It’s April!

Time seems to be flying by. Over the past week Chris has been getting used to his new job, we’ve had a skip delivered and have already filled:

The boys have been playing out a lot. It is fantastic for them here, they just run about and explore and play:

We went out for the day on Sunday to Lough Key (pronounced Loch). It was the first time we have been out for the day just to relax really since we’ve been here. It’s just been so busy, we haven’t made the effort until now. It was such a great day, there’s forests to walk through and Lough Key itself, and a cafe and play area (much to J’s delight). It was needed and it was great. It might sound a bit weird but it was also great seeing trees like oak, chestnut, ash and beech again. Round us there’s a lot of pine and I missed those trees! There are birch and ash around, they just seem to get subdued by the pine sometimes.

I think I mentioned before we’ve had one of the cars almost sorted:

new number plates! Love the Irish spelling of Leitrim. But we are still waiting for the other car to be sorted, apparently we are waiting for some sort of code, then we can go back to the VRT office again… and get the new reg plate number. The above car also needs to pass the NCT (MOT equivalent) because it failed. Chris is picking the parts up tonight and then hopefully doing the work at the weekend. It’s tricky for him juggling everything now he’s working full time but we are prioritising and I’m doing as much as I can at home too. He’s done so much already since we’ve been here it’s quite remarkable.

lastly! We found a garden centre, It’s near Lough Key, called Ardcarne. Someone from church recommended it. So we’ve now got our pots and compost so planting will begin this week. Yay! It’s also good to see the things we’ve planted so far, starting to bud and get leaves, despite the fact it’s been so wet and windy.

(I know rhubarb grows just about anywhere, but it’s so nice seeing something edible growing.)

Finally. I really missed my mum on Sunday. It is good here, but there’s also very hard parts. Especially since the recent death of my dad. I sometimes (quite often) feel like I’m still on catch up, like we’ve moved here, but my brain hasn’t really caught on or up yet. It was a bigger decision than I thought originally, moving here. It’s the right place for us to be I think, it’s just difficult when it affects others.

look up!

You have said, “Seek my face.” My heart says to you, “Your face, LORD, do I seek.” (Psalm 27.8)

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Four weeks to go!

Yes folks, all being well, four weeks today and we will be in Ireland. It’s a strange feeling, I’m full of excitement and am really looking forward to doing this together as a family but also have lots of other feelings whirling around inside me. It’s difficult to describe.

Nerves for one, I suppose. Will we be welcomed? What will they think of us? Will the kids be ok? Especially J as it probably isn’t long until he will be at school there (I’ll really miss him). Will everyone we’re leaving here be ok? Lots of things really. I think the answer is, we will be fine. Everything will be fine. In fact, much more than fine. We have Jesus, so even when things are not fine, they also are – topsy turvy I know!

Practically, we’ve seriously started packing now and have boxes everywhere.

Our three year old – J says he “just wants to get there now” (cute) and I have started making lists of companies and people we need to inform. It is surprisingly long. It also feels strange because for the utility bills, I actually need to cancel the accounts because we aren’t staying in the UK.

The process also feels quite freeing though, as I have a list which I am going through and cancelling services and payments off. With each cancellation there is a big line that goes through the company name. Really need to keep things simple in the future…

There’s still lots I need to look into, such as bank accounts, national insurance payments, getting our cars checked out once there and the plates changed, whether we can keep our mobile contracts or not. I think probably not, but we will see (it’s on the list) and we also need to look into medical care (I think we have to apply for a card once there, but I need to look at it again).

Plenty to keep us occupied anyway!

The ferry journey is booked now too and Chris has given his notice in at work, so here’s praying that it all goes smoothly!

This week has been good, I’ve tried to make some room for fun/time with the children. I sometimes get so wrapped up in what’s going on that I feel like I don’t play with them enough. So we’ve had some fun. Going out, Throwing the ball for the dog, walking, getting the bus, running round, baking, talking. I find it really difficult to be present sometimes because my mind gets sooo full. But I’m trying to practice just being with them (I mean with no distractions) and enjoying it for at least part of each day. Thank you God for our children!

No condemnation

The bible tells us that there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. No condemnation. None! But I know I often/usually do not live like this. So I’ve started a bible study through you version on it and am talking to God, doodling ideas and thoughts and generally asking God’s spirit to show me the truth.

I think through past stuff, things that have happened, things I’ve done I still hold onto feeling worthless when In fact the opposite is true, because of Jesus.

The Holy Spirit cleanses us from all unrighteousness and although we still do sin, in the bible study it pointed something out I’ve never thought of before – we now hate the sin, even though we may still do it. Isn’t that a gift!!!?? Even if it doesn’t always feel like it. Haha.

In other news, our littlest is now sleeping in his cot and It’s going fairly well. And he can now climb stairs and onto the settee. Nothing is safe any more! He climbed on this morning because his brother was sat there eating a banana and J then shared it with him. Which was nice!

I love these little parts of life. Watching them change and grow. Finding things out, learning things. It happens so fast at this age too. Life is most definitely a miracle.

I’m going to miss this..

Ive been bed sharing with my littlest since he was born really. The main reason was it was a lot easier to get sleep, he could feed without disturbing us both too much and it seemed very natural. It’s been lovely.

However, we are feeling the time has come to re introduce him to his cot. I think it is anyway (I keep changing my mind). So I am meant to be starting this tonight. So I am trying to prepare myself for a couple of weeks of very disturbed nights and some crying. He is such a happy, cuddly little thing, I’m really hoping this doesn’t change. Plus, I really will miss him next to me. He really doesn’t like the cot, even if I put him in so I can get dressed, he cries.

One of the reasons we want to do it now is at the moment we have a single bed alongside ours, but in the new house we may not be able to do this, so it only seems fair to re introduce the cot now. He is also still feeding a lot at night. I know there’s very mixed views on this, whether it’s right or whether it’s wrong…when you google about sleep there is loads of conflicting advice.

I did a version of controlled crying with J, but I don’t think I can face that again, so I’m going to try a gentler approach, which may take longer but I will be happier with. Having said that, J does sleep really well so I guess it did work. This time, I’m just going to play it by ear. Literally…the baby has a very loud cry…

So I may be sleep deprived for a bit.. forgive me if I’m emotional. I get very emotional when I’m tired…

So I did this friends thing on facebook….

and I’m not sure how I feel about it! It was this status that you copy and paste that said …………………….write down how you met me……….. and most of the people seemed to be from church. I loved it and it reminded me of the friends I do have but….

Now don’t get me wrong, I love my church, deeply. But I do feel I’ve placed it and the area it is in on a bit of a pedestal when I should have been concentrating on where I am in Chesterfield. Just to be clear, my church is about ten miles from where I live, so not a massive distance, but when it comes to having close friends and community, it seems to make a massive difference.

I won’t lie, since having children I’ve been frequently lonely. I feel like I’ve wasted time being lonely actually. When I could have just been out there having fun and being with my kids and not worrying. That makes me sad. I should have concentrated on my own community where I live and made friends. The post natal depression didn’t help! But I’m fine now.

I know I did make a few and you are out there, but life with small children and friendships is actually quite difficult. Most women work as well as bring their children up and also have partners as well. So life is busy and time limited.

Everyone says “go to groups!!!” but to be quite honest I find a lot of groups to be more dispiriting that not going. I find it a fake indoors environment where you sit around talking nonsense or worrying about your child’s behaviour and being unsure as to whether it is “appropriate” (another word I don’t like). and trying to make friends with people who, quite frankly, don’t appear to want to actually be friends. Maybe it’s just our English non embracing of others, our restraint, but I don’t like it.

If I was staying here, I think I would have made more of an effort, invited people out, gone to the park and spoken to people. It’s actually quite easy, I did it yesterday, we went to our local park and stayed quite a while, J made a friend (amazing how easy we find it when we are three) and ran around for ages. The little one shuffled round climbing on things and I chatted with J’s friend’s grandma. It was great.

I have actually loved being a full time mum. Loved it. And I will keep on loving it. But now, I am going to embrace this time and love my kids and teach them and enjoy them. (and learn from them hopefully). J goes to school in a year, and I have beaten myself up in some ways because everyone seems so obsessed with nurseries and I seem to have been continually asked since J was born if he was going or when he was going to nursery.  Particularly when he was going through a tough time like when he went through a hitting phase (like nursery would sort him out??!!)

J hasn’t gone to nursery and still isn’t at the moment is the answer. And you know what? he is an intelligent, well adjusted and knowledgeable three year old. With all the traits of a normal three year old, including some defiance, screaming heebie jeebies, and refusing to leave the park when asked saying he wanted to stay there forever. He makes friends easily when out, he is sociable and he seems very secure. Again, not going to nursery when very young is not a bad thing… (neither is going, may I add to my working friends, I know how hard it is).

Having said that we will try and find a pre-school when we get to Ireland. But only because he is getting to that age where I feel it would be helpful and I think he would enjoy it. I have often felt that by being at home, what on earth have I given him? But more and more as he gets older I feel I am seeing what we have given him, and that is good.

Please don’t get me wrong, I am not slating working parents. I’ve been there, done that, and this parenting decision is entirely our decision. It is because I’ve been there, done that, that I made this decision. I did my nurse training whilst my daughter was little. We are also in the privileged position of (just) being able to do it financially.

So I suppose the point of this is, parenting is difficult, but I’m not sure we get it right in this country. There are so many lonely parents, being sold this image of parenthood that it just doesn’t live up to. Being told that nursery is the right place for their child, being made to feel that they have to work. Being told “you can have it all” when in fact it is incredibly difficult and something always has to give.

I also don’t get why we as parents don’t get this sorted, there seems to be a sort of paralysis of parents being perpetually lonely or unfulfilled. This doesn’t seem to have changed in the last 20 odd years (remember I have a 23 year old daughter too). I know I am generalising massively but I am speaking from my experience of trying loads of different kids groups over the past three years and meeting lots of different parents.

So, I’ve decided to try and do my bit from now on by simply welcoming other parents with a big smile and an ear to listen wherever I am. By being open and welcoming and take it from there. No agenda. No preconceived ideas.

Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord,
    the fruit of the womb a reward.
 Like arrows in the hand of a warrior
    are the children of one’s youth.
 Blessed is the man
    who fills his quiver with them!
He shall not be put to shame
    when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.

(Psalm 127:3-5)

(I’m really hoping this post is not offensive, massive apologies if it is…parenting and friendships are tricky subjects, I am working my own thoughts out really, I feel like God is doing stuff in me at the moment, working things through…)

Family

I have to be careful today because I feel upset about something (partly my own fault) and what I really want to do is rant, but I made a sort of pledge when I started this that I would try not to use it to slate anyone or anything if I could help it.

Instead I will focus on my beautiful family.

My gorgeous husband, it has been a very tough, busy and awesome five years, we just get stronger and stronger because we are determined just to keep loving and going. He is amazing, he has a quiet strength and an ability not to care what others think that I just don’t have at the moment. He strengthens me through this. He is also brilliant with the children and often has more patience than me.

Our children, determined, lively, gorgeous, future world changers. J is amazing, he prayed for his dad the other day because he stood on a nail, the pain then disappeared. J tells me I’m beautiful when I’m sad (without prompting) and asks me how I am, he says thank you very much when you give him something, he tells you straight if he doesn’t like something, he often creeps in close when he is sat next to you and places his hand on you gently. He has so much empathy and compassion and love in him it is amazing. He is also very sensitive to environments.

The baby is just so so determined, if he wants something he will have it, he is smiley and cuddly and absolutely loves his brother to bits. Smiles and laughs every time he is around him.

We also have two other beautiful children who are not pictured but loved just as much.

And the only other thing I wish to say today is, we do our best. We always do our best. Our kids are going to be world changers, partly because we encourage them, love them and try to love them like God loves us. Mainly because they were made for that, by God.