Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Summer 2010 - Holidays

Toormore 2010
There are some things in life that are so utterly beautiful in their simplicity. Our times in Toormore, West Cork are just one of those things. Trips to Toormore are as old as our marriage and there were also quite a few trips before that. There are many ways in which we have been so blessed and this place has to be in the top ten blessed things in our life. Mary and Bren, my aunt and uncle, have generously lent us their house every summer. This began with a week to relax after our wedding and now continues every summer with a classic beach holiday with the children.

Airports and rented cars and restricted luggage volumes are cast aside in favour of throwing everything into the car to be at our holiday destination in 90 minutes. The lure of sunny foreign climes do not hold a candle to this rural idyll.


Rew, 2010
Rob, 2010

Ronan, Rob, Stephen and Andrew, 2010
Jane, 2010
Clare, 2010, age 5
Ice-creams, 2010

Sometimes putting this blog together is frustrating when you are trying to put a few photos together. I was trying to show the kids over the past 3 years since I bought a digital camera. I wanted to label them but I can't. The best way to note the difference is to look at Jane especially. At first she is crawling on the beach (though she can actually walk at this point); then in 2008 you see her hair growing and she is in a pink check togs; 2009 there is a photo of Tim and the gang;
and the remainder are 2010.

Sometimes the Kiely's join us and this year was one of those years. The cousins love being together and the noise is deafening. Peace decends at night when the adults retire to the concervatory for reading, chat or a game of Balderdash.

THe daytime begins with a late breakfast, usually a trip to the beach, then a visit to the park with an ice-cream. It is a simple formula but it is a perennial recharge for our batteries. Sometimes it is the simple things that are the best.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Summer 2010 - From Baby to Girl

I should have been writing this blog on a more regular basis over the summer. I had no 'work' but my days were so FULL. There was a slow rise in the morning time where I could linger at sipping a mug of coffee. This was followed by the luxury of putting most things on the long finger so many things got filed under 'forget'. The blog suffered as a consequence.

Anyhow my main priority was settling the family back into a happy security and stress-free time. Under this new regime of coolness, my baby blossomed.

2007 and Jane is just about walking. She was the sunniest baby I ever knew - good-humoured and tolerant (being knocked over several times a day by two elder brothers has the advantage of engendering great placidness in a girl). We got a glimpse of the fieriness in her character on the day of her 1st party. When her meringue was split to share with little Isabella she threw a strop that actually made us laugh. She was raging at the insult of having to share something so delicious. That Autumn, after she severed her finger, Ama bought her a dolly (Anna Rose) and pram. It was a match made in heaven.

2008 - our beauty is now 2 years old

When I look back over our photos, I never tire of the cherubic fabulousness of her. She was such a character even then. When this photo was taken, she only had a few little words. It was to be September '08 when we started to hear her take on the world. Her family of dolls expanded to include Aimee that Christmas. Aimee effectively became my 4th child for she needed a change of clothes and a nappy change as regularly as any real baby. Jane was quite the exacting mother.

By the time she was three, a strong, independent character had fully emerged. She had her own opinions, her own way, her own style. And to my amazement, I was not going to always influence her opinions. No Madam. This little lady had her own ideas. You could pull your hair out with frustration at times, but you couldn't help but admire her determined spirit. This contrasted with the softness in her. This was never more apparent than when she cared for her her latest dolly, Annabell. What a loving little soul she is. While the other dolls were still seen to, Anabell was top dog (or doll). To see her carry that 'baby' on her hip and plant loving kisses on that forehead filled me with joy. A child that can love like that has something very special. During the stressful times we had as a family this year, I consoled myself that the love she showed could only have been learned from us.

Jane is Four Years Old

Through the last year, her language became more sophisticated and she was communicating constantly. Her skills as a 'Mama' continued to flourish but the surprise was a new love of dancing. Santa had added a stocking filler of SingStar (Abba) with the PS3 and to our delight and awe, she started really shaking her stuff. As the music soared, she sang and danced in front of the window reflections in the new kitchen...a little bit of butt here and a little bit of boogie there. We signed her up for ballet after Christmas and a new passion was born. Weeks later, she was put on the stage with the rest of the baby ballet 'troupe' and her earnestness astonished us.
Quote of the night: "Mummy, I don't want that small stage (the class) anymore. I just want the BIG stage (performance)". Holy God! We have a diva on our hands.

In June, when I got my holidays from school, I had a bit of time alone with Jane before we collected the boys. Though I was always cognisant of her good communication skills before, I was bowled over by her effervescent chat. Stream of consciousness, how are you! It never stopped. "....isn't that right, Mummy?" was a particular favourite suffix to her musings. Achievements over the summer include learning to ride a bike without stabilisers (it took one day!), dressing without making a scene ("I DON'T LIKE THAT, MUMMY") and the freedom of being able to call next door to see her pal, Caoimhe, and play contentedly without incident. The latter achievement must be the best one!

The Pals - Jane and Caoimhe: Summer 2010

Jane has become very rooted in her place as a little girl in our family. She is watching me make-up my face; asking for lip-gloss and a lick of cream; commenting on pretty things she sees. The cutest has to be when she says: "sure we are the girls, Mummy". This baby girl who is now a fully-fledged big girl is just burrowing herself deeper and deeper into my heart.

Summer 2010 - Football Crazy

The Robster

There is something about summer days and evenings that is so magical. Sun low in the sky, freckled faces flushed with a rosy glow of over-exertion and ....smiles. Ah yes, smiles are the best and these two little guys are just about as happy as they can be. I think that we must have about 10 different balls in our garden - round, oval, large and small. It does not seem to matter what the shape but as long as my boys feet are making contact with those balls they are smiling and happy. The collective noise that filters from a bevvy of boys chasing one of those balls at a local ' Green' is one of the definitive sounds of summer. To think that my lads are now a part of that happy noise is one of the simplest, but most heart-warming pleasures.

The Rewster

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Our Man returns home

July 2010

The Children
After months - 5 months to be precise - the Man of our house is home from his Monday - Friday life away from us. Previous to this stint, he was abroad for 6 months so we have not had a normal life for 15 months. We are a bit war-torn from the struggle without him. I am anyway. The children somehow have got into the habit of always complaining, whinging and bickering with me or with each other. I blame myself. I am a bit whingy and bickery myself. And as I said in the previous post, kids just emulate what they see.

We have been juggling a lot. I would love to have been brave enough to ditch the job for this period. But I wasn't.

Since I finished work in June for the summer, I have made a monumental effort to try and over-ride this unfortunate pattern. I have been calm. I have given good example. Most of the time. But the ease with which we slipped into this habit of living, is a much greater struggle from which to climb.

No3 is responding fairly well. She is young and she wants to be a good girl. In fact, she never loses and opportunity to point out how well she is doing when one of the boys is struggling. No1 can be so nasty to his smaller brother. Yet, when I reason with him he understands why he should not behave in this way. In theory he responds, in practice I find myself reiterating the same thing again and again. I know that some of this is just sharpening their social teeth but it is wearing and sends us on that negative spiral. No2 is the tell-tale, the autocratic dispenser of 'The Rules' (which apply to everyone else except himself) and the howler.

Each one of these children have so many beautiful characteristics. No1: loving, diplomatic and personable. No2: spirited, cuddlesome and thoughtful. No3: sunny, enthusiastic and sociable. There is so much potential between them. We are now finished with the simple days of the *baby bubble* now and on to the challenge and responsibility of the hard stuff.

These past 15 months have been difficult but now we are out of them. It is time to look forward; pour oil on the troubles; put a glint in our eyes and start embracing a fuller life.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Busy June

The Wedding
A sublime few days were had in the South of France 'en famille'. The weather was perfect, the bridal couple were sublime and the company was wonderful. The house we rented easily absorbed the Grand Clan of Egars, with a pool for the boys to frolic in and a large table on which to feed everyone.

A frenzied effort of flower-arranging, booklet binding and decoration of the marquise kept the Bride's family very busy for the days leading to the wedding but it is fair to say that many of the guests lent a hand. Busy hands got to know each other and set the tone for the Special Day.
The wedding day dawned and amongst others, two little flower girls made preparations for their special role.

Jane and Isabella were breath-takingly beautiful when they emerged in a froth of silk in cream and blue. Two deliciously shy little girls, causing a stir already in their lives with the beauty that they are radiating. This photo shows them walking down the road to meet the bride.
The groom waited patiently for a bride that dazzled in ivory lace and silk duchess satin and organza.

Aoife was easily one of the prettiest brides I ever saw.

And what a beautiful couple they made.

The party was uniquely catered for by Olivier Bontemps who created pure theatre with the wedding banquet in Aoife's French home finishing up with the pre-requisite French Crocque en Bouche which made its entrance over the heads of the guests flanked by flames.

It was a party none of us are likely to forget.

Jane is 4: June 21st, 2010

Bunting heralded the day.......

...we cut the fabric and made the invitations....

....made the cake......
and all that was left to do for a 4 year old girl and her party guests was to blow out the candles......

and open the presents....

How I just love this baby girl who has grown into a spirited, energetic and enthusiastic big girl. How I thank God for her and her brothers and the joy they bring to us. How perfect and how loving she is. She opens my eyes every day to the beauty of life, pushes me to my limits and crushes me with how lucky we are to have our children. She amazes me with her perspective and twinkles with the unstoppable zest for living that blesses her.

Jane Marie Therese Egar - your character is this big, beautiful shadow of everything we are. Wow. It is an honour to hold in our hand the daunting task of being an example. To teach you everything we know. We want to raise a beautiful, confident, loving human being and we will do everything we can to try and ensure we can fulfill that goal. Know today and always how much I love you and enjoy you and your brothers. Know that today was an example of a day of when I felt so incredibly lucky and thrilled to be your Mama. xx