Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Hurry up! No, slow down!

With two weeks to go before we make the big move I find myself of two minds. One moment I am saying "Come on, time, go faster!" and the next I think "I'm not ready yet, please slow down, time."

Change is hard, there's no way around it. We have embraced our time here and though we've had our share of struggles, I know I will look back on our time in Ireland fondly, grateful that we had the opportunity to see a bit more of the word. When we first moved here, I found myself enthralled with being in a new and different place. I walked my butt off those first few months, exploring my new city and taking the Dublin culture in stride. Here is a post I wrote upon our arrival in Dublin. This post is so funny to me now. The park I was looking for was none other than Herbert Park! And I leaned more about the legal aspect of living in Ireland and becoming a citizen (when Liam was born) than I care to admit! Reading those posts from two and three years ago makes me realize how much I've grown, It's so funny the silly things I point out as being different.

Moving here was a change. It was hard at first. Then I got a job. Then I made a few wonderful friends (the life-long sort). Then I had a baby and met more wonderful friends. And JDS got his Ph.D. (Not to mention my and Justin's relationship blossomed here back in 2006)! I feel that we've laid roots in this city

But. And this is a big but (trust me, I know big butts, since I have one, myself. Thanks for the genes, mom. Kidding!).  We get to move back to a wonderful, amazing, supportive family. One that can't wait to get their hands on our little boy. And, more than that, they deserve to! They have been so patiently waiting while we've been off gallivanting in Europe. I am excited to be able to attend birthday parties and hockey games and plays. To go on dates with my husband. For big Sunday family dinners. For Thanksgiving! Yes, my friends, we have a lot to look forward to and be thankful for. This period in our lives is a transition, while we look for jobs and decide where to settle. But also, we're going to put our feet up for a while, and enjoy. This is our life and as they say, "It's not about the destination..."

Image from

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Vintage Liam

Lately I've been dreaming about my baby, you know, since he isn't really a baby anymore.

Liam, 5 days old

Who am I kidding? He'll always be my baby.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Sunday Funday

*First of all, thank you for all the lovely comments on my last post about the very rude woman I encountered. Believe me, I wanted nothing better than to tell her off, but after I let myself cool down I remembered that everyone is dealing with issues or fighting a personal battle. So instead I said a little prayer that she sorts herself out.

Now, on to Sunday Funday! Yesterday when JDS got back from his second home (6th floor of the Arts Block at Trinity College). Liam had just woken up from his nap and had lunch so we were ready to head to Peoples' Park in Dun Laoghaire (pronounced Dun-Leary for my non-Irish readers) for the Dublin Bay Taste and Music Fest. It had been raining on and off all day summer, but you can't let that stop you from getting out of the house when you live in Dublin!

We arrived by DART (about a 15 minute ride) and it promptly started to rain. We hung out in the station until it stopped (in about 5 minutes). The park looked absolutely gorgeous and was packed. I'll let the pictures do the talking.

Several well known restaurants had stands under this tent.
Lots of very tasty options! 

I tried the slow-roasted pork belly with apple chutney from 
Nosh. It was fantastic!

Liam enjoyed dancing to the music, we caught the 
Blues show, which was pretty good.

Getting shelter under a big tree from the rain!

We took a stroll down Dun Laoghaire Pier when we were ready
to leave. Lovely views here.

Another great family day out :-) We'll miss this place.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Good vs. Evil

It was raining pretty heavily outside and I was enjoying a coffee and a book in a cozy cafe in town (by myself!). Diagonally across the table from me a woman who looked to be in her 60s was sipping coffee, reading a book as well. The rest of the cafe was packed with people taking cover from the crummy weather outside.

I noticed a couple trying to find seats and I thought if I move across from the woman (whose backpack was occupying the seat) I could let the two share the table where I was. So, I got up and said to the couple and the older woman, gesturing at the chair, "if I move here, you can take this table."

Surprisingly the woman had a scowl on her face, she said: "I paid to have my coffee here this is my seat" (the seat her backpack was in). She continued, "You got your coffee to go, why don't you leave?" While our coffees were indeed in to-go cups there is no price difference at this shop whether you are staying or taking- away. I always get my drink to go just in case I don't finish it and want to leave! The girl of the pair stated that they intended to stay in as well, but the woman reiterated that we could "just leave" and that was the end of the conversation - the woman was not letting her bag be moved to let these people sit.

So the couple moved to look elsewhere, and I was so disturbed that I got up, saying, "I seems as though you need your space..." and found a seat on a stool overlooking Nassau Street, next to two older gentlemen. Embarrassingly, I found myself a bit choked up at the whole scene. I tried to get back into my book, but couldn't. I couldn't stop thinking about why that woman was so mean. Was she going though a hard time? Bitter at the world for the hand she'd been dealt? Annoyed with tourists? I ended up just feeling sorry for her. That kind of negativity is so poisonous.

A few minutes later the couple came up to me and thanked me for my kindness and apologized for the trouble. I told them it was not a bother, and that I was sorry they couldn't find a seat. They handed me a bag with two treats from the bakery inside and said they "hoped she hadn't upset me, not everyone in Dublin is like that." I smiled and said "I've been living here for three years and have never come across anyone that rude."

The rain had finally stopped and myself and the gentlemen sitting next to me decided to chance the weather and leave. We shared a laugh about the rain starting again in five minutes as they opened the door for me. I made sure to smile at the woman before I stepped outside.

Good: 2 Evil: 1

Good prevails.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Mama's Little Helper

Yesterday afternoon I was doing the dishes after lunch and Liam was bored of playing with pots and pans. I was nearly finished so I drained the water, filled the sink again, half way, and pulled a chair up so Liam could "help." He thought this was the greatest thing ever! I gave him a few plastic cups and bowls to "wash" and he had a grand old time. And also made a grand old mess. Oh well, at least it was a clean mess, if you know what I mean!

Free Polish!

Lately I haven't been splurging on my favorite glossies just to cut down on frivolous money suckers. But in this month's UK edition of (September '11) Marie Claire you score a free Ciaté Paint Pot in "My Fair Lady" or "Wait until Dark." Valued at £9 I couldn't pass it up!

Yes, I have a freckle on the inside of my hand. 
Weird, huh?

I really love this color! It reminds me a lot of Essie "Mademoiselle." And isn't the bottle the cutest? Normally I'd go for bright or super dark shades but I don't have time to keep up with color like that anymore so shades like this are my go-to now - much more forgiving! 

Now off to read the magazine while Liam naps (cleaning can wait!).

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Zombie Mom

I think it goes without saying that new parents are sleep deprived. I also think that parents generally expect this in the beginning (though nothing truly prepares them for it!). Sure it's all we could talk about for months on end... Conversations would go like this:

Mom A: "How did little Sally sleep last night?"
Mom B: "Ugh, she woke at least 5 times, I'm wrecked!"
Mom A: "Oh you poor thing, I completely understand, Bobby woke at 2 and just wouldn't go back to sleep!"

So, conversations like this were pretty typical until about the babies got to be about 6-8 months old. Then one of two things happened. Either your baby had started sleeping though the night and you didn't want to jinx it or make anyone jealous, or your baby was still not sleeping thought the night and you just learned to deal with the sleep deprivation (and you were sick of talking about sleep all the time).

I'm one of the lucky ones who hasn't had a full night's sleep in well, 16 months (actually more than that - if you've ever been pregnant you know what sleep is like near the end). I think it's starting to take a toll. I look older and uglier than ever. My body constantly aches. I eat whatever's easy and within reach so my diet is crap. (Don't worry Liam eats like a king!) I crave sleep. I just want to lay in bed for two days straight - make that a week, it's my daydream!

Does anyone else have a toddler that's still waking at night? Let's break the silence!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Book Review: The Slap

I finished this book a few days ago and am still trying to decide how I feel about The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas. The plot revolves around a man who slapped a child who was not his own at a barbecue. The author gives you insight and stories of the people most effected by what happened: the child's mother and father, the hosts of the barbecue, and the teens who mind the child (who also attended the party). I felt the book was kind of depressing. I didn't really like any of the characters. It certainly highlights the fact that we're all human and make mistakes. Some realize those mistakes and try to rectify them and others willfully defend their actions. I don't recommend  the book if strong language makes you uncomfortable - it can get a little vulgar at times using the ugly c-word and every other swear word known to man. I got used to it after a while, but I have a friend who had to stop reading because it bothered her.

I do have to say it was an interesting read. But is this really an accurate depiction of the modern family? I'd say it's a bit extreme.

Would I recommend it? Yes. It is well written and the story itself is different enough to make you want to keep reading. Have you read it? What were your thoughts?

Monday, August 22, 2011

Sunday Funday

JDS has been burning the candle at both ends (and thus, so have I!) so though we're exhausted we are still trying to squeeze some fun in. Yesterday our very favorite park (yup, Herbert) celebrated it's centenary with a family fun day. So of course we went to join the festivities!

Someone wants to get out of the buggy!

A decorated Herbert Park

It was a gorgeous day and the park was filled with free activities for kids of all ages. There was a hot air balloon, rock climbing wall, fencing, karate, and for the littlest ones, lots of trucks, tunnels and giant connect four games.

Playing with the giant connect 4 

The local mini boat enthusiasts were there with their scale models, and there was a race on the pond (we didn't see Stuart Little, though!).

Cool boats with motors and remote controls!

Cute ice cream truck!

We manged to have a wonderful time without spending a dime. I love that! Happy 100 years Herbert Park!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Guest Post by my Husband, Justin

Hello everyone! Justin here. Meg asked me to post a guest blog some time ago. I have found an excellent excuse to do so. Yesterday Liam and I gave Meg a nice long afternoon to herself. Where does and Irish history-obsessed dad take his son on a Saturday? To a graveyard of course! Liam and I visited Prospect Cemetery, better known as Glasnevin Cemetery. Despite a small setback (note: the 13 bus from Merrion Square does not go past the cemetery, despite what the driver might tell you), we made it safe and sound. Liam was asleep when we arrived, but soon awoke to find himself in Dublin's necropolis.

We wandered up and down the small avenues that dissect towers of tombstones. A lot of work has been done to the cemetery since last I visited in 2005. One grave that is always immaculately kept is that of Michael Collins - Commander-in-Chief of the Provisional Free State Army during the shaky first year of Irish independence. The anniversary of his death is 22 August, so we were right on time to lay some flowers in memory of this great organizer and leader.

A quick visit to the gift shop (€25 for a paper print of Collins? I think not!), to the cafe for an ice cream, and we were on our way back to town. Liam and I stopped in Trinity College for a run around the cricket pitch before heading home to Meg.

A great day overall! Go check out Glasnevin Cemetery for yourself. There is a new visitor's center, museum and hourly tours.
All the best,

Saturday, August 20, 2011


It's not only children who grow.  Parents do too.  As much as we watch to see what our children do with their lives, they are watching us to see what we do with ours.  I can't tell my children to reach for the sun.  All I can do is reach for it, myself.  ~Joyce Maynard

Friday, August 19, 2011

A Morning on the Seaside

The cure for anything is salt water - sweat, tears, or the sea.  ~Isak Dinesen

A trip to presumably the best beach in Dublin was a great escape from the city yesterday morning. When my friend, Áine (pronounced An-ya, for my non-Irish friends) suggested it, I jumped at the chance, as we've never been to Skerries' Beach and we're all about exploring unseen places our last month here. 

Stupidly I didn't do much research on how to get there - I just knew we needed to get the train at my local DART station (Dublin City's rail service). It was a bit more complicated than I anticipated and the lift was out of order so imagine a frantic woman trying to get to the other side of the platform, baby in one arm, stroller and coffee in the other and diaper bag over the shoulder - which in involved going up two flights of stairs, running to the other side and seeing the train pull in as I was descending the last two flights to get to the platform. Liam was crying and I nearly was as we boarded at the last possible second!

We got to the next station in just a couple of minutes and had to wait about 15 minutes for the train to Skerries, as well as our friends who were running a bit late (these morning playdates are difficult, I tell you!) The train was pulling in and Aine was not in sight! I ran to the front and asked the conductor (do we still call them that??) if he could wait a couple of extra seconds for my friend who was thisclose (see the train to Skerries does not come very freqeuntly, so this train was our only chance!). He said he would try but couldn't wait long - they have to account for every second. Well, the couple extra seconds were all we needed as Áine andherbaby literally flew through the gate and onto the train (although in a different car than the one I was in)! No worries though, she joined me in my compartment at the next stop and we breathed a collective sigh of relief. Soon we watched the Sea come into view and arrived at the Skerries stop. Now, to the beach!

The train station in Skerries

 Ahh.... can you smell the fresh sea air?

Having fun!

Áine & Matthew

We had such a lovely time at the beach, and the boys were so exhausted by the time we left that they fell asleep in their strollers on our walk back to the station. Áine and I managed to have a wonderful conversation while we waited 30 minutes for the train, without interruption! It was a peaceful ride home, too. It's true, Isak, salt water is the cure - I didn't even know I needed one.

Thursday, August 18, 2011


While I'm on the subject, wouldn't this be the cutest for a shared boys' room (or even a non-shared room!)?

Image from Pinterest

My Gorgeous Sister is Having a...

BOY! They found yesterday at her 20 week scan. I am beyond thrilled for her little family. This is her second little boy... how fun for Jude to have a brother; a best friend for life. And Liam will have another boy cousin! The trouble those three will get into...

The growing family (doesn't she have the cutest
little baby bump?!)

Big Brother!

The best part is that I will be home for the birth of my newest nephew! This is so exciting, I could just pee myself. Oh to hold a newborn again... I just felt my uterus twinge. Just kidding! It will be a little while before we add to the family.

Sisters, Aunties, Cousins

Congratulations, Kelly, Joel & Jude! You guys hit the jackpot!

More Pictures!

As I said here, a friend of ours was very kind to take pictures of Liam and the three of us together last month. She sent the unedited photos the other day and I've played with a few. I'm kind of a dummy with photo editing but they turned out okay I think. Get prepared for a picture overload!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Sneak Peak

A few weeks ago a good friend of ours took a few family shots of us at our favorite spot, Herbert Park (duh!) We just received the CD in the post with about 500 pictures on it - yay! Here is one of my favorites... more to come in the next couple of days.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Living with Little

All of the stuff was collected yesterday by the moving crew, which means we are living with the bare necessities. The good news is that we are not taking our dishes, Liam's crib, or any of our furniture or bedding so it's not that bad. Actually, it's kind of nice! There are a lot less toys to pick up and our closets have never looked better! The best thing about moving is the weeding out process (well, it's not fun, but the end result is great!) Anything that I haven't worn lately was donated and I only kept Liam's really nice things. 

I think L can sense something is up - and when the movers were here yesterday he was really clingy and kind of hyper. It was hard to direct them and keep him occupied at the same time (J was working). He was obsessed with the big truck and kept wanting to go outside and see it, calling it a "bu" (bus). The movers were  nice guys. My friend, Kim, who recently repatriated as well, told me it was customary to offer anyone who does work in your home to be offered a cup of tea so when they arrived I offered and they said they would love one - one with just milk and one with just sugar. The Irish and their tea! Love it.

JS and I felt bad that we packed up Liam's favorite toys so we improvised (happy, Dad?) and created a castle out of leftover boxes for him to play in. It's a little rough looking but L loves it! 

Liam's Castle

Reading to bunny

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Sunday Funday

*Sunday Funday posts will always be a photo re-cap of our day together as a family

Morning - getting ready for the movers to come on Monday!

A sunny afternoon spent running through 
Herbert Park

And watching the ducks swim 

With Daddy

And playing kick the ball...

More running!

*The inspiration behind my Sunday Funday posts is about getting back to basics and enjoying time with family. As a child it was a rule in my family that Sundays were spent as a family - we were not allowed to have friends over or go to their homes. It was all about quality time together! 

Farewell, Friend

Today, one of my very good friends for the past three years, a fellow American residing in Dublin, moves back to her home-town in the USA (Boston). Last night we went over to bid the little family good-bye, but really we all just pretended that it was another get-together and we'd see one another again soon. In reality, it will probably be at least a year before we meet again... thank goodness for Facebook, Skype and blogs!

Liz & I. Not good-bye, see you later!

Liz and I met a few months after J and I moved to Dublin. She was part of the expat community and we became fast friends. From high tea at Harvey Nic's to Cinco de Mayo at Kara's we've had one hell of a time.

You will be missed, Liz. See you on the other side!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Marriage vs. The PhD

Ha ha ha ha ha!


Actually, this is so not funny.