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Interrupted Silence

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For three weeks now I have been mostly housebound. The first two weeks our car was broken and then this week Rose has been unwell with tonsillitis.

It’s been very slow moving and I’ve had a tendency to busy myself in the housework. But in a lot of ways it’s been a welcome-break; not rushing around doing the school-run or preparing to be out for the day, or needing to be somewhere at a certain time. It has “forced” me to stop my busyness and take time to hear the silence.

A couple of days ago, I was sitting on my bed in the morning listening to the silence (a very rare experience for me these days!) and then I heard Clara climbing up the stairs singing to herself.

I was filled with very conflicting emotions has I heard her coming closer! Part of me just craved more silence, to be still with the Lord a little longer, and then as I continued to listen to her innocent voice, I realised there would come a time when all the children have left home and no-one comes to interrupt me!

I’m loving the Abiding Together podcasts at the moment and for lent they’re discussing Father Jacques Philippe’s book: Searching for and Maintaining Peace. It is amazing!! This quote from his book really struck me:

[We have] the temptation to believe that, in the situation which is ours (personal, family, etc.) we lack something essential and that because of this, our progress, and the possibility of blossoming spiritually, is denied us.

For example… my immediate family prevents me from organising my spiritual activities as I wish.

This was definitely written for me! I need this constant reminder; that this is my life – a busy wife and mother of three small children – not some other life in an ideal world. These are my busy days and God is still present in my busyness; He just needs me to recognise those seconds of silence in the day and then continue along my path of motherhood beside Him.

I’m learning to love the interruptions and to cherish that smile on Clara’s triumphant face when she found me sitting on my bed! I’m thankful for this ‘welcome-break’, but when Rose is back to full health, I’m ready to carry on living this busy life God has given me with those special little moments of silence.

 

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Keepsake memories

Life with little ones is so fast paced it would be easy to forget the little joys that happen along the way. Most things will just be enjoyed in the moment, but there are some things I want to remember in years to come when the “baby-days” have long gone.

I never want to forget Clara wondering around singing to herself in a world of her own, or when she uses a bib for a hand bag and it’s just hanging off her arm. Or Rose, when she’s lost in her imaginary game of preschools with her dollies, and Benedict busy building lego on the top bunk so Clara can’t reach him or his lego; the times when Benedict and Rose play Mass together or mums and dads, and Clara watching intently so she can copy what they’re doing and join in. All these just to name a few…

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Reading The Enchanted Wood

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Bateman’s National Trust

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Rose playing preschool

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Bodiam Castle NT

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Knole Park NT

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Pancake Day!

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Gardens are meant for den-making!

Today was one of the first days since the end of winter that we could spend outside in the garden; it was so warm that Benedict and Rose had to put shorts and t-shirts on!

Recently, I’d been thinking about how we could create a den in the garden without buying an “already-made-one”. We visited Knole Park yesterday and in the gift shop they had a beautiful, portable “den-making kit” rucksack, with everything you could possibly need to make one. It was £40 and part of me was tempted to buy it, but somehow it went against everything I think a den stands for. Isn’t a den meant to be made out of everything and anything you can find lying around and an excuse to get creative?

So that’s what Eoin and the kids did this morning – they found some bamboo sticks, some string, two old sheets and some pegs. Then, they decorated the bamboo using giant chalks for that added homely touch…

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Here’s one we made in some woods near our house:

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I can’t get enough of this picture!

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Bruges in a day

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A couple of weeks ago we made an impulsive decision to go to Bruges for the day for the Christmas markets! It’s a major benefit of living in Kent and being so close to the Euro Tunnel – it is so easy to get into France and then travel to Belgium.

Benedict and Rose were so excited (we were too!)! We left our home at 5am and reached Belgium at 10.30am local time.  We had mulled wine in the local markets and bought some chocolate santas, snowmen and reindeers in the chocolate shops.  We were also lucky enough to stumble across a nativity show with Mary riding a donkey, the three wise men riding shire horses, and a stable being pulled along by a tractor. It was perfect for Benedict and Rose in helping them visualise the first Christmas.

We also went to the Basilica of the Holy Blood to venerate the relic of Jesus’ Precious Blood. It was incredibly moving, especially to do it with Benedict and Rose and helping them understand its real significance.

We ended our trip with some authentic Belgium waffles topped with a large dollop of Nutella – I think Eoin was the only one who finished his!! It was the best way to end a wonderful trip.

Three countries in a day, as Benedict said – we’re obviously living life on the edge 😉

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Happy 1st Birthday Clara

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On the 9th of this month, Clara turned one – our first winter birthday in our family. We had a little family gathering at ours for some chicken tagine and birthday cake. Eoin and I had the great idea of making a hundreds and thousands birthday cake for Clara after watching a youtube video that made it look very easy to do… however, it turned out to be an epic fail! Our icing sugar and water ratio was wrong which meant the cake ended up sliding around everywhere… So we improvised with chocolate fingers – it still tasted yummy though and actually ended up not looking that bad after all!

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Rose helping Clara open her presents:

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Clara wearing her new bear jumper from Aunty Catriona:

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Clara at 10 months

Clara is 10 months today and this picture sums her up completely…

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She is so full of life, fun, happiness and smiles. I love how at 10 months she’s managed to form beautiful relationships with Benedict and Rose.  They can’t get enough of her – Rose knows to get Clara a rattle when she’s tired of being in the car, and Benedict knows exactly what faces to pull to get a giggle! She fits in so wonderfully with our family and I can’t believe we’ve only known her for 10 months.

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Scotney Castle

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Eoin and I have been thinking for a while now to get a National Trust membership. We missed the boat for this summer but yesterday we decided to take the plunge and I am so glad we did!

Today, I took Rose and Clara to Scotney Castle. We thought we’d suss it out to see whether the boys might like it! It dates back to the eleven hundreds and used to be owned by the Hussey family. The place is enormous with lakes, woods, parklands and lots of different walks and trails, so I’m really excited to go back and explore properly as a family.

Today we mainly explored the natural play area which is really unique. They had a mud kitchen (Rose was in her element!), a wooden house, swings, a toy theatre, some drums made out of tree trunks and a ball slide. It was really fun!

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The play area:

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