Friday, June 25, 2010

When your heart is in your dream, no request is too extreme, when you wish upon a star" - Jiminy Cricket

In the weeks leading up to our trip to Paris and Disneyland Paris (it is no longer called Euro Disney), I was very excited. Disney was always a special place for my family while I was growing up. My first trip was to Disneyland in California, and it was my first plane trip. I was five years old, and my cousins lived in San Diego. My parents always planned great Disney trips. My Dad was especially famous for his trip planning. He always researches what to do, where to eat, what to see and makes sure that we take advantage of everything there is on offer.
My memories of Disney have always been that it is a very special place, and I always felt special there. I know that my siblings feel the same, my brother Kevin was practically jumping through the phone telling me how anxious he was to take his baby to Disney!

Ah, it's just like a fairy tale- except for that dude with the rifle.

Six years after our honeymoon, I am back with these silly boys.

French Brasseries are right up their alley, anything in the bread family is usually a hit.

They couldn't care if they were in front of the Arc de Triomphe or a tree.

We had the nicest weather on this trip


Tom took this picture of me. I was so excited and happy that I was crying.

D-Man checking out Snow White

Dinner with the Disney Characters- a must.

Goofy was like a Rock Star to them!

Classic Main Street photo with the Castle in the background.

Ahoy Mateys!

Arriving home after a long day of travelling

Friday, June 18, 2010

"Growth is the only evidence of life." ~John Henry Newman

When we arrived in Dublin, I was not sure what I was going to do with the kids. If we had stayed in New York, we were going to do a 2's program, where I brought the kids to a preschool- ish setting and they stayed for 2 hours, 2 days a week. I would stay with them for the first few (or more) classes, and then start to leave.

I tried to research online, but it really is not easy to get perspective when you don't have your bearings yet. It seemed that most of the Montessori preschools required the children to be 3 by December. I was thrilled to find this school that had a class for 2 & 1/2 year olds. We all found our friends there. They went from 9am until at least 12:30, usually 1pm and they loved it.

The only one who wasn't ready for them to go to everyday school was me. But I really came around.

They are off to a new school next year, but we will always remember this first year of school. On the last day, there was a barbecue for everyone.

The moms and dads had fun at the barbecue while the kids were inside howling at a puppet show.

That's their teacher in red. We all loved her. We would not have asked for a better first teacher. I have a lot of teachers in my family- you are all amazing!

Walking in on the first day

Strutting out on the last day

Sunday, June 13, 2010

" Imagination grows by exercise, and contrary to common belief, is more powerful in the mature than in the young." Paul McCartney

We went to see Paul McCartney last night. I would not have said that I was a huge Paul McCartney fan, but I definitely wanted to take the opportunity to see such an iconic, enduring performer. The crowd was very interesting. There were a lot of people in their 60's & 70's. There were young people, and even kids. I took a shot of the crowd before the concert to show the range.

Here he is walking out. He sounded really good! He was even greeting the crowd in Irish!

My parents were not Beatles fans at all, so I did not hear it growing up and could take or leave a lot of it. But, I have to say that the Wings songs were very prevalent on the radio when I was little and they brought back great memories. I am more of a Wings girl. But that is the thing about Paul McCartney- he really reached so many. I am glad that I got to see him live.

As the concert was coming to an end, I began to feel intimidated by the crowds. I wanted to be sure that we got a cab home. Granted, most of these people drove to this concert, but I did not want to chance having to get on a cramped train or roaming around for a cab. We left during the last song, Hey Jude, but before both encores. I hope that my husband will forgive me.

Unflattering Self Portrait

Thursday, June 10, 2010

"Maybe our mistakes are what make our fate." -Carrie Bradshaw

Girls Night Out

My friend Jackie, who is sort of involved with the International Women of Dublin, (I am just a delinquent member of the American Women of Dublin) invited me to an event that they were having to see the Sex and the City Movie. It was my first outing to "the cinema" since moving here, and I was excited to get a little dolled up and indulge myself in a bit of fantasyland.

We met at a the bar of a restaurant, beforehand. When we walked in, it was difficult to spot our group because the place was packed with women dressed up to see this movie. I actually ran into a few girls that I did not expect to see.

I love to watch Sex and the City. Well, I don't like the first couple of seasons but I feel that way about a lot of shows (Seinfeld, Friends). I really do like how New York is sort of a character in the show and the movies. In fact, it appears that Mr. Big works in the first building that I ever worked in, 875 Third Ave. That was slightly exciting. In this movie, they spent a lot of time in Abu Dhabi, so I felt a little gipped on the NYC scenes.

It took a few years for me to get into the show, but there are things about it that I really do enjoy. Admittedly one of those things is watching these dysfunctional women navigate their lives. Part of me can identify with them, part of me feels better about myself because "wow- I am doing pretty well compared to these crazies!", but mostly, I am fascinated and a little irritated with the way they glamorize the unrealistically selfish, immature and irresponsible aspects of their lives. Now THAT's entertainment!

With my good friend Jackie

This movie was actually much better than I thought it was going to be, though there was one part where it turned into a kind of zany caper where the girls had to disguise themselves in the traditional Abayas (I had to look that up) in order to escape a mob of angry men and make their flights back to NY.

Well, Carrie and Big are still married. The fact that they are together in the first place is such an improbable, unbelievable scenario that it is a little distracting. I think Carrie is still as misguided as ever and her priorities are just as backwards. Charlotte is the same as she always has been, neurotic but likeable. Miranda, however, is one of the best character evolutions that I have ever seen. She has evolved in a very realistic and endearing way from a terrified, bitter, angry woman to a much more secure, connected person.

Now Samantha, who has been so overtly sexual that it completely defined her character, seems to be ramping it up as the series goes on. I have definitely found her funny and likeable at times. She is certainly very loyal to her friends, they all are. But the in your face explicit and constant sexual theme to all of her action and dialogue is, well, boring! Anyone who talks so much about one thing, be it money, dieting, whatever- boring (reminder to self). The other thing is if I could look nearly as good as Kim Cattrall in my 50's I would be thrilled (and very surprised). But I have to say, even though her character has always been periodically offensive, it seems even harder to watch now that she is older. Her character has not progressed in a positive way at all, and if I think of her as a real person, I think that she is very sad. But I would love to be her therapist!

My favorite part of the movie, because it was the most relatable to me, was the mommy conversation between Charlotte and Miranda. I would also love to have been invited to Stanford and Anthony's wedding. It looked like lots of fun and the ceremony was very nice.

All that said, I had some strong thoughts and reactions from the movie so I would have to say that it was good. But in a very different way than some other movies are good.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

"Ireland is where strange tales begin and happy endings are possible. " Charles Haughey

Well, I guess it's goodbye Memorial Day and Labor Day Weekends, but hello bank holidays in May and June! We don't really have the rhythm of the calendar here yet, so the June bank holiday snuck up on us a little. We really want to take advantage of all of Tom's days off, and we decided to head over to Clare. So far, it is my favorite place that we have visited in Ireland. My overall favorite is of course where we live. I am always marvelling at the beauty of this place.

But Clare is Ireland. It's the Ireland that you imagine when you only have references that you can't even place.

The view from our room

O'Brien Tower at the Cliffs of Moher. That's Mow-her. Not Moore.

We stayed in a B&B that was a Manor House to Ballinalacken Castle which was historically owned by the O'Briens (they seem to have ben dominant in this area). The boys are running toward the Castle ruins.

We took a boat over to one of the Aran Islands, Inisheer. It was an AMAZINGLY beautiful day!

There are very few cars on the Island and this is a great way to see the Island with 3- year- olds.

These walls were built over 200 years ago. The stones covered most of the Island and the Islanders built walls to clear and divide the land.

See- thatched roofs. Real Ireland.

It might not be the most modern and luxurious, but what a view it has!

Tom on Inisheer, looking up at O'Brien Castle.

The Sunset out of our window. Of Course it was about 10pm.

The best beach I have seen so far in Ireland.

The Cliffs of Moher. Go if you can, try to make it on a nice day, and do the boat cruise.