Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Christmas in NY and New Years in KC


Pretty much for the last eight years we have spent Christmas in New York then travel to Kansas for New Year's. It is pretty much a tradition and we are both happy with keeping it that way. I was actually thinking on the way to New York that maybe it would be better to just have Christmas at our house but after the holidays I always appreciate the adventure that we have during our Christmas and New Year's break. Of course there is nothing like being in your own home and opening gifts in front of your Christmas tree but there is so much more for our kids to see and do that I think they get more out of it being in New York then they would being at our house (wherever that may be). I also feel like it is a very special time of year for our families.  I know it's not so easy for them to travel to us so if we did not go to see them I feel like we would miss a big and important part of the season. Anyway I guess I just want it to be clear that I'm blessed and I think the whole family is happy that this is our tradition and I'm sure we will keep it going for as long as we can. The other plus side is that we never have to buy the kids presents because they get enough from everyone else they don't seem to notice who got them what. Maybe that will change when they get bigger but we will ride that wave while it lasts!!!


so we flew out of Shannon airport this year which actually wasn't very bad. Our flight was at noon so we did not have to get up very early to make it there on time. The flight over was easy enough, the boys didn't sleep but at least they were good. 

First day in town and Sean was so exhausted that Leno was able to pet him to sleep. This has never happened before so I had to take a picture of it. OMG so sweet!!!


The first couple days we spent doing a little bit of Christmas shopping and just hanging out around the house enjoying being together. Of course we had to make a stop at Whitecastle because it must be one of our favorite places to go in New York. We had lots of Starbucks coffee but none of them were really as good as we wanted them to be but that didn't seem to stop Mike from getting one if not two coffees a day!!

A little evening snack of Dunkin' Donuts holes… Yum yummy. Lino with his Nini. 

Silly face of course


Shaun with his PopPop!

Mike making homemade pasta for Christmas soup.  

Mike was trying to be good the first week back in the states and he was eating lots of vegetables and going for a run most of the days. One day he decided to take the bike out instead of going jogging. Normally this would not be such a big issue but that morning it had rained and was pretty wet out and Mike didn't seem to take that into consideration for his bike ride. Needless to say when he returned home he was all covered in mud and so was the poor bike. I should have taken a hose to him before he came into the house but I was nice and let him just strip at the door before coming in. He was such a mess and totally covered even his face had dirt splashed all over it… That crazy guy. 


For Christmas Nini and pop-up got us a reservation at one of Jeffrey Zakarian's restaurants in New York City. Plus they were going to watch the boys for the evening which was more of a Christmas present than anything else… Free evening without the kids and dinner! So we ended up walking to the train station and took the train into the city. We got there early enough that we were able to make a quick detour to a place that Mike had seen on the food network. It was a popular cafe that is known for their Kronuts and it appeared like it wasn't too far from the restaurant so we decided to head to that place first. Of course we end up further away from the cafe then we had planned but it's hard to figure out the whole train line so Mike sort of under estimated the distance between the stops. Also we were on one train line and there was only a couple of options to transfer so this was our best and closes option.  It really wasn't that far maybe 10 blocks away from the train station. The weather wasn't too bad so it wasn't a horrible walk at all. It actually gave us time to talk which was nice. But once we got there we were thoroughly disappointed because there were about three signs indicating that they were completely sold out of the  Kronuts which is the only thing we came to get. So what do we do now???? Well I guess I should kind of explain what a Kronut is to begin with… We must have saw an episode of About good & unique food of NYC and this place was known for its croissant/doughnut creation which equals the Kronut. Based off of the pictures and descriptions and all of the people reaction on the TV we just knew we had to have one. So we were more than a little sad when we found out we came all this way and they were sold out. Come to find out they sellout of the crow nuts about 2 hours after they open so there was not a hope in hell that we were going to get one anyway. So since we came all this way we didn't want to come back empty-handed so we decided to get a peanut butter snickers something-or-another just to see how good the cafe was. This little treat cost us $12, it was good but I cant say it was worth that much. 






Next, back on train and heading to our dinner reservations. On the train a guy notice that we were checking out the maps and trying to figure out what stop to get off on so he tried to help us which was very nice. So we chatted with him for a little while, he thought we were visiting from out of town which I guess we kind of are. I think he was a little surprised when he found out Mike was from New York but once he explained he hadn't  lived there in over 10 years he kind of understood why we were a little lost. And then randomly the guy was like "I can tell you guys are in love, it's easy to see". Mike I gave each other a crazy look because there was no way we were giving each other goo-goo eyes so we had no idea where that comment came from. Then we told the guy that we were out on a date without the kids and he said that must be why we looked so happy. I guess I cannot complain with that logic. It did make us feel pretty happy that someone could look at us like that and see the love. We know it's there but sometimes it is hard to see when you are dealing with two crazy, busy, active kids!! Finally we make it to the restaurant and we are actually early which is not very common for us.  So we have the chance to sit down at the bar and have a drink before we go to our table. 

Enjoying drinks with my hubby… We are actually having a blast just having drinks in the city. 

Our experience was great and the food was pretty good I wouldn't say it's the best that I've ever had but it was good. This is just one more box we can check off of our bucket list. We want to visit about two or three more of the food network chefs restaurants because we think it's cool to eat the food of the chefs that we enjoy watching on TV all the time. During dinner we were discussing staying in the city for the night instead of going back home. But realistically it would not have been fair for Nini for us to stay out all night at the last minute. Make even found a cheap rate at the Worthington which was only a minute walk from the restaurant. We almost did it but did not want to have to deal with getting up early in the morning to make it back to the house in order to get back in the car and come back out to the city for dinner.  I guess we could have just left the boys there and let Nini deal with them for the day but like I said it just seemed cruel to spring that on them at the last minute... but maybe next year!!!!

The appetiser that I got, which was curried muscles, was absolutely amazing!!! I'm sure I could have eaten another two bowls of that amf would have been more than happy, talk about good and rich. Mike had beef tartar which was also equally as delicious! 


Like I said earlier the food was pretty good, not amazing but the experience me all of the difference. I had some sort of Portsche Mike had the steak we had grades polenta couscous and broccoli. I know it's cheesy to take pictures of your food but I like to remember it. 



After read thoroughly stuffed our faces and had a couple more drinks that were really really good we took a short walk before heading back to the train. Week that we might try to find the Garretts popcorn shop that opened in the city since neither one of us had Internet and we did not know exactly where it was we just kind of walked around hoping we would find it...but we didn't. I did see the Empire State building while we were walking and it just looks so amazing I had to take a picture. Not like I don't already have about half a dozen pictures of the darn thing. 



Christmas Eve!
Christmas eve is one of the most special days of the season for us or maybe just funny me. But this year and every year forward it will always have a slightly different meaning because it's the anniversary of Nan's passing. Well we all know she is in a better place is still sad to know that she left us on this day. And it's still crazy to me that she left us last year so that we could keep our normal Christmas Eve tradition of going to the city for dinner. It's just unbelievable to me that even on her again then she was thinking of us. And now I know she is up in heaven sill thinking of us too because Lino talks about her in the most random ways so I have to believe that she must be talking to him as well. Even though we did not make it to our absolute most favourite restaurant and our traditional Christmas Eve restaurant, Carmine's, we had a nice night out at Bobby Vans with Steve, Patty & Tyler. 

Our traditional photo at dinner. Somehow out of all the years we go to the city I forgot my camera this year. Talk about a big bummer. The picture came out ok anyway but I was still upset about forgetting my camera. 

This is so cute!

Close up


Our family...I wish Lino would have just smiled but that's not him so it makes it more interesting I guess. 

I had to take another picture as a backup option in case the other one did not show up as good. I still cant decide which one I like but I am pretty sure I like the one of them sitting down better, even though there is a little bit of a glare. 



It's so funny when we were walking from the restaurant to the tree and Lino kept stopping me and making me take pictures of random buildings because he thought they were cool. I think this is a byproduct of too much tourist type vacations with mommy and daddy. I hope I haven't ruined him completely. It was actually a really nice night, it wasn't very cold at all and Mike did not even have on a coat. I guess that is not saying much because Mike goes without a coat all of the time but I was even able to take my coat off and Shaun's and I don't think anyway felt too cold.

Random building #1

Random building #2...this one at least has Christmas lights. 


The guys looked so cute together walking that I had to stop them and take a quick picture. I don't know why I like it so much but I absolutely love it. 


This year it wasn't so busy in front of Rockefeller Centre but it was still crazy nonetheless. Nini and Patty ended up taking a taxi to the tree because it was quite a long walk from the restaurant to the tree. But once we get there we spent a little while taking pictures in front of the tree just like we always do. Too bad I did not have my camera because most of my pictures came out blurry. Just reconfirming my annoyance with myself for forgetting to bring my camera. 




I asked Tyler to take the picture of all of us in front of the tree hoping that he would be able to get a better shout then the older adults but he filled me completely… Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. 

Super super blurry but you get the idea

This one is definitely another prized picture came out so good even though Shauny is covering up a little bit of his face it is still really nice. 

Here is a better picture of us but unfortunately Shaun is having a meltdown at this point. It's only to be expected I guess since the poor kid is up way past his bedtime and tired. 



We had a great Christmas eve night out and we were all completely exhausted on the ride back home. In typical Renee fashion I passed out in the back seat with the boys well Mike and PopPop drove us home. Of course we had to watch a Christmas movie because we did not watch one all week. So we ended up watching The Grinch Who Stole Christmas and Lino loved it!


Christmas morning the boys were up around 7:30 AM which is pretty typical. We had to wait a little bit for mike to wake up and then they got started opening all of their presents. I typically have my Grinch fleece pants and shirt but for some reason I could not find my pants...it's not the same without my costume. I was actually pretty sad to not have it and even more upset because I did not have any idea where it was. If I don't find it before next year I'm going to have to buy me a new one or else our Christmas tradition could be last forever. So the boys of course got a ton of gifts from Nini and PopPop. But surprisingly Shaun was not that interested in opening the gifts.  He was more interested in opening the presents which makes sense I guess. Either way both of them had a great Christmas and so did the rest of us!!! We spent the rest of Christmas cooking dinner and hanging out with the family. This year Mike went to the Bronx to get his grandparents and gave his dad the day off from driving which was very nice.  I guess it wasn't exactly him giving PopPop  the day off or more like PopPop l telling him to go and Mike not putting up a complete fit about going. The end result is the same and I guess that is really all that matters. I called my family so that we could play pass the phone like we normally do but I couldn't get in touch with half of them for some reason...they must have been out and about visiting other people. So the Damons came over for dinner as usual and we ate way too much good food. This year Nini made a pork roast which turned out pretty good. Mike did not make enough of the pastor so everyone was a little bit disappointed that there was not much for second helpings. The neighbours came over for desert later and we played Italian bingo which is also a tradition. I really enjoy playing it I just wish I knew how to say some of the numbers in Italian… But I guess if I spent some time practising I would learn it. Another Christmas card and all I can say is that we are so blessed to have such great friends and family. The boys and us always get way more stuff can we really need and the love we get from our family and friends seems to be more than anybody I know.  Honestly we are truly blessed!




Shaun surprised me with his interesting attraction to the fenuck which I call onion. 

He was tearing it up and loving it!!! I've gotta make sure to get some when we get back to Ireland so he format loose the taste for it. 



The next morning we had to get up early to head to the airport for our flight to Kansas City. Why does daddy picked is really flights I will never know but it is what it is. It actually worked out because PopPop had to go to work early so he was able to drop us off before going into work. I passed out in the car because I was so tired but want to get to the airport it was non-stop from there. When we were beginning to the line we got a call from PopPop letting us know that he had a flat tire. That really sucked and I wish Mike would have known so that he could have helped to change it but I guess he got someone else to help him. I guess it turned out to be a good thing to get a flat tire at the airport instead of it being on the road. The airport was completely packed and it took what seems like forever to get through security but we made it through. The boys were a complete nightmare as expected because they were both very tired Lino was the worse but Shaun wasn't too much better. Lino just wanted to cry the whole time where is Shaun was trying to run around like a crazy kid so Mike was going crazy chasing after one in trying to deal with random milltowns from the other one. The nice thing was that once we get onto the plane we realised that we get an extra seat just because there was more people even though we were not in for seats… I'll because of limited oxygen mask. That turned out to be really handy so Mike was able to sit on one side with Shaun and I was able to sit on the other side would Lino. Not too long after we took off Shaun passed out… Which we expected since he did not sleep much on the drive to the airport and he was going crazy at the airport. 

We made it to casing early in the morning and mum was there to pick us up. Of course she was really happy to see us even though we were a little bit delayed ...she didn't seem to mind. TT tried to surprise me with GG that I already had an idea that she was there. Partially because I figured she would be there in the rest because mom told me a week or so beforehand. Mom is getting just as bad as GG about keeping secrets, which means she can't!  

So over the next couple of days we just relaxed because between mom, TT, dad and Pierre everybody took turns with the boys so we got lots of kid free time!! On Sunday of course we went to Nick and Jakes for brunch and dad and Connie met up with us.  It was my first time meeting her and her first time meeting us. Branch was amazing as always and I think we spent about 2 1/2 hours and eat enough food to last us all day but that is what we do we go there. Mike was very excited to go because we were not able to make it last year due to Nan's funeral. So it was extra special and the food was extra delicious. The crazy part is that it is amazing how cheap the food is prepared to eating out in Ireland. I guess it is mainly due to the exchange but some of it is also just because it's expensive to eat out in Ireland. Needless to say the little bit of money respect was more than worth it for all the food and limosis which it seems like we got a discount for because TT knows the server.  The sad part is that Robert and Frederick missed out but I guess they get to go there enough that it wasn't a big deal. 

Daddy and Shaun taking a nap after our food fest...it's always a question of who put who to sleep but these are the moments that we will cherish for the rest of our lives!

One important thing that I have to do every time I come back to the States weather is KC or NY I have to go and get my toes done. This time it was a group affair in Morgan got to come to which was her first time… Talk about being spoiled. 

Even daddy got his heals scrubbed off!!


Morgan so happy with her pedi!


After our little pamper afternoon Mike, TT, Morgan and I headed out to the mall for a little shopping. I got a gift card from Mike to go to NYC which is all that I wanted for Christmas so I wanted to go and get my shopping done early. We ended up spending almost 3 1/2 hours at the mall but we get tons of cool stuff. We even start by to see Nana and got a few more things. By the end of our shopping spree poor Morgan was beside herself mainly because she was starved but also because we did all the shopping for us and she get nothing. Even Mike got him another pair of Oakley glasses so it made it even worse. We had made plans to go to the movies that night so we headed there to get our tickets to see Hunger Games but of course the show we wanted to see was sold out. So we decided to get tickets for the next show which was at 11:30. Since we have the time we decided to go and eat so that poor Morgan could get herself together. We decided to go to 5 guys since Mike and I haven't been there in awhile. I was actually still pretty full from branch and so was Mike so we just shared one burger. Actually I think I had one by any of the rest… I just wasn't that hungry but it was tasty. We had a few minutes so we start by target is well and picked up a few things. We ended up getting Morgan a call little chair because she said that's what she wanted for Christmas. After that everyone was happy, everybody got something from the store, we were all fed and heading to the show! The movie was pretty good and follow the book about is good as the other ones so I was happy. This whole trip to KC is all about catching all the movies for the books that we've been reading over the last few weeks. When we got home we even tried to watch maze runner but we were all too tired so only got to see a little bit before passing out. 


On Monday I had already made plans to go to the city and have dinner with Mike. I did not tell him that I had booked a hotel as well so that we could stay out the whole night so that was a surprise for him. We kind of got delayed a little because in the morning Lino had a dentist appointment and we ended up having to go back later that afternoon so that he could get 2 fillings done. Last year he had one feeling and now too I have no idea what is going on with this poor kids teeth. Last year he got his filling with no problem at all so I almost let TT and Nana take him to get the feeling so that Mike and I could have more time to hang out but we both agreed we should go just in case there was any issues. Thankfully we weren't because he was a complete nightmare and did not sit still for the procedure at all. They even gave him the laughing gas like they did the previous time but for some reason he just wasn't okay with them drilling in his mouth. I cant really blame him but at the same time we couldn't let him go on with the cavities that he had so we were kind of in a bad position. So the doctor tried to fill one of his canine teeth first but it seemed like he was feeling all of the drilling so they ended up giving him a shot to numb the area… But it was it just as easy as giving a shot. The poor kid was crying and screaming and we were holding him down it was pretty bad. So the doctor tried to work on the molar tooth but he was too upset so she took a break and came back a few minutes later hoping that he would have calmed down some. Although he was a little more relaxed at the beginning by the time she started to drill he was all worked up again. Even with the TV above him he just wouldn't calm down so we had to hold him down while she worked on his teeth. She was able to pretty much get the molar tooth done correctly but the canine just wasn't happening. It was so bad that she didn't even try just for the canine filling… She was pretty sure that the partial she put on there would come off eventually. But the whole procedure took about 20 minutes and I just felt bad for Lino the whole time. I told Mike that I did not want to go through that again so we needed to make sure we are brushing his teeth are well and doing lots of rinsing and whatever else we can do to avoid more cavities. The crazy part is that I have only had one partial cavity and Mike has had almost all of his teeth filled at one point so I guess he gets the cavities from his dad!!!!  After the whole traumatic event Lino seemed to calm down right as we got into the car and especially after I mentioned we would get him chicken nuggets and French fries for lunch.  It's amazing what a special lunch will do for kids moods. Anyway, he was all good and we left him at the house with his other cousin and he seemed to be fine. We were supposed to go to the doctors office earlier in the day for his well child visit & shots but the appointment got moved because the doctor was sick so I felt good that at least he didn't have to get poked on twice in a day. After Mike and I got ourselves cleaned up and made plans to meet up with TT we headed out to the Plaza area. I knew TT wasn't going to be able to go but I told Mike that she was in order to try and distract him from my plans. In the end it all worked out and I was able to surprise them with the hotel room and reservations at Capital Grill on the Plaza which he was very very excited about. It turned out to be a very good Christmas gift/surprise for Mike. When we checked into the hotel we saw there was a gift box for us but we assumed it was from the hotel and cost us so we didn't open it and instead just headed out to dinner. The hotel was only about a five minute walk from the restaurant which was nice. And the hotel was fairly new which was nice as well I was shocked at how cheap it was and how nice. Dinner was amazing as always and we ate so much food we were both bursting… The crab mac & cheese was to die for as always and even though we could not finish all of it we took the leftovers home like savage pigs. Neither one of us were ashamed of it either, there was just no way we were going to let that delicious dish get thrown into the trash!!

Dinner at Capital Grill!! It is sad to say it but the food and experience was better at capital grill then it was at The National in New York...sorry Jeffrey Zakarian!
So in love!!

So we had an amazing dinner and I think we were sitting across from a few of the KC Chiefs players which was kind of cool. We kept it calm and didn't look too much so I was proud of as for that. The plaza is a nice place to hang out to have dinner and do some shopping but not as much to do for after dinner like bars or places to have drinks. So we figured we would skip desert and go to the cheesecake factory and have desert and a few drinks just to extend our night out. But our waiter was so great he asked us what we wanted for desert and he was the menu and we told him the types of things we would like and before we knew it he was bringing out to deserts for us. Cheesecake for me in some sort of chocolate cake thing for Mike which was actually perfect for both of us. We were very excited that the waiter was so kind and so thoughtful to bring us deserts that we would actually like but then we started to think was it a trick to make us by desert??? But before that part even came into our minds we had already started to dig into the desert. So all the way through our desert we were trying to figure out if we were happy or annoyed that he did that. Then we were trying to figure out if he was going to charge us for them or give it to us for free since we didn't actually order it???? In the end it was on the house which made it even more cool.  We have no idea why he did there but it was very nice and we made sure to give him a very nice tip as well. So now that we have our desert we were not sure if we would go to the Cheesecake Factory or not so we decided to just walk around the plaza area to see if there was another place to have a few drinks before heading back to the room. There was a little Spanish place right across from our restaurant but we thought we would walk a little bit to see what the options were before we just picked a place. The walk around the Plaza was nice and this is the time of year to be out there because the Christmas lights just put you in such a good mood. 

Not the best picture but this is the plaza Christmas lights. 



So our walking to find another place turned out to be a funny decision because there was literally nothing else open other then the Cheesecake Factory and one or two other restaurants. And the restaurants that were open looked like they were about to close so it would not have made much difference to go there and have drinks so we ended up at the Cheesecake Factory bar. We were a little bit bummed out because we wanted to do something fun but we made the best out of it and had a nice chat with the bartender. After a couple of drinks we headed out and the ironic part is that we found an Irish pub that we decided to go into and have some drinks. How funny is that, us living in Ireland and travelling to Kansas and going to an Irish pub...too funny. And what was really funny was that I was so tired that I was falling asleep sitting drinking my drink. Mike felt so bad for me that he gave me a reprieve and said that we could go and crash we did not have to stay out long. But I was determined to take advantage of our free night without kids so I ended up having a Redbull and vodka which I told myself six years ago I would never have another one but I needed it. After a few minutes it started to kick in and I got my second wind. We ended up staying at the pub until they closed, 12:30 and we had a good time! At this point I got my second wind and we were not ready to call it a night so when we got to the hotel we chatted with the guy at the reception desk and he told us we could get a free shuttle to Westport and go to the bars there which did not close until 3 AM. We were really excited about that so we put our things in the room and headed out to a bar that the guy suggested. Once we got there we realized we probably should have went to a dance club or something like that but the bar was good enough. We ended up talking to the bartender for a while then another guy came and started talking to us randomly about smoking weed. It was pretty funny and pretty random but it wasn't bad at all. Then Mike and I got on a random and weird conversation about people being interested in me and somehow we involved is weed smoking guy in our conversation and he seemed to think it was pretty random as well but he humored us and made it even more funny. The things that you do when you are drunk and have a free night without kids. It was crazy because I was so tired only a few hours before but we ended up closing the bar down, I did have to have another Redbull and vodka but that's okay. We had a great day out both of us really enjoyed the time together and away from the kids and it was nice to be able to explore a little bit of Kansas City because Mike has never seen this part. We were both thinking we should do it again next year even if we went to the same place and do the same thing it was so nice that we could definitely do it again no problem. So even though we were tired when we got back to the room we stayed up and chatted for a while and finally crashed what a cool day!

The next morning we finally decided to open up the box that was in the room and once we did we realized it was from TT!!! I remember her making a big stink about meeting up with us on the plaza for drinks but not being able to make it work. I wasn't sure why it was such a big deal but now I understand. Somehow in the middle of us going to the dentist with Lino  and getting ready to go she drove down to the plaza and dropped off this box of goodies for us at the hotel. It was so nice and thoughtful of her and funny because she put some crazy stuff in there but totally the best gift ever gotten in our life. The best part was that there was chips and salsa in there, and not just any old chips but our favorite Cantina chips from Tostitos!!!! Once we opened up the goodie box and found that we completely devoured most of the bag of chips and salsa. There was also some water some Reses trees which are our favorite and cranberry and vodka which would have come in handy before we went out to Westport. There were a few other things in there that were pretty hilarious and I couldn't believe she put them in there… Leave it to TT and Pierre. TT is so thoughtful and creative we are so blessed to have her as a sister.  so after we had our chips and salsa snack we realized it was still early so we took another nap before finally dragging ourselves out of the super comfy and quiet hotel. Even though we got a complementary breakfast we did not want to miss out on an opportunity to have IHOP. So even though we were one hour late checking out they did not seem to mind and we had it on to IHOP before heading back to the house. IHOP is always so much better when you are recuperating from a long night of drinking. Before we even got there I told Mike I wanted to stop at QuickTrip to get a Gatorade because that is a Nother staple hangover cure that we don't get to have in Ireland. That cool blue Gatorade taste is so delicious and so did the crazy amount of IHOP that we ate!!!! Talk about being complete pigs! When we got back to the house everyone was wondering how our evening went and was happy to hear that we had a good night out. It sounded like the boys were pretty good as well so we were happy about that too. 



On Wednesday Mike and I had dentist appointments in the morning and then Lino and Shaun had their well child visit. Mom and TT had to Courtney to get the boys to the doctors office because Mike and I were at the dentist and had one of the cars.  It was so complicated but it ended up working out anyway.  Shaun had woke up that morning with a very bad fever and I gave him 1 dose of Tylenol before we went to the doctor but he still was very hot and lethargic. I was worried that he could have got a bad bug or something from the travels from NY to KC and it would last for the rest of our trip.  I also knew I did not want to give him any shots while he was sick so we were going to have to try and reschedule between Wednesday and Friday knowing that the doctors office was closed on Thursday because of Mew Years.  So we didn't even see the Dr because he was booked so we had to meet with the nurse practitioner who was a little spacey.  She thought Shaun had the flu but I wasn't convinced. I had to ask her to test him which she did a piss poor job of swabbing him and the results were negative but she made a big stink about the test only being 60% accurate and he should just take the antiviral meds anyway. Anyone who tells me to give my kids medicine just in case is totally not on the same page as me. So needless to say I already didn't like her now I really didn't respecter so I gave her the courtesy nine and continued on with the rest of the exam. She asked a few more questions about Sian and I tried to blow her off and I think finally she got the message. Lino was all good and at the end he get his shots which he was not happy about that he needed them. When we were leaving I was trying to figure out when we could come back to get Shallant shot and she made it clear that she could have given him his shots today because there is no research that shows there is any negative impact of administering shots while the child has a fever.  But I just wasn't comfortable so she said just to make another appointment for shots which shouldn't be an issue. So that will be good and the lady at the reception desk really seem like we could come in at any time we wanted since it was just for shots but we made an appointment with the nurse just to be safe. after our appointment I want to go and get my hair done before our Christmas/New Year's Eve festivities begin. It's Molidor special treats that I get every time I come to KC… I look forward to it!!


So today is our Christmas but it is actually New Year's eve. There wasn't much time for us to just sit around because we had to get ready for the evening which meant there was dip to be made groceries to buy alcohol to get and presents to be wrapped. Frederick showed up mid morning with just J'ziya so the whole crew was finally there! I'm not sure if there was enough presents for everyone but there was at least 100 gifts to be open for six kids under the age of eight… You might say that is a little bit upset but it is a typical Christmas at our house. I guess there was a few dozen gifts for the adults to but the large majority or for the kids. Just look at how happy they are to have all those gifts and look at all those freaking presents... spoiled rotten those kids are!!!


I love these little faces more then people know. 


So of course we had to wait for dad and Connie to arrive before we could open the presents and the kids did not enjoy the weight but somehow they managed. Once the opening ceremonies begin it was hard to keep track of who's whose but we figured it out. It's great to see the happy faces after they open their presents even if it's a small little gift they all seem to be very appreciative and excited about their presents. All except Morgan!!!!! That girl has me dying laughing because she would give the most sour look when she opened a present that had clothes in it which unfortunately for her was about 50% of her boxes. I couldn't stop myself from laughing and what she realize what I was laughing about I think it made her even more annoyed about the present, that's Morgan for you. It's not that she's not grateful she just gets a lot of clothes because she is the first granddaughter so she is super super spoiled. But I love watching her open her presents anyway all the emotions that she has are completely raw and an edit it and there is nothing like it in the world I love that girl to bits. Between all the kids in the adults it took over two hours to open all the presents and sort through stuff it was a great Christmas for everybody. Mike and I got a lot of cool stuff and the boys got a ton of clothes that they needed so we were both really happy about that. The only issue is that we have only one extra suitcase so there's going to be a little bit of a struggle trying to figure out how to get everything back to New York and then to Ireland. We will figure that out in a day or two but for now we will enjoy the moment. After all the gifts are open we had to start using some of them which were the iPhone music boxes that the boys got. We cranked up the music and started jamming! The day before Pierre got a huge moon cake delivered from one of his favorite bakeries so even though we broke it open and had a few slices the previous day we had to have more today. TT and Pierre were being funny but this is a reenactment from Ike & Tina..."eat the cake Anna Mea"




We had a really great New Year's eve and New Year's introduction. The kids stayed up long enough to have their toes and a few more dances then they were in the bed. The rest of us stayed up for a while playing cards and dominoes and taking lots of shots of course. We had a ton of food too but we were a little bit sad because dad forgot to bring the pulled pork but we would get it in a couple of days so it wasn't that big of a deal. We had a really great night and I did not drink too much but just enough to enjoy myself. Actually I think this is one of the few years that everyone understood their limits and only drink with they could so nobody was sick and nobody was to wasted. Dad and Connie left early but even after they left we still had a few shots and after TT went to bed we ended up playing spoons with Robert, Frederick, Mike, Pierre and myself! This is a pretty ruthless game but oh so much fun and TT's house. It was peers first time playing spoons with us and let's just say he realised we did not play around… Lots of fun! 

The next morning we got up at a reasonable time and hung out at the house most of the day. The funny part is that the younger adults, aka Robert & Frederick were more exhausted than the older ones. I cut this morning taking a nap in the dining room trying to escape his daughter and of the talking and playing with the other kids. How sad is that this boy is only 22 years old and he can handle one late night of drinking!



Before lunch mom was telling us that we had reservations at a restaurant later that evening that she had booked for us. Even though I wasn't hung over I just wasn't in the mood to go out to dinner again. I kind of feel bad because I'm sure she planned for us to have a nice dinner in Mike was kind of looking forward to it but I just wasn't mentally prepared for it. I guess I just wanted to hang out with the family because I knew it was one of the last few days we would have altogether. On the other hand it's not very often that Mike and I can go and have a quiet dinner together so it was very mixed emotions. I kind of debated with Mike about it for a little bit but decided that it wasn't worth it so we pulled ourselves together and headed out to our early evening dinner reservation. The whole time we were talking about these reservations very Mike was acting like he wasn't sure about the place. He knew it was in Kansas City but that was pretty much all he was given to me. Finally we get to the place and I realise it's a fancy hotel & Reason I'm immediately annoyed and pissed off. Really annoyed with my mum because I'm sure the place cost more than what she should have spent and even more annoyed with my husband for acting like he didn't know about it when apparently he did. I almost made Mike drive us back to the house because I couldn't be bothered to stay there but I didn't want to hurt my moms feelings either so I figured we could make the best of it so we checked in and went to our room. Talk about a huge shock!!! I just that we were in some sort of fancy hotel near the legends but it turns out it's a fancy team hotel that is just slightly creepy. Well maybe it was just our room there was creepy???  Apparently we got some sort of Safari/jungle theme and I was completely mortified!!!!!

this is work you walk into see when you get into the room...
that Rino was really freaky looking

Around the corner from that was a scary looking crocodile. I was afraid it was going to eat my feet!!

Then some weird rock like stairs to the upstairs bed and some weird tree structure over the Jacuzzi… Weird weird and more weird!


I literally had to sit in the room for about 45 minutes to calm myself down. This is just another example of why I am so crazy but I couldn't handle it. Maybe it was just I wasn't prepared for the craziness of the road and I was just thinking about how much it cost which I have no idea that I can only imagine it costing way more than it was worth. Finally Mike was able to call me down and we just laughed for about 20 minutes before we decided to make plans for the evening. I was under the impression we were going to dinner so we had no dinner plans but at least we have a room to go back to it we decided to stay out late drinking. The bad part was that we were just getting over our hangovers from New Year's Eve so we were not likely to drink very much. Eventually we decided to just head over to the legends and walk around and see what was available because neither one of us really knew. There was a shadow from the hotel to legends but it was only a three minute drive so we decided to drive ourself. We ended up at a bar/restaurant called Yard House which was pretty good! We got there just on the tail end of the happy hour so we had a couple of beers which is what they specialize in. I guess they have one of the largest supply of tap beer in the states. They even have a cool little area where you can take a picture of all of the kegs of beer… I guess I should have took a picture that I didn't think about it until later. Anyway we ended up having a few beers from all over the world and a couple good burgers… It was a pretty cool and relaxing evening. It was nice to be out but not have to feel so uptight by being at a fancy restaurant so we laughed and talked and watch sports TV!

Mike got a new shirt while we were out at Kohls earlier!!!


So after we ate dinner we went over to Dave and Busters and played games for a few hours. It's been at least four years since we've been to Dave and Busters so that was very very out of the usual and very fun! At one point we were going up to the bar to get a drink and this group of young adults (20 something's) came up to me and asked if I would act like I was there aren't so that they could stay at the restaurant and have dinner. They didn't look like they were teenagers but they were surely young adults and I didn't want to spoil their plan so of course I agreed. It was kind of funny because the restaurant manager was acting like he had no idea about the rule that the girl was saying was keeping them from staying at the resturant alone...eventually he just let them go in and reminded them that I had to be at the restaurant while they were there. We said our goodbyes and date you in called me TT which I didn't even prep them to say and that was that. By the time Mike is coming up to me to figure out what happened to the beers they were heading to the restaurant and I was heading back to the bar. Once I told him the story he got a good laugh out of it and then we had to deal with the bartender head more rules for us. Apparently no one person can get more than one drink at a time even if it's for someone else so I couldn't get appear for Mike and I he had to get his own beer which I think is kind of crazy.  But I guess in this area, even though it's pretty nice, lots of people from different areas come here so you never know what they are up to. So like I said we hung out there for a couple of hours and then decided to go back to the yard house and have a couple more beers, cheaper beers, then head back to the room and crash. The cool this is that the bartender there remembered us by our names which I was impressed by since the place was so packed when we went earlier. We didn't stay long because they were closing soon so we headed back to the room. Before we left Dave and Busters we got a pack of cards and a few toys for the kids so we get back to the room we play cards for awhile before passing out. At some point I remember playing and then I remember being asleep in the bed I must not have been very good company for Mike but I think we had a good time anyway. Breakfast came but we were too tired so they ended up calling us to make sure we wanted our breakfast and since it was part of the room we win ahead and import ourselves together and got our room service breakfast which was just okay. The cinnamon bun was apparently pretty good but I didn't want to waste my calories on that if I was going to have cinnamon rolls at TT's house. All in all it was worth it and I made sure to let mom now once we go back to the house. Well I guess I didn't let her know as soon as we get back to the house but eventually I let her hear the recap of our evening and she seemed pretty pleased with herself. Unfortunately we didn't make it back before Robert had to head back to school so I didn't get to say a proper goodbye to him which was sad. Frederick was heading out a couple hours later so I barely got to chat with him before he left as well. Both of them had to be back to work so I couldn't be too upset. It just seems like time goes by so quickly when you don't get to see your family very often. Sometimes I wonder why we do this to ourselves by living so far away but everyone seems to understand and we make the best of our time together so I guess there's no reason to be worried. Mike and I ended up taking a nap later that day to make up for the last two days of late night drinking. But we knew we had to pull ourselves together quickly and start packing all of the crap that we got for Christmas… Or should I say the boys got for Christmas!!!! So my Migranal and got a couple of Ziploc storage bags and we started to test it out. They actually work pretty good but I think I was over stuffing them which is a normal problem of mine. We have most of the day Saturday to finish packing before heading to the airport so we made plans to get up in the morning and get a few more bags so that we could maximise the space in our suitcases. On Saturday we ended up spending about 2 1/2 hours packing unpacking and repacking in vacuum sealing bags until we get the perfect fit. The boys got a teller close which was great but it took up a lot of room plus I had a big shopping trip at NYC and I had about four pairs of jeans which was a lot of weight. So between all of the extra close it would have been almost impossible to get them all in the two suitcases that we had without the storage bags. We even took advantage of the small carry on suitcases that the boys got for Christmas. Even though they were small they were perfect fit heavy things like jeans in because they wouldn't be weighed and it would help with the weight of the bigger suitcases. Somehow we made it work and I was pretty impressed with our progress. At repacked think I cleaned up we headed out to get something to eat before going to the airport. We ended up at red Robin which was cool because it's one of my favourite places to go and because the burgers in Ireland leave a lot to be desired so it was great to have a good "goodbye burger" before heading back to Ireland. well we are eating we got messages on phone to let us know that our plane was delayed which was kind of great because that meant we have more time to spend with the family. Mum was supposed to be at work but she must've called in to say she would be a couple hours late to so that she could stay with us. It was sad to have to say your goodbyes and in the Pierre and GG ended up deciding to drive out to the airport as well to give us a proper goodbye. 



Before we left the restaurant we had to have a goodbye picture with GG. Love that woman to pieces!!!


We get to the airport in all check-in and peer GG in Morgan headed back home well TT stayed at the airport with us just in case our plane was completely cancelled. Our client ended up being about 2 1/2 hours delayed but it was cancelled. The bad part is that once we get to New York it was already past midnight and we were heading out the next day, or the same day technically so we weren't going to get much rest. The boys didn't do too bad on the plane and once we get to the house they crashed so it wasn't as bad as it could be. On Sunday we just spent the morning repacking bags and trying to fit the stuff that the boys got in New York into the suitcases but we ended up having to add an extra suitcase because there just was too much stuff. Somehow we were responsible for paying for the extra bag which was pretty cool. We had Chinese before we headed to the airport and oh man was it great. I'm pretty sure that's the best Chinese food I've ever had or at least the best fried rice. I cant be sure if it's authentic or not all I know is it is freaking delicious!!! So we get to the airport and get all checked in and as we are walking to our gate PopPop calls to tell us he had a flat tire. Apparently he was storing a little bit of swearing on the road to the airport and they couldn't figure out why… But now we know why. I'm sure all the bags of junk in the back didn't help but at least he got it fixed before he headed out to work. Our flight back to Ireland was pretty normal. Nobody slept but nobody was overly out of control either so that was a blessing. Once we got pretty close to Ireland both of the boys fell asleep so that made my Kanai that about one hour nap as well. Once we get our car and got the boys and I ended up driving at home so that Mike could get a little bit of rest in the car. He was even more tired than I was and I didn't mind driving because otherwise I would be passed out and no help to him at all. The boys passed out maybe 5 minutes after we got on the road and slept in the car for another good three hours... while they slept we slept in the house as well! Somehow we pulled herself together and get up around 3 and tried to make use of ourselves but ended up just sitting on the couch watching TV. When it was getting close to dinnertime I started to get the pizza out of the freezer but I had planned for us to eat and realise that the refrigerator had crashed while we were gone. Talk about being totally pissed off!!!!! I spent one full day before we love cooking meals so that they would be ready for our return and so I didn't have to do a lot of cooking the first week back but that was all shot to Hell now.H onestly I couldn't be too mad because the same thing happened to us last year.  Although I didn't prep any meals beforehand so it wasn't as big of a loss as it was this time  the end result was still the same...everything in the refrigerator thrown out and spend half an hour bleaching out the refrigerator!!  What a welcome home gift. So we still ended up with pizza but it took a little bit more effort than I had planned but in the end it was all good. It we made it back safe and sound and we didn't come back to a dead bird in the house so I have to look at it on the bright side. 

Saturday, 20 December 2014

July & Aug













Well the summer was pretty much the same things over and over again.  I was a bit stressed at the beginning but by the middle of July I just relaxed a bit and it made things just a little easier.




JULY


The weather was actually really nice, well nice for Irish standards.  That means it was mostly dry and only partially cloudy which meant we spent a lot of time outside.  One day when Ronnie, our landlord was cutting the grass Lino somehow convinced him that he needed to drive the lawn mower so he let him.  This must have been the highlight of Lino's summer because he was so happy and excited to be driving the lawn mower.  I wish I could have got a picture of his face when Ronnie said he could ride with him...but anyway his look of total concentration shows how important this was to him...and he actually listened to Ronnie which was nice.  If we didn't have to run he probably would have stayed on the lawn mower the whole time.  Its so funny to see him be so excited about that...and its even funnier know that in about 10-12yrs when I am making him cut our grass I know the enthusiasm will be completely gone...enjoy it now little man!




4th of July ended up on a Friday and Mike's boss let him have off so we spent the day getting stuff ready for our 1st 4th of July party in Ireland.  We took a ride to the city and Lino made me take a picture of the river when we were crossing it...it was a cloudy day.  It ended up raining on us on the way back to the train station and we were so tired from being out and walking/shopping that Mike just took a cab back to the house and came to pick us up at the train station near the house.  It totally saved us about 45min and saved a lot of energy trecking up that big freaking hill.







Made my mother in laws famous Banana Pudding.  I had got all the ingredients from the states when we were there for Shaun's bday but I didn't have enough freaking bananas.  So I had Mike go out to get more but of course he comes back with the greenest bananas he could find....to be fair he found the ripest bananas they had but they were still half green.  The bananas here already have a weird taste to them and most times we can't eat them unless they are almost 85% brown on the outside so I didn't want to risk messing up the pudding with un-ripe bananas so I just put in the ones that I had and a couple from what Mike bought and called it good.  Mike wasn't happy about that because I had made him go get them and I basically used 1/2 the number of bananas so he was worried.  I told him since I used banana jello pudding instead of French Vanilla that that would make up for some of the banana flavor...at least I hoped it would.


Looks good from this side anyway...hopefully it will taste as good as it looks.





5th of July we had a BALL!!!  Literally we had a ball...a volleyball game!  It was so much fun that I didn't take one picture...not even one.  I was having a good time and we had a great turnout, like 30 adults & kids.  And we had so much meat I thought we were going to have a tone of left overs but we didn't!  One of the few parties that we have had so much food & meat...probably over 20lbs of meat...pulled pork & ribs my Mike, jerked chicken legs, chicken kebabs, Brazilian skewers, salmon and hot dogs...a feast!  It was a great day and even though the weather looked like it was going to storm...well it did rain about 2 or 3x before the party started, by the time everyone got here it was great.  No rain at all and we were able to be outside most of the time.  Everyone seemed to love the volleyball net too which was great.  Even the Irish who had never played before got a big kick out of it.  We had a couple of people that were pretty competitive which was nice and they picked up the game quick too.  Just a great time...I was sad for it to end!


This is the only picture that I have that kind of is from the 5th...even though it was from that Monday when Mike & I were enjoying a few beers and a little volleyball in the backyard (garden) after the boys were in bed.







Oh, this was that same week and we had a beautiful double rainbow outside...just beautiful.  Never seen so many double rainbows in my life.





Lino had a cooking camp at his school the week of July 7th so it was nice to have him out of the house for a little bit.  The camp was only in the morning so the afternoons were spent at the beach, park or with friends.


This is Shaun Shaun showing off his muscles...he was trying to hold on by his self



He was actually holding on by his self....this little stinker is strong and getting to be a little too busy for me.  He is doing so much of what Lino is doing but he is just to young for it...it so scary but I don't know how to slow him down.  God help him...and us!



Trip to Fota with Alex and the girls.  Lino ran off randomly and I found him with this Lemur





This is just an example of the stuff Lino was cooking at the camp.  The first 3 days were like making a 5 course meal which was usually enough for Lino, Shaun & I to eat for lunch.  This was the last day of savory cooking and the last 2 days were just spent on sweets...one day was just chocolate...YUCK!  Anyway, an amazing camp, great food and he had a good time with his friends.  I'll definitely send him back next year.  Oh, Cian got to go to the camp with him too so that was nice!



Ahhhhh...one of the first of many nights that we caught Lino in bed with Shaun.  For some reason this summer we have been struggling with Lino at night time.  He doesn't want to sleep in his bed and he doesn't want to do anything that he normally does for the night time routine...like brush his teeth, put his diaper on, lay down!!  Silly things, and the biggest issue is that he "doesn't like his bed".  All of the sudden he doesn't like his bed and doesn't want to sleep in his bed.  One night I called myself being smart and called him out on it and told him to sleep on the floor and he did...1.5hrs later he was still up!!!  He must have finally got tired and went to his bed because when we went up to bed he was in his bed but that next day he was a nightmare!  Probably because he was so tired from not sleeping enough.





So its not like the drama of night time isn't enough stress on me, this week Lino started not wanting to go pee or poo in the toilet.  I mean accident after accident.  I wasn't too worried about the pee's because he has always been a "leaker".  He just waits until the last moment to go pee...kind of like me...but he just pee's in his pants (I don't).  And when he pee's his pants most times he just keeps on going or sometimes he will go and change his clothes before I notice...like I'm not going to notice that his pants are all of the sudden different.  So that is just a mess and a lot of work...then to add on to that now he is not pooping in the toilet.  Well, he is pooping but he "starts" pooping in his pants then finishes up in the toilet.  WTF!!!!???  The first 2x this happened I came in on the clean up phase...Lino was cleaning him self up.  So I wasn't exactly sure what happened.  But by the 3rd day and 3rd poop I was on to him....he was actually waiting to go poop!!!  I know it because I smelled his stinky butt and told him to go poop but he told me he didn't have to.  Not even 5min later he said he needed to go poop but of course crap was already in his underware!  UGH!!!!!  Anyway, long drama story but all this to say for the next 2 weeks I was dealing with this...and trying not to kill him or myself.  Lots of wine...lots of wine!


On a happier note, last day of cooking camp and he even got a certificate of achievement!





Weekend shopping and I decided to try out the European version of my favorite Greek yogurt in the states.  It wasn't nearly as good...but its funny because I can totally taste the European strawberry flavor.  We tried so many times to use that flavor and it just didn't impress the American consumers like some had planned...anyway, I have bad memories of that flavor so I think that also put a couple of strikes against me liking it.  But the texture was wrong too.  I'll just have to stick to the original thing.








July 14th week Lino was in another camp...YES!!!!!!  Another 3hr block of Lino free time!  This camp was at the Glounthaune school, Stretch & Grow.  I know that sounds bad and its not that I don't love him but I just need a break from him sometimes.  I really need a break from Shaun as well but I will take what I can get.  I do love being at home with my boys but they are very active an busy and into everything and I am to worried about keeping the house clean so it just makes for a stressful day.  I mean when Lino & Shaun are working together those 2 can really get into some massive trouble.  Lino is using Shaun to do the things that he has always wanted to do and he is blaming them on Shaun.  I know exactly how that feels and is going down because my sister use to do the same thing to me.  But the issue is that they are becoming so destructive.  I mean I have to have my eye on them every second or else I come back to find something like this...a half of a bag of pita chips dumped out on the couch.  And when I found them, they were just smashing the chips into the couch and crushing them up into little bitty pieces and both of them were just grinning from ear to ear with excitement.  Lino, because he knew he was wrong but he was going to try and blame it on Shaun and Shaun because he just knew it wasn't right...and he thought it was fun.  Those 2 are going to kill me I swear. 







All that to say it was nice to have Lino go to a camp because Shaun doesn't get into as much trouble when he is by his self and I can  actually get a few things done.  Oh, over the weekend I got strep throat...at least that's what I self diagnosed myself with and I went to the GP on Monday almost in tears.  I had kind of got myself worked up because my friends told me that they won't test for strep throat and most of the GP's don't really believe in it so I was preparing myself for a battle.  And it was pretty much like that.  The GP didn't say I didn't have it but she didn't test me for it either.  She looked at my throat and said it was red but didn't show any signs of strep throat.  BUT...she gave me a prescription for antibiotics anyway??  WTF????  So I told her I had strep, she said it didn't look like it but she ended up giving me a prescription for it anyway?  How does that make sense?  I basically paid e60 to self diagnose myself and have her write me a prescription.  Lets just say I was a little pissed off!  I couldn't believe it.  I guess I wanted her to test me or something or if she didn't think I had strep tell me what it was and what to do to get rid of it because at that point I could barely swallow my own spit and I wasn't even eating...not even cold things so I was in bad shape.  Oh and I had to wait for like an extra 30min to see her because she was behind schedule...so I was annoyed at that too.  Just a bad experience and I couldn't believe she gave me the prescription...but on the other hand if she didn't give me the prescription I probably would have flew off the handle because I was about to die the pain was so bad.  Besides my medical drama....even though the weather has actually been nice and I have been trying to get the boys outside as much as possible I have actually been letting them watch a ton of movies.  At first I felt bad but the day's are just too long to try and keep them entertained all day by myself...some days I just need a break too so I put on a movie for a couple hours a day so that I can clean or cook and some days I even sit down...and fold clothes.   I use to think it was bad parenting but I don't care anymore.  It is what I have to do in order to stay sane and its not like its all day every day so I can live with myself.  Plus I know that when Lino goes back to school in Sept, 5 days a week!!! That we will be back to the normal no TV during the week and TV on Sat & Sun only (mainly).  And this week I kind of went on strike from cleaning.  I bust my ass every day cooking, cleaning, playing, chasing after the kids and I was just done.  Mike always tells me to wait to do it until the next day so that's what I did.  Every day I said I would wait to do it the next day but I wouldn't.  I did the bare minimum....like load the dish washer, clean off the area that we were eating at, sweep up the major spills...everything else I didn't bother with.  And by the end of the week Mike was even getting a little annoyed with the clutter and dirt.  He even had the nerve to ask me if I was going to clean up at some point.  If I wasn't such a nice person I would have punched him in the nose :-)   I wasn't really trying to make a point but I ended up making a point anyway...now lets see if it changes anything.

Last day of Lino's stretch & grow camp...he seemed to enjoy it a lot and the instructor said he was a joy to have.


Doing a little stretching...


I tried to get him standing in line because I was amazed at him just standing there but that second of amazement was literally just that...a second. 

Getting his certificate!


This weekend we went up to Treale with Nicole & her family. It was just a one night stay but it was nice to get away...and it felt like we were on vacation.  Weather forecast didn't look good but you can never really trust the iWeather in Ireland. 



The boys watching movies...all eyes on tend TV!

Kids in bed so time for the adults to play!!!  We had a ball playing cranium. The best part was the 2hr intermission when Mike & Ivan tried to find more beer & food. It seems like an easy task but turned out to be more like a treasure hunt. Everything closed at like 9pm and I mean everything. No grocery store, liquor store or even pizza restaurant open!!! So after a long search they finally found a Chinese restaurant that was open and that let them buy a couple bottles of beer too. So crazy.  That's still pretty hard to get use to here...everything closing so early. Anyway, food & drinks were found so all was good!


And it must be said that Nicole & Ivan wiped the floor with us in the first game and that was the first time they had even played/heard of the game. Mike & I were all bragging that we never loose and we are so good at it...talk about foot in mouth!! At least the second game we were able to pull out a win...but not by much. It was so much fun to hang out and play adult games with friends and the best part was that Lino slept over so we only had to wake up Shaun when we finally left. Oh and we didn't get to book the same place that they were staying in because we were only there for one night so our hotel was like 10min walk away...which wasn't bad. But on the walk back somehow we lost one of Shaun's shoes. I  didn't notice it until we were back in our room so Mike went to go look for it and wasn't able to find it. The next morning, which came so quickly because we were still a little boozed and definitely didn't have enough sleep, we managed to pull ourselves together and got ready to head up to Dingle for the day. After breakfast, at the nice B&B I walked to Nicole's place trying to see if I could find the missing shoe while Mike drove. No luck finding the shoe so that meant we had to go buy him another pair...ugh. It was a bit of a hassle because we had to go to the city center, well we didn't have to go to the city center but we ended up there because we are horrible at directions. I raced into Penny's and got something that I thought might fit Shaun but once I tried them on him I found out they where to big. So I had to either return them or go somewhere else to get another pair because that was the smallest toddler size that they had. Luckily Mike parked right in front of Heatons so I was able to run in there and get a pair of crocs for like €2.50 which was a steal!  Then we were finally able to head out. 

The weather looked like it was going to be bad but it turned out to be a nice day. We didn't really do much, just hung out in the town and then went on a boat ride to see this lone dolphin. It was kind of sad because it's only one dolphin out in this water by its self and all these tourist boats chasing after it so that people can get a picture of it. I guess the reason for this originally was good...some dolphin followed a salier back to Dingle and stayed (or something like this) but you know that dolphin wouldn't be alive 40yrs later so you know that the city is replacing the dead dolphin with another new one just to keep people coming back...like us. It's actually sad because dolphins are not solitary animals so it must be lonely for that poor dolphin. :-(    On a lighter note, the kids enjoyed the boat ride, even though there were a couple of times that I thought Lino was going to go overboard, and so did Nicole but he didn't. 

The boys on the lone dolphin!


After having lunch and hanging out in town for a while Mike & I headed back to Cork. We ended up taking the scenic route home which was pretty cool. Oh and Mike stopped to help an older couple with their flat tire. Very nice of him.  

View from the lookout point. 


On Sunday we ended up going to the world street performance in Fitzgerald Park. We went last year before we went to get Lino from NY so we weren't sure if Lino would enjoy it or not but he did.  And at first I was a little annoyed because the festival wasn't in the city center like last year but it ended up being a great change of location and we had a ball!!!

Mommy & my big boy

Mommy & my little boy


Lino was so into the performance he wouldn't even look over for a picture. I guess he was having a good time. And daddy was enjoying his time with his boys. 

It was hot out there and super busy. To get food it took almost 20min to get through the lines and when Mike and Lino were half way through the icecream like Lino had to go poop...oh no!!!!! So they get out of the line and get into the like for the self cleaning toilet...another 15min line!  Eventually we all went pee/poop and got food...1.5hrs later!  At one point I ran into Cara and then Margaret...so many mom friends out and about today. 

One of the performers...they were very entertaining. 


This guy was tied up in a chain and got his self free in 2min. His whole act took 2min but all the prep & yelling trying to get people to come see his show took about 45min...talk about a big hype for nothing. 



Leaving the festival...had a lot of fun but we are all popped...time to go back to reality. 


Week of July 22nd

Shaun started leaping off of the couch...LEAPING!!!!  The funny part is that before he jumps to his death he says "wha"...I finally interpreted that to mean 'watch'. So now before he does something crazy he says "wha"...,super loud until you look at him then he jumps. I tell you...it's like a mini Lino in training. God help us all. 

The week was relaxing, went to hang out with friends, went to Fota and played at the house. One day Lino went crazy with the water hose and just had himself a water fight with his self. He tried to get me to get all wet but it was to cold outside for me so I just kept running away from him. He had fun chasing me & I had fun watching him...this kid is just so full of life and makes the simplest thing so much fun. Love him!

Feeling proud about his water hose adventures...

A little far but he was looking in the hose when it was off and I would turn the water back on and splash him right in the face...talk about simple pleasures. He loved it too so it was great. 


Closer look at the splash fun. 


Trying to get mommy!!! Yikes...run for your lives!!


So much fun 

Trip to the farm...Lino feeding the sheep after we watched the cows get milked. It was amazing how much milk they produce and how fast they filled up the milk jug...just amazing. 





Oh I had to take a picture of daddy at bath time...always on his phone



Planning on going to the beach with Michelle and Dee today but weather seems sketchy...going anyway because it's suppose to be the hottest day of the summer. 


But first to get a flat tire fixed...actually I had to get a new tire because while I was trying to clean the car out I heard the air coming out of the tire and found a huge gash in the side...I can't believe it. That tire was only like 6mo old and it's in the trash...that really sucks. Thankfully the guys remembered me and were quick and friendly. Oh and let Lino help too :-)

Lino wanted to help but he said it was too loud. 

Shaun having fun at the tyre shop in his new overalls that TT bought him. So cute


Later at the beach. Weather was great, lots of sun and fun and the kids had a ball. Shaun really got attached Freya's hat and Michelle took a picture to capture the moment.



Next day back to the beach again.  Went to a new beach that was actually pretty nice and quiet and we found a couple of little crabs too so it was cool. 


Hard to see the crab because it's so little but it's in there. 

Lino proud of his crab. I think him & Michelle found like 4 of them all together. 

A little sun screen Shaun?


Busy weekend...hair cuts for Lino & daddy, trip to Midleton for farmers market, picking up some stuff for the Cuidiu picnic, lunch and family time by the flower bushes. 

My favorite boys!!!!!


Always a silly picture





Lino & daddy taking a big leap off of the flower bushes...I was a little worried about Lino but he was fine. 



We had a nice day at Fota Gardens for the Cuidiu end of summer picnic. Shaun had a lot of fun trying out everyone's stroller/buggy. Thankfully no one seemed to mind because he was literally in almost all of them. That little guy. 

View of our day out. It was a really nice day...so glad it didn't rain. 


When we got home Lino had some kind of bug bite on his face and Shaun was completely pooped. Actually they both were exhausted from the day of running around the gardens. This rarely happens so I know they must have been running non-stop!

Shaun too tired to even move...so funny & oh so rare. 



July 29th Lino's 4th birthday!!!!!
Since its Lino's birthday he got to have pancakes for breakfast and as you can see he was pretty excited about that. I normally don't spend the extra time to make pancakes on a school day but today is a most special day so we have to do what the birthday boy wants!  


Daddy got off work a little early today so that we could spend the afternoon together. We decided to take Lino to the indoor go karting place near the house but Shaun went to sleep so only Lino & daddy went in. It seems like Lino had more fun playing all the video games and stuff more than the actual go karting. And that place was super expensive so I'm glad he didn't really like it that much. He had fun anyway and that was the point. 

Playing a little game of air hockey with daddy. 


He's going to be a master champion one day...this is his favorite game and every year he gets better & better. 


After go karts we all got an ice cream...because Lino wanted it. Then off to the park because Lino wanted to do the zip line and usually mommy can't do it with him because I'm watching Shaun too. So it seems like a simple request but it made his day. He had so much fun playing with daddy...it's amazing how the little things make such a difference. 

Lino, daddy & Shaun 

Silly face of course :-}



Look at that face...so happy. 


We ended the day with dinner at Rising Tide, chicken nuggets & French fries of course. Followed by a huge brownie dessert. What a great day for a great boy. 

Happy Birthday Lino!



He even had a few gifts to open, one he picked out his self the rest from Nini & Poppop. 




August 


The summer was quickly coming to an end which means I was running out of things to do with the boys but somehow the activity book didn't seem to loose it's excitement. I thought it was so cute to have them sitting together working on their "school work" as I told Lino. Even Shaun was excited about his own book of work. Even though it only lasted about 5min :-/


Lots of time at Fota with our friends...Lino made me take this picture of him because he was so proud of himself climbing all the way up on top of the mound. 



Play date with his best bud Patrick. They had a ball riding bikes in the kitchen. We might have to get a bike for Lino's birthday too. 


A little dress up cowboy for Shaun 

How cute is that "cheese" face


August

Summer is over for my oldest niece...this is her on her first day of 3rd grade. I just can't believe she is getting so big. 




So somewhere around here my phone crashed and I lost all my pictures so o took a 6mo break from blogging. Then when I decided to pick it back up and was almost done with 2 months worth of blogging my data was lost in cyber space. So instead of retyping all of that in going to do a quick summary...so forgive my briefness. 


Lino's favorite birthday gift from his friend Patrick. He would read the book for hours in the car and most of the time I could barely see him over the sides of the book. I just thought it was very funny so had to take a picture. 



Bank holiday weekend trip to Belfast in northern Ireland. On the drive up we got very worried about needing our passports since we were going from Ireland to the UK but as it turns out we didn't need them at all which was great. Otherwise Mike would have driven back to the house to get them while I got a hotel room with the boys that would have been a real pain in the butt. We were not exactly sure what to do in Belfast but we knew there was a lot of beautiful coastline to see plus there was a nice Titanic exhibit so that was the first thing that we did. The first day was super wet and rainy, more rainy than normal so we spent most of the day in the Titanic exhibit which Lino and might really enjoy. I did not like it as much as the Titanic exhibit I saw in the states maybe because the one in the states was with more artifacts from the wreckage and this one was more about the building of the Titanic and all the people involved. It was cool to see the riveting and some of the amazing construction that was used to build that massive boat but in the end I was still amazed at how many people died because of something as silly as status.


Mike and I in the exhibit


Daddy and his boys in front of the docks where the Titanic was built. 


We were hoping that by the time we got finished with our for our adventure in the Titanic exhibit that the rain would have stopped but the rain in Belfast is way more intense than it is in Cork. I guess it's a combination of the rain really raining and the wind that makes it very bad but I wasn't expecting it to be like that. It made for one wet weekend. So when we did decide to leave and we had missed our bus we ended up spending 10 pounds on a kids meal that barely had anything in it. It's amazing how expensive it is in the UK. So we spent the rest of the day on the bus which would not have been so bad except we were upstairs in the top part of the open bus which meant we were getting completely drenched and our feet were completely soaked because there was so much water sloshing around at the top of the bus. You might ask why would we be sitting at the top of the bus on such a wet and rainy day but the answer to that is very easy, our son always insists on sitting in the top part of the buses when ever we are sightseeing. Most of the time this is not an issue but because of the weather it made it a little more uncomfortable but it's a small sacrifice to make in order to keep the little guy happy.  And actually it's kind of nice because Lino really enjoys being on the top of the bus and seen all the sites so it helps us to enjoy our visits without having to entertain him too much. And now it seems like the hop-on-hop-off bus is becoming a staple in the Cutaia Adventures!  At the in of the bus tour I was really amazed by all the things that I learned about Northern Ireland.  I knew a few things about the IRA before we went there but I've learned a lot more during the bus tour. And it was very crazy to drive through some of the areas that were heavily impacted by the war.  I was also amazed at how segregated the city still was but I guess it wasn't that long ago that the war happen so it's not that unreasonable.  

After work bus tour around Belfairs we got ourselves organised for the next day. We decided to drive along the coast line to see the view and to hit a few of our new favourite TV series filming locations while in the area, Game of Thrones.  Even though when we first started watching the series I did not think I would like it I have seriously become a very advert Game of Thrones viewer.  So I was very excited about being able to see a few of the places were the series was filmed.  Our next adventure was trying to find a place to eat for dinner. We tried to find a place that we found on the Internet but ended up driving for 30 minutes and that finding it.  So we decided to go back to the hotel and take our search foot to find something close in downtown Belfast. Just like in Cork if you don't have a reservation you basically cannot get into a restaurant. So we ended up going to a burger place that said it had the best burgers in Belfast. Even though there was nobody else in the restaurant other than us the burgers ended up being pretty good and on the plus side the restaurant was also an American grocery store. So it had a lot of American stuff that we would be missing while living in Ireland. So after we were done eating we did a little bit of overpriced shopping which was kind of cool. 


The next day we spent all day driving up and down the coast of northern Ireland which was very nice. I was actually should surprised that we did not get lost on the way there but of course during our adventures with did get a little bit turned around here and there but that's all part of the experience.  First we start to see a place where they make a lot of the jewellery for the Game of Thrones.  Unfortunately the place was close but it was nice to see it anyway.  Then off to a few more sites some very common in the series and some just typical to Belfast.

Cave where the Red a Woman gave birth to the spirit child
I had a cool picture of Lino & Daddy inside the cafe but it was lost with my phones data. 

Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge 
This was cool and scary all at the same time. Lino thought it was great...he's so down for a good adventure.  But I was feeaking out for some reason. Daddy got a good video of me crossing the bridge and thank God I can't upload videos because everyone would be laughing their heads off at how slow I was walking. I was terrified. But the views were amazing and it was worth it. 

Next was Giant's Causway where there were whine amazing rock formations. It was busy and we almost didn't go because it was attached to a museum and it cost £10 to go Into the museum but we didn't have time to do that so thankfully someone, a worker, told us we can just go to see the rocks for free!  Lino & daddy, again the adventure junkies, went up to the top of the rocks and I got a nice picture of them...to bad it's lost in cyber space. 

Giants Causway

At this point it was getting late in the game and we almost didn't go to the last start that we decided we should just go since we were close.  So what should have been there 30 minute drive to next installation took us almost 2 hours to get to. Once we finally found it a local guy had to tell us exactly how to get there and he knew what we were looking for before we even asked him...so sad. But it was worth the drive and the adventure. The dark ages are are a cool area to see and it's just amazing how nature can create such amazing things. 


Dark Hedges 


The drive back to the hotel was easy and straightforward which was nice.  It was late so we just decided to have dinner in the hotel which we normally don't do but we were too tired to try and go anywhere else. Dinner should have been an eventful but unfortunately it wasn't actually it was kind of funny. Dinner took us over 2 1/2 hours because the kitchen Whessoe be home I guess there were more people there then expected. Then we ended up only paying for about half of what we got because the staff was so embarrassed by the service. It was a little bit rough with the boys but it wasn't the end of the world.  Over all we had a nice trip to Belfast, it was definitely the most worked vacation we have had but still very good. In every sense that trip Lino has been completely obsessed with the Titanic which is also very cool that he has that kind of firsthand experience with history. I almost forgot to mention that on the drive back to Cork Mike ended up getting his phone stolen at the gas station which was very crazy. We stopped at the gas station to get gas and realize that we had a flat tire Mike had pulled into a pump that wasn't working so had to go to another pump. We got the gas went inside and that's when I realize that we had a flat tire. So Mike went to work on the flat tire while I play with the kids inside. I guess it was good that we stop to get gas otherwise we would not have realize the flat tire.  While Mike was changing the tire he was asking me about his phone which I had not seen so we were looking all over for it and couldn't find it. Finally we decided to try and trace back to steps and we even as the people at the front desk if they got a phone turned in in case he left it in the restroom but they didn't. At some point I realize that there was no way he lost the phone without somebody picking it up and I knew since we were at a gas station there was tons of cameras around so I told him we needed to as the manager to check the footage because Mike was pretty sure he had it in his pocket when he got out to get gas at the first pump. So we thought maybe he left it on top of the pump and someone picked it up so we asked the manager to check the footage and lo and behold he saw that the phone did dropped out of my pocket and when he drove to the next pump it was there on the ground. Apparently someone else drove up behind us maybe a minute later and picked up the phone and put it in their pocket. It was good to know that they saw the guy with the phone the bad part was that when we tried to turn on the iPhone tracker the person who had the phone had already turned off the Wi-Fi so there was no way for us to find it. That meant bad news from the beginning we were pretty sure we would never see the phone again. The manager of the gas station did at least fill out a incident report and a police report so that the Garda would be notified but like I said we were not very hopeful that we would get it back knowing that the person picked it up and turned off the Wi-Fi so that it could not be tracked. Honestly I did not think something like that would happen in Ireland but I guess there are shady people everywhere. And really when we think about it if that kind of thing would've happened in Cork more than likely the person would have turned the phone in so it said that it happened where did which was on the border of Northern Ireland and Ireland. So fast forward about 2 weeks and we get a letter from the garden saying they are investigating the incident and about four weeks after that we realize we will never see the phone again. Thankfully we did not have to buy a new phone because Mike was able to get one through his work but all the pictures and videos that he had for now gone. 


A random day going to The grocery store and we get stopped by a herd of crossing cattle. Totally unexpected but totally normal where we live.  You have to love Ireland!



Although it's a couple weeks late we are finally celebrating Lino's birthday.  The story about my phone crashing starts today. So I thought it would be a good idea to upload my photos from my phone to the computer since I hadn't done that in a while. Well obviously that was a very bad idea because during the download my phone crashed. Apparently I hadn't updated my software in a while so I couldn't load any photos from my phone to the computer in order to do so I had to download the new software which I did not want to do but I did not want to lose my pictures either so I did it. I didn't realize it would take a couple hours for the upload to happen so in the middle of the software update I was doing a few other things on my phone and even answered a phone call from the bouncy castle guy. After this phone call the phone seem like it was done with its update and I tried to use it but all I kept doing was going to the Apple screen so I knew something was wrong. I tried and tried to do something but nothing worked so we decided to make a quick run out to the mall to see if they could fix it. Mike told me that they don't do that kind of thing here but I thought it was the same as in the US where the Apple Store could usually troubleshoot your problems right then and there. Boy was I wrong again.  Basically all the phone company did was look at it and say it was a technical issue so they would have to send the phone off. I was so upset because I didn't know if I would get my pictures back or not and there really wasn't much I could do about it so we let them take the phone and I got a little crappy loaner phone in the meantime. Then we realize that it was going to take over a week to get the phone back but we were leaving in five days for New York so I was going to be without a phone while I was there which only sucks because I can't use my iMessage. But like I said there wasn't much that I could do the phone wasn't working so I could either bring it with me to New York and see if someone could fix it there or let them do what they do here so we let them keep it. At that point I still had hoped that maybe I would get my pictures but hope was fading very fast and I was too stressed about finishing up the last few things for the party so I didn't have too much time to hope. So long story short basically I had to get a new phone which ended up costing us €100 because they said my old phone had water damage and that was the issue. I'm guessing the water damage came from when I dropped my phone in the toilet a few months back but to me that was a crappy excuse because I had no issues with the phone even after it being wet.  So of course all my information that wasn't backed up on the iCloud backed up on the computer was lost so that meant all of my photos for the last month basically were loss as well which I was very very sad about. 

The days leading up to the party went a little bit stressful because I'm just trying to come up with crafty ideas for the kids and for the pirate themed party. In the end came up with cardboard cutout swords wrapped in duck tape, random rocks & sticks that I had collected to use as part of the pirate treasure hunt, about two dozen printout of a pirate ship for the kids to colour, a package of pirate band-aids and some fools gold (plastic money).  All in the name of pirate themed goodie bags and a day of adventure for the kids. Along with the stress of trying to come up with cheap and fun things for the kids I was stressing myself out about making a pirate shaped cake. I even enlisted the help of my good friend in Texas but basically all came down to me and Mike! Finally I was able to put all my fears aside and I was able to put together a nice cake for the birthday boy. I think the cake came out good which I was happy about.

The day of the party we gave Lino his birthday gift which was a pirate bicycle. He seemed to really like it which was great. It was one of the few gifts we have ever gotten him. 




Oh yeah the bouncy castle was a pain in my ass too. I had talked to Mike about it a month or so before hand but I was being to cheap and didn't book it.  But when I finally decided to go ahead and get the pirate bouncy castle I could not find one to save my life. I ended up spending more money than I would have if I would have just got it two months ago but stupidly thought I would you feel that it would not be a big deal to book it close to the date we wanted it. Note to self,  I will never do that again. Oh yeah, so well I was trying to figure out the bouncy castle situation I was also in the process of trying to fix a messed up holiday trip and I booked through Groupon. Another thing that I will never do again is to use Groupon to book travel. To make a long story short Groupon basically tried to charge us 3.5x the price for a trip to Budapest. The lady who booked us charged us three times and charged us in Pounds instead of Euros it was a complete mess but at least we were able to get it figured out. So both things work out thank God. 


Bouncy Castle

Lino's amazing chocolate pirate ship cake!
 

Looks like a happy birthday boy!


After a long weekend of partying we were trying to relax during the week. One day I neighbour and landlord was having his field cropped and the boys that it was the most cool thing they have ever seen. They watched the tractor go up and down and back and forth for about an hour in Lino decided to get smart in palled up a chair and watched for another hour completely in throttled. At some point I landlord came up with her greying kids and we had a little chat about the birthday party and all the bails of hay.  Lino even got to sit on top of the hay bails with the other girls and he was so excited. How cool is it to live in the country. 


Not even a week after the birthday party we were heading off to New York for two weeks with the grandparents...me & the boys of course. Daddy had to stay and work. 

At the airport...Lino showing off his skills. 

The two weeks in New York went by very quickly but the boys had a lot of fun. Almost every day they were in the Paul even if it was only for a few minutes and even though the poor was icy cold most days it did not seem to bother Lino at all. 

After the pool...must catch up on iPad time!

Not sure if they are sharing or not but it seems friendly at the moment. 


Shaun completely exhausted after a day in the pool and a big lunch!


Of course there is no trip to the States with out a grocery list of things to buy or eat. One of the things Mike wanted me to try was the summer release of Lay's potato chips. The Wasabi Ginger chips were...interesting to say the lease. I really wanted to try the loaded baked potatoes but nobody had them. 



The boys fighting over Nini's attention...or iPad??


After a little dip in the pool...Shaun goes to his buddy PopPop. Shaun loves him some PopPop!!


More Nini/iPad time by the pool. 


Where did Nino go?!?!?!


One of the days we were there Nini and pop up to the boys to Adventureland which is a childhood memory of Mike's. Of course it seemed like it was one of the three hardest days we were in New York so by the time we left I felt like I was melting. It's just amazing how the body can change so quickly that only a year ago I was in Texas and weather like that would not have impacted me nearly as much as it did. So other than the scorching hot temperatures in the 10 minutes of complete panic when we last Lino we had a good time. Somehow after one of the rides Leeno decided to walk off to see what else was around in between the three adults none of us are where he went. We were so panicked that we even got the Adventureland security involved in the search but like I said within 10 minutes I found him looking at one of the games. It was so scary because one second he was there the next he was gone and literally six eyeballs for looking his direction but still missed him. Just reconfirmation about how quickly to this can be kidnapped right In front of watching parents. 

Lino enjoying his rides. 


Shaun had a good time riding the rise to. I didn't think he would really be into it but he was which was nice. By next summer I'm sure both boys will be more than looking forward to the day trip to Adventureland. 



A couple days later we ended up at the long island aquarium and had another nice day… Another heart nice day and might add!  The aquarium was really cool but at the in the boys wanted to feed the turtles and it cost us three dollars for a little bit of turtle food which was more on less eight little pellets of food...talk about a rip-off. 



I
Shaun & PopPop having a little cuddle before the seal show. 

The gang!

we had a great time with the grandparents.  A few days before we left I actually started to read 50 shades of Grey because Nini was talking about the movie coming out very soon. Me and my sister had talked about reading it as well a couple of years ago but never got around to it. Since I was taking a little break from blogging I figured I had time to read the books. Now I'm not the big book reader because I am kind of slow and I don't like books that are very complicated so that is probably why I was a little hesitant to start the book. But once I found out it was a very easy read I was ready for it. And actually the last book that I read was the Twilight series back before Lino was born.  Not surprisingly the 50 shades of Grey books were really good and so I had a hard time putting the books down and was able to finish them in less than a week.  Then I got my sister to read them as well and she felt the same way so now we decided to start a little bookclub because we enjoyed reading the books and talking about them afterwards. Also we like the idea of reading a book and going to see the movie later so I think that is going to be the theme of our book club. It's actually really nice to have something like this with my sister since we are so far apart it actually makes us feel like we are a lot closer than we really are.  


Now it's time to head back to Ireland and Lino to start five days at preschool!