Sunday, 16 December 2012

The Christmas Rush in our barmy little household

We were busy today.  In the morning, the two older boys took part in an Elves' workshop at the Hunt Museum.  They enjoyed making cards, pom-pom hats, badges and stamps although Lee and I were a bit disappointed at the lack of pointy ears and pixie hats on the organisers.  It was more than a little mental trying to get there on time now that there are four little pixies in our house!

Then in the evening, the elves turned into shepherds as we got a last-minute call-up to take part in the Live Crib! It was dark and getting cold as our turn came.  A crescent moon shone in the sky and the choir from our local church sang carols as we came out of the camper van in our borrowed costumes. Lee looked the part dressed as Joseph with a stripey headdress and staff.  The less said about Mary the better, but I don't think there's been a less dignified portrayal of Our Lady!  As for the baby Jesus!  Well..... our little four-week old was the picture of tranquility as she lay in the manger.  She was so quiet and serene as the choir sang Silent Night and she actually smiled at the end!  It was really magical!   The boys were delighted to meet the babba oo (calf), mummy ba (ewe) with her twin lambs and the little donkey that shared the stable with us for those special few minutes and Roo took his role as chief shepherd quite seriously.  I was so proud of my little brood that I cared nothing about the fact that my veil was falling off and making me look a complete Charlie in front of everyone.  My family are the best gift that I have ever received.  Thank you Lord for them!

Thursday, 6 December 2012

St Nicholas' Day drawing to a close and the lads are snuggled asleep in their new (monkey, Mike the Knight, Spiderman) pyjamas with tummies full of chocolate. They were delighted to discover that he had paid them a visit last night.

The last 24 hours have seen one house deal fall through and another possibly open up. I'm not sure what to make of the timing. Maybe I'm reading too much into the fact that it has all happened on the 12th anniversary of myself and Lee's starting out together.

Not that I made the connection then about San Nioclás and his uncanny gift of knowing just what your heart desires.

Monday, 26 November 2012

Our little Pixie-girl's birth story

We still don't know why she decided to stay so long past her due date (twelve days in all), perhaps she was enjoying Daddy's dinners.  At least I was, at any rate.  Mind you, I would have preferred to have been having the tea and white toast that the midwives present you with after giving birth (best meal ever!).  Things were getting very uncomfortable for me as the days wore on.  I don't think she would have been my daughter though if she hadn't left things til the last minute.  I was booked in for induction three hours after she finally made her appearance, but after all the waiting, it was the shortest of my four labours.

I went to bed feeling quite disappointed the night before, resigned to someone else dictating how my baby would enter the world... but I needn't have worried, because I was woken a couple of hours later by an almighty contraction, which happened again two minutes later and again two minutes after that!  I checked with Mum, who felt my bulging tummy and agreed that they were contractions alright.  So Lee and I went out the side door into the car about 30 minutes after my first contraction at 2AM.  It was the first time one of our babies' arrivals has got us up in the middle of the night.  It was also the only time I've been afraid we wouldn't make it to the hospital in time, as the thought of Lee and I dealing with a newborn baby on the side of the road in the cold, wet, windy and wild darkness did not appeal to me!  Despite (and in turn fuelling) my worries, the contractions didn't slow down on the journey.  They were quite powerful, with none of the slow build-up that I experienced with the boys.  But thanks to deep yoga breathing, I was able to cope with them.  I was just so relieved that our little baby was coming without intervention or drugs.

It was definitely the most dramatic journey I've made into the Maternity Hospital.  She is literally a born romantic, choosing a night worthy of Cathy and Heathcliff to venture out into the city which looked lovely, its deserted streets shiny with rain and twinkly lights ready for Christmas, or at least the shops' version of it.

Once we were at the hospital, I got the usual checks before walking up to the delivery suite, annoying the impatient accompanying midwife on the way as I had to stop occasionally with the frequent contractions.  Once I was in the Delivery 'Suite', I was pretty much allowed to do what I felt like doing, bouncing on the Giant ball or moving onto all fours, so different from Roo's birth when I had to stay on the bed strapped to the foetal monitor.  This time around, I can't remember them actually examining me internally at any stage.  I think because I was coping quietly, they didn't think I was very far along.  Also, my waters hadn't broken yet.  But then, they hadn't broken spontaneously with the boys' births, so even I was surprised when I started feeling the urge to push and felt a delightful 'pop' before the midwife jumped up from her notes and came over to catch our little girl!  And so, three hours after my first contraction, we found ourselves in the irresistible company of our first daughter!  Lee had been my quiet, solid source of strength, as ever, calmly backing me up and making me feel safe.  

Who is she like?  Of course, once again, I don't get a look-in.  She is her father's daughter, quite like the Toot when he was born.  Dark hair like two of her brothers, and also like them, lots of it.  Even more actually, as it spreads down her neck into a funky little spiky do.  She cries more than they used to.  But sleeps more during the day.  Swings and roundabouts.

The following day provided more lovely moments, as the 'three proud brothers' as one friend called them, met their little sister for the first time.  I will treasure those first moments forever.  They arrived in with my Mum and Lee.  The look on Toot's face was completely new to me as he warily entered the room, but he was so gentle with her.  He was wearing the stethoscope from the doctor dressing-up set around his neck and he sweetly checked me and the baby to make sure we were doing well, just as he had done while I was pregnant, patiently placing the stethoscope on my expanding belly each day.  Poonch was beaming as he bounced in to see his 'little buddy' and his enthusiasm towards his sister shows no signs of waning.   Roo was his usual sweet self, marvelling at her gorgeous little hands and feet, 'Ah!  Look!'  They were all thrilled, with no hint of jealousy or rivalry.  It was enchanting, being surrounded on the bed by these great little guys, sharing their first wonder-filled moments with their tiny sibling.

And so, we thank God for this 'indorable' little babe.  Yes, we are delighted to have a girl, but we are more delighted that she arrived safely and is healthy.  We would have been just as happy to welcome another boy into our family, because after all, whether male or female, they are all children, each a unique, marvellous and unrepeatable gift from God.  And I feel so blessed to have been entrusted with their care.

Our fabulous little pixie girl is here, just in time for Christmas.  Be good boys.  The Pixie is watching!!!

Sunday, 25 November 2012

A little girl

Hello again! Well, I am writing this hastily on my phone as a nearly-week old baby girl snoozes in the crook of my elbow. I had gone to bed on Sunday night last expecting to be induced the following morning, 12 days after my due date. A few hours later, someone finally decided she would come out on her terms and a stormy dash into the maternity hospital in the early hours of Monday morning resulted in us meeting our fourth baby, an 'indorable' (the lads' word!) little cailín with lots of dark hair, heavier than her big buddas. I will bore you with more details later, such as the magical first meeting with her brothers and the full account of the labour, but it is bedtime now so I will say good night and thank you for your prayers and good wishes.  We have been truly blessed. Thank you, Lord. xxxxx

Friday, 16 November 2012


Hello!  Well, I am still here with a big bump, nine days after my due date.  I've just been checking the posts I wrote about Poonch and Toot's birth stories to compare then and now.  This little bab is most happily ensconced, the longest any of my babies have stayed inside me, with no major signs that she wants to come out anytime soon.  Mind you, the doctor who gave me a sweep three days ago and booked me for induction on Monday will probably have the last say on that!

As usual, I'm hoping to go into labour naturally before then. At least I have lots of help with Mum and Vee here and Lee is off this weekend too, so that should help me relax.

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

What is it about Tuesdays?

It is so appropriate that it is St Martha's day of the week, cos they are always packed in this household.

Today's busy scramble included an early morning appointment for Roo, Lee taking over the playschool drop-off for a very out-of-sorts Poonch and then meeting me to collect Roo so I could go to the second appointment, playschool and school pick-ups, then a dash into the city to take Roo to his language class followed by a dash back home with him, quick change for me and back to the other side of the city for my lovely pregnancy exercise class and meet-up with my lovely friend whose due date is 3 days before mine.

Coincidentally, today's Gospel featured the story of Jesus, Martha and Mary.

With all the rushing, I had forgotten to say the prayer and light the candle to ask Martha's intercession in our hectic world.  So a quick read of my Magnificat served to remind me this evening and as the day draws to a close, there is a little flame burning on my window-sill shrine.

Saturday, 22 September 2012

just in time

Just about time to squeeze in a reminder about the Little Flower's Novena which starts today.  I know what I'll be asking ma chère amie's intercession for....

New additions

It has been too long since I have posted anything, but we have been very busy, with many changes and a couple of uncertainties around here.  Roo and Poonch started back at school and playschool respectively, so the morning rush has returned.  Not so welcome.

But the day before they went back, we had a new arrival.  (Not the one that I have been incubating in my tummy, still about 8 or 9 weeks before we meet him/her face to face, please God.)  No, we have taken on an au pair to help when the baby is here.   There have been a couple of teething problems, but overall, the change has been a positive one.  I was apprehensive about having someone in the house all the time, but it certainly frees me up and the house has become more relaxed in a lot of ways as I can spend more time with the lads instead of seeming to spend all my time on chores.  She is a quiet presence in our midst and our main worry is that there is not much to interest her in the immediate vicinity of our barmy lickle house.  But she claims not to mind.  

Despite the help, I seem to be busier than ever, with something (apart from school) bringing me and the lads out of the house nearly every day.  Thank God, I still have a good amount of energy for the majority of the day, although I am fairly pooped come 8.30/9pm and doze off whenever I sit still during the day.

We have had a couple of birthdays in the past month and that has brought yet more new additions to the house, such as the fire-breathing dragon in the picture above, made and photographed by Roo, courtesy of a Mega-present for the little Toot from Poonch's bessie mate and her Mum.  They are great present-pickers as well as lovely friends.

As for uncertainties, it looks like we are finally in a position to buy our own house here, but I feel very unsure about the whole process, more so than about more momentous decisions we have made together.  It feels as though we are rushing into it in spite of having to wait nearly 7 years to do it!  I suppose, now that we have three little bookles in our lives, there is more at stake.  This is after all, the only house they have ever/ remember living in and there are so many wonderful memories bound up here, that with all its faults, it will be difficult to leave.


Monday, 20 August 2012

Two-year old Toot

Our youngest little fella sat next to me on the sofa this evening as I watched the start of The Rose of Tralee, his chubby little legs dangling and his dimpled hand resting on mine.  When I reminded him he should be going to bed like his older 'bubbas' he gave me the cutest little hangdog expression, pulling his chin in and pushing his lips out into a pout and looking at me from under his amazingly-long eyelashes.  He really knows how to appeal to 'Mumma's' soft side and I found it very difficult not to allow him to continue snuggling in next to me for the rest of the evening!

Our little surprise baby will be two tomorrow and I can't quite believe it.  In many ways he is so independent and 'grown-up' (getting his beloved Scooby-Doo shoes aka 'ha-ha gagas' from the shoe rack and putting them on all by himself, finding his jacket and trying to put it on, climbing into his high chair at mealtimes and clicking his lap belt shut) but at other times, of course, he is our little cutey Toot, the youngest member of our barmy-lickle family.  He loves dressing-up, especially wearing hats.  At the moment he wears Bob the builder's hard hat all the time, but it has to be on backwards!  He loves having his own special, exclusive story-reading session away from the bubbas before being put into bed with Teddy who he squeezes to his tummy with abandon.  Charlie and Lola's friend's dog, Sizzles, makes him laugh out loud as he jumps through hoops and disco-dances through the book.  He loves being outside, busy-busy with his characteristic walk, chest forward, moving his two little arms to propel himself up the ladder, over to the sandpit, back to the tap, bucket in hand, into 'Mumma's Brr-da' (that's the car, to you and me) pressing buttons and steering the wheel.

Like his oldest brother before him at his age, he understands everything we say, but is trying hard to get the rest of the world to speak his language rather than the other way around.  

Happy Birthday, darling bubba.  Do we love you? Guh-gah!!!!

Sunday, 29 July 2012

The Bluebell Line: woo woo!

While we were away we had some lovely sunny days.  One such day, we took off for the Bluebell Railway line in Sussex.  My Dad was very fond of it and I may even have visited there myself as a little girl, though I have no recollection of it.    

The whole enterprise is manned by friendly volunteers who obviously LOVE steam trains and everything connected with them.  The lads enjoyed it, but I think Lee, Granny and me got more of a kick out of the experience than they did.  Sharing afternoon tea on the Director's saloon was especially wasted on them as they spent most of their time colouring in pictures of steam engines, which is something they could do at home anyday! 

Here are some pictures from the day:

It was like being in a time machine, especially when the train entered one of the three stations

Everything was so neat and beautifully-presented...

...with genuine old railway bits and pieces, like this...

and this.

And of course, there were plenty of these

The lads noticed this bit!  Going through the tunnel was very exciting- the dainty lamps seemed to come on by themselves.  It was like being on the Orient Express for dinner.  

As the little Toot would say, 'Fwoo fwooooo!'

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Rolling down from Dubbalin town...

Pope Benny's address on the Big Screen

We have been away for the last few days. Up in Dub-a-lin (Roo loves adding extra consonants to placenames) at the closing Mass of the Eucharistic Congress.* We organised it before I was pregnant and it was a trip into the unknown for us. The five of us go to Mass on Sunday all together and it's hard work!  So I wasn't sure how we'd get on at managing the bookles at a fourhour long outdoor Hyper-Mass... hmmm.

The lads were excited and in good form from staying the night before in the hotel.  On opening the thick hotel room curtains, we discovered that the day was brighter and warmer than I had expected, so things were off to a good start.  

We took the Luas into town with Granny and Uncle Bee, with Roo asking at each stop, 'is this the one?' and Poonch cheerful in the buggy next to a sleeping Toot.   We walked from Busaras to Croke Park through the usual dodgy bits and thanks to the double buggy, made a big entrance through the gate used by players' buses.  Hopefully not the last time our boys will go in that way!

Much to Mum's chagrin, RTE had quite a presence,  'thought we could escape from them for once' and there were a couple of politicians there too.  From where we were sitting, we could see a diverse range of people, with a good few children.  It was very loud in the stadium, which was great because it meant the lads' chatter wasn't disturbing anyone too much.  The music throughout was good: my favourites being Maynooth Gospel Choir's version of the Hallelujah chorus and some hymns that Mum and Bee were familiar with.  From then on, I'm afraid it became the usual containment operation I experience every Sunday at Mass and so I can't give many details of what happened, except a feeling of joy and warmth at being there.     

I was really looking forward to the Pope's address at the end and felt a bit disappointed as I thought their would be a live linkup with the Vatican, instead of just a recorded message. I think Pope Benny's homilies are beautiful stuff, but I knew I would have to go away and read what he had said because I find it a bit difficult to understand what he's saying when I have a 22 month-old trying to climb up the Davin Stand underneath other people's seats! But I did catch some of his address there and then, and in particular, I loved his words about the history of the Catholic faith in our country.

How "Ireland has been shaped by the Mass at the deepest level for centuries, and by its power and grace generations of monks, martyrs and missionaries have heroically lived the faith at home and spread the Good News of God’s love and forgiveness well beyond your shores."

He reminded us about the enormous, positive effect Irish Catholics have had on the world: "You are the heirs to a Church that has been a mighty force for good in the world, and which has given a profound and enduring love of Christ and his blessed Mother to many, many others."

He seems to be encouraging us to emulate the holiness of our forebears in the Church, to keep the Eucharist central in our lives, rather than allow the "revelation of sins committed by priests and consecrated persons against people entrusted to their care" to take away our "thankfulness and joy at such a great history of faith and love" so that we can "pass on a love of the faith and Christian virtue to other generations".

It was lovely to stand and applaud the Holy Father with thousands of other Irish people, such a different image to the one we hear about in the media day in day out.  It was such a happy occasion and lovely to share it as part of three generations of our family.  This was what inspired a kind stranger to take our photo before we went in.      

As we left the stadium, I felt a huge sense of relief  (at the weather, the good behaviour of the boys, that I had coped ok with them in my pregnant state) and a feeling that we need to show our love for Jesus in everything we do, so we can make others want to share that love too.  

*Roo had been telling people we were going to the 'conga', but the closest we got to that was the orderly little procession of people that snaked through the stands at Holy Communion time.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

11 Things and an announcement

Hello again! It's been a long time, but I'm back at the blog again. For various reasons, well, mainly one reason, I haven't managed to get around to completing this post until now. Over two months ago, Jennifer at Raindrops On My Head tagged me and since then I have been meaning to get round to it and finish it.  Some of the answers are a bit vague, but if I had to think of better answers it would take another two and a half months, so here goes...

(1) The first rule is to post these rules. 

(2) Post a photo of yourself then write 11 things about yourself or your life. 

(3) Answer the questions set for you by the person who tagged you. 

(4) Create 11 new questions and tag people to answer them. 

(5) Go to their blog/Twitter to tell them they've been tagged.

11 things about me....

1. Errrrrrmmmmmmm! I have found it hard to come up with 11 things that other people could be remotely interested in. I hate talking in front of a crowd or giving my opinion to people other than close family members. This blog is after all, written under a pseudonym.  I was always labelled 'shy' as a child, or, even worse, 'quiet' -such a dismissive term, but better than it's counterpart, 'loud', I suppose.  I am one of the few Irish people who never has the courage to sing a song at a party. But then again, I am one of the only people in this country who always sings at Mass. I've always found that a bit strange.  As for a photo of me, well I do bare a lot of resemblance to the Playmobil mum at no.5 below.  

2. I come from a family of five children, but am one of just two who survived to adulthood. As you would expect, it was a terrible time for our family (two of my siblings died within months of each other, while another died before I was born). Now that I have been blessed with children of my own though, I can more fully understand the immense pain my mother has gone through in losing three of her children. 

3. I am pregnant with our fourth child. The last few weeks I have been in survival mode which means getting myself and the boys dressed, providing them with something resembling food and stuffing one load of laundry-in-most-danger-of -becoming-mouldy into the washing machine each day. I haven't had the energy for anything else, including thinking. So you see, this post has taken a while to write, and a lot of thinking.  And I don't get much time to think these days.  

4. I hate having my photo taken, although since having children I have become more relaxed about it. I don't really need more things to worry about and I haven't much control over my appearance, so why bother?

5. I buy toys that I would have loved when I was little, and give them to my children and their friends. Sylvanian Families, Lego, Playmobil.  Am I right in thinking that toys are, relatively, cheaper than when I was a child? Back then, Playmobil seemed to be this luxury item that we couldn't afford. I remember one of my brothers being given a Playmobil set and finding it years later, unopened, in a cupboard because Mum had deemed it too good to be played with!

Me and one of the lads

6. I love Playmobil. Probably too much. And possibly more than my children do. Possibly. Not sure how you would measure that. In any case, I am very pleased they love Playmobil too, because I get an immense amount of pleasure watching them play with it.  And um, of course, I buy it because it is great for improving my little boy's fine motor skills.

7. I secretly would love to homeschool my children, but my husband isn't keen, and I would get tired of continually justifying my decision to people.  Homeschooling is viewed as seriously odd in this country.  But the idea grows on me every day.  

8. Mooing is important, and not just for bovines.  I think more people, especially pregnant women, should know about the power of moo-ing. It's all to do with the Sphincter Law. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, and especially if you are, or know, a pregnant woman, I would urge you to read Ina May Gaskin's Guide to Childbirth.  Helps with potty-training too, incidentally.

9. We have used Natural Family Planning since the start, and not just for religious reasons.  I think we do our young women a huge injustice by not informing them about Natural Family Planning.  How come so-called feminists don't talk about it?  I would have thought it would appeal to their desire to 'empower' women.  On a similar note, how come some people consider the use of NFP/temperature-taking/charting to conceive as 'a bit clinical and calculated', but think nothing of taking daily medication to prevent ovulation at other times?  

10. I love reading about the lives of saints but especially St Joseph.  One of my boys is named after him.  I just love thinking about him and his closeness to Jesus and Mary and their family life.  None of his spoken words were recorded in the Gospel, yet he was the man chosen to be the guardian of Our Lord and the husband of the Mother of God.  He led a quiet, modest life, yet his influence on Jesus Christ, the Son of God, must have been immense.  Talking of pondering, pondering that makes my mind boggle a bit.  (How exactly does a mind 'boggle'?)  

11. On a similar note, I love the thought that, while he was alive, many people met Jesus in quite mundane ways (selling things to him at the market, sitting next to him in the synagogue, buying wooden items from Him and His dad...) and they never realised they were in contact with the Son of God!!!! There's a lesson for us for everyday life there, I suppose.  We're supposed to see Jesus in everyone we come into contact with.  Easier said than done....
Some of these thoughts come to me when I am saying the rosary in the dark last thing at night when the house is still, my jobs are kinda done for the day, and I can think.....

Is that 11 things yet?

And now for the answers to Jennifer's questions:

What makes you most happy?
An easy one: being with my children and husband. Something that happens all too rarely. My husband works long hours each day and most weekends. 

Which housekeeping task do you most hate?
Definitely doing the washing up after having made the dinner and put the children to bed. There is something about seeing my kitchen counters covered in pots, dishes and debris at the end of the day that makes me want to run and hide behind the sofa.  Fortunately, Lee does it every second night.  

Which task do you enjoy?
I think I speak for most women over a certain age and certainly all mums, when I say that a line of washing flapping in the breeze is one of the most uplifting sights there is. I love hanging out the washing, love it, love it, love it. Possibly am a bit unusual in that I like to photograph it, though.

What do you do to chill out?
At this stage in my life, with three busy boys, my only opportunity to chill out is when I sleep!  Every time I climb into bed, I think, this is lovely, I should get here earlier.  And next night I end up climbing in at the same (mental, late) time. 

Is there any ordinary incident that you still ponder?
Hmmmmm, probably lots of them, but none spring to mind immediately.  Was this question inspired by Mary's 'pondering things in her heart'?  Probably not.  Mary's life was full of quite extraordinary incidents that took a lot of pondering.  

What is something you still hope to achieve one day?
Teaching young children.  I went back to college as a mature student to get a primary school teaching degree, but aside from teaching practice in college, have not actually used my qualification yet.  At the moment, staying at home with my children is my priority and as yet, I can't see a 'good'  time to end that arrangement.  Unfortunately, the longer I leave it, the less employable I think I will be.  Sometimes I wonder if homeschooling was the reason God led me to the teacher training college.  

What is your favourite memory?
Well, other than the births of our bookles, our Wedding day was a pretty fantastic day.  Before I got married, I remember being at other people's weddings and wondering how the bride and groom could still be so chatty and lively at 2 and 3am after such a long day.  But then on the day that we got married, I could have stayed awake for days.   I didn't want it to end.  I can't understand why some people's ceremonies don't start til mid- to late-afternoon.  That's valuable hours of one of the best days of your life you're wasting!!

What would be an ideal date with your husband?
I just consulted with Lee for this one.  
I said, 'Leaving the house.'  
He said, 'On time.  No phone.  No deadline to come back.'
That was ok.  Then he said, 'not having to turn around at the top of the road because you forgot something.'
He has known me for 19 years.  But he still doesn't love that aspect of me.  I'm still practising though.   
Favourite movie?
Sorry to be predictable, but I love It's A Wonderful Life, especially that scene when George is on Mary's phone to his big-shot friend in New York and he realises he loves Mary and will never leave Bedford Falls.

Favourite book?
I do love books.  Difficult to pick a favourite favourite.  There are so many categories: children's, fiction, non-fiction, religious...  
One I return to again and again is St Thérèse's Story of A Soul.  

Something you love doing with the children?
Most things.  At the moment they don't mind spending time with me, actually seem to enjoy my company, so I'm making the most of it by putting them to work.  Just messing!  It's lovely.  Making food.  Chores like filling the washing machine.  More effort and takes longer, but we all benefit in the long run.  Also love it when I share something like a painting I love, not expecting them to really be that interested... but they are.  

My questions:

  1. Who is your favourite saint?
  2. What's the most interesting thing you've ever made/done with a paper plate?
  3. What have you done in your life that has made you most proud?
  4. How do you prefer your toast, hot or cold?
  5. Someone you would like to meet, living or dead, and why?
  6. What was your favourite book/story as a child?
  7. What do you spend more time doing than you should?
  8. And what should you spend more time on than you do?
  9. What animal are you most like? 
  10. What did/does your father do for a living?  
  11. What did you do with your life before you started this questionnaire?   Only joking, what makes your mind boggle? 
I am going to tag my dear blogging friends, Idle Rambler at her lovely blog A Miscellany of Musings, and Breadgirl at the great Last Welsh Martyr.  Over to you...

A magnificent shoal on St Anthony's Feast

It was Roo's idea to make some 'biskies' in the shape of fishes to commemorate St Anthony's miraculous speech on the shore at Rimini.
So together, we made a shortbread recipe that was passed onto me a couple of weeks ago and got out the cookie cutters. The only fish shape we had was a sort of Angel fish, appropriate in the circumstances, I suppose.
And, much mess later, here they are!

It's good to be back again.I hope to blog a bit more now that I have a better camera on my phone and that I have a bit more energy back. I have been writing another post for a while now...

Monday, 19 March 2012

Happy Feast Day, St Joseph!

For today's feast, I'd like to recommend St Joseph's website, where you can find prayers to the great foster-father of Jesus. If you need another recommendation, then according to the site, none other than St Teresa of Avila had this to say about him:

"I took St. Joseph for my patron and advocate, and I recommend myself unceasingly to his protection. I do not remember ever to have asked anything of him that I did not obtain.

It seems as though God gives to other saints the grace to assist us in some certain necessity; but according to my experience, St. Joseph assists us in every want. Our Lord, wishing to make us understand that, as He was obedient to His foster-father here upon earth, so He now can refuse no request in heaven. Many persons who have invoked him by advice have experienced this truth, and the number of his clients increases daily and corroborates what I declare.

For several years past, I have asked a special favour at his festival, and it has always been granted. If the request was not judicious, he has denied it for my greater good. I implore those who do not credit this to make the trial for themselves. Let him who has no guide in the way of prayer take this great Patriarch for his director. He will not go astray."

Saturday, 17 March 2012

I really ❤ the way shamrocks look like three little hearts joined together

Glorious St Patrick... and cake of course

We had a right old hooley here today and not a drop of alcohol involved! It ended with me trying to teach the lads the conga round the kitchen. There was also green cake (see above), balloons and tricolour jelly involved along the way.

Itty bitty shamrock... Seamróg beag bídeach

Saturday, 10 March 2012

The Novena to St Joseph starts today!

The countdown to our beloved St Joseph's feast day begins today. Being so close to Jesus and Mary makes him a powerful intercessor for us down here on earth.

As ever, Lacy at Catholic Icing has some great ideas for sharing the devotion with your children: something I intended to do, until our printer decided to stop responding this evening. Roo was very impressed with the printer earlier on today though when he scanned in his picture of a roman cavalry soldier and his chariot (above) and then emailed it to Dada and Uncle B.

Today we had a great day at home. Lots of time outside in fresh Spring air and sunshine, messing about with the wheelbarrow, cut grass, sandpit lid (makes a great toboggan: Mum or Dad have to pull it though), digging, squidging soil, planting seeds and cycling/ running/ tractoring laps round the house. Then the lads' newly opened shop and café kept them busy indoors in between times. The little Toot, barely 18 months old had a surprisingly long bout of play in the café, giving very personal attention to some of the customers: spoonfeeding them no less!

Friday, 17 February 2012

More hareing about in Dublin

Here I am in the Natural History museum!


We made it here at last, after being chucked out by the parkie yesterday at closing time, 30 seconds after we arrived. It's the playground in St Stephen's Green, and we had it to ourselves this morning!

Thursday, 16 February 2012


Today we were on the tourist trail in Dublin. Onto a red sightseeing bus and off round town we went. Here are some grainy phone photos from the Royal Hospital/Museum of Modern Art in Kilmainham, which has some beautiful, tranquil gardens. We had them to ourselves for a reason we discovered a little later...
It is marvellous to get away. I think Lee is frustrated we're not doing more, seeing more, but the lads are enjoying their simple little kinder-things: cuddly toys hiding in their suitcases, bouncing around in the 'otel, playgrounds. You can keep your Caravaggio's (we saw the (breath-) Taking of Christ in the National Gallery as well as Zurbarán's childlike Virgin Mary) and your gracious Georgian architecture, give us €3 yoyos and pressing lift buttons anyday.

Big Hare!

Mission accomplished. Toot asleep in buggy. Inside we go. Crotchety toddlers and museums don't mix, do they? But aaah, we needn't have worried. The museum was closed due to renovations.

We still enjoyed the outdoor exhibits though, such as the 'boulders' above and 'Back of Snowman', as well as seeing a dog being trained to jump over its owners arm (!) amidst an installation of snowdrops arranged in a long strip down the hill.

Monday, 30 January 2012

I was just thinking today how empty my life would be if I didn't believe in God. It's not the first time I've thought that of course, but it really hit me this evening as I read more of Fr Benedict J Groeschel's wonderful book The Saints in My Life. I am coming to the end of it, but don't want it to end, which is always a good sign of a book, I think! I had been savouring a little of it each night as I shared some special quiet time with the baby Toot, which itself has recently come to an end. Seventeen months wasn't bad, I suppose, but it's always difficult to let the closeness of breastfeeding go.

Anyway, the book reminded me of the immense richness of our Roman Catholic faith and conversely the emptiness that a lack of belief in God would bring to one's life.

If there were no God, no life after death, no heaven, then, to take just one example, that would mean no saints. No friends or advocates to help us here on earth, intercede for us, lead us closer to God, help us get to heaven.

When I talk about saints, I don't just mean Saints, the capital letter people whose feasts we celebrate throughout the year. I mean people that you and I have known or met in our own lives, who now enjoy being in the presence of God. People like the fella in the photo, Fr Timmy Walsh, the wonderful Augustinian priest we knew and loved in Fethard. He popped into my head recently on the feast of St Timothy. I was feeling troubled and imagined I was talking to him, asking his advice. Truthfully, I felt like I was actually talking to him and his reply comforted and helped me, just as he would have while he was alive. Of course, now that he is in heaven, he can do even more to help people.

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Someone I plan to get to know a bit better...

today is the feast day of St Ita, who established a community not far from where we lived. More to follow....