Monday, December 15, 2014

Nollaig Shona Duit

I just wanted to wish you all a Happy Christmas as they say in Ireland. Thank you all for your support and reading my blog the past year. It was a great adventure that we will always look back on. I have to admit I'm missing the Irish Christmas music and all the goodies in the grocery store during Advent. But we are all happy to be together again under one roof. God is good and he has truly blessed our family. Have a wonderful Christmas and New Years!!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

The Dublin to Virginia adjustment time is...

…still pending
It’s been one month and a couple days since we left Ireland.
Yes, I miss Ireland.  I miss it lots. But don't get me wrong I LOVE America!
It doesn’t help that I went from fun city life Dublin to suburbanhood.  Yes, I say we’re in Washington DC, but we’re just in the burbs.  I'm overwhelmed with the amount of stores and grocery stores, and all the many many choices. But as Joe pointed out I'm sure it will not take me too long to get back into the spending rhythm. Someone even joked to me that I went from living in an anti-consumerism society to the land of "must have more". Its so true!
There are some things that I just never realized before moving to Ireland that now are so glaringly noticeable.  Like how radio stations play the same 10 songs here.  Over and over and over.  
Or bread that never molds.  Seriously.  I’m a bit creeped out by American bread now.  Not only is it kind of short compared to the really tall loaves we’d get…but a week past their expiration date, they still look normal.  In Ireland – where they don’t use food preservatives – you had about four-five days max with bread.  Here bread just sits around.  For days.  Staring at you.  Mocking you with its pretend freshness.  It goes into an unnatural state of false freshness.  It’s creepy.
What’s funny is that in Ireland, we were constantly going on about how quickly things went bad.  We didn’t do huge grocery shopping trips because A) there was no place to put a ton of food and B) it would go bad quickly so it wasn’t worth it anyway.  Going to the grocery store every day or every other day was a bit of a norm.  Now?  I have to remind myself  about the food that’s in the freezer that we haven’t been using.  Because I keep forgetting we have a large freezer. 
I also forgot just how many plastic bags stores give out here.  After a  year of carting my own bags everywhere, I first found freedom in going to the grocery store without bags.  Now?  I’m back to hating them.  
The hardest change has been the pace. Everyone here is so rushed.  Frantic almost.  Must rush here, must get this done, must race over there, must go go go.  Keep Busy or Die!  And then, go to bed early so you can get up early and do it all again.  I don’t know if I kept a frantic pace before – probably! But Ireland?  Yes, these are my people.  “No rush, would you like a cup of tea?”  Yes please.  Here?  Here people expect you to be on time – everyone has a schedule to keep.
On a positive note, I’m still in love with my clothes dryer and dishwasher.  Really, I don’t miss hanging all my clothes all the time.  
The children have all adjusted well back into their OWN rooms! They loving being back home with family and all their friends. We have had a great summer and its hard to believe that school will be starting again in 3 weeks! 

Friday, July 4, 2014

We interrupt this blog... fly home!! Yea!!! What a perfect day to fly home - July 4th, Independence Day!

I have a line of suitcases in the front room ready to go except one that is open for last minute items. Then I have a car seat travel bag that is also stuffed with additional items - hopefully they will not notice! Finally we have 3 backpacks, duffle bag, my bag, a stroller, and a big purple unicorn pillow pet (thanks to Aunt M!). 

The children all had a great last day playing in the green with all their friends. There were a few tears here and there saying goodbye. We took lots of pictures so I will post those later. We have said all of our goodbyes and we are ready to come back home! We are all so excited but I know that my mother is a little sad and especially sad she will be loosing her buddy, Lauren. They have both become so close this past year and they hang out for hours together. 

Goodbye Ireland, Hello America!!!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

A Windy Day at the Beach

I thought before we left Ireland we should do one day at the beach. It was supposed to be sunny and almost 70...wrong! The weather changed at the last minute and it was overcast and windy. But the children still wanted to go. K made all the sandwiches again and packed them in the basket with snacks and drinks. We drove out to the beach in Skerries. It was a nice beach....but very windy!

T would not get in the water because it was so cold, but the girls got right in and splashed around. Our picnic did not go as planned either since it was so windy. As I was holding my sandwich the wind was blowing so much my sandwich got sandy. Every bite I took had a little sand in it. Yuck! The sandwiches all went in the bin! An hour later we decided to walk up to the playground. The children are definitely going to miss all the fun things they have here at playgrounds. 

We walked down the coast a little to the north beach and they had a little ice cream shop called, Storm in a Teacup. So cute! We had to do the Irish thing and get ice cream. 

North Beach - the village of Skerries
We had a good day despite the high winds. When I got home I told my mother how we had to eat sandy sandwiches. She just laughed and said, "thats a real Irish day at the beach!" 

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

A Picnic at Newbridge House

Today was a gorgeous day here in Dublin - mid-60's. We decided to drive out to Newbridge House and have a picnic lunch. K was so good and made all the sandwiches while the rest of us got dressed for the day. We've been a little lazy since school has been out. When I came downstairs K had found a little basket and it was filled with sandwiches and snacks. Gosh...I love her! Ohh and she snuck her book into the basket. 

Newbridge House is located in Donabate which is north of the city, so it only took us about 25 minutes to get there. We have been here many times before but not this past year. The estate is an early 18th century Georgian estate and mansion. It was built by Archbishop Charles Cobbe (Anglican) in 1736 and remained the family home of the Cobbe family until 1985. It was then acquired by the county but the Cobbe family has a unique arrangement where they are allowed to stay at the house from time to time. The county was able to open up the property to the public. They have a little over 400 acres. 
K and our picnic basket

I love my little bookworm!

We all had a nice picnic lunch together. There were loads of people there today relaxing and playing in the sun. We saw one group cooking on a barbecue and we saw a big group of mothers that had a tea pot on a gas heater. I tried to take a picture of it, but when I went back with my camera they had packed up. Only in Ireland would you see a tea pot on a picnic. Ha! We went down to the playground for a little while so the children could have a quick run around.
Newbridge House
My girls love to be matchy-matchy!
Of course there is a coffee shop here (and tearoom) and yes
there is a train station in Donabate

We then walked through the 18th century working farm. L was so excited. Its a nice traditional farm where the animals can move about freely. 
Cobbled courtyard

there were some pigs in pens here and tool rooms
L loved the baby goats
feeding the goats

this little guy escaped
and then there were three more that escaped
Baby Lamby
this guy needs a hair cut..I don't even know how he can see!
Rolled Turf 
When you exit the farm they have sinks all lined up to wash your hands
I had a great afternoon with the children. L had a little nap on the way home. She was exhausted! 
On our way out we saw some ruins on the property. Gosh...I'm going to
miss seeing ruins all the time!

It's not all Guinness and Cadbury

In three days we will be leaving Ireland and heading back to Virginia. A wave of all the little things I will miss hit me. I can easily list all the things I'll miss - like this small house we are in, even though its small (I do complain often) you can clean the whole thing in 30 minutes if people are coming over. I love all the shopping here and the stores. I love the food and how nothing here has preservatives, food coloring, corn syrup, etc. It is just so much more healthier for you. I will miss the people of Ireland itself, the short school days, and being so close to a big city and the Irish Sea. I will miss hanging out with all my relatives and the many many cups of tea we have all had together. It was nice to have a slower lifestyle for a year. I will miss the awesome talk radio they have here and the Late Late Show on Friday nights! Mostly I will miss the smell of the Irish air. I can't describe it but its gorgeous and I even remember the smell from when I was a small child. Immediately when you get of the airplane you can smell it. I wish they would make it into a Yankee Candle! 

But there are a few things I will not

...having to hang all the clothes to dry. I will not miss that at all. I can't wait to get home to my big dryer and soft warm fluffy towels. I also can't wait to have my clothes washer that I fit all my children into (just using that as a size comparison!). 

We call this 'The Octopus'
...paying the equivalent of $8 a gallon for gas. Yes its expensive and it adds up. We will be the few people going "$4/gallon? That's it?"

...we will also be the only people thinking warm thoughts about the American tax system. They build in a 23% sales tax into the cost of things here. 

...cold toilets. Nope. I will not miss those at all. Ever!

...driving on the wrongs side of the road. Yeah, I still call it the wrong side! Now, I do feel cool that I've managed it well, but I still find it a bit odd. I'm hoping driving on the right side of the road will be normal to me instantly when I get home. 

...nor will I miss the narrow roads and parking spots. I'm good at the narrow roads and I have not lost a mirror (yet). But I've yet to master the narrow parking spots. I tend to park where I know I can get out. I can't wait for those nice wide American roads and parking lots. 

...speaking of, I won't miss how dinged up cars get here. Its the normal. Because of those narrow roads and parking spots. 

...screenless windows. Nope. Will not miss them one bit. Since the weather has been warm we have at least 1-3 big fat blue eyed flies buzzing around the house

...lack of seasons. I miss my 4 seasons in Virginia...I need four seasons. We have seasons in Ireland - fall rainy season, winter windy cold rainy season, spring rainy season, and summer (which is usually 2-5 days long). Imagine if this country had a real summer  or winter - they would honestly have to shut down the whole country. 

Monday, June 30, 2014

School is Finished...Finally!

This past Thursday my mother and I took the children to Riverdance at the Gaiety Theatre in town. Riverdance is on its 20th anniversary tour - can you believe the show has been around that long? We took the bus into town and we first ate at Milano's. The children really wanted to eat there before we leave. We walked up to the Gaiety Theatre which was right off of Grafton Street. The Gaiety Theatre opened in 1871 and when you walk inside you can tell it is an old style theatre, it is beautiful. 

L with her new bedtime story..the program!
Waiting for the doors to open!

It was hard to get a picture and I only had my
phone, but the inside had so much detail. There was also a
gorgeous chandelier hanging from the ceiling. 
We had great seats  - 10 rows from the front which was perfect for the children
We all enjoyed the show especially the children. L talked about it all the way home in the taxi. She is now saying she wants to be a veterinarian and an Irish dancer when she gets older. Thank goodness...because last week it was a vet and ballet dancer and there is now way any of my children are EVER doing ballet. Ha! It was a fun night to all be together. 

The next day was the children's last day of school. L was a little sad that this would be her last time going to Lollipop Lane. She is definitely going to miss her teachers and friends at school. The children all got dressed up for their last day and they brought home their big notebook with all their projects, etc. There was even a graduation photo in it, because technically if we were staying here she would be starting proper school in the fall. Here they can start at age 4 or 5...the parent can decide. 
L and Miss Lisa

T was 'Mr. Cool' on his last day. He has asked me several times why we can't stay another year or will we ever come back again for a year. He really likes the lifestyle over here and loves the all boys school. He got a few of the email addresses for the boys so they could chat on the iPods at home. 

K was also able to dress up for her last day of school. She had a wonderful day with her class. They were all so good to her. They all wrote her letters in a book and gave her a big teddy bear with Irish chocolate. She said a bunch of the girls were all crying because K was leaving. I'm sure that K will keep in touch with all of them and see them again when we return for the summers. 
K with the 5th Class

Saturday I started packing the last suitcase which I had to get out of the attic. I had a little helper who wanted to pack the whole suitcase. Lets just say we did not get very far. 
L at the top of the attic stairs
L and her animals in the suitcase
I gave up on packing, and it was a rainy day so we drove out to Dundrum and did our last round of indoor mini-golf. The children had been asking to do this again since they thought it was so neat to golf inside. 
L got a HOLE in ONE!
Eddie Rockets for dinner
The children are going to miss Eddie Rockets...I will not!

K's soccer club had a big awards ceremony on Sunday, which they call a 'presentation ceremony'. It was actually really nice. They invite all the club teams, and gave out player of the season to each time, and player of the year. The club's player of the year who is only 16 is going to play for Real Madrid's U-20 team. Afterwards they opened up the club bar and had a big barbecue. Sorry all these pictures are bad. 

The U11 team went undefeated the whole season 
The U12 team 
The U12 team was 3rd in the premier league and was the runner-up in the E-flow Cup
K with her coaches from her U12 team
That concludes are last weekend in Ireland....