Monday, December 16, 2013

Up and away

Well, it's been nearly six months since my last post and I come back now only to say the absence will continue for the forseeable future. Thank you to everyone who have read my blog and enjoyed it and even if you haven't enjoyed it, well thanks to you too. You've made it what it is and have laughed along with me as I've navigated a new life with my husband and daughter in a foreign country. Although, I'm not saying goodbye to blogging and Ireland Ever After, for the time being, I'm choosing to live my life and not write about it. I'm sure there will be a random post here and there until I decide to come back to blogging more often. I have an amazing group of friends and family and you know who you are, and at the minute, my time is best spent with them and not online. Without sounding like too much of a cliche, never take anything for granted. Yes, we may get easily annoyed or aggravated with simple things, but in the end, if you have your family and friends and your health, then nothing else matters. With those three simple things in place, you can get through anything. And, anyone that wishes unpleasant things on you, then hold your head up high, but hold your fingers up higher ;) Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all my readers. May God Bless you.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

It didn't sink

My weekend?  Dancing with Zumba All Stars Sheldon and Eric with my girls from Pilot's Row in Belfast's Titanic Quarter in front of a replica of the staircase of the Titanic.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Cheeky weekend in Scotland

Barry, Isla and I decided to hop across the water for the weekend and visit Scotland.  I've never been, Barry's never been and Isla's definitely never been so off we went.  We landed in Glasgow.  I secretly hoped for a nice, tropical know different from the wet weather of Derry.  Unfortunately, it was not to be had!  Glasgow is, of course, more North than Derry so any chance of warmer weather...well, I knew it wasn't going to happen but hey...can't blame me for wishing.  By the way, someone needs to let that 'ol cow Mother Nature know it's May and freezing rain and hailstones is a no no!

We stayed in a hotel where Barry bumped into someone who lives just right down the street from us and the lady that worked in the breakfast room every morning actually had a son who went to college in West Virginia!  I'll use the never overused phrase here:  small world.  The lady didn't actually know I was from West Virginia because she was slagging the crap out of it talking to someone else lol.  She had been.  To a podunk town I'll add so I can kind of see her view but you know...don't judge a book and all that jazz.  I thought for a moment about going over and embarrassing her and telling her I was from West Virginia, but I didn't.  How crap would she have felt...and she was so nice to Isla every morning.  But, you can go no where!

Isla at Pizza Hut in Glasgow.  She learned to color here!  We have to make our dining out experiences now in these types of places as she's loud, whiny and makes it a habit to ruin others dinners!

Hotel hallway crawling.  A baby's favorite thing.

So, we conquered Glasgow...exploring Buchanan St., all the shopping centres including the one housing the only Hamley's outside of London.  And, I didn't buy one thing!  Except lots of food!  We walked our feet off and pretty much hit every touristy sight in Glasgow.  After that was finished, me and my little touristy self wouldn't have been content with just one city, so we hopped a train to Edinburgh for the day on Sunday. 

Getting ready to explore Hamley's!  Sort of the same as FAO Schwartz....

I have yet to see another city with a skyline as domineering, dramatic and breathtaking as Edinburgh.  From the castle swooping out of the side of the hill as if it's part of the actual mountain, to the old buildings that seem to collide into one, my eyes were never bored while we dandered about Edinburgh.  Starting from the castle and walking down Royal Mile, I could actually picture Mary Queen of Scots doing the same thing.  Well, I like to liken myself to royalty, so I could actually picture myself doing it.  Kidding by the way.  No, I'm not. 

Edinburgh skyline.

Barry and I have three cameras between us not including the cameras on our phones.  However, not one of our three cameras works and we had to rely on our crap phones for pictures the whole weekend.  I'm uber not impressed with the quality because of course pictures never fully capture what you're seeing with your naked eye.

The only crap thing about Edinburgh:  Holy cheese is it expensive!  The castle was okay.  It was very expensive.  Sixteeen pounds per person to get in for a total of £32.  Actually, it was £33 because Barry decided to accidentally drop a pound coin in the castle off to the side where everything was roped off and no one could get to.  Not a fan of losing money even if it is a pound.  That could have bought a packet of biscuits at the pound shop!  I was disappointed in the castle and Edinburgh only a smidge because it is so bloody commericalized and touristy.  In fact, the whole weekend, I don't think I heard many Scottish accents!  They were Italian, French and those damn bloody Yanks everywhere and their uniform fanny packs (get your giggles out all you Derry folk lol...yes, we call them fanny packs!), red waterproof jackets and massive white trainers.  I don't understand why Americans come over here and dress like this. They do it here in Derry, too.  All trotting off the bus down at Free Derry corner with their standard issue red coats, white shoes and fanny packs.  They don't dress like that at home!  Why do they do it anywhere else?  Makes me wanna go over and slap them when I see it and shake them and tell them they're not giving off the best impression!
Here' s the room inside Edinburgh Castle where Barry lost the pound coin.

Queen for the day outside Edinburgh Castle.  If only I knew we were going to lose a pound coin inside...I would have wiped that smile off my face!


Holyrood House Palace in Edinburgh at the bottom of Royal Mile.  We took a royal pees here and changed a royal diaper.  Well, at the visitor's center anyway.

Glasgow Cathedral

Glasgow Necropolis

And, on our way to the Glasgow airport today, we encountered a lovely bus driver.  This is where the title of this blog post comes in.  A cheeky trip, indeeed.  Because we got a bit of cheek from the bus driver who threatened to punch Barry and told me to my face while holding my 15 month old daughter, "F*£$ you!"  A long story about this, but we were actually in the right and had many witnesses who gave good testimony as we filed a formal complaint.  Still made it to the airport on time though!  Boom!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

What to do now

I started off the year thinking that this year would be a clean slate.  And, I mean that in the sense that I didn't have anything major planned.  Since I've met Barry, I've had something major planned every year (wedding, engagement, book, moving, Zumba classes, Zumbathons, vacations, etc.).  This marks the fifth year I've known Barry, so when January came and I had nothing planned, I didn't know what to do with myself.  It took two weeks into January and then my calendar was officially booked for the first part of the year.  My spacing could have been a little better because most things I signed up for that second week of January came to fruition this week.  The first of which was a Strictly Come Dancing style dance competition for charity (Dancing with the Stars to my American readers).  My partner and I have been meeting for months and practicing our dance.  We competed in the Zumba category, naturally.  Months of practice came to a head Friday night as we performed in front of hundreds of people our dance.  Here's a few photographs and a video...looking at these photos, I'm rethinking this whole growing out my fringe/bangs.  My forehead is so big you could land a freakin' plane on it.  Where are my scissors?

A few weeks prior to the competition, all the dancers met and put together a silly Britney Spears Hit Me Baby One More Time parody video.  Here's the may want to sit down before you watch the video...and your eyes may bleed a bit:

The morning after this was a Zumbathon for a group called Parents of Older Children with Autism. 

Now, it's time to put my feet up and relax a little bit.  Oh, wait.  I'm the mother of a one year old...feet up doesn't happen anymore!

Monday, April 29, 2013

A bobby pin shocked me

This blew my mind today:

Am I simple?  Am I the only one who thought it was the other way?  How can I be 32 years old and not know the right way to use a bobby pin?  I'm ashamed of myself.  Once I saw this picture, I went upstairs and pulled out my bobby pin stash and actually put one in my hair the correct way...and it was like night and day!  These things actually work!  All this time I thought it was a load of crap! 

Other than being astonished by bobby pins, I'm so busy at the minute.  To think I started this year off saying to Barry that I have nothing planned and now I'm up to my neck in stuff.  This week is especially a killer.  I'm competing in a Strictly Come Dancing-style competition on Friday (to my American friends...a Dancing with the Stars-style competition) then I have a Zumbathon beginning first thing Saturday morning.  This, in addition to my other classes and the practicing for the competition.   Plus, I've decided to make this the week to start a 3-day herbal life trial.  This sucks.  I miss food.  I'm on day one.  No food makes me wanna kill dead things!  Will I make it to day 3?  I don't know. 

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Oh, the moaning...

Why does Isla cry?  Top reasons for uncalled moaning and crying from our 1 year old daughter. 

Because we put Easter Bunny ears on her.
Because she can't touch the glass candle holders by the television.
Because she can't touch the screen of the television.
Because she can't shake the television.
Because she's pooping.
Because she can't get water out of her sippy cup because she's not tipping it far enough.
Because we put her in the...gasp...playpen.  Oh, the agony!
Because she can't play with Iggle Piggle while she's eating.
Because our cat Charlie walks away from her instead of letting her pull his fur.
Because she's teething (okay well this one is legitimate).
Because she won't let me let her kill herself by sticking a finger or a Starbucks straw into the electrical socket.
Because we put her in the pram.
Because we take her to the park and make her try to walk by herself.
Because she can't eat the food off of Mommy and Daddy's plate even though it's the EXACT same food that's on her plate.
Because she isn't allowed to electrocute herself by putting her hand in the toaster.
Because she isn't allowed to dip her finger into a really hot cup of tea.
Because her favorite show, In The Night Garden, goes off.
Because she's not allowed to chew on my phone.
Because she's not allowed to touch my computer.
Because she's not allowed to kill herself by falling down the stairs...a.k.a she's not allowed to play on the stairs.
Because she's not allowed to ingest poison by playing under the sink.
Because her pink toy car she rides in stops.  And by stops I mean because Mommy and Daddy stops pushing it for one nanosecond.
Because I lift her out of the bathtub after bathtime is over.
Because people are talking to her.  You're only allowed to talk to her and receive a smile AFTER you've been in her company for at LEAST 2 hours.  Hey, I don't make the rules.  These are rules according to Isla lol.
Because she can't kick her shoes off.
Because I make her get dressed.
Because I brush her hair.
Because Mommy and Daddy look wayyyyy to comfortable and relaxed on the sofa.  That just doesn't happen.

And, that is all for now.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Meanwhile in Siberia

...we're enjoying the lovely Spring weather here in SiberIreland  (get it?  Siberia + Ireland = SiberIreland).  Yes, Spring has sprung in Ireland and honestly, I didn't know it was supposed to snow in Spring and reach below freezing temperatures for days and weeks on end!  But, like they say...every day's a school day!  So, welcome Spring, I can't wait to build a snowman...ya Dick!

In other news, we've reached the point where it's time to start reprimanding Isla because she's now at the stage of misbehaving and pushing and pushing to see what she can get away with.  Basically, she's trying to see if she can make her puppet parents dance.  I'll admit, I'm sure she does on some things, but I think Barry and I have been pretty good at keeping her reprimanding consistent.  Well, except for when we want to laugh at each other.  I mean, come on!  When Isla does something she isn't supposed to and Barry responds with,  "Isla, no!  Daddy beat!" well, what reaction and I'm supposed to have?  Baaaahahahhahhahaahah....DADDY BEAT!  How silly does that sound? I have to laugh, which makes Isla laugh which basically makes us look like imbeciles to our one year old.  So, "Daddy Beat!" has become a joke in our house now. 

Additionally, it seems as if Isla only wants to do things and get into things that will kill her.  That's basically what I mean when I say she's misbehaving.  She's trying to kill herself I think.  For example, she just loves the only accessible wall outlet in the living room.  She has even figured out how to remove the child proof cover and she has tried to see if she could fit a straw in the tiny little outlet holes.  Barry and I have become friggin' defenders of the outlet for most of the day.  Each of us taking shifts to guard the outlet and make sure it's not poked and prodded by a baby and her tools. 

When we're not defending the wall outlet, we're defending our television as she has grown fond of pulling herself up on the television stand and shaking it back and forth causing the TV to shake back and forth.  Now, if I lose my television and access to Celebrity Juice, well I don't know that I could recover from something like that. 

I'm away for now, it's only 12 hours until Barry and I put back on our defenders of the outlet and TV uniforms!  Happy Easter!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Walk on

Well...what can I say?  I'm magnificent.  Actually, I'm strong, I'm powerful and I'm magnificent!  Where am I finding all this new self-confidence?  I just completed a Firewalk last Thursday for charity (Children in Crossfire).  Basically, I raised a lot of money to walk my bare tootsies across
1,246 degree farenheit fiery embers. was so easy.  I didn't feel anything! I would so do it again. Prior to the 20 feet scurry across the embers, we went through a two hour "training."  It was more like a think positive and leave the negative pep talk.  There is no actual technique to firewalking other than walk fast and don't stop as you're walking.  During the two hour pep talk, one of the exercises was where we had to repeat that we were strong, powerful and magnificent five times.  So, now we all believe it (me and the other 29 firewalkers).  Of course, Barry has to endure my saying this all the time now.  I think he's enjoying all my new found self-confidence.  He hasn't rolled his eyes or anything while I'm telling him how magnificent I am...nor, when I tell him how I walked on  Here's a couple of photos of the actual firewalk area and then there's a video of me walking as if I'm holding two big rolls of carpet under my arm.  I don't know what that's about. 

My walk is at about 2 minutes and 15 seconds in the video there.  Also, I went and saw an awesome show on Friday.  Hofesh Shecter's Political Mother was the show.  Brought to Derry as part of the City of Culture designation and it was really amazing.  The music and the choreography was out of this world intense.  Here's a clip of what it was but to see it in person is the way to go.

How awesome is that?
Lastly, yesterday was Mother's Day here and I got spoiled by my one year old daughter.  She made me breakfast and bought me a pair of boots from Dorothy Perkins I'd had my eye on.  Then she made me homemade sugar cookies and homemade lasagna!  She's pretty talented for a one year old.  She was even so eager to spend more time with her mommy that she refused to go to bed at her bedtime and instead filled my ears with the joy that is her crying.  But, on the plus side to that, I technically get two Mother's Days because they don't celebrate Mother's Day til May in America there and I AM American so technically I do get two special days...right, Barry?  He's very supportive of this idea, too.  My little helper also helped me empty the dryer yesterday.  Yes, that's right...a dryer!  After two years of moaning I'm now the proud owner of a used dryer!  It was bought from half a gypsy couple we think but it works so far and it hasn't tried to sell my a recliner or rug and it hasn't robbed me yet...hmm...although it did steal a bit of pocket so far so good.  I'll keep you posted on that.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Inside a sick house

The Concannons have succumbed to one of the worst stomach viruses floating around.  Of all the times I've been sick, well...this time took the cake.  Now that Barry, Isla and I are on the mend from this intestine-eating menace, I'm taking time to reflect.  Reflect with me...

Day 1 (that becomes Day 2):  It's a Friday.  We leave a memorial mass in Buncrana and depart for Derry.  Immediately upon departure, Isla begins puking her guts out.  Like, serious non-stop puking.  We stop to clean it up.  Once clean, we depart again...said puking begins again.  It doesn't relent.  I panic...convinced she is dying.  I demand we go to the hospital.  Thus begins the longest ride between Buncrana and Derry ever.  To say I was clattered in vomit would be an understatement, so you can only imagine how bad Isla was.  We arrive at the hospital...screaming baby, panicked mommy in hand.  We are seen immediately but only to be kept waiting in the emergency room for 6 hours waiting on the Children's Ward to let us up to be admitted (I think we're in Day 2 at this point).  While waiting, Isla pukes more, over and much it becomes bright green bile and that is what we look at for the next 5 hours. Any normal person would be disgusted...put off eating.  But, not me.  I'm a beast...a starving beast...and I decide to eat a sandwich whilst covered in green baby bile vomit. Barry is repulsed. I was starving.  I think I mentioned that. Finally, upon arriving in the Children's Ward, Isla stops puking.   Thankfully and just in time....because that day is her birthday (yes we're definitely in Day 2 now).  She turned 1 in the same place she was born, however it wasn't really a day worth celebrating as she was so sick.  She's hooked up to a fluid drip.  Barry goes home to sleep.  I stay.  Barry has to return home because Isla's birthday party starts at 2pm on Saturday, when he finally gets home, its 5am on Saturday.  We could have cancelled the party, but we had a caterer coming and paid for and about 30 people set to arrive.  Even with the wee guest of honor missing, the party would have had to have gone on. 

Day 2 (officially):  Barry wakes up and gets the house ready for the party.  Meanwhile, in Ward 6, Isla wakes up and pulls me from my pretzel-like sleep position I've managed to find most comfortable in the most uncomfortable chair in the world located beside her bed.  You would think they would provide at least a footstool for the parents that stay in the Children's Ward with their babies...hmmm.  Isla tries to pull her IV out. I'm exhausted and have to think of creative ways to distract her from this new, dangerous toy she's discovered.  Nothing works.  I beg the nurses to let us go home...of course I know they can't...she has to be seen by the, I wait and thank God that my phone has enough Internet access to get YouTube.  I pull up an episode of In The Night Garden (which also happens to be the theme to her birthday party) as I glance at the 'No Mobile Phones Allowed' sign.  Eventually, she tires and sleeps.  So do I.  The Doctors come in 2 hours.  Hurry the f*&% up, I think to myself.  Barry phones and wakes us up.  Everything is ready for the party.  The Doctors come.  They want to watch her more.  I tell them about her party...its her birthday...she hasn't thrown up since 3am...let her go home.  She's keeping fluid down...let her go home.  They want to watch her.  They come back in 2 hours.  She can go home.  We arrive home at 1:50pm. Did I mention her party started at 2pm?  Did I also mention I have been awake all night and neither Isla nor I have bathed and we're clattered in puke?  I use those ten minutes to do a quick wash and try and make us both presentable.  The guests arrive...the party goes on.  Isla goes to bed.  The guests go home.  I crash.  I wake.  Barry and I order chinese.  We go to sleep.

The birthday girl at her first birthday party.

Day 3:  It's 3am.  I wake up.  F&^$, I think.  I have to puke.  I beeline to the toilet.  Hello again, chicken and black bean and boiled rice and spring roll.  I'll never be eating you again.  I've got the bug.  I crawl back to bed. It's 9am.  I waken just enough to hear Barry heaving down the toilet.  He's got the bug.  Isla is better.  WTF are we going to do?  We're both incapable of watching a child now!  The house could have burned down and we would have been completely incapable of escaping with the shape we were both in at the time.  I text my friend and ask her to watch Isla.  She agrees and comes to get her.  Thank God!  I go back to bed...Barry goes to floor.  Bathroom floor to be exact where he spends the next hour.  After a few hours, I decide to take a bath.  I haven't had one since Friday.  I'm rotten.  There's not enough hot water for a bath.  I don't care.  I sit in a tub of cold water because I can't move.  I get out...back to bed. I'd rather go through childbirth again then have this evil bug again, I think to myself.  Instantly, I slap myself across the face.  I must be delirious.  Anyone that knows me knows how I feel about childbirth.  NEVER AGAIN (without getting drugs sooner than I did before anyway). It's been six hours and Isla has to come home now.  We still can't take care of her.  I text another friend to come to the house to watch her.  She does.  Hallelujah!  She arrives just in time to be serenaded by the gentle sound of me dry-heaving in the bathroom.  She entertains Isla while I remain in the bathroom for the next two hours.  I have no clue where Barry is...he could be in idea.  We're still not better when it's time for Isla to go to sleep. I tell my friend I'll give her anything she wants to spend the night and take care of Isla.  She agrees.  Isla begins puking again.  "F*&^ sake!" Barry and I shout.  Not again.  Thankfully, it's just the once.  She sleeps.  We sleep.

Day 4: We awaken feeling better.  Not great, but better.  We get the news that several people that were at Isla's birthday party are sick.  They've got the bug.  What can I say?  We know how to throw a party...we give away the best party favors, too!  We hope Isla will be able to have her first piece of cake today leftover from her party and possibly even open her presents, but we're still not well enough.  We'll have to put it off.  I have to pull it together though.  I have to teach Zumba tonight!  Feel better, feel better, feel better.  It's time to change for Zumba.  Barry and I are upstairs in the bedroom.  I'm getting dressed.  I feel better.  I think I can teach.  Barry makes a comment to me as I'm getting dressed that makes me realize that me having this stomach bug was all worth the trouble. What was it?  He said: "You're looking rather toned now after being sick all day yesterday."  Thanks, babe...although now as I type this in Day 6...I'm sure the toned look has left me since I've began eating again.  Must go now.  I have a Cadbury Double Chocolate Mini Roll waiting for me and an order of chicken and black bean coming from the Chinese takeaway.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

I hate the park

...says Isla.  Ladies and gentlemen, meet the only child EVER to dislike the park:

She's so not impressed here. 

Barry and I tried to show her the park was meant to be fun as evident in these photos:

Even after we demonstrated what fun the park was...she still was not impressed.  You could almost see her saying to herself, "my parents are sooooo embarrassing!"  Well, we were the only adults playing on the park equipment.

When was she impressed and happy?  Once we got home and inside.  My kinda gal.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Referring to Isla, of course

Isla's first Christmas has come and gone and we spent in at home in West Virginia.  During our trip, my mom took Isla to her office to show her off.  While she was giving Isla the grand tour, Barry and I, bored, sat in her office.  While sitting there, I saw mom's camera on her desk so I picked it up and started flicking through the pictures.  What happens next is just weird.

As I was flicking, one of mom's co-workers comes over.  A guy.  I don't know his name or anything.  He's an older gentleman.  He says to Barry, "You sure do have a pretty little woman there."  Referring, of course, to Isla.  Barry says, "Oh, well thanks."  You know, as you would respond normally in those situations.  The guy keeps going on and on about how cute she is.  He's not really talking to me, but I'm there nodding and laughing and being polite all the same as I flick through these pictures.  Since I'm only half listening and half flicking, I try to formulate some conversation to work into Barry and this man's conversation as not to appear rude and I've developed it in my mind, however this is where things go wrong.  What I've formulated in my mind, doesn't quite match up with what comes out of my mouth.  What I've come up my head...was: "If we could only teach her to cook, she would be perfect."  Referring, of course, to Isla.  However, what I ACTUALLY said was, "I don't cook."  Then I proceeded to giggle.   Like a raving lunatic. The guy got a very strange look on his face and just stopped smiling and walked away.  Immediately, I knew what I had said and how it appeared.  Barry's jaw dropped and looked at me.  He uttered the words, "uh, what?"  I had no response.  I just shrugged my shoulders and said, "I don't know."  Then, I just kept flicking through the pictures. 

So, basically.  Mom's co-worker...whoever he may be, now thinks that I think he was complimenting me instead of Isla.  That he was complimenting Barry on having a such a cute little woman and that he meant me!  Of course, I knew he wasn't complimenting me...but my idiotic mouth jumbled my words so terribly, that I now appear to be conceited.  But, not only conceited but an idiot lol.  So, the moral of the story...well, it could be a mixture a few things: always pay attention...or don't have children.  Having children, of course, makes you lose your mind.  At least, that's my story and I'm sticking to it.  Oh, and Barry does have a cute little woman and yes I mean me this time.