Saturday, February 28, 2009

Wish You Were Here...

Having a great time in Miami. Even managed some burnt shoulders and pink cheeks (no, not those cheeks). Will blog and post some new pics soon. My computer is on the fritz and until my main man, Manus "Captain Fantastic" is here tomorrow to fix it, this promise of future posting will have to suffice.

Perhaps to pass the time until then, you could read some of my friend's blogs. Oh wait... NONE of them have posted anything new in an age either. Yes, Im talking about you Mary, Jared, Jeff, Debbie, Erica, Leslie....

Monday, February 16, 2009

A Taste of Home

(l-r: Michelle, Carrie, Clare, Helena)

When I was in the states last fall I got a blog comment from an American gal also living in Kilkenny named Helena. We met for coffee soon after my return to Ireland last December and really hit it off. She joined a group on Facebook called "Americans Living in Ireland" and met some other Yanks braving it here in the wilds of SE Ireland. We talked of a meet-up and meet up we did. Yesterday five of us met for breakfast at gorgeous Mt. Juliet - an old stately home renovated into a hotel/spa/golf course. (Tiger plays here, dont'ja know...)

Amid real cloth napkins, carafes of coffee (could it have been fresh-brewed?!) and plates of Eggs Benedict we got to know a little bit about one another. We are all here because of Irish men, three out of the five of us are pregnant and no one likes the way the Irish say "hay-tch" for the letter "H" and how Billy Jo-el has a two syllable last name here.

We are all very different too - we are from Ohio, New York, Virginia, Wisconsin and Florida. We're in Marketing, Retail Management, Language Education, and Florism (is that a word? What is your field if you are a florist?). One gal lives on a farm and makes artisan fruit bars, selling at the local farmer's market. Im glad I talked to her because Orla and I had a little pipe-dream about baking for the Kilkenny market, but Im not willing to invest 8 months into getting approved and licensed for food production by the HSE. I've had enough troubles with those people.
We sat and ate and drank coffee and talked for well over three hours. The last table in the place, we wondered, albeit a bit belatedly, if we'd been too loud? "Typical Americans!", the staff would say after we left. "You can always spot them a mile away!"... But we are aware of the stereotypes Americans have over here and we are aware that we are 'different' - though careful not to assume 'better'. No one had a negative word to say about living abroad and I think most of them expect that Ireland will become their permanent home. While I may not share that view with them yet, I do hope that I will create friendships with these women that will last.
We made a decision to meet-up again soon and hopefully this will turn into a regular thing. Of course, Clare is having her baby next month and Michelle two months after that and with my busy work schedule... oh, wait a minute..
But speaking of home and busy and surprise! We are flying to Miami this Thursday for a two-week stay. Me, Katie, Nana and Pop are hitching a ride on Manus' business trip. What will I do with all that sun? Believe it or not, I have forgotten how to sweat. Alas... I am sure it will come pouring back to me.
Guess I'd better get packing!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Well, would'ja lookie here...

Just a word of caution to all of you out there: Sometimes pregnancy tests are wrong.

When I took a test in December, only one line appeared. Disappointed, Manus and I went out that night and drowned our sorrows. Apparently our sorrows weren't the only things that got a little soaked...

We had our first obstetric appointment today and our first set of ultrasound scans. We were assured that all things looked in order, so fingers crossed that the vodka just relaxed those dividing cells a bit. At least there is only one baby with two legs and two arms and a rapidly beating heart. The pictures didn't turn out all that revealing, but after studying them for the last few hours, I can point out that the above picture is a profile shot of the baby's head and torso (head on right) and no, it's not the most well-endowed specimen of male fetus: that extra appendage visible above the belly is the umbilical cord.
After taking the serious pics, baby said, let's have some fun! And S/he donned a pair of dark sunglasses and stuck out the tongue. We have another party animal on our hands. Rock on.
The midwife confirmed our August 26th due date. We are 12 weeks and one day today. This baby right now is approximately 6 cm long and 80 grams.

This picture doesn't show much of the baby, but confirms something I'd suspected even when I was pregnant with Katie: Some women carry babies high, some carry low. I carry completely in my butt. (See crack at the bottom of the image?) No wonder my ass gets so big... This explains so much.

Monday, February 9, 2009

25 Random Things

This application has been floating around Facebook lately and I've been tagged enough to feel that it is my turn to try and complete a list. It's a daunting task, really... Can I think of 25 things about myself? We'll find out.

25. I am an only child. Kinda. We had a foster child in our house for ten years, so I feel like I know what it is to have a younger sister - the bad parts at least.... the fighting over toys, the stealing, the vying for daddy's attention, the looking out my window... Its now that I am an adult that I wish so much for siblings. I've promised Katie she will have a brother or a sister someday (maybe both?!)

24. The experience with our foster child was terrible for me. I think it's the most traumatic thing in my life. She didn't leave our house under good circumstances and since then has had a nightmare existence. Nearly 15 years later there is still so much pain, guilt and sadness that I usually try not to think of her at all.

23. Moving to Ireland has been the biggest adventure of my life. Prior to this, I'd never lived outside of the state of Florida, let alone outside the country. When I first met my husband I couldn't point to Ireland on a map. He'll never let me live that one down. The best thing about living here is seeing America from the outside and getting a much clearer picture of who and what we "Americans" really are.

22. I am missing two of my top front teeth. Just wasn't born with them. I wear a retainer with fake teeth on it. I always forget that they aren't real and shock myself when I look in the mirror while brushing my teeth.

21. I've got procrastination down to a fine science. I've got 365 reasons why 'tomorrow' will be a better day to do something.

20. I'm a slob. But according to a 1912 Guide for Husbands, it is probably a "constitutional defect" and "if so, no amount of grumbling [by my husband] will cure it."

19. As if to illustrate the above two facts, I am attempting to do this when I am supposed to be cleaning the house. If all things go to plan, this blog entry will be posted by noon and little fairies will come into the house tonight while I sleep and scrub my toilets for me. (its only been two weeks since they were last done - how dirty do those things get, anyway?)

18. My all-time favorite activity is playing games. Any kind; card, board, get-together, emotional. I have spent an entire day sitting at my grandmother's eating crap, downing shots of tequila and dealing out hands of canasta, pinochle and spades. I suffer from shuffler's thumb as a result; occupational hazard, I suppose.

17. My husband HATES all games. If we were ever to get divorced, it will be this fact that leads to our "irreconcilable differences". Seriously if I could change one thing about him... well, two...

16. The reasons I became a nurse were (in this order); 1)My aunt was a nurse and always seemed to have the day off, 2) I loved watching ER and 3) scrubs instead of suits. I found only after working for a year or two that I really love offering someone who is in the worst of situations and conditions compassion and humor and trying to return to them a shred of their former dignity when illness has stripped them of it.

15. Motherhood does not come naturally to me. I've never been a big fan of children. Hated to baby-sit. While I adore my own child and have turned into one of those mothers that thinks everyone else wants to hear about the cute thing she did today, naptime and bedtime are my favorite times of the day.

14. My grass is never as green as that which is growing over the fence. I always thought I wanted to be a stay-at-home mom and now that I am- I'm going crazy but I know that once I start to work again, I will bitch and moan about it and long for the days when the biggest decision was whether to go to the park then the pool or to the pool then the park?

13. After my first semester in college, I withdrew and returned home. Started to see a therapist and was diagnosed with depression and an anxiety disorder. Social Phobia. Its like that dream where you go to school and realize everyone is staring at you because you are naked... only its having that kind of panic while you are awake. P.S. I did return to school the next semester and got a degree in Psychology of all things!

12. Most people who meet me don't like me at first (and I've been told this over and over by my now-friends...thanks a lot guys..) I come across as a bitch and a snob but its really because I am so damn nervous I don't know what to say or how to act like a normal human being.

11. My dad and I have the same sense of humor. We think that we are the funniest things since Abbott and Costello. For the most part, we are the only ones that think this.. My hysterical sarcasm is another reason people think that I am a royal shithead when I open my mouth for the first time.

10. I hate to shave my legs. When I lived in Miami, I would wax. Now that I am in Ireland I use the hair as insulation to keep my legs warm. I admit it's pretty gross, but... whatever.

9. Sushi is my all-time favorite food. This is true even after the first time I ate it (with Tiffany and her dad back when I was in high school) I felt so sick afterward and convinced myself the raw fish gave me food poisoning so I drank a bottle of Ipecac syrup to make myself throw up.

8. I am a complete hypochondriac. This is a bad thing to be when you are a nurse because you just learn about more diseases that you are then sure that you have. I found that most of the nurses I worked with on the oncology unit were pretty sure they and/or their husbands had some sort of cancer, just like me.

7. I don't believe there is such thing as "the one" out there. It's not fate - it's choice. That is what makes me even more amazed sometimes that Manus actually chose me. Does he regret it? Yeah, sure, probably sometimes but I know that each day we will just make the choice to make this crazy little thing called love work. And when I say "work"... boy oh boy... (just kidding...wink)

6. I curse like a sailor. We started a 'swear jar' to keep us from using profanity around Katie. One euro per infraction. She can already buy herself a Maserati. And we only started it last week.

5. I hate vegetables. They seriously make me gag sometimes when I try to eat them. Unless they are deep-fried and dipped in cheese. I try to eat at least one serving per day. And I take a vitamin. Though I admire the dedication it takes, I could NEVER be vegan.

4. Naps are my biggest guilty pleasure. There is nothing more luxurious than slipping between the sheets in the middle of the day. It's the getting up again that I find hard...

3. I love craft projects but I NEVER finish them. I have half completed paintings, cross-stitch and a great (if I do say so myself) scrapbook from our honeymoon that will forever remain two-thirds of the way done. I hope I keep up with this blogging as I hope one day it will serve as a virtual scrapbook of our lives and our family.

2. I am not religious in any way but pray every night that god will help me to be a good mother and a better wife. Its a time where I can give thanks for my family, great friends and good fortunes. I am trying so hard to appreciate all the great things I have in my life. I want to be a better person. Wouldn't it be such a great gift if you could live your life truly knowing how lucky you are?

1. I am pregnant again. And this is my official announcement.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Snow Way!

On Monday we got snow. It was very exciting. Just the amount you see below was enough to close the schools and halt most Irish operations. Clearly an unusual phenomenon, the whole country was abuzz with the event. Quite a lot of snow fell, at least so it seemed to me, but most melted as soon as it hit the ground. So there were no snowmen or snow angels. In fact, we didn't even leave the house on Monday. Well, not in such treacherous conditions...
Katie was mesmerized by it. She sat and looked out the window most of the day.

Snow is a magical thing, especially for this Florida girl. But it's really just really cold rain. And what is the fun in that? By Tuesday/Wednesday the snow had all melted and the place was covered in muddy puddles. Cold muddy puddles. Cold muddy puddles that someone little likes to jump in and track into the house. And then who has to clean up? That's right... poor Manus.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

My Great 3-8

Dear Manus,

I remember when I fell in love with you. You were thirty-two. And back then, you promised things would always stay the same.. You lied.

Today you turn thirty-eight. And I love you even more.

Happy Birthday and Up de Cats!


Malinda and Katie

(Faces Katie makes when Daddy's not looking)