Friday, December 31, 2010


I had wonderful plans for this trip to Ireland.

Don't get me wrong...we got to spend some wonderful time with the Irishman's family. We spent a day in town. We played in the snow. We had a lovely Christmas.

We also got the flu.

I'd had plans to take a new picture for the blog header in front of Blackrock Castle.

Instead we got the flu.

The Irishman and I have no local babysitter in Florida. We had been talking about going to see "Little Fockers" on a real date night. We'd talked about going out for a meal together...alone. We had the best intentions for our fantastic family babysitters.

Instead we got the flu.

Morgan went to the doctor this morning and his man flu was officially termed "severe influenza" and he was advised not to travel for a week.

We were supposed to fly home in the morning.

The doctor also saw Caitlin and put her on an antibiotic. If you are keeping count that makes three doctor visits, three cases of the flu, and three infections requiring antibiotics.

It isn't the way I expected this trip to go...

Unfortunately I do not have time to take off work waiting for the Irishman to recover from the flu. I am not quite 100% myself, but I have been on my medicine a little longer than the others and am on the mend. I had to make a really tough decision this morning. I am second guessing myself every chance I get.

I am heading back across the pond tomorrow without the Irishman or Caitlin.

I've never been away from her. I am heartbroken. At first I was thinking of the positive. I can take it easy and rest. I can sleep on the flight. Missing the flight with the baby. The nice bits.

Instead all I can think about is being away from the baby. We are going to set up the web cam before school in the morning. They have promised to send me lots of pictures.

I still don't know how I am going to get through the week. I know that it will all work out and that Caitlin will be in the best hands, but I know she is going to miss me. And I am going to miss her. The thought of her calling out, "Momma!" breaks my heart. I struggled to make it through story time tonight without tearing up.


Please pray for us!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Irish Flu

Caitlin is still learning to share. Unfortunately the first thing she decided to share was her germs. I have the awful flu she had last week. It is pretty much miserable.

I sent the Irishman to the 'chemist' yesterday to pick up some cough medicine for me. I gave him very specific directions about which one to get. For reasons I won't go into, they would not sell him any cough medicine unless I'd been seen by a doctor. Great.

We tried calling the local healthline, but that led to an appointment at the local urgent care center. The very nice doctor said it is most likely viral. I have the flu and I just have to wait it out. My cough was outrageous, so I did get a prescription for some cough medicine, but the "chemist" looked at the list I'd written down of the over the counter medicines I was used to from the States and she sold me a bottle of that instead. Translation? We paid 68 euros for a diagnosis of flu and a bottle of Robitussin.

I've spent the day in bed fighting a cough and fever. I am finally starting to feel human again. Morgan, Caitlin, and I are sharing a room. I was a mess at 5am and moved into the front room instead. I was spending all my energy trying not to cough and wake Caitlin, so sleep was not going to happen. I missed the cousin's birthday party this afternoon, but the Irishman took lots of pictures for me.

We had a lovely Christmas. The snow stayed on the ground and Caitlin was well enough to go out and play a bit. We surprised Morgan's parents with a new laptop that we snagged during Black Friday sales. We are not good at surprises, so we were thrilled that we managed to pull it all off! I was so out of it this afternoon that I could not figure out how to open the laptop. I blame the fever on for that one! I will try to upload some pictures tomorrow. For now I have a family snapshot taken on Christmas night in front of the very-distinctive Christmas tree. We've joked that the top of the tree is a tribute to the Florida palm. They actually cut the tree down from the garden so it is home grown...with character!

For now we are going to work on NOT sharing these germs...

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Time for Tea

I *think* I may have sorted the picture situation, but I won't know for sure until Christmas. Until then my wordy updates will have to do!

The good news? Caitlin is finally on the mend. She had been running a fever and coughing for the last few days. She was much better tonight in time for a party at her cousin's house this afternoon.

The bad news? My throat is killing me tonight. It looks like I'll need some of that Irish tea to warm me up and sooth my throat. My brother-in-law joked that I've caught the local in drinking tea.

There is still snow on the ground, though we have missed seeing any snowfall. It is cold, but that makes it all the more fun to stay bundled up in front of the fire.(Not so much for Morgan's sister whose pipes froze! The headlines here are all about the winter weather dilemmas, but so far so good for us!) The Irishman and his brother are talking about taking their two little ones to see Santa in town tomorrow. We'll see if Caitlin likes an Irish Santa any more than his American counterpart!

Monday, December 20, 2010

From High Above the Atlantic Ocean

I have to admit, my expectations this morning were low. The only part of the trip that was organized was the person staying at our house to watch the cats.

We were up until about 2 getting ready to celebrate "American Christmas" before we left. It must have a late night for Santa, too. We woke up to find a note telling Caitlin he made an early visit so she would not have to worry about fitting presents in her suitcase.

The Irishman also woke up with a stomach bug. I am pretty sure flying across the pond with a baby and a sick husband is up there with things I fear most.

It was a rough morning trying to celebrate "American Christmas", pack, clean, and not get sick. Despite it all, we had a lovely Christmas and thanks to Uncle Ken we got to the airport in one piece.

As for the flights, I'm afraid to speak too soon, but so far they could not have gone better. Caitlin and her daddy slept soundly through the flight to New York. (even I managed to doze a bit) We are now high above the Atlantic with free WiFi and a sleeping baby.

Not sure how our computer access will be once we get to my in laws house, but I'm sure I'll figure something out. Now that the shopping and wrapping and traveling are done I'm looking forward to relaxing and enjoying the time. You can expect pictures of Caitlin in front of the castle down the road.
Well this is my second "edited to add" segment. The first was on my phone once the WiFi cut out. It will be stuck on my phone until I can turn it on again or find another place with WiFi access.
Soon after I typed the first part the meal service came around. Caitlin woke up and we managed to jugle two trays of food and a wriggly baby. Then Morgan's nose started to bleed.
The couple sitting behind us saw the panicked look on my face and the fact that the flight attendant was ignoring our call light. They took the two trays from us so we could move and ran to the back of the plane for paper towels.
Next up was finding a way to make a bottle of warm milk without warm milk. I thought ahead and brought powdered milk. We mixed that with some hot water and cold milk. It wasn't perfect, but she drank it!
After a diaper change (fun times in a plane bathroom) Caitlin was ready to go back to sleep. She was REALLY good. Even with our adventures, it was a dream flight. I can only dream the way home goes as smoothly!
The drive back to Cork was quite scenic...patchwork of green fields I love so much are all covered in powdery white snow. Caitlin and I slept in the car, but we're enjoying looking at the snow from warm inside the house. There is supposed to me more coming in the next day or two.
Caitlin has met her three cousins and is enjoying time with her Nana and Granda. She has a bit of a cold and started running a fever last night. After a little tylenol, a warm bath, and a warm bottle she slept for over 12 hours. She still has a runny nose and a little cough, but she seems to feel better this morning.
It looks like it will be a quiet day around the house here watching Daddy make a snowman and playing with all the "new" old toys. I'll try to get some pictures uploaded later. = )

Friday, December 17, 2010

E is for Elmo

These days Caitlin doesn't go anywhere without her Elmo. I find it funny that she has only seen a few YouTube clips the Irishman has shown her on his phone, but she loves Elmo.

I guess her Daddy's efforts worked! He bought her Elmo #1 when she was sick in November. We now have Elmo #2 and Elmo #3....just in case. Every once in a while they all meet up and have an Elmo party.

It is funny to watch other kid's reactions when we go out.
"That baby has Elmo"

Honestly, he isn't my favorite, but I guess it could be worse! Her second favorite is Paddington Bear. If he wasn't so big or hard to replace I would be launching a Paddington Bear campaign.

Caitlin loves Elmo though, so that is all that matters!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Christmas in her Eyes

Christmas is the happiness that lights our children's eyes.
Christmas is a song of bells ringing through the skies.
Christmas is a time of peace, of contentment deep within,
A time of love and silent hope that years will never dim.
--Sherrill Thompson

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

C is for Cookie

The Irishman found a CD this weekend of 'Old School Sesame Street.'
We have been singing a lot of 'C is for Cookie' at our house.*

Ruth snapped these cookie photos at the Breakfast with Santa last weekend.

Caitlin was FAR more interested in the candy than the cookies!
(These are my photos...still learning to use the new camera)

That's okay though because

C is for


* Disclaimer: If you watch the video you WILL be singing this song all day...and if your daughter's name is Caitlin you will be changing it to 'C is for Caitlin' in no time at all. That is good enough for me!

It is just after 6am and I am about to pack up cookies and cards to give to some of our favorite coworkers. Because C is for Cookie...

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Reindeer Caitlin

Even dinner time around here is festive...

Monday, December 13, 2010

More Breakfast with Santa

Okay, so I shared the GOOD photo with Santa on Saturday. Full disclosure? The rest of her time on Santa's lap looked something like this:

Thankfully she didn't hold a grudge. Santa must not have either. On his way back to the North Pole he stopped to check in with Caitlin.

They had a nice little chat and Santa suggested we take an extra photo or two. Guess he wanted to get past the little screaming incident...

This breakfast has become one of our favorite holiday events! (Click Here to See Last Year's Pictures)

Morgan had RSVP'd this year before they'd event sent out the official invitations at work. It should be no surprise that Caitlin was the first on the list for Santa! They provide fantastic free 8x10s of the pictures, but a certain Irishman has been known to wait for the crowd to die down before asking the nice people in the IT department to email a copy to him.

Because no breakfast with Santa would be complete without an official family photo with the man in red!


Mommy and Me Monday at Really, Are You Serious?
Hosted by Krystyn at Really, Are You Serious?

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Breakfast with Santa 2010

What a difference a year makes...



Our photographer Ruth managed to get the picture before Caitlin tried to launch herself off Santa's lap. We thought having Elmo with her might help, but Morgan said he thinks some little boy tried to tell her that Santa's suit was made of Elmo fur...just kidding! Thankfully Caitlin was much happier for our family Santa picture. I guess she didn't want us to miss out on the fun!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Some Bunny You Love

Christmas is meant

to be shared

with some BUNNY

you love!


(The costume is explained here if you missed it...)

For more PSF:

PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and Lolli

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

WW: Just Call Her Ralphie...

I love Target clearance sales. There was the $290 tree we got for $29, the Valentine's Day shirts for 50 cents, the Christmas cards for mere pennies, and this...


Last month I looked through the Halloween clearance for something Caitlin could wear next year. I usually skip over the heavy costumes figuring they lead to Halloween heat stroke here in Florida. This one spoke to me a $2 ode to "A Christmas Story" kind of way.

Don't let the sad puppy dog eyes bunny eyes fool you. They have nothing to do with the costume.

Caitlin was begging for White Chocolate Buttons.

How can you say no to that face? Even Rafa wanted to get in on the fun. He didn't get too close though. I'm not sure if it was the baby he was afraid of or the thought that we'd find a costume for him....again!

Caitlin was a good sport,

 though she did claim the camel was making fun of her.

I'm sure she will LOVE us for this when she is older.

Merry Christmas!

(The Tail End)

For more WW:

Monday, December 6, 2010

Mommy & Me: A Pretty Pink Tree

We love Saturday mornings. There is nothing like starting the day in your PJs.

A few weeks ago I picked out a small Christmas tree for Caitlin's room. I have no idea why I felt she needed this tree, but suddenly I could picture it there. The Irishman just shook his head and went along with it...

Caitlin, of course, was all too happy to help decorate this pretty pink tree!

Rafa was also intrigued....but stayed a safe distance!

Putting the ornaments on was a bit like her hair bows. She understood what she wanted to do, she just couldn't quite get how to make it stay.

All in all we were happy with the finished product. It is resting in a safe place with the special nativity she got from Nana and Granda and her "Baby's First Christmas" picture.

A pretty pink tree for a pretty little girl!


Mommy and Me Monday at Really, Are You Serious?
Hosted by Krystyn at Really, Are You Serious?

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Shutterfly Before Time Flies...

My love affair with Shutterfly began soon after Caitlin was born. There was a $20 voucher in the bag we got from the hospital. I had a precious new baby and a camera full of pictures. It was a match made in heaven! We made a few gifts for our parents and then discovered the cards. We take our cards seriously around here.

This year we sent St. Patrick's Day Cards....

and Belated Thank You Cards...

I am slightly embarrassed to admit that the pile of belated thank you cards is still sitting here waiting to be mailed. I guess that sort-of defeats the purpose.

It is also the reason that I LOVE the fact that you can make cards on Shutterfly and have them mailed directly to the person you are sending them to. It is as if they were thinking of people like me when they added that is the only way my birthday cards get there on time!

As you might imagine, the Christmas card is THE card of the year. The Irishman spent hours googling ideas for the perfect Christmas card photo. I'm fairly certain the new camera was purchased with the Christmas card in mind.

We have the photos ready and now we have started the hunt for just the Christmas photo card.

The Irishman requires a card that includes the words, "Merry Christmas" so we have to sift through the lovely "Seasons Greetings" and "Happy Holidays" for something that shouts Christmas cheer. Thankfully you can narrow down your criteria when searching the Holiday photo cards.

Even cards that say, "Merry Christmas" can be vetoed for colors that are not festive enough.

Too brown....

Too pink...

Doesn't say "Christmas"...

 I give the Irishman a hard time, but I have a thing against photo cards that look like they are missing "Insert Photo Here" in the middle. Holiday photo cards have come such a long way. I want something that looks like a work of art...not a cheap looking standard card with a box in the middle for your picture.

We started looking in early November. We just finally narrowed down our top two. Being as so many members of our family (on both sides of the pond) get my blog posts e-mailed to the directly, I'm not going to show my final card just yet. We have a hard time with surprises around here...I have to keep SOMETHING to myself!

Here were some of our favorites that didn't make the cut:


We have several projects saved and keep going back to our favorites. If we don't make up our minds soon we will be sending belated Christmas cards! Some things never change...

Disclosure: While I LOVE Shutterfly and probably would have ordered from them anyway, they sweetened the deal with the current offer for bloggers. Thanks to this post I am getting 50 free cards. For more information, see the offer here. Just my honest opinion here, folks!