Saturday, April 28, 2012

A Place In The Sun

Hooray for the sun coming out! We've got 12 days left of our holiday here in Ireland and the first couple of days here were glorious and sunny. But for the last week it's been overcast, raining and we've had bitterly cold winds. When it's like this there's not much you can do but stay inside and keep warm.

We're staying in my mother-in-law's 2 bedroom cottage and it's gorgeous, but probably better suited to 1-2 people, not 3 adults and a toddler who just wants to run around all the time.

On Thursday night we picked up hubby's other two children who live here in Dunfanaghy. Now we have two teenagers, 3 adults and a toddler in a two bedroom house. It's slightly crowded to say the least however I think we're all coping enormously well.

So when we woke this morning and say blue skies and felt the sun through the kitchen windows we were all so happy. My mother-in-law Helen has taken the children swimming this morning and hubby has gone to the gym. Emily is asleep for her midday nap and this has given me some peace and quiet to do some writing and just relax. Aaaahhhhhh.......

Early morning sun hits the hills and we wake up to a glorious view of the valley

I love that everyone lives next to each other here. That is that my father-in-law Jimmy has the house next door to Helen's (they separated some time ago but remain friends) and my brother-in-law Adam and his partner Olivia and son Reuben live in the little cottage next to Jimmy's.

Adam and Olivia's little cottage next to the main house

Having everyone at your doorstep has been fabulous. Both the little ones have been sick at various times and we've been able to run panadol back and forth and bulk buy nappies and wipes since they're both the same size. We've shared food and wine such as the delicious Rhubarb Crumble cooked by Helen with Rhubarb from Jimmy's garden, and Spaghetti Bolognaise cooked by Jimmy and eaten here by the whole family.

One decimated patch of Rhubarb

Every where I look here there are reminders of a wonderful family life. There are animals everywhere and gardens that are well looked after. Emily has fallen in love with the little white horse named Holly who lives across the road behind the house. 

Holly the friendly neighbours horse

Helen has a little dog named Coco Michelle and she was happily sleeping on my feet while I was writing this until the sound of typing must have annoyed her and she moved to the little bed next to me on the couch.

Coco Michelle having a wee nap

Jimmy has a wonderful vegetable patch with potato's, leeks, carrots, spring onions and strawberries growing. He also grows Christmas Trees that he sells at the end of the year. The whole family is musical with Helen playing guitar, base guitar, saxophone and various other instruments, Jimmy plays the guitar and is a very well-known musician around here, brother-in-law Adam plays the drums and is in high demand with local bands and hubby plays guitar and base guitar. I keep waiting for them to break out into some sort of partridge family type gig but they are all way too cool for that.

Tonight we're heading out with the in-laws for a bit of frivolity and fun at the local pubs. We'll watch my Jimmy play in his band and drink some Guinness. Tomorrow we'll all wake up with headaches and no doubt Adam and Olivia will wander down at some stage to join in with our recollection of previous nights antics over a bite of lunch. At some stage Jimmy will wander through the trees that divide the house and pop his head in the door to just say hello and see how we're going. The kids will play and run about in the garden chasing the cats and dogs. It's a lovely life and I'm quite happy to just relax and enjoy it for now.

Emily walking up the lane

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Olivia Boutique

Today was another freezing cold day with high winds and swollen seas. We stopped on the way to town to check out the waves. The ocean looked like a swirling whirl pool with frothy white capped waves crashing onto the rocks. Even the locals were pulling over for a look.

We did a little bit of shopping today for family. I picked up a couple of postcards and a t-shirt for Emily to wear on St Pats Day next year. Then I popped into Olivia's Boutique which is my sister-in-laws and has the most gorgeous giftware and dresses.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Touring Around

We spent today driving around checking out the scenery and sites on the Atlantic Drive near Downing. It's bitterly cold so a great day to sit in a warm car and check out the amazing views and beautiful coastline.

Something that has been very noticeable since arriving is the effects of the recession. There are so many vacant houses for sale and businesses closed down. While driving through The North of Co. Donegal you see loads of almost finished houses that builders just abandoned when the recession hit. It's incredibly sad to see a country that was so prosperous suffering in this way. Amazingly the people are still happy and always have a funny story to tell and a smile on their face.

We stopped at a little pub call Glen Inn and the men in there were quite interested in what Australian life is like. They asked about recent flooding and the Victorian bush fires.

Now we're back at the house enjoying a glass of wine by the fire. Maybe we'll go to the Pub later and listen to some music. One things for sure, rain or shine its a fine life in Ireland.

Monday, April 23, 2012

The Trip So Far

Well we made it! 40 hours to get here but we're finally in Ireland!

I thought I'd fill you in on the trip so far....

We took this at Singapore Airport. It's amazing that after sitting on a plane for the last 8 hours Emily still found the site of them landing a thrill....

Emily finally fell asleep on the last leg of the journey after much coaxing and crying. She looks sweet here but half an hour earlier she was a nightmare!

Day two and Emily was enjoying some time with her cousin while watching CBeebies. These two were born three hours apart on opposite sides of the world but their friendship has been instant and they are a joy to watch together.

My mother-in-law took me for a walk on this beach which was just gorgeous, although freezing cold, and absolutley pristine.

This is the view of the town of Dunfanaghy Co.Donegal where we're staying and it's taken from Horn Head which boasts the second highest sea cliff in the world.

Hubby has a cold so there's no going anywhere for a couple of days but this is really a blessing in disguise as it forces me to do nothing and just relax. The jet lag is finally subsiding so hopefully we'll get out and see some more sites this week.

What are your best travel tips?

Monday, April 16, 2012

And We're Off!

Yesterday I did my final market before our holiday and I'm so happy it went well.

At the recent Beechworth Night Market I sold one of my own skirts that I made and it was great. But this market I sold one of my dresses and I'm completely chuffed. I'm chuffed because this dress was so original, one of my own designs (although you can say it's similar to other designs) and no one else had anything like it on their stalls.

Normally I'm selling other peoples creations but more and more I'm making my own and I have so many ideas for stalls in the future.

This market was flat out from the start and after working in the shop selling kids clothing all day Saturday I was already pretty tired. Thank God I had my Mum there to help me. After packing up the shop and loading the car with all the handmade clothing and gift ware on Saturday afternoon, we were up early Sunday morning to set up for the Little Me Market in Wodonga. No sooner had we set up than customers started pouring in. And they didn't stop until well after 2pm!

It really was a great atmosphere with kids everywhere, Mum and Dads busy looking for clothes, toys and home wares, live music and plenty of yummy cupcakes........

After packing up I headed home to start on the washing and cleaning because tomorrow WE GO TO IRELAND!!

I can't believe it's already here and tonight is our last sleep in Albury before we leave. It will take 35 hours to get to where we're going and I'm so nervous about the flight. My husband has been wonderful the last couple of days. I've had a few small meltdowns, mostly about what to where on the plane and what to pack.

We've weighed our bags, locked all the deadlocks on the windows, made sure a stop has been put on the mail and organised emergency contact numbers in case something happens while we're away.

I don't know how I'll sleep tonight and when I'll get to blog again. Hubby has promised me I can blog while I'm away but it might be a couple of days before I get the chance to.

Anyway.....see you on the other side!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Things I Love

Things I love.....

  • Morning cuddles and kisses from my daughter, especially if she gets in our bed between hubby and I
  • Walking in bare feet on freshly cut lawn
  • Eating salty popcorn till my lips sting

  • Open fires and sitting so close you bum burns

  • Freshly washed sheets and pyjamas. Whats the point of fresh sheets without fresh PJ's?
  • Coloring in with Emily, especially when she dictates what part of the picture I can color
  • Ripping the foil and getting that first whiff of a fresh jar of coffee
  • Reading a good peace......cover to cover.......
  • Hot showers on really cold nights
  • Going to sleep with my feet touching my husbands
  • Hot roast lamb on a cold Sunday for lunch with all the family
  • Friday night drinks with friends
  • Singing to tunes I love at the top of my voice in the car
  • Christmas.......
  • Cooking anything from a Jamie Oliver cookbook

  • Watching my hubby play with Emily

There are so many things I love. Most of all I'm grateful that I get to enjoy all these things and live the life I was given.

What do you love?

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Emily's Obsession

My daughter Emily is currently obsessed with my parents, her Mama and GD (Dad wasn't quite ready to be called Grandad when my sister had his first grandchild).

 She wakes up in the morning and asks for them, she goes to bed at night begging for them and every time we go out in the car she wants me to go to their place. When we do visit it's a struggle to get her back into the car to go home. We usually have to trick her by having my Dad put her in the car with my Mum sits next to her pretending to come with us. Then she jumps out and says goodbye and Emily cries for the next five minutes in the car on the way home.

I'm praying this is a stage she'll go through and get over quickly. It's not like Mum and Dad purposely make her love them so much, she just does. And I'm glad she adores them and enjoys them because I a lot of kids don't get to enjoy their grandparents they way mine does.

Today was my day off and a day I always try to do something special with Emily. She's my one and only so I want to make the most of it. I declared it a sewing free day even though I got the most gorgeous Amy Butler fabric in the mail today......

So we went to our local cafe this morning for a coffee and an Anzac Biscuit and just spent time together reading Thomas The Tank Engine book and chatting about nothing (she doesn't really say anything but gibberish anyway and I just nod and ask questions).

We spent some time at the shop and ordered some Skeanie and Uh-Oh! Sleepwear shoes and PJ's for our trip next week.

On the way home I thought we'd swing by my parents business Albury Dream Cottages and say hello as they were just finishing up and there is play equipment out back that Emily loves.

I really should have thought about it before we went. It was 11am and she was already getting tired. She hadn't had lunch and I hadn't bought any with us because it was a spur of the moment decision.

Well she happily played for half an hour on the swings with Mama and chatted to GD telling him big stories. Then she began banging the back door of the house, refused to put her shoes on, started throwing things and I knew she had gotten past it. Getting her into the car was a nightmare and once she was in and we were driving home she sucked hard on the dummy and hugged her pink hippo. We pulled up in the driveway and she wanted to stay in the car as she was obviously comfortable and very tired. She refused lunch, she drank a bottle and fell asleep on her bean bag in front of the TV.

I felt bad, I should have taken her home an hour earlier and given her a proper lunch. When she woke two hours later she was hot and sweaty and crying. She asked for Mama and GD. *sigh*

None of this is a big deal, none of this is anything special or out of the ordinary. I know all parents go through stages with their kids. It does make me feel better writing it down and sharing.

What's your childs obsession? 

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

My Fitness Pal

It's possible I've over indulged the last couple of weeks.....OK I definatey over indulged! I've gained a kilo and although it's not much, I seriously can't afford to gain any weight or I'm at risk of going up a jeans size and besides....wasn't it my new years resolution to loose 10kg?

So last night I thought it's time to get serious. I'm the kind of person who says "fuck it....I'll deal with the consequences later" but this time I don't want to get to the stage where I'm so depressed about the size of my bum and that my friends, or sisters, or hubby can do what I don't seem to have the discipline to.

I downloaded an app on my iphone last night. It's called My Fitness Pal and it's awesome. Basically it's a calorie counter, food and excercise diary all in one. It has a bar code scanner built in that allows you to find out how many calories a serving of that food contains.

I then entered or scanned in the foods that I ate and entered how much excercise I did and it told me if I was a good girl today or a bad girl.

I need encouraging little apps like this to motivate me. I was really over eating! According to My Fitness Pal I should be eating about 1200 calories a day if I want to loose 1kg a week. I would have been consuming about 1800 to 2000 a day so I'm surprised I didn't put on more weight.

Anyway, at the end of the week I'll let you know if the kilo has come off and my jeans are any looser.

Now for some motivational music.....

Monday, April 9, 2012

Easter Done and Dusted.....

Easter weekend is done and dusted. It was busy.....hugely busy!

I sewed like mad.....

I worked at the shop on Saturday and it was flat out. I don't have any wool coats left thanks to the cold weather!

Eternal Creation Red Pure Wool Coat......honestly so gorgeous and kicking myself I didn't buy more!

I did the Beechworth Golden Horseshoe Night Market....

Unfortunately it was too damn cold and dark to take photo's but I at least did great sales in the first hour while it was still light and I sold my first Emily Kate Designs piece.....

We hunted for Easter Eggs....

We ate way too much chocolate.....

We played with cousins.....

And we made new best friends.....

We even managed a sleep in when Emily decided to sleep until 8:30am this morning! Now there's no more chocolate left, family and friends have gone home and tomorrow we'll return to work and day care.

This time next week I'll be madly packing and trying to get last minute things done for our big trip to Ireland. 

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

As time goes by....

This week has gone so quickly and it's getting more and more stressful the closer we get to our trip. Hubby is complaining that we haven't saved enough money, I'm complaining that he's not showing enough admiration or support since I'm been working like a dog to make some money to put towards the trip, Emily isn't sleeping properly and is cutting her eye teeth, and all the while time is ticking by.

Today was my day off but the whole day was filled with work. I managed to get a hair appointment in early this morning but I didn't even have time for my hairdresser to dry me off before rushing out the door to pick up Emily from Mum and Dads as they had an appointment to go to. After that I made two dresses and a pair of pants for the Saturday Night Market at Beechworth.

My Nana taught me to cook as a way of keeping me out of trouble since I was such a busy little girl. She looked out for me years ago and today using her old crock pot to make spaghetti bolognaise for dinner tonight I felt like she was still looking out for me. Thanks God she left that old crock pot to me along with several other cooking utensils. At 6pm when Emily was having a meltdown and hubby came in looking for food I proudly announced dinner was made and at least that was one thing he couldn't complain about today.

Tomorrow is another full on day in the shop and I hope I remember to bank and get change for the market.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Cockroaches and Sleepless Nights

All day today I wanted to go home and sew. Of course tonight all I've managed to do is cut out one single dress.

I'm so tired with Emily waking four times last night and then my hubby wakes at 4am because a bloody big cockroach was having a lovely time sitting on his mouth!

Yes you read that correctly. He woke with a start because a cockroach had decided to run across his mouth and face and another was perched next to his glass of water on the bedside table. Uugghh! Disgusting!

He had to basically disinfect his mouth and face before I would let him back in the bed. And of course as soon as we turned the light off and started to drift back to sleep Emily woke again.

I have no idea what is going on with her. I'm putting it down to a growth spurt and teething. She didn't sleep again today and hardly ate, but was otherwise happy. So oh well, such is life and I'm sure it's just another phase.

Anyway, to top my day off I've managed to get bronchitis.....again! It always stats as hayfever (that was a week and a half ago) and turns into a sinus infection (at which point I went to the doctors who prescribed me antibiotics but I thought I was superwoman and could fight the infection with shear willpower) and ends up being a full blown bronchial infection (and now I sound like Muttly when I cough).

This infection is highly inconvenient and I should have just taken the antibiotics last week. Now I'm sick, don't feel like doing anything and I have at least two more dresses to make before Saturday plus a load of bookwork and website work to do in the shop.

Tomorrow morning I thankfully get some me time as I'm getting my hair done. After that it's off to the chemist to get the antibiotics and then home to sew like a mad woman. Hopefully I can get the last two done tomorrow and then Thursday and Friday I can make extras like skirts and pants.

For now it's off to bed and I'm praying Emily will sleep through tonight.

Monday, April 2, 2012

My Little Angel.....or should I say devil?

How did my perfect little sleeper turn into such a rat bag??

Today when I picked up Emily from Day Care her carer pulled me aside to inform me my darling daughter had not only not slept all day and was completely hyper, but she had to be removed from the room for being disruptive to the rest of the toddlers trying to sleep.

Surely they had gotten her mixed up with someone else? Emily has always been a great day sleeper and mostly a good night sleeper. But this is the third time in a week she's refused a day sleep.

Apparently she was fine all afternoon but getting her home tonight she was exhausted and miserable. And naughty! I keep telling her no and she just laughs at me and does it anyway.

Since when do almost 2 year olds get the upper hand?!

My little angel NOT climbing on her Daddy's office chair and playing with his new computer that he loves more than me!

I'm determined to get on top of this behavioural problem before it gets too out of hand. If anyone has any tips I'd love to hear them. We're heading to Ireland in less than three weeks now and I have to work out a way of calming her before we get there and her Nana discovers how loud her voice is! 

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Crime and Punishment

Normally I'm usually pretty confident about my parenting skills. I know I'm a loving caring mother who'll do anything to ensure my child gets the best start in life, grows up resilient enough to handle life's pressures and hopefully doesn't repeat the bad habits I have. Sometimes teaching the hard lessons is a really touch thing.

I always said I'd never smack my child. There must be other ways to teach a toddler not to do something. But earlier this year, after telling her several times to stop opening and closing the sliding door (if she closes it on her little fingers I'm sure they'll break) I ended up giving her a smack. It wasn't that hard, definitely more of a fright than actually hurting her. She cried, and I cried. It was the most awful thing.

Another mother said to me later that week when in guilt I told her of the incident that good punishments are the hardest ones to give. Or something like that.....

I don't smack very often, but occasionally when Emily is really testing me out and she's in danger of doing great harm to herself, I will resort to a smack on the bottom.

One cheeky monkey who is obsessed with opening and closing doors!

I've tried other ways, counting to three, sitting and having a stern talk, distracting her with something else. Honestly none of them are effective. She's only 20 months and she thinks counting to three is a game, won't sit for a stern talk and has a damn good memory as the distraction thing rarely works.

Today was a long day of sewing in preparation for next weeks market. Unfortunately whilst Emily is awake I can never get that much sewing done. I was almost finished a dress when she woke from her nap, so after getting her up, changing, feeding and playing with her for an hour and finally distracting her with ABC2 I thought I'd just finish the last bit of hemming and that would mean more time to sew another piece tonight.

No sooner had I begun than she wandered into my craft room and started playing with the dials on the machine (whilst I was sewing!) and then almost put her little finger under the moving needle. At least three to four times I sternly told her no. Each time she moved away, then slyly came back for more. In the end she was laughing at me. That was it! I gave her a little smack on the backside, told her "NO!" and moved her away from the machine. She looked at me with her big brown eyes, mouth quivered and then she lost it.

I felt terrible. I didn't pick her up, I didn't cuddle her, I barely looked in her direction....for about 30 seconds. Not even a minute after the punishment she came up to me, tear streaked cheeks and looking very sad. "sowwy Mummy" she whispered. I gave her a cuddle, told her I loved her and didn't want her to get hurt and she couldn't play with Mummy's machine.

Not long after she found a book and sat on the floor and flicked the pages telling me the story in her gibberish. The dress got finished and we spent the afternoon in the garden planting leeks and silverbeet and chasing the white moths that seem to have found a home amongst the tomatoes.

She wasn't damaged, she was OK. She was happy and she left the craft room alone for the rest of the afternoon. I still feel terrible that I had to punish her. Strangly I don't fee that bad about the actual smack, but i feel bad that she cried and was upset. I wish I could just let her do whatever she wants but that would be irresponsible. Why does being a mother have to be so God damn hard sometimes?!

How do you feel about smacking?