Friday, December 30, 2011

Our Surprise Finally Revealed...



Yes, we've got a new puppy!  Isn't she sweet!  Our kids had no idea, as Brian and I kept it secret for weeks!  All of my family are VERY surprised that I could hold it in for so long!  Brian took both Amy and Dylan to pick up the puppy, though they had no idea where they were going.  They rang me at home as soon as they had her in the car!

Bella is a complete nutter!  She slept for about 3 hours when she first got home, and then terrorised Scruffy for twenty minutes before falling asleep again!  She is a pretty clever pup too; waiting till we let her out in the morning to do her poop.      

 All Our Kids And We Are So In Love With Sweet Bella! 

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Our Christmas 2011...

Yummy Christmas Cookies!

My Honey And Me!

Wow, what a wonderful Christmas time!  Our first being the proud parents of three children!  We had so much fun!  We have enjoyed chomping our way through mountains of cookies, playing board games, constructing play sets and Lego, reading new stories, learning about new technology and a host of other exciting stuff!  ...Hence the lack of blogging!

As you might remember from this post, my husband and I were convicted about not doing "santa" this year or any other.  I'm pleased to report that despite this blatant parental abuse, our children did not spontaneously combust or revolt;  in actual fact they were joyful, happy and thankful for their gifts...crazy huh?  Who'd have thunk it!  :)  We hope you enjoy our Christmas photographs!

Sleepy Girl With Her New Dolly!

Our Gorgeous Boy!

Amy's iPod...She Was VERY Happy!

Crazy Guy!

He Was Speechless For About Two Full Minutes!!!

    Cool Board Games!

    Off To Do Some Work!

    Cheeky Miss Meg!

    Dyl's Lego Pig-Farm

    Happy Chappie!

    Our Whole Family Can't Get Enough Of...
    "Angry Birds"!!!

    We Hope You All Had A Wonderful Christmas!

    Tuesday, December 20, 2011

    The BIG Three Zero!

    Yes, today is my birthday.  I am now officially thirty years old!  Wowza!  I'm truthfully not upset by reaching this milestone at all.  To mark this occasion, in true dedicated blogger fashion, I thought I'd take the chance to list thirty things (in no particular order) that I love and am thankful for!

    • I am thankful for my salvation!  Jesus died for me and I love knowing that one day, I will walk with him in glory!
      • My wonderful husband and six adventure packed years together!
        • Three amazing, smart, beautiful, funny and wonderful children! 
        • Our stinky farm dog...Scruffy.  
        • Black olives...they're just too good!
        • The ever increasing stacks of amazing books that we own.
        • Our ever-so-patient extended family.  Who suffer through all our craziness with a smile (mostly)!
        • Our home...big, bright, colourful, cozy and filled with LOVE!
        • The Bible...I love God's perfect, preserved word.
        • Our own home reared growth hormones for us! 
        • Random acts of kindness.  :)
        • Dr Seuss books...they are so good, so good you see!
        • Homeschooling!  I love being around my kids all day and learning together!
        • Hymns...what a wonderful way to praise God! 
            • Date nights with my hubby...very few and far between, but always so special! 
            • Water that is safe for our family to drink, right out the tap!
            • Faithful Word Baptist Church sermons!  
            • The learning spirit that abounds within our home.
            • Like minded people, who work to protect human life, from conception until natural death.
            • My fellow brothers and sisters in Christ!  For encouraging and challenging me!
            • A brilliant mother-in-law!
            • Our small hobby farm...I love the green fields that surround me!
            • Bangers, mash, yorkshire puds and onion gravy! Mmmmmmmmm!
            • Fellow bloggers...thank you for giving me the godly counsel, challenging and educating me!
            • I'm so thankful that my husband truly is, my BEST friend!
            • Chubby baby toes! 
            • I'm thankful that my husband is able to provide so well for our family.
            • Charity/thrift stores!  My favourite kind of shopping!
            • The Internet!  How did we ever cope without it?!??

              Monday, December 19, 2011

              Pre-Christmas Catch Up!

              Musical Meg!

              God is so good!  Wow, December has been an awesome month so far!  Here are some of the things that have been happening, plus a few long awaited photographs of my adorable kiddies...though admittedly most of them are of camera lover Meg!

              • As of today the O'Neill Family Homeschool are now on our Christmas holidays!  I had pictured in my mind of having a long peaceful sleep, followed by a more relaxed pace morning routine...didn't really happen like that at all!  Last night we were woken at 3:30am by the phone ringing.  My dad had heard a labouring cow bawling and so had gone out to see what the commotion was.  She had birthed her calf through the night, but the poor little guy had rolled out under the fence, and was now lying in the lane half frozen to death!  He must have been there a while as he couldn't stand and he even had a cold tongue.  Brian was very worried!  I stayed in bed for a while longer, but Brian and my dad loaded the calf into the back of the truck and took both mother and calf to the warm shed.  Brian then proceeded to milk the cow into a bottle (despite her best efforts to kick him away) and managed to get the calf to drink it.  The calf seemed immediately revived and by this morning he is standing up.  If he had been found even half an hour later, he certainly would have died...we are calling him our Christmas miracle!

              Amy Finishing Up Her School!

              • Another amazing event of today, is that my parents have gotten themselves a cat!  Anyone who knows them will be amazed at this, as my dad HATES cats!  But given their annual mouse problem, they decided it would be best to keep a cat about the place.  So, "Mog" now sleeps in their shed and will hopefully prove to be a good mouser!

              Sleepy Head!

              • My hardworking husband recently upgraded his pick-up truck.  The one he had was very old, rattled somewhat, and was only two-wheel-drive (no good on our farm, or indeed driving to work in bad weather).  So we decided that the time was right for him to upgrade!  Due to certain "miracles" we are absolutely certain that God's hand was upon this project!  Such a blessing for our family!
                Dylan Working On Amy's Congratulations Card!
                • A wonderfully kind fellow blogger, recently sent us handmade gift, for our sweet Meg's upcoming 1st birthday!  Our family feels so humbled by such  kindness and generosity!  Thank you again! :)   
                  • The cloth nappies are going brilliantly.  Although there have been a few leaks, when I have forgotten to change them more regularly than disposables...oops!  A little while ago, my mother bought me a lovely lambswool jumper/sweater from a thrift store...which I then accidentally shrunk in the wash!  So this week I purposefully felted it in the wash, and cut it into boosters for Meg's sleep time nappies!  I'm happy to report that they work well!  Waste not, want not! :)   
                    Catching The Breeze!

                    • We have a wonderful surprise in progress for our family at the moment!  Which we should be able to reveal sometime after Christmas.  No it's not a baby!  Watch this space! :)

                      • Yes, as I've already mentioned Meg's birthday is indeed approaching!  I cannot believe that her first year has gone by so fast!  At this stage I actually have nothing at all planned for her gifts or cake...but by the end of this week, I hope to have everything organised and planned!  At the time of Dylan's birthday, I decided that I would like to bake all of our childrens future birthday I will need to think up something girly but very easy to make.  Any ideas would be greatly appreciated! 
                         Meg Helping With Laundry!

                        • Our family are planning to take the gospel this coming week (along with some yummy cookies), to the people who serve in our town, as a way of thanking them for their hard work throughout the year.  It is not something we have ever done before, neither have we ever heard of anyone else doing such a thing!  If any readers have done things like this in the past and have any advice of tips for us, I would be very grateful if you would leave a comment! :)
                        Making Yummy Chocolate Chip Cookies!

                        • Last night our church held its annual Christmas Carol Service!  My parents both went!  There was lots of tasty treats to eat.  We made some yummy "spiced pumpkin cheesy whirls" and some festive shortbread (angels, stars, bells...etc).  Dylan's singing was just precious!  Amy and three of the other older girls sang a beautiful hymn together!  I think many people were blessed by the service!
                        So, there are some of the many things we have been up to lately!  My "To-Do" list for this week is HUGE...I think that I might be in for a few late nights. The Christmas season has been SO busy this year...but generally things are pretty much hectic here all year round anyway!  
                        Hope you are all enjoying your week!

                            Friday, December 16, 2011

                            Amy's Examination Results!

                            As you might remember from this post, our eldest daughter Amy, recently sat her Grade 1 piano examination.  Amy and her wonderful piano teacher, worked very hard to prepare for the exam.  Amy and I prayed that morning, that God would steady her nerves and lend her strength and courage.  Praise the Lord; we are thrilled to be able to let you all know that:

                            Amy Passed With HONOURS!!!!!  

                            We are so proud of Amy!  It is so wonderful that she can now see the fruits of her diligence and hard work!  Now that this examination has been achieved, Amy has set her sights on being able to perform in this years New Ross Piano Festival!

                            Thursday, December 15, 2011

                            Government Backtracking On Abortion Issue?

                            Just last year I published this post on the issue of  "A, B and C vs Ireland" at the European Court of Human Rights.  Just a few days later I also published the findings of that hearing.  Since then pro-abortion lobbyists have badgered, our now coalition government, to legislate abortion in our country.  Even though the ECHR stated that they respected Ireland's rights to set its own laws on this issue.  That's right, there was no action necessary!  Here is where we are now at:

                            The Government yesterday announced its intention to establish the expert group on abortion in the next few weeks. It will be a 14-member group and is being put in place as a response to last year’s ruling on abortion from the European Court of Human Rights. The make-up of the expert group will be critical in deciding whether or not abortion legislation is introduced. The Government has said that the group will be in place by the end of the year or shortly thereafter.

                            As you just read, the Irish government is currently putting together an "expert group", comprised of fourteen members who will decided whether or not Ireland will legalise abortion.  The fate of thousands, perhaps millions of babies will now be placed in the hands of these "experts".  This saddens me so much.  In previous years our governments have held public referendums on this issue, and allowed the people to vote.  The Irish people have thus far voted "no" in overwhelming numbers.

                            By avoiding a public referendum, we perhaps are beginning to see evidence of this legislature being stealthily pushed through.  Our media is also attempting to sway public opinion by the means of extremely biased news articles. 

                            Yesterday I received a link from the "Pro-Life Campaign Ireland", to the following news article that ran in today's Irish Examiner.  It saddens me to read the depths to which the media will sink, in their attempt to sway public opinion, and push their pro-murder agenda.  (See full article here)

                            ...NOW, of course there exists a vocal contingent that doesn’t want the minister to do that. Those on the pro-life side of this debate find it abhorrent that such legislation, enshrining in statute a woman’s right to terminate her pregnancy right here in Ireland, would be introduced. To those people I say, tough. European law takes supremacy over domestic law and the ruling of the ECHR is binding. Although, there’s no legal compunction to like it.

                            Meanwhile, proving the law really is an ass, the advent of the internet means that many women, instead of opting for expensive travel to Britain, are simply going online to buy an abortion pill which they then have delivered to their homes. In 2009, the Irish Medicines Board reported that it seized 1,216 such pills in 60 separate consignments — 52 addressed to women and, in a sinister development, 12 addressed to men. As the recession continues to bite, an increasing number of women are likely to simply opt to induce their own abortion at home, and pay €70 online, instead of travelling abroad at an average cost of €1,200.

                            Furthermore, recent surveys have also found the electorate’s attitude to abortion is changing with three-quarters now favouring a relaxation of our restrictive laws and more than 50% of GPs believing abortion should be available to any woman who wants it.

                            So, while the minister’s talking shop will likely have some very worthy debates, and maybe he’ll even surprise the cynics by introducing the appropriate legislation at some distant point in the future, it is the anachronistic ban on abortion in this country that remains the real problem...

                            Due to the cold way in which the writer of the above article deals with abortion, I'm assuming that she has ever seen what an aborted baby actually looks like.  I wish I could show her.  I fail to see how she deems it a "woman's right" to be allowed to murder her baby within her own country.  Her response toward the people who work hard to protect innocent lives, is that it is simply "tough" angered me.  Obviously a person of  such moral standing, is unwilling to offer us more heartfelt reasoning when talking about the potential killing of a precious child.  If like me you took issue, that the editor of this newspaper allowed such a biased and inaccurate story to run, then please feel free to leave a response:

                            If you are a reader of my blog who lives within Ireland, and wishes to protect the innocent life of the unborn, please take just two minutes of your time to:

                            Email your local Fine Gael Oireachtas respresentatives.

                            Sign These Active Petitions:

                            Don't Let Labour Call The Shots On Abortion
                            Stop Bullying Ireland Over Abortion
                            Block Internet Abortionists

                            Tuesday, December 13, 2011

                            Our Beautiful New Swimsuits!

                            Ok, so you'll probably remember this post a while back, in which I asked for advice on how we could get stylish, yet modest swimsuits for Amy and I.  Well, lots of ladies left comments with helpful advice and suggestions!  Again, thank you all for taking the time out of your busy days for doing so!

                            Obviously sewing our own would have been the much cheaper option, which lots of you pointed out.  We only had one snag...I cannot sew well enough at all!  So it seemed as though we were still in a pickle as to what to do, when...

                            My Suit...A Bit Dotty Like Me! :)

                            ...A sweet and kind fellow blogger offered to sew our suits up for us!  I was so amazed by the generous offer, that I was probably speechless for quite while (like five whole minutes) afterwards!  So Amy and I ordered our pattern and fabrics a week or so later.

                            Amy's Bright And Cheerful Suit!

                            Despite being a busy, homeschooling momma to six children and a Pastors wife, Mrs Anderson had our suits made up and mailed to us super fast!  We are so thankful for her kindness and generosity!  Their family is such an encouragement to us!   Amy and I were absolutely thrilled with our suits, and lots of people have complimented us on them!  I think we may have started a new fashion here in Ireland!

                            Sunday, December 11, 2011

                            Times Are Tough...

                            Not only is our country, currency and the entire continent in serious financial trouble...but our government has just announced another stinker of a budget!  So times are indeed tough...

                            Meg's "post-budget breakfast" consisting of a shoe and some crumbs! Ha! 

                            Monday, December 5, 2011

                            The Great Cloth Nappy Experiment!

                            The great cloth nappy experiment, has been a success!!  Little did I realise, when we first considered switching to cloth nappies, that there was so much learning to be done!  Firstly I would like to thank you all, especially "TwinkleToes", for all your invaluable advice.  It was so wonderful to get tonnes of top tips from "veteran" cloth users!

                            I have spent what seems like hours, researching cloth nappies online, over the last few weeks.  There was so much to take in; sifting through and picking out the nuggets (no pun intended)!  Overflowing with information, I was eager to tell everyone all I had been learning...suffice it to say that now, everyone is so over hearing about poopy nappies!

                            My ever-so-patient hubby, has been driven mad with me talking nappies; last time I approached him, he innocently gave me the fork he was holding, turned around, and said "Now stab me as hard as you can!"  So, since I can no longer bore my family with nappy talk...I am letting loose on you dear ladies!  ;)

                            So, at present we are using TotsBots EasyFit All-In-Ones, with an additional fleece liner.  They are brilliant, especially for novices like me, as they are so easy to use!  And as for washing all I have to do is remember to stick the velcro tabs back and throw it in the machine!  Drying takes a while longer, as drying outside is not possible at this time of year, and I don't want to use the tumble drier. 

                            Even though my hubby no longer wants to discuss: bamboo vs microfibre, all-in-ones vs pocket style or boosters and flushable liners...he has kindly agreed to me purchasing a half-a-dozen more cloth nappies for Meg!  All of which will save us money in the long run!  Hooray!  I think Meg herself will be delighted, as I'm sure they feel a lot nicer on her little tushie!

                            Saturday, December 3, 2011

                            An Inconvenient Truth

                            Recently I shared an news article on my facebook account, that featured a photograph of an aborted baby.  Some people were offended and upset by this.  I was contacted in love, by an old friend, who kindly asked me to not post anything else about abortion, as it was upsetting many of my childhood friends.  Although I understand why this person felt the need to contact me, I cannot, and will not stop highlighting this issue.

                            You may think "I cannot believe Sarah, posting these awful and horrible photos, she has really gone one step too far this time"  But wait a minute...I didn't take this picture, nor was I the doctor who did this.  Why are you angry or upset at me?  Is the dead baby in the photograph awful and horrible?  No, it is the act of abortion that is awful and horrible.

                            When faced with a photograph or news article such as this, it forces us to admit to ourselves the ugly realities of abortion; the ones we don't want to know about, and especially, the ones we do not want to see.  The fact is, abortion kills babies.  The truth is, is that you should be upset by seeing images like these.  But don't waste your tears on a photo.  Cry for the thousands of children who this happens to, daily around the world. 
                            I am not judging women who have made a terrible decision, such as abortion in the past.  It is up to us, to believe on Christ and receive forgiveness for this.  But pretending that abortion doesn't kill babies, to help yourself deal with the guilt of a past abortion is selfish.  You owe it to your child's taken life, to acknowledge that he/she existed, and was a precious eternal soul. 

                            Putting our heads in the sand, will not help us assuage feelings of past guilt or shame.  Looking away will not change this baby's fate, nor the fate of any others.  Deleting me from your "friends" list will not erase the image of the dead baby from your mind.  We must acknowledge the ugly truth, and be a part of stopping it.  If something is too horrible to look at, then it is too horrible to be happening.

                            In summary, I hope that this post has been helpful to those who were offended, those who wondered why I would publish these posts and even those who are struggling with the guilt of abortion.  I will not be offended if anyone deletes me from their facebook account; but I shall be disappointed, that you would rather look away, than face the truth and choose to help other children avoid this same fate.

                            Friday, December 2, 2011

                            Name The Calf Competition - Results!

                            Thank you all for entering our "name the calf" competition, it was SO much fun to do!  We had some lovely names suggested, as well as some slightly quirky ones too!  Ha!  So just last night Amy and I wrote all the names down, and popped them into a bowl.  Everyone got together and we let Dylan pull out the winner...

                            ...The winner was Brynn who suggested the name "Alex"!!!! Congratulations Brynn!!!!

                            Introducing "Alex" The Calf! :)

                            Monday, November 28, 2011

                            Name The Calf - Competition!

                            Still Being Cleaned By Mammy!

                            Yes, just two days ago, our labouring cow has finally delivered our newest baby calf!  She certainly took her time;  labouring for the past week!  I had yet to see a calf being born, despite living on a farm for the last few years!  But today I managed to see some of the labour, and even get a few photographs too!  If you are easily grossed out then you might want to skip the next photograph!  Ha!


                            The new calf is huge!  Normally our calves aren't so big, but this guy is a cross between an Aberdeen Angus and a Charolais!  Not surprisingly, it is a boy also...they usually are!


                            Normally we name all our cows that are born on our farm.  We have had some funny ones over the years: Tarzan, Alan, Buttercup, Peanut, Socks, Ferrari, Cupid, Pepperoni, Jim-Bob, to name but a few!   But as for this guy, we are completely stuck for a we had an idea:



                            We are going to let one of you decide!  Please leave your name suggestion in a comment, and sometime over the next few days, we will draw a name out of a hat!  If your children want to get involved too, then please leave all their suggestions in a comment also!  We can't wait to see what you can come up with!

                            Friday, November 25, 2011

                            Oh No, Not Another "Hate Group"!

                            This topic has been on my mind a little over recent weeks!  I guess you could say, that I have just gotten so fed up with the truly ignorant comments, people like to leave over the internet. Over the last while, a lovely anonymous commenter left these comments on my blog:

                            Anonymous said...

                            Ma'am, I'm aware that you don't live in the United States, so you probably don't know this, but Pastor ********** church has been classified as a hate group and is on a watch list of possible domestic terrorists.

                            I don't think you realize how this comes off: this is like posting a video that Osama bin Laden made and saying that you totally agree with it.

                            You're free to have your own opinions, but please, form them without input from terrorists.

                            Anonymous said...

                            In that case, I severely misjudged you. I did not think you'd be the type to support terrorists. And the ************** Church is basically an American version of the Taliban. There's much documentation on it if you Google it- the Southern Poverty Law Center is a good place to start (this is an American organization that tracks hate groups and domestic terrorist organizations).

                            But hey, no one's stopping you if you want to live under these kinds of laws. I hear Saudi Arabia is quite nice this time of year.

                            Anonymous said...
                            I see you didn't heed my warning during the summer and are still listening to the American Osama bin Laden. Mark my words, this lunatic is going to end up on the news after he or someone from his congregation carries out a domestic terrorist attack. I would stake my life on it.

                            To be perfectly honest I published the first one, because I felt the person was trying to be kind, though perhaps in a misguided sort of way.  I also thought it was very cool to be addressed as "Ma'am", something we don't get a lot of in Europe!  The subsequent "warnings" only made the commenter look stupid, by leaving such comments.  While I do appreciate someone genuinely trying to advise in love, I do not appreciate ugly comments.

                            A hate group for those of you who are interested is defined as: a group who promotes prejudicial behaviour.

                            Hmmm...perhaps we could label the Atheist associations around the world as a hate group?  Or what about abortion clinics, homosexual support groups or others which hate God, Christianity, Christians and almost everything we stand for?

                            I'm sorry to burst the bubble, but God does hate some people, even though He has loved every person at some point.  We as Christians, are commanded to hate those who hate God, and others whom He has rejected and bring everyone else to Christ.  The SLPC would label every church that truly preached Gods word a "hate group". 

                            So, please if you are ever tempted to send me comments like the ones above; please don't, because it will only waste my time in having to click "delete".

                            Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, 
                            rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.  
                            For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine;
                            but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers,
                            having itching ears;  And they shall turn away their ears from the truth,
                            and shall be turned unto fables.
                            ~ 2 Timothy 4:2-4

                            Wednesday, November 23, 2011

                            Amy's Examination Day!

                            Yesterday our sweet Amy sat her first piano examination!  She did her best...though it will be about four weeks before she gets her results.  Amy worked hard to prepare herself, and we are glad that she will soon see the fruits of her hard work!

                            Amy's grandad took her into the city to sit the actual exam, Brian was on a work break at that time, so he joined them also.  After they got home and we had a lovely dinner (Amy's request) and we surprised Amy with these beautiful cupcakes, as a reward for her hard work from daddy and I!

                            Tuesday, November 22, 2011

                            Irish Couples And Indian Surrogacy...

                            Just the other day on our way to church, my husband told me of a disturbing news story he heard on the radio while at work.  It was reported, that some barren Irish couples (or homosexuals) are now travelling to India, to have children via an Indian surrogate mother.  The Irish couple who were interviewed on the radio, complained about living in such a "backward" country such as Ireland, where they felt people should be able to avail of surrogacy, without having to travel to India to buy have their child via a surrogate. 

                            The following is the subsequent news report that ran in the Irish Times just today (my highlights underlined)- (for the full article please click here):

                            JASON AND ROSS, a gay couple from Dublin in their 30s, are busy packing their bags with nappies, baby wipes, and toddlers’ clothes. “I suppose this isn’t your everyday pregnancy,” says Ross, with more than a hint of understatement.

                            They’re on their way to catch a plane to India. In a few hours, they’ll see their new-born twins for the first time – a baby boy, Nicholas, and baby girl, Alexis. Their birth is part of a growing trend of using surrogate mothers to carry children for couples who can’t have a child due to fertility problems or, as in Jason and Ross’s case, the lack of a partner of the opposite sex.

                            Nicholas and Alexis’s birth was was made possible through the involvement of four different parties: the egg of a Canadian donor was fertilised with sperm of Jason and Ross; the resulting embryo was then transferred to an Indian surrogate mother. In addition, two different organisations in the US and India facilitated the egg donation and surrogacy process.

                            In building their family, Jason and Ross are at the forefront of a reproductive revolution which is re-shaping our definition of the human family.

                            In Ireland, there is no law governing surrogacy. The Commission on Assisted Human Reproduction concluded in 2005 that surrogacy should be permitted, subject to regulation, but nothing has been done about this.  As a result, would-be parents in search of surrogate mothers are going abroad to countries such as the US, India or the Ukraine, where there are well-defined legal frameworks. There are no official figures for surrogate children in Ireland, although passport authorities here are aware of at least 35 children over the past 18 months.

                            Surrogacy is proving a vital source of hope for childless, would-be parents. But the emerging commercial market for surrogate babies is also raising unsettling ethical questions. In stark contrast with adoption – which requires a thorough and often painfully slow vetting process – anyone can enter into a surrogacy arrangement abroad, whether they are suitable parents or not.

                            Finding a surrogate mother was another challenging step. The cost of surrogacy in the US was prohibitive – all in, it was likely to cost them around €100,000. So, they looked to India. After searching around, they opted for a centre in Delhi which was recommended by other Irish parents who had used it. It would also cost far less – somewhere in the region of euro20,000. The surrogate mother would receive around €4,000 and would carry eggs by the Canadian mother, fertilised with Jason and Ross’s sperm

                            SURROGACY, HOWEVER, is increasingly under fire on a number of fronts. Many religious groups are opposed to the process. But a wider source of unease is the commercialisation of surrogacy. While it’s illegal in many countries, such as the UK, to pay for surrogacy, the industry in India is estimated to be worth up to €2 billion.  Sometimes, surrogate mothers – often poor – find themselves as pawns in a lucrative arrangement between agents and relatively wealthy foreign couples. Contact between the contracting couples and the surrogate mother is generally discouraged and sometimes banned, so they have no real way of monitoring the process.

                            Surrogacy in numbers

                            • 2 billion The estimated worth in euro of the surrogacy industry in India next year.
                            • 35 The number of surrogate children born for Irish parents that authorities know about.
                            • 20,000 The typical overall cost of surrogacy in India, in euro.
                            • 85,000 The typical overall cost of surrogacy in the US, in euro.
                            • 4,000 The typical payment to a Indian surrogate for carrying a baby, in euro.
                            • 25,000 The typical payment to a US surrogate for carrying a baby, in euro.
                            • The surrogate child: no nationality, no passport, no legal parent.
                            INSIDE THE bubble of their spacious family home in Glasthule, everything seems well with the world.

                            One-year-old Robyn Maye-Coffey is cooing and laughing in the next room. Her parents are warmly recalling her christening and first birthday party. The photos around the kitchen, meanwhile, capture her transformation from a tiny 3lb tot to a wispy-haired, bright-eyed girl.

                            But outside the bubble of their home, it’s a different story. Officially, Robyn has no legally recognised parent or guardian. She has no nationality or passport. She cannot leave the country or enter another one. And she is caught in this bizarre twilight world because she was born to Irish parents by a surrogate mother in India.

                            “As long as we don’t leave this house, it doesn’t really affect us. You can almost forget about everything,” says Mike Coffey. “But that can’t go on forever. She needs an operation on one of her eyes. But we can’t sign the legal documents as parents. Under Irish law, she’s nobody.

                            “We’ve been told we need to go to the High Court to sort this out. That is hugely expensive. And we’re told legislation will be put in place to regulate this, but that could take another 20 years.

                            When Robyn was born in September 2010, it felt like a miracle. Coffey and his partner, Catherine Maye, had been trying to have a child for years. But after numerous miscarriages and failed IVF attempts both here and in Spain, Ukraine and South Africa, they had run out out of options.

                            By now they were both in their mid-40s. Adoption, they felt, wasn’t a viable option. But when a doctor suggested surrogacy, they decided to give it a try.

                            A "reproductive revolution which is re-shaping our definition of the human family", this disgusts me.  I cannot believe that some people would turn to such measures, to fulfill their own selfish wants. Please do not send me comments telling me I "don't understand"; I have gone through periods of infertility before, and I do understand how hard it can be. But God is the one who opens and closes the womb, it is not for us to "fix".    When considering the second example of "parents" in the article above, perhaps God has closed the woman's womb because the couple have chosen to commit fornication for years?  And the first example given is so abhorrent to me that I will not discuss it; suffice to say that two perverts who have chosen such a lifestyle, should not be allowed to adopt/foster or otherwise have children placed in their care

                            It is beyond comprehension, that couples are either so ignorant or completely uncaring about the fact that many babies are killed during each IVF cycle.  Many people who choose IVF or IVF via a surrogate know this information, but still choose to go ahead to have the baby that God never intended for them to have.  Any God fearing Christian, should be appalled and disgusted by this.

                            Saturday, November 19, 2011

                            Best Foot Forward!

                            Yes, I finally got around to taking the girls for their new shoes!  I love being able to say that...the girls!  Two beautiful daughters!...

                            ...Anyway where was I?  I was actually worried that I wouldn't find anything suitable for Amy, as she takes a larger shoe size than your average twelve year old.  So normally she doesn't fit the kids section, and the womens shoes and especially boots, are too "old" looking for her.

                            But thankfully we found a beautiful pair of black, leather boots for her (sorry no photo yet), which she just adored!  Buying a good pair of boots in our climate is really important, as you would need to wear them for half the year, if not more!  These new ones were a little pricey, but we are sure that she will get good wear out of them...her old pair lasted nearly three years!

                            Little Meg was next on our list and we spotted the ones we liked straight was easy to pick really, as they didn't have many to choose from.  We had it down to two pairs: one with a velcro fastening and one with a buckle.  Velcro won the day...I don't fancy struggling to fasten a shoe buckle on a wriggly baby!  Meg's shoes are just super sweet and she loved them so much she played with them all the way home!

                            Thursday, November 17, 2011

                            Are Disposables Just Pants?

                            I'm talking about disposable nappies/diapers!  Just this week, Brian and I worked out, that to nappy a child for three years in Ireland costs just over €2000!  Wow, isn't that just wonder people think they can't afford to have more children! 

                            When I was a child those who couldn't afford disposables, used terry cloths folded and pinned, usually with a pair of plastic pants on over the top to prevent leaks.  There are some terrible photos of me lurking about as a toddler, in my terry nappy, complete with plastic pants and a frown!  But in 2011 when the majority can "afford" disposables who would want to launder soiled nappies?!  ...Well me!

                            When weighing up the astronomical cost €2000 per child, all of us should be at least considering reusable nappies/diapers.  To be honest when I was expecting Meg, I did think about using them, but I was totally put off by the amount of all seemed confusing, and I did not (and still don't) know anyone outside the blogging world that uses them who could help me!  But with €2000 of my hubby's hard earned money hanging in the balance I've decided to give them a go!

                            After a little investigating I finally chose a "Tot Bots" version (plus a pack of boosters) that I thought would work well.  It should arrive sometime within the next week or so.  If my little experiment goes well, then we may just make a full switch, and use reusable's all the time for Meg and any future children.  So please, dear mama bloggers, if any of you have any tips or advice on using/choosing or laundering reusable nappies, please leave a I probably could use all the help I can get!  :)

                            Saturday, November 5, 2011

                            I Will Sing Praise To Thy Name!

                            I will be glad and rejoice in thee: I will sing praise to thy 

                            name, O thou most High. ~ Psalms 9:2

                            This week, much to the relief our our fellow church members, we received our first family hymnal!  Our family don't know many hymn's...this is something that we have been seeking to rectify.  Of course both Brian and I remember some from our childhoods; but even so, we want to sing praise day and night, solo and together, in the car and in the shower...a hard thing to do when you only know a couple of children's hymns!

                            We ordered our hymnal and its accompanying "music edition" from Amazon at a very good price.  Immediately Amy and I went through it, trying to find some of our favourites from church.  Amy was so great at spotting them and remembering how the melody went also! 

                            Just yesterday I finally cleaned off our whiteboard, ready to write a hymn out for us to learn, plus our weekly memory verse.  I can't wait to know lots of them all by of my favourites is the classic "How Great Thou Art!  What a beautiful hymn!

                            Do you have any favourite hymn's in your home?  

                            My lips shall greatly rejoice when I sing unto thee; and my soul, 
                            which thou hast redeemed. ~ Psalms 71:23

                            Tuesday, November 1, 2011

                            Dylan's 4th Birthday!

                            The Birthday Boy, With His Big Sister...
                            ...I Think Amy Was Just As Excited As He Was!

                            Dylan's First BIG Boy's Bike!

                            Yesterday, we celebrated Dylan's fourth birthday!  I cannot believe that four years have gone by so fast, it feels like just yesterday he was born!  Even though I love celebrating my children's birthdays and counting their milestones, it is so bittersweet!  If only we could keep them all as children forever...

                            Dyl With My Brother, 
                            Who Arrived The Day Before As A Surprise!

                            Dylan's Gift From Uncle Tom...Being Used As A Bicycle Helmet!

                            The evening before, I was up LATE preparing everything for the morning.  There was the cake to decorate, clothes to press, breakfast to prepare, decorations to put up and tonnes of other chores!  On Sunday nights, my husband takes his turn to do a sleepover at his mothers house, so Amy helped me organise some things before she went to bed. 

                            A Crop Sprayer...Organic Only Of Course! ;)

                            Dyl Enjoying His "Farmer-Boy" Birthday Breakfast,
                            With All Our Family!

                            So early the next morning, Dylan woke up and came in to me for a snuggle.  He was very excited when I reminded him that it was his birthday!  He had completely forgotten!  Amy then peeped around the door and also climbed in bed with us.  Within minutes, we heard Meg singing on the baby monitor...and so I was awake after what seemed like a tiny amount of sleep!

                            Homemade Apple Pie

                             A "Build-A-Burger" Set

                            I asked the kids to make their beds and fix their bedrooms, while we waited for daddy.  Just as I opened my own curtains I spotted the car parked up outside!  He had woken early and hurried home, so as not to miss out on anything!  Dylan opened his cards and a few gifts from friends and family and just as he thought it was all over, daddy said that there might be another one somewhere else in the house...

                            Dylan's Farm Cake...
                            The Very First Birthday Cake I've Ever Made!

                            Dylan was very surprised to find a BIG BOYS bike hidden in the sitting room!  He was so excited!  For the next twenty minutes or so, he peddled it around the kitchen and rest of the house (one of the brilliant bonuses of a large home!)  After a few photos, I got breakfast on...

                            He LOVED It!

                            Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder, is Dylan's FAVOURITE book!   He loves reading a chapter most nights before we agreed to have Almanzo's Sunday morning breakfast, consisting of lots of pancakes with maple syrup, sausages (in the book they had sausage cakes) and apple pie.  We also served boiled eggs and some homemade banana-walnut bread.  It was a delicious breakfast and everyone was STUFFED!

                            Yum-Yum...Birthday Cake!


                            For the rest of the day we did only the necessary chores.  Amy and I did something special together while Brian and Dylan looked at the animals.  Then we all played with Dylan's farm equipment...the battery operated wind turbine that my parents gave him is really cool!  Now Dylan can provide his own farm with electricity! 

                            At dinner time, my kind and generous hubby brought us all pizza from a very nice place in town!  Hooray...and because I didn't have to cook, clean up was quick and easy!  After dinner we had yummy birthday cake!  I have never made a birthday cake before and my sponge cakes ALWAYS sink in the middle!  It did sink slightly, but thankfully it didn't matter, as you couldn't really tell once the frosting was on it!  ;)

                            While I bathed Meg and put her to bed, Brian and Dylan drove Amy to a home schooled friends house for the evening.  They were a long time, and by the time they arrived home, Dylan was practically walking into walls he was so tired!  We popped him to bed and he said that he had, had "The BEST birthday EVER!" :)   

                            Clapping Hands...Completely Covered In Green Icing!

                            Happy 4th Birthday Our Sweet Boy!