Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Happy Kids

Sofie--Has been given the true gift of seeking out cats. Maybe they find her, I don't know bu Mom has it, I have it, and now Sofie has it. She's in love with the barn cat at the riding stables. She finds him and throws him over her shoulder. He's in heaven. So is she.

Lucy--Can you feel the "Mom, do you have to take a picture of me?" attitude? I finally managed to get one of her. Usually she runs. I can run too!

Goodbye 2009

Can hardly believe we've been here a month. Where does the time go? So far, it's been just great. The weather hasn't been all that- rainy, windy, grey, but it could always be worse, right? The girls are happy. It's amazing how nothing fazes them. Sometimes I don't even think they notice all the differences. They are remarkable--make friends with everyone, young and old, so comfortable. Yes, I love them :) Here's a little list of some favorite Irish things (so far):

1. Love the hedges. Everything is fenced or hedged. It makes even the ugliest house look absolutely adorable. I'm furiously trying to think of a way to hedge something!

2. The road is for everyone. There is no your side, my side. By everyone, I mean walkers, runners, horses, cars, trucks and buses. Love that.

3. Everyone here is just freezing. They have no idea what cold is. Am I right? You all in Wisconsin totally know that kind of cold--your nostrils stick together-kind of cold.

4. Bacon, ham, sausages (rashers), more bacon, more ham and some lamb. That sums up the meat isle. It's great.

5. The word brilliant. It's used a lot here. "Oh, that's brilliant!" describing a cookie (biscuit), finding out we homeschool, etc.

6. Commercials can only run every 20 minutes on TV. Oh, and no sensoring. Cuss away, cuss away.

Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Boxing Day

Today is Boxing Day, aka St. Stephens Day.........also a big shopping day! We drove over to Birr, to see Birr Castle. Unfortunately it was closed. The earls of Rosse still live in the castle, but the gardens are open for tourists. We walked around the town center. Pretty quiet, all the shops were closed. Tim drooled over all the stone work. He keeps lamenting that he was born in the wrong century. We turned down a stone alley that opened into a couple closed shops and home and saw this little blue car. It's a Riley Elf Mk III. Maybe we'll try and stuff one in our just might fit.


The festive Christmas cracker..... is really a firecracker! Here's how you do it---
pull with a friend--that is a requirement. Pull really, really, really hard!

Viola! You get a small toy, a crown and a joke. Here's one from Sofie's cracker. What did the hat say to the scarf? You hang around and I'll go ahead! Ha Ha.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Happy Holidays

Christmas in Ireland.........less Christmas music, less outdoor illumination, no crazy sales, lots of puddings and mince pies, street carolers (very cool), and hams galore! We're going to spend the day playing games and watching movies. I hope you all have a great holiday! The only things we miss are all of you and snow!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Sweetest Robin

This is the sweetest little robin I've ever seen!

Like Moths to a Flame

We built it..........
and they came! After a little rummaging in the shed, we found this little plastic table. With a little help from an Irish Bird Guide we can I.D. them!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

First Trip to Galway

Could there be more people in this picture? I know! We went to Galway on Saturday. It took less than an hour on the brand new M6 they just opened on the 18th! You can drive from Dublin to Galway in two hours now. Galway was bustling with shoppers, street musicians, and groups of carolers. Sofie and I walked and shopped while Tim and Lucy went off to do some shopping. Sofie was walking down a little alley with me and she said it was just like Candelford (Larkrise to Candelford, the tv show on PBS). Shop St. and the surrounding area was pedestrians only. Thank god, I don't think I could've dodged cars too!

It got to be a little ridiculous with all the people so we popped into a fish and chips place. The place came highly recommended---it was the best fish and chips we've ever had. Huge pieces of cod, heaps of hot chips and best of all---you had to pay for ketchup but there was vinegar on the table for free! The girls loved it.

We had the joy of parking in a parking ramp for the first time here. Remember the scene in Austin Powers where he is trying to turn that little car around in between the walls? If you do, it was like that. If you have no clue what I'm talking about, we had to back up, ease forward, back up some more to drive up the ramps in the garage. It was so tight, the girls shut their eyes.

All in all, it was an awesome day. Tight spaces, crowds and all.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Lucy, Sofie, and Daniel snail hunting and trying not to fall in!

The girls and I, with Susan and her two children, went to Portlick on Sunday for a walk. The moss here is incredible. It grows on everything! Even though the trees have all dropped their leaves, it is still incredibly green. I couldn't imagine what it must be like in the summer!

Monday, December 14, 2009

This is the horse across our back fence. The girls have been feeding him carrots.

Our house!

Norman caslte ruins.

We Made It!

A HUGE hi to everyone! Sorry it took so long---we don't have internet yet! I'm on borrowed wireless. Wow--we've been here a little more than a week! The trip was great. The girls are fabulous travelers. We are all finally over our jet lag---we all were up at 1 a.m., eating and playing games the second night we were here! The girls are thrilled they have their own rooms. Our house is really nice. We live about 3 miles from Athlone. We have a front and back yard. The girls discovered that there are tree snails here and we now have a bowl of shells in the house.
There are riding stables just down the road. The girls did their first class last Wednesday night--in the rain and muck but they didn't seem to care. They jumped their horses for the first time! Lessons start back up after the first of the year so I'm sure we'll be down there once a week. The girls and I got library cards Friday and we know the downtown pretty good. They like walking and doing errands instead of driving everywhere! Tim has to pick us up since we live out here--no public transportation--so it's like having a personal chauffer.
Driving is going better. Tim is doing really good. Driving here is a bit like a Mad Mouse roller coaster. Tight, fast, and everything is backwards. Tim and I still do a circle around the car getting in. We did our first little road trip on Saturday. We went to see a couple castle ruins. The monastery we saw was built--get this--in 529 A.D. OLD
The weather has been pretty good. Sunny the last couple of days, about 40-42 F. The girls and I went hiking on Sunday. There is a lot of flooding here so you have to watch where you walk---up to the knees in water or mud. Sofie fell in yesterday. Not surprising.
I'm hoping to have internet at the house this week! Keep your fingers crossed. Miss you all!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Calculating Suitcase Capacity

You know how you think you've planned and thought about every detail? Then the day comes to pack, you panic, and throw in every piece of clothing you can find including the sweater you haven't worn in a year. Just maybe I'll wear it, right? I'm having a little bit of that.....I'm calming it with the hopes of shopping there. No stress- if I need it, I'll find it. The girls are usually the ones with the kitchen sink in tow. Oh wait---those boxes are already there.