Bzzzzzzzz

I was sitting at the computer, half working, half telling the kids to turn off the tv and go to bed but I wasn’t paying much attention though it was way past their bed time, so engrossed was i in my work.

Gabriella came up and it didn’t occur to me for ages til I started to get annoyed that she was hovering around me buzzing in the most irritating fashion. I turned around to snap at her when she suddenly said, “that’s how annoyed I was earlier, mummy”.

I burst into laughter. She was referring to a conversation we had earlier that evening when I scolded her for not eating all her lunch at her field trip and she said it was because the wasps were annoying her.

It also made me pause, so often I get frustrated with my kids for “not listening” when in reality it’s because I’m the one whose not paying attention. Just a note to myself.

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Digging for treasure

I am equally delighted and dismayed by yesterday’s unintentional discovery.

I had a rare half a day off yesterday. Had an awesome shoot in the morning followed by what was meant to be mommy and gia day. Then we got a letter in the post to advise of Max’s last developmental health check with the PHN for that very same afternoon! (Eeek! Where did the time go? But that’s a story for another day) So I got to hang out with my kids anyway.

Their cousins are over from England so we headed out to see if they were home to say hello but they weren’t there so we headed for the beach.

After a showery afternoon, it was a gorgeous evening. Warm and sunny with a cool breeze. It was low tide, the beach felt eerily deserted after the weeks of local crowds descending on it with the good weather. I had emptied the beach gear out of the car just that morning to put in my photo props so we didn’t have a single bucket or spade.

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But we weren’t stopping long, just a quick walk before we headed back to see if the cousins were home.

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We foraged for unusual shells to make a beach collage which kept them occupied for a bit.

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Then Gia headed off on her adventure while max was extremely whiney about the green sand. The tide was so far out and the sand had mossy pockets which he thoroughly disapproved of! He kept demanding I pick him up and walked on his tippy toes the whole time cos he didn’t like the dirty sand. He was driving us bananas so we headed back and I noticed a man with a bucket and I was instantly intrigued. What is he doing? What is he collecting? Can I eat it?

I crept closer and started to eavesdrop when I spied a bucket full of seaweed. He told the lady who stopped to chat to him that we was collecting it for his wife for a foot bath, there was chat about healing properties but I half tuned out and max was still whining, until he bent down, plucked something out of the sand and then ate it.

Oooh!! This was more like it. I asked him what he was eating and he said cockles! As if I should have known. Then he bent over again, found another one, opened it up and offered it to me.

And now you’re probably thinking, wtf? I read all this for cockles?

But I seriously cannot explain how amazing this was to me. He may as well have offered me ambrosia. This little raw morsel of bivalve was like gold. It was briny, like the sea. It was sweet and fresh and it evoked memories of my childhood and my dad. I wish I was as eloquent as Anthony Bourdain when he recounted his experience of the first time he ate an oyster. It was that kind of revelation. Joy, closely followed by utter dismay that I’d been coming to this beach for the last 13 years and was unaware of the treasure that lay just beneath my feet.

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Sure, I’ve eaten cockles before, but they came out of a jar. This was digging your fingers into the sand to comb through it to grasp these little molluscs to eat. Raw, on the beach, with the smell of sand and sunshine around you.

It brought me back to summers with my dad when he would bring home bushels of “butil” (a smaller, similar clam like food- I don’t know it’s real name) from cavite and we would sit outside eating it, just the two of because nobody else could be bothered cos it was so tiny and tedious. In fairness, most shellfish have very little ROI when you factor in how hard it is to pick it out of their shells, etc. But it was like “our” thing.

I promptly abandoned my kids on the shore while I had a forage for myself. He taught me how to open them, like turning a key. And my excitement must have been evident cos his wife made her way down to us to see what all the commotion was about. I was that thrilled that both my kids were enticed to try it. My kids! Gabriella with her clean fetish ate something that came out of the ground without disinfecting it to within an inch of its life.

My new friend told me not to tell all and sundry where it was lest the hordes descend on our wee beach but any local will know exactly where this is. I wish someone had shared it with me years ago!

I could wax eloquent for pages yet but this was truly a memorable day ๐Ÿ™‚

So much so that I went back today, sans children, with a bucket and spade to dig out my dinner.

The beach was blessedly deserted, I didn’t fancy scaring anyone away with my enthusiasm if they made the mistake of asking me what I was doing.

I had a million things on my to do list today, but the hour I took for myself to dig around in the sand was nothing short of therapeutic. Plus, I got dinner to boot ๐Ÿ™‚

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Again, the return on investment isn’t that great, but it made it all the sweeter. This is how cavemen must have felt. I get food. I feed family.

But, in this case, I kind of forgot to share ๐Ÿ™‚

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I googled loads of recipes to try but in the end, I ate them standing up over the counter, fresh out of the steamer, no condiments, juice running down my arms. Heaven in a bowl.

Bad mummy

I’ve had a sick feeling in my tummy all day. I yelled at Gabriella (a lot) this morning. We were late, I couldn’t sleep so I couldn’t get up. She was up with the birds as usual and dressed and ready to go before I got downstairs. The usual what to feed my exceedingly picky kids for breakfast game started. She wanted boiled eggs, he wanted fruit trees. So I got breakfast ready and went up for a shower. She came up and asked could she have another egg and I told her to go ahead. She only eats the yolks and we don’t have it that often.

When I got downstairs, she had peeled and discarded all the white bits off all over the table and her tea set and had wiped her dirty hands on her clothes.

I lost the plot.

It seems so petty now but I was so cross and they weren’t paying attention cos they were watching cartoons and I freaked out more than I should.

A lot of it is my own fault. I should have prepared something the night before, I should have got up earlier, I shouldn’t let them watch cartoons in the morning, I should have stood my ground years ago and made them eat whatever I cooked, should have, would have, could have.

Max was delighted he wasn’t in trouble for once and started taunting her. Little @&3*%! So I yelled at him too.

Gah!!!!

So I apologised to Gabriella for yelling at her and rushing them but to be honest, I feel like it was a passive aggressive faux apology which she’ll probably remember in therapy years from now.

So I feel sick to my stomach and eaten up by guilt for being such a bad mummy. I’m working all day and I have a shoot this evening so they’ll probably be asleep by the time I get home. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

I need a day off from my two jobs, I need sleep, I need to stop chasing my own tail, but most importantly, I need to reconnect with my kids. To turn off my phone and all the other iDevices and just be. With my kids.

Just be.

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Summer time

Three weeks into the summer already!

My baby girl is 7! Seven! How can I have a child who is 7 years old? I am in awe everyday that I have 2 amazing, sometimes annoying, happy loving children.

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I was reading back on a post I made in March and four months later, the insomnia is still there, the house is an even bigger shambles and yet we are still doing the best we can. Making happy memories amidst the chaos of everyday life.

And even though I could cry with frustration sometimes, I wouldn’t change it for the world. (Not all of it anyway. I am still waiting for the magic fairy to clean the house and unblock the negative energy that the clutter has created. We need some good feng shui joo joo going on)

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So I need to make a never ending list to sort all out. Back in a sec (or a few weeks) ๐Ÿ™‚

Mommy says cheese!

Again, we come across some inspiring mommy wisdom, here, here and & here.

And so I am making more of an effort to “be in the picture” or let my kids take half asleep photos of me. Because, yes, mommy is here.

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Newspaper clipping from today’s Donegal Post

And instead of hiding them away on my phone, I am just as proud of them as I am of my kid’s photos because it shows the presence, the togetherness, make up or no make up.

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They are still few and far between but I will treasure each one and make sure I leave them tangible and lasting reminders of us, together.

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PS Thanks to everyone who has taken the time to like, follow, press, etc. This isn’t a blog I put out there, not many people I know IRL know about it. It’s just a place for me to verbalize (or try to) and keep a little visual reminder for myself of our every day. And that there is life outside of facebook. I do get a bit tired of all the passive aggressive status updates and the underlying competitiveness, etc, etc. Sometimes it makes me feel like a stand up comedian, waiting for the audience to applause.

What do you think of the new format? Too dark? Was the other one a bit lighter, more fun? Still having a play around anyway.

Naughty mommy.

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397054_10150673267936742_1330119345_nI am guilty of this: http://www.parenting.com/blogs/true-mom-confessions/holiday-stress?src=SOC&dom=fb

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Now, we do pick our holidays. I like Valentines, we always craft and send something to school. But Paddy’s day? Americans are definitely more Irish than the Irish on St Patrick’s day!

Gia and mummy day

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Technically, my day started at 4am when max threw up all over me. But let’s not dwell on that or the mt Everest of laundry waiting to be done.

Gia had an appointment in LGH today and it was an awkward time so she got to play hooky from school today.

So did I!

Anyway, it went well and hopefully there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

We went shopping afterwards for paddy’s day. The brief was wear as much green as you can to school tomorrow. So green it was. Lots of it!

She also spotted this:

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She has been bugging me for months for a detective outfit and none of my DIY costumes were doing the trick so when she spotted this, I think the people in the next town heard her excitement!

Next stop was a hat for the detective outfit. And not just any old hat but a Sherlock Holmes one. Needless to say, the magic of penneys only extends so far. So she settled for this:

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At least she amused herself while I was trying not to get too depressed while trying on clothes.

Anyway, she wanted to go to crรจche for an hour to show off her new outfit and I waited outside the door when she went in. I heard her BFF exclaim, “Gabriella, you’re a detective!!!”. It obviously worked and she was well pleased with herself ๐Ÿ™‚

So we always try to craft or bake for special occasions and we settled on green cupcakes!!!

We used this recipe: http://frugallygreenmom.com/2012/03/leprechaun-cupcakes.html

Now, I have to say, I always halve the amount of sugar in recipes but didn’t for this one, thinking the spinach might be too strong otherwise. Well, it’s not. Far from it. You can’t taste the spinach, I think the primary taste is the apples but its really sweet!

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Still, it’s super green, which was the point and instead of leprechaun cakes, max christened them Hulk cupcakes! ๐Ÿ™‚

Whether the kids will eat it remains to be seen tho ๐Ÿ™‚

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Marching on!

holmes

Wow, March already. Its been a hectic year so far. We’ve been plagued by plenty of insomnia, winter bugs, spring flus, stress and drama. But today, more than anything I’ve also realised how blessed we are.

Never mind the endless worries about money and work and the haves and have nots. I have plenty to be grateful for. Plenty to celebrate and people to love. Never mind the long nights with no sleep and the longer days running after ourselves, never catching up. I tuck my children into bed at night and each morning, even though it’s with great reluctance, always wishing for an extra five minutes of sleep, we wake up to a new day. To more trials and also to more miracles.

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For example, bed time has been a huge PITA lately, Max keeps looking for one last “cuddies” and one more story only to wake up 3 hours later when I’m finally catching up with work and the ritual starts again. And with current bout of insomnia, it’s hard. Hard to be patient when you can’t sleep because your brain is in overdrive. Hard not to yell or threaten or beg or cave in for a bit of peace.

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But in the greater scheme of things, when I look at these two photos and see just how quickly my baby is growing up, its nothing really, is it? How much longer will he crawl into my lap? To give me his huggies which involves him sticking his face into my neck and rubbing his face into mine. To give me kiss after kiss after kiss. Not much longer.

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How much longer will Gabriella come into bed with me in the middle of the night just cos she wants to feel my arms around her? To look to me because I have the answer to everything. How much longer will she pull at my sleeve to get me to stop working at the computer so I can play with her dolls or play pretend or hold her hand until she falls asleep? Not much longer.

What they need from me will change so quickly as it has in the last few years. Every step away from me to independence is a step I am both proud of and dread. Its hard to say don’t sweat the small stuff when you’re pulling your hair out with frustration because you have a bazillion things on your to do list and your kids have just wrecked the living room you spent two hours tidying up. Or when your daughter is late for school everyday because you just can’t get your shit together to go to sleep at a reasonable time so you never wake up on time either.

But seriously, don’t. sweat. the. small. stuff.

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It’s mother’s day on Sunday (the fake Irish one that’s to do with Easter as opposed to the 2nd Sunday in May that the Americans invented and I grew up celebrating). I will be working and Justin will be climbing some huge mountain. My kids will be with the babysitter for part of the day. But I will come home at lunch time and we will spend some time together while we wait for daddy to come home to have family dinner.

Today, I met a mother who will be getting out of hospital on Sunday to prepare for her child’s funeral the next day. A child who was born sleeping and will forever live only in her heart and her dreams. That’s what her mother’s day will be.

So I will take the prolonged bed times and the whining (oh, god, the whining!) and the cranky kids and the uneaten dinners and the never ending mess on the floor, under the couch, on the table, in the playroom/junkroom. The laundry that breeds like rabbits and the mismatched socks and the hectic mornings yelling at the kids to HurryTF up cos I overslept. And the worry, the constant worry that we are doing a good decent job. I will take it all. With it, I take the hugs and the kisses. The silly nonsense jokes that make me laugh anyway. The cheeky smiles that melt my heart. The art work they spend hours on to get just right for you to put up on the fridge. Or in Max’s case the scribbles in half the pages of my new (expensive) notebook (which make me smile anyway). I will take it all.

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I don’t talk much about my work with Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep. And maybe because I haven’t really spoken about it, I’ve had people tell me that it’s morbid or worse “ambulance chasing”. But you know what, I’m not forcing it on you. I’m not asking you to look at the photos (Its not allowed and I would never compromise someone’s privacy that way.) You’re not the one whose arms are empty. You’re not the one who will carry this life in your heart, long after the details become fuzzy in your mind.

It is there and it is simply heart breaking.

I am equally uncomfortable with the praise. Yes, I AM strong and I AM grateful for the opportunity to be able to offer this free service to grieving families. Not everyone could do it. I’m not doing it for accolades, or a pat on the back. I’m not going to put it in my portfolio to immortalise someone’s grief. But in the hope that weeks from now, years from now, a mum or dad will look at their photos and remember not only their angel but that someone cared enough to take some time out of their own lives to give them something to remember and to cherish.

So, yes, I will take it all and I will read this when times are tough (or I imagine them to be) and I will be thankful and appreciative and I will remember.

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(sleep wake hope and then) e.e cummings

Sweet dreams.

My daughter made me cry today

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We had a Chinese lantern we were preparing to light and let fly for Christmas Eve.

Me: okay guys, you have to make a wish when we light the lantern.
Gia: a wish for who?
Me: your wish for Christmas.
Gia: I wish those people like in America after the storm and the people in the desert have homes and food to eat for Christmas.
Me:…
Max: why are you crying, mama?
Me: cos you guys are the best.

If we wake up tomorrow and there is nothing under the tree, the love I have for my family will sustain us.

Have a blessed Christmas everyone.

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Wow

So, it’s two days the Christmas. November has come and gone and I’m still not sleeping. Except for the 48 hours sleep I had when I was deathly ill with a chest and ear infection. I did predict it after the hectic summer we had. My martyr complex knows no bounds!

Anyway, I miss journaling. Listening to myself ramble on and on. And what prompted me to do it just now was panic. Panic that today, I found out that I am the heaviest I’ve ever been bar when I was pregnant. In fact, I probably weighed as much when I was eight months pregnant. It’s just not on anymore. I’m fairly happy with myself, I know I’ll never be the skinny girl I wished for and purged for in high school. But I’ve never been this big either. So time to have a rethink and a reset. Max is three next month and I know I will be blaming him for the rest of my life for never losing the baby weight! So let’s get this shit together. No New Years resolutions. This is today’s resolution.

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No better time than now!

Although doing this two days before Christmas is akin to setting myself up for failure. Just a reminder to myself to take it easy. Step away from the trifle!

In other news, the kids are off for christmas holidays, it’s been equally fun and frustrating hanging out. Justin and I had date night for his birthday. We were out three nights in a row and I’m getting old. ๐Ÿ™‚ no bouncing back the next morning like I used to. No sleep ins either ๐Ÿ™‚

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Mom is in Sydney with Bj, jj and arjay are with Bbd and dads at home.

I can’t wait for Christmas morning for the kids ๐Ÿ™‚ hope Santa comes!