The last few weeks…

…have included:

– a trip to Shaldon Zoo with the lovely folk from Christian Home Educators in Devon

Holding a Corn Snake (it was cold apparently!)

– a trip to Ness Beach (after the zoo with the same group)

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– a sleepover at Grandma and Grandad’s for Sophia

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IMG-20130504-00006– the first ‘date night’ in almost a year for Dan and I

– a trip to Southampton to see a much missed friend for me

– chicken pox for Sophia!

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– and in an effort to break the cabin fever from being contagious, a walk along part of the Exe Estuary trail.

We got the train to Exton and walked along the trail past the Commando’s base (which prompted some interesting but challenging conversations about soldiers!) before finding a spot for a picnic. Isaac (as you can see) was ecstatic to be out of the sling and free.

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Then armed with her ‘first book of flowers’ (from an RSPB set of 10 ‘first’ books that I’d really recommend!) we set off to see what flowers we could find. Isaac got distracted by the stones at the side of the path and Sophia quickly succumbed to the same temptation, telling me enthusiastically that they were fossils and what animals they’d come from!IMG_1684

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We got back on track and Sophia spotted some bluebells which she found in her book and excitedly marked off in the spotters section at the back. We walked a bit further and found a much larger patch so she insisted on clambering up the bank to pose for a photo with them. Isaac threw a small tantrum because he wasn’t able to follow her!

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Luckily, a bit further along, we found some gentler slopes for the two of them to explore. All in all, it was a good day for flower spotting. She found bluebells, daffodils, daisies, nettles, buttercups and red campion (I helped with the identification of the last one as there were several similar flowers in her book). I’d really recommend the books; we’ve taken the bird one out with us before but we have one for the seaside, an insect one, a tree one and several more that I can’t remember right now.  A simple and fun introduction into identifying things we find out and about on our travels (natural science I guess!) and Sophia really likes the ‘collecting’ element of trying to tick them all off in her spotters guide at the back.
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We continued walking down to Lympstone and by this point, it was raining and Isaac was asleep so we jumped on a train home to have some hot chocolate and Charlie and Lola before dinner.

I’d only suggested the ‘adventure’ as we can’t go to any of our regular activities at the moment due to the pox but I’m so glad we did, I think all three of us had a great time – even with the wind and drizzle (seems we might have had May’s quota of sunshine already?! I hope not)! I read this article the other day (Why parents should leave their kids alone) which really resonated with me; it talks about not stifling our kids and the incredible benefits of being able to roam free. In fact, it’s just reminded me of a post on Patch of Puddles that I read a few weeks ago as well which you can find here about a family who are about to leave city life to live in rural Scotland. Both articles/posts made me so grateful that we have these kind of experiences right on our doorstep. To be able to step outside and be so easily in nature, to be able to give the kids the freedom to wander off and explore, observing from a distance – it’s just such a satisfying feeling – it feels so natural and how it should be. They don’t seem to get the same satisfaction (I’m not sure if that’s the right word so I’m hoping you get the gist) from anything else – the most wonderful toys, craft activities, baking, games with friends – none of it compares with how content they are when they’re doing their own thing outside.

Feeling very blessed today!