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The power of silence

foyer retreat

What an amazing couple of weeks. After a truly beautiful week with friends and family in Germany and Spain (post to follow), I ventured on my own to Micklepage, a 17th Century barn house in the heart of Sussex countryside, for a silent retreat.

My first retreat since Benedict was born a year ago (another post to follow – we celebrated his 1st birthday on Monday!), and the longest time I had been away from him – not easy, but grace-filled. Eoin stayed with his parents that week and they helped out with B, and I’m so grateful for their help.

The retreat was led by Fr Tom Dubois and the Foyer Community from France, and what a great retreat it was! We had Mass, praise and worship, talks, adoration and the rosary each day (it probably sounds quite intense but through the silence they flowed together so well… and if you’ve done a silent retreat before you know its no holiday haha!)

There were six other retreatants and all I knew about them were their names. And yet, after spending a week with them there was a real unity between us; I felt on some level I knew them in a much deeper way – it was very special. Silence really is a powerful thing.

I am so thankful for the retreat. Being a mother now, the silence and the time of prayer free from worry about your little one, is cherished time indeed.

This is the old farm house some of us stayed in:

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This is from one of the walks I did each day:

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And this was my room… It was a real struggle for me actually! I hate anything creepy-crawly and this room had plenty of them! God definitely took this opportunity to take away all my comforts and challenge my fears…

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Germany, here we come…

germany 2011

On Monday we’re off to Germany! B’s first summer holiday, very exciting. We’re going to Uberlingen, near the border of Switzerland where a good friend of ours comes from. A group of us first went there three years ago and we had such a good time; staying close to the lakes, swimming and boating, staying up late playing intensive and competitive card games!

From Uberlingen, Eoin, Benedict and I are heading to Spain to visit Eoin’s sister who lives there. She has two children and it’ll be the first time they meet Benedict (B’s only cousins!) so we are rather excited!

Then… straight after we get back I’m going on a retreat for a week; my first since Benedict was born and the longest time I’ll have been away from him… very mixed emotions!

So a very busy and exciting couple of weeks ahead.

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Lovely visits {phfr}

round button chicken

Joining Like Mother Like Daughter for this week’s {pretty, happy, funny, real}.

{pretty}

My brother came to stay with us this week. He has just finished his final year at school and hoping to go to Greenwich university in September. I honestly can’t believe how quickly the time has gone… I can remember putting him on the school bus when he was 12 and his bag was bigger than he was!

hop farm

It has been so nice having him here… I decided to use this opportunity to discover new places to visit in the area we recently moved to. We went to Hop Farm – a family park with a lot of different attractions, including a reptile and owl show… separate shows not together!

Benedict was fascinated with the owls; he watched them so closely. But I can’t say the same for the snakes and lizards… I don’t think he even noticed they were there!

hop farm 2

{happy}

Eoin recently found the K’Nex he used to have when he was a child, and he started playing with it again as if no time had past! Benedict really enjoyed it and loved playing with the little pieces, but I can’t help thinking all of this was more for Eoin’s amusement than Benedict’s…!

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Like father like son…

knex

{funny/real}

I had another one of those “I-turn-my-head-for-a-second” moments! Benedict learnt how to climb our step and then started to play on the trunk… You could argue that yes, that really is a silly place to put a step with an ever adventurous little one… I agree, silly and naive… still a lot to learn!

on the trunk

{real/happy}

For ages we have been trying to get Benedict onto the bottle and he has been incredibly stubborn about it! But lately we have had a break through. He seems to absolutely love it now… So this is a photo of real relief and triumph:

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Time for Hartbeeps!

hartbeeps1

Recently Benedict and I were introduced to Hartbeeps by some friends who live near us. Hartbeeps is a sensory class for babies packed with really exciting activities to help with their ongoing development. From ‘Numma Numma’ puppets and catchy music to bubble machines and gold shiny parachutes, it always manages to keep the little ones focused – it is so cute to watch their expressions!

Benedict absolutely loves it! He loves watching the other babies, and I’m amazed at how much he actually takes part in the activities; like passively lying down while I pretend to change his nappy, singing the “changing mat” song! At home, more often than not he’s wriggling around while I frantically try and hold his legs!!

I’m really glad I found it, and I’m certain Benedict is too.

hartbeeps

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Bath-time is one of the activities we’ve done so far, and each of the children were given a shower cap, sponge, and bath toys to practise, along with music and songs…

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