4 Stories (and belly shot!)

Dear sisters, Archer, Era, and I are lucky to live with one of the best photographers I know.  And even if a picture is worth a thousand words, sometimes I can’t resist the urge to also add a few more words.  So with Bradley’s permission I’m expounding on some of his recent uploads, because I  wish that I could write his flickr descriptions sometimes. In October, we travelled around the Dingle Peninsula in County Kerry.  The weather was, frankly, miserable, as is invariably the case with the West Coast of Ireland.  We stopped at a beautiful rocky beach in a brief sunny spell to play. I was clambering around the rocks, as I am wont to do (rocky beaches being one of my very favorite things), while Era slept in the car and Bradley snapped photos.  As the waves crashed in, I scrambled up on a rock and turned around to see Archer rolling in the waves, swept up in a wave that had gone higher than the others.  It was one of the most helpless moments of my life, seeing him roll over and over in the (relatively shallow) water as it moved in and out.  Bradley was standing on a nearby rock, reaching his arm out to grab him and assessing the situation to see if it was worth jumping in or not.  And like that, the wave was gone and it was over, with a sobbing, soaking little boy covered in sand and salt water.  I felt like a superhero as I dashed to the car and grabbed our handy vintage felted wool blanket (a thrift score at 2€).  Archer kept saying, ‘thank you mommy, thank you mommy’ as I wrapped him up. I’m more of a ‘go-with-the-flow’ type (I’m not allowed to pack the kids’ clothes for vacation anymore) so this was a parenting win. A&E Castledermot We fill our weekends with trips around the country, wallowing in Ireland’s rich history.  There are stone carvings and portal tombs and ruined churches and castles to be seen along every road (and we have more roads here per capita than any other country in Europe). We bring a packed picnic of hardboiled eggs, salami, cheese, crackers, and whatever fruit we have lying around.  I like to joke that someday the kids will tell their friends that all their parents did was take them to cemeteries, but in all seriousness I do spend a lot of time wondering what they’ll remember about our adventures here.  The trips are sometimes a disaster.  Era loses her mind about something or cries because it is too windy, and Archer starts off the day asking us “how many more stops?  On our stops, we try to talk about the way people lived in the places we visit, why the windows are narrow (for shooting arrows), why the stairs are clockwise (to give the defending, right-handed swordsman an advantage) or what the pictures carved on the rocks mean.  And it must be working, because Archer can identify a ruined castle or round tower from miles away.  This photo was taken at the high crosses in Castledermot.  When I see this picture, what I hope that they will remember is the fun they had with each other.  How many children get to play peek-a-boo through a prehistoric holed stone? M&E rock art walk I worry about Era’s reaction to the new baby coming in June.  She’s so…little to me still.  Archer was a few weeks away from 3 years old when Era was born.  I don’t remember what he weighed but I do remember he was too heavy for me to carry.  I probably carrry Era too much, but she’s such a tiny little creature–wearing 12-18 month clothing at 2 years old.  Despite her determination, so many obstacles trip her up – small steps, high grass, high winds.  And she is very partial to Mama, so I carry her too much.  She asks to rest on my shoulder and I can’t resist.  She’s an independent little person but I know that sharing Mama won’t be easy, and I’m eager to soak up her baby-ness for a bit longer. Loughcrew_6627 1.1Loughcrew_6668 1.1 Bradley’s research skills have led to an impressive assembly of maps with coordinates of just about every castle, standing stone, portal tomb, and ruined abbey in Ireland, categorised by type and county.  Using my Android smartphone with Google’s ‘My Maps’ app, we can navigate to any of them from anywhere.  This is a classic example of a stop we might make on a day’s outing, driving from place to place (we usually make a rough plan of the direction we will head before we leave in the morning and make any ).  This ‘standing stone‘ was likely a piece of an old portal tomb that was set upright at some point in history.  We drove as close as we could by road, parked the car, and took a happy stroll up a farm lane.  We are usually trespassing but we ask for permission if we see someone to ask, and most people are happy to have nice families with pretty dogs and adorable children taking a casual stroll on their property to see their prehistoric rock art.  In the middle of an empty pasture (this is a very important step, as dogs + livestock = danger), we come across a boring looking standing stone, until you walk around the other side and see these incredible 5,000 year old carvings.  Carvings like this can be seen in other places around Ireland, but we got have this one all to ourselves.  And while Bradley and I admired and took pictures, Archer and Era played on farm equipment in the background.  Even if that’s all they remember, I’m ok with it.  And this is a belly shot for you, Esther! With love, Martha

7 thoughts on “4 Stories (and belly shot!)

  1. Loved this post, of course! I love them all! Archer now has a healthy fear of the waves and water, I expect. Great photos, of course. I remember when we brought Rachel home thinking how grownup Janna suddenly seemed.

  2. Bradley’s photos and your adventures in Ireland are always so intriguing to me. Everything looks like it belongs in a story book.

  3. Beautiful belly shots. You look so lovely pregnant! And like such a cool mama with your sunglasses and Celtic standing stones. Wish we could be there to explore with you. It sounds so fun. I love having history to myself and much prefer the off the beaten path places to more well known museums and sites.

  4. I wonder what about our upbringing made so many of us love rocky coasts. I love your pictures and hearing your thoughts about what is happening in them is even better. I can’t wait to visit.

  5. Your words plus his photos = perfection! Please do all the blogging from now on. 🙂 I love hearing about your life there! Love that belly, too.

  6. I agree with all these comments. While I LOVE Bradley’s short, droll captions to his pics on Flickr, I also love hearing the back-stories, so I hope this becomes a regular feature of your blogs, Martha. You guys are so darn photogenic, you add the perfect touch to Bradley’s amazing photos.

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