Friday, January 23, 2015

life is good

and we are all so happy here.
We feel that everything we wish for ourselves happens at the moment. For example, both Garry and I wanted a dresser for a long time, then last week a friend of ours was selling hers for just the right price...
it looks like it has always been in our kitchen and it makes me smile every time I walk past it.
 We are all feeling pretty good as well. Garry had another appointment with his consultant last week who is really pleased with how well he is recovering and healing. He needs lots of physio now but we are feeling really confident that in another month or so he will be back to normal.



honey sweetened carrot cake
I am 26 weeks pregnant now and I feel great. A little tired at times, a little sore or uncomfortable at others, but generally I feel amazing. I am trying to eat very sensibly, and have cut out a lot of processed foods and refined sugar and I am walking as much as I can still, enjoying the fresh air and movement. I am also going to a lovely pregnancy yoga class on Monday evenings. It is good for me body and soul and I was lucky enough to win the classes through a Facebook competition...another thing just provided for us by the universe!

The kids are doing really well. Apart from the odd cough and cold they are great, healthy and happy. In fact over the past few months I have seen a really wonderful change in Rebe in particular. She is calm and helpful, happy and smiling most of the time. She went back to school after the Christmas break saying she didn't have any negative feelings about going back, something that she would always experience going back to school. She is trying new things, moving her body, she asked if she could go sugar free too. We also let her stay up later after the boys have gone to bed, so she sits with us and we have special time with her. I am so happy for her, life is calm and easy for her at the moment without stress or conflict.

She drew us a new family picture last week and I think it is really obvious how differently she feels about herself, she is the right size, no longer the smallest member of the family, she is holding Tiny, who is her responsibility. And along this vein you can also see how well Spartacus is doing. He used to be so nervous and flighty. In fact before we got him the snip last year he would run off for long periods of time. But he has settled so much, is so confident and part of the family. He still think's he is a wolf, but he is a wolf who never misses the bedtime story if he can help it!
Rebe's drawing of the family 2014
Rebe's drawing of the family 2015
I am so proud of our wee family, of how we have managed and handled all of the changes of the past year. How we are not only getting by but we are all thriving. It is truly a wonderful place to be and I am so happy that we are welcoming a new little person to join in with us.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

winter


 Today there was a tiny bit of hail and snow. Of course the kids were hugely excited and played out in the cold, searching every nook and cranny of the garden for some. Rebe managed to make a tiny snowman.

Garry has been busy today, starting to feel more movement and stronger in his neck. He built our wagon which arrived in the post last week...
 This is our 2nd wagon, the first one got rained on once too often. But we loved it so much we are delighted to have gotten it in the January sales and look forward to wheeling it down to the beach and it will be so handy when we are camping and at the festivals in the summer.

We've been thinking about the garden a lot of late too. Aware that as soon as Garry is back to work the time is going to fly by until the baby is here. So we are trying to plan as much as we can now and this extended to ordering the seeds we want for this year. We are so excited about it and at this stage feeling pretty organised.
 I have started back at work this past week too, there are a couple of little snuggle buddies for sale in the etsy shop and I am working on 2 very special little dolls at the moment as well as writing more patterns. I still haven't managed to knit anything for the baby yet. I am working on a hoodie for Rebe at the moment, but I keep frogging it. So far I have knitted the pockets onto the wrong sides 3 times....there are only 2 pockets!!! gah! pregnancy brain. But as soon as I have finished that I am going to pick something sweet and tiny for my evening knitting.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

a day with Joa

In September this year Joa will start primary school and by the end of spring he will be a big brother and we will be sharing our time together with a wee one.
I noticed this today as we spent the day together. I noticed it and held the day tight in my heart.
As always being with Joa is a mixture of wonderful, enlightening, slightly surreal and down-right hilarious. So I thought I would write a little about our day to never forget these times with this boy as he is right now.

Joa and Mr Brown the listening bear

He started his day with his favourite breakfast which is milk and hot porridge. I helped him to get dressed and he chose to wear one of Garry's ties, which dangles down to his knees. We took Rebe and Benny to school then we dropped 'Mr Brown' back to preschool. Joa was awarded the honor of taking Mr Brown home to look after yesterday because he had done such a good job of listening.

It was a beautiful day so Joa and I decided to go for a walk. We pumped up the tyres on his bike and got on gloves and warm coats and took his bike to the bottom of the hill. We stopped half way down to listen to a little robin who was sitting in a tree singing his head off. Joa told me later that he was singing 'Jingle Bells' and did a pretty good impression of him.

Walking with Joa is still at the very, very slow stage. It's not really a walk at all, more of a stop with a few pockets of walking in between.
He cycled for a while until he found a big branch that he thought we might take home and hang things from, but I explained it was a bit too big. So we found another more manageable stick that we could poke down the back of his coat that he could take with him. We cycled on but he decided to abandon the bike for a while and we walked together hand in hand along the road.
We met a friend of ours and his new puppy that Joa bent down and stroked and gave part of his stick to. Then we thought we had better check out the house that Joa built. He does like to claim credit for the whole house, in fact he just sat on the digger drivers knee for a small while when they were digging the foundations, but that's almost tantamount to building the whole thing himself.
Next we supervised the man who was taking down the Christmas lights and Joa and he had a good discussion about Christmas.
Then on to the pier to look at the boats and spot jelly fish. We didn't see any jelly fish but much to Joa's interest we found several crates of rotting, stinking fish skins and carcases which needed careful examination.
He had wanted to go to the shop, but I explained it was closed due to a family bereavement. Joa was very interested in this and asked if we could go over and if I would lift him up so he could look on the floor to see the dead body. I tried to explain what I had meant, but he was pretty convinced that a burglar had shot a customer who had gone to buy some sweets and this had upset the shop keeper and thus the shop was closed.
We walked back with a few more stops: to watch someone with a powerhose and someone else whose car was having trouble starting.and to check to see if Joa fitted into a hole we found on the beach.
We picked up his bike and he had just enough puff to get to the bottom of our hill, but he did tell me that 'This walk is so busy my face might burst'.
We had a snack when we got home and he did his own thing while I did a little house work.
For lunch he said he wanted a cheese and raisin sandwich. Thinking I might have misunderstood (and also because that is a pretty yucky combination) I gave him a cheese sandwich and a little bowl of raisins. He quickly put the raisins in his sandwich with the cheese and ate it with glee.
I picked up the kids to his delight and he spent a good half hour running around the kitchen with the excitement of everyone being home. Garry was watching Elvis' 80th Birthday commemoration on the tv. The kids asked how he died. Joa thought it was probably that he was in a desert without any water. Then he played with Benny until dinner time. He spent much of dinner poking chop sticks down the holes in his tights and asking if I wanted him to kiss me.
To end the day he and Benny had a shower. He is very happy to let me wash and brush his hair on the understanding that I use the hair dryer to 'defeat' his curls and make his hair really big. I'm always happy to oblige there! We read his bedtime story and I tucked him in meeting his list of demands of his 'fresh water, hot bottle, the DVDV on the tape clayer and his loves'.

defeated curls and a slightly scribbled face
He is a special, special boy and adds so much fun and colour (and a few grey hairs) to our lives. I adore him at this age, I adore him at every age and I know that this time is passing. How sweet it is to savour these little moments of childhood.


Sunday, January 4, 2015

some moments from 2014

storms

doll making workshop

Joa and Spartacus

Bantry

Buddies

St Patricks Day Parade

Rebe and Benny's Salsa Show

Sherkin Island ~ our west Cork holiday

my workroom

apples ~ my first drawing at my art class

Rebe, my mum and I at Rebe's Apple Seed Ceremony

writing for Juno magazine

the green house

the Dream Gathering Festival

Under Rainbows getting the CE certificate

the Ewe Experience

Joa's first day of pre-school

Garry in hospital and our first scan

Lifeboat Christmas Ball

Christmas 2014

This year has been amazing, of course every year is amazing, but this one has been so full I'm surprised it didn't burst!
The beginning of the year was normal enough, filled with lovely happenings and goings on. I ran a lovely doll making workshop for example and was getting through a lot of work. We had lovely days out and lots of dates. Joa and I still went to Buddies Home School and occasionally to playgroup. 
Then there were the storms, when we lost power for days and school was closed and we thought the world might blow away. 
There was the month when Garry first got sick and came to stay with us so we could mind him until he was better. He went home for 3 days before we went on our wonderful holiday to Baltimore together. We all came back here and he never left again. 
We enjoyed a lovely summer term of school, said goodbye to Buddies and had a really great summer. We had so many adventures and fun days including the Dream Gathering and a trip to Garry's home place. We played and partied with friends. 
Towards the end of the summer there was a change of pace. 
Work picked up for me in that I CE tested my dolls. This was a long process that involved many, many hours in front of the computer. At this time I was also writing a 2 page article for Juno magazine about boys and dolls (which came out in December and which I have been meaning to blog about). Garry and I also decided to officially move in together so we had to pack up his old house and move everything down here. 
On top of all of that, and the happiest news of all we fell pregnant. This was something we had known for some time was going to happen for us and we were so thrilled when it did. However, it did mean that I had to change down gears, I felt pretty rotten for those first few months so all of the extra work was pretty exhausting. Luckily we got all that done before the other big life event of early autumn which was Garry needing to go to hospital and having surgery on his spine. Since then we have been catching up, trying to rest, to keep up with work, to be good and gentle to ourselves. 
It has been a big year, lots of things have happened, but I have been happy throughout it all. There has been such a sense of 'meant to be' every step of the way. Nothing has been a struggle. We have been supported and helped when we have needed it. Everything has been provided for in one way or another. There has not been a day when we have been consumed with worry, we know it is all going to be ok.
2015 is going to be another big, exciting year. Our family is getting bigger and I am so, so excited about meeting this new little person! 
Work wise I hope to keep things ticking over. I have, as always, a long list of people waiting for custom dolls, but they know I can't give them a time frame when I can make their doll. I am also so delighted to have all of my patterns and tutorials for sale, this means that I can encourage people to try their hand at making a doll for themselves. I hope to have the patterns and tutorials for the button jointed baby dolls ready for sale for the end of the month which would be great! But what I do have work wise is flexibility, if I need to stop and just be a mama to our new baby I can, guilt and stress free. 
We do have lots of ideas for this year, plans for the garden, for wee camping trips in our trailer tent, for events and parties we want to have. 
What I really wish for us this year is good health! I hope that Benny's ears stay 'perfect', I hope the birth of our baby is trouble free and beautiful, I hope Garry continues to gain strength and stays well this year. 
Whatever happens I am sure that 2015 is going to be awesome and I hope yours is too!



Monday, December 29, 2014

Christmas 2014

For us the run up to Christmas was every bit as special as the big day itself. I think if the focus is on Christmas day alone then the whole experience is very short lived. So we have really made the most of and relished all of the wonderful festive activities on the run up. Aside from all the wonderful things I already blogged about we finished school (as usual limping towards the end tired and with colds and sneezes) with Joa's little pre-school concert which was just brilliant. The wee ones were so sweet dressed in their wee festive clothes and with Christmassy face paint. They sang three little songs and shook their shakers with glee. It was short but very, very sweet :-)
The days between school ending and Christmas Eve was taken up with making decorations, shopping, finding recipes, preparing food and writing cards.
On Christmas Eve we met up with several other families in the pub. It was early evening, a good time to have a few drinks and wish each other a merry Christmas. About half an hour after we arrived we took all the kids outside to see if we could spot Santa flying over head. We had seen on the weather forecast that he was due to fly over Ireland between 17.20pm and 17.26pm. The kids all lined up outside the pub and kept a sharp eye out. It seemed to take ages so we decided to sing Jingle Bells to see if that would bring him along our way faster...and it did, we spotted the magical glow of Santa's sleigh slowly passing overhead. It was so exciting and seeing the children's faces was so lovely.


 We headed off home, put out the stockings and a treat for Santa and then after a few stories tucked the wee ones up in bed. Poor Rebe had a very hard time getting to sleep but eventually all were quiet.

Christmas Day was filled with magic from the moment we woke (at 7am, very civilized!)
 Santa had been able to bring the things the children had wished for. For Rebe a diary and a Tin Tin book, for Benny an electric train and for Joa a garage for his cars. He also brought lots of other wonderful treats and surprises too. We also had gorgeous and thoughtful gifts from friends and relatives.
 We feel very lucky to have all of these wonderful new things to play with and do!
 While the kids were busy playing with their new things Garry and I headed for the kitchen to prepare the dinner...
turkey

chocolate biscuit cake shaped like a christmas pud
 While the dinner was in the oven we went down the village for an hour to wish our friends and neighbours a happy Christmas and at home again we skyped with my family in the UK.

 The feast was nearly ready, just the trimmings and setting the table with Rebe's help and then we ate until we could eat no more.
After dinner I dropped the kids to Andy so they could spend part of the day with him and stay over for Boxing Day. Garry and I spent a peaceful and happy evening together.
the sunset on our Boxing Day walk

It was a wonderful Christmas, filled with everything I could have asked for. I hope yours was too!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

the tree and meeting santa

Last Saturday we had such a lovely day. We decorated the tree (well the kids and Garry did while I took pictures and supervised from a restful place on the sofa)


it's so lovely to find favourite decorations again

the angel on top and a few silly poses to finish off...


 Then we wrapped up warm and headed to the lovely little cafe in our village to meet Santa.
There were lots of other people waiting to see him, lots of our friends and neighbours to chat with.
Mrs Claus was in a tent with a little heater reading stories to the children...

 We sipped on some mulled wine (non-alcoholic for me and the kids) and tasted all the baked goodies on offer until the elves called our names and it was our turn.
 We followed the path lit by tea lights up through the aviary in the cafe's garden.
 At the end of the path was Santa's hut,
 and inside the big man himself.
 He chatted with the kids. Asking them questions and agreeing that yes he had seen them the day before at school and preschool. He told them he fed the reindeer sausages! And asked them to leave him out some milk and cookies on Christmas Eve. Then he asked the kids to sing Jingle Bells for him, which we all did with gusto and he said to make sure we sing it again on Christmas Eve before the fire so he will know where we are.
 Then he gave each child a lolly and a little bag of treats.
When we had said our thank you's and see you soon's we had another listen to Mrs Claus' stories before heading off.
It was such a lovely, special experience, really understated and very reasonable, all profits going to charity. It was so nice too, being local, meeting people we knew and the food and drink offered by lots of elf helpers was gorgeous and home made. Carols were sung and we just loved every second.
Not quite ready to go home we went to the pub a few doors up and sat by the fire chatting with some friends and looking at all the little things Santa had given the kids.
 To end the evening we went 'dessoration' spotting on the way home. Stopping off at the promenade to sing another chorus of Jingle Bells under the village tree.
 Just as we were leaving the house that afternoon Garry had switched on all the twinkly Christmas lights so as we approached our house we were greeted by this beautiful, warm, cosy glow...
It was such a lovely day and has the makings of 'family tradition'. Talking of which, I was talking with Rebe about something we did last year: One evening before Christmas we had all cuddled into the living room together to watch Narnia. We had the fire blazing and Garry made hot chocolate with whipped cream served with shortbread. I asked did she remember doing that last year (the only the time we did this) and she replied, 'Yes and when we did the year before, and the year before that and the year before that.'
Isn't it funny how it made such a strong impression on her that she remembers it being a life long tradition.
This is what we give them isn't really? Memories so strong they last a life time!