This morning Benjie disappeared downstairs to continue work on a railway track, and Isaac lay in bed chatting and singing in the dark until I went and got him up. They then played peacefully for the rest of the day. I asked Benjie mid-morning if he wanted to go out for a bike ride but he said he just wanted to stay and play all day. J and D came to visit in the afternoon and Benjie and J built a zoo with the bricks and ark animals.

I weighed Joel today. He has reached the 25th centile. Still a long way to go, but at least heading in the right direction! He’s being such a Daddy’s boy, very much as Benjie was. He bounces with excitement when Matt comes home and crumples if he goes out of the room.

Benjie was looking at a picture of a goods train today and said the truck contained “gravel – for making gravity boots” !!

Organization and first word

I’m working on it – organization that is. Am developing a routine of preparing the next day’s meals the night before, which makes things much easier. Matt has put together an mp3 CD of sermons by favourite preachers for me to listen to while I’m cooking, so I’m enjoying my evenings in the kitchen. I also cleared the desk yesterday and caught up with filing today.

All is well with the children. We’re not getting out so much now it is so cold – just brief half hour trips to the local play area – but the boys are just totally absorbed in building railway tracks for as many hours as they are left undisturbed. Benjie’s tracks are quite complex now – he’s particularly liking spiral patterns. I would put some photos up of them, but that will have to wait until we buy a digital camera ( January sale plan) . My phone – camera won’t talk to my computer, and now Matt has changed jobs we no longer have his laptop to act as a go between. So text only until January…..

This evening as Matt and I were calling to Isaac Joel very definitely also said “Isey”

Child in the Forest – Winifred Foley

I loved this. A story of a child growing up in a poor mining village in the Forest of Dean in the twenties. An always- needed reminder of just how easy life has become for us and how cossetted we are, and yet how much complaining I do from my comparatively luxurious situation. The book was warm, vivid, very readable. Definitely comes under Charlotte Mason’s category of a living book.

Charlotte Mason Quote

“(a) That the knowledge most valuable to the child is that which he gets with his own eyes and ears and fingers (under direction) in the open air. (b) That the claims of the schoolroom should not be allowed to encroach on the child’s right to long hours daily for exercise and investigation. (c) That the child should be taken daily, if possible, to scenes- moor or meadow, park, common or shore- where he may find new things to examine, and so add to his store of real knowledge. That the child’s observation should be directed to flower or boulder, bird or tree; that, in fact, he should be employed in gathering the common information which is the basis of scientific knowledge. (d) That play, vigorous healthful play, is, in its turn, fully as important as lessons, as regards both bodily health and brain-power. (e) That the child, though under supervision, should be left much to himself- both that he may go to work in his own way on the ideas he receives, and also that he may be the more open to natural influences.”

Benjamin’s birthday

There’s always so much I want to write every day, but never enough time for it…..

This year was the first year we haven’t had a party for Benjie. I don’t really know why I didn’t organise one this year as I have loved doing them previous years. Perhaps it was just that he is a year older and more aware, but it seemed somehow that having a simpler day meant he actually enjoyed it more

Today Joel had his 8 month check with the health visitor. Was very alarmed to discover his weight has plumetted from the 92nd centile to below the 25 th centile. I haven’t been taking him to clinic to have him weighed. I didn’t take Benjie or Isaac and they always stayed happily on track and going to clinic just seemed a very tedious thing to do . But Joel just hasn’t shown any enthusiasm for solids yet, despite trying for 2 months, and he is being extremely active now he can crawl. So he has to be checked on again in a months time, and meanwhile I guess we just have to try and squeeze as many tea-spoons into him as we can.

Granny’s decorating

This morning Matt and Mr. P. both thought that there was a work party happening at the Thorpe Hall railway, so Matt and Benjamin both went off. There wasn’t, so they came back and made soup and then, on discovering Granny was having a decorating emergency ,decided to drive to Colchester and help out . Isaac was sad to be left behind – he kept going to the door and looking out and saying ” Benjum wanted Isaac and Benjum and Daddy to go….”
But we walked to the local park and had a peaceful afternoon and Matt and Benjie are due home soon. Benjie was very keen to stay over, but no need as the decorating got finished.

I had expected that once Joel was crawling it would get difficult with him breaking up the railway tracks etc, but he only seems to take out one piece to play with, which the boys can easily put back, so they don’t really seem to mind him. Joel so obviously loves playing alongside them. He’s chatting away – lots of ” da da da” ” ma ma ma” and “na na na “. Also pulling himself up to standing lots on the furniture but mostly falling over again and getting a bump.

back from holiday

We had a really good week away. In brief…

Monday – Visited very good children’s farm yard and adventure playground at Chatsworth.

Tuesday – Tesco’s, and pottered around farm.

Wednesday – Very pleasant visit to Great Granny and Grandad in Derby, followed by a visit to Kelham Island industrial museum in Sheffield ( very friendly staff, HUGE restored steam engine, creative young children’s room, a very interesting place ) , followed by a visit to the Great Aunts and Uncles ( G.A.S, G.U.D, G.A.K, and G.U.T. ) A really lovely time, with lots of toys and stories provided for the children and a delicious tea for all 11 of us!

Thursday – a local footpath walk. Joel loves his backpack.

Friday – a visit to Carsington reservoir and the (submerged) stepping stones at Dovedale. Then on to Derby’s Industrial Museum. The boys loved it. Engines and trains everywhere.

Saturday – a local walk in the morning and then back to the above museum. Joel and I stayed at home because by this point Joel was displaying advanced car seat allergy. Then watched milking time at next door’s farm.

Sunday – home again. With renewed determination not to stay in a city for many more years………