Thursday, 31 January 2008

Wednesday, 30 January 2008

Back To Work.

After a very extended period of being supremely unproductive, since Christmas really, we are all ready to start on some new projects, and finish some old ones.

They both just needed some little reminders.

Combined with a cosy fire, it's one of the best things about this time of year.

So Sweet And Juicy.

Times like this, when all other food tastes like cotton wool, isn't it great that oranges still taste so great? Yum.

So, apart from devouring oranges, I've been reminded of the wonders of Manuka Honey for coughs and wheezy episodes. (Thanks Simon). As I was down to a couple of teaspoons I asked Jay to pick some up on the way home. No luck in the supermarket so he stopped again at the chemist, bless him. And nearly fell over when they charged him 22 euro! Mind you, it was a whopping 20 as opposed to the feeble 6 (strength of the enzyme content) of the one I had.
So here's to getting better, and no one else getting it!

Tuesday, 29 January 2008

This Little Piggy.

Not much to report today. I had one of those wooly-head days you have when you're stuffed up with a cold. Just muddle through and go to bed early.
I came across this photo from a few weeks back. If you click on the image to enlarge it, you may notice the similar expression on Billy's face and the little fat piggy's!

Ok. I know. I'm off to bed...

Monday, 28 January 2008

A Short Study Of Ru.

One night recently, a school night, about an hour after lights went out, we heard a very familiar creaking floorboard outside the sittingroom. The lurker a.k.a. Ru was about. He's the shadowy presence often found creaking that very floorboard after dark. So, this particular night it tuned out that he had been up to tricks. Literally. Instead of turning out his light he had opened his magic set and practised in earnest, and really had to show us his latest trick. He was so delighted with himself, how could we give out?

On His Bedside Table At The Moment:

Artemis Fowl. (Not sure which one. I can't keep up)
'Metamorphosis'', Franz Kafka. (Really!)
Marks and Spencers Magic Tricks,
The Essential Calvin and Hobbs.
Action Replay. The Ultimate Cheat System. (For DS Lite)

In His Bag/Pockets:

DS Lite. Plus various games
Pokemon Cards. (Lots and lots)
Skipping Rope. (I know! Very cool!)

Current Favourite Music:

Cathy Davey,
Arctic Monkeys.

I can't believe he's nearly twelve. May this next year be very slow! I need to adjust to the idea of having a teenager in the house. Though looking at the list above is very reassuring.

Though I can't tell you who he has a crush on!

Sunday, 27 January 2008

The Day I Didn't Have.

What an incredible day.
I think we have all forgotten that it's still January, and Christmas is only a matter of weeks behind us. It was like late spring here today, endless blue skies, mild breeze. Pity then that I didn't get to set foot outside the door, and instead just squinted out my window from where I lay shivering and sweating under my duvet. Yes, flu. It doesn't happen very often, but at least this time it was on a Sunday, and Jay was here. So when things got a bit intense, Jay suggested a walk down the lane to the beach. I just handed them the camera, rolled over and gratefully slept. (As did Finn who was up half the night at Mary's slumber party.) Oh the peace...

So, here's a selection of photos taken by Jay and Ru.

Saturday, 26 January 2008

Our Day.

Every so often we have to put everything fun on hold and spend a weekend doing all the boring house stuff that is threatening to engulf me. The kids hate it. We usually have mutiny at first.

To begin with they ignored our requests for help and just continued playing.

So I tried my trick for breaking the foul mood; some good old fashioned rock 'n' roll. This time it was some early ZZ Top Jay had picked up. Definitely this boy's style of music! It got them all up dancing and laughing til they fell down.

Then they got to choose one job, and be given another. My Girl decided she wanted to make something, "not with fabric and thread, with tools". So she repaired a chair. With tools.

Then it was playtime.

For everyone.

Thursday, 24 January 2008

"I'd Love Being A Bear".

He doesn't get homework yet. So he's been making a book and he calls it his Bear Book. It's a tiny leather notebook that arrived in a Christmas parcel from Emma and Mike, all the way from Alabama. And he's be slowly filling it with the story of Bear. He does the pictures and whatever adult is handy does the writing.

The Story So Far:

Here comes Bear.
Bear wants to love you.
Bear wants to come with you to France.
Which way is the Bear COMING? (Big scary shaky writing)
Bear is going to squeeze your face.
Bear is going to RUN at you!
Bear wants to open the drawer but another bear won't let him
Rishy roshy row, Bear I love your lamps, so.
Bear is in your tummy.
Bear is going to cry.
Bear is going to forget.
Bear is going to eat you
Bear had a little baby bear.

Not sure where this is going, but he definitely knows!

On Into The Sunlight...

On into the sunlight the fine
sunlight with a firm day in it...

e.e. cummings


Today brought cold sunshine.

We are drawn to the sunlit corners of the house.

A bright misleading day.

Wednesday, 23 January 2008

Something Lovely.

You know how sometimes you come across something unexpectedly that gives you that quiet thrill of delight? When you feel as though you have opened the door to a beautiful room in your house you never knew was there? It's something that feels so YOU! As though some unknown part of yourself made it unbeknownst to you! It speaks your private language. And it sets off fireworks of inspiration in your head.

So, I'd like to share this with you. A recent joy in my life. It's by an artist based in London called Rob Ryan. I was hard pushed to decide which image to post here but in the end I went with the very first one I saw which blew me away and I think is still my favourite. Just click on the image to see it in more detail. And you can check out the rest of his work here. I just love how romantic it is.

I hope you like it too.

Tuesday, 22 January 2008

Seize The Day.

The sun shines, but the cold wind blows. We REALLY need to get out of the house, work off some energy.

Monday, 21 January 2008

No Added Sugar.

Or, How To Get Your Act Together.

For the last week I have, once again, been completely off sugar, and mostly off wheat. I fell off the wagon when I was expecting Sweet William, as I got away with it. Or so I thought. It has been SO hard pulling myself back on. The biggest difficulty is just organising myself, planning meals etc. And it's a catch-22 because when I eat wheat and sugar I have no energy, and when I have no energy I can't think clearly/organise myself, and when I can't do that, well, you get the picture.
The thing that always amazes me is how sugar affects us. Within two days, the mountain becomes a mole-hill. Suddenly all those things that seemed overwhelming now just seem like things to deal with. Doable things. My energy is even. It's the difference between being stuck in the mire, and, not walking on air, but something more grounded than that.

But most importantly, I remember how to have fun.
How to respond, and not react.
How to be as good as my word.
How to think clearly and wisely.

So, for all you sugar addicts out there, why not give it a shot? For one week, stay off all refined sugar. But you'll have to learn how to read food labels. You have NO idea where it hides, quite shocking and unbelievable really! Just to see how it affects you.

You'll be amazed.

Sunday, 20 January 2008

Live More Fully.

The two of us, side by side. The choice we made.
A leap of faith.
Next year I'll be with you as many years as I wasn't.

The everyday, it's always there. But somehow not mundane.
It's the simple things now.

We measure time now, in a different way. It grows up, and though we don't see it day to day, we blink and there they are almost eye to eye with us.

But it's still the little things, little moments, that catch our eye and though chaotic and loud and sometimes overwhelming, their beauty reminds us of how we got to where we are.

And how to live more fully.

Some Random Things.

Things have been very quiet and humdrum around here this week. The weather has been so miserable that we have hardly been out at all. While trawling through our thousands of photos in order to send on some long promised ones to friends I came across various random photos that made me smile. I thought I'd share some with you.

One thing about having small children in the house is the odd and sometimes beautiful things you come across in the funniest of places. A ping-pong ball in your shoe, a missing phone in the saucepans, daisies in the fridge. My favourite was two little pink pigs floating in a glass of water on the window-sill, so they would grow big.

Funny little notes in funny places.

This was The Little One having a rest and 'looking at the bluey-ish-ness". The note on the headboard is from My Girl. I get a lot of notes from My Only Girl. This one reads 'I love you varey varey mush".

The Dreamers.

Here's something else I meant to post a while ago. This was a photoshoot the kids did with the lovely Cliona O'Flaherty. They had a ball. It was in the November issue of Mongrel magazine. Any photoshoot's they've done with her always have a dreamy, Neverland quality about them.

Can you spot them? :-)

Saturday, 19 January 2008

Oh Dear...

Yes. This actually happened a number of weeks ago, and I was so upset I just put them in a box and put it out of my mind. But I'm ready to do surgery now. Here's what happened. We were away for a few days, and being the winter and cold outside and the house empty and a country house afterall, I made sure to put away every scrap of food just in case. Just in case some cute little field mouse decided to take advantage of an empty house and sneak in for a nibble.
Well, of course! That's exactly what happened. And as I had been so careful about not leaving anything out they were extremely resourceful and sniffed out the soup mix I had put inside these guys to weigh them down! Either that or they took exception to the odd looking residents!

The reason I was SO upset is because my making time is so rare and precious, and only slowly becoming a reality again. Making these was quite a milestone for me, and this happening actually took the wind out of my sails. But that's that. I'm ready for more.

For anyone who didn't see them whole check them out here and here

Thursday, 17 January 2008

I'm Your Density.

We watched Back To The Future last night. Again. Yes we are big fans. I notice with each watching they 'get' it more and more. They have moved beyond the more visual gags (tho Christopher Lloyd's face breaks us up every time), and the script it coming alive for them, ("Why don't you make like a tree and split?"). The biggest laugh is when George says so earnestly to Lorraine " Lorraine, I'm your density..."
But last night the the post movie discussion moved to another level. It was all about dissecting the notion of time travel and trying to work out the details of the effects of it, eg. when Marty gets back to 1985 does the Doc suddenly have memories of meeting him in 1955? Anyway, then it got really interesting. Marty wakes up to a family he almost doesn't recognise, wealthy, confident, successful, compared to the beginning of the movie when they are underdogs all round. And is that all because George doesn't just walk away from Biff, but stands up to him? And do you think it's really like that? I mean real life? If you make a choice it can really, really have such a big effect? Really? And will that happen to me?
Oh, the wonder of cinema. Isn't it so great that they think they're being entertained and really they're having their minds expanded. :-)

Tuesday, 15 January 2008

Something Lovely.

Here's something lovely.
I'll be doing a 'Something Lovely' post on a regular basis. It will be something that has caught my eye, my heart, or my breath over the previous few weeks. It might be music, art, someone else's blog, who knows?

I hope you like them.

Antony and The Johnsons-The Lake.

Monday, 14 January 2008

Monday Musings.

The child that books built.
Earlier today I had to repeatedly ask the older two to STOP READING and do their homework. Is it just me or does something feel wrong about that?

So it's nice when bedtime comes and they are eager to go to bed so they can read, and the Little One has his choosing time which can go on for quite some time, and usually involves reading a few himself first to check if he wants us to read it to him. I love those quiet murmurings of him telling himself the story. His version.

from' A Child's Sleep', by Carol Ann Duffy.

I stood at the edge of my child's sleep,
hearing her breathe;
although I could not enter there,
I could not leave.

Her sleep was a small wood,
perfumed with flowers;
dark, peaceful, sacred,
acred in hours.

By the time I had got Him settled tonight, The Smallest had fallen asleep on Jay's shoulder, listening to My Bloody Valentine. They all loved that music as babies. It's a strange one for me as the very sound of MBV makes me feel like I'm 17 again.

Sunday, 13 January 2008

Lost Weekend.

We took the weekend, ignored the list of desperate DIY that is crowding our life at the moment, and headed off to Carlow in the rain. To a little wooden house with: a rookery, a picture window overlooking fields and horses and glooming clouds, a true heart, and some dear old friends, Kate and Andrew and their two little ones. There were endless games of hide and seek, jumping on beds, building hidey holes with blankets, a trek in the mud, wholesome food, and all round planet-saving plans being laid. If it's going to happen anywhere, this is it!

Out for a walk, with Bluebell and Buttercup.

A's nature table, a beautiful ode to a child's view of her world.

And this is the entrance to her tree-house, I love her sense of decor! Reminds me of The Bridge To Terebithia, My Only Girl's latest favourite film.

The winter garden slumbers.

Back inside to warm up, dry off and fill their bellies. Sorry Bluebell, it's you and the wellies for a while!

Wednesday, 9 January 2008

To Preserve Children.

1 large grassy field.
1 half-dozen children.
3 dogs.
1 long narrow brook (with pebble shore if possible).


1. Mix children and dogs together and turn into a field, stirring constantly.
2. Sprinkle with field flowers.
3. Pour brook over pebbles.
4. Cover all with deep blue sky.
5. Bake in hot sun.

When well browned, they may be removed to a bathtub and given a good scrubbing, good wholesome food, a prayer, a kiss and a clean bed.

(Anon. From an old collection of early American recipes.)

I have been thinking a lot about how differently from each other we all parent our children. And how we do what we believe is right. And we judge people who we think do it wrong. And envy/admire the ones who do it better, forgetting that we only see part of it. We make choices. And sometimes those choices are so right they fill our hearts with joyous pride and excitement and enthusiasm. And other choices leave us distracted and grumpy and lying awake in the dark. Wondering. And we will never really get it really really right. It's just not possible.

And so we just muddle through and hope for the best. Hope they are happy at the end of it all. Because that's all we want for them, right? And the driving, and the gaming, and the tv ad's, and the not so wholesome foods, and the peer pressure, and the late night's, and the million other little things I try, and often fail, to keep at arm's length for them, to keep to a minimum, will continue to be just part of our story. Or will they? Do they have to be?

I realised in the last day or two that I have some serious 'Sloth and Torpor' issues. I find myself swimming up and down the house meeting needs here, there, clearing, sorting, ordering, but only just. The barest scraping of the surface. And that's not good enough.

No. I owe it to them to get it as right as I can.

So. The photo's are some little reminders of the times we have got it pretty much right. And I invite those of you who had a wee cord struck in the last few minutes to do the same. Find those little reminders. And you know what? More than anything, looking through these photo's from the last couple of summers has made me realise that if given the chance, they always get it right. Pretty much.

Monday, 7 January 2008

Here We Go Again.

School. Yes. The day has come. A lot quicker than I can believe. The tree is down, every bit of christmas is packed away for another year. Sigh. And now we face a new year, resolutions aplenty. We are all together in the fray.

The trials and dilemma's of being eleven and pausing, pausing, pausing, unsure of where this road is leading.
Of being nine and flying high.
Of being four and pushing the boundaries.
Of being nine months and being.

The next part of the road is something new and exciting. It's more of the same. It's the hard parts, and it's the fun. It's the laughter, laughing til you cry. And the tears, until they turn to smiles. We don't know where it will take us, but we are firmly holding hands. Together.

Me, my love, and my little ones.

Ready, set, GO!

Sunday, 6 January 2008

Last Weekend Before School.

We spent Saturday with some old friends, J and C, and their gang. A last visit before everyone's back to school and the madness begins anew. The kids had a blast. We ran them up the hill and back, fed them, then off they went to their various games, the noise level rising and falling and sometimes going off the richter scale! Overall, I think the holiday from school, the change in routine etc has done The Little One in. We have had more meltdowns from him in the last week, then in his whole life. I suppose there will be some benefits to getting back to normal.

Up the muddy lane they go, thick as thieves.

Running, climbing, running, jumping, with a constant stream of chatter. Meanwhile, the big boys stroll around deep in conversation, a beautiful ribbon of ideas flowing between them. They are a curious echo of their Dad's.

Then back home to dinner and the last of the Christmas pudding.

Such a pity we couldn't have ended a lovely day on a lovely note. But we came home to our bedroom window wide open, every drawer, door and cupboard open, and our laptop pc and The Eldest's mp3 gone. It could have been worse.Thank goodness it wasn't. But boy was I p***ed off.