Friday, 23 December 2011

In the midst of a grotty, mess-filled house, with visitors on the way and frustration giving way to panic, I came across these guys. Can you see? Roo has put a little blanket on the donkey's back, unbeknownst to me.
I'm trying very hard to keep focussed on the really important thing. This little action has helped for this particular moment.

Monday, 19 December 2011

don't you just love it?

as mentioned in my previous post.... the amazing, the incredible, the fantastic inflatable Nativity scene! Lee thinks it is really tasteless, but it made me and the lads laugh, especially Toot, who was in fits of giggles as Poonch repeatedly knocked the sheep over. Roo is just out of shot, patting one of the Three Kings, possibly because that was the part he played in the school Nativity play this year.

A little glimpse...

into the stable.  Every year the village of Adare recreates a live Crib with real people and real animals. 
Last year we planned to take part, but the weather meant that it was cancelled.  This year it went ahead and we enjoyed pretending we were in Bethlehem. On the way there we saw an amazing inflatable Nativity!

Really struggling to keep this in mind...

Pondering the most important things !
...and finding it hard to believe that this time last year, the tree was decorated, the house was tidy with food for our guests and I had a 4 month old baby to tend to.
Happy Baptism anniversary, little Toot!

Feeling just a bit overwhelmed this year with everything that still needs to be done.

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

A Helping Hand on Tuesday

As my little crochet hook twirled and looped this morning in my fabulous class at Lena's, I was a bit ashamed of the state of my hands.
Freezing rain and biting winds have conspired with frequent handwashing in the most limescale-ridden water known to man to make them look and feel like those of a Victorian washerwoman. Or perhaps those of St Martha looked similar too?
In any case, I have promised my lámha a dollop of handcream whenever they get wet from now on.
Thank you Lee for minding the bookles. x

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

St Nicholas Tuesday

Another busy Tuesday worthy of the Biblical Martha today. As you can see our little candle has the delightful company of some Playmobil people this evening.
We have been celebrating the feast of the real Santa Claus since early this morning when we discovered mince pie crumbs, new slippers and chocolate in the living room. Of course the lads are only too pleased to honour such a generous saint but I was a bit worried as to how Roo's classmates would respond to his visiting our house so 'early'. Sometimes homeschooling really appeals to me... But I don't think he had too much explaining to do.
By the way, the Irish for Santa/ St Nicholas is San Nioclás which sounds like san nee claws, so it's easy to see how the 3rd century Bishop of Myra's name evolved over time although how he ended up in the North Pole and acquired a Mrs Claus is a bit harder to explain!

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Novena prayer

Here is the Christmas novena prayer:

Hail and blessed be the hour and the moment
in which the Son of God
was born of the most pure Virgin Mary,
at midnight, in Bethlehem, in piercing cold.
In that hour, vouchsafe, O my God!
to hear my prayer and grant my desires,
through the merits of Our Saviour Jesus Christ,
and of His Blessed Mother.


Christmas Novena reminder for me and you!

Mum just phoned to remind me about St Andrew's Day and the beginning of the Christmas Novena. Funny, I was just looking for the post I wrote about it two years ago when she rang.

Praying the beautiful prayer fifteen times a day between now and Christmas helps to re-focus your mind on what this time of year is really about. It's easy to get stressed around now and for example, our trip to Tesco this morning was a more crowded one than usual. The lads were very well-behaved and certainly earned their big generous slice of cake from Pauline, braving the cold with her yummy creations in the market outside.

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Martha Tuesday

Just coming to the end of another busy Tuesday here. It only occurred to me today that it is appropriate for me that Tuesday is the day earmarked for the novena to St Martha, because they have been very full and hectic the last couple of weeks and Martha is remembered for being that wan in da Bible who was really consumed with her domestic tasks, so much so that she neglected to spend time listening to Jesus.

The Novena prayer and the little candle that I light reminds me to pray. It can be so easy to lose sight of what is really important, especially at this time of year.

Here is the prayer in case you'd like to join in:

I ask you St Martha, by your intercession to help me in overcoming my difficulties and to teach me to become great in the Kingdom of Heaven by becoming as humble as you in this world.

O St Martha, I resort to you and to your petition and faith.
I offer up to you this light which I shall burn every Tuesday for nine Tuesdays.
Comfort me in all my difficulties through the great favour you enjoyed when our Saviour lodged in your house.
I beseech you to have definite pity in regard to the favour I ask (mention it).
Intercede for my family that we may always be provided for in all our necessities.
I ask you St Martha to overcome the dragon which you cast at your feet.

Say one Our Father and three Hail Marys and light a candle every Tuesday (and tell other people about it;)

Thursday, 24 November 2011

This post from Maria Stops Abortion sums up exactly how I felt when I read about the 'tragic' abortion 'mix-up' in Australia. There's no doubt there is a huge tragedy here. The parents and clinicians involved are suffering greatly and need lots of support and prayers. But how messed-up (actually feel like using a much stronger description) is our society that the media fails to see how aborting the so-called 'sick' child would be just as much a tragedy? And what about the 'healthy' children that are aborted deliberately every day? Presumably their deaths wouldn't be considered tragic by the media either? The fact is, abortion is always a tragedy, whether intentional or not.

I don't normally blog about these things, I try to keep things positive and avoid posting when I am angry or sad. I know though that we need to speak up about these things. And this evening I was so stunned by the way this was reported and the language used I couldn't contain it.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011


I suppose there are some good things about the evenings getting ever shorter. I love the twinkly light from the candle on my sinkside shrine. At last week's Mission I picked up a little prayer card to St Martha only to discover there is a devotion to her on Tuesdays.
So today I added her Novena prayer to that of St Anthony whose Tuesday devotions are better known.
So far today has been very busy, zooming from school to Playschool to class in town to Lee to playschool to school to playschool again. May not have been the best day to start a new crochet class, but it worked out ok and now we are home again cosy and safe with the night drawing in around us.

Thursday, 10 November 2011

I have a chatty little chappy riding shotgun with me today. He decided he'd like to sit there in the booster seat instead of his usual seat in the back. And why not? It's a small little thing that means a lot to a 'tomato-staked' child who needs lots of attention at the moment. All the better to spot exciting things like doggies, rainbows and 'ambulips'.

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

November is a very important month for the Holy Souls. Until the 8th November we can gain a special grace (plenary indulgence) for the poor souls in purgatory if the following guidelines are followed:
1) To visit a cemetery and say any prayer for the deceased (the person does not need to actually be buried in that particular cemetery).
2) To be in the state of grace when the work is accomplished.
3) To go to confession.
4) To pray for the Holy Father (an Our Father and Hail Mary, as well as the Creed or the Glory Be, are the traditional prayers).
5) To receive communion devoutly.
6) To be free from all attachment to sin (even venial sin).
Note: Communion should be received on the day or near the day in which the visit to the cemetery is made. Confession may be made several days before or after (and one confession suffices for multiple indulgences [but communion must be received for each plenary indulgence]).
Finally: Only one plenary indulgence may be gained each day (excepting in the case of the moment of death, when a second may be acquired).
You can read more about it here.

This lovely image is from the fab Happy Saints website. They also have a lovely group picture for yesterday's feast of All Saints. See how many saints you can recognise.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

...and the REALLY important news...

is that the Little Toot is walking!! Properly! Hooray!

Happy Saints Day!

We had a full and happy day today to celebrate All Saints' Day. First Roo tried on the wings we made yesterday for his St Michael costume and ran around the house in them. Really they are magnificent, but I can't take the credit for them. I found an excellent how-to on MakerMama's blog that even I could follow. And Roo enjoyed helping with the cutting out. He is really proud of his wings! I'll try and post a picture of them soon.

Next the lads and I went to Mass in the Abbey. I don't think I've been in sole charge of all three of them at Mass before and I was a bit nervous as to how I would manage them. (Usually Lee is there too, of course and even then it's hard work.) But actually it was fine. Poonch refrained from singing Bob the Builder during the Proclamation of Faith, or shouting 'No!' at the top of his voice during the sermon. Toot fell asleep in the sling and Roo followed the Mass quietly in his little Picture Missal while wondering why the priest was wearing white today. Nothing gets past him. Post-Mass Chupa Chups lollies were a well-deserved treat.

It was a beautiful day. The sun shone as if the Saints were all smiling down from Heaven, so instead of going straight home, we visited the graveyard next to the church, Poonch clutching two handsful (handfuls?) of leaves. That's his thing at the moments. Leaves. The muddier the better.

When we got home the older lads went in and out of character as an archangel and a fireman (that is Poonch wore his Fireman Sam hat a lot). Toot decided to give his acclaimed lion suit a rest for today so it would be clean for visiting our lovely friend tomorrow. After putting about three days' worth of washing out (contented sigh) we made Rice Krispie marshmallow cakes and swords, apparently the weapon of choice for archangels these days, after the Rosary of course. My word, melted marshmallow must be the stickiest thing known to man. I wonder if they could find some industrial use for it. It also has a spooooooky cobwebby quality that makes it very appropriate for this time of year. We ate them along with a little Victoria sandwich I made with strawberry jam and cream after dinner.

In other news, Toot used a spoon by himself today, happily scooping up Baked Beans with great accuracy. And Lee dressed up as St Leonard. No. I made that last one up. He does an impression of St Leonard most days anyway.

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Good news and weathering the storms

It's been an uppy-downy few days in the Little Hare household. Actually, more downy-uppy. Three days ago was one of those days from Hell that starts off with little irritations that just multiply and snowball all day as more frustrations join them and then towards the end of the day some actual disasters decide to pop along for good measure.

Since then it's been much better. The following day dawned bright and clear. I had an 'early' appointment in the hospital to find out the results from the operation I had last month. After the now-traditional long wait, (well, you'd miss it if they didn't do it to you, wouldn't you?) I was called into the room where the consultant was joined by two student doctors, one with a beard that couldn't hide his sweet innocent young face. Then I was told something definitely worth waiting for, namely, 'it's only good news.' Yippee! No sign of cancer! My scar had its photo taken and I glided out of the hospital on a cloud. Outside, the sky never seemed bluer, the sun shone and I made interior vows to change my ways and always be cheerful and kind and patient... until the needle veered off the record when a phone call from Lee brought me back to reality.

On the way back to the car I called into the Hospital chapel and found a little prayer card to Fr Patrick Peyton, aka the Rosary Priest from Co. Mayo. There was a prayer for his beatification on the prayer card, so I started praying it for the latest crisis. Fr Peyton was born in Co. Mayo, (where we spent a very happy week earlier this year) but he became famous all over the world and coined the phrase, 'the family that prays together, stays together'.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Thursday, 20 October 2011

And we're off!

Well it was a bit of a palaver- the arrival of colder weather always makes leaving the house a big production- but we are all toastied up and off for a walk/snooze in the very fresh air.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

A sunny start to the day here. Cold though, a real nip in the air now. Boots and cosy coat weather.

On this day in 2008, the parents of St Thérèse, Louis and Zélie Martin, were declared Blessed. They are the first spouses in the history of the Church to be proposed for sainthood as a couple and an example to all of us who choose married life.

Here is the prayer for their canonisation:

Prayer for the Canonisation of Louis and Zélie Martin and to obtain favours through their intercession:

God Our Father, I thank You for having given us Blessed Louis and Zélie Martin, the parents of St. Therese. United and faithful in marriage, they have left us an example of Christian living and evangelical virtue. In raising a large family through trials, suffering and bereavement, they put their trust in You and always sought Your will.

Deign, Lord, to make known your will in their regard and grant the favour I ask, in the hope that the father and mother of St. Therese of the Child Jesus of the Holy Face, may soon be canonised and thereby held up to the Universal Church as model for the families of our time. Through Christ Our Lord, Amen

(Here mention your request)

Sunday, 16 October 2011

The 'Great' Southern Greenway?

We had endured a long and car-bound journey yesterday which resulted in disrupted sleep and a couple of crotchety youngsters this morning. So a walk in the fresh air was just the (railway) ticket this afternoon. Roo cycled and Poonch walked much of the way along the disused railway which apart from us and two dog walkers was still abandoned today in spite of the bright autumn sunshine.

This restored walkway/cycle track is perhaps a well-kept secret. Today was our first time to walk there, but we spent a half- afternoon looking for the start of the trail earlier this Summer. All there was to mark it was a pixie-sized sign with GSG hand-written on it on the grass verge opposite. Not sure why it isn't better sign-posted. Maybe it is a work in progress as it would be great if it could be as good as its Northern counterpart in Mayo. I have a feeling though that even if the will was there, the funds probably aren't anymore.

In a way though, it was nice to have it all to ourselves. (Especially when I was pedalling Roo's pint-sized bike like a mad thing.)

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

On a more positive note, I was pleased to come across some parenting tips from the Little Flower's mum Zélie, via Twitter.
She started praying for their holiness from the time she was pregnant. I especially love the prayer she taught them to say each morning:

My God, I give You my heart; please accept it that no creature, but You alone, my good Jesus, may possess it.

Sad tidings from the Abbey

I don't listen to the radio much these days at home (there's enough going on trying to listen to three little boys' goings-on). So in the car this morning, I was stunned when I heard the lead story on the 10am news... Very sad and shocking news from Holycross Abbey. The relic of the True Cross was stolen in broad daylight yesterday by some hoodlums driving a red VW Touareg. The Abbey is very close to my heart. My Mum goes to Mass every day there and Lee and I were married there by the lovely Fr Tom Breen, who spoke on the news tonight of his feelings of devastation at the theft. You can read more about it here.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Mellow Fruitfulness

This morning was bright and hopeful-looking so after pegging out some washing and 'sploring (aka digging in mud and examining minicreatures) Poonch and I took a stroll across the road with Granny's dog.
This used to be a daily occurrence, but has slipped down the agenda since Roo started school. Sadly we never picked any blackberries this year. Not one, never mind make jam. But we had a good look at all the colourful berries and other offerings of this marvellous season like the little musher-room above. I think St Francis would have approved.
It is lovely spending this time with our little middle piggy. He seemed a bit lost when his big bro first spread his wings but is definitely happier in himself this past few days.

Saturday, 1 October 2011


Love this time of year for lots of reasons. One of them is the number of great Saints' days. Today is the wonderful Thérèse of Lisieux, who is very close to my heart. Then there's Sts Francis, Faustina and a couple of days ago, the Archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael. Padre Pio's around this time too.

The weather hasn't lived up to what we'd been promised, but we did get a leetle sun one day this week. The little Toot and I took advantage of it while his older brothers snoozed. Off to the swing where he whooshed and went whee to his heart's content. He gets such a kick out of it. Look at his little tooty feet revelling in the warmth!

Saturday, 24 September 2011


A 'baby snake', or to you and me, a teeny little worm, found while 'sploring

Not a lot of time for blogging these days, as ever... but what a busy few weeks it's been.

Here's a quick whizz through what we've been up to:

Birthdays of Roo and little Toot

Big boy beginning school

Hospital stay and operation for Mama and the best welcome home (baby burying his head in my lap)

Diecast model show

Family of Mary conference in Kilmallock

Our Lady's birthday: cake and beads and biccies

Visit to Great Aunt's house

First ever pony ride for Roo and Poonch

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

St. Therese Novena: perfect timing

I'm thinking I should devote this blog to just novenas and washing! Here comes another novena, and this one's in honour of my favourite saint....

For the next few days, when I am conscious(!) I will be joining over 2900 Catholics to pray the St. Therese Novena!

You can sign up too for handy email reminders to get the the novena prayers here: St. Therese Novena

I'm going into hospital for an operation today. If you get a chance to remember me in your prayers, I'd be ever so grateful. :)

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Prayers needed

On my way to Beddy-byes, quickly posting this link to Bonny's site.
It is linked to a novena to Archbishop Sheen....
..well, I do find it hard to resist a good ol' novena.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Another Richard Scarry Busytown-worthy crash

Today we visited our first model show. Something I might never have experienced if I hadn't been blessed with three little boys... well, actually four. Now I find myself craving a Massey Ferguson 35X. That's a little red tractor to you and me. is on the way!

Monday, 5 September 2011

Fill our little world

When I was pregnant with Roo, our first child, there was a song playing on the radio by The Feeling which I really loved. It seemed to be the soundtrack to our last sprog-less holiday, a sun-filled trip to South West England. Every time I hear it now I think of that happy expectant time when we had no idea what was in store for us, but looked forward to it all the same.

I didn't realise at the time how prophetic the song would be in the case of Roo. He fills my days chocablock with talk, questions, amazing ponderings and busy doings while keeping me on my toes trying to think of activities to stop the dreaded, 'I'm boooooooorrrrrred'. Although, lately he has become more independent in 'making and doing' and I can't walk towards the bin with any form of cardboard without it being recommissioned by him into a superhero mask or sword for himself, his brothers or even his teddies. Now he has started school, his world has become a lot more full and interesting and subsequently our house is much quieter in his absence. Poonch, in particular, seems to be out of sorts when he is away. Please God this step will be the start of a happy, fruitful and 'fulfilling' time for Roo.

All in all, he is a very thoughtful, kind, helpful, sensitive, inquisitive, perceptive, sometimes maddening little chap and I thank God for him coming along to fill my little world right up.

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Ta-dah!!! We have a winner!

I am delighted to announce that Sandra from Life Sublyme has won the book on St Joseph that I mentioned in the last post! She has a beautiful blog which is really worth visiting, in which she discusses her own battle with chronic illness (Lyme disease) and how her faith has helped her through the suffering.
Congratulations Sandra! Thank you for dropping by and I hope you enjoy the little book as much as I did.

Monday, 15 August 2011

1st Birthday Freebie!

I have been reading this little gem of a book in spare moments while waiting for the little Toot to drop off to sleep. It was one I picked up during our recent trip to Knock. After Mass in town this morning, I bought another one because I would love to share it with someone else!

So in honour of St Joseph and in thanksgiving for the impending first birthday of our youngest boy, who is named after him, I am going to give it away! If you would like to receive it, just leave a comment on this post before Sunday 21st August. Then if I get more than one reply, I will draw a name from a hat and publish who won in a new post as well as in a follow-up comment on this post. So when you comment, be sure to check the box that emails follow-up comments to your email address or check back to see if you are the lucky recipient! I will post it out to whoever wins. Good luck!

First Birthday surprise package

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Guess who's trying to have two big announcements for his birthday?

Our littlest boy is very nearly one year old and is doing his utmost to be able to walk by then. I suppose when you have two noisy older brothers you have to try even harder to get people to notice you!

Any chance he gets lately he's been using anything solid to pull himself up into a standing position. But in the last few days he started to make tentative little sidesteps and today he was pushing a chair ahead of him as if it was a baby-walker! I think I have noticed a slight change in him on account of his increased mobility and viewpoint. He seems happier: I suppose life just got a lot more interesting!

I remember when I found out I was carrying a third boy being really curious about how he would turn out as his older brothers are so very different from each other. Would he be like one of them? Or different again? I suppose the answer is yes to both questions. Personality-wise, he is not quite as sunny as Poonch, but he seems less cautious than Roo is.

And of course, his interests are different, he seems more interested in physical feats: he squeals with delight as he sits on the ground and throws the ball, he likes to climb up the little red slide and from an early age he would strive to grasp objects within his (surprisingly long) reach so that he could examine them. On the other hand, talking isn't a priority for him: he doesn't really have any actual words yet, although he enjoys singing (a series of single short notes), loves pointing an imperious index finger at people and things and used to 'tell' me what he thought of his dinner each evening. He will give you a high five if you ask him and has a very cute floppy wave which the ladies love!

Everyone says he is the image of his Dad. He has recently got very adorable, whereas before he looked like a real Scroonk with dishevelled hair and bad skin that only we could love. But we sure do love our littlest boy. His older brothers are so affectionate towards him and protective too, especially his oldest brother, the little gent that he is. In turn, he gets endless entertainment from them and laughs at their antics that make me cross!

We are delighted you came along to join our mad little family. Happy Birthday little Toot!

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Fota foties

Feeding time at the zoo: a sneaky peek into the feeding buggy on our annual Summer trip to Fota (yay)

... on the train (woohoo!)

It was a day of penpens, albeit slightly bored and dozey ones, above

and stripey bah-loo cardigans.

We had a great day, meeting old friends with their hands as 'full' as ours, eccentric second child and all. And I found a lovely, proper, newsagent full of magazines, newspapers and a lovely proper newsagent-y smell I haven't experienced for years.

Friday, 12 August 2011

If I was a Playmobil character... would have to be this one! She is carrying her baby in a sling! She has her brown hair tied in a ponytail! She has very little regard for current fashion trends! And I just realised she's wearing red shoes too! Quite uncanny really.

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Assumption Novena starts today

I am fond of the odd Novena. Any excuse really and off I go: at the very least, it's a good way of making sure I find time to pray each day. Nine days from now is the Feast of the Assumption, so in preparation for that great day (which last year was the Little Toot's due date), I will be one of more than 2800 Catholics praying the Assumption Novena through this novena website.

If you'd like to join in too, you can sign up for handy email reminders to get the the novena prayers here: Assumption Novena.

The lovely picture came from this website, which tells you a little more about the feast.

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Every cloud...

Well, due to a misunderstanding, I had a bit of a disappointment this evening. It was supposed to involve this restaurant, my hubby, some friends and a meal I didn't have to cook. But at the last minute, with nobody to mind our bubs, it wasn't to be for me. Here I am in front of the TV on my own.
Never mind though, I'm actually fine about it! Those rosary beads I mentioned in a previous post arrived this morning, much to the delight of Roo and Poonch. They were so excited this evening when we got to use them for the first time! Thanks to my cancelled engagement, I could take my time and say our prayers without having to rush away. What a treat.

It was so cute to see them touching the lego brick beads, with Roo diligently counting them off as we prayed and read through their lovely rosary book. I gave him the choice of which Luminous mystery to pray and he was intrigued about Jesus turning the water into wine, so he decided on the Wedding at Cana. Poonch just loved the colour and Lego-ness of his beads and wanted to wear them around his neck all day, despite my opposition. I have been surprised and utterly enchanted by their sweet, endearing reaction to the rosary each evening. Thank you Lord for such precious and priceless moments.

Saturday, 30 July 2011

No one does accidents quite like Richard Scarry does...

Quite an unexpectedly eventful day today. A few little mishaps along the way, but all ended ok, thank God. It started out as a mundane Saturday trip into town. The whole family went in to pootle round the market and round up school supplies for Roo.

On the way home though, it became apparent I had left my phone behind me somewhere. (Quel surprise, Rodney.) And on the way to retrieve it, the car stopped dead right on the busiest roundabout in the city. Lee put his back out trying to push the car single-handedly somewhere less accident-inducing. The car door handle broke as he tried to get back into the car. And then the rest of us sat stranded with me praying we wouldn’t be the cause of a Richard Scarry-worthy pile up while Lee set off looking for a petrol station. (Yes.... I know.) That led to a few hairy moments marvelling at how there aren't more accidents on the road, the way people drive. I think Guardian angels must be so busy just keeping people safe in their cars every day.

Anyway, thanks to Lee, we got moving again. Drama over. No harm done. And now I'd like to mention the highlights of today. The bits God drops in to help you through difficult times:

The thoughtful honest man who handed my phone in and the nice man in the car park who thought to phone Lee to tell me he had it.

The lovely people who stopped in a risky spot to see if we were alright or ‘to offer us a lift’ as Poonch put it.

The three little boys in the back as good as gold despite being variously in need of the toilet, a drink or a nap.

Roo suggesting we ‘ask God to help us’ and the relief saying a prayer out loud brought.

Offers of hugs from Poonch and Roo when I got a little broken-voiced from experiencing the kindness of strangers.

The little sparkle in Roo’s eyes when he saw himself in the mirror with his uniform on for the first time ever.

Watching Uncle Bee playing with the lads and their interaction (particularly little 11 month old Toot) with him.

I will probably never get the chance to thank the people that helped just by offering to help. But I would like to ask for a little prayer for them tonight. I hope they receive many blessings for the care they showed to us. Thank you.

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Ever wondered why you wake at night?

Of course, sometimes there is a clear reason! For instance, when I wake up in the middle of the night, it's usually because one of the lads has woken me. But other than crying babies, do you ever wake up at night, seemingly for no reason? This morning I read one possible explanation, which I'll tell you about in a minute.
When one of the children is awake, it can lead to quite a long period of enforced wakefulness for me, back and forth until they nod off again. Praying during such a time helps to make it seem less frustrating and even useful. Certainly, I don't get much time or quiet to pray during the day.

I do try. Lately, I have started to say the Divine Mercy Chaplet with the lads at bedtime. As they are so young, I thought it would be easier to hold their attention than the rosary, although I might try to alternate it with one decade of the rosary every second night.

Not surprisingly, the thing they most enjoy seems to be counting the prayers off on the beads. So I have decided to get them their own beads. What a great excuse to buy some of these great Lego rosaries from Memento Moose's etsy page. Aren't they great? My boys are eagerly awaiting them in the post.

In contrast to the rainbow beads: handy for when you're in the jungle and don't want to stand out

And the reason for insomnia? Maybe someone needs your prayers urgently! Here's the extract from St Faustina's Diary that I read today:

"809 During the night, I was suddenly awakened and knew that some soul was asking me for prayer, and that it was in much need of prayer. Briefly, but with all my soul, I asked the Lord for grace for her.

810 The following afternoon, when I entered the ward, I saw someone dying, and learned that the agony had started during the night. When I verified it-it had been at the time when I had been asked for prayer. And just then, I heard a voice in my soul: Say the chaplet which I taught you. I ran to fetch my rosary and knelt down by the dying person and, with all the ardour of my soul, I began to say the chaplet. Suddenly the dying person opened her eyes and looked at me; I had not managed to finish the entire chaplet when she died, with extraordinary peace. I fervently asked the Lord to fulfill the promise He had given me for the recitation of the chaplet. The Lord gave me to know that the soul had been granted the grace He had promised me. That was the first soul to receive the benefit of the Lord's promise. I could feel the power of mercy envelop that soul.

811 When I entered my solitude, I heard these words: At the hour of their death, I defend as My own glory every soul that will say this chaplet; or when others say it for a dying person, the indulgence is the same. When this chaplet is said by the bedside of a dying person, God's anger is placated, unfathomable mercy envelops the soul, and the very depths of My tender mercy are moved for the sake of the sorrowful Passion of My Son.

Oh, if only everyone realized how great the Lord's mercy is and how much we all need that mercy, especially at that crucial hour!"

If you're not familiar with it, you can find the Chaplet and how to say it here.

Sunday, 3 July 2011

Tall Ships, big dogs and small ones too

Continuing our whistle-stop tour of Southern Ireland, we arrived in Cappoquin to spend a night in Richmond House, somewhere we remembered fondly from our pre-sprog days. The house is as lovely as we found it before and our family room was memorable for the fact that Roo and Poonch slept peacefully and harmoniously together in the same bed. (Another memory is that of Poonch sitting regally in his potty surveying the carpark below from his lofty perch on the expansive bathroom windowsill.) A visit to Granny Daddy and her gift of a pair of cuddly plush puppies helped to tire them out, although we've had so much going these last few days that they have a cumulative tiredness at this stage.

Pictured above is by far the friendliest member of staff that we met at Richmond House. Make of that what you will. The lads were very taken with this big old bear of a dog: cuddly and quiet. And so was I.

The following morning, we drove off to Waterford to what turned into a glorious Summer's day to see the Tall Ships, or should that be, to queue up for various food items at numerous market stalls. The city was absolutely packed and we strolled around with the older lads in and out of the buggy and the Little Toot in the sling. In hindsight, we would all get much more out of it when we are able to climb on board the actual Tall Ships in a few years' time, please God. One of the more memorable things was a Sea Shanty group from Exmouth who wandered around singing a most stirring song.

Despite the fact that the lads are generally very well-behaved (do you think I would be biased, now really?), there has been the odd occasion when I haven't felt entirely, shall we say, loved by certain people we have come across on this holiday. They seem to have a pre-formed negative attitude towards children, even before they have crossed the restaurant or hotel threshold. Curiously enough, in some of these places we have been pretty much the only customers. I would have thought that in the country's current dire economic state that any customer at all would be treated like a long lost friend.

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Sacred Heart Novena...

....starts today. Click here to join in on the Sacred Space website.

Holiday revisited part 4, Thursday: Can you tell where it is yet?

Here is the other side of the church, the side that people know better. This is where Our Lady appeared to some dumb-founded inhabitants of Knock, Co Mayo, on 21st August 1879. We visited it on our Mayo holiday: it was in fact the reason we decided to come up there in the first place.

This gable-end is one of the parts of Knock that I love. There is a real sense of something amazing in this quiet spot, which for some reason seems almost deserted whenever I visit. In my experience, people tend to rush past it on the way to the Basilica, yet to me it is a far more attractive place. I see the basilica as just a functional place which can hold a lot of people. Lee likened it to a mart in design, which is bang on. Another part of Knock that I love is the Reconciliation Chapel. It always feels inviting and friendly, which aren't two adjectives that normally come to mind when I think of confession. On this visit, the two older lads were very good as they waited in turn for Lee and I, but I had to bring the Scroonk in with me in the sling and he was a bit busy, to say the least!

After that, the lads went off with Lee for some well-deserved messing in the playground while I went to yet another of my favourite parts of Knock: the bookshop. I could really spend hours there, and that's just in the children's section which has so many appealing books. I got some great books for Roo to help explain what's happening in Mass and some lift-the-flap Bible stories for Poonch. Then I went looking for a 'penny catechism' only to find it next to YOUCAT , which I was very excited about. It is such a great book: even apart from its contents, it is very attractive to look at and handle, with a friendly, straight-forward and approachable tone and a wonderful foreword from the Holy Father.

It was a welcome change not to have to face into a three-hour plus drive back home and instead we headed back to the hotel and our final night there. All together now: aaaaahhhhh!

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Day 2, Tuesday... in Mayo!: Cycling the Greenway

We woke up for our first proper day of holiday and off we toddled to the nearby town of Newport to collect our snazzy electric bikes.

My trusty steed for the day

Electric bike + trailer= plain sailing

We had been really excited about this part of our holiday because it involved us, bikes, fresh air, nice scenery and exercise, but as Roo would say, not too much. Lee and I aren't as fit as we'd like to be, so when we heard that we could cycle about with the lads in tow with the help of an electric motor, we thought yippee! Roo wasn't too sure though- he didn't like the sound of the trailers that he and de bruvvers were going to be travelling in.

Nonetheless, we met Paul from Electric Escapes at Clew Bay Cycles and collected our bikes. And so began the pirate connections: my bike was called Grace, as in Grace O'Malley, the famous female pirate of Mayo, appropriate, as we had chosen the Pirate Queen tour. Roo settled quickly into his trailer with the Scroonk next to him, while initially Poonch was a bit nervous on his ownio behind me.

And we were off! The weather was very clement: warm and dry, with a gentle breeze to prevent us getting too hot from our exertions. And the scenery was, well take a look at this....

Mostly very peaceful and relaxing: no cars speeding by to scare the bejayny out of us. We weren't completely alone of course:


And we did meet some people too. A broad mix of young families, retired couples and young, fit types who seemed to me to be regular users of the cycleway. All sharing a friendly 'hello'. What a very civilised and cheery way to spend the day! And what a fantastic amenity to have in the area: a safe, superbly-maintained track to walk or cycle along. Not just for tourists, but local residents too. Aaaahh, if only there were more trails like this around the country. My Dad would have loved it.



It wasn't all plain sailing for me though. As the initial euphoria/novelty wore off, I realised I should have asked someone to adjust my saddle before we started as my botty wasn't feeling too happy towards the end. Overall though, we did really well, considering the last time we biked regularly was over 10 years ago in college.

And the lads had a great time: the first thing Roo said the following morning was, 'Are we going cycling again today?' So there you go, highly recommended.