won't be joining us as she has her first full day at College which she is looking forward to but also feeling a little apprehensive about.  I'm really hoping that the first few weeks go well for her and she can build on that and gain all she can from her College experience.  I know that if she is put off within a short while of starting then her enthusiasm will waver and she will struggle keeping up the momentum. I'm sure she will be just fine though.

I think that is you guys all up to date with our latest news.  I'm going to try to head off to sleep now, which after having police helicopters hovering and circling overhead for the last hour may be easier said than done.  I can't help feeling a little uneasy knowing that they clearly seeking a person or persons within our very close proximity (erm, at the moment that proximity is meaning within our garden).  I'll just give helicopter personnel a quick wave....

1 comment:

  1. We had helicopters searching overhead on Saturday night! You really do need to eat otherwise you'll waste away and be no help to the family whatsoever ... cyber nagging over!!

    All good wishes to Chelsea on her first few days, what a star, she'll be fine.

    Good luck to you in the house hunting.

    Lovely pictures as always thanks for sharing

    San xx

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