Friday, January 8, 2010

Inspired by all the wonderful women writers over at, a new online community for women who write, I have decided to give the poor old neglected blog a bit of attention.

And so, to get things moving, Liz over at has sent out a general tag for people to blog about their favourite photo.

Since the arrival of the small fella over a year ago, there have been plenty of great photo moments - most of them missed by seconds! But when it came to choosing a special picture, I went back to my own childhood.

This photo was taken on my 8th birthday in my aunt's house, over 3 hours away from our own home. I'm the glam queen at the back on the chair - naturally, it was my party after all - and below from left to right are my brother, and my two cousins. Our auntie had produced elaborate costumes and made up our faces for our little fancy-dress. I'm not sure what the theme was but I've a feeling I may have been attempting a Boy George impression - I was quite keen on the Mini-Pops at that stage! Of course there were homemade cakes and goodies of all sorts. I have one vivid memory of laughing so hard at something, probably one of the boys' antics, I could barely breathe.

There may have been lots of geography between us, but the four of us, me, my brother and our two cousins, also a sister and brother, were a small band of comrades who spent every holiday together. We had adventures that would have been impossible on our own. We were spread over 5 years, my older cousin Ivan taking care of us. The two of us girls were "bosom buddies, lifelong pals" (I'm sure we stole that from somewhere) and the boys were wheels-mad. No major event happened in our lives without the others being there. I remember being rushed to hospital to have my appendix out at thirteen and waking up the next morning to find they had driven through the night to be at my bedside when I woke. And nearly bursting my stitches with laughter at them so the nurses had to ask them to leave again.

Even as we got older, we were still more like one large family, checking in with each other regularly, visiting when we could. I'd still get that shiver of excitement as we drove up the sheltered laneway to their house on visits, even into my twenties.

Then, when he was 5 days short of his 26th birthday, Ivan died suddenly in bed on a Bank Holiday Monday morning. I still have to stop as I type this. To say we were devastated will never be enough. Obviously his sister and his younger brother, who arrived ten years after us, feel this more than we'll ever comprehend. Their existence was torn open. But the four of us was an entity in itself. And the remaining three sat around his coffin in the days after with one of our limbs lying lifeless beside us.

Terrible things happen in people's lives that are difficult to understand. My life has been blessed in more ways than seem fair. This thing was terrible but I'm grateful everyday to have had a cousin, a friend so close that I now can miss him so badly.

I'll try to keep the next posts a bit chirpier but I wanted to remember him today.

Like Liz, I'm sending out a general tag for anyone who wants to take up the challenge.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Amhlaoibh 9 and 1/2 months - already!

Return of the Prodigal Blogger

Well, I've been a terrible blogger really. Always with the great intentions but the execution is not quite so easy sadly. Must try to do better.

Little Amhlaoibh is now 9 and 1/2 months! Where has the last year gone? I drove past the trees lining the entrance to our estate today and noticed some of them looking bare already. Wasn't it last week there were lovely fresh green buds appearing on those branches? I hope this isn't an indication of what life with our little guy is going to be like. It's going too fast - too many little things passing by so quickly. But always being replaced by new, exciting changes. Everyday the little fella can do something he couldn't do yesterday.

Now he's walking along the furniture, has moments where he stands alone. He's chattering away - mama, dada, and lots of variations on the theme with great changes in pitch and tone so it really sounds like a little conversation. He's got a definite personality of his own - happy, smiling but adventurous, fearless and knows what he wants - and not afraid to fight for it! It sounds like a handful but they are powerful traits that I hope someday he can channel into a fulfilled, satisfying life.

We play with his towering pots, his plastic coloured balls, his green tractor, his Thomas the Tank Engine flap book and sometimes just with the wicker basket they are all stored in! He laughs, giggles, babbles, chews, points, tries to give me his toys, takes them back again, puts things into pots, takes things out of pots -over and over! I'm sorry if it bores you to hear about this but everytime he does something, I'm fascinated that a few weeks ago, it was foreign to him. How absorbed he gets in putting a small basket on his head (his new trick). How he'll peek out from behind something to encourage me to play peek-a-boo with him. How he knows when he tries to open a kitchen cupboard to look up at me to see if I'll tell him "No - that's not for babies" and give a little cheeky grin.

For mum, I'm back at work full time, finishing my training. Have another three months to complete everything and then let loose into the big bad world to find a real job! Hey I've made a brand new little person - how hard can it be??!!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Busy times

So, as you can see on the left, Amhlaoibh, now 6 weeks old, has started smiling this week! Yay! We've had hints of it all week but this morning was a smile-fest. Seems to have been practicing overnight. It's nice to get a little reward to make up for the crying and lack of sleep.
We have a busy few weeks ahead of us.
We're currently in the throes of organising Amhlaoibh's christening which is on this Sunday. Somehow we've managed to invite almost 80 people! Family mainly with a sprinkling of friends but it'll be nice to have everyone there. My aunt has sent us my old christening gown which she unearthed from the attic. It's in remarkable condition after being used for my brother and me as well as my cousins. It's now 21 years since it was last used! We'll also use the hand-crocheted shawl that Ciarán's mum made for his christening. Family heirlooms like these are extra special. My brother Niall will be godfather and Ciarán's first cousin Laura is godmother.
The christening was rather hastily arranged since we've decided to take Amhlaoibh to Florida for the wedding of an old friend of Ciarán's in the middle of February. His friend is marrying a second-generation Indian girl so the wedding festivities will go on for a couple of days with both Catholic and Hindi (I think) ceremonies as well as a reception/party. We're flying out early in the week to give us all time to recover after the long journey. Ciarán's parents and brothers are also coming so we'll have plenty of helping hands. Still not sure how we'll manage all the logistics like feeding on planes etc. but hopefully it'll all fall into place. I have to say we've contacted Continental Airlines to enquire about bassinets etc. and they haven't been very helpful so far. Not confidence-inspiring. Despite being well used to packing for long trips, I fear this experience will be unknown territory!
So that's all the current goings-on down our way. It's plenty enough for me! Be back soon.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


So I thought I'd give this blogging lark a go. Now that there are lots of exciting changes happening, I just thought I'd share some of my musings on them.
One month ago I gave birth to our first baby, a little boy Amhlaoibh (pronounced Ow-leave). Life is suddenly unrecognisable. Nothing anybody told my husband Ciarán and me beforehand could have prepared us for this.
Days are flying by. Already Amhlaoibh is loosing his newborn look and growing out of his small baby clothes. The initial shock meant the first month went past in such a blur that a lot of the milestones went unnoticed in the haze of sleeplessness and helplessness.
But now that we're finding our feet, it's time to start documenting our new life with this little person. I don't know yet what parts of our old life will be salvagable but I'm sure the road ahead will be full of new adventures. All three of us will explore it together.