Sunday, 16 December 2012
Then in the evening, the elves turned into shepherds as we got a last-minute call-up to take part in the Live Crib! It was dark and getting cold as our turn came. A crescent moon shone in the sky and the choir from our local church sang carols as we came out of the camper van in our borrowed costumes. Lee looked the part dressed as Joseph with a stripey headdress and staff. The less said about Mary the better, but I don't think there's been a less dignified portrayal of Our Lady! As for the baby Jesus! Well..... our little four-week old was the picture of tranquility as she lay in the manger. She was so quiet and serene as the choir sang Silent Night and she actually smiled at the end! It was really magical! The boys were delighted to meet the babba oo (calf), mummy ba (ewe) with her twin lambs and the little donkey that shared the stable with us for those special few minutes and Roo took his role as chief shepherd quite seriously. I was so proud of my little brood that I cared nothing about the fact that my veil was falling off and making me look a complete Charlie in front of everyone. My family are the best gift that I have ever received. Thank you Lord for them!
Thursday, 6 December 2012
The last 24 hours have seen one house deal fall through and another possibly open up. I'm not sure what to make of the timing. Maybe I'm reading too much into the fact that it has all happened on the 12th anniversary of myself and Lee's starting out together.
Not that I made the connection then about San Nioclás and his uncanny gift of knowing just what your heart desires.
Monday, 26 November 2012
I went to bed feeling quite disappointed the night before, resigned to someone else dictating how my baby would enter the world... but I needn't have worried, because I was woken a couple of hours later by an almighty contraction, which happened again two minutes later and again two minutes after that! I checked with Mum, who felt my bulging tummy and agreed that they were contractions alright. So Lee and I went out the side door into the car about 30 minutes after my first contraction at 2AM. It was the first time one of our babies' arrivals has got us up in the middle of the night. It was also the only time I've been afraid we wouldn't make it to the hospital in time, as the thought of Lee and I dealing with a newborn baby on the side of the road in the cold, wet, windy and wild darkness did not appeal to me! Despite (and in turn fuelling) my worries, the contractions didn't slow down on the journey. They were quite powerful, with none of the slow build-up that I experienced with the boys. But thanks to deep yoga breathing, I was able to cope with them. I was just so relieved that our little baby was coming without intervention or drugs.
Once we were at the hospital, I got the usual checks before walking up to the delivery suite, annoying the impatient accompanying midwife on the way as I had to stop occasionally with the frequent contractions. Once I was in the Delivery 'Suite', I was pretty much allowed to do what I felt like doing, bouncing on the Giant ball or moving onto all fours, so different from Roo's birth when I had to stay on the bed strapped to the foetal monitor. This time around, I can't remember them actually examining me internally at any stage. I think because I was coping quietly, they didn't think I was very far along. Also, my waters hadn't broken yet. But then, they hadn't broken spontaneously with the boys' births, so even I was surprised when I started feeling the urge to push and felt a delightful 'pop' before the midwife jumped up from her notes and came over to catch our little girl! And so, three hours after my first contraction, we found ourselves in the irresistible company of our first daughter! Lee had been my quiet, solid source of strength, as ever, calmly backing me up and making me feel safe.
Who is she like? Of course, once again, I don't get a look-in. She is her father's daughter, quite like the Toot when he was born. Dark hair like two of her brothers, and also like them, lots of it. Even more actually, as it spreads down her neck into a funky little spiky do. She cries more than they used to. But sleeps more during the day. Swings and roundabouts.
The following day provided more lovely moments, as the 'three proud brothers' as one friend called them, met their little sister for the first time. I will treasure those first moments forever. They arrived in with my Mum and Lee. The look on Toot's face was completely new to me as he warily entered the room, but he was so gentle with her. He was wearing the stethoscope from the doctor dressing-up set around his neck and he sweetly checked me and the baby to make sure we were doing well, just as he had done while I was pregnant, patiently placing the stethoscope on my expanding belly each day. Poonch was beaming as he bounced in to see his 'little buddy' and his enthusiasm towards his sister shows no signs of waning. Roo was his usual sweet self, marvelling at her gorgeous little hands and feet, 'Ah! Look!' They were all thrilled, with no hint of jealousy or rivalry. It was enchanting, being surrounded on the bed by these great little guys, sharing their first wonder-filled moments with their tiny sibling.
And so, we thank God for this 'indorable' little babe. Yes, we are delighted to have a girl, but we are more delighted that she arrived safely and is healthy. We would have been just as happy to welcome another boy into our family, because after all, whether male or female, they are all children, each a unique, marvellous and unrepeatable gift from God. And I feel so blessed to have been entrusted with their care.
Our fabulous little pixie girl is here, just in time for Christmas. Be good boys. The Pixie is watching!!!
Sunday, 25 November 2012
Friday, 16 November 2012
As usual, I'm hoping to go into labour naturally before then. At least I have lots of help with Mum and Vee here and Lee is off this weekend too, so that should help me relax.
Tuesday, 9 October 2012
Today's busy scramble included an early morning appointment for Roo, Lee taking over the playschool drop-off for a very out-of-sorts Poonch and then meeting me to collect Roo so I could go to the second appointment, playschool and school pick-ups, then a dash into the city to take Roo to his language class followed by a dash back home with him, quick change for me and back to the other side of the city for my lovely pregnancy exercise class and meet-up with my lovely friend whose due date is 3 days before mine.
Coincidentally, today's Gospel featured the story of Jesus, Martha and Mary.
With all the rushing, I had forgotten to say the prayer and light the candle to ask Martha's intercession in our hectic world. So a quick read of my Magnificat served to remind me this evening and as the day draws to a close, there is a little flame burning on my window-sill shrine.
Saturday, 22 September 2012
But the day before they went back, we had a new arrival. (Not the one that I have been incubating in my tummy, still about 8 or 9 weeks before we meet him/her face to face, please God.) No, we have taken on an au pair to help when the baby is here. There have been a couple of teething problems, but overall, the change has been a positive one. I was apprehensive about having someone in the house all the time, but it certainly frees me up and the house has become more relaxed in a lot of ways as I can spend more time with the lads instead of seeming to spend all my time on chores. She is a quiet presence in our midst and our main worry is that there is not much to interest her in the immediate vicinity of our barmy lickle house. But she claims not to mind.
Despite the help, I seem to be busier than ever, with something (apart from school) bringing me and the lads out of the house nearly every day. Thank God, I still have a good amount of energy for the majority of the day, although I am fairly pooped come 8.30/9pm and doze off whenever I sit still during the day.
We have had a couple of birthdays in the past month and that has brought yet more new additions to the house, such as the fire-breathing dragon in the picture above, made and photographed by Roo, courtesy of a Mega-present for the little Toot from Poonch's bessie mate and her Mum. They are great present-pickers as well as lovely friends.
As for uncertainties, it looks like we are finally in a position to buy our own house here, but I feel very unsure about the whole process, more so than about more momentous decisions we have made together. It feels as though we are rushing into it in spite of having to wait nearly 7 years to do it! I suppose, now that we have three little bookles in our lives, there is more at stake. This is after all, the only house they have ever/ remember living in and there are so many wonderful memories bound up here, that with all its faults, it will be difficult to leave.
Monday, 20 August 2012
Our youngest little fella sat next to me on the sofa this evening as I watched the start of The Rose of Tralee, his chubby little legs dangling and his dimpled hand resting on mine. When I reminded him he should be going to bed like his older 'bubbas' he gave me the cutest little hangdog expression, pulling his chin in and pushing his lips out into a pout and looking at me from under his amazingly-long eyelashes. He really knows how to appeal to 'Mumma's' soft side and I found it very difficult not to allow him to continue snuggling in next to me for the rest of the evening!
Our little surprise baby will be two tomorrow and I can't quite believe it. In many ways he is so independent and 'grown-up' (getting his beloved Scooby-Doo shoes aka 'ha-ha gagas' from the shoe rack and putting them on all by himself, finding his jacket and trying to put it on, climbing into his high chair at mealtimes and clicking his lap belt shut) but at other times, of course, he is our little cutey Toot, the youngest member of our barmy-lickle family. He loves dressing-up, especially wearing hats. At the moment he wears Bob the builder's hard hat all the time, but it has to be on backwards! He loves having his own special, exclusive story-reading session away from the bubbas before being put into bed with Teddy who he squeezes to his tummy with abandon. Charlie and Lola's friend's dog, Sizzles, makes him laugh out loud as he jumps through hoops and disco-dances through the book. He loves being outside, busy-busy with his characteristic walk, chest forward, moving his two little arms to propel himself up the ladder, over to the sandpit, back to the tap, bucket in hand, into 'Mumma's Brr-da' (that's the car, to you and me) pressing buttons and steering the wheel.
Like his oldest brother before him at his age, he understands everything we say, but is trying hard to get the rest of the world to speak his language rather than the other way around.
Happy Birthday, darling bubba. Do we love you? Guh-gah!!!!
Sunday, 29 July 2012
Wednesday, 20 June 2012
The lads were excited and in good form from staying the night before in the hotel. On opening the thick hotel room curtains, we discovered that the day was brighter and warmer than I had expected, so things were off to a good start.
We took the Luas into town with Granny and Uncle Bee, with Roo asking at each stop, 'is this the one?' and Poonch cheerful in the buggy next to a sleeping Toot. We walked from Busaras to Croke Park through the usual dodgy bits and thanks to the double buggy, made a big entrance through the gate used by players' buses. Hopefully not the last time our boys will go in that way!
Much to Mum's chagrin, RTE had quite a presence, 'thought we could escape from them for once' and there were a couple of politicians there too. From where we were sitting, we could see a diverse range of people, with a good few children. It was very loud in the stadium, which was great because it meant the lads' chatter wasn't disturbing anyone too much. The music throughout was good: my favourites being Maynooth Gospel Choir's version of the Hallelujah chorus and some hymns that Mum and Bee were familiar with. From then on, I'm afraid it became the usual containment operation I experience every Sunday at Mass and so I can't give many details of what happened, except a feeling of joy and warmth at being there.
I was really looking forward to the Pope's address at the end and felt a bit disappointed as I thought their would be a live linkup with the Vatican, instead of just a recorded message. I think Pope Benny's homilies are beautiful stuff, but I knew I would have to go away and read what he had said because I find it a bit difficult to understand what he's saying when I have a 22 month-old trying to climb up the Davin Stand underneath other people's seats! But I did catch some of his address there and then, and in particular, I loved his words about the history of the Catholic faith in our country.
How "Ireland has been shaped by the Mass at the deepest level for centuries, and by its power and grace generations of monks, martyrs and missionaries have heroically lived the faith at home and spread the Good News of God’s love and forgiveness well beyond your shores."
He reminded us about the enormous, positive effect Irish Catholics have had on the world: "You are the heirs to a Church that has been a mighty force for good in the world, and which has given a profound and enduring love of Christ and his blessed Mother to many, many others."
He seems to be encouraging us to emulate the holiness of our forebears in the Church, to keep the Eucharist central in our lives, rather than allow the "revelation of sins committed by priests and consecrated persons against people entrusted to their care" to take away our "thankfulness and joy at such a great history of faith and love" so that we can "pass on a love of the faith and Christian virtue to other generations".
As we left the stadium, I felt a huge sense of relief (at the weather, the good behaviour of the boys, that I had coped ok with them in my pregnant state) and a feeling that we need to show our love for Jesus in everything we do, so we can make others want to share that love too.
Wednesday, 13 June 2012
(1) The first rule is to post these rules.
(2) Post a photo of yourself then write 11 things about yourself or your life.
(3) Answer the questions set for you by the person who tagged you.
(4) Create 11 new questions and tag people to answer them.
(5) Go to their blog/Twitter to tell them they've been tagged.
3. I am pregnant with our fourth child. The last few weeks I have been in survival mode which means getting myself and the boys dressed, providing them with something resembling food and stuffing one load of laundry-in-most-danger-of -becoming-mouldy into the washing machine each day. I haven't had the energy for anything else, including thinking. So you see, this post has taken a while to write, and a lot of thinking. And I don't get much time to think these days.
7. I secretly would love to homeschool my children, but my husband isn't keen, and I would get tired of continually justifying my decision to people. Homeschooling is viewed as seriously odd in this country. But the idea grows on me every day.
9. We have used Natural Family Planning since the start, and not just for religious reasons. I think we do our young women a huge injustice by not informing them about Natural Family Planning. How come so-called feminists don't talk about it? I would have thought it would appeal to their desire to 'empower' women. On a similar note, how come some people consider the use of NFP/temperature-taking/charting to conceive as 'a bit clinical and calculated', but think nothing of taking daily medication to prevent ovulation at other times?
10. I love reading about the lives of saints but especially St Joseph. One of my boys is named after him. I just love thinking about him and his closeness to Jesus and Mary and their family life. None of his spoken words were recorded in the Gospel, yet he was the man chosen to be the guardian of Our Lord and the husband of the Mother of God. He led a quiet, modest life, yet his influence on Jesus Christ, the Son of God, must have been immense. Talking of pondering, pondering that makes my mind boggle a bit. (How exactly does a mind 'boggle'?)
11. On a similar note, I love the thought that, while he was alive, many people met Jesus in quite mundane ways (selling things to him at the market, sitting next to him in the synagogue, buying wooden items from Him and His dad...) and they never realised they were in contact with the Son of God!!!! There's a lesson for us for everyday life there, I suppose. We're supposed to see Jesus in everyone we come into contact with. Easier said than done....
Some of these thoughts come to me when I am saying the rosary in the dark last thing at night when the house is still, my jobs are kinda done for the day, and I can think.....
Is that 11 things yet?
And now for the answers to Jennifer's questions:
An easy one: being with my children and husband. Something that happens all too rarely. My husband works long hours each day and most weekends.
At this stage in my life, with three busy boys, my only opportunity to chill out is when I sleep! Every time I climb into bed, I think, this is lovely, I should get here earlier. And next night I end up climbing in at the same (mental, late) time.
Well, other than the births of our bookles, our Wedding day was a pretty fantastic day. Before I got married, I remember being at other people's weddings and wondering how the bride and groom could still be so chatty and lively at 2 and 3am after such a long day. But then on the day that we got married, I could have stayed awake for days. I didn't want it to end. I can't understand why some people's ceremonies don't start til mid- to late-afternoon. That's valuable hours of one of the best days of your life you're wasting!!
What would be an ideal date with your husband?
I just consulted with Lee for this one.
I said, 'Leaving the house.'
He said, 'On time. No phone. No deadline to come back.'
That was ok. Then he said, 'not having to turn around at the top of the road because you forgot something.'
He has known me for 19 years. But he still doesn't love that aspect of me. I'm still practising though.
Sorry to be predictable, but I love It's A Wonderful Life, especially that scene when George is on Mary's phone to his big-shot friend in New York and he realises he loves Mary and will never leave Bedford Falls.
I do love books. Difficult to pick a favourite favourite. There are so many categories: children's, fiction, non-fiction, religious...
One I return to again and again is St Thérèse's Story of A Soul.
Most things. At the moment they don't mind spending time with me, actually seem to enjoy my company, so I'm making the most of it by putting them to work. Just messing! It's lovely. Making food. Chores like filling the washing machine. More effort and takes longer, but we all benefit in the long run. Also love it when I share something like a painting I love, not expecting them to really be that interested... but they are.
- Who is your favourite saint?
- What's the most interesting thing you've ever made/done with a paper plate?
- What have you done in your life that has made you most proud?
- How do you prefer your toast, hot or cold?
- Someone you would like to meet, living or dead, and why?
- What was your favourite book/story as a child?
- What do you spend more time doing than you should?
- And what should you spend more time on than you do?
- What animal are you most like?
- What did/does your father do for a living?
What did you do with your life before you started this questionnaire?Only joking, what makes your mind boggle?
So together, we made a shortbread recipe that was passed onto me a couple of weeks ago and got out the cookie cutters. The only fish shape we had was a sort of Angel fish, appropriate in the circumstances, I suppose.
And, much mess later, here they are!
It's good to be back again.I hope to blog a bit more now that I have a better camera on my phone and that I have a bit more energy back. I have been writing another post for a while now...
Monday, 19 March 2012
For today's feast, I'd like to recommend St Joseph's website, where you can find prayers to the great foster-father of Jesus. If you need another recommendation, then according to the site, none other than St Teresa of Avila had this to say about him:
"I took St. Joseph for my patron and advocate, and I recommend myself unceasingly to his protection. I do not remember ever to have asked anything of him that I did not obtain.
It seems as though God gives to other saints the grace to assist us in some certain necessity; but according to my experience, St. Joseph assists us in every want. Our Lord, wishing to make us understand that, as He was obedient to His foster-father here upon earth, so He now can refuse no request in heaven. Many persons who have invoked him by advice have experienced this truth, and the number of his clients increases daily and corroborates what I declare.
For several years past, I have asked a special favour at his festival, and it has always been granted. If the request was not judicious, he has denied it for my greater good. I implore those who do not credit this to make the trial for themselves. Let him who has no guide in the way of prayer take this great Patriarch for his director. He will not go astray."
Saturday, 17 March 2012
Saturday, 10 March 2012
The countdown to our beloved St Joseph's feast day begins today. Being so close to Jesus and Mary makes him a powerful intercessor for us down here on earth.
Friday, 17 February 2012
Thursday, 16 February 2012
Mission accomplished. Toot asleep in buggy. Inside we go. Crotchety toddlers and museums don't mix, do they? But aaah, we needn't have worried. The museum was closed due to renovations.
Monday, 30 January 2012
I was just thinking today how empty my life would be if I didn't believe in God. It's not the first time I've thought that of course, but it really hit me this evening as I read more of Fr Benedict J Groeschel's wonderful book The Saints in My Life. I am coming to the end of it, but don't want it to end, which is always a good sign of a book, I think! I had been savouring a little of it each night as I shared some special quiet time with the baby Toot, which itself has recently come to an end. Seventeen months wasn't bad, I suppose, but it's always difficult to let the closeness of breastfeeding go.