Tuesday, 30 June 2009

At Last!

Our house is a building site.

White dust in every crevice and nook and cranny.

But I am happy. It's finally started. Time to grit my teeth and get on with it.

And the summer holidays start today! 

So with those two things combined, I think we will be mostly out and about for the next few weeks. 

So it's just as well we are actually having a summer this year!

And... The Eldest and My Only Girl and their cousin M made the most amazingly fabulous spoof of their most favourite movie, *Twilight*. If you have ten minutes to spare do take a peek here.

What a great start to the summer guys!

Sunday, 28 June 2009

A Weekend Of Pictures. And Words.

I sit in the quiet house, darkness pressing against the windows. 

The drizzle outside is a welcome old friend that has been absent so long, 
silently drenching the parched garden, 
now sighing with relief.

I had to wait so long for the darkness to arrive.
And now I'm waiting to hear car wheels on the road 
outside the window,
bringing home Jay and The Eldest, ears ringing from the music they rocked out to all evening.

There are little sighs and faint breathing from my sweet pink-cheeked baby, slumbering beside me on the couch where I have left him. I should have put him into his bed but... well, I'm not ready to be that relaxed and trusting yet. It just seems too far away, where it is at the far end of the house.

This weekend, endless sunshine, and friends. 

There was a birthday party,
and a whole heap of wild things who tore around like loons, and brought their wonderful joy and energy to us.

After an evening of sitting far into the cooling night around the campfire with friends, and allowing myself to do nothing today but more of the same, I feel rejuvenated and nurtured. And thank you to Lisa and Bill for taking me on holiday in my own garden, and to Jo for bringing us dinner, and lending us her children, and their paddling pool.

You brought us succour, friends. 

All better now.

Birthday cake by Lisa
There is a strange satisfaction in letting go of something that I am normally so controlling of. Thank you for taking that load off me my friend!

This moth was in my hall last night. 
I swear I did not photoshop this photo!

Marshmallows over a campfire. 

As the sun goes down.

Just being kids.

Happiness is...

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend!

Friday, 26 June 2009

Something Fun For The Weekend.

So I thought I'd lighten the mood here and post something fun to the start the weekend with. This lovely wee video is by my brother Chris, and all these delightful beasts are his creations. You can read more here.

The song is called 'Jim Cain' and is from the latest Bill Callaghan album, 'Sometimes I Wish We Were An Eagle'.

I hope you enjoy it!

Have a lovely weekend!

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

What I Missed.

Photo by my Dad.

So on Sunday, when I came home, I was reminded of one of the things I love most about having a party. It's how the house and garden feel after everyone has gone home. And though I missed the event itself, I have this to savor.
How do I describe it?

There is a feeling of lightness, and clear buoyancy in the air, and I relish it.

There is grass and sand walked throughout the house, and I don't care.

The whole house smells sweetly of woodsmoke, even the children's hair I cannot resist burying my nose in.

A mountain of bowls, dishes, coats, blankets, tents, lanterns, torches, drink and food, lie unclaimed. 
Toys scattered about the garden.

Smoke still drifting from the fire-pit.

Photo by my Dad.

The echoes of friendly voices, laughter and conversation hang in the air. All those dear loved ones and friends who came and held my little family in their midst, and surrounded them in love and support.

Photo by Lisa.

Who allowed them to be okay, to celebrate, and to be happy.

And to be quiet when they needed to.

Photo by my Dad.

And then, later, the exuberance and jubilation of a good bonfire, combined with a gaggle of little friends to run wild with. How it does the heart good.

Photo by my Dad.

The sheer thrill of being out in the night air, and no one telling them to behave themselves. This is the time to be Wild Things and make a Rumpus!

Photo by Cliona.

This is their time, their making-memories time. And even though Sweet William has his own version of this year's midsummer, his own little journey, in the words of a friend, that for a short while veered away from us ever so slightly, it too is now a part of the thread of this beautiful life we are weaving together. 

Photo by Cliona.

And these bright threads move and intertwine with one another so intricately, so delicately, that they are entangled resolutely, set fast to one another. 

Photo by Cliona.

All these amazing people we have crossed paths with fortuitously, whose threads we now include in our weaving.

So grateful to be so favoured.

Thank you one and all. You know who you are.

Sunday, 21 June 2009

A Tale of Woe.

So, this is not the post you were expecting. 

This is where I spent the weekend, while the band, or rather, the party, played on. 

On Friday, hours before the first guests were due to arrive, The Smallest, who had been unwell the last couple of days had what we now know was a febrile convulsion. 
It was horrific. 
I have no doubt there are a number of you reading this have experienced it and know what I mean when I say that briefly we thought he was gone. I've never experienced anything like it. 

But thankfully, while it's terrifying to witness, it is not harmful, and is fairly common. Although  he did have another one that night so they kept him in hospital a second night. 

I suggested to Jay that the party go ahead, and I think the distraction of it was just what he needed. Lots of people turned up, though lots didn't as word traveled through the grapevine. I'm glad for Jay, and for the other three children, that they were surrounded by so many of our family and friends, and by so much love and support. 

A huge thank you to everyone who was there for us, and my phone was red hot with all the lovely messages pouring in.

We're home now, and The Smallest is well and healthy and back to himself. 

The house has that lovely post-party feel and I am sorry I missed what sounds like a great night. I am rounding up as many photos as possible from people who were there and I hope to have a selection to share with you in the next day or two. 

In the end, there is nothing like an experience like this to make you appreciate, and feel incredibly grateful for, all the blessings you have in your life.

I am blessed.

Thursday, 18 June 2009

A Week Of Pictures.

We've had such a busy week, and such a busy weekend ahead of us, that I thought I'd share our week in pictures a wee bit early this time. The excitement has spilled over into madness on occasion, but we are surviving. I have to say I am blown away by the generosity of family and friends, both new and old, with their help and time and energy, in the run up to our event of the year. There will be more on that in a day or two, but for now I'd like to say a big thank you especially to my parents for their trojan work, and for their babysitting. 

We are on the eve of it now and no matter what happens this weekend, I am going to enjoy myself. I feel considerably more relaxed than I did in previous years, in spite of my organisation being as tardy as ever!

So, without further ado, until Sunday I would guess. 

But you never know...

Peepo Dadda!

Rocket Man.

One Evening.

What they left behind.

Memorial for a bird.

Blind man's buff.

He liked the dancing the best.

Monday, 15 June 2009

My Midsummer Wishlist.

So as we prepare for our weekend festivities I find myself collapsing on the couch in the evening and thinking about all the things I'd love to do, some I'd planned to do, but that never happened. Each year I have a list for 'next year'. But time and money are nearly always a hindrance. 

So, I thought I'd post a few things that didn't make it off my wishlist this year. 

First off, these wonderful cooking pots, not cheap, but imagine what fun they'd be! They're available from one of my favourite online shops, Pedlars. For prices and info see here.

Everyone needs a toasting fork for around the campfire, and I really love this one also from Pedlars. For prices and info, check them out here

These adorable candle lights are gorgeous. I do have one set (of three) but swore I'd buy more. Damn I wish I had. They are so sweet scattered around on tables. They are just vellum shades that sit atop a wine glass, and you pop in a nightlight. Again, they're from Pedlars. See them here.

And finally. I would have loved some of these. We did make one one year and it was brilliant. But to be honest, when I saw a pack of ten for sale I did think, hmm, save ourselves the hassle! But I didn't. Why oh why! Aren't they amazing? They are huge too!  For prices and info, check them out here.

I'd happily go on. I think I might need to do another wishlist post tomorrow...

Friday, 12 June 2009

Here We Are!

The summer Solstice is rolling around fast. Can you believe it?

So next weekend we are having our annual party to celebrate the halfway point in the year, and in many ways the start of the summer holidays, and I enlisted the help of the amazingly talented Lisa to create this wonderful invite for it. 

This is where we are. This is home (or rather, garden,) to us, and it would be so fabulous if all you wonderful blogger friends I have made over the last couple of years could come see us here. I know that's not possible for some of you, but for those that can and those that can't, consider yourself invited when you hit that play button!

Thursday, 11 June 2009


My only girl, eleven today! 

Really? Eleven years? 

Eleven years since I was rapt and amazed and completely in love, 
disbelieving. A girl...

My raven girl.

And now the shining-girl-magic star in this collective of meteor-boys.


Tuesday, 9 June 2009

The Sweetest Superhero.

"I sing when no one is there."

"Oh I love when you sing. Will you sing for me?"

"No. I can't"

"But your songs are the coolest."

"No..." Smiles sheepishly.

"...coz they're about Julia." 

(His sweetheart...)

Monday, 8 June 2009

Want Something Cheerful?

So it's a while since I mentioned my brother Chris and I thought I would tonight seeing as he has updated his fab website. Do go and check it out. His work is brilliant, and clever and often hilarious. It's a breath of fresh air, truly. 

There's paintings to buy, as well as postcard sets. There's free comics to download, including Dystopia which is written by our older brother Andrew, and illustrated by Chris, and was originally published monthly in Totally Dublin magazine. (And okay, maybe Dystopia doesn't fit under the banner of cheerful... however...)
It's still a work in progress with the shop not fully up and running yet, but you can see examples of what's in store over on his Flickr.
There's also a ton of other stuff to see over on his blog too. And do have a look at his Work in Action. This guy is all over Dublin!  If you are in our neck of the woods then you've probably even seen his work and not known it. The kids get such a kick out of spying a Chris bus or ad somewhere unexpectedly. 

Well done Chris, it looks fantastic!

Saturday, 6 June 2009

What Has Passed.

After all, this is Ireland isn't it? 

The rains returned. And not alone. They brought the cold with them. And we are now shivering and slopping around in the wet. On the street, people are holding up, holding on to the fallacy that is the Irish summer, legs and arms bared. 

This morning I stood in the bathroom and listened to the sea groaning, and the sudden tapping of rain on the window...

But you know, I always reserve a little hope myself.

And I hold onto the memory of recent real sunshine, of lying in the whispering grass,

Of sunlight following me into the house, shimmering on my walls, 

And at the end of the day, the softness of the air, sweet with roses, with just a hint of salty sharpness..

I hope you have sunshine wherever you are this weekend! And send some our way please? 

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Something Lovely.

Now, I've gone and done what I always do and forgotten where I first came across this delightful Etsy shop Tiny White Lights.

If it was on your blog then let me know please! 

I adore these evocative photos so much. Am I predictable? There's something about them though...

They must appeal to my overactive sense of nostalgia!

Monday, 1 June 2009

What We Did On A Sunny Day.

Well, it was a long weekend here, 
and the sun continued to smile upon us, so we did what we have been itching to do but couldn't over the last week.
We drove half an hour south to one of our favourite beaches, Silver Strand, just south of Wicklow town. 
This is a beach from my childhood. 
I know we have a beach on our doorstep, but that's where you go for stoney winter windswept walks. 

This beach is where you go when you want to swim,

and catch minnows and shrimp,

and tear about in gangs, voices high-pitched and excited,

where the coldness of the water seems incidental,

because there are boats to be sailed, 

and holes to be dug.

And there's more on the way, they say. I am not going to be typical Irish and say wistfully, 'Well, that's our summer over and done with'. Surely we are due a good summer after the last few wash-outs we've had! 

Well, I hope the sun shone wherever you were today!