Here lies the body of…

only joking! (As Chris would say).

It’s our outside fire that Chris has made for us. It’s great, the tombstone makes sure the smoke doesn’t go everywhere. Hoping to cook on it sometimes this summer.

New bed dug today, only a small one. J said he wanted to grow carrots, so I dug one and the seeds are in. I’m not sure whether they’ll work, the seeds are from last year and I’ve never had much success with carrots, but I guess we will soon see. The sticks mark the rows.

I gave J his own little bit of garden today (he chose it), mainly because he kept running on and digging in the bits I’ve planted. In the photo he is using my early birthday present. He’s really good with it too. It’s a Wolf Garten set, they have interchangeable heads and the ones I chose are a tiller and a weeder. J has also sown some sunflower seeds too today. He seems to really like gardening. Maybe we should start a family business 😆.

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Month 4 in the Shepherd house!…

It feels like longer than 4 months strangely.

So this morning I went to get the headlights focused on the car so it’ll pass the NCT to be told it’s better to have it done just before as a slight bump can affect them…how silly is that? That it can fail because you go over a bump..anyway! We’re going back next week to have them done.

We’ve also been outside again, I’ve done a bit of digging, J has been using the loppers (he really enjoys it) and littlest has been playing. Chris hasn’t been very well at all and has been off work and in bed, he has a sickness bug we think. He must be ill, he’s refused nearly all food and drink apart from water 😶

It’s a lovely day, it’s meant to be cloudy but it isn’t. It was a shame to come in. In fact J is creating because I’ve just brought them in…

starting a little bit of an experiment outdoors, nothing major but I’ll see how it goes! (see above circle). more to come…I’m still deciding on the exact plan..

The soil is majorly wet on the back of the veg plot so I’ve tried to cut a bit of drainage into the bed I’ve dug. It’ll hopefully dry out again over the next few days.

it’s so strange what you find when you’re digging, today it was a little clear bottle and some cutlery.

and before anyone says it, no I don’t think the cutlery is worth anything.

The bottle is a lot smaller and cuter then it looks there.

I’ve decided I need to start painting the walls soon…I may start with our bedroom (as soon as it becomes a bedroom and I’m not going to step on a plane…)

really need to get a shed sorted!..

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!

It’s a busy time at the moment…and uncertain…but exciting!

Update on the move so far because we keep being asked. We sold our house subject to contract back in June, but have not yet exchanged, we have now sent the signed forms off so exchange of contracts can take place.

We are buying a cottage in Leitrim in Ireland (all being well) which needs a little work, but is liveable, which also has 3 acres of land with it. Our Irish solicitors are brilliant and are keeping us up to date well, they have asked the sellers a few questions and are currently waiting for answers. It is pretty certain we will be moving, we have paid the deposit and had an engineer’s report.

In order to buy a house in Ireland (it is Southern Ireland), we need PPS numbers, (personal public service numbers) and these should be coming either this week or next. An absolutely lovely lady rang me this week from Ireland just to check the details. She was very friendly and said she was originally from the area in which we are buying and seemed really pleased when I said we were moving there.

Another question we keep being asked is about work/jobs. The answer to that is, no, we don’t currently have jobs waiting there for us. We have subscribed to various sites which advertise jobs in the areas we would be fairly close to. To those who may worry because we haven’t got work waiting – don’t worry, we will be fine. Chris is an extremely hard worker, who will work hard at absolutely anything he does and has been in constant work for years and if necessary I would get part time work to subsidise us, but that will probably not be necessary. I do intend to be at home with the children as long as it is possible.

The last commonly asked question is schools – yes there are schools nearby, as far as I am aware there is a little village primary school about four miles away. It is also legal to home school in Ireland if it became necessary or we decided to do that. Unlike here, education is only compulsory from the age of six in Ireland, but apparently most children do go from the age of four/five.

We are really looking forward to moving but whilst we are still here we are trying to make the most of the time left. We have been going out as a family at weekends, talking together more, spending more quality time together really, making good use as far as possible of  our time here. We went to a place called Magna on Saturday. It was so good, J (our 3 year old) and Chris were absolutely enthralled and there is a really good playground there too, which we went to afterwards. It’s also good, because if you pay full price once, you can then get in for a year for free afterwards. We also belong to the National Trust so we have been making the most of being members, getting out to various places as a family.

I’ve also met an old friend today at a local playgroup at the Baptist Church Hall, it was great! There were also two ladies there who looked after my daughter when she went to the after school club maybe about 17 years ago and another fella called John who is part of the Baptist Church who may have taught her at school (I only realised this after he left, I never got a chance to ask him). It was a very friendly, relaxed group and we all enjoyed it. J doesn’t always like indoor groups but he seemed to quite enjoy this one.

Chris and I are also actually going out!!! tomorrow!!! It is our wedding anniversary so we are celebrating God’s goodness in our lives and each other. Five years! It doesn’t actually feel like five years, even though we have packed it full. I loved our wedding, it was a good, good day. God was in it completely and utterly. Thank you Lord Jesus.

wedding 018

 

 

 

 

 

 

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…)