photo credit: amrufm via photopin cc

What sort of a mother am I?

On occasions over many years, my children have referred to friends of mine saying, “she’s a real mom”. I have never been insulted as I know exactly what they mean. However today I opened that poxy internet glimpse into peoples lives that is facebook, and I saw this from my online friends. Firstly Life on Hushabye Farm posted,

“Some of my mornings work, Jam drops, lentil and nut loaf and lime drizzle cake”

Yes you are correct, she said SOME. She even posted photographic evidence to prove it. Next there was theNest,

“Buns for the boys for brekkie; sponge for later (recipe on its way too!) And a grain, dairy and sugar free fruitcake”.

Just to let you know, Emily has a million children (not quite) and home schools them!
As I was reading these updates this morning, in walked my youngest who began to forage for food in the kitchen. I will never reveal what she found for lunch, but safe to say it didn’t come under the healthy homemade lunch banner, although I did put in an apple for her (which was bruised and a bit wrinkled and probably not something she will even consider eating).

I know mothering is not all about baking, but in truth if I think back, my mothers baking does figure very strongly in my memory. The problem is I am too lazy. I know I could bake, but I don’t. I know I could cook a lot better, but I don’t. I know I could make more effort in the dressing department, but I don’t, and I know a bit of makeup wouldn’t go amiss, but I don’t go there either.

So now I am wondering what will my children remember of me in years to come. Will it be…

That time two weeks before my eldest daughters first communion when I still had nothing to wear. She turned to me and said, “Mom can I ask you one thing, please don’t wear your Doc Martins to my communion”.
The almost daily smell of burned toast.
The fact I bake sometimes and wait to see what they think it is, as things have not worked out quite as I would have imagined.
The way I covered two books for my daughter for school, only to discover I’d sealed the first few pages, and covered them upside down.
The fact that I’m not very houseproud. Okay take out the ‘very’.
The fact that I tend to say, “Ah don’t worry, it’ll be grand” a lot, about everything from out of date yogurts to our late departure for the airport.
The fact I don’t care too much about homework, grinds or results.
The fact I appear at times to not know their credit: Jane Costa Lima via photopin cc

In spite of knowing all these things I do continue to dream, to imagine that some day they will forget the mom I often was, and remember the mom I also was. The mom…

Who carried them for hours when they were distressed babies.
Who welcomed them into open arms after school.
Who laughed with them every day.
Who knew when they were troubled.
Who lay awake at night worrying on their behalf.
Who cried her way through every milestone in their lives.
Who loved them more than anyone else can ever do.

*****I will have to give credit to my online buddies for their inspiration today. They are my online buddies for a reason. Life on Husabye Farm is a fabulous blog. This family live in Ireland and keep Alpacas! They even went for a walk one Sunday with one of them. Go check her out, especially the facebook page where you will see some fantastic photos.
As for the nest go treat yourself. Emily is an artist. Her work is stunning, as well as her being a great cook, mother and educator. Her craft and food filled blog is beautiful.

photo credit: amrufm via photopin cc
photo credit: amrufm via photopin cc

Irish parenting blog awards

A begging post.

Maybe it’s an Irish thing I’m not sure, but I find it hard to ask you to take the time to nominate me in the Irish Parenting Blog Awards. They are on in April and the nominations will be accepted up to the end of March. There are only eight more days left so here goes….

Please nominate me, here.

There are various categories but really, no matter how bias you are about my blog, we will have to agree that I am not suited for ‘most beautiful’ blog or ‘best homespun blog’, nor do I suit the category of ‘newcomer’ or ‘special interest’ blog. However I will leave it up to you to nominate me in what ever category you wish, or in fact in whichever categories you wish, as you can do the whole lot in one go.

There final category is for Best Post Award. Any post since March 2014 is admissible, but you must have the url to link it if you have a particular post in mind. Knowing that most of you have no time for such generosity, a few weeks ago I asked you to pick between three different posts, as to which you preferred, so if you have no other favourite perhaps you might nominate me for that one?

The successful post was My Life in words. If you wish to nominate that post just copy and paste this Url into the required box.

I would be delighted if you had the time to nominate me, but if not don’t worry I’m very forgiving, and how will I know anyway?

So if you have the time here is the link for the Irish Parenting Awards Nominations. (Do you like the way I stuck it in again at the end, just to further tempt you?) Nominate me for whatever categories you see fit.

Now enough begging. I’m way behind in my blog reading due to my almost wifi free weekend in Allihies. Service can now continue as normal.

How To Force A Redirect To The Classic Editor Interface


WordPress users, if like me you can’t get used to the new Editor on WordPress. here is a way to always ensure you write your posts in the old editor. I’ve followed the simple instructions and it works. I’m delighted.

Originally posted on Diary of Dennis:

classic editor wordpress

The Solution To Use The Classic Editor

If you are blogger at, this post here will help you to solve a big problem. As you have noticed, the decision makers at WordPress want to force you to use the recent new editor interface that is purely designed for mobile devices and for users who only create short-form content. This is of course a pain if you are desktop user and if you like to create long-form content as well. In this post you will learn how to get back to the classic editor permanently.

In the new editor form, we had a link back to the classic editor but that link is now gone too. WordPress does not have the intention to give us the link back as you can read here in the forums. If you go through this huge forum thread, you will find out…

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Allihies, West Cork.

Echoes in the hills of Allihies.

When my children were babies I dreamed of a day, many years in the future, when I would enjoy a weekend away without them. I watched others with older children and imagined their easier lives. My ultimate dream was to one day enjoy the sights and sounds of Allihies… alone. Those years have flown past, some harder than others, but the day I dreamed of has arrived. I am away for the weekend in Allihies, child free.

Allihies West Cork
As the sun sets on a perfect day I know I must turn back. My other half is enjoying his own bit of heaven, watching a very important rugby match on TV (yawn). I had left two hours previously to walk over the hills, to enjoy the magnificent views and to get my head around the fact I was here child free.

I should have known as I drove the few miles to begin my walk, that I had been foolish to believe I was alone.

Passing the little beach that is Garnish, I stopped the car for a moment to gaze at the white sand and still water. Opening the window to hear the lap of the sea, I clearly say my little ones, over many years, casting off clothes, indifferent to the cold, running into the sea. My eyes strayed to the rocks on the beach, where one morning I sat with my youngest child and watched the sun come up, as she slept in her back pack, having woken at 5.30am.
I parked at the small pier to begin my climb, but not before remembering the hours spent finding flat stones to play skip skap with, or turning over large rocks in search of crabs. Smiling I heard their screams of delight when they saw one, and fear when they thought I was bringing it too close.Allihies
Away from the shore I looked at the climb ahead, it seemed smaller without little ones. Climbing my first ladder I head towards the ‘trolls bridge’ which we had always approached in silence, for fear we would wake him and he might grab a child.
I walked quickly upwards towards the incredible blue sky, pausing occasionally to enjoy the stunning views.
On the way I passed a cluster of rocks, and remembered taking my eldest on this climb when she was nine, just the two of us.There had been a brief shower and we had sheltered in a ‘cave’ there. Hard to believe my eldest baby is almost fully grown, and in her final year of college.

Climbing on wards I begin to relax and enjoy the many voices from the past drifting over the hills.

“I’m the winner”, my daughter as she raced ahead.
“Is is time for a picnic?” said by each child on many occasions.
“Ow”, said by all, but mostly my son, as he placed his hand on prickly gorse.
“Take it easy”, my husbands shout as they began to descend running.Allihies West Cork

Reaching the top I realise the climb did not take the many hours it used to, with small children stopping for many picnics. I sit for awhile before journeying down stopping regularly, hoping I will never forget this day, the weather and the stunning views.
All the while I am climbing there is not another soul around. I feel alone, a part of the hills.

I think of the world I will return to, a fast changing one of modern technology, and progress, and I look around me at a world which has not changed in hundreds of years.
It is this world I wish my children to know and be a part of. In years to come I hope the echoes I heard through the hills today, will be heard one day by my own children, and who knows, maybe many years from now, other generations will hear them too.

For this is a place I hope to be a part of forever.

Welcome to Allihies. West Cork, Ireland.

I have returned, reluctantly, to the real world after an amazing weekend in Allihies, courtesy of “yer man”, as a gift for my birthday. In almost twenty years of visiting, I have rarely seen the skies so blue. The words of  William Henry Davies sprang to mind on more than one occasion.

“What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare”

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 Nestled beneath the hills I give you Allihies.

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This was the view from our house.

So, now I invite you to come for a small stroll with me, around the village of Allihies.




Leaving the village lets walk out the road.


Scree mountains Allihies

And take a moment to look at the scree mountains on our right.




 As we come to the end of the road we look out to sea.



And pause to stare….


Before arriving at the beach.


After a spell of Irish chat where we sit and speak at length about the weather. we head back to the village, where we might have spent a bit of time that night in the pub.


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But not before we saw the sun go down on a perfect day.

Present envy?

Do you ever have present envy? You know when your friend has a birthday and the love of their life buys them a wonderful present, a piece of jewelry, or surprises them with a weekend away, somewhere luxurious, with all manner of spoiling thrown in for good measure? Do you ever say, “Oh how lovely for you” but all the time think, feck I’d never be so lucky. 5353260204_1ee0586993_n

I must admit on occasions I have been guilty of such envy. As I have watched friends jet off to Australia or New York, or enjoy regular breaks away in lovely hotels, I’ve said nothing, but I can assure you that if, he who puts up with me, were to look back on certain days, he would notice that after friends birthdays there is a definite waspishness about me. I’m sure at times he has wondered what was wrong, but togetherness spanning almost thirty years has taught him to keep his head down and hope the nicer me will return shortly.

Today five of my closest friends jetted off to Lanzarote for a girls holiday. They will be gone a week, and I will not be joining them. Oh dear you may say, I bet she is suffering a little friend envy, poor Tric.

You’re wrong, wrong, so very wrong.

For despite our wonderful friendship, and the fact I enjoy their company hugely, a week away with girls who love to shop and sunbathe, who spend time discussing nail varnish and outfits, and who have a bag of cosmetics I don’t even know what to do with, is not something I’ve been willing to join them on. Each year as they leave for their holiday they feel genuinely sorry for me as I wave them off. When they come home and share their stories they once again apologise for my missing out, when, all the while I’m breathing a silent sigh of relief, “Oh thank God I didn’t go”.

So what makes me tick? What would make me happy?

Well most of you know it was my birthday on St Patricks Day, a lovely day, in which I was greatly spoiled. We usually make out a wish list for presents, but honestly I was not wishing for anything, so my list was a little light on wishes. Sitting up in bed I happily opened my gifts, accompanied by a very excited dog, and my youngest. Each gift showed how well my family knew me, concert tickets, a golf magazine, a voucher for a top I wanted and various other bits and pieces. Then it was time to open my present from yer man, the fella who on occasions I don’t always appreciate.

He handed me a plain envelope. Inside wasn’t a beautiful card, or anything ornate. It wasn’t something I’d proudly show off and say,


Allihies Village, nestled in the hills.

“Oh look at what he bought me”.
It was a simple piece of white paper, taken from our mound of pages for printing upon which was written,

“A weekend away to Allihies, March 20th to 22nd”.

Those of you who know me, who follow my blog and ‘get’ me as a person will instantly know that was my perfect gift. Today I have been very busy, but if you were to pass me, and listen very closely you would have heard me humming. For today I am the equivalent of a cat purring. This time tomorrow night I will be in my favourite place on earth, Allihies, Irelands best kept secret.

I can’t wait.

As for what the hell I’m going to talk to him about for two days, well that’s another post entirely.

photo credit: Bag with rose via photopin (license)

A Mini Tale about Down Syndrome


I was going to rush out a post tonight, but then I read this. It’s a heartfelt post, filled with love by a great online friend of mine. Posted to remind us that World Down Syndrome Day is Saturday March 21st.
Let me introduce you to four year old Mini, who happens to share a birthday with me. A little lady big on personality. Enjoy.
Comments are disabled here, instead you can say what you think to Minis Mom on minisandmum.

Originally posted on minisandmum:

World Down Syndrome Day approaches. This should be the busiest time for the blog. I have a list of websites I should be pitching articles to, so I can you know, raise awareness. Because even though things are looking good for people with Down Syndrome and we’ve come a million miles from the days when a diagnosis translated into a life hidden in the shadows of institutions, there’s still so much to do, so much educating to give, so many lazy stereotypes to be busted, so much more understanding to foster, equality to nurture, prejudice to dismiss.

So I really should be doing something to address all of the above. But 2015 is not going according to plan. We’re in the midst of an ongoing and incredibly stressful house purchase where everything that can go wrong, seems to be going wrong. On top of this, there’s the fact that the state of my…

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Speaking Irish/English on St Patricks Day.

Here in Ireland we speak English, but not as you know it. I am aware that many of you who read my blog do not come from here, so as I did last year, I thought I’d give you a crash course in speaking English as we Irish do. Just in time for St Patricks Day.

For starters we will tackle The introduction.
We do on occasions say ‘Hello’, but over here we may also say,
Hi, how are ye. (It’s ye, not yee) but if you wish to really sound Irish you must roll it into one word, “Hihowareye”.St Patricks Day
How’s the goin?
Hows life?
However the most frequently used greeting between friends would be,
Hi any craic? or What’s the craic?

Terms of loathing.
In Ireland we love to give out about someone. Some common terms we use to express our displeasure in an individual are,
He’s a right fecker,
A feckin eejit,
An awful Gobshite,
A whinger,
An aul cow,(female)
Some bitch (female)

Terms of endearment.
We are also prone to sentiment.
Wee darlin
Me aul flower (peculiar to Dublin)
Aul stock (peculiar to Cork I think)

Frequently used expressions.
Feck is possibly our most common. We use it with everything, or maybe that’s just me!
You’re a fecker.
Feck off
For feck’s sake.
Feckin weather, traffic, headache, husband.
Shut the feck up.

We also regularly use religious expressions, even if we are non believers, to express annoyance, surprise, pain etc. I’ll elaborate on these in order to help you understand there is no prayer involved. (I think I used almost all of these today at some point).
Jaysus..that’s terrible.
Jesus, Mary and Joseph.. what the hell are you doin?
Oh God… I’m late.
Oh my God… were you watchin that fella on TV last night?
For God’s sake… I’m pig sick of you moaning.
For Jaysus’ sake… look at that eejit over there.
Jesus Christ.. (after stubbing your toe)
God help him…(anyone you pity)
In the name of God... will you ever shush and listen to me.St Patricks Day
Sweet Jesus…what have I done?

Irish/English can be confusing…
If you ask someone to do something and they refuse,instead of no they may say…
“I will in me arse”,
“Ye, right”,
“I will ye!”

Various expressions we use
I’ll burst ye (I’ll kill you)
Are ye thick or what? (Do you not understand? Why were you so stupid?)
She wouldn’t tear at the plucking (she’s a good age)
She didn’t get that from the water (she’s like her mother/father)
He’s the spit of you. (He’s very like you)

Here is an example of a possible conversation which I posted last year, in which you can see our English in action.

Mary; How are ye June?
June: Hi Mary.Hows things?
Mary : Not so bad. Did ye hear me news? I’m engaged.
June: I heard. Congratulations, are ye thrilled?
Mary : Ah I am really. I’m mad about Jack.
June :He’s some looker, I wouldn’t kick him out of bed for eating crisps.
Mary : You still with Sean?
June : No chance. That fecker. I wouldn’t be seen dead with him.
Mary : Sorry to hear that, but he was thick as a brick, wasn’t he?
June : Definitely not the sharpest tool in the box. I hated his ma too. She was a right oul cow.
Mary; Ye she’s hard goin alright. And the state of her. Jaysus she thinks shes 20!
June : I know… she wouldn’t tear at the plucking. She must be 100 I’d say, (ha ha)
Mary : Do you fancy a coffee, or a bite to eat?
June : I’d love it, I could eat the leg of a chair.
Mary : Since I got preggers I’m eatin for Ireland.
June : Will we go into “Julias”
Mary : We will ye, even the flies leave that place!St Patricks Day
June : We’ll head to Bewleys so.
Mary : Great. Listen I’ve to get some dosh so I’ll meet ye there.
June : Ok so. See ya.

Just to make sure you are getting it, here’s another for you.

Sean: Hi Johnny, “hows it going?”.
Johnny: Good Sean boy. Any crack?
Sean : Jaysus no, nothing happenin. And you?
Johnny : No, heard that feckin eejet Jack, has Mary up the duff.
Sean : He’s an awful gobshite that fella. If she was my sister I’d break his face.
Johnny: Ye. Shes cracked about him though.
Sean: She’s not so bright, God love her.
Johnny : Her ma is loosin the plot over it.
Sean : Ah her ma’s a mad cow.
Johnny: Oh and thanks for giving me the nod about that job. Fair play to ye.
Sean : Not a bother. Did ye get it?
Johnny : I did ye! Didn’t come close I’d say.
Sean : Aw not to worry. Were you disappointed?
Johnny : I was in me arse!
Sean : Ah good. I better be off.
Johnny : Right, no bother. See ye around.

So there you have it. You are now ready to speak to your Irish friends tomorrow, and join in the craic of St Patricks Day. By the way, rumour has it over here, that those of you living in the US are known to refer to it as Patty’s Day. Let me tell you that is a serious no no. Patty is a girls name, so if you must shorten it, it can only be Paddys Day, or better still as I know it …. MY BIRTHDAY!

Happy St Patricks Day where ever you are.

photo credit: IE358 via photopin (license)
photo credit: St. Patrick’s Day, Dublin via photopin (license)
photo credit: The James Joyce (9) via photopin (license)

Remembering ‘hidden’ moms on Mothers Day.

This is a true story.
It is one I wrote two years ago, but I am always reminded of it on Mothers Day (which in Ireland is today). As I’m pretty sure most of you have never read the original I’ll tell it to you once more.small__495579635

Years ago I was on a training course. Towards the end of it we were doing a night on loss. The idea behind the night, is that unless you deal with your own demons you cannot help others deal with their difficulties. We were all nervous, as we had been informed that our guest tutor was extremely experienced in this area and most people ended up in quite a state. I attended that night like one going to a hypnotist. He would not get to me. I would not break.

The night was very interesting letting us know that loss is about so much more than bereavement, opening our minds and memories to the forgotten or ignored losses in our own lives. After a few hours, one by one, we were asked to share our stories. There was no opting out.
It was then I heard the beginning of this tale.

One of the trainee volunteers was a girl who I will call ‘Dee’, her loss was her niece or nephew. With anger she told us her youngest sister had told the family she was pregnant, aged sixteen.small_2607381991
Dee described how her normally progressive, easy going, caring mother, flipped. Within two days, following very little discussion,
her mother and young sister flew to England for an abortion.

As she spoke it through she became very upset, as did we all listening to her. We could hear it in her voice and see it in her tears, but greater than her sadness was her anger. Over and over she repeated, “I cant understand my mum and dad!”.
The whole group were gripped by her tale. Abortion is illegal in Ireland, yet each year thousands of women, for all sorts of reasons, make the lonely journey to England, and no one tells.

After that night her story stayed with me. I thought of her often as I went about my daily life. Anyone listening would have realized her family were broken. I wondered had time brought healing.

Fast forward two years.

I was on a train which was full. After much searching I found an empty seat… beside “Dee”. I had not seen her in the intervening years. We began to chat, but I could not bring myself to ask the one question I wanted to. Noting I was pregnant she brought up ‘that’ night herself.

It was then she told me “Part Two”.

After the night on loss she said she could not move on. The night had awoken feelings within her she could not suppress.
Within days communication had broken down between herself and her mum. She would not and could not forgive her so began to make plans to move out. One night, less than a week after the course her mum and dad called herself and her sister to the kitchen and began to tell them why they had done what they did.

Thirty years previously at the age of sixteen Dee’s mother had discovered she was pregnant.”Dee’s” dad was the father. In Ireland in those days it was a great shame to be unmarried and pregnant. Dee’s mother was packed up and sent to a special ‘home’ to have her baby. Within the community the story would be told she had gone to stay with a sick aunt. During her confinement her father came to visit only once. Eventually she gave birth to a little boy. For six weeks she looked after him until one day she was handed a present. New clothes, not chosen by her, to dress her baby in as he was to leave for his new home.

medium_3595380765“Dee” at this stage got upset as she described her mother begging for the babies dad to be allowed see him just once. The answer was a definite “No”. So she washed him, dressed him, and kissed him goodbye.

She explained to “Dee” and her sister that she had never recovered and thought of her son almost every day. On hearing her daughter was pregnant at sixteen she agreed that her reaction was illogical, and accepted they should not have acted in such haste.
“Dee” said she began to understand.

So to “Part Three”.

The reason she was sitting on the train was because she was returning from a weekend away, the purpose of which was to meet her brother for the first time. He had two children. She had two nephews. Following the confession to her girls her mum and dad had decided to look for their son, and on finding him he was willing to meet them. By all accounts it had been a wonderful weekend,
and according to ‘Dee’ there seemed to be an immediate connection.

To this day I shake my head at the coincidence that I happened to sit next to her that day, allowing me to hear the final two chapters of her remarkable story. I think of her occasionally but it is on Mothers Day that I remember her always, along with all the other “hidden” Irish mothers and the pain they must feel on today.

photo credit: Jack Fussell via photopin cc

Being a mother is a pain.

I am not sure when it happens, but there is a moment after birth when everything changes. As we look into our tiny newborns face, and scan their little body, we are bewitched. As we hold them in our arms for the first time we feel them seep through our pores into our soul. We are now as one. They are a part of us, taking up a place in our hearts forever, regardless how long their lives may be.

In those early days we hear them cry and it hurts. Life becomes  a never ending cycle of feeding, changing and comforting, all in an effort to make sure they do not cry, to ensure they are happy, and so it continues for many credit: Jack Fussell via photopin cc

And then the day comes when they are older and we can no longer protect them from hurt or sadness.

Nothing can prepare you for that day when you first see your child hurt by another. It may be at playschool, when you witness another child slap or push your child, or maybe in the playground. You feel a massive wave of protectiveness and an irrational reaction to your child’s pain or dismay. Over time you become accustomed to, and a little less upset by such happenings, but somewhere deep within you, you continue to feel it every time.

Last weekend I was coach to thirty young swimmers in a gala. We began the day with the usual great expectations. There was much excitement accompanied by fraught nerves, not to mention the parents feelings. As can always be predicted at such events, there are highs and lows. Throughout the day there was much to celebrate with so many happy smiling children. However just like in life, not everything went well for everyone. As some young swimmers finished their swims they could not hide their disappointment. With tears overflowing they came to us coaches for a few words of comfort and encouragement. We did our best, but for some the arms of their mothers was the only cure.  Parents oblivious to how wet their child was, opened their arms and held their young swimmer. Eventually it was their parents gentle push which allowed them to move away, dry their tears and head off to swim another race. Only in a couple of cases to be once again heartbroken, and so the cycle credit: Martin Gommel via photopin c

As our children get older, we continue to share life’s disappointments with them. Eventually there comes a time when waiting arms no longer cure all. Mothers are left watching from a distance as their children hurt, feeling their pain as strong as always, but unable to lessen it.

Over many years I have stood by my children’s sides unable to help. I have watched as they struggled in school, when friendships crumbled and when illness and bereavement hit hard. As a mother I have felt every sadness, and hurt. I have stayed awake at night worrying, and cried silent tears on their behalf. I have held them in my arms and I have softly kissed them.

For as a mother their hurt and pain are part of me. Would I wish to feel it a little less? Certainly not, for equally their joy and happiness are also mine. I think if we weigh it all up in general the life of a mother is a lot less of a pain than it is a pleasure, and I for one would never chose to change a bar of it.

For in truth, although it may not be the modern thing to say, but I have found being a mother brings me more joy than anything I have ever achieved in my own life.

photo credit: Jack Fussell via photopin cc

photo credit: Martin Gommel via photopin c