Tuesday, June 26, 2007

It's Memeday!

And here you thought it was Tuesday, tsk tsk!

I was tagged ages ago by The Good Woman in her wee Scottish Blog, to complete this question meme. I'm only now getting around to it, as I have a few brief moments of peace while my Sister in Law and her Fiance take my kids for a walk. Outside. Around the neighbourhood in stinking heat and humidity. I have to make the most of this quiet time since surely they will come to their senses soon, and hibernate in the sweet air conditioning with me for the rest of their stay!

What were you doing ten years ago?

I was working in bank marketing, trying to make a great impression, and saving money to come to Florida in September ’97 for my cousin’s wedding. What a fateful trip that turned out to be!

What were you doing one year ago?
I was pregnant with my second baby, and had just found out at my ‘big’ ultrasound that he was a little boy. We got a bonus 4D ultrasound video that we hadn’t been expecting and it was fabulous to be able to take that home, and share it via email with our families in Ireland. They were blown away by it and loved the 'sneak peek' at Baby J!

Five snacks you enjoy
Crisps (chips) and salsa

Five songs to which you know all the lyrics
I do not know all the lyrics to one song, much less five songs! SAD!

Five things you would do if you were a millionaire
I’d sell this house, buy a bigger one here, and one in Ireland and split my time between the two places.
I’d pay off my family’s mortgages and help my brother and my sister buy their dream homes (property in Ireland is outrageously expensive for first time buyers).
I’d set a good chunk aside for the kids’ education.
Give to charity.
Keep enough to live a comfortable lifestyle – not a lavish one necessarily – just comfortable.

Five bad habits
Laziness (linked to the first in no small measure!).
Eating junk.
Worrying too much about how much things cost (it’s good in the right circumstances but I’m starting to worry about really stupid stuff!)
Can’t think of a fifth one, but I’m sure people who know me could point out several more!

Five things you like doing
Making my children laugh, which is hard work some times! They more often than not just look at me with the ‘what are you doing, mother?’ expression – I’ll torture them in their teens, I’m sure!
Cooking and baking. I love trying new recipes and get such a buzz when other people like the things I make.
Singing and playing the piano, wishing I was better at both.
Talking on the phone.

Five things you would never wear again
Skinny jeans – I don’t care if they’re fashionable, there are very few people these look good on, and I’m not one of them.
Baggy maternity clothes (whether I’ll wear any maternity clothes again or not remains an unanswered question in this house.)
Neon yellow, orange, or turquoise anything.
Plastic ear-rings.

Low rise jeans – like low low rise – I saw a mom at the doctor’s office the other day crouch down to her daughter who was crying and I saw a whole lot more than any innocent bystander should ever see. I would DIE if that happened to me – so to be safe I’ll just wear mine Simon Cowell style.

Five favorite toys
iPOD Shuffle
CHI Hair straighteners
Immersion/Stick Blender
Mickey Mouse Waffle Maker
Any toy that keeps my 2 year old amused for more than 5 minutes!

I think at this stage everyone has probably been tagged for this meme, so I won't tag anyone specifically. If you haven't done this already - then consider yourself tagged!

**Edited to add** - I really can spell, I promise. I just rush and don't spell check as well as I should for typos.

Rockin'! Who Me?

Miss Megan, at Velveteen Mind thinks I'm 'Rockin' and has honoured me with a 'Rockin' Blogger' Award - my first blogging award, ever! Thanks Megan, I'll polish it daily and display it proudly in my sidebar (stop it from looking so bare, too, while I figure out what else is supposed to go in there!).

Not sure I'm worthy of the Rockin' Blogger title, unless you count the frequency with which you might find me rockin' in the corner, back and forth, thumb in mouth, waiting for the madness to stop?!

I now have the pleasure of passing this on to other Rockin' Bloggers. Since this blog award was originally titled 'Rockin' Girl Blogger' award, I'll keep in line with the theme and without further ado, I nominate the following 'Girl Bloggers'!:

The Good Woman at My Wee Scottish Blog. I came across this blog and was so struck by the places she'd been. Like me, she was born in Africa, and like me she had a marketing career for a financial services company, and like me she has made Glasgow, Scotland, a temporary home! When I first found her blog I almost cried at her descriptions of places in Africa, places I have been and heard my parents talk about, but was too young to remember - her posts really make me want to go back. She has a beautiful writing style, and her posts about the weather in Scotland are funny, and oh so true!

Next, The Humble Housewife. Deborah's blog is such a treat, but I warn you don't check it out if you're hungry because it will be torture. Deborah delights her readers with wonderful recipes and pictures of her delicious food, and shows us that Irish cooking is about so much more than Corned Beef and Cabbage! Deborah also tolerated multiple questions from me when I was getting this blog up and running in April. Thank you!

Flamenco Mom at Gluten-Free/Casein-Free Mama, and her 'almost foodie' blog. I say 'almost foodie', because hers isn't just a food blog, but one including tales from her family, and their adventures. Flamenco Mom also answered my barrage of blog questions in April- Thank You, too!

My last Rockin' Blogger Award goes to Moodswingingmommy at Am I Going Mad or am I just a Mommy. The title of her blog makes me think she could be joining me in the corner, rockin'! This blog is a great mix of fun stuff, and the more serious posts. I enjoy it and hope that Moodswingingmommy is feeling better these days, after a bout of sickness that seems to be running rampant in cyberspace, and is posting up a storm, soon.

So ladies, it's your turn now to pass on the love! Better hurry though, because this thing is spreading like wildfire!

Friday, June 22, 2007

Alpha Mom vs Slacker Mom

"Here we go again" I muttered to myself as I saw this was the title of an upcoming segment on the Today Show this morning. "Yet another media fueled 'Battle of the Mothers'". Here is a link to the video of this morning's segment if you didn't catch it.

I am growing weary of this constant 'let's pit one mom against the other' that the Today Show is churning out with growing regularity. Granted, this morning's session was tame compared to the worn out Working Mom vs Stay at Home Mom debates like those surrounding Linda Hirschman, and her declaration that educated women were wasting their time by 'tending the home fires'. Let's not forget Leslie Bennetts and her statement that Stay at Home Moms are screwing themselves by being financially dependent on someone else, not to mention the never ending breastfeeding vs formula feeding debate (which I'm sure has been covered at some point by 'Today').

What is with this obsession among mothers, or perhaps more correctly, within the media, of categorizing moms as one type or another? What's with the rush to pigeon hole people? Is it now cool to be competitive about how anal you are, or how much of a slacker you are? Give me a break!

It never ceases to amaze me that each of these televised debates fail to convey adequately in little segments complete with cute graphics and video tape pieces, is that human beings, women, moms, have innate personality traits - things that set us apart - individual differences. This is something that Isabel Kallman, one of the participants in the segment this morning, tried to express, but whether it was the constraints of the time slot, or being quashed by Meredith in a quest for more controversial soundbites, I don't think she came across as clearly as she does here in her own blog post about the subject.

Here's a novel thought - maybe some women choose one path or another because, eh - that's what works for them? And the feminist in me (yes I stay at home, and yes I'm a feminist!) is asking, why is it always the moms that are the subject of such debates? When are we going to have the Dads examined, pitted against each other, have their parenting styles investigated? Hmm? Not that I think that will achieve much either, but it sure would make for some different viewing of a morning.

(Just as a little aside, since I'm sitting here typing this, and my daughter has nipped the inside of her cheek with a pen she was chewing on - I'm thinking there's no doubt as to which category I belong in! Well, she'll not do that again in a hurry.)

If perpetuating the 'Mommy Wars' is the best the Today Show can do in terms of coming up with program content, when there is a world full of events of importance - I'm thinking it's time I found something else to watch while I have my breakfast.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Jumpin' on the bandwagon.

Everyone, in blogland is sick! Everyone in my house is sick.

Baby J has Bronchiolitis - and since it's viral - not a damn thing we can do about it, he just has to fight it himself. He's a trooper and smiling through it all.

Miss E has a heavy cold, broke out in scary batches of hives that had me scouring 'askdrsears.com' for answers. Benedryl saved the day, and she's on the mend.

DH is complaining of a sore throat. He had this in Ireland, too, seemed to get better, but is now back to square one.

I barely left the sofa yesterday, and was awake most of the night with flu symptoms and the.worst. sore.throat.I.have.ever.had.

I promptly headed to my clinic's urgent care this morning and all but begged them to let me see a doctor. You just know when you can't swallow, and feel wretched with nausea that maybe it's more than your average cold. I thought maybe I was a wimp for running to the doc so quick - and since hubs has soldiered on through this (no doubt he thinks I'm a wimp, since he had a sore throat and he scrubbed the kitchen top to bottom last night!)

The urgent care receptionist heard me speak, and immediately called several doctors in the main clinic to see if they could slot me in - YEAH for contagiousness - the didn't want me camping out in their waiting room for two hours spreading my germs.

A nice sympathetic doctor, and two prescriptions later, I now know I have a nasty throat infection - I'm not a wimp after all - I really am sick!

Of course on reporting this to my husband, he's now thinking 'maybe I should have seen a doctor after all', and his latest stroke of genius? 'I don't need to see a doctor, you've got the antibiotics now, I'll just have some of yours'

I don't think so sunshine - these are all mine, and just as soon as I can get my head around swallowing them in all their horse pill sized glory, I'm taking every last one of them to get rid of this pain. Go get your own pills!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

I was only away 3 weeks!

It feels like so much longer given the number of things I've had to readjust to coming back.

Before heading off to Ireland, I had a little mantra I chanted regularly

'don't drive on the right,
don't burn out anyone's clutch,
don't feel claustrophobic in a smaller car,
don't use American words like 'diaper', 'cookie', 'jelly', lest people think you've gone "all funny"'

you get the idea.

I didn't think that I'd have to chant myself one coming back.

I didn't have any problems clicking into 'modus Irelandis', but coming back has been a different story!

I can't reverse my Expedition out of the garage past my husband's pick up! (not that I was really that good at doing that before!) The sprinkler heads have taken a bit of a doing - sorry D!

I drove on the LEFT yesterday! Thankfully, only in the Target parking lot (while rubbernecking at a guy stopped and handcuffed by the cops - that'll teach me to be so nosey!)

My car feels like an Ulsterbus (Greyhound bus) after driving a sleek and nifty Toyota Avensis for 3 weeks.

I have forgotten that my car does not idle in neutral at traffic lights, and if I ease my foot off the brake, the car moves - not good with a car in front (no bumpers have been damaged, yet!).

I have to source a new kind of coffee - the stuff we use (instant *gasp*) tastes putrid now, compared to the lovely brand we had in Ireland.

And the worst yet - my excursion to Walmart was actually enjoyable last night! Although, that probably has more to do with it being the first time that I have been alone, by myself, away from two sick babies in over a week, than the store, or my purchases being interesting, exciting or all that pleasant really.

It'll likely take me another 3 weeks just to get my head around everything again - such an adaptable person am I, not!

Monday, June 18, 2007

Murphy's Law

Even though my kids have both been up every morning since we returned from Ireland, at 6am or before - EVERY MORNING, on the one morning when I need to be up and organized to take them to the doctors - for an 8:55 appointment - both of them are snoozing (or more accurately, snuffling) away in their beds.

You all KNOW what it's going to be like now when I go in there and wake them up.

Where'd I put my earplugs?

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Our Irish Adventures

After a marathon traveling session via Newark, and on to Dublin, we finally made it to Ireland on the early hours of Wednesday 23rd May. The journey to Ireland was smooth and generally uneventful which was great. It did however set the expectation that the return to Florida would be just as good.

It wasn’t.

To avoid boring you, or stressing myself, I'm not going into
the details, suffice to say that it was a bit of a nightmare and one that I thought would never end – I have never been so glad to get the hell off an airplane in my life!

On to our hols then!

We arrived in Ireland, Dublin Airport which sadly looked dirty, small, outdated and CHAOTIC! Having been away from somewhere for a while, coming back has you looking at familiar places with a fresh perspective. There is a great deal of growth and regeneration in Ireland, and in Dublin – and having traveled through two large, clean and organized US airports on the way here, the contrast with what greets you in Dublin is stark, and somewhat embarrassing as an Irish person. I’m told a new terminal is in the works, and a facelift – can’t come soon enough I say.

A soft, almost misty rain fell as we traveled north from the airport. Two remarkable things stood out to me (at least remarkable to me in my haven’t-slept-in-flipping-ages state), the road – it was new since I traveled this route last – a gleaming new motorway all the way from Dublin to the North. No more meandering through little towns, and bigger, traffic clogging locales. As a tourist this might feel like a loss, but not to me. How great it was just to ‘zip’ up that road, home.

The second thing that stood out to me was the road kill! When I first moved to Florida, things like armadillos, raccoons, and even the odd alligator, plastered to the tarmac (asphalt), made my eyes pop out. I’d never seen these creatures up close before, and to me they were no less fascinating because they were dead. Now I’m so used to them I barely notice them. Traveling up the road from the airport and around the various roads on our vacation I’m sure people thought me crazy to point out dead badgers, foxes and hedgehogs – none of which I have seen since moving to the states.

It was great to be back home – the place where I grew up, in the house that I have lived in for most of my life. People have asked me ‘how does it feel being here? Being back home?’ and I honestly told them ‘feels like I’m here all the time’ – that house will always be my home. It’s only now that I understand what confused me as a child – when my mother would take us to her parents’ house, and talk about it as ‘home’. I used to find this slightly unsettling. Did Mum not think her house with us was home? Now I know how she felt. This brings me to my question in my earlier post – is it possible to have two places you call ‘home’? My family home, where I grew up, is one of the most comfortable places I can be – somewhere I can be completely myself and totally relaxed. The home I have in Florida, is getting there, but a combination of homesickness, questioning my decision to stay at home, and a sense of ‘this isn’t really my house’ (my husband bought this house before we were engaged), has held me back from calling this my home. Having two children has helped me feel more settled, and eventually letting go of my career and contenting myself that staying at home is what’s right for me at present, has also helped. So, this house in Florida – to which I brought my two babies from the hospital, that has their toys sometimes strewn, and sometimes neatly stacked, all over it, that has my stamp on it now, that welcomes visitors on a regular basis, that cocoons us in our daily lives – is also ‘home’.

Our first week in Ireland consisted of a lot of driving between my family, and my in-laws, in two separate towns, an hour’s drive apart. Considering the number of different houses we visited, and the number of different and unknown faces they encountered, both kids did fantastic and they took everything in their stride which made things a whole lot easier on us. After a dull, wet and cold first week, the weather took a turn for the better and the remainder of our stay was blessed with magnificent sunshine and warm temperatures around the mid to high seventies, perfect!

The last time we were in Ireland there were a few people I didn’t get to see – I was determined that whatever else we didn’t get to do, we’d visit with these people this time. One of them was a great friend I used to work with and I hadn’t seen her in 5 years. It was great to catch up with her, and all the better for the big bottle of champagne that she popped and shared with us, to celebrate our two marriages, and the 5 kids between us that have happened since we last saw each other (sure beats a cup of tea and a bun!). It was great for our children to meet each other also, and I’ll be campaigning for her to bring hers out here for a visit, soon.

We had considered a couple of nights away, just us as a family of four to do some touristy things in parts that we’d never visited before. But, the dreaded lurgy struck again and the hubs was sick for the best part of 10 days – so, a B&B break, with two small children, and a sick husband (which let’s face it is like having a third small child), no thanks! So, he got packed off to his Mum’s on his own for a couple of days and we stayed with mine – everyone was happy!

Ireland has a fantastic buzz about it these days, North and South. There is a real sense of affluence all around, evidenced in part by top of the line SUVs driving all over the place (which amazes me considering that petrol costs 8 dollars a gallon in the North of Ireland right now! – I tell you, in the US gas is CHEAPO!).

There is much publicity about the housing boom that has taken place, all over, but especially in Northern Ireland – great for existing homeowners, but a nightmare for first time buyers, or people like us considering a move back at some time. That ‘some time’ feels like it’s getting further in the distance though since it would be financial suicide for us right now. Plenty of people can afford these houses though because every town has multiple construction projects underway building new residential developments and many people have built huge houses in the country (something that will stop thanks to a new government restriction on green belt construction).

The dollar/British pound (currency in Northern Ireland) exchange is 2 to1, against us, so basically anything costing 10 pounds, was 20 bucks for us, and so on. This is something I found hard to deal with when shopping. I’d fall for great clothes and then calculate what they’d cost in dollars and swiftly return them to the rack – I couldn’t bring myself to do it knowing I’d get something similar here for a lot less. This is also a big reason why moving to Ireland now, or in the near future is not an option for us – however much that pains me to say, or may pain my family to read. You’ll have to plan your holiday trips to Florida for a wee while longer folks – there are worse places to visit mind you!

Ireland is also a country of contrasts right now, with the seemingly incongruous visions of BMW SUVs all over the place, sparkling mansions in the countryside no doubt furnished to perfection, alongside Mrs. McFarmer, complete with green wellies walking along the side of the main road, en route to a field of ewes or the like, or as my Mum put it, when we came across an ‘Irish Traffic Jam’ holding up two lines of traffic where Paddy gets his ponies from one field to another – a scene that could easily have taken place in my Grandmother’s time (albeit that the traffic jam would have been decidedly shorter) – the farmer likely to have been dressed in exactly the same way – brown trousers (probably from an old suit) with a cream stripy open necked shirt, sleeves rolled up on account of the beautiful sunny day.

Another contrast that shocked me was some of the attitudes and reactions to the ever growing migrant population in Ireland. The Irish have a reputation for being friendly and welcoming and this is indeed a reputation deserved by many. However I encountered quite a few people less than thrilled to see many Polish and Latvian people moving to Ireland. An influx of people from Eastern European countries that have recently joined the European Union has brought a cosmopolitan feel to the place, with several towns now sporting ‘Polish Shops’, in much the same way as British and Irish shops can be found dotted around US cities, carrying goods that have been imported from ‘home’. It’s also a novelty to browse around the shopping centres and hear couples chattering away in a foreign language. Some Irish people do not like this influx claiming that newcomers are taking jobs, benefits, school places etc from local people. This saddens me, since in some cases those very people complaining are ones who enjoyed US hospitality for many years when they came here to work when they were starting off in their adult lives – to earn money for a better life. Many countries in the world accepted the Irish when people fled Ireland's shores over the years. Yes it was hard for some of them and they undoubtedly faced many challenges, but I guess it is Ireland’s turn to return the favour? I would also say that this influx of other nationalities and their cultures is exactly what Northern Ireland in particular needs. Perhaps as other cultures assimilate, it will water down the whole ‘Catholic – Protestant’ tension that has existed for too long – we can hope…

We encountered that ‘Irish Traffic Jam’ on our way to a forest park that I visited occasionally as a child. These photos are a few snapshots from that day, easily the best of the whole trip. It was so much fun taking Miss E along the forest paths that we ran along as kids, where we shouted as loud as we could, reveling in the echo of our voices bouncing around the leafy canopy above us. A particular memory of this forest park for me is a set of stepping stones across the river that winds its way through the park. I just loved being able to take Miss E across these stones – admittedly nervous as I tried to avoid her having the same fate as I so many times where I ended up in the water, rather than over the top of it.

Miss E searched in the hollows of trees for fairies, and was delighted at the possibility that the little creatures (water flies of some sort) that she later saw skirting the top of the water, with dappled sunlight glinting on their wings, were possibly the very same fairies that 'were not in' when she knocked on their 'doors'.

My Mum has a picture of us (her four kids) as children sitting on tree limbs so she couldn’t resist the opportunity to have us do this once again. Since I was wearing a skirt and flip flops - my feet stayed firmly on the ground!

Over the course of our three week stay, we did a lot of driving about, and had a lot of fun at various parties, picnics and barbeques and enjoyed catching up with everyone. We were thoroughly spoiled by both families – with people vacating rooms to give us places to sleep, giving us full access to cars (a BIG help!), and plying us with enough sausages (to appreciate what this means you really have to have tasted Irish sausages and been away from them for some time!), and other culinary feasts to last us until our trip next year, and of course, cause us to pile on a few happy pounds. Miss E is now chatting with a broad Irish accent (Nor'n Irish at that !), and has picked up her 5 year old cousin's talent for saying 'I didn't do anything' on cue once her brother's sudden shrieks for help sound, despite blatant evidence to the contrary, *sigh*, another challenge!

My Mum keeps saying to me ‘I’m sure you’re glad to be back in your own space’, and yes, part of me is. Toting two kids and all their baggage around the countryside was busy, and a lot of fun, and they enjoyed it too, but it takes a lot of energy, and so we’re happy to have some ‘downtime’ at the minute. We miss everyone, and despite the horrible journey back here, we’re looking forward to heading back this time next year. In the meantime we have our memories, photos, and smiles on our faces.

I’m sure I’ll be blogging more about this trip – but for now I must go shop from the kids for Father’s Day which I completely forgot about until a few minutes ago!

Friday, June 15, 2007

Runny Noses and Paper Pushers

Both my kids are sick with pretty decent colds right now. I'm doing all the usual 'home measures' to keep them comfortable, but this afternoon it was time to bring out the drugs for some proper relief for them. So I took them to the grocery store and requested a pediatric decongestant.

I haven't had to buy a decongestant since all the mularkey about preventing meth manufacturers buying it in bulk came in so I was a tad surprised at the red tape I encountered just to get a small bottle of medicine to make my kids feel better.

Having filled in all my ID information and handing over my drivers license, I was then allowed to pay for and get my hands on said medicine. I understand why these measures are in place, but I'm still left a little puzzled by the whole process. The pharmacy assistant took down a big paper file with lots of forms inside it - where I filled out my information. Paper, in a file, on a high up shelf- hmm. How exactly is this supposed to help track people purchasing pseudoephedrine for dubious purposes? It won't I suspect, and I am pretty sure since every law enforcement agency claims stretched resources, that there isn't an army of people visiting pharmacies to check up on these ledgers.

I am no expert in policing illicit drug manufacture and use (and happily so) but it just strikes me that in this age of prolific technological networking, don't you think an online database, connected to, oh, I don't know, the POLICE, would be more effective? Somewhere where suspicious purchases of this material could be monitored and acted upon, in real time, and result in prevention of meth production to some degree? As far as I can see the only purpose the form filling I did today could possibly serve is to act as evidence in the event that someone left a paper trail behind them if they are caught manufacturing meth. Which is all well and good if it puts some meth making, drug pushing scumbag in jail - but what a missed opportunity to flush out all his buddies?

Make My Kid Eat

Deborah, The Humble Housewife, is challenging us to contribute kid friendly meal ideas for her 100th blog post event. I came across this challenge in the middle of getting ready for our trip to Ireland. I think it's a fantastic idea, and something that will help many a mother of picky eaters.

My two year old daughter, bar the odd finicky phase, eats great, but I'm all for learning new kid friendly recipes to try. With her brother following close behind, and displaying a more sensitive palette at times, having a few foodie tricks up my sleeve will help me in the future. I am looking forward to seeing all the great recipes contributed. In the meantime will share favourites in this house.

Miss E's Breakfast Booster

Bran Muffins and Strawberry Banana Smoothies make for a healthy, quick and easy to prepare breakfast. Miss E thinks she's getting strawberry milk and a bun for breakfast, so everyone is happy! We had this this morning, and I enjoyed it as much as she did.

The muffins pictured below are from an earlier photo, and since our digital camera didn't survive the trip back from Ireland, you'll have to use your imagination on how the strawberry smoothie looks!

Bran Muffins
1 1/4 cups bran cereal (like All Bran, or Post 100% Bran)
1 cup milk
1 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
11/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 large egg

To make:
Preheat oven to 400F and grease or line a 12 muffin tin.
Combine bran cereal and milk in a large bowl, heat on high for 1 minute in the microwave.
Combine all dry ingredients and use a balloon whisk to mix and aerate.
Add oil and egg to cereal mixture and stir to combine.
Gradually add dry ingredients until combined, do not over mix.
Bake for 18-20 minutes.

Strawberry Banana Smoothie

In a blender combine:
1 cup fat free plain yogurt
1 cup milk
1 cup frozen strawberries
1 chopped banana
1 tbs honey

Blend to a smooth(ie) consistency!

Serve the muffins warm, slice in half and spread a little butter on each side.

I have another dinner time recipe to share, and will do so on a separate blog post just as soon as I finish ironing and putting away the rest of the holiday laundry!

Have you got a picky eater?, or have you got the dream child who eats everything? - either way, check out Deborah's website, and join in the fun!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Back in the ole U S of A

Can you have two homes? Two places that you feel comfortable in? Two countries that you can call 'home'? This is what life is feeling like to me these days. Jetlag and suitcases yet unpacked prevent me from explaining this in anything resembling a coherent fashion so I'll leave it for later.

We're back from our trip to Ireland. Travelling was hell on a stick yesterday and I vow that next time it will be sedatives for four please!

We all had a great time, and it was sad leaving loved ones once more, but trust that some of them will be back here to visit us before long.

If you want a stark illustration of how much time you 'waste', blogging and reading other blogs, take a step back for 3 weeks and then look at your reader subscriptions - yikes! I doubt if I'll ever catch up on what my favourite bloggers have written, but feel like I must because I hate thinking that I'm missing something.

I have so many thoughts and reports on our three weeks in Ireland to share but for now, it's unpacking, laundry and more blessed sleep.