The birth of Thaddeus

Dear sisters,

Here’s the facts: We were delivered of a baby boy on Tuesday, the 16 of June 2015, on my second day of maternity leave.  I was 39 weeks pregnant.  Thaddeus joined the world at 11:55 PM, born into an inflatable pool of warm water in the kitchen, where the table usually rests, while his older brother and sister slept upstairs in their bedroom.  When Archer was born, one of the first things I noticed his cleft chin.  With Era, I noticed her cheek dimple.  With Thaddeus, the first thing we said was ‘Look at his hair!’  And LOOK AT IT!  What a glorious head of hair he has.  I have to say, that the whole heartburn / hair old wives’ tale checks out this time around.

Continue reading “The birth of Thaddeus”

Standard Recipes: Beet(root) and Apple Salad

Dear sisters, Considering how much all of us love cooking, we haven’t talked about it very much in this space.  And I’ve been thinking lately about the recipes we make over and over, the ones we have memorised.  The recipes that when you are given an ingredient, you know exactly what you’ll make. So I hope that we all can contribute some of our standards! A few months ago we started getting a weekly produce box, which is quite similar to a CSA share but not quite so much commitment, i.e. no share payment up front.  Ours is from our local Camphill community, which means it is lovingly tended and organically grown by volunteers and persons with intellectual disabilities living in community.  We have been groaning under the weight of carrots (so. many. carrots.), potatoes, swedes (which Americans call ‘rutabagas’), parsnips,  leeks, and cabbage, so much so that we’ve gone down to getting our veg box once every other week.  Good winter crops, all, and it makes the greens more special when they show up.  We’ve struggled to use all our root veg this winter, but there is one vegetable that never goes to waste.  Whenever we have beets (or beetroot, as they call it here), we make beet and apple salad.

Continue reading “Standard Recipes: Beet(root) and Apple Salad”

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. Continue reading “4 Stories (and belly shot!)”

Our Junior Infant

Dear sisters,

There were big changes for all of us this fall! Esther is married, Rachel is having a baby and has a kindergartener, Janna has started a master’s, Jewel is  moving to Wisconsin, and my Archer has started school!

Archer has started junior infants, which is not exactly like kindergarten but not exactly like preschool either. Instead of one year before first grade, Ireland has two years before first grade: Junior infants and Senior infants (which is an oxymoron?)  In the States, he would likely not attend kindergarten until next year because he is a late November baby. So I am thinking of this year, from my American perspective, as preschool, except he already did a year of (FREE) preschool (thanks, Irish government)! He started September 1. He plays happily at school, he’s making friends. He sometimes says he doesn’t want to go, but has a good time when he’s there. Your typical kid.

snazzy tracksuit uniform!
snazzy tracksuit uniform!  random farm detritus!

Continue reading “Our Junior Infant”

The evolution of bed-time

Dear sisters,

Archer and Era have a pretty great bedroom. Our house is a relatively simple design and the two main bedrooms upstairs are the same size as the downstairs living room and sitting room. They have beautifully high ceilings and the bedroom is large enough to fit what we call a queen sized bed (confusingly known as a king-sized bed here)* and a single bed. When we moved here, it seemed obvious to put them in together, as the third bedroom in the house is tiny and I was anxious to keep a guest bedroom.

When we first moved to the house in March, I started getting Era ready for bed at 7 to get her into bed at 7:30. Then I walked downstairs, played with Archer, started getting him ready for bed, and put him to bed at 8:30. I was spending a lot of time putting kids to bed, and I got tired of it. Archer and I had to creep into the bedroom quietly, and he loves to read and play before bed. And if Era happened to wake up, it was all over. She’d cry, and some nights I’d rock her to sleep in my arms until Archer fell asleep in his bed, and then I’d lay her down and creep out of the room.


Continue reading “The evolution of bed-time”

Charity Shopping

Dear sisters,

What kind of shopping are doing these days? The last couple of years of motherhood and poverty (grad school) have caused a big change in my wardrobe, towards simpler outfits and a lot more denim.  And it turns out I kind of actually dislike mall shopping. But I am the queen of virtual fake shopping, a skill most expats know too well. I have expensive tastes on a minimal budget, and mostly ogle maker companies like Imogene and Willie, Huit Denim, Of a Kind, Voices of Industry, and Fog Linen.  But alas, I have not the budget.

The one kind of shopping I like best is thrifting, the only place where I can (sometimes) buy the quality I seek at the prices I can afford. Continue reading “Charity Shopping”

Willpower, it’s now or never.

Dear sisters,

This year I turned 29. So far, I haven’t found birthdays to be a source of anxiety. In general, getting older is ok with me and my twenties have been pretty great. But next year I will be thirty, and I have an adult job now, and an adult life. But my basic hygiene is about one step above a toddler. I’m the worst at forming habits. I’ve spent most of my twenties flirting with skin care (after years of acne in university), makeup, and hair styling, but nothing has ever stuck. The last two years I have tried to make one new year’s resolution: to quit biting my nails. However, last year was…a bit stressful. A new baby, finishing a master’s thesis, and an international move did not work in my favor. But this is my year.



This is nothing exciting to anyone else, of course, but seeing white on the tips of my nails hasn’t happened in nine years. Continue reading “Willpower, it’s now or never.”

On Starting a Blog

Hi sisters,

So. We are starting a blog, together. It makes sense to do it now–I’ve been living over here (in Ireland) for eight months now and I miss you all very much. Last weekend, when I burst into tears at the dinner table because I was homesick, BD said ‘that’s about right. you’re always homesick about six to eight months in to a new place’. I hate to be so predictable, but I am familiar with the routine now. After about six months of being in a new place, you start to think–wow, I really live here! Reality sets in. Sisters get together without me, we’re here alone thinking ‘leaving all that free babysitting with the grandparents was a bad idea’, and we are still at that stage of friendship in a new place where you feel more like a leach than a friend (PLEASE HANG OUT WITH US, PEOPLE WHO DON’T KNOW US YET). 

It is spring-time right now, just past lambing season, and Ireland is so green and the birds are singing. We’ve always done all of our moving to new places (Vancouver, BC; Kingston, Ontario; Ireland) in late August or September, which gives us about a month’s worth of time to enjoy the natural beauty and then six months of winter in which to get depressed and question our decision. Then spring emerges as a reminder of all that is good in the world, and that there is so much of the world to see.  These days, I pinch myself daily when I realize that this is my home, and my life. 


This is a test. More later, 

With love,