Tuesday, December 31, 2013


 Looking back on 2013 I feel, more than any other emotion in my heart, deep and true gratitude. I have so many things to be grateful for.
The year's beginning was pretty tough. There had been some problems with Andy. I found myself often on the brink of exhaustion, lonely and fairly out of balance. More than anything I was still living my life as 'a mother' and nothing and no-one else, there was still very little room for Laura in my life.
 During this time my friends and family and also you blog readers, rallied around me and offered me so much support and love. I am so grateful for each phone call, for each treatment, for each hug, for each word of kindness and strength that got me through this and let me know how loved and cared for I am. Thank you.
The spring brought with it a change. Andy and I got some help to negotiate our separate lives and I am grateful for the services that supported us. This process is on going of course, in fact only today I got a letter from the Mediation service offering me an appointment for 2 weeks time to begin the formal process of separation. But we are muddling through and finding a way for all of our needs to be supported. Thank you.
I was still attending my weekly counselling sessions until the late spring at which point I felt ready to stop attending. I am so grateful for my counselor for giving me such an essential tool box, leaving me feeling strong and true to myself and able to deal with whatever problems and challenges that may face me. Thank you.

 2013 was the first time I took to the garden. I had the support of 2 lovely friends, giving me lots of advice and also a space to grow. It was so much fun, great therapy and of course lots of organic, free, healthy, fresh food. Thank you

 I am grateful for learning to be able to slow down, create space and just enjoy each moment. Thank you
 I am grateful for the wonderful holiday the kids and I had in the UK in the summer. Thank you
 I am grateful for the teachers and staff at the school the kids go to. They love it there and Benny has settled in so quickly and effortlessly. Thank you.
 I am grateful for all of the support and encouragement I have had doll making. I loved each doll I made and I had so many cool and interesting projects to work on this year. Thank you.
I am grateful for each experience and gathering and day trip that peppered my year. So many wonderful places and people I have seen and precious memories I have made. Thank you.

I am grateful for Joa, for the crazy, nutty joy he brings into my life. For his way of telling a story filled with expression and his own unique brand of interpretation. I am grateful to have him as my daily companion, helping in the kitchen or out for a walk. I am grateful for his sweet kisses as I put him to bed each night and for the full body hug I get from him every morning he wakes.
I am grateful for Benny, for his gentle, caring nature. For his quiet calm and strength. I am grateful for how perceptive he is and the deep empathy he shows for other people and their feelings. I am grateful for how helpful he is, how hard he tries and for his incredible bravery and sheer courage. I am grateful in the trust he places in his own body and the inspiring self belief he shows.
I am grateful for Rebe. For her boundless creativity, a reflection of my own. I am grateful for how she looks after us all and shows her love in such thoughtful ways; cooking for the boys, making me sweet little cards and love notes. I am grateful for the strength and determination she shows in just being true to herself. There have been many times this year when she has been faced with feeling very 'different' and she handles it so beautifully. Life can be a tough ride but she is riding high on the crest of that wave. I am also so in awe of her self awareness and her ability to articulate this. A few weeks ago she was displaying a lot of anger, one night before bed we found a little time to talk about it and she said that actually she wasn't really angry all the time, but she did feel a bit sad and it was coming out as angry. Oh what insight to have at the age of 8 and I am so grateful that she feels that she can talk to me about this and many other things.

I am so grateful for all of these things. However, there are 2 things above all else that I am so happy to have found in 2013.

One of these is my self. I have found myself; a whole complete being. Learning mindfulness and meditation, finding time to run every week and developing my own interests and hobbies such as singing in the choir, taking care of myself in a way I never perhaps felt justified in doing before. All of this has given me such a balance in my life. I am no longer completely consumed by and with motherhood. My life is full of me and I feel so right, so whole and so happy. I still mother in exactly the same way, but no longer at the expense of the rest of my life. I am finding ways to say 'no' and 'that's ok' and 'I forgive myself''. I am also hearing what I need, what I want and what my dreams are and giving myself permission to follow those thoughts and feelings.
The other thing I found this year was Garry. He is such a great gift to me! I knew from the moment I opened the door to him when he came to collect me for our first date that this was something special. I had a real 'wow' moment and I felt something so strong it was like a pulse running through me physically. When I am with him I feel so at peace and so full of energy at the same time. When I am with him  I am completely myself and find that when we are together I live very fully in the moment, not wishing for anything else, for anything to be other or different. We can just be together, as we are, just us. And that is so special.

I am so excited about this coming year, I feel very sure that it will be filled with so much magic and happiness and love, and I hope that I will recognise and fully live each and every moment that I can with love and with gratitude.

Friday, December 27, 2013

christmas 2013 ~ some moments I will never forget

This Christmas was the best, most beautiful, lovely and magical of my life. It was filled with so many moments of fun, laughter and love I could write a million blog posts about it all. Instead I will record a few of the special moments we shared to give you a taste and to serve as a wee reminder for us in years to come when we look back at Christmas 2013.

Saturday 21st
cutting holly in the woods to decorate the house with
Benny climbing the ivy instead of just pulling it off
gathering moss to make reindeer food with

  •  Meeting Garry in the pub after dropping the kids to Andy for the night, for a beer that turned into several
  • giddy and giggling like kids so excited about the coming days
  • drinks by the huge roaring fire in the hotel
  • the thunderstorm that turned off all the power to the village until lunchtime next day
  • sitting by fire light and candle light listening to the wind howl sipping our drinks, holding hands and smiling
  • watching the lightening and hail from the front door
Sunday 22nd

Decorating the house with the fresh vibrant greenery we collected
bringing home the kids and the dogs and letting the fun begin

  • writing shopping lists and drinking tea
  • pushing a full trolley around the supermarket picking up all of our favorites
  • delighting in only spending 20 euro cash because of all of the generous vouchers we had gotten
  • lunch in one of our favourite cafe's

Monday 23rd
quiet day in pyjama's

making reindeer food

preparing nut roast for my Christmas dinner
stocking for Garry made by Rebe
fun and joyful dinner
Tuesday, Christmas Eve
making biscuit cake christmas pud

stringing bird feeders from old cereal

watching Santa's progress online

  •  all of us cosy in the living room in front of the fire, watching Narnia by the light of the tree, sipping hot chocolate with marshmallows and red wine, nibbling on short bread and pop corn
  • wrapping the last of the gifts and putting presents under the trees
  • walkie talkie fun (hello!)
  • smiling so much and for so long that I had deep laughter lines crinkled around my eyes
  • enjoying ourselves so much we didn't get to bed until gone 2am knowing full well it would be a very early start
25th Christmas Day

Santa's been
explorer outfits from Bubs and Man

happy happy me

cooking dinner as a team
what an effortless, delicious feast made with love and togetherness 
dinner time


  •  being woken at 3.30am by a little girl in tears who just didn't know how to get back to sleep she was so excited.
  • a small little boy hopping up and down at my bedside saying breathlessly 'Santa's brought Christmas candy!'
  • after several more 'it's still too early' Garry and I finally relented and got up to open presents at 6.10am
  • delighted faces and laughter and joy 
  • ripped paper, toys and chocolate everywhere
  • movie after breakfast
  • walking down the village to the pub, the sky blue, no wind, the sun softly warm
  • crisps, fizzy drinks, gin and tonics and cigars and lots of Christmas cheer, being part of the village community
  • a quick play on the beach
  • cooking dinner together, moving around the kitchen as if it were a dance
  • the perfect Christmas dinner
  • all too full for pudding or to move
  • dropping the kids to Andy seeing their joy at being together and more presents 
  • coming home to quiet peace, a blazing fire and him waiting for me

 26th Boxing Day

  • sleeping late and waking up to the most beautiful rainbow just outside our window
  • page 124
  • eating a big cooked breakfast together
  • taking the dogs for a long walk and talking and talking
  • watching the lifeboat go out on exercise from the point
  • the wind and rain and hail pounding us, and we loved it, sitting there for nearly an hour watching for the boat to come back in
  • sitting together on the sofa, the warmth of our arms touching, reading our books and drinking tea
  • the happiness of bringing the kids back again 
  • competitive table football matches
  • after the kids were in bed watching the Hobbit and eating Christmas Dinner #2

I can't really say much more about it, my heart is so full it could burst. I am so happy and grateful to have this joy, this peace, this fun, this life. I am so happy and grateful to have found Garry, to feel the depth of feelings I have for him and to know, deeply know, that his love for me is as true and special as my love for him.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

feeling surprisingly amazing

 I feel surprisingly amazing. Surprising because I usually find this time of year a challenge. There always seems to be so much to do, so many commitments and preparations and crafting and lists. But this year it has been so effortless. I think it has helped that I made a big space for this time in terms of doll work and I didn't try to hand-make all of our gifts. I did all my shopping online. We are all well and healthy (apart from a UTI which I have gotten a course of anti-biotics for today, but even that has been ok). We have still done lots of things: visiting santa, crafting at school, seeing friends, writing cards, going to parties etc. But all of it has been so easy, so effortless, so happy. And now suddenly the holidays are starting tomorrow :-)
 We had our last Buddies session of the year yesterday, which was lovely.
We sang some Christmas songs and then danced energetically to some slightly less seasonal songs. For our activity we decorated some Christmas Tree cookies:
 greens and reds, sticky fingers and mouths
 At snack time we ate delicious apple cake and porter cake with mulled apple juice, and for the story I told the kids the nativity using our little felt nativity set as puppets

me in full story telling mode :-)
 At home I have had lots of quiet space to read, to play with the kids and for my own little projects. I'm knitting Rebe a pair of warm woolen bed socks at her request. I've really enjoyed them and will start a pair for Benny next I think.
 I made Joa a tail, because all dogs need a tail,
what a helpful dogger!
 Today after visiting the doctor in town I got all of the last of the presents and stocking fillers, another load of jobs easily ticked off the list.
This afternoon after school we baked:
Instead of writing a little card to each child in the class (which is the tradition in our school) the kids choose something to bake for their class to share on the last day of term. Benny chose to make a Christmas tree cake and Rebe made a batch of fudge.
The kids finish early tomorrow and will spend the afternoon with Andy, they will also be there over night on Saturday giving me lots of time off to relax and prepare for next week when Garry and his dogs will come and celebrate Christmas with us in what is going to be a very happy, noisy, crazy, fun and lovely, lovely time!
I can't wait :-)

Saturday, December 14, 2013

meeting Santa

Today was the kind of day that I just adore. We didn't get dressed until well into the afternoon, instead we spent the morning making Christmas decorations in our pyjamas. 
 I cut out some cardboard starts for Joa to paint gold while Benny and I made some apple sauce and cinnamon tree ornaments.
 I have wanted to make these for a few years and finally we got around to it. Basically you make a dough from 1 cup ground cinnamon, 1 tbsp ground nutmeg, 1 tbsp ground cloves, 2 tbsp glue and 2/3 of a cup of apple sauce. It makes a really fab dough to play with, we rolled it out and used cutters to make stars and bells and rocking horses, then we baked them in a low oven until they dried. Oh the smell!!! Pure Christmas. I tore an old pair of flannel pj's into strips which we will use like ribbons to hang them on the tree when we put it up.
 Rebe spent the morning in bed making a paper chain and listening to 'The Enchanted Wood' on audio tape. I think the chain ended up being about 20 ft long! Benny cut the strips and did the fetching and carrying while Rebe looped them all together and sellotaped the ends. I also started some simple felt embroidery ornaments. Having finished knitting the bonnet for my friend's baby I needed some kind of project and thought this would be a nice way to pass the time.

So eventually, at about 3pm, we got ourselves dressed and went down the village to our wee cafe. Just as we pulled up we heard the ringing of a bell and saw Santa getting out of a very cool, bright red kit car (who needs a sleigh!). This was Joa's first time seeing Santa, it was so sweet he just ran in circles sucking the collar of his jacket!
 The Golden Pheasant was hosting Santa as a fundraiser for the Philippines. We paid our fee on arrival and were given our tickets to wait to see the old beardy man. The waiting was terribly pleasant, with cupcakes, mince pies, carol singing, friends to chat to and mulled wine.

Then when it was our turn we followed an elf along a path lit with tea lights in jam jars,
 and over to Santa's grotto
 where me met the man himself. Well actually, he was terribly honest with us and told us he was in fact not the real Santa but his cousin. The real Santa had so much work to do that he had asked his cousin to come and meet the boys and girls and to ask them to write their letters and remember to put on their addresses.
 He had also brought them a little something each to tide them over until Christmas day.
 Each of the kids got a little paper bag filled with goodies; a little wooden boat, a shoe keyring, sweeties and a balloon. It was just so special and so sweet and I am so happy that we got to go!
We had a very quick run on the beach on the way home, the wind blasting away the cobwebs and we came home happy and tired and relaxed in front of a film eating pizza off our knees.
Ach what a great day :-)