Sunday, October 31, 2010

Braxton Hicks'ing - 31 Weeks!




"Nope Not An Eclipse...Just My Tummy!"

Well as you can guess from the title...I am somewhat on the 'home-run' of this pregnancy.  We currently have just under 9 weeks left to go, which I know will fly by so fast!  I am indeed Braxton Hicks'ing all the time...I can honestly say this has never happened in either of my two other pregnancies...all the books say that they are like pre-labour training for the uterus...so mine must be pretty buff at this stage!  This pregnancy certainly has flown over quickly...I think perhaps that we are just so much more busy this time around, more especially as we are now homeschooling.  It has been wonderful to include the children in everything that has been involved so far!

The children and I travelled down to Wexford Hospital last week for another antenatal appointment with our Domino Midwifery Service.  Dylan was again fascinated  with all that was going on...the blood pressure monitor, blood tests, manually checking baby's position...etc...Our midwife also let him 'help' her check me which he thought was fun and he was also very intrigued in watching my bloods being taken.

It appears at this stage that our baby is lying in an 'oblique' position, which means diagonally...our midwife is not concerned at this stage as there is still quite a bit of room in there for baby to manoeuvre around in, but hopefully within the next six weeks or so he/she will turn fully and get in position, ready for labour! 

So far I haven't had much lower backache (unlike my pregnancy with Dylan) but I have had more aching within my hips and pelvis...unfortunately this means that Hubby can't really provide much relief in the way of back rubs!  Shucks...I was really looking forward to them too!  Poor Hubby is now also being woken in the night with the oddest sounds coming from his sleeping wife;  apparently I am whimpering and groaning every time I change my sleeping position!  The only thing that really sets off bad aching is walking lots...so I try not to go on huge long walks or stand for long periods of time.  Other than that I'm feeling fantastic albeit a little tired now and then...but I do regularly make time for napping most days of the week. 

At present most of my 'nesting' appears to be done.  I don't think that there is much else I can organise, which leaves me feeling like I can now relax!  I am now looking forward to slowly preparing for baby's arrival and resting when I need to.  Although knowing myself...I can't honestly say that I definitely won't have another mega list of things to do in a weeks time!


Thursday, October 21, 2010

Woodstock House And Gardens - A Homeschool Field Trip




 Little Boy In The Big Woods!


 Dylan Had Such Fun Collecting Conkers!

Recently our homeschool group HEN organised a field trip to Woodstock House and Gardens.  I am ashamed to say that even though it is only a twenty minute drive from our home and that I have lived in Ireland for nearly 10 years; our family had not yet been to visit this landmark house and its magnificent gardens!


 Pretending To Ride A Horsey!


 Lunch Time With Our Fellow Home-Edders...
We Ate Under The Trees As It Rained All Day Long!

The evening before our planned field trip Brian gave us all an impromptu history lesson at dinner, filling us in on all the history surrounding Woodstock House.  After dinner and when Dylan was asleep, Amy and I 'googled' Woodstock and found the following historical facts and links:

  • The gardens has over four miles of foot paths – all restored since 1999
  • In the terraced garden, over 2,500 Buxus sempervirens (Box) were planted by our own garden staff
  • The creation of the Winter Garden in 1860 involved the movement by hand of more than 200,000 cubic yards of soil. It was dug away from the area now known as the Rockery.
  • The main footpaths in Woodstock were originally designed to be the width of two ladies dresses so that two ladies could walk side by side comfortably.
  • The box hedges were maintained at six inches high so that the ladies dresses brushed over the top of the hedge.




Leading Me Up The Garden Path!


 A Wonderful Fragrant Stroll Through The Walled Garden

On the drive into the estate I was saddened at the sight of the charred remains of this once great house...though there appeared to be scaffolding erected around the back so perhaps a restoration project is underway?  The children and I had a wonderful day, walking, talking, playing and learning with our friends.  We brought along historical print-outs of what we had found via the internet to share out with our fellow home-edders, which I think the Mama's appreciated. 



 The Walled Garden Was Actually Much Smaller Than Ours At Home
...But It Was Filled To The Brim With Beautiful Flowers And Mouth Watering Produce


 The Ornate Iron Gateways

The children had a blast finding conkers and other natural treasures with their friends and brought them home to show Daddy!  The walk was rather long for me and at the end, my hips were causing me much discomfort...but thankfully our day had reached its pleasant end and we proceeded to drive home again!  Phew...I have to say I was relieved to sit in a comfortable chair for a while once we had arrived home again! 



 The Tea-Room At Woodstock Gardens...Unfortunately It Was Closed During Our Visit!


Amazing Plants And Trees Were Abundant!


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Our New Wardrobes!




Our New Wardrobes!  Woohoo!


Thank You To My Hubby For Organising These For Us!


Monday, October 18, 2010

Full Blown Nesting!




Have you been wondering if I have fallen off the edge of the world?  Well worry no more...I simply been 'nesting' full swing!  The wardrobes in the above photograph are what Brian and I have been using for the last 4 years to store our clothes and shoes in.  Of course they are not very big so very often we would each have a neat (ahem!) pile of clothes next to our bedside lockers.  Also the weight of 'jam packing' the rails above caused them to buckle and become unstable!  My lovely Hubby then treated us recently in regards to this topic, when our carpenter friend came to do some work...but more on that another time!  


So I decided to send things we do not wear to the charitable clothing recycle bins.  Actually I had lots more things to donate than Brian, since becoming convicted of modest feminine dressing approximately a year and a half ago!  I recycled anything that was too small, immodest and simply yucky!  Next I bagged up clothing that was not seasonlly in use and had Amy carry them to the attic for me.  


Sorting out Brians sock drawer too forever!  I paired up all I could match and then threw out nearly half of what he had due to big gaping holes in the heels!  I then despaired at my wifely duties...shouldn't I have realised and replenished these by now?  Oops!


Next on my list of organising was Dylans wardrobe.  Our nearly 3 year old little man had out-grown his tiny babies wardrobe (pictured below) and was in need of a big boys one.  So with another sibling on the way who would need use of the babies one we bought him his own three-door wardrobe!  He was delighted...more photographs in another post!  This also meant that any clothing that had recently been donated to us, that would fit Dylan and was seasonal could be added to this now huge storage space!  Any clothing that had gotten too small was bagged, labelled and put into attic storage.  Though by this stage I could really do with 'nesting' in the attic...but maybe I'll leave that for a future pregnancy (Lord willing)!  



Monday, October 11, 2010

Our Learning Room!




A 'Before' Picture - No Furniture, Just A Few Toys


Our Storage Units

Last week we were fortunate enough to have been able to have a carpenter friend of ours put in the storage units, shelving and workspace for our 'schoolroom'.  I like to think of it as more of a learning room...as its not just for the children and its a going to be a bright, fun, comfortable, efficient, 'we love to be in here' sort of room!  At the moment it is still kind of plain but hopefully that will change.  Already since taking these photographs I have added all our educational DVDs and software to the top shelf and most of our reference books to the bottom shelf, added posters, stationery...etc...


More Storage, Shelving and Workspace


Amy Volunteering To Show Off Our New Room!

Simply put, this space means that I will no longer have reference books stacked up in random rooms of our home, school work littered about the place, will have a space to store our pre-school activities (that I don't want in everyday play) and also will be able to keep our educational DVDs and software somewhere safe!  I will try to remember to post updated photographs of this room as I finish it off and add further things.  I actually did not think that we would be able to install these this year, due to finances but the Lord is good and has provided abundantly!  I am so thrilled with these units that I cannot describe to you how excited I am!


Dylan Doing His 'School'


 Concentrating So Hard!


Friday, October 8, 2010

Fun With Phonics




A little while ago whilst at our local library, I was stuck for books selections for Dylan; he always likes to check out machinery books to read at bedtimes but we have had them all out so often I could seriously nearly read them from memory!  Our library is only small with a somewhat limited range of books; all the libraries within our region share books between them which you can order in if you know what you are looking for.

...In the children's audio section I found 'Fun With Phonics' book, poster and DVD pack, produced by the BBC, so I casually checked it out with my arms otherwise full of tractor and digger books!  A day or so later I suggested to Dylan that he look at the new library DVD...I was trying to make dinner and he was being...boyish!

Dylan loved this DVD so much!  He put it on constantly...every time I asked "Where is Dylan?"...."Does anyone know where Dylan went?"...yes he had sneaked into the sitting room and was to be found snuggled up in the 'cuddle-blanket' watching 'Fun With Phonics'!

To be perfectly honest, I thought that the format of the DVD lacked structure; the phonics sounds are not introduced in alphabetical sequence, which I though may be confusing to children?  The two actors themselves actually annoyed me slightly...but hey what do I know I'm not a pre-schooler!

Dylan watched it so much that after we had returned the book pack to the library, Brian encouraged me to purchase the same set for Dylan to have at home.  I was very unsure of introducing materials like this to our son at such a young age as I we did not want to 'kill' his curiosity for learning, but in allowing him to learn on his own, in his own way he has learnt most of his phonics sounds now which has amazed us all!  We still do not push our son in this area of his early learning and we feel as a result he has absorbed more information that if we had tried to make him.  Even now, that the first thrill of learning his sounds is seemingly over he will still refer to the phonics poster which is visible from our dining table and tell us the sounds!  We are astounded with how much he has learnt!


New Ross Piano Festival 2010




Amy And Her Grandad Heading Out For The First Day Of The Festival!

Our town annually hosts the 'New Ross Piano Festival', were world renowned pianists give a concert extended over several days.  Amy and her Grandad (my father) attended the festival last year and enjoyed it thoroughly!  So this year it was a complete no-brainer for them to attend again.  My father paid for season tickets for both himself and Amy so that they could attend every evening!

The festival ran from 23-26th September and was held as it is every year in St Mary's Church which is only a ten minute drive from our home.  The first evening they attended was 'student' evening, were local children are able to enter themselves based on committee approval to perform...Amy is hoping to do this next year!  The following night they were accompanied by Brian, who had never attended before; they all came home rather late bursting to tell me all the details of the amazingly talented pianists.  Amy's favourite by far was Sa Chen!


 Amy's Hair Looked So Beautiful I Just Had To Take This Picture!

The following evening just Amy and my father ventured out, as Brian and I were enjoying a quiet evening together.  After they arrived home we sat up late with my father discussing their evening.  The following day we had church in the morning and Amy was so tired from all the late nights we decided it would be best if she did not attend...she was actually relieved to be allowed to go to bed early with a reading book!  Amy adores playing the piano which she practices several times daily, so for her these outings were a real treat!  My Mama's heart melted almost every evening seeing my darling girl dressed so mature and elegantly, ready for her special time with Grandad.


Our Blossoming Young Lady


Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Grasshoppers!




Dylan Studying His 'Pets'

A few weeks ago Amy and her other homeschool friends were playing at our home, when they asked me for a jam jar and lid...to collect grasshoppers!  I gave them what they asked for and the girls all skipped off to find themselves some grasshoppers.  Meanwhile my sleepy little boy was tucked up in bed for his lunchtime nap.


'Pippa and Piper' - Amy and Dylans Grasshoppers!

When he awoke our guests had gone home but Amy began to tell him about catching grasshoppers...he was very excited by this!  Amy agreed to take Dylan down to the polytunnel to try and catch him some grasshoppers.  They where gone for twenty minutes or so when Dylan came bursting in the door to announce that they had indeed caught some 'pet' grasshoppers!  I helped the children set up the 'habitat' based on internet research that Amy did and Dylan watched them for a looong time!

A few days later whilst at our weekly library visit we checked out this book:


...And yes we did set the little guys free eventually back into the garden!


Monday, October 4, 2010

Amys Sponsored MS Read-a-Thon




Last year we noticed a leaflet in our library relating to the Multiple Scelrosis Ireland Annual Read-a-Thon, aimed at children to encourage them to read, whilst raising money for this charitable cause.  Unfortunately last year the finish date was almost expired by the time we had spotted the leaflet!  We were dissapointed!

This year however we were one of the first ones to spot the new leaflets at our local library!  Amy swooped on one and we brought it home to fill out and send off for her sponsorship form.

Amy is, as you all know a voracious reader so a challenge like this is right up her street.  Additionally as we homeschool our children they have much more time to read than school going children!  To my amazement Amy often reads one storybook whilst listening to another on audio...I don't know how she manages to do both, but she loves it! 

Multiple Sclerosis is a disease with which our family has tried to educate ourselves on in recent years due to the fact that my sister-in-law has been diagnosed as a MS sufferer.  Amy has a basic understanding of the kinds of symptoms MS can cause and how they can effect the lives of sufferers.  We are glad that Amy can raise awareness and funds for this important cause.

You can read more about the MS Ireland Read-A-Thon here, sign up here or kindly donate here!