Sunday, November 29, 2009

"Let us be grateful to people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom."- Marcel Proust

November 25th, my 41st Birthday followed by Thanksgiving Day I felt so grateful. First, to be alive, healthy and loved with so many extras piled on top. I had many notes and email and calls with good wishes. My good friend Michele took me out to dinner for more Mexican (get it while you can!). I saw Terri on Wednesday and then had lunch with my boys, Mikey, KG & Meg. Tom gave me a beautiful ring with a blue topaz (my birthstone). The best part about it was that he picked it out a couple of months ago. He thought of my birthday way in advance. It's beautiful. I love it. That night we went to my future sister-in-law's family's house. They were all so nice. Her brother and I share a birthday and her Dad and my brother Brian are not far behind. We had a joint celebration. Celebrating many things.

Thanksgiving Day was one of the best ever. I was so glad to see us all together, healthy and happy. And there is more to come. We will be back in New York in March for Kerry & Brian's Wedding, and we will be able to meet Frosty. So exciting.

This year we spent Thanksgiving at a restaurant that was an old coach house. We have spent a few holidays there over the years, and we had a great time this year. It was a beautiful fall day, and we were there early enough to spend some time in the little "village" that they have. So nice!

Because we will not be together at Christmas, we decided to do our Christmas gifts at Thanksgiving. In past years, My sister, brothers and their wives/ fiances/ girlfriends would pick a name out of a hat and get one gift for that person- Kris Kringle style! This year, we decided to copy Megs family's idea of "Best Gift Under $20". Everyone did really well and it was so funny. I got a great Picture Calendar from Kerry that I love. Jimmy went all out with a survival Kit for Kerry which included a personalized "Fart Fogger" (pictured above). Brian won with a shadowbox filled with my Dad's High School Medals. Very Nice. All of the gifts were so thoughtful and that was the best part.

My Sisters-in-law- I love them all (whew!)

We had such a great time at the Milleridge Inn! Thanks Mom & Dad! I barely got to catch up with Joanne, but thankfully, she and Mike will visit in January.

I love seeing my kids having fun with their aunts and uncles!

And their Dad!

Snowman lollipops- another creative touch by Meg.

Two very special days, I feel so blessed!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

"These streets will make you feel brand new,big lights will inspire you. Let's hear it for New York" - Jay Z

Uh Oh. I didn't feel homesick at all until I got to New York. It really didn't help that the weather was fantastic and the leaves were still turning. Or that we got to see so many friends and our great families too. We didn't get to see everyone, but we covered as much ground as we could! The kids were great and held up so well (with 1 or 2 breakdowns). Friday we saw our friends from the East Side, we all have kids the same age. I miss them a lot, and it was great to see them. Thankfully, my awesome sister came in to babysit. That afternoon she and I went out for Mexican (scarce in Ireland) and a little shopping. It really was exhilarating.

On Saturday, went up to Providence to see Tom's Brother & Sister, and Sister-in-Law, and we were surprised by our neice, Molly! It was great to see them. We were also able to have a nice visit with Tom's Aunt Jane and cousin JP. The boys were so happy to be with them all, and Ted & Kem's dog Max too! Unfortunately, Tom lost his phone, and really unfortunately we had some nice pics on it of us with Aunt Joan at the State House. There were also pictures of the third generation of Tom's family at a local playground. But we had fun, and their old family friends came to join us as well. I did manage to take this though!

On Monday, we met KG, Meg & Mikey at the ESPN Zone. I got to see Meg's belly, and she looks beautiful. I can't wait to meet my new neice! Or nephew! Or niece! We really felt like tourists that night and we kind of liked it.

Tuesday was Miss Mary, John and Mary Ann day. It was really just like old (4 months ago) times. She took the boys to the park and made them a grilled cheese. Then we went to the West side and played in a playground with my friend Catherine and her son and new baby boy. I was beginning to say, "what Ireland?"

I am still grateful for the opportunity to live in Ireland, but I LOVE New York!!!!!!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

"My home is not a place, it is people" - Lois McMaster Bujold

This is a picture that was taken shortly before we moved to Dublin. It looks like we were getting ready to move, probably the last speech therapy session. When I look at the apartment I feel nostalgic and it seems like a lifetime ago that we lived there, not four months. So much has happened. The boys have grown up so much. About an eighth of their life has since passed. They can discuss (with varying levels of clarity) anything that is on their mind now. The pants that we brought here are now too short.

We are about to head back to New York for the first time. It was home to us for so long, and in some ways it always will be. Tom is actually looking forward to being there, and then looking forward to coming back here. He thinks that the anticipation of getting back to our house, to our own beds, our own routine will really make Dublin seem like home to us.

I think that it is all about having a place, an environment, people that allow you feel comfortable and secure. And hopeful. I have that here.

So, next week will be about spending a little (less than I anticipated) time with some family and a few friends. We will spend a short time with Tom's family in New England, and then Thanksgiving with my family. There will also be a party at my brother's future in-laws, and we are really looking forward to meeting them! One friend that I probably won't get to see this trip is my friend Jen, who just had her third son. Congratulations to Jen and all of her boys!

With Thanksgiving around the corner, I'd like to just use this post to proclaim my gratitude for my family, my friends, my home!!!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

"Sports serve society by providing vivid examples of excellence." - George F. Will

November 15, 2009 * Ireland vs. Austrailia * Draw 20-20
My first rugby game. And yes, someone's ear was ripping off and they showed it on the big screen. Those guys are pretty tough. I'll admit that it was pretty exciting at the end. Ireland had been trailing and they tied it up. My favorite part though, was the song that everyone sang at the beginning.
With the Ireland rugby team representing both the Republic and Northern Ireland, "Ireland's Call" was scripted to help cross sectarian and national divides and adopted as the rugby anthem in 1995. However, at home matches in Dublin the Irish national anthem, the Soldier's Song, is also sung.
Ireland's Call
Side by side
We stand like brothers
One for all and all together
We will stay united through darker days
And we'll be unbeatable forever
Ireland, Ireland
Together standing tall
Shoulder to shoulder
We'll answer Ireland's call
Come the day and come the hour
Some will live in song and stories
We were born to follow our guiding star
And to meet our destiny with glory
Ireland, Ireland
Together standing tall
Shoulder to shoulder
We'll answer Ireland's call
Hearts of steel and heads unbowing
Vowing never to be broken
We will fight, until we can fight no more
Till our final requiem is spoken
Ireland, Ireland
Together standing tall
Shoulder to shoulder
We'll answer Ireland's call
Ireland, Ireland
Together standing tall
Shoulder to shoulder
We'll answer Ireland's call
We'll answer Ireland's call!

"Imagination is more important than knowledge... " - Albert Einstein

Another lovely week in Dublin. I wonder if the people who have always lived here appreciate how beautiful it is. As I was getting my hair done, I was looking out the window at a little courtyard with a small stone wall that had probably been there for hundreds of years. Last Monday we took a short walk down to a park by the water. The boys ran around and pretended to ride the goats, and they made a house in some bushes. Some of their favorite toys are sticks and rocks. Oh and mud puddles, of which there are many!

We had our first parent-teacher conference this week as well. Tom and I were very excited for our first big meeting with te teacher! It lasted about 5 minutes. The boys are grand, they are getting on well, they participate a lot and are popular with the other kids. I don't know what we expected, but we could have sat there for an hour listening to the things they do in school. We are new at this, but does it ever get old?

I am starting to get ready for our first trip to NY since becoming Dubliners. Lots of things going on, and we are very excited!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

"Small cheer and great welcome makes a merry feast." - William Shakespeare

We just returned from a lovely dinner. Tom's Aunt and Uncle had connected us with a family that they knew through friends on Cape Cod, and we met them in June when we came here to look for houses. James and Catherine were the most welcoming, easy to be with, nice people. We felt comfortable with them right away. James had even driven us around to areas he thought that we might like. They graciously had us over for dinner again. This time, our boys were with us as well. Their son, James, is older than our boys but they thought he was a superhero. He had taken out all of his old toys, including a riding dump truck and a light saber. He was nice enough to play with them, and they could not have been happier! We had a hard time dragging our boys away.

James also has two older sisters who are so sweet and polite. They all made us feel right at home.

This afternoon was spent at the People's Park in Dun Laoghaire (that's Dun Leary) where they have a great playground and a fantastic farmer's market on Sundays. It was very impressive with all kinds of produce and breads and some artists and crafts as well. Tom even learned how his favorite vegetable is grown. Brussels sprouts on stalk!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

"Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air…" - Ralph Waldo Emerson

I am giggling as I type the words "I heard that it was going to rain today" because, well, it rains on many days. There were two beautiful mornings this week, and I would have sworn we would not have seen any showers those days. But we did. I really only noted what I had heard about today because it's Saturday, there is no school, and I wanted to plan something so we would not be stuck in the house all day!

When we woke up, it was dark of course, but then the sun came out so I wanted get us all somewhere outside before the weather turned. We went to Killiney Beach, which is about a 5 minute drive. It was chilly, but it was great to be out there.

After lunch and a few errands in the village, we came home and I proceeded to take a nap. What a great Saturday!

The book that I am reading right now is called "Galway Bay" by Mary Pat Kelly. It is about a Galway family in the mid 19th Century and it follows them through the potato blight. So far, so good. Here is a description:

Friday, November 6, 2009

A guest sees more in an hour than the host in a year. - Polish Proverb

My (immediate) interpretation of this quote is that hosts are often too distracted to realize what is going on at their own event. Or does it mean that my guests noticed some spider webs that I may have missed? I am not sure, but I did have people over!

The American Women's Club of Dublin is a group for for American Women who are living here. There are many different things that they offer, and currently I am participating in the "Coffee & Kids" group. Guess what it is? Every monday morning we go to someone else's house for coffee and we bring our kids. Last week it was my turn to host. I have met some very nice girls over the se last weeks, and we even have a playdate scheduled for next week. I actually have 3 playdates scheduled next week, I hope we can handle it.

One of the other great things about this group is that I have to find my way to each person's house every week. It really helps me to navigate this area! Two weeks ago, for the Halloween Party, Tom drove. It was a bank holiday here so lots of Dads were there. I was very glad to have had him do the driving as the party was way up in the hills, accessed by VERY narrow roads. It was beautiful up there and not even very far from where we are, but it sure seemed difficult to get to!

It wasn't the first time I have had people here, but the first time I have had a group over. It made me even more grateful that we found this great house!

"Blessed is the person who is too busy to worry in the daytime and too sleepy to worry at night."- Unknown

Yes, I am blessed. And no, I have not abandoned my blog. I have not posted for ten days. In thinking about why that might be, I realized that I have really begun to make good use of the time I have while the boys are in school. Hopefully, the long stretch of waiting for deliveries and service people that accompanies a move to a new house is over. Instead, I have recently begun visiting the gym, having coffee with some new friends and shopping for things I might make for dinner. It has been really nice.

In the afternoons, I am with the boys. Although I do jump on the computer, I often feel that giving my attention to writing during that time doesn't work well for me or for them. At night, after dinner, laundry, dishes, and preparing for the next day, I just have not felt like it! There. But I do love writing this blog, and there are plenty of things that I should do, but don't always feel like doing. Everyone is busy! The blog just lost it's priority of late and I have just moved it back up on the list.

The most glaring event I need to report is Halloween! It was almost a week ago. In fact, by the time it came around, I was a little over it, since we had 2 Halloween parties the week before. I was not impressed by the costume selection and was feeling a tad guilty about not ordering earlier from the U.S.. We made do, and I think that they looked great. It's probably my last year to choose what they will be.

Our next door (really our houses are attached) neighbors invited us over for drinks and then we all took the kids out Trick or Treating. They have a son exactly the boys' age and also a baby daughter. It was a beautiful night, wit a full moon. Our new friends new the houses that we should go to, and we had a fantastic time! All of the neighbors were so welcoming and friendly. Our kids didn't exactly understand the "Trick or Treat" part. They thought it was: ring the bell, come in, play with your toys, and protest when told it is time to move on. They each ate a lollipop when when we got home, and forgot about all the other candy. It's still in the closet. Excuse me, I better go throw that out before I eat it.