Posts Tagged ‘children


It never rains but it snows…

We never really get snow here in Northern Ireland, and around 1/2 cm is likely to bring the whole country to a skidding (literally) halt. We’ve had a bit of snow here in the past few days. Not enough for a snow man, but enough for me not to drive anywhere because the roads are too dangerous. Northern Ireland’s mighty army of approximately one gritting lorry has been constantly on the go for days, but let’s face it, he’s only one man!! 😀 He’s doing his wee best. Only kidding, but not too much- we just aren’t equipped to deal. Why would they bother spending money on more resources for snow, when we get maybe 3-5 days of snow every year?

The snow has coincided with Ricky’s school holidays and I am home with both kids for the holidays for the first time. Snow’s obviously great with small kids, but mine are still a little too small to really get much benefit from it- they just freeze too quickly no matter how much you layer them up.

Also, Ballygowan is a small village with few local resources and, despite them installing a new playground which is surprisingly brilliant, there’s only so long you can spend there, and from my point of view, it’s mind numbing. I prefer to go for a walk and do something that will stimulate me as well as them, but what you gonna do!

There’s been a lot of lounging around in jammies in our house these past few days. Ricky’s obsession with playing Lego StarWars on the Wii is getting totally out of hand. We’re going to have to introduce an egg timer of some kind, I think.

Worst of all, Ricky has now got a dodgy stomach and can not be trusted any further than 10 feet from the toilet, so our ability to leave the house is now fully compromised.

So, I guess we should just baton down the hatches and do nothing!

That said, there’s only so much children’s television I can take. One more episode of “Big Cook, Little Cook”, possibly the campest tv show ever invented, and it might just tip me over the edge of reason.

Thank goodness for adult intervention in the form of a dinner invitation to my dear friend Heather’s house tonight. Her sister Emer is in town, and ever time she’s home it is customary for us to treat her like visiting Royalty, mainly by meeting up and (me) getting paralytically drunk. I’ll take some pics, but they’ll be early in the evening before my eye make up has spread itself too far down my face and I am still capable of clicking the “take photo” button instead of the “on/off” button. Tomorrow, with luck, you may laugh at my increasingly dodgy hair do, which without the aid of hair straightners looks like some kind of Granny ‘Fro, and even with straightners, looks awful. Part of the process I guess…


Open day at the Ulster Aviation Society

We were invited at the weekend to attend the Open Day for the Ulster Aviation Society which was held, rather bizarrely, at what used to be the Maze Prison but which is now a demolition/regeneration site. I’ve (thankfully) never had cause to visit the prison before, which closed some time ago. The closest I ever got before was driving past it, ominous on the horizon, on the Motorway! It kind of epitomises the “Troubles” here- I actually hope they make some kind of museum there because it’s a part of our heritage and history that should be preserved, sinister and unpleasant though it is.

ANYHOW- it was a bright sunny day, and only the watch towers and some high walls seem to remain!


Our day was centred around a cleared area and some aircraft hangars outside the old prison walls. I have to say, it was a very surreal atmosphere in which to have a fun family afternoon!

Ian used to be in the Royal Air Force, and can fly a small aircraft. He’s flown in helicopters before, so the afternoon was probably particularly of interest to him. However there was much for all the family to enjoy!

Around sixteen helicopters flew in from all over the Province, of varying sizes and styles (can you tell I know absolutely piss all about helicopters!!!!!)


It was actually very exciting watching them come in to land- hearing them first, having the kids guess where they would appear (they were coming from all directions!) and then watching them come in to land.

OK, OK, so my only proper landing shot picture, I royally ballsed up. I hit the off button on my camera instead of the take picture button, and it was pretty much too late by the time it was back on, but whatever. You’re all used to my substandard photography by now, ha ha!


We all had great fun inspecting the various helicopters. I have to say- can you SAY “rich man’s toys” in a lot of incidences, but it’s nice to see how the other half live from time to time! Some of them were the height of luxury- as big as a limo and with soft looking leather upholstery and loads of legroom. Some looked more like your average family saloon- empty crisp packets, half drunk bottles of water and crumpled looking maps- and one, I kid you not, looked barely flight worthy, I was nearly scared to exhale near it in case it fell apart (though I am sure it is someone’s labour of love and is of extremely sturdy construction!!!!)


Highlight of most people’s afternoon was the helicopter of the PSNI- it drew the biggest crowds of all and the policemen who fly it were inundated with questions about what they did and how all the vast array of gadgets worked!


The nearby hangars housed a fantastic display of WW2 memorabilia and aircraft, and was, for me, the highlight.


I haven’t taken pictures of some of the displays because they related to many of the fallen soldiers who had lived locally- their relatives were there to look at the displays and it was very humbling to witness their pain even after all these years. I didn’t feel it would be respectful to take photos.

It really brings it home that WW2 was NOT that long ago- and that really we have forgotten the horrors that those soldiers went through to ensure all of our futures. I learned a lot from the displays, and was grateful for it.

The kids loved looking at the various aircraft on display and it was a fantastic day out. Thanks to Ian’s boss, Garry, for inviting us!



Tuesday randomness

I hate that my blog seems to have taken such a complete back seat at the moment! Some of you know that I suddenly find myself with extremely limited net access, which is the most spectacularly large pain in my arse…but that story is for another day.

I’ve had a lot of lovely emails recently from people who wanted to know how I am doing. I really appreciate these, thank you so much! J

I’m doing fine. I have been really trying hard not to think about the cancer at all, and now that I am feeling so much better, it’s been quite easy to do so! However, I got a letter telling me to come for some scans, and went for those yesterday. I felt very nervous about going. Every time I am forced to think about it all, I get that numb feeling in my arms and legs again…isn’t it funny how you can mostly feel fine, but blind terror apparently still lurks behind every corner!

If the tests show anything that looks dodgy, they’ll call me in very quickly. The next few days are going to be rather nerve wracking as I wait to see if the phone rings. They’ve said if all looks well, I’ll just see my consultant in September as planned.

In answer to a few recent questions- I still do not have “the all clear”, I am not in remission or anything like that. I still feel a bit in limbo as I wait to see if they can find any more of it. I’m not really sure how long you have to go with no evidence of disease before they will say you’re in the clear, I think it may be several years. In the meantime, I’m getting on with it! Time waits for no girl!

My business empire is, in the meantime, going really well! I’ve bought three bundles of clothes so far and all of them have sold for a good profit. I have my toe in the water! I have to say that this has been the steepest learning curve of my life- but a really good one. I’ve learned a lot in the past few weeks and continue to learn every day. It’s been a while since I felt challenged like this, and it’s very exciting! So far I have made almost £400 which is not bad for a week or so’s part time work! It will hopefully let me spoil the kids rotten when we go on holiday at the end of next week.

My pony Morning seems to be responding fairly well to the treatment they’ve given her for the sore muscles. We’ll have to wait a couple of days now that the treatment is finished to see how she does without painkillers. I am going down there tomorrow night to see how she’s coping.

Robbie has suddenly developed an obsession with the horses! Carly (my other mare) is retired but still fine for the kids to bounce around on, and she has recently displayed patience which normally results in Canonisation…Robbie will charge down the field yelling “Hello, Ladies!!” at the horses (which is what he hears me say to them) before insisting on riding Carly. She’s very big compared to him, but he’s totally fearless! He just sits on her back with me holding him by the back and leg, and she potters around the field eating grass while he yells “Hurry up, horsie!” at her- he is the cutest thing! When we’re away, I will definitely pay for him to have a ride at the riding school across the way from our holiday house. They have small ponies there which will be much more fun for him.

Ricky is also doing well. He’s now finished at nursery school and can’t wait to go into P1 this September. Leigh’s daughter, and Ricky’s great amigo, Sophie, is going to be in the same class as him, to both their great excitement! Ricky tells me that he will sit beside Sophie in class. He’s also planning on learning to drive as soon as he’s old enough so he can take her out!!! Is it any wonder that Leigh and I practically have our hats bought already!

Actually, Ricky’s daycare had to have a “word” with me, which those of you who are parents will know is never a good thing. Apparently, there was an incident involving Ricky, “Little Ricky”, and a bunch of six year old girls. I have now appraised Ricky of the fact that “Little Ricky” should remain in Knicker Land at all times unless for scheduled appearances…either way, two small girls practically threw themselves at him on his way out of the daycare last night, so clearly they haven’t been left mentally scarred by this incident. If anything, it seems to have increased his popularity! 😀

I am heading out for dinner with my great friends Heather and Jacinta tonight. I think this will let me blow off some much needed steam! The diet has taken something of a bashing this week. I don’t think I’ve gained any weight, but I’m just lucky about that! Still, I am about 15lbs down on where I was six weeks ago, which can’t be bad.

Oh, BTW there is a password protected post in the pipeline in the next few days. I will be using the same password as last time- if you need it, please don’t feel weird about asking!!! 😀

I had a lot of dreams last night about Donegal- we’re planning a holiday there for three weeks next month (YEE-HAAAAAA!!). You probably won’t remember THIS post, but I can’t wait to get to that beach, go in to the water and do exactly what I described in that post. You’ll think I’m insane, but one of the rocks has a smiley face on it- it’s clear as day- and every time I’m in the water there, I look at that rock and can’t help but smile too. That’s my main focus at the moment. Smile, and the world smiles with you. Stick your grumpy frown on, and that’s all you’re ever gonna get back!!


Early starts and other things

On the up side, Robbie seems to be sleeping through the night a lot more, all of a sudden! Yay! On the down side, this means he now wants to get up at 6am every day! You win some, you lose. So, this morning he got me up early (Ian and I normally take a lie in each at the weekends. We agree in advance who gets Saturday and who gets Sunday- it saves swearing and arguments on the two mornings in question!) so he’s still in bed.

Ricky got up at about 7am and I then realised there was nothing for their breakfast- d’oh! So, I’ve already made a batch of fruit scones this morning! Before I even had a cup of tea! I am so industrious! 😀

The kids are now trashing the house while I try to ignore the mess and play on the puter… 😛


WordPress bloggers- since they brought in the new stats dashboard, has anyone else noticed a drop in total stats? I’ve lost almost ten thousand hits since they did it. The stats are still correct if you go to “view summary tables”, but isn’t right on my actual site. It doesn’t really matter, but I’m a bit confused about it! I really don’t like the new stats thing but I guess like everything else I will get used to it! I’m not good with change! 😀


Years ago, we bred from my Connemara pony, Morning, but we sold her daughter when she was three. I’ve been back in touch with her via her new owners this week and it’s been so lovely to hear how she’s been doing all these years, and see some pictures of her too! She’s in England now and has had a long and successful career in showjumping.

Her mother is still very beautiful and a shining light in my life. I should take some pics of her for the blog, as she, even in old age, looks gorgeous.


Weather here is absolutely atrocious. Normally, May in Northern Ireland is pretty much as good as it gets here, and it tends to be sunny and warm. NOT this year, apparently. Robbie’s birthday party is next Saturday, and I had been planning to have his party in our garden, which would supply significantly more square footage than our titchy little house. I am getting increasingly twitchy as the day gets closer and it’s STILL raining!!!! I’m taking Thursday and Friday off to try and do some stuff to make our house even vaguely presentable, which believe me is going to be a massive uphill struggle. 🙂


I had a weird night of dreams last night! Weirdest of all was a dream where I was a student again, living in scummy digs in Stranmillis, and (really bizarre) Gary Lightbody from Snow Patrol called round (I don’t really know what he even looks like in real life!!!) and although it wasn’t in any way a naughty dream, somehow I had no clothes on and he wanted to look at my scars?! Fair enough, Snow Patrol are from Northern Ireland, but I don’t have any particular interest in them and have no idea what THAT dream meant…my subconscious is up to strange things again!!!!! 😀

Actually I think I’m going to have to make an appointment to see the breast care nurse because the right boob, where I had most of the surgery, is hurting quite a lot and doesn’t seem “right”- I hope it’s nothing to worry about and I can’t find any lumps or anything, and it’s probably just fluid from my lymph nodes having been removed, but better safe than sorry. 🙂


Right, I just looked up, and my living room looks like it’s been hit by a tornado. There are bits of scone all over the floor and both boys have removed their jammie bottoms for reasons that aren’t yet clear.

Have a great weekend everyone!


Another random post

I haven’t got anything of great importance to say today! So, here’s my random news. Nothing very major to report.

Robbie has his first girlfriend, at the tender age of not-quite-two. 😀 When I got to daycare yesterday to collect him, he was sitting on a bench with this little girl. They had a book on their knees, he had his arm around her and was singing “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” to her whilst playing with her hair. What a ladies man!!

Ricky hasn’t been doing so well with being dry at night. The past two nights, he’s had an accident, and ended up in bed with me and Ian. With Ricky and our preternaturally large cat, Max, in between us, with their arms and legs spread out as far as possible, Ian and I have been perched on the outer limits of the bed, which is not conducive to a good night’s sleep. The random “knee in the kidneys” that Ricky seems so good at delivering isn’t helping either.

We didn’t expect him to get it right all the time, but he couldn’t WAIT to get into bed with us last night, and I worry a bit that it might become a habit, and that it might not be as big an accident as he’s letting on. He was totally dry for about two weeks before we went on holiday, and then ended up in our bed a few times when we were away. I wonder if he’s realised it’s warm and snug in between us… 😀

We’re going to try lifting him out of bed and onto the potty before we got to bed in the evenings, and see if that helps. He’s been doing so well, and we never expected that he’d get it right all the time.

I’m going to stay with my Aunt in Coleraine tomorrow night (always a treat as you all know by now!!) and we’re going out to see Danny Schmidt at a place called Crusoe’s. I don’t know much about him, but gather he’s along a similar musical genre as Leonard Cohen, so it should be interesting.

Ian is being left home alone with the kids, but my brothers and Dad are taking them out in the afternoon. Ian claims that he will be using this time to make several runs to the dump with general gubbins from our garden, but personally I will eat my headscarf collection if this actually happens. It is much more likely that he’ll relax with the rugby, and do you know what, I won’t care at all. He needs some time off. 🙂

Finally, we had so much fun in Donegal that we’re going back up there next weekend for the May Day break. Traditionally, our May here in Northern Ireland tends to be the best weather we get all year. We all joke that our summer is the first two weeks in May, and then it’s back to porridge!! I hope the weather will be nice. I wasn’t expecting such lovely weather in April when we were up there last week, and hadn’t brought any swimming costumes. Then it was lovely and all we could do was paddle in the sea, to the kid’s disappointment. Of course, by bringing the costumes with us this time we will be guaranteeing bad weather, but that’s sod’s law for you!

I probably won’t be around much until Monday, when I hope to post pics of my evening out with my Aunt. Have a lovely weekend everyone! 🙂


When do memories start?

Memory is a funny thing.

It was occuring to me in the car this morning that Ricky (who is four) is probably now getting to the age where he’ll have concrete memories about his day to day life. I mean the kind of memories that he’ll still have when he’s my age.

My earliest memory dates back to the first house I lived in, so I must have been under two, as we moved around then. I remember being on the driveway, and falling over and hurting myself. My Mum was watching out of the window, and she came running. That’s all I remember!

I fell into the pond at that house when I was very little as well and nearly drowned. My Mum was putting up some washing on the line and didn’t hear a splash. This was, of course, back in the days when child safety wasn’t something everyone obsessed over like we do now (not that my Mum didn’t take great care of us- she did- it was an unfortunate accident)! Who had safety locks on everything back then?! Anyhow, I have a memory of that- but I am very unsure that it’s a real memory, it’s more of an image. I wonder if it’s genuine or something that my imagination has created because it has been mentioned over the years and my brain kind of thinks I ought to remember?

I think my first solid memories date to when I was around four. I have a memory of coming down the stairs in the house I grew up in, and seeing myself in a mirror which was on the turn of the stairs. I remember (with the lack of vanity that a child possesses) thinking how cool I looked, and then I thought, “In six years time, I’ll be TEN!!!”

Back then, being ten was a very big deal. It seemed like some kind of long term goal, to be worked towards and yearned for. I recall that, when we were children, we painstakingly worked out that we’d be in our twenties when the Millenium came, and that seemed impossibly old! 😀

Dropping Ricky to nursery school, I thought back to my own memories of nursery, which I attended in Stranmillis. It actually surprised me how much I was able to remember.

I clearly remember an argument between me and my then best friend, Alexandra (Kingsbury, for old Methodonians!! 😀 ) involving some playdough. I remember making butter in a churn by all of us skimming the cream off the tops of our milk bottles every day- we took it in turns to shake the churn until after what seemed like 100 years, one day there was butter. I remember us all lying down on mats for our naps. I remember that they served up savoury mince on a Tuesday- and in my memory it tastes just like the innards of a Linda McCartney vegetarian mince pie!! 😀 I remember that they had three tricycles in the playground, and you had to queue up behind an egg timer to ride one of them. One of them was called The Bunny Bike, and the queue for it was always the longest. I remember the class going for a walk by the River Lagan which was nearby, and there being a poor drowned Golden Retriever on the shore, the image of which is still crystal clear in my mind. I remember learning to tie my shoelaces.

The reason I find this so remarkable is that, when I pick Ricky up in the evening, I always ask him how his day was (he always answers “fine”) and then I ask him what he did.

He never has the faintest idea. 🙂


The beginning of a beautiful friendship?

My two sons are suddenly developing a real friendship, which I am very much enjoying watch.

Robbie is an amazing talker- he is a total chatterbox and his speech has become very clear, so that pretty much everyone he meets can understand what he’s saying. He won’t be 2 until the end of next month, so I am delighted with how well he’s doing.

He and Ricky have become co-conspirators to quite a scary level! There’s a definite element of hero worship on Robbie’s part, which Ricky is well aware of, and uses. However Robbie, with the increasing verbal skills he has, is now willing to stand up for himself more, which I think is actually having a positive effect on Ricky.

Ricky’s now learning that he can’t always have his own way- something he’s always been very adept at achieving. The way Ricky gets his own way all the time sometimes knocks the breath out of me. The level of persistence he can demonstrate is staggering, and not in an “I want, I want” way until Ian or I “break”- he’s much more subtle than that. You’ll suddenly find that he’s managed to get what he wanted by manipulating a loop-hole in your argument against…he finds a way by using his brain rather than by demanding things. You won’t even realise he’s done it until it’s too late! It can be shocking to witness, even though it amuses me too!

I think he’ll be a politician when he grows up- his personal charm and diplomacy are amazing and he has a knack for saying the right thing at the right time. Maybe he’s already learned the valuable lesson that flattery will get you everywhere! 😀

Robbie’s much more straightforward, in a sense, and gets his way by being charming and sunny. It amazes me how he can be having such a dramatic and influential effect on his older brother’s behaviour!

I hope they’ll always be able to bounce off each other like this and be such close friends. Good brothers and sisters are a valuable commodity. They’ll never have such powerful allies as each other.


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