Friday, November 27, 2009


I am grateful for: family, near and far, inlaws and outlaws. How they love and support us and each other while inspiring and helping those around them. How we've all managed to stay married and added another member via marriage and another 3 members via birth this year. Welcome to the madness - Nicole, Aoife, Mary and Bryna.

...the time we've been able to spend in England this year and the opportunities that we have had to meet new wonderful friends and see old wonderful places.

...the birth of Aoife. She is the most wonderful addition to our family. I feel so lucky that she is happy, healthy and the easiest baby on earth!

...the continued development of Aidan and Emmy. It has been fun to watch Aidan learn to ride a bike, start to read, make new friends, enjoy school and gain a well deserved sense of independence. Emmy has decided that she loves school and it warms my heart every time I drop her at school and she runs into the waiting arms of her teachers. There is nothing more comforting that knowing your child is loved when you're not around. She has also begun to speak more and more clearly. It's fun to be able to see a little more of what goes on in that little head of hers. wonderful husband for still loving me after 14 years. For being the best father to our 3 beautiful children and being incredibly supportive to me in my endless quest to find SOMETHING that I am good at.

...finding a wonderful babysitter. Brendan and I have been out together more since August than we have in the entire time since Aidan was born. deployments this year. I am enjoying this and trying not to think about the next one. country. There is nothing that makes me feel more thankful to be American than living overseas. I am proud that my husband has dedicated his life to protecting our way of life.

...the really good days when I feel like supermom - empty hampers, dinner on the table on time, vacuumed floors, clean kitchen and made beds. Doesn't happen too often but it feels soooooo good when it does.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

International Families Day

Last Saturday Brendan's school hosted the 2009 International Families Day. It sounds like it would be for us international students and families but in fact WE put on the event for the Brits - very convenient! Brendan was the chairman for the event and it was huge and everything went off wonderfully! Each country (25 or 30 countries) had a table/booth the we decorated and served food from to the enormous crowd of Brits. As we have no national dish or costume - the Americans all wore football jerseys and we cooked chili and corn bread and served Jack Daniels by the gallon!! It was a hit - I think they liked the free alcohol best of all!

Here are all the kids - Aidan is in the middle holding the American flag:
Here are some of the men - Brendan is not in the picture - he was running around getting things all set up.

An evening out

Brendan's class had a dinner party last night at a beautiful restaurant in a nearby town. They actually only do private parties so I don't know if you would call it a restaurant but it was fantastic. The men all wore tuxedos - very British! The meal was excellent - appetizers and champagne, baked brie or pate as a starter, Beef Wellington as the entree, creme brule or chocolate tarte for dessert, then cheese, biscuits and port and then tea or coffee. The meal took about 4 hours - and no one cried or had to be put on the toilet!

Monday, November 23, 2009


Aoife LOVES eating. You can tell too. She is massive - gigantic in a wonderfully healthy way, of course! She starts smiling as soon as she gets in the high chair - it's fantastic and so cute!
Here are her two teeth!
Wondering why we are wasting time taking pictures when we could be eating!

The Good, The Bad and the Very Very Sick

Well, as you can tell, something's been up in our house for the last week. The kids have all been sick - each in turn and with varying degrees of what is probably the same disease. Emmy has been sick for 12 days now - since a week ago Thursday and we went to the doctor this morning. She got some antibiotics although the doctor said she didn't know what was wrong. My guess is that she'll be much better within 36 hours - yeah!!! Aoife was doing fine until Friday afternoon. She woke up from her nap with a slight temperature but it went away with a little Tylenol. She woke up at 11 pm and had a 103.7 fever. We called the afterhours pediatrician and they said that since she had no other symptoms it was better just to stay home and try to get the fever down. After about an hour, the Tylenol kicked in and her temp went down to 101 and she was able to fall asleep. She kept this up through Saturday and woke up Sunday much cooler. She still has a runny nose and doesn't seem to feel great but is on the mend. Aidan has had a mild cough all week but yesterday evening said he didn't want to eat dinner and fell asleep on the couch at 5 pm. He had a fever so I took him up to bed and he seemed happy to go. At 1 am he was up wandering around the house yelling for his dinner - couldn't tell if he was hallucinating or just really confused. He ate a little yogurt and went back to bed. He bounced into our room this morning at 7:15 and proclaimed that he was ready for school. He seemed all better - no temp, ate breakfast just fine - so he went to school. We'll see how the day goes!

Hopefully all this will mean that Christmas will be healthy! We are going to Munich for 4 days before Christmas and then we are renting a castle/manor with 3 other families in Scotland for 4 days over New Years. I am so excited and I just hope that no one gets sick!!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Aoife Speaks!

Aoife has become very chatty in the past week or so. She even says "mama" which is awesome - the other two said dada first and didn't say mama until they were a year or so. Here's a little video of her chatting away in her high chair after a lunch of sweet potatoes and rice - delish!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Bourton on the Water

Today I took the kids to Bourton on the Water. It's a town that bills itself as the "Venice of the Cotswolds". The Cotswolds is the area that we live it - famous for quaint villages. Don't think it was quite Venice but it was very cute and has a nice stream running through the middle with many bridges crossing over. We went with some friends and Brendan stayed home to work on a paper that is due this week. I'd like to say that the day was fun but it was HORRIBLE. Emmy's been a little under the weather since Tuesday and she still has a bit of a bug. She hadn't had any Tylenol since the early morning so she wasn't feeling great and showed that by crying hysterically pretty much the entire time - I mean sobbing, runny nose - the whole deal. Aidan decided to compound that my refusing to listen to anything I said and doing the exact opposite of what he was supposed to do. Aoife was perfect but my nerves were absolutely shot by the time we got home. I feel so badly for Joe and Dyann - they thought that we were all going to have a nice afternoon and instead they had to deal with the chaos that surrounded us. Needless to say - I did not get any pictures so here is one that I stole off of the internet.
It was beautiful and we will be going back closer to Christmas. They have a Christmas Tree in the middle of the river and I'm sure it will be gorgeous with lights and the reflection in the stream!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Coming Home

So we got back on the plane on Monday evening. The kids have been great! We had dinner on the plane, changed into jammies and then they all fell asleep. It's only a 6 hour flight back and they only slept for 4 hours but they woke up with no problems and then slept in the car on the way home and then for another 4 hours once we got home. Everyone seems to be back on England time although both Aidan and Emmy woke up at 3 am last night but went right back to sleep. The rest of the week will be slow and Emmy seems to have come down with a bug of some sort but I'm sure she'll be fine in a few days.

Battle Brothers

Aidan got a very cool toy called Battle Brothers while we were in MA. They are like little transformers that all start as balls. They spring open when you roll them or stick them to something metal. Pretty cool and they have kept him occupied for HOURS!

The Wedding

Tim and Nicole got married in Rye, NH on Saturday, November 5th at 5:30 pm. Brendan was the best man, I was a bridesmaid and Emmy was the flower girl. The ceremony was beautiful and the reception was lot of fun. Emmy did a great job walking down the aisle and back up with her cousin Chase. The kids all had a great time dancing at the reception and fell dead asleep at 9:30 pm. Unfortunately, no one was aloud to take pictures of the ceremony so we'll have to wait until the pictures from the photographer come back! I realized that it is hard to take pictures when you are in the wedding. There are also no pictures of me - but I was there - I promise!!

On the plane

We went to Boston this weekend to go to Tim and Nicole's wedding. Tim is Brendan's youngest brother. We left on Friday morning and got in Friday midday. The wedding was on Saturday evening and then we left Monday at 7 pm. It was a quick trip but definitely worth it. It was really nice to see our families and to be in the wedding. It's a long flight over but the kids were great - despite the fact that no one slept on the way over. Everyone slept on the way back though! The kids kept busy watching movies, playing with playdough, reading books and coloring. The airplane bathroom is also very interesting apparently!
This is Greenland - the pilot said that it was very rare to see below the cloud cover!

Indiana Jones

One of Brendan's friends from school gave Aidan this set of Indiana Jones legos. He loves it! It is really nice to see him sit and play with them and use his imagination. I think it's funny that the legos come with snakes!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Bath Time!

Aoife doesn't get a bath by herself too often but she LOVES it when it does happen. She chases the toys around and kicks and splashes. She rolls over onto her back when she's had enough and wants a change of scenery. Rolling back over onto her stomach is a little harder and she usually ends up with a face full of water.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Joseph Cullinan

Brendan's grandfather, Joseph Cullinan, passed away yesterday just before we were getting on the plane to come back to England from Massachusetts. I am so sad that we weren't able to stay a little longer. Grampa Joe was a wonderful man and I am so happy that my children had the opportunity to spend time with him. He will be remembered with love.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

A Fun Read

I just found this great blog It is awesome - funny and definitely worth a read - enjoy!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Aidan's cookies

Aidan and I decorated cookies a few days before Halloween. It's nice that we got a little time to be together during the school break. Emmy still naps in the afternoon for 2 hours or so and Aoife usually sleeps at some point during that 2 hours so Aidan and I got to do some fun projects. He told me that it was nice that just the two of us got to do something fun - talk about guilt - ugh! Here are Aidan's beautiful creations!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Hailes Abbey

I'm late in posting these pictures but I really haven't had much time to myself during Fall school vacation! We went to Hailes Abbey last week. The weather was gorgeous and it closes November 1st so I wanted to make sure we got there before the winter! I should have figured that if it closes during the winter that it was pretty off the beaten track but I didn't even think about it! We did eventually get there - after driving on single track roads (3/4 car width) for 30 minutes and through a private farm, dodging cows! It was worth the drive - gorgeous! I just LOVE ruins and it's great for the kids too because they can just run and climb and not worry about bothering anyone - especially since we were the only ones there for the first hour!
Aidan thought that the grass growing on the top of the ruins was pretty neat!

Happy Halloween!

We had a great Halloween this year! Trick or Treating is relatively new to England but people were very excited on our street. We did a coordinated Trick or Treating at 5 pm and then had a street party/BBQ at 6 pm. It was lots of fun and the weather was great - 60 degrees and dry! Emmy loved her butterfly costume, Aidan thought being a Power Ranger was great and Aoife couldn't wait to get out of her pumpkin. She only stayed in it for the picture! Here's the best picture I could get!
Here's a picture of Aidan before we started carving pumpkins. He did not get sick this year although I think he was starting to not feel well because he suddenly said that he was going to get his bike and go play with his friends. It was better than a few years ago - click here.