Happy Birthday! Today’s activity has the family gathered around the TV (tsk, tsk) to watch “Frosty the Snowman”. Bug just adores singing what words she does know of the song and is head over heels for the snowman plushie I brought home yesterday.

Muffin, on the other hand, sort of watches. She reacts when Bug does.

All in all, a little holiday spirit for us to watch and talk about. Bug loves telling us what is going on as it happens or just after it occurs. The ‘magic man’, ‘Pocus’ the rabbit, Frosty… oh yes, the names are up for interpretation when it comes to an almost 4 year old mind.

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While catching up on blogs via Google Reader yesterday, I came across an idea I just love, an Activity Advent. After telling Jack about it, we agreed that we wanted to have our own activity advent with the girls this December, even if we are starting a few days late. So today we begin and I will try to post daily what our activities are.

Today found us heading over to Hanley’s at the Kinsale Roundabout to see what they had for festive decorations and to see a man about a live tree. We went into the main shop first and Bug immediately tried to mount a large polar bear that was in the window. Sorry, kiddo, not spending 400 euros on a fake polar bear for the play room. She and Muffin were were soon distracted by the lit trees and other ‘decorations! as she loves to declare. Of course they also tried to pick up every fragile item in the shop.

At the back of the shop we discovered aquariums and live fish! The girls spent 15 minutes exclaiming that they had found Nemo and pointing out which fish they wanted. It was quite a task to pull them away to head to the seasonal shop.

As we approached the seasonal shop we saw many live trees outside. Unfortunately the top half of most of them looked much like Charlie Brown’s tree. Thin and sparse. So inside we went to evaluate fake trees. We finally settled on a skinny, but full tree that we think will fit perfectly within our limited space in the living room. The kids then proceeded to try and take apart the store, along with every other child in the shop. Much excitement was had.

We left the shop with a few ornaments, Pooh for Muffin and Princesses for Bug, and some Winnie the Pooh lights that they can add to the tree.

Jack will actually pick up the tree tomorrow, when the kids are not running circles around us, and tree decorating will be our next activity!

I hope you enjoy following along with us during our 24 days of Christmas 🙂

XO,
~L

Oops! Took a bit of a hiatus there. However now checking in from Columbus, Ohio. We are now home for two weeks visiting family and friends. It’s a nice break to be around all things familiar, although driving is bait weird for me, I truly am used to driving on the “other” side of the road now.

Before we left Cork, Caitlin met Angelina Ballerina:

So happy!

She’s been in the class for about 2 months now and just loves it. When we head back the next semester starts and we continue through until her birthday. Then she moves up a level!

Reagan is still a bit young for such classes, but enjoys the alone time at home without a big sister in her way 🙂

Speaking of Reagan, she does everything Caitlin does, or tries to, whether it be good or bad. It’s cute, but also means sometimes we have TWO crazies running around the house. She speaks in many sentences and is picking up new words daily. We have to watch what we say around her more than I think we ever did with Caitlin. She is a sponge.

And perhaps my most exciting news, just before we arrived on Wednesday, I became an aunt! My brother and SIL had their first on Monday. I was so excited to meet little Calvin on Thursday afternoon. He is just adorable, despite being a spitting image of my brother 😉 We really look forward to moving back early in 2013 and getting to spend more and more time with him. I am hopeful that he and the girls grow up to be very close. They’ll all be fairly close in age, which I think will help. We’ll move back at just the right age for him to learn all the bad habits for Crazy and Crazier!

OK, kids are restless, must find breakfast soon.

Post again soon 🙂

~L

Someone stole her big sister’s jean jacket…

Yesterday we braved scenic winding narrow roads to find our way to Blarney Castle. I am still wholly convinced the GPS was playing games with us as it brought us home completely different route, but that may be a tale for another day.

I really was not sure how the girls would perceive the castle: bored, too young, uninterested, etc. Little did I know that Caitlin would be over the moon and Reagan happy to follow along.

Anytime there is a map involved we are sure to win. The ‘Dora the Explorer’ instinct took over and Caitlin was off to find castle, fairies, flowers, and anything else you could imagine. Mostly castles and princesses, though.

The girls braved the stairs and up we went into the castle to see the various rooms and Blarney Stone. Jack kissed the stone, I did not. I blame the germs, not my fear of heights 😉

After the trip up to the top we worked our way back down and to a cafe for a little ice cream and tea. We were to head to the manor house next, but the picture perfect day was quickly change as dark gray clouds rolled in and opened upon us. That said, Caitlin loved running with me from tree bank to tree bank for coverage. It was quite the game we were playing.

We’ll definitely go back again, so much more of the grounds to see. A few pictures here, so many more working their way onto Flickr.

Butterfly Girl!

Trying on a sweater mommy made

Downward dog?

Don't you even think about taking any

Watercolors

It’s just hard to find time with two kids underfoot, a full-time job and hobbies I enjoy that don’t include updating blogs 🙂 I know, silly me. I keep telling myself I will get better at keeping every one up to date.

We’ve been in Ireland almost 5 months now. Just 9 days shy of. Reagan has grown 3 inches, or is it more, and Caitlin has grown at least one. They’re bursting through their shoes and I recently spent way too many Euros on new trainers. If there is anything that is expensive here it is clothing of all varieties. That and eating out. There is not such thing as a family dinner out that is less than 45 Euros.

The girls started crèche (day care) 3 weeks ago. The first week was just 90 minutes each day as an adjustment period. Reagan seems to be settling in quickly. Caitlin would probably enjoy it more were she in the Montessori room, which she will be in September. As two of the neighbor boys are in that room I think it will feel more familiar. That and she is just too big for the room she is in. Alas, potty training must be done first.

With that, I’ve spent this bank holiday weekend doing a three-day potty training session with Caitlin. I was forwarded an e-book by a neighbor and we are seeing great success. And I didn’t just go for daytime training, we went for it and her throw out the pull-ups and pull on the big girl underwear. Yesterday was tough as we had a birthday party to attend and she couldn’t be bothered to tell me she needed to use the toilet, however today we’ve not had a single miss. I am so proud of my little Caitlin Bug. She has gone from ‘no way in hell will I sit on that potty, mommy’ to ‘Mommy! Potty now!’ Let the savings on diapers begin. We’re going to attempt to train Reagan in January or February. Granted our laundry bill may be going up a bit, but the savings on nappies should be phenomenal.

We’ve had several neighborhood BBQs and they have been great fun. Our neighbors are truly the best. While I’ve had work to somewhat help me adjust, our neighbors have been a saving grace for Jack and the kids. I think we when head home we’ll truly be sad and have made some lifelong friends.

BBQ with the neighbors

As for Ireland itself, we’ve not been out to see much yet. I had grand plans a few weeks ago, but then I was sick for a few days and Jack was sick for a few days and then we reached Friday of my week off and had done nothing. Sooooo, we went to Blackrock castle, sent a message into outer space, too a few pictures and that was it. Great reflection of Ireland thought… over cast and medieval looking 🙂

Blackrock Castle

Grandma Pat will come visit in September and we’ll see some more then. Or at least they will. I’ll be busy working my little heart out. Speaking of work, definitely been a successful transition there as well and I am super proud of myself. I won’t bore anyone with details, but we finished our transition and successfully closed out our first quarter. I suspect the second will close out very well as well.

We head home in November from the 16th – 29th. We’re very excited to meet ‘cousin itt’ and hope he has made his appearance by the time we are home. All grandparents will also be in Ohio at the same time, so the kids should be spoiled, spoiled, spoiled 🙂

And as I type Reagan is breaking into my office. Time to head off to play again. Will catch up again soon and hopefully more frequently. If you’re still reading, thank you 🙂

Much love from the Emerald Isle!

~L

As of late the kids have taken to having us read them books. Many, many books.

Before we moved Caitlin was not as interested in books at bed time as she was during the day, so I had given up on bedtime stories, at least for the moment. With the move, and the late hours of sunlight, I decided to give it a go again as a way to at least get her up to her bedroom and in bed, and it worked! Now bedtime includes no less than 2 or 3 books, usually upwards of 4 – 10 books. Due to the shortness of so many of her books, and her honestly outgrowing a few of them, we’ve started investing in a few new books. Currently her favorites include:

• There’s a Wocket in My Pocket
• Fancy Nancy Goes to the Museum
• Angelina Ballerina
• Angelina ad the Princess
• Angelina’s Invitation to the Ballet
• Harold and the Purple Crayon

Angelina is by far #1 right now. This is good because I’ve signed her up for Angelina Ballerina classes starting in September as something fun and dance oriented that we can do this fall on Saturday mornings.

Always looking for further suggestions on books for a preschool age child, I’ll be starting her an amazon.co.uk wish list as well. I did visit the Douglas library in hopes I could avoid buying too many books to keep her interested, however the selection was very small and it honestly made me very sad. That said, I like having books at home and as Caitlin outgrows them Reagan will certainly enjoy them.

Speaking of Reagan, she is constantly bringing us books to read her during the day. Usually the same 4 or 5 board books over and over, but she loves them so:

• The Belly Button Book
• Baby Cakes
• Barnyard Dance
• Usborne Very First Nursery Rhymes (this and Baby Cakes are the top 2)
At this point I believe Jack and I both have most of the board books in the house memorized. And Reagan knows them well too, especially when we get to Baa Baa Black Sheep in the Nursery Rhyme book. I should note that the absolute favorites are the Halloween books. It was the same with Caitlin. Nothing like reading about Halloween in May!

What books do your kids enjoy, or did you enjoy as a child? I was a voracious reader as a child (may have something to do with the family bookstores) and hope my children are as well. Now if only I could find more time for myself to read 

~L
(currently reading Tina Fey’s ‘Bossypants’)