Friday, February 26, 2010


In my - noteably - limited experience as a mom, I have noticed that my children have gone through dramatic surges of independence. Sometimes these involve sleeping, eating more or different types of food, using the toilet etc. Emmy has just recently gone through one of these surges. She has learned to ride her scooter well and has the confidence in her ability to zoom up and down the path away from immediate maternal supervision. She's started riding her scooter everywhere that she used to ride on the back of the stroller - to drop Aidan at school, to go to her school and come home, or even just to go on a walk. We went down to the other end of the street 2 nights ago to have dinner with our neighbors. It's not far - 200 yards or so - but no one wanted to walk. Aidan rode his bike and was - of course - already at the neighbor's house before I even left. Emmy rode her scooter and much to my surprise she was halfway down the street as I was coming out of our driveway. She didn't even turn around to see where I was and when I called to her she stopped, turned to look at me and gave me a big grin. She's been craving the freedom that Aidan has but she hasn't had the confidence to go after it. All of a sudden she's gained mobility and the tether that held her close to me for 2 1/2 years has suddenly and brutally been stretched. I know it's part of letting go and that I can't treat her like a baby forever. She has to grow and gain confidence in her abilities to take care of herself. It seems so soon but I suppose it will never feel like the right time...

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

A week without Daddy...

Brendan's in Madrid for the week with his school. The class was broken up into several groups and they all got assigned different places to go. Some are going to the Netherlands, Turkey, the Ukraine, Berlin... I'm jealous!!! We've been keeping very busy here - we had dinner guests both tonight and last night, tomorrow night we're going to our neighbor's house, Thursday more guests and Friday Brendan should be home! Time goes fast when you're always cleaning for the next round of visitors!

The Bristol Aquarium

On Saturday we visited a new Aquarium in Bristol, UK. It just opened a few months ago and it was beautiful! I've never been in such a gorgeous aquarium. It had exhibits inside and outside in a large three story "greenhouse". There were 3 sets of exhibits inside - the Atlantic, the Amazon, and warm water reefs. They were all amazing. They had tons of fish, everything was impeccably clean and the tanks were spectacular! The kids thought it was amazing and would have stayed all day long. My favorite part was an octopus that kept swimming around in his tank and crawling all over the rocks. It was incredible and I could have watched it for hours!
Aidan and Emmy liked this part - they could climb under the tank and up into a bubble to watch the seahorses from inside!
The seahorse observing Aidan and Emmy:
watching the fish in one of the outdoor exhibits
watching the turtles and catfish
Amazon fish
the coral reef tank - the bubble in the upper left corner is a viewing window that you can sit in - see next picture:
Here they are in the viewing bubble
A tank entirely comprised of "Nemos"!
Playing outside the aquarium
water fountains are fun - even in the cold!
The was a giant reflective globe - couldn't resist taking a picture of us - you can't really see Aoife on my back - just one little foot coming out the side!

Monday, February 22, 2010


Since Aoife loves the bath these days and it's really hard to have 3 kids in our small bathtub, Aidan has graduated to taking showers in the morning. This leaves Emmy and Aoife to bath together in the evenings. They love it! Emmy loves being the biggest in the bath and Aoife just loves the attention she gets from Emmy. It's too cute. I'm hoping that their relationship will continue to grow once Aoife starts walking and talking.

And so it begins....

And so I totally jinxed myself in the last post! Aoife is now crawling - not well yet - but well enough to move around quite swiftly once my head is turned! No more setting her in the middle of the floor with a bunch of toys while I put the laundry into the dryer!! Sorry the pictures are a little fuzzy - didn't want to use the flash and there wasn't enough light in the room!

Little plastic cow, I must have you...
Here I come...
Almost there...

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Aoife's Standing!

Aoife can't pull herself up to standing quite yet but she can stand for a long time against something - like the Leap Frog table! She loves to play with the buttons and make the lights go and songs play. She's almost 10 months old and isn't crawling yet but she manages to get where she wants to go with a combination of rolling, lurching and falling forward. She'll figure out the crawling thing pretty soon and then Aidan and Emmy are in for a big shock! Their toys won't be safe from the Aoife-zilla anymore!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Aidan's 5th Birthday

Aidan's actual birthday was Monday, February 15th. He doesn't have school this week since it's halfterm break so we got to have a nice leisurely morning. We got up and he opened presents - he got lots due to the extreme generosity of all of our family members! We had a nice breakfast of French Toast before Brendan had to go to work. I thought it would be fun to go bowling at the American base. We invited Morgan - the little boy with whom Aidan shared his party - and his mom and little sister. We all squished in our car and drove all the way out there. We arrived about 20 minutes before it opened - who would think it would open at 11? We finally got in and started to bowl only to have the power go out about 20 minutes in! The boys thought it was pretty cool and the girls were a little freaked out by the dark! Aoife - of course - could have cared less and was just as happy in the dark as in the light! So we decided that we would all drive back to our village and go to the local pub for lunch. It was fun but the kids were a little rambunctious from being trapped in the car! That evening for dinner Aidan wanted to have his friend, Florence, who is 10, over for dinner. It is really funny that the two of them get along as well as they do. They really enjoy being around each other and make me a believer in arranged marriages!! :) So Florence had dinner with us. We had Aidan's favorite - hotdogs and hamburgers - yum! Then we had chocolate cake for dessert - that's 4 cakes for the weekend if you're counting!
I can't believe my little boy is 5! I couldn't ask for a nicer, happier little boy!

Aidan's Birthday Party

We had Aidan's birthday party on Sunday morning at a local soft play area. Since there are a few kids born on the same day as Aidan we paired up with another family and did the boys' birthday party together. It was great! Since they would have invited most of the same kids - we got to do half the work and pay half the money to have a great party!! It was also awesome to have it NOT at my house! Our houses are really small here and it would have been insane to have all of those kids inside! This way we didn't have to clean up before OR after the party and the staff did all the work - including cooking lunch for the kids!! I did make a cake for each of the birthday boys and one for the rest of the kids but that hardly counts as work. :) We started the party at 10:30 in the morning which turned out to be perfect! The kids arrived and played until 11:45. We served them lunch, did the cake and then turned them loose for another 15 minutes or so until their parents came to get them. They were all totally exhausted and ate well and in almost complete silence! The one different thing that they do here at birthday parties is that they don't eat the cake at the party! They light candles and sing Happy Birthday but then send pieces of the cake home in the party bags. So weird - and I have to imagine than most of my hard work ended up in the trash. :( Here are some cute pictures of the kids at the party!
Aidan loves the ball pit!
Jazz hands:
Brendan with all of the kids in the bouncy castle
Brendan is the only one who can stay still long enough for a picture:
Aoife sinking into the balls:
At lunch:
Emmy actually EATING her food!
The cakes - the boys had the little ones on the side so they would each have a candle to blow out and a cake to take home!
It looks like he might just take a gigantic bite out of the cake!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Friday, February 12, 2010

Baking Cookies with Emmy

Aidan's 5th Birthday is on Monday and since they don't have school because of halfterm break I sent birthday cookies in today to school. I had half a batch of dough left over after making the cookies for Aidan's class so Emmy and I made cookies together after she came home from school today. While the dough was softening I had her look through my big box of cookie cutters to find the ones she wanted to use. We have lots - from trucks to palm trees to stars and dinosaurs. Can you guess what Emmy picked? Hearts, flowers and butterflies - seriously - is this stuff written in little girl DNA?? After I rolled out the dough, Emmy cut out the cookies and placed them very carefully on the cookie sheet. We had to reroll quite a bit as Emmy doesn't get the idea of cutting the cookies out close to each other - but at least it gave the oven time to heat up! After she cut out all the cookies we watched them bake and set them out to cool. I iced them while she was taking her rest and once Aidan came home with Brendan they put sprinkles on together. We figured out a good way to put sprinkles on cookies after the icing has started to set - put the sprinkles you want to use on a plate and press the cookie - icing side down - on the sprinkles. They stick great! Enjoy the pictures - the cookies are all the way at the bottom.