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Sleeping beauty

Let me preface this post by saying that I am by no means referring to myself as beauty! Or sleeping for that matter.

Well, what’s the point then, you ask?

Do you ever get stuck in a rut and think, I need a change. I need to do something! And then you do and you think you are being so brave and adventurous doing this new thing and then you think one day, about 10 months later, hmmm, lets see if this old thing ever worked for me. And all of a sudden, you are transformed! Shazam! You are that person you had been looking for all along!!

And it’s like waking up from a deep sleep, a revelation. You were there all along. You’ve found the self you were meant to be.

Well, let me tell you. I had one of those moments yesterday.

Everything in my life is a big round of firefighting. I just can’t seem to get ahead of myself so I’m chasing my tail. With my husband, my kids, the house, work, etc etc etc.

But yesterday, I tried on some red lipstick. I’ve always known that I’m a red lipstick kind of girl. I’ve even sung it’s praises on this blog. It was my secret weapon. But a while back, I needed a change and I listened when someone told me to try something else. Try this rose lipstick, they said. It’s different but it’s you. And so I did. And it was great for a time, a long time. Until yesterday when I put the red lipstick on again and BOOM! I was a different person again.

And I KNOW I’m talking about lipstick, ffs. But it made me realise a bunch of things.

– You can have more than one lipstick at any given time! Yes, this is obvious. But I’m so lazy and complacent that I tend to stick to one thing all the time. So this needs to change. It’s not about changing one thing forever amen. It’s about developing and realising that maybe you were there all along. And incorporating the new colours with the old. And changing it up now and again.

And not losing sight of yourself in the meantime.

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This is probably the most ridiculously convoluted post I’ve written in a long time. But it just had to come out.

This morning, after putting my face on, I turned around to Gabriella and asked her what she thought, not really thinking she’d notice. And she said, “Mummy! You’re you again.”

Good morning, world!

Guess who got 12 hours of sleep last night? 😉 My off switch finally kicked in. I know you can never catch up with your sleep but gosh, I feel like a new person.

So back to the summer highlights. Where do I start?

Gabriella’s birthday was definitely one of them!

This is a letter I wrote her for her birthday.

You are six! I am so proud of the girl you are. Loving, sensitive, imaginative, patient with your little brother (most times), independent, giving and affectionate. You are all those and more.

Five was a bumper year. You started and finished your first year of big school. You had a great year bar a few hiccups which we are working on. You got the chicken pox! You lost your first tooth which made me cry because you were so excited and that more than anything really brought it home to me how fast you are growing.

We went home to the Philippines last Christmas and though we go home every year, you appreciated it a lot more then. You enjoyed your cousins and aunt and uncles and spending time with lolo and lola. You made a lot of memories with special people and it will always stand to you.

Six is going to be even more spectacular. I remember a lot about being six and when you’re older, I hope your memories of it are as idyllic and wonderful.

We have a big party coming up for you! We are so excited, we’ve tried to put in all the things you asked for and it was so much fun planning it with you.

Your first birthday was in papa and gigi’s house. It was really an adult party as most first birthdays go but you had a small group of friends there and it’s fantastic that you are still connected with most of them.

Your second birthday was in Donegal castle. We invited a few friends from crèche and other friends. As far as parties went, it was easy peasy. The farmers market was on in the castle, I made a few crowns for you and your friends. Brought some sandwiches and got the rest of the party food from the market. I made tokens for parents so they could get coffee and you had a great time running around.

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In fact it went so well, we did the same for your third party. We did the same for the food. Lola sent some really awesome princess gift bags. And a real princess came! She wore a lovely green gown with a pointy hat and played bubbles with all of the kids. Kathleen at the fluffy meringue said that you were good luck cos the sun always shone on your birthday.

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Your fourth birthday was at home. We had finished renovating the house and it was still tidy enough to have people over. The thought of having to clean the house before and after the party is enough to give me hives! I made you a peppa pig cake and pink panther came to serve it to you!!! Lola was there and she cut your hair for the very FIRST time since you were born and you looked so grown up with your short hair. There was a small bouncy castle that auntie jess gave you for Christmas and a pink piñata. I also spent days making food for the adults and I remember thinking I’m not doing that again!

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For your fifth birthday, you wanted a pirate princess party. We decided to have it in the farm (so i wouldn’t have to clean) and I wished so much for a dry day because everything was going to be outside. We made a big obstacle course in the lawn using different toys and I made up clues for a treasure hunt. Everyone had to guess the clues and do the obstacle to get the treasure to add to their loot bags. ( in case you haven’t noticed, we are all about the fun loot bags! ) There was a pirate’s walk the plank using some boards and bricks that daddy lent us. A slide with telescopes as a treasure- I spent weeks collecting toilet rolls and wrapping them in foil. There was two trampolines and a ball pool with different toys and treats which led us to the biggest treasure- the piñata! But then a scary pirate came and tried to steal everyone’s treasure! He was a very silly pirate, complete with an eye patch but with a robin instead of a parrot. You had a chocolate pirate ship cake that I made- and it looked like a pirate cake, with a lot of imagination and the cool cake toppers tita kitkat sent.

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So now you are six. I have been planning your birthday since May! My birthday is during the Christmas holidays so my classmates never sang me happy birthday at school and I always missed that. Your birthday is during the summer holidays and you’ll miss out in it too. I don’t know everyone in your class so we sent “Save the date” cards on the last week of school. A bit OTT and obsessive of me, but how else was I supposed to invite your class mates?

Initially, the birthday plan was a visit to Amococo in letterkenny then an afternoon in lurgybrack farm. But it wasn’t fair to expect parents to take your friends there and it was too expensive to hire a bus. Plus the thought of running after a dozen children in a maze of light sounded like the beginnings of a break down. Instead, we had a girlie day out with Julie and Lauren and it was great to just spend the time together without running around after max or listening to the two of you whine in the car. 🙂

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I didn’t know that the markets would be on in the castle the weekend after your birthday, otherwise we would have had another go around there. We wanted to do something special. We’ve been working so hard over the last few months and wanted you to have a special party. The inside of the house hasn’t seen a mop in weeks and again the thought of cleaning was giving me nightmares. A bouncy castle at the farm was a thought but with no facilities out there and the chance of wet day, that went out the window too. You said everyone went to bumblebees and wanted something different, so different is what we’re getting.

On Sunday, we are having a princess tea party at Solis Lough Eske castle. You love it out there, you love getting a chance to dress up (not that you ever need an excuse) and their Sunday kids club and that is your special treat.
I am all about the details. Even though there is no cooking or cleaning involved with the party (bonus!), we’ve been busy with all the little details and surprises. Lola sent an amazing box which arrived on your birthday, full of goodies for the giveaways. I’ve been making bunting and organising decorations and sorting out the treasure hunt. Why hands kids a goodie bag on their way out when you can make them work for it? 🙂 I am hoping (that’s the operative word) to produce a castle cake fit for a princess and make you an awesome piñata (as awesome as the mickey mouse piñata I made max for his birthday with his matching mickey mouse cake).

You wanted a beauty station and yes, I know you are six but its the summer holidays and we are looking at it in terms of imaginative play, that’s what dress up is all about! So we have a nail bar, a hair salon complete with glitter gel (that I made) and face painting, the child’s equivalent of make up. And though I may paint your face (or tattoos on your arms), you are far too young for lipstick! Then we have a make your own magic wand for the princess (and prince or in max’s case, fireman) parade!

Fun so far? You know, babe, not to disparage the indoor play ground or the bouncy castle parties, but my idea of a birthday party is making it fun for you AND joining in your fun. Because it won’t be long when you’ll want one just with your friends and I have to send you off with my (daddy’s) credit card and a wave.

So I hope that your party is all you ever dreamed and that you and your friends have a ball! I can’t wait to see your face when we get there. It will make all the hard work ( and all the snide comments from people that should mind their own business ) worth it.
I love you, baby girl.
But now I am six,
I’m as clever as clever.
So I think I’ll be six
now and forever.
-AA Milne

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Zzzzzzzzzzzz

*sigh*

Nothing good comes from a post that starts with a sigh. Unless its a love struck sigh but that’s not the case here. It is inevitably me whining for 1000 words about how tired I am and how much insomnia sucks.

I started this post off this morning full of self pity and recrimination about all manner of things. Some real, some imagined (at least I hope so). But it’s after lunch now and i had a hearty surf and turf salad- prawns and pork belly with Japanese dressing so I can hardly complain too much now.

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Although my good humor is largely due to this. Hello, stroopwaffles. After a low carb week, it’s enough to send me sky high!

So back to my gloomy sleepless morning complete with erratic Irish September weather, I was well on my way to a pity party for one. It got so bad I was listening to josh groban. Guaranteed to make anyone maudlin. Although a little bit of Andrea Bocelli did lift me up a bit. Especially this one, lullaby

Too bad it didn’t put me to sleep though.

But it wasn’t so bad that I had to resort to watching homecoming videos on YouTube. That is my number one pity party activity of choice. What’s that you say? Go to YouTube, search homecoming and any number of videos will come up. I am specifically referring to American army/navy/air force/etc homecoming videos. The surprise ones are the best (or worst depending on how you look at it).

I watch them because,

A. When I get to those levels, I am usually a seething mass of tension and it’s the fastest way to make me cry
B. whatever your thoughts are about war, my life is not so bad that someone I love is away for months or years at a time with the very real prospect of bodily harm
C. I’m a sap.

So exhibit A is me this morning:

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And exhibit B, me this afternoon. Slightly less sleepy even though I lost my lipstick. But still plenty neurotic.

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I shall go now and get my head sorted for my monster summer post, if I ever get around to it.