Everything kind of completely fell apart in October. 12yo had caught everything under the sun in Term 3 and so had missed a fair chunk of it. At the beginning of Term 4 she continued insisting that she loved school and still wanted to go, but two weeks in I could count on one hand the number of times she had actually gone. She kept insisting she was "sick" or "too tired" but would always be better just in time for gymnastics. Things eventually came to a head when we had a massive blowout as I told her if she was really that sick then she was not going to gymnastics so she could recover properly and she told me to pull her out of school so she could go to gym (a threat I'd made a few times previously but hadn't done because I give too many chances). I tried to get her to be reasonable and told her she could go to gym, and then she had to go to school for the rest of the week. If she wanted to quit after that she was to tell me on the weekend and I
February was confusing.
I thought I had everything worked out. I was going to show 12yo how to get to and from high school for a couple of weeks, then cut her a key and leave her to it and just continue as normal with the boys.
I didn't realise a) that this would be tiring and b) that 12yo kept insisting on being accompanied past the two weeks and both her and JJ were having epic freakouts about "what if she gets on the wrong bus" on the way home, as the bus route couldn't be easy and just reverse, the opposite route goes in a different direction. I had told 12yo how to get back to the main road and where would be safe to cross and which bus numbers to take, but anyway.
The teenager made the decision some time this month that he needed to be more responsible and started voluntarily practising basic life skills. One involved cooking up a batch of sausages for lunch (plus both boys just felt like sausage sizzle apparently), and while he was about it he decided to experiment with steaming some of them.
November had to be cruisy after the insanity of October, plus we usually start winding down about now anyway. We stayed home a lot.
October started out with 11yo's bestie staying for the weekend and them asking if we could wander around Perth for a bit after visiting a store they wanted to browse. 9yo requested my phone to take a couple of photos of things that interested him:
The city has been trying to do more fun and interesting stuff so we tend to find random things whenever we go there. At the time they were celebrating the arrival of spring so there were these random bird cages there, which were apparently great for photoshoots.
This month, we started sliding back into normal. Seeing as most grocery stores have now stopped providing single-use plastic bags, we've ended up with a lot more cardboard boxes which get put to good use:
Here after watching Guardians of the Galaxy 2 he's made a cardboard version of the Infinity Gauntlet complete with the little stone things on top.
May was pretty quiet and boring as well. Think we just ended up gaming most of the time (occasional bout of Skylanders with the small one, and a few rounds of Monopoly with everyone, and I think there was some Exploding Kittens in there somewhere as well). Magic and Pokemon cards were sorted (at least by colour and type, and further sorting in the case of the Magic cards depending on how pedantic people were, I think 13yo just sorts by colour and 9yo sorts by colour and type til he gets bored). As per usual when we're stuck home there was a lot of docos, again mostly concentrated on Horrible Histories and David Attenborough. Very hard for other types of docos to get a look in against those.
9yo got back into making paper planes and made me this tiny little one complete with a pilot:
Two weeks after getting home we were back in Jurien Bay again, this time for the kids' great nanna's 90th birthday party. As usual we were only there overnight and stayed in a different beach cottage with a backyard nicely set up for kids.
Early in December we realised we hadn't been swimming for a while. After a hefty argument (JJ prefers swimming in fresh water, the bigs and I strongly prefer the beach and 8yo doesn't care as long as it's swimmable) we hit up Serpentine Falls with a friend and their kids.
The first thing we noticed was that the blackberry bushes had been cleared out and when we got there the top carpark closer to the falls was closed, though there were some cars in there (either ignoring the fact the gate was supposed to be shut or perhaps they were in there before it had been shut).
The kids wanted to go trick or treating for Halloween, so we ended up doing some quick Halloween research and reading and decided that the proper way to do things was not to do the commercialised going around begging for candy but to give the neighbours candy. However we had no time to prepare for that and 10yo's birthday was kind of vaguely in the vicinity so we decided to do a "spooky themed" birthday party instead.
10yo did up a master list comprising of other lists, and lists for food shopping and various party supplies. JJ took care of the food as he usually does and Nanna and I split shifted picking up party supplies over a couple of weeks.
One of the things 10yo had wanted was a banner so she and 8yo worked on making one up: