Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Joy Pockets for June

Lantern from Bradbury's, Athy

A wonderful month in general.  It started out with glorious, unheard of in Ireland continuous sunshine for more than 5 days.  Hay fever arrived along with rashy feet, cross, sticky and contrary kids but it was lovely.  The good weather makes it all so much easier, don’t you think?

It really felt like summer and all of a sudden thoughts of looming school holidays, freedom for 8 weeks, weren’t so bad. How could they be when the kids spend all of their time outside, covered in sun block and filth, coming in tired but happy and eating for Ireland.   

Then collapsing into bed to sleep soundly and if I remember correctly, we may even have gotten an extra hour in the morning once or twice.

Yes, life is so much nicer with a bit of yellow, melty, buttery sunshine.

These are my lovely joy pockets for June.

Ice cream, lots of lovely cold ice cream for lunch.  Double choc chip, honeycomb, mini Cornetos, mini magnums.  What’s not to like?

Jugs filled with home-made smoothies.  Demands for more. 

Finding a park not too far away from us.  That makes another excellent place for us to visit during the holidays.

Lovely soothing, cooling dips in the swimming pool.

K Leisure, Athy

The kids needing only two items of clothes namely and shorts and a t-shirt.  And a most welcome text from the school saying they can be worn during the good weather.   

Discovering that Smallest Boy will be going to school (two and a half years down the line but still) with a buddy from group!  I decided I am more comfortable with him starting at 5 years 4 months.  I think it’s much better, for boys in particular, to start school that little bit later.

Bird House in Bradbury's Athy

Music of choice for June was a forgotten Scottish gem called kt Tunstall.  By chance I discovered her third album was released this month so I dug out her previous ones.  She is amazing.  Love her! 

Planting sunflower seeds in some toilet roll tubes as I have never managed to get sunflowers past the seedling stage.  Despite what the packet said, they all sprouted within two days!  Let’s see how we go from here, though.

Getting a text message from my sister informing me about a bike propped up against railings not too far from me with a big piece of paper bearing the word FREE taped to it.  I felt guilty taking it for nothing so I got a very decent mountain bike for myself for the princely sum of €30!    

Making thank you cards for the teachers as Gaeilge for end of school year.  I got such a kick out of a couple of crayons, some ready made daisy flowers and stiff paper.  They looked lovely too!

From midday tomorrow I am going to have the four boys with me all the time for 8 weeks.  It is both terrifying and strangely exhilarating.  Exhilarating because I will be free from the routine of school life for that time.  Terrifying for the same reasons but I am going to practise something I like the sound of. 

There is nothing I can do to change the school holidays so I may as well accept it.  And by recognising the uselessness in trying to change something that cannot be changed, I am supposed to feel a sense of calm.

Kind of like the serenity prayer.    

For all of you facing into the summer break, this is for you.  Enjoy it!  It’s only 8 weeks out of your entire life.  (Gulp!)

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

From the Mouth of Babes

I have mentioned before that I attend a breastfeeding support group every Tuesday morning and how much I like it. 

Maybe I have also mentioned I jokingly refer to it as my Group Therapy.  Because it is.

And one week I really used it as the confessional. 

There was a good old rant at the start of business and I’m afraid I took the floor.  I let it all out and probably scared a couple of new mums into the bargain.

But by god I felt better after it. 

And what’s more, I found I was not alone in my feelings.  That’s why I love group so much – we none of us are afraid to let another know they are not rowing the boat alone.

I don’t mind sharing my rant here with you today because it was my rant and also because my seven year old impressed the hell out of me.

I am not proud of my rant nor am I not proud of the fact it was in front of my seven year old. 

But I am incredibly proud of him and his reaction. 

To my eternal shame I was brushing his teeth with more vigour than was strictly necessary and telling him how I need help in the evenings, how he knows I am always busy in the evenings trying to get everyone ready for bed; it is not easy, I don’t enjoy it.  I don’t enjoy shouting at them and it’s hard.  I’m tired, it’s the end of the day and I need some help. 

I put to him my favourite comparison; “How would you like it if you had four mothers shouting at you over and over again?”  I explained in my shite parenting moment how difficult I find it when the four of them are doing the same thing to me of an evening. 

Every evening.  
He listened but I could see increasing anger and frustration in his eyes, then he literally raised his hand and swiped the toothbrush away. 

He looked straight at me, clenched his fist and demanded; “So why don’t you do something about it then?”

He completely floored me. 

Knocked the breath from my body with that one furious statement.

How come sometimes the child is smarter than the parent?

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Athy in June

It was the beginning of the June bank holiday weekend and Mister Husband declared, “I really love this town; there’s great community spirit.”

Once upon a time I would have needed a lamp post to hold onto for support as I laughed and laughed over a statement like that.  But I’m older now and see my home town for what it is and what it has on offer.

We had just enjoyed breakfast in The Bay Tree with Smallest Boy.

Not only is the food lovely, I really enjoy the banter with the staff and there is always someone in there having a coffee before work to put a smile on my face.  That day I treated myself to a freshly squeezed orange juice.  Converted!   Now I buy bags of oranges in Lidl  and juice them at home. 

The butcher was our next stop.  My family hold a BBQ on the first Sunday in June and I offered to get the BBQ special.   Hugh Hyland on the main street in Athy will fetch you 20 chicken pieces, 5 pork chops marinated or plain, 5 BBQ pork or lamb skewers and 5 burgers all for €20.  Bargain.

He will also throw in a great chat about the Film Club for free!

Then we headed off to our local health shop, Healthy Living Athy for Oldest Boy’s current hay fever cure, Herbetom.  I also picked up Salcura cream for dermatitis and eczema. 

Lovely Liam suffers on occasion and as the spray was a little more expensive than expected, Sue put some samples on order for me. 

She also gave me some nettle teabags to try out for my own rashy feet courtesy of the gorgeous weather we were having. (So you noticed I said were too)

The boys got a bag of yogurt topped banana chips to try out.

It didn’t matter other customers were spilling into the shop, not for one minute did I feel rushed and our final purchase on the way out was local honey.

We weren’t finished yet.  That bank holiday weekend, Athy was the location for TriAthy, Irelands fastest Triathlon.  Athletes of every level gathered to complete the course that includes a swim, a cycle and a run. 

This event has gone from strength to strength and attracts thousands of competitors from all over the country. Last year saw the British Formula One Driver Jenson Button take part.  Ireland’s Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Leo Varadkar, put in a good appearance this year.

And sure it wouldn’t be a proper weekend without a drop to wash down the BBQ food so one final stop saw me picking up a couple of bottles of wine which were on offer.  One for me and one for the BBQ on Sunday.

I absolutely have to mention two local premises I had the pleasure of being in this weekend. 
I walked into Sew & Sew on William Street with a very ill Clarke’s Doodle sandal. The lovely lady within, immediately removed her work from the sewing machine and in less than five minutes she handed me back Lovely Liam’s as good as new mauled shoe for the princely sum of €3.

Delighted with myself, I popped it back into my mambag and collected a cappuccino before my hair appointment. 

I spent three glorious, that’s worth repeating, glorious hours in the luxurious care of Becky and Philomena in Hair by Audrey.  Absolutely pampered and very pleased with my new do!

And then, last night I attended a book launch in the local library. 

I was thrilled for Niamh Boyce, the local author, who scooped the Hennessy XO New Irish Writer of The Year 2012 prize for her poem Kitty, and this year, published her first book The Herbalist

Niamh reading an extract from The Herbalist

To see the crowds gathered; family, friends, contemporaries and well-wishers, just proved to me that community spirit is alive and well in Athy. 

Some might say there is a lot wrong with the town.  But there is a lot right with it too.