Sunday, November 30, 2008

ExtendedStay America

Through the magic of Manus' job, we have extended our stay in the states for 3 days. We will now be flying back on Friday, Dec. 5th.

This means more time for Katie to bond with her 'gog' Poochie.

Which is good because Poochie has been teaching Katie how to survive in the wilds of Kendall. Like when you are outside and you are thirsty...

The puddle by the pool is refreshingly delicious.

ugh! Hairball...

Though we tried to present her with a socially more acceptable alternative...

She just didn't get it..

Who says an old dog can't teach a new kid bad tricks??
I wonder what they are scheming now...

Friday, November 28, 2008

Giving Thanks

Yesterday was Thanksgiving Day for the Americans. It conjures images of nice, white, Protestant pilgrims fresh off the Mayflower sitting in boy-girl, boy-girl order at a long picnic table with the scantly-clad, hard-bodied burnt umber savages as they break bread and offer second helpings of cornbread stuffing in the spirit of harmony and peacefully coexisting... ah yes, that is down-home American. Yee haw. It's also delusional and a sorry statement on the skewed version of history we teach our children. That and how good old Chris Columbus discovered this place.

However, the concept of a day to stop and reflect on the good in your life and give thanks for those gifts- that is a good idea on a global scale. (the mounds of food are just a bonus)

It is with that in mind that I do offer thanks for all the amazing riches I have. I was in America for Thanksgiving and the family, with the exception of cousin Jenny, was able to be together to celebrate. My parents are still in love (with each other) and perpetually young-at-heart. I have both of my grandmothers alive and well. I am married to a kind, patient and hard-working man. I have a beautiful daughter. We are able to live out a dream of living abroad. We have our friends and family and our health and if you have those things, you have every reason in the world for thanks giving.

Now if we are talking about the Hallmark Corp. American holiday that boast recipes for deep-frying your turkey, drinking your mashed potatoes Cola Cola style or serving the almighty Turducken on your silver platter, I have some other things to mention that I am thankful for.

1) That this is my blog and if I want to end a sentence in a preposition then I can. See above.* *above - also a preposition!

2) I got to play doctor with Mr. Gobbles, our holiday bird. First you have to clean out the body cavity. I was all Dr. G, Medical Examiner. "C.O.D: beheading with a sharp instrument. And, the bird has no heart. The liver appears to have been torn from the abdominal wall and placed into a plastic baggie." Then you search the exterior for any residual feather nubbins and you pop them out like a big juicy blackhead on a fat man's back. Then you massage the turkey breasts for a while, for no legitimate reason. It just feels cool. (okay, I'm not a perv... but it was a little fowl) Ha. Finally I teased away the skin from the viscera to create pockets for some herbed butter. I kept shouting out, "Nurse! Scalpel!". It probably stopped being funny after the sixth or fifteenth time - but not to me...

3)I found out where stuffing comes from. Oh Stove Top, you had me fooled...

4) I am thankful for football games on TV on Thanksgiving Day because it keeps the boys busy while we girls do what we do best

5) Cards and Tequila

6) I am grateful for modern technology. Mummum was able to read all the birthday wishes on my brand new handy-dandy laptop-ette. I am sitting outside on the porch enjoying Miami's finest weather while I type this wirelessly. And we hooked up our slingbox. Greatest invention known to modern man. We can piggyback off the cable here at my parents and watch AMERICAN TV in Ireland. What more can a girl ask for? Dustin, you are my hero. I am forever in your debt. You are now in the will.

7) We were so happy that Katie's German Tourist alter-ego flew in for a visit.

8) Thank you so much Bill and Carolee for the big bottle of Jameson whiskey that we used to cheers my dad on his 60th birthday. It washed away the taste of tequila beautifully.

9) But I am most thankful for the fact that I had my camera and could capture this.

God Bless America and bring on the leftovers.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

This Amazing Woman

Turned 95 years old on Thursday.

She is still gorgeous.

We went over to her house to celebrate her birthday. And as we do whenever the family is together, we spent the whole day playing cards.

And drinking tequilla.

Katie is such a bad influence... just look at what she made her cousin Nicholas do -

They couldn't even stand up!

Or maybe it was the shoes..

Nicholas shows Pop and Katie the birthday cards.

And puts Mummum and Elissa in a double headlock.

Then helps mummum blow out her candles. Katie just wants the cake.

Happy Birthday to my Mummum, the most beautiful woman I know. And look! now she is good enough to eat

Monday, November 17, 2008

Here we go again...

If my life over the last two months were a pie chart...

And here we go again.. Our California adventure has come to an end. I'm actually sad to leave. I really like California. I love having friends right down the street. And Target. Sweet Target...

I'm sure I will have more to say about living out here once I've had some time to reflect on it all, but no time for reflection today - today is suitcase packing day. I don't know how we fit all this stuff into our bags to come out here. It is amazing the amount of crap you accumulate.

We leave tomorrow for two weeks in Miami. November 27th is not only Thanksgiving, but my dad's 60th birthday so I am really happy that we will be with our family for the holiday.

I am actually getting excited about getting back home to Ireland. I told Manus that the day we get back I want to go out and get our Christmas tree. I need a project and decorating the house for Christmas will do just fine. I want our house to look like Mama Perrin's - Like Santa came in and spewed red and green and holiday cheer all over the place. And I want a fire in our fireplace at all times. And S'mores for breakfast. Graham crackers, mmm. That's another thing you can't get in Ireland. Note to self: ship some Honey Maids...

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Eleven eleven

Three years ago today...
I married my best friend. (or some crap like that)

11-11 was such an ideal date to get married because we knew we would never forget it. We even get two times a day when our digital clock reads out a reminder 11:11! and if one of us looks at the clock at that very moment, we shout out, "Eleven - eleven! I love you!" But 11-11 doesn't tell us how many years. When we were trying to figure it out last night we couldn't believe it'd been only three. Yes, sometimes it feels like forever.... But then, we think about how much has happened. Manus started a new business, we had Katie, and we moved to another country. We've been to Tahiti, New Zealand, Ireland, England, France, California!

I love my husband. I make his life amazingly difficult and he still wants to keep me around! I think that with every year together we learn a little more of what it means to be married. (I really thought it came with a handbook). I'm still not as good as I would like to be at telling him how much I appreciate all the sacrifices he has made for us. He works so hard, so many long hours and he doesn't complain. I am still struggling with "loving him FOR his faults, not just in spite of them" and he accepts and loves me for everything that I am. Sometimes I read his silence for indifference and I am wrong. Sometimes I am angry. Sometimes I am selfish. Sometimes I am childish. (shocking, I know...) I am so sorry for what those feelings bring and I am trying every day to grow and better myself - not just for me, but for my husband and the vows we took on this day three years ago. We are a team. Go team Walsh!

C'mon! Look at this GQ guy... What's not to love? Eat your hearts out, girls...
We were so amazingly blessed with friends. Manus more friends than me, obviously - but I'm lucky nonetheless. I know that we will have these people in our lives forever. And family too... Thank you to all of our family that were able to make the sacrifices to be with us on our wedding day. We have often talked together about what it meant to us to have so many and from so far away there to celebrate this life that began that day.

Going through all these pictures that I probably haven't looked at in two years has brought so many great memories back. I wish I could post all the pictures. It has been such a fun walk down memory lane. Does anyone know if Flickr allows these copyrighted proofs to be posted?
Christy Moore once said, "Life is an ocean, Love is a boat - In troubled waters, it will keep us afloat" ....So what if he failed to mention the occasional seasickness?
I love you, Manus.
Here's to another great three years. (at least, of course) Just keeping it to realistic goals... ;)

Monday, November 10, 2008

YO! semite

Scenes from Yosemite Valley.

We spent the weekend with the McErleans in a little cabin in the woods just outside Yosemite.

We left here around 1pm on Friday and travelled down the long and winding road that leads from the golden rolling hills of Folsom and El Dorado Hills to the fall colors and sheer granite faces of Groveland, CA and the Yosemite National Park area.

If we arrived at 3:30, we were unpacked by 4 and by 4:05 the first bottle of wine was uncorked. (I love a vacation)

I was really disappointed when I saw that the fireplace in the house was not wood-burning but propane-fueled. But my dreams of throwing another log on the fire, roasting marshmallows and singing campfire songs were not dashed for long. While exploring the property, we found a fire ring in the yard and were quickly scrambling around for the perfect s'more-making twigs.

Dinner, campfire, ghost-stories and molten-lava marshmallow treats. A few glasses of wine and we were all in bed by 9.

Saturday morning we loaded up and drove into the park. Stopping along the way at (almost) every scenic overlook to capture that Kodak moment.

This is the view Katie got every time we stopped too. Poor girl... drew the short straw and had to stay behind in the car as bear bait. Well, we didnt want them to eat our picnic lunch!

To be fair, we left Ciaran locked up in the backseat sometimes too.

Katie loves the boys. She wants to do everything they do. She follows them around like a puppy dog. Isn't this what every Northerner's senior picture looks like? Katie is very advanced for her age.
I was dying to see a bear in the park, or at least a little mountain lion, but had to settle for some deer. These were so close to the trail and they didn't seem the least bit fazed by the deer paparazzo.

Saturday night it rained and rained and rained. We had three bottles of wine, six bottles of beer, two games of Blackjack, seven temper tantrums, five fights over the toys and four time-outs. ...And that was just the adults.

But all that rain in the valley...

...was snow up the mountain.

We hiked to a grove of giant sequoias Sunday morning. It was so beautiful. A winter wonderland. And it was cold.
Just another thing we put Katie through, and she is too young to appreciate it.

But the boys loved every minute. It is safe to say a few snowballs were thrown.
Okay, maybe Katie had a little bit of fun.

She shows off her very first fat lip.

The "tunnel tree" hollowed out in 1858. Covered wagons and later cars drove through this giant sequoia. The road was closed in 1993.
Now the tree's primary use is the background for the obligatory family photo. Talk about a demotion.
And today, Nov 10th is my friend Naomi's birthday. Happy Birthday Naomi! I love ya. (not that she ever reads this, the turd..)