Niall's work situation is quiet these days so he has been busy doing some DIY with Sean around the home which is good for all three of us. He teaches Sean, Sean enjoys it and I get the list of 'things to do' shortened.
I have been a tad slow getting back into the swing of schooling Sean after the holidays but that's ok, I'm on top of it. He has improved a lot with his maths and is working away steadily in all his other subjects. His typing and computer work are improving. It helps having his friends on line, emailing to and fro and also keeping up with his Blog and his friends Blogs. We have a week of science coming up soon where Niall is pegged to help us out. I have lots of science books along with books full of cool experiments and on top of that we have different science kits, so the guys should enjoy that.
We had a visit from Kate, our friend/teacher from Dublin who comes up to visit us every once in a while to encourage and advise. Kate brought Sean's SIGMA-T maths test with her so Niall will be testing him on Monday and Tuesday. Sean has also started another class recently. Mick is teaching him all about navigation. Sean and Niall are finding this very interesting and are really enjoying it. It should be a great help to Sean if, Lord willing, he completes his fourth Summer at the Sailing in Carlingford this year. It is a tougher level this Summer and they will be learning about navigation/chart reading as well as sailing so we hope this extra class will give Sean a boost and prepare him. There is a fair chance that he will be the youngest sailor there and so he needs to concentrate on sailing and mastering the bigger boats this Summer. It's been lovely watching him mature and go from strength to strength over the past Summers in Carlingford. He has gone from sailing the small boats to the larger ones. Initially he was happy to stay with the small ones but as he grew and matured he moved along and is now very happy about sailing the larger ones on his own and is quite looking forwards to it this Summer!
I am very proud of him. He survived a very scary experience a couple of Summers ago. He was out on one of the smaller boats on his own. The group went out but the wind changed directions and force so they were ordered to turn around and come back in. When the children did this some of them capsized. Sean was only 9 or 10 at the time and didn't like capsizing so he tried to turn but was afraid, so he straightened up and continued to sail hoping the speed boat would come out and tow him back as they usually do.
Well, the leaders were so busy fishing the other children out of the water that they didn't see him. He continued to sail out into the Lough towards the shipping lane. Still no one noticed he was gone. A tanker passed by and left a big wake and the waves started to go into the little boat. He froze with fear, thinking he was going to die. He thought the boat would fill up with water (and it did) and sink and that he would die of an asthma attack because of the cold water. He was crying and asking God to save him. A few minutes later he realized that his life didn't 'flash before hie eyes' and so he wasn't going to die (!) so he started to bail out the boat while continuing to sail with the wind, across the Lough towards Northern Ireland. It was very choppy and a bit wild out there. He took turns holding the rope between his knees while counting to ten and bailing out the water with his two hands cupped together, then he held the rope in his hands and tried to kick the water out with his feet. He did this for a while and it kept his mind occupied. Finally, he could see two children playing on the beach on the other side of the bay in Northern Ireland and started calling to them to get help from their mum. At this point he knew he was safe but was still very scared. He saw the rescue boat coming and shouted and waved for help. The guy came along, put him into the rib and towed the dingy back to where the other children were. Sean said he was so scared when he got into the rib that he had to put his hand over his own mouth to stop himself from shouting from screaming... The next day Niall and I went in to have a chat with the manager, and that day Sean went back out in the boat on his own free will... Now you know why I am so proud of him...
His swimming is coming along leaps and bounds. Sigita our friend is his coach and you know when a child has one to one teaching of any kind the chances are that he will do very well. Well, that's what's happening with the swimming. Well may it continue. Being a good strong swimmer is important for Sean when he is out sailing and anyway, it's great for his lungs (he's an asthmatic) and also it should help out with his growth. The sailing courses won't last forever and I am hoping that in a few years, perhaps when he is 14 he may take up deep sea diving. We already looked into this and if he is strong enough I think we may encourage him along these lines. There is a really good diving club here, the Dundalk Sub Aqua Club and we have already talked to the director and found out about the age limits, prices etc., and Sean has had a chance to try his hand at it in a large pool with the instructors. He likes it, so here's hoping!
One long term goal Sean and I are looking into is to try to raise enough money over the next two years to buy him a small sailing boat with engine. All the sailing courses in the world won't do him much good if he hasn't a boat to practice on long term. So the goal is to get him one by the Summer of 2012 when he should be 14 and old enough to handle/care for it himself. At that stage he should be going out and back to school in Cooley (which is quite a journey that takes two buses there and two back) and I would like to think that soon after that he will be able to bike it out to Blackrock with a friend and go sailing.
We have a boat in mind. It's called a RID, Rigid Inflatable Dingy and it's made by Walker Bay. They are very safe boats, 10 foot, with a detachable four chamber tube around the HIMC hull, removable daggerboard, oars, sail and tiller and you can use a small engine on her. Anyway, a friend of mine has one and Niall and Mick checked one out a couple of years ago when they first came on the market. I am hoping that by the time we go to buy one there will be a couple of second hand ones on the market and it won't cost us an arm and a leg.
I have taken on with helping a neighbour's daughter with her school work so my earnings from that is being squirrelled away for this purpose.
I am doing ok spiritually. We are about half way through reading the Bible together as a family. Niall and I are going through BCF Self Confrontation Manual for in-depth Biblical Discipleships developed by John C. Broger. We studied it a couple of years ago every Sunday night at the Church Centre with other members and found it hard going but good, so we decided to go back to it most evenings at home and study parts that are directly relevant to our lives at this moment. I am still reading through the Bible myself along with attending service and Sunday School and some of the study on Revelations every Sunday evening at the Centre. I enjoy listening to John MacAuthor on my phone several times a week too. I have my ups and downs but you know, this Christian life is a win/win situation. When things are good, they are good. When things get tough the Lord works all things together for my good and His glory so they are still good!
We still continue to reach out to Church members, neighbours and the community on a regular basis. But it all counts for nothing unless my relationship with Him is good and as always, that's a work in progress:0)
I am looking forwards to Spring. These past 20 years or so the weather has been sunny and hot here in April so that's like a miniture early Summer to look forwards to when we can home school out doors. I hope to recieve a grant for €480 (keeping my fingers crossed) so I can buy shrubs and all sorts of plants to plant in this small 48 house estate that I call home. I have worked on the area this way for the past three years and with the help of kids in the area, we have make a difference. This year I would like to plant lots of ivy along the walls and maybe some trees.
I'll wait and see.
So how are things in your neck of the woods?