Monday, May 28, 2012

The Emerald Isle: Day 2

We woke up Monday morning after 13 hours of sleep (in which Ryan battled and defeated a horrible fever) ready to see the North Coast.  We had a glorious full Irish breakfast at our guest house before we departed for Giant's Causeway.  The weather was horrid; about 39 degrees and pouring down, sideways rain, we were still game for a good time!

The North Coast is rich in both history and beautiful scenery.  We drove all along the coast and visited Dunluce Castle, I love all of the beautiful ruins that you practically just stumble upon.

We had planned to visit the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge, but upon arriving and having the door of our rental car blow back with amazing force we decided we didn't want to spend money to be blown about in the freezing rain on a rope bridge!  So, instead, we ventured into the warmth of the Bushmills Whiskey Distillery for an incredible tour.  We also ate lunch at the Bushmills Inn which dates back to 1608, just like the distillery.

We had a beautiful drive south to Belfast where we checked into our lodging and immediately walked around the neighborhood to find my old dorm on Derryvolgie Avenue.  It was so neat to see how much had changed/stayed the same over the past nine years.  We stayed in another great guest house that was in a wonderful location for walking in Belfast.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Emerald Isle: Day 1

Yes, I am finally recapping our recent trip to Ireland/Northern Ireland!  Aren't you happy?  Here goes...

sunrise over the ocean

We landed in Dublin on Sunday, May 6th at 6:55am.  We had a nice, but fairly sleepless, flight over the pond and were excited to be on our way!  We changed clothes and exchanged some money at the airport, picked up our rental car, and proceeded to drive 45 minutes in the wrong direction!  Upon realizing our printed google maps directions were wrong, we stopped for a Dublin city map.  And then realized that Dublin is the most difficult city to drive around in; most street signs are either missing, in Gaelic, or on the side of a building that you just passed.  We had a very stressful hour or so of driving in circles where I recounted again that I did not have a good relationship with Dublin.  I spent a week feeling lost, lonely, scared, and confused there once and this was rapidly seeming similar.  We finally decided to park in a garage and immediately upon exiting I knew exactly where we were and we walked to our destination: Trinity College!

a building at Trinity

We quickly strolled through the grounds (I found the building I had stayed in, of course) and on to the library which hold the Book of Kells and the Long Room.  You aren't allowed to take photographs there, but we snuck some.  :)

the Long Room, Ryan's personal heaven
By this time, we were starved and took the recommendation of several friends to eat at The Queen of Tarts.  It was delightful, if you are ever in Dublin we recommend it as well!  We had a lovely brunch before heading north to Ballymoney, Northern Ireland for the night.

At this point, fatigue (and what we would later realize was Hand Foot & Mouth disease, thanks Liam) was setting in for Ryan, so I got to drive!  Let me just say that it was a trip!  We were in a manual car and I think the most difficult part was shifting with my left hand, and remembering what to do at the round a bouts!

we didn't die!

We arrived in Ballymoney in the mid-afternoon and checked into our lovely guesthouse, Country Garden House.  We could not have been more thrilled by the quaint cottage and lovely hosts.  They greeted us with tea and wanted to hear all about our lives.  We settled in and drove into Bushmills for an early dinner before going to bed at 7:00pm!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Ready, Set, Go!

We are finally all set to depart for Ireland! Everything is printed, packed, cleaned, cooked, and checked in! I'm thankful to have the morning to play with the Liam bird before our flight leaves.

If you think about it, please pray for safety for us. We will be driving on the wrong side of teeny country roads and I'm a bit anxious! I'm also a bit anxious to be away from Liam, I know he is in great hands, but we will miss him enormously! Pray I don't mope for him the whole time. :)

From the moment I left Ireland nine years ago, I've been dreaming of going back. I am so excited for this trip, and to share more of my heart with my husby.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

19 Months Old!

Dear Liam bird,

Here we are, once again!  I cannot believe how quickly April flew past, we have definitely spent this past month chasing you, my sweet!

You have become such a big boy!  When I look at pictures of you as a newborn or see a new baby somewhere, it's so hard to remember, or believe, that you were ever that tiny.  At your 18 month check up you weighed 29 pounds, 6 ounces which puts you in the 90th percentile!  You are 33 inches long, which is in the 70th percentile.  Your belly is round and your thighs are chubby, you are so much fun to kiss and tickle because of your delicious rolls!

Nothing has really changed on the eating or sleeping front this past month.  You still love FOOD, of any kind.  Regardless of if you are hungry or not, you will eat.  You are very, very serious about your drinking as well.  You have three sippy cups a day of milk, and usually a small cup of juice in the afternoon.  When we hand it to you, it is immediately locked into a death grip with your lips and you don't stop until it is drained, and you then throw it across the room and run off to more fun!

Wiggles, you now have a mouth full of teeth!  This month alone, you have cut six teeth!  You have one molar left to cut and you will be done teething for a while!  You have taken it pretty well, I know it has bothered you, but it hasn't really disrupted any of your sleeping or your attitude.  And, we are thankful for that!

Little boy, you are such a mess!  You are always up to something, and it's usually nothing good!  Your current "reign of terror" involves running from the spiral staircase and trying to climb over the blockade, to the dishwasher the you will lock and turn on, to the stereo that you turn on full blast, and repeat!  The good news is that the bookshelves and DVDs have gotten a break from being strewn about the house.  You run, climb, jump, and dance everywhere you go!  You seem to be pretty coordinated and you absolutely love to turn somersaults.

You are still loving to play with random "toys."  Your most recent favorite is an old cell phone wall charger that you drag all over the house (it is also in some of these pictures, that's how precious it is to you).  You also still love Gus Gus and most of your plastic toys have his teeth marks on them because you routinely give them to him to play with.  We have been more intentional about playing outside and you have started to warm up to grass!  You still don't want to sit down in it, but you will walk through a yard without panicking.

Liam, you have such a sweet heart.  You are always giving hugs and patting us on the back.  You give kisses to anyone who asks for one, and often to people who do not ask for one!  You have started a naughty game of taking daddy's glasses off and throwing them on the ground.  We are trying to stop this, but you have sort of stumped our discipline process.  Usually we grab your hands, look you in the eye, and say "NO" sternly and you get the message and obey.  In this situation, daddy can't really see you to look you in the eye and when he tells you "NO" you immediately go in to give him a sweet kiss.  It is precious and hilarious and a bit frustrating, it seems you might be a bit of a charmer.

Spending time with you is the best part of my day, every day.  Your daddy and I still can't wrap our minds around how much we love you.  You are so special and sweet and funny and smart and wonderfully ours.  I love seeing bits of your daddy in you and I am so honored to get to watch you grow in his footsteps.  We are so blessed to be entrusted with the raising of you, and we know that you are going to do great things!

Love you forever, and ever,