Monday, February 28, 2011

1800-HEAVEN!



 
This evening as I got Dylan ready for bed he asked me for the 'Theres a house inside my mummy' book, which we bought when I was expecting Meg.  We obviously haven't read it for a while...but he asked for it so I read it.  After we had finished he was looking back through the pictures when I proceeded to tell him that a family friend was expecting a new baby!  Dylan was so excited for their family!  I asked him would he like Mama to grow another baby for our family too, he said yes!  The rest of our conversation went like this:

Mama - "When would you like to have another baby brother or sister?"

Dylan - "This week!"

Mama - "Well that is rather soon, we'll have to wait until God gives us a new baby for Mama's tummy...maybe we could pray for one tonight?"

Dylan - "Yes Mam, I'll ring Him!"

Dylan then proceed to take out his telephone (his hand) and presses a few 'buttons'.

Dylan - "Hello God, we need a baby for our family, for my mams tummy...yes...no this week...ok...bye, bye bye!" He 'hangs' up!

Dylan - "God says ok this week!"


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Recent Happenings...




Looking Pretty!

Life is pretty much back to hectic here at Plumfield house since our little Megs birth seven weeks ago!  We have several projects taking much of our focus at the moment.  Firstly Brian is shouldering the expansion of our farming activities.  We are taking on extra fields this year which will be a blessing to us, as we have just expanded our herd numbers.  Brian is making many provisions for the future which he states will boost our returns for the labour we put into our farming; which can only be a good thing for our growing family!  Though as he is a little sick at the moment this extra work load and stress is leaving him a little depleted...so we are all trying to help him as much as we can.


My First 'Baby' Is Looking So Mature Lately...

Its hard to believe that Meg is now seven weeks old, the time has gone so fast that it feels as though she has been with us for much longer!  She has begun smiling now and is so responsive in our interactions.  It is just a joy to see her growing and developing day by day.  The only time our sweet girl is unhappy is when I take her out of the bath each evening...she gets so very cross!  I think that she just does not like the sudden change of temperature, even though I wrap her in a warm towel immediately; she wails her little lungs out!  Poor Dylan just covers his ears until I can dress her and calm her down!


Dylan Doing Some 'Baking' Until He Was Rumbled!

Other news includes that Dylan has given his dodies/pacifiers away!  We were going to take them away near his third birthday but with Megs birth so close we agreed to wait a little while longer.  One day last week I suggested to Dylan at the dinner table that he consider giving his dodies to the man at the toyshop, in exchange for a really cool toy!  He looked very excited that this was possible!  The very next day Dylan approached me and asked whether we could go to the toy shop now!  I so had not planned on doing it right then...Daddy wouldn't be able to come as he was working, I had tonnes of chores to complete and it was lashing with rain!  But I supposed that it would be good to act while he was willing and eager, so I called Brian at work to OK it with him.  Dylan hunted the house for all of his dodies and placed them in a ziplock bag and we proceed to drive into town.  I discreetly talked with the shop attendant whilst Amy and Dylan browsed the farming toys!  Dylan picked out a JCB tractor to add to his farm playset that he got for his birthday along with a roller attachment.  At the till he handed the man his zipbag of dodies and we left the shop with his cool new toys!   Hooray for Dylan! 


Big Boy Dylan Saying A Fond Farewell To His Dodies!

Our schooling is in full swing again after a short time off following Megs birth.  Amy has just chosen her piano pieces for this years exams, though at this stage we are undecided as to whether she will sit them in June or November.  We don't usually 'do' history or geography workbooks at this stage as they are usually very boring and worldly in content and the history books are largely inaccurate.  Recently however we have begun to approach unit studies in the hope of choosing topics of interest and we can make sure that true learning is not stifled!  Our history work at present is still focused on the great famine, I hope to post again about the additional work we have done since this post.  Additionally Amy has begun an DK eyewitness unit study book about stars and planets...we had bought this book for Amy a long time ago but had not gotten around to using it!  Most of the book is too simple for Amy but we will be supplementing the chapters with additional materials.  My only bug bear with this book (as with many 'school' books) is the inclusion of the 'big bang' theory as proven fact!  This frustrates me so much!  Why is it so hard to have a european published workbook based on Biblical creation?  I am hoping to find my own worksheet explaining the 'scientific' elements of creation and will staple it to cover the original book page!  Also I remembered whilst pondering this that I had a link to online creation astronomy videos through Above Rubies,  what a treasure those will be to our unit study I thought! 

Amy 'Aging' With A Teabag,
Her Newspaper Article Describing An Evition During The Great Famine!

As for me I am feeling well rested (most of the time) as Meg is beginning to sleep a little longer in the nights!  I am beginning to have our home running to some sort of schedule once more which I love.  Mentally I feel great and also I have lost a lot of my pregnancy weight much quicker than I did after Dylans birth.  Mine and Brians fifth wedding anniversary is coming up on the 26th of this month, so we are hoping to be able to go out for dinner locally to celebrate!  It has been quite a while since we went out to dinner last, so I will be looking forward to it!  I can't believe five years has gone so fast; so much change and adventure...I can't wait to see what God has in store for us, for the next five?


Monday, February 21, 2011

Oxford Reading Tree




Recently my lovely mother bought a complete 'at home' set of Oxford Reading Tree books for Dylan.  As a child I learned to read with these books at school.  Biff, Chip, Kipper and Floppy the dog, I loved them all!  This set comes with a set of each reading level, starting with pre-readers for ages 3-4.  Perfect!

So when my mother arrived at our home one evening, on her way home from work with this set tucked under her arm; I was delighted!  After she had left Dylan and I went to cuddle up on the sofa of the playroom.  Meg played quietly under her playgym whilst Dylan and I read together.  It was so wonderful for me to reconnect with the charcters I had once loved so much.  I cannot wait to begin teaching Dylan to read.  I feel very blessed that, out of all the words he will read in his life time I shall be the one who teaches him how. 


And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.
KJV - Deuteronomy 6:7


New Church Outfits!




Recently Amy and I treated ourselves to new outfits for church.  Unfortunately these photographs do not do either of our new skirts justice!  Amy's skirt is just beautiful; the fabric is chiffon with the most lovely colours running through it.  It is for age 16 so it is a little big for her but it does have an adjustable waist so she will hopefully get plenty of wear out of it.  I also bought her a rust coloured T shirt/blouse (not the one pictured) to match but it gapes a little when she would bend so we are going to have to think of a way to make it more modest.  The shoes Amy is wearing are mine!  She had neutral coloured flats to wear but announced that very morning that they had gone to small...we only bought them in November!  I think I'll have to stop feeding her; growing all the time is just plain inconsiderate Amy!

As for me, well this photograph clearly indicates that I still am carrying some excess baggage from my last pregnancy...hmmm!  Other than that I loved wearing this outfit for church!  My skirt was dark purple linen with a scarf belt; it was so comfortable to wear.  My T shirt was just plain white as you can tell and I accessorized with purple beads!  My cardigan is one of my mothers cast-offs which she bought from a second hand store.  I felt very nice wearing this outfit and it made me realise how much I have missed wearing my dresses/skirts during my pregnancy with Meg.  I was not 'feminine dress only' during my pregnancy with Dylan, therefore most of my maternity clothes were jeans or denim dungarees/overalls.  Although I purchased one or two skirts in addition to two maternity dresses I already had; I simply could not just go out and buy all new maternity wear which suited my skirts/dresses only conviction.  Now however I am loving being back in my usual clothing!



Friday, February 18, 2011

Amys MS Read-a-Thon Rewards!




You may remember that back in October I posted this article letting everyone know that our eldest daughter Amy was participating in the MS Read-a-Thon.  Not surprisingly she read a lot of books!

As a thank you for her efforts the charity sent her, just recently, a certificate of appreciation and a small digital photoframe on a key chain.  Amy was delighted!

In total Amy managed to raise €91.00 for Multiple Sclerosis Ireland!  Way to go Amy!



Thursday, February 17, 2011

'Convenient' Home Abortion Pills




 I have said it before and I will say it again;  I am not judging women here who have made terrible decisions such as these in the past.  Each one of us must repent of past sins, and ask forgiveness from our Lord Jesus Christ.

A few days ago I read this news headline and additionally this one.  I was absolutely disgusted to read that the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) have challenged a ruling made by the High Court to allow women to be allowed to take 'convenient' abortion pills to induce an abortion at home!  The original ruling by the High Court stated that women should still have these pills given to them by their GP's.

Firstly I am outraged that these 'murder pills' are even available at all, to women within nine weeks of pregnancy!  In order to dispose of their unwanted child women need only contact their family doctor to schedule an initial consultation before going back on two occasions to gain the two sets of pills.

BPAS argued in court that giving women both sets of pills at once would mean they could control where the abortion actually takes place and could be sure that they would not experience cramping and bleeding on the way home from their appointments!

Is anyone else totally disgusted by this argument?  So the BPAS want women to be able to control when and where they murder their own babies!  They are also full of compassion for the poor women experiencing unpleasant or painful cramping on their way home from the doctors office.  What about the pain the baby suffers when its innocent life is snuffed out by the person whom is supposed to protect and nurture it!  Oh and bleeding on the way home would be totally unacceptable, why?  Is it because it would be embarrassing for them to have everyone know what they have done?


Monday, February 14, 2011

Little Boys!




Dylan Pretending To Be A Carpenter!
 
Recent little boy sized messes, include:

  • Stuffing toilet paper into the downstairs bathroom sink and rendering it un-useable!
  • Shaking talcum powder all over Mama's bedroom floor and 'dancing' in it all over the upstairs floors!
  • Pouring sugar all over the downstairs bathroom floor (he was trying to make it snow)!
  • Being found crying outside after touching the electric fence with his head!
  • Falling all the way down the stairs on his tummy and nearly giving Mama heart failure in the process!
  • Creeping downstairs in the morning to fix his own breakfast; consisting of a quarter box of chocolates!
  • Unravelling toilet rolls!
  • Filling my washing machine with stain remover powder and laundry softner (trying to help)!


Dylan and his Grandad (My Dad) Off To Do The Morning Farm Chores!

Fortunately there is a flip side to all the mess...


  • Telling little sister Meg that she would grow up to be a princess!
  • Saying a very loud thankyou to Mama at the library for finding him the 'big machines' book!
  • Taking out my kitchen beater, attaching it to his little red tractor and going off 'ploughing'!
  • Thanking God in his prayers for 'making tractors'!
  • Helping Amy with her chores.
  • Helping Granny O'Neill by bringing in huge buckets of turf for the fire!
  • Looking after Grandad by holding him hostage nearly everyday and letting/forcing him to play 'farm'! 
  • Hooking a pencil behind his ear and pretending to be a carpenter!
  • Willingly sharing his bathtime with Meg, even though she cries for the duration of it!
  • Giving Mama special kisses!
I love you my precious boy!


    Saturday, February 12, 2011

    Are You Done Now?




    One Of Americas Largest Families - The Bates

    Most have you will have guessed by the title of this post what I am talking about!  I was completely surprised at having this question directed at myself and Brian since the birth of our daughter six weeks ago.  It completely caught us off guard!  We thought that only families with four or more got asked this question!

    The last incident occured several days ago, where an unknown man congratulated us on the birth of our daughter.  He then proceeded to ask us "So are you done now?", whilst looking at our other two children.  I'm sure that the gentleman in question was not meaning to sound rude; but to me it was very close to it!  Is it now acceptable to openly question a strangers choice regarding the number of children they wish to have?  Is hoping for more children really that shocking?  Is it not thought offensive to ask that question in front of our children or at all?

    Is three really that many?

    My husband and I decided some time ago that we would trust the Lord with our whole lives; including the area of our fertility and family size.  Our family has studied the Bible in depth on this topic and are convicted that our Lord is the one who opens and closes the womb and that the Bible teaches against abortion and all forms birth control.  From our understanding of the Bible we believe that the only times a man and wife are instructed to abstain from intimate relations with one another is for: seven specific days during a womans monthly cycle, after the birth of a child and during times of marital stress; not to avoid pregnancy.  As Bible believing Christians we understand that children are blessings bestowed upon us by our Heavenly Father.  We seek to wholeheartedly receive each 'gift' from Him with praise and thankfulness.

    So No...Lord willing, we are NOT done!

    Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.
    As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are]children of the youth. 
    Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.
    KJV - Psalm 127: 3-5


    Thursday, February 10, 2011

    Our Littlest Treasure!




    Our little Meg is growing up so fast!  She is such a sweet, easy to care for baby; Brian and I are so thankful.  Indeed she does sleep a lot, but when she is awake she is usually very happy either being held by one of us or sitting in the midst of the action propped up on the kitchen armchair!

    At present I am introducing her to the Contented Little Baby routine system.  I used this routine with Dylan and we were delighted that he began to sleep the night by twelve weeks and was always happy and contented.  We also never had to resort to 'crying it out'.  Though as Meg is a particularly sleepy baby I have had to tweak it slightly to allow her a little more sleep during the day.  To the delight of my frazzled brain she is also begining to sleep longer in the night.  I simply crave routine!  I must have it or I cannot seem to function; as if my days have no beginning or end!  Seemingly my babies love routine also! 

    The purpose of this routine is to enable babies to consume most of their daily requirement of milk in waking hours so as to encourage them to drop the night feed as soon as they are able to.  I must stress that I do not drop that middle of the night feed until my babies are ready to do so.  So far Meg has been seemingly happy on this routine although it is hard to stick to when we have certain outings to go on such as attending book club and church.


    I Nearly Managed To Capture Her Smiling In This One!


    Thursday, February 3, 2011

    Adjusting To Life As A Family Of Five!




    A Tired Looking Daddy With His Lap Full Of Treasures!

    Our little Meg is now one month old and oh my didn't it go by fast!  Since her birth we have been very busy trying to keep our heads above water most days, particularly since Brian went back to work one week later.  This was my first time mothering a newborn with a toddler in tow and I can honestly say it is not for the faint-hearted!  However we are now well on our way into settling into a new routine as a family of five.

    When we first brought Meg home Dylan's behaviour changed dramatically!  Normally our sweet boy is well behaved and well mannered whilst still being an energetic and exuberant!  But immediately we noticed that, while he was not showing signs of jealousy toward Meg; he was however being rather naughty!  Typically he would shout much louder than normal, act demanding and would disobey me in particular.  Normally he knows that Mama is not be trifled with when it comes to obedience...but he quickly realised that, whilst Mama is sore, can't move very fast and is nursing the baby, is a great time to get up to all kinds of mischief!  This behaviour caused Brian and I a lot of upset as we did not want to be too hard on him so soon after bringing home his new baby sister.  We hung on in there with gentle but firm correction and within the last three weeks his behaviour has returned to normal!  Phew!


    Amy on the other hand has really blossomed once more in her role as big sister!  I think it is really just in light of the fact that she has done all this adjusting before.  She has been a fantastic help to me in completing some extra chores and being more self-governing with her school work in the early days.  In particular I have been most appreciative of the times she played and supervised Dylan whilst I was otherwise engaged tending to Meg.


    Amy And Dylan Enjoying A Bedtime Story Together

    As for me...well to be honest I struggled rather a lot in the first two weeks.  Part of this was due to nursing issues that were making me very emotional (I will post seperately about this)  It was a very humbling experience for me to realise that I wasn't superwoman!  I cried and prayed a lot!  I always make the same mistake!  I try too hard to make everything fit perfectly too soon and then when it doesn't work I beat myself up about it.  Hmmm...I'm such a slow learner at times!  

    At present life is pretty fantastic!  I am loving my new role as a mother of three!  Now that Meg is settling into a routine I am enjoying delving back into my usual activities.  I am loving being able to read and pray with Dylan before he goes to bed, reading with Amy at lunchtime, keeping our home running well and spending time with my husband once more.  Some key things that are my 'sanity savers' at present:

    • Writing Amy's school work up a week in advance.
    • Ironing all our clothes the night before.
    • Cleaning the kitchen thoroughly each night, so as to not have to face it in the morning.
    • Working hard to establish Meg into a routine so as to have her sleeping the night as soon as is possible for her.
    • Preparing as much of dinner as I can whilst our two youngest are napping at lunchtime.
    I know the newborn stage goes by so fast that we'll wonder were it went, so I am making sure to enjoy every minute.   I want to just now take the time to thank you all very much for the tonnes of emails we have had sending us well wishes and kind requests for a update on our family.  I hope to update soon on how our precious little bundle is developing so keep posted!


    Tuesday, February 1, 2011

    Irish History - The Great Famine




    Recently Amy and I have begun to research Irish history together!  What an interesting subject!  I am loving being able to learn alongside her.  As I was born and raised in England, Irish history is somewhat of an unknown to me.  It has also opened up many impromptu late night history lessons for me from my husband!  We have begun our studies at 1845; the beginning of the potato famine.

    We started by  reading a historical fiction named 'The Hunger' by Carol Drinkwater.  Brian and I gave a set of these books to Amy as a gift for her 11th birthday this year.  This simple story has given us a grounding on which to base further research.
     

    We were also lucky enough to find a great DVD boxed set at our local supermarket for a very good price.  The set contains 6 documentary discs which deal with varying times in Irish history.  So one afternoon Amy and I picked out the disc that delves into the potato famine and cuddled up on the sofa to watch it.  It was an American production which actually surprised me...it made me a little wary of the historical accuracy!  However I vouched most of the main points with Brian later that evening.  We all enjoyed the documentary thoroughly; although it was obviously very sad in parts. 


    It was interesting to us all to learn that the blight disease which so grossly affected the potato crop is thought to have originated in Mexico and travelled all across Europe before it affected the Irish potato.  So there were many countries affected by devastating potato crop losses.  Only within Ireland however, were the effects so catastrophic.

    One afternoon I organised a 'Pre-famine' lunch for myself and the children!  What fun they had!  It really was just a simple lunch of boiled potatoes in their skins, lots of butter, some soda bread and cups of milk.  Brian had also indicated that were not allowed to use cutlery to eat with, as most families would not have used them...urgh!  So I tried to be, as good a sport as I could, and let my children eat with their fingers (*shudder*)  Unfortunately this was during the time my camera died, so no photographs which was so disappointing, as such a wonderful time was had!  Whilst we ate, I read from a very interesting book we had checked out from the library on the subject of 'The Great Famine'.


    I read this book aloud to the children during our school days and Amy also did some of the projects and activities suggested.  Amy drew pictures that depicted families during the time of the famine, imagined her family had to decide whether or not to enter the workhouse and made up a list of pros and cons; also she created a newspaper page containing an eye witness account she wrote herself of an eviction.  Even Dylan enjoyed this read time and loved to look at the pictures of the Irish farmers planting their potatoes by hand.  To our dear boy imagining a time were there were no tractors is...unfathomable!  Next I have included the best YouTube video I could find in regards to the famine, it does explain some of the key factors in why the loss of the potato crop was so catastrophic within Ireland...and surprisingly it has nothing to do with food shortages!  



    You may have noticed reference to 'coffin ships' whilst watching the above video.  Many families emigrated aboard one of these ships in the hopes of finding a better existence for themselves in countries such as: Canada or America.  One such ship was named the Dunbrody Famine Ship and she carried many a family to the shores of America; including the ancestors of the late amercian President Kennedy.  A replica of the Dunbrody has since been built and is docked at New Ross, County Wexford; visitors can now board her and experience an authentic recreation of life aboard this ship.  The Dunbrody is closed for maintenence at present, but when she re-opens I am hoping to take the children along for the tour, as I think that will be a nice outing to cap off our studies on this topic.




    We are all so enjoying our history research on this topic.  As we continue studying the time of The Great Famine we are beginning to look back at pivotal moments in previous history including the invasion of Oliver Cromwell and his armies, and also we will be looking at life in the workhouse.  We hope that you will enjoy learning with us!