Stories of Friendship, Family, Fun and Food.
All the way from the Emerald Isle!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Letting go of Bunny-Love n' summer

My lovely white duck Grace delivers me 
a beautiful blue duck egg every morning.

Well, it is finally here. I have come to the end of a four month long hiatus from University life and 'Móna-Mom and Móna-Wife' have officially left the homestead and 'Móna-Student' (aka mean raving bitch) has returned to roost in the Wise Homestead for the next eight months.

Try as I might I just could not get all four kids 'clothed and booked' for back-to-school blissfully. I had to get all worked up in a dither, run around at the last minute looking for books they will not use until November and buy a few extra shirts and ties for their uniforms just in-case they lost one. I am a martyr. I needed to put myself through all of this and make it seem like I was dying from stress so my Mother (hi Mum) and hubby (ha ha - like he will ever read something on the internet) would feel a little empathy towards me before I leave them to care for my children for what seems like an eternity.

I know I am not LEAVING per-se, but on September 6th when I return to the books I do step away from being the primary caregiver of everyone here at the homestead. The Chef has already stressed the *dislike* button a few times over the last few weeks because, quite frankly, he likes having a wife at home doing all the wifey jobs. And whilst we are all being frank, I LIKE being the wifey at home doing all the jobs.

He also knows that I live and die for my college classes.  I am entering into second year of a four year degree course, with hopes to continue and get my Masters in Writing write after that, so it might seem a little endless this schedule of mine. 

He is ready, with the helping hands and heart of my Mum, to take on the kids. He is waiting in the wings as we speak to get stuck in with drop off's and pick ups and school bags and lunch boxes and most importantly (for me anyway) dinner and grocery shopping. I have done most of the cooking for the summer and although I do not hate cooking at all, I will be glad that I do not have to do anything but the dishes for the next several months. 

On a sadder note (and I am trying to not let this get the better of me) we lost our little Bunny Bob last night. When I say 'lost' I do not mean he went missing, I mean he is dead.

He is a bit of an escape artist and being a dwarf bunny with seemingly very few bones he was able to dig and squeeze through unbelievably small openings. He also chewed like a trooper to get through whatever he wanted. After reinforcing (and reinforcing) his little home area several times over the last few months we lost the battle last night. When I awoke this morning I found his cold little body out back near the polytunnel. He was unmarked, so no foul play is suspected.

Of course breaking news like this to veterinarian-girl-in-waiting was not easy as she is rather attached to all our animals, and I hated that this was the news I had to give her a few days before school. However, she handled it as well as can be expected. Remains will be buried along side his brother Leo (who passed away the day we brought him home) later today. Donations of hugs can be delivered to Rory-Belle if you can figure out a way to do that via the internet.

Those are all the WiseWords I have for this morning as we brace ourselves for the back-to-school mayhem that awaits us on Monday!


Monday, August 16, 2010

The Weekend got off to a bad start

I normally don't mince words when telling it how it is, and I reckon this posting will be no different. I think that panic has set in over the lack of 'time' that I have left before we all go back to school. If it is not self-induced panic, then I have no relevant reasons to explain my bitchiness.  The weekend actually got off to a lovely start. We went over to a friends house to celebrate a birthday and had a very relaxing, fun-filled evening. Enjoying the late summer sun whilst sipping Sam Adams on the patio. Rumour has it we may have sipped a little too much Sam. I flopped into bed later that night thrilled that  I had NO PLANS made for the early morning and could take a well deserved lie-in. (NOTE: I am a morning person, but like to linger a little longer in la-la land if the opportunity presents itself).

Saturday morning arrived just a little too soon (at 5:38am) with the Chef leaping like a lord out of bed and racing to the window saying 'I hear voices'. Kill me now God, because I am about to commit a murder. Those were the thoughts that went through my mind. Needless to say I could not go back to sleep because there was a party going on in the nearby countryside and by the time they all went to their beds it was well past breakfast time in the Wise Household.

I made a conscious effort to steer clear of the Chef for the best part of the day, until we dropped of the kids to another birthday party and we had three hours to ourselves. I made it clear that Sunday morning would be different. Let there be no mistake. Sunday morning rolled in a little later and although he still WOKE ME rather early, he did slink of sulkily downstairs with Jack to make coffee and feed the fowl. I took the chance to get caught up fucking around on facebook checking my overflowing inbox of mostly spam very important emails and just as I decided to organise some summer photos for an upcoming blog I was working on, the children came racing up the stairs announcing that we were headed to the beach for the day. Him BEING A MAN would never have had the forethought to perhaps DISCUSS this with me in advance because he probably thinks that all bathing suits and towels are left loftily in the right place just waiting for the perfect 'SwimDay' to pop up. I take that back - HE DID NOT THINK AT ALL!

Ripped from my 'nice lazy Sunday' I had to dress and pack all four crumbcatchers and orchestrate the tending to the fowls dietary needs (and water because it was a hot one!) AND organise a packed lunch IN A HURRY BECAUSE WE HAD TO GET ON THE ROAD IN ORDER TO BEAT THE TRAFFIC.

We had a great day at the beach. We drove out to Ballyconeely in Conamara. Lovely private white sandy beaches. No traffic, no trash. Just bliss. As we drove home and I had decided to speak to my husband again (the man that is constantly wanting to do stuff to enrich ALL of our lives but mostly the experiences he can give the children building a plethora of amazing childhood memories for them) the talk turned to dinner. He had brought home a hefty piece of beautiful Pork Chop on the bone. Although it would take a while to cook, he had plans to make a tasty treat for the table - yet again.

We have not had to buy any vegetables since April so a quick spin around the garden gave us our veggies for the evening. In the back of my mind I starting to bitch worry about how it would all turn out, because the Chef is not a huge fan of the way Irish meat is butchered. In his opinion it is all done incorrectly. He feels that the meat is cut waaaaaay to thinly and by the time you are done cooking it is looks like it has been stomped on and all the lovely juices have been squeezed right out of it leaving you with a dried up piece of old shoe leather.


Because of this, he is very fussy about 'where' he gets his meat from and 'who' has touched it. Obviously the lads at Morton's of Galway (where he works) have come to terms with his fussiness and now know how to win him over when flogging a piece of weekend roast. 

I spent a few minutes unloading all the sand and seaside baggage from our family day of fun and had just enough time to crack open a lovely bottle of Mesta Rosado before he presented this lovely hunk of meat for our dining pleasure.

It was a lovely weekend. All sins are forgiven and we are all bracing ourselves for the back-to-school mayhem that lies ahead.

Those are all the WiseWords I have for this rainy August evening,


Monday, August 02, 2010

Brigit's Garden, Roscahill, County Galway, Ireland.

We are spoiled for choice here in Galway (in Ireland for that matter) when it comes to deciding on how to while away a few hours with SEVEN children over a lazy August Bank Holiday weekend.

The Polish kids are back for a week and thankfully everyone seems to have remembered the pecking order. We are all on summer holidays this time around, so there is waaaaay less stress floating around here at 'Hotel California'. 

Rory Belle and Jack

My terrible two are still happily ruling the roost :-). They have acclimatised nicely to having 2 (+ 3) extra kids around the place and are poster children for depicting what the word 'share' really means.

Sam & Lulu

The 'newbies' are doing remarkably well. They have been with us since mid-May and although there have been some trying times, the two of them are well settled and starting to take ownership of their new family.

Claudia, Vanessa and Laura

The three little lassies from Poland are still a little confused. They have (finally) been placed long-term with their foster family so this gives them a sound family setting to flourish and thrive in, but they still come to visit us once a month (for a weekend) or anytime their foster family needs a break. They are quite a handful but no busier than my own brood. The kids are coming to terms with the fact that they have a new home and family, but seem to still have an unrealistic idea as to why this has happened. They think that if they 'have enough money' they can buy back their old life. We offer a serious distraction to all those thoughts and worries they are harboring.

So a lazy afternoon was whiled away yesterday at Brigit's Garden. Experts say that for every child you have it takes an extra 15 minutes to actually get out of your house and loaded up safely in your car. We began to 'get ready' to leave at 9:30am and arrived at Brigit's Garden at 1:00pm. It is a half hour drive from our house. Thankfully, the Chef had planned ahead and toted along a bag full o'food for the crumb catchers to picnic on once we got there. 

*NOTE* Toting around any number of kids can be expensive. Brigit's Garden is run by volunteers and they depend heavily on the modest entry fee they charge. A family of 2 adults and 3 kids costs twenty two euros and when they saw our blended family they let the others slide in............. I love the kindness of Irish people.

The lay of the land is very cool at this very special place. There are four main gardens divided into the four seasons. The children were given maps and discovery charts to check off all the items they discovered along the way. Initially we heard a few grumbles from the peanut gallery because we were just 'here to look at stoopid flowers' and after we nipped that in the bud by reminding the peanuts not to be ungrateful for a new experience (all noted and nipped by the WiseTwins) we were off for a few hours of exploring.

Jack: Do they dip ya by the legs Daddy?
Daddy: No Jack, they dip you head first.

As the kids meandered through the gardens gathering clues and answers for their discovery maps along the way, we (being the grown ups) enjoyed the calmness that this beautiful place offered. Although many of the gardens are well manicured most of it is flowing beds of wildflowers, fruit trees and ponds.

After the kids caught a few of the pond's skating beetles, newts and a few other slithery suckers we carried on for a walk through the woods before everyone tumbled onto a grassy knoll for some much deserved ice-cream. 

A friend-of-a-friend (interested in becoming a foster parent) phoned me last night to ask how the Chef and I got involved in Fostering and if we had any regrets at all with regard to opening up our home and hearts to the (sometimes) traumatized children. I did not have to seek out my husband to know his answer, because it is simple and the same as mine. 

NO REGRETS. Not one. Not at all.

Bedtime blathering's told us that the 'best part of the day' was our afternoon spent at Brigit's Garden discovering all the hidden secrets and cool places to run and hide.

The best part of my day was seeing all seven of these children behave just like siblings and hearing them all screaming 'hello Granny' as they raced over to hug my Mum when she stopped over to eat us out of house and home visit last night. 

A balmy bank holiday Monday here, and we have two new feathery members to acclimatise to the fold today. Stay tuned for photos later today of our new Guinea Fowl.

Those are all the WiseWords I have for today (so far),


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