Friday, 22 January 2016

I Love Wine and I Cannot Lie

I like wine.  I make no secret of the fact.  I've spoken about it here, and this one.  Oh, look here’s anotherAnd one more.

It is of great comfort to me.   I enjoy it, see?   Once upon a time I did not.  It reminded me of vinegar and I would twist up my face like a five-year-old tasting broccoli.  Your palette changes as you get older.  You lose your fondness for chocolate and chewy, pink fizzy sweets; instead preferring to eat fruit or a proper dinner.

Similarly, with wine I turned my back on beer in favour of it. 

When l am being pushed to the limit with things at home, I will go to the fridge just to look at it.  Depending on how bad things are, this could be 4pm or it could be 4.15pm. 

It talks to me, see?  Tells me to hang on in there.   That we can be together later.  In peace and quiet.   Sometimes, I swear, it even winks at me.  Seductively.

I love wine. 

This week I discovered Dot.  I like Dot.  She sounds like she would be great fun.  I think I would get on with Dot.


Dot is probably married to Bill though.  Bill sounds like a smug fucker (but I do like his indicator advice) so maybe that’s why Dot drinks wine. 

My kids often draw me cards in school for Mother’s Day and Valentines.  They always draw a glass of wine on it somewhere.   (Maybe I should be worried) Once I got a card with a whole bottle drawn on the inside.   It was open to allow it to breathe and everything. 

It made me laugh and laugh.

This week one of my boys drew me a picture after we had yet another barney.  I hid my upset from him but when he came home later that evening he went straight over to me, gave me a hug and whispered, “I’m sorry for………” what he did in my ear.  When I was going to bed I discovered a beautiful picture on my pillow. 

A glass of wine.  And a note telling me to read the message on the back.  It said.  “Because I know you like wine.”

I framed it. 

I love it. 

This week someone reached out to me via email.  It was a company.  I often get messages from PR companies looking to know would I be interested in featuring their products on my blog.  Shopping bags, baby products, the odd beauty item and once a constipation remedy.   This company have created a series of hangover cure helper videos. (Whatever they are.  Helper videos that is, not hangovers.)   They would love to have me on board having discovered my blog.

Looking at the evidence spread out in front of me like that, it’s kind of obvious that wine plays a big part in my life.

Maybe I should be concerned?  Maybe I should try to not drink the glasses of wine on the weekends.  And sometimes Thursdays.  The odd Wednesday.  And Monday.  If there’s a drop left from Sunday night.  If!

Maybe I should have a dry February instead of a Dry January.

Maybe I should…………………..oh look!  Is that wine?

I write this post with my tongue firmly stuck in my cheek.  I do realise the negative impact alcohol has on many people.   I do not promote nor do I condone excessive drinking under any circumstances.  But we’ve all done it.  I like to think I know my limit.  Shane McCully was a guest speaker on The Anton Savage Show recently.  A young man who is days away from his first year being completely drink free, put it succinctly with the words, “Here in Ireland alcohol surrounds everything – it’s how we mourn, it’s how we celebrate.  It’s just the entirety of our social circles.” 

Alcohol is there.  It always will be.  Some of us can handle it, some of us can’t.  Alcoholism is a disease like any other.   

Monday, 18 January 2016

When Sorry is Just Chancing Your Arm
There is a nice hellish mixture of stuff happening in our gaff at the moment.   I tend to lean towards blaming Xbox and too much screen time. Whilst being aware this probably doesn’t help there is no talking to, with or around hormones.

I will leave it to you, dear reader, to decide which of us has the hormental moments. 

It is and it isn’t me. 

It is and it isn’t any of the boys.

Anyway, this morning was your text book Monday where if anything could go wrong, it did.  By one thousand percent. 

Things weren’t pretty. 

There was also a good bit of power struggling in the mix which never, ever helps.

I can remember all too well, that horrible, awful, claustrophobic, cloying feeling of having absolutely no power or control over my own life when I was growing up. 

I wasn’t allowed make any decisions of any kind.  It was always no.  Without exception.  Everyone hated me and I wished I had never been born.


I get it.  I do.   Christ, I am an adult, in charge(ish) of my own destiny, with money (sometimes) in the bank and a car under my backside and I still can’t just get up and go whenever I feel like it. 

It’s hell for kids on the cusp of teenager hood -and even younger – when they get their first taste of this.

They feel like they have no control over or say in anything and claw desperately to regain some, any of it.

It rarely ends well.

I think this morning there was a hefty dose of “she really wouldn’t do that” and “he’ll back down” from both parties.  It transpired that I did do it and he didn’t back down. 

I am still not sure if I did right for doing wrong but he was reminded of a rather tough and lengthy punishment that was doled out before Christmas with someone else and how it was adhered to.  I believe my exact words were, “so you see I am capable of doing something like that.”

I am not proud.

But it did warrant a very lovely apology a few hours later.   A heart felt one and we had a very brief discussion about how we could make things easier, better, nicer for everyone in the morning.

I went off to have my shower and came back to discover there was a massive effort being made in the kitchen. 

Everything washed, dried and put away.

I said thanks and that I really appreciated it, how having that job done for me is a great help.

I almost had to beat him out of the kitchen after that.  The enthusiasm.

However, it became blatantly obvious some hours later that because an apology was issued and accepted, it was assumed the punishment would be lifted.

It began to get nasty again.

To all of those wiser than me who warned me to wait till they’re teenagers, I have one thing to say:  You were wrong.  You were all wrong.

It starts earlier than that!

Just send the wine.  Send all of it.  

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

New Year Resolutions and Exercise

I know, I know.  It’s almost February (already) and here I am belatedly banging on about the new year and resolutions.

But hold on.

I speak from the heart.

I don’t do new year resolutions because I think we could do without putting ourselves under unnecessary pressure at this time of year especially when our resolutions tend to be of the deprivation kind – you know dry January, no chocolate, diets and the like.

I think we need to be kind to ourselves so I made two promises (not resolutions) for 2016. The first one is hobby related and the second is to complete a 10k.

My hobby is tripping me up a little as I had a very exciting and extremely satisfying 6 or 7 months last year where I seemed to be on a roll. 

The joy!  I cannot tell you.

I know all about swings and roundabouts, ebbs and flows and it seems I am experiencing a definite ebb at the moment.  But I am all about looking on the bright side which brings me to my 10k plan.

Which is within reach and absolutely doable.

Over the last few years, once winter set in I had to stop running save for the weekends.  But I am the kind of person who, if I don’t do something consistently, I will talk myself out of doing it – laziness sets in – so I would only run every other weekend or whenever I felt like it.  Which like I said wasn’t that often.

Then Smallest Boy started Montessori last September and I made it my mission to get out and run four mornings a week, taking Friday off and if possible, run on Saturday.

And I did it.  With sheer pleasure and utter joy, I did it.   It was never a chore.  Wind, rain, sleet or cold I hit the road every morning with the dog and ran my circuit. 

It has been the best winter ever.  

Someone wise and with a doctorate reported last year that in order to keep the winter blues at bay, we should be striving for at least 15 minutes of natural daylight, preferably in the morning, during the winter months.

Another box ticked. 

My run comes before everything else; coffee mornings, getting the groceries, writing, housework (especially housework) and laundry.

Running became, was and still is, my top priority.

Now it is 2016 and I have a 10k in my sights.   Just for me.  I have already extended my runs as part of my training. 

It is the most enjoyable part of the day.

This is my one ask of you for 2016.  Take up some form of exercise.  You can walk, swim, cycle, just get out there for a half an hour every day and soak up the bleak winter weather.

I guarantee you will not regret it.  If you can sit around in front of Facebook for hours on end, equally the television or have your phone in your hand at all times, you can easily find the time to go for a walk.

Disclaimer:  I love Facebook.  I don’t watch television but I am in front of Facebook enough to make up for that so I am not preaching.   All I’m saying is, pretty soon, maybe not after a week, but definitely after a month you will be addicted. 

It is singularly the best thing you can do for yourself.  Take the time to fit some exercise into your day. 

I think everything else follows after that. You will naturally want to drink more (stick to water!) and your appetite will improve. For the better. 

On a subconscious level you will be loathe to ruin the efforts of exercise with junk food.  But don’t give that up either.  Everyone needs something bold at least once a day.  Keep your treat for your morning cuppa or for when the kids are in bed. 

Some days you might not even want it.  Don’t believe me?

Try it and see!


P.S.   Did you know you can train for and complete a 5k in 6 weeks?  Yes, you can.

Did you know it takes about 4 weeks for you to notice your body changing and 8 weeks for everyone else to.  Yes, it does. 

Did you know that walking has hit the headlines recently with the claim that it is the best form exercise?  Yes, it has. 

And finally, did you know you can do it?   Yes, you can!

Monday, 11 January 2016

The Love of an Almost Five Year Old

birdwatch Ireland
We’ve got a pretty cool next door neighbour.  They don’t do an awful lot; just sit there pretty much all day surveying their surroundings and keeping an eye on things.  At least every time I look out the window, they’re in the same spot.  

When I go for a run with our Juno dog each morning, our neighbour is sitting in the field.  

One day he (I feel he’s a he) was on the fence post, right up close and I stopped in my tracks, absolutely amazed and enthralled at the proximity.

Our neighbour is a buzzard. 

Yep, we have those in Ireland.  I’ve seen our neighbour with a “friend” over Christmas.  Only once, mind. Both of them, side by side in the field, and then they disappeared. 

Smallest Boy reckoned they had gone off “on a date to get baby eagle chicks for spring.”  

He may not be wrong.

But this is not a story about our glorious, magnificent buzzard.  Instead it is about the time I got married over Christmas for the second time.

To smallest Boy.

He loves me.  I cannot creep upstairs with the laundry, a glass of wine, a book or a magazine and he smells my absence.  Minutes later I hear his soft step on the stairs and he appears; fuzzy bed head russet hair the first thing I see on the stairs as the rest of him appears.

He climbs up onto the bed beside me “for chats.”

On this day both of us were looking out the window at our neighbour who was perched atop his fence post in the field.

“Do you love him, Mammy?”  Smallest Boy asked, twisting his head to look at me.

“I do “.  I confirmed.  “I think he is awesome.  He is amazing and fabulous.”

“And do you love me?”

“I do.”  I kissed him.  Hard.  “I think he is an awesome and amazing buzzard and you are an awesome and amazing real human boy.”

“And are we still married?  Forever?”

“Forever and ever. “ I confirmed.  “Don’t I have that lovely ring downstairs to prove it?”

He grinned at me, happy with my answer.

“You can keep Daddy too.”  He told me.  “Coz I think you are allowed be married to two people.”

I kissed the top of his head and we both of us looked out at our neighbour, surveying his surroundings and keeping an eye on things. 

Sunday, 10 January 2016

I Wasn't Expecting That

I knew the job in hand was going to prove challenging.  Everyone said so and everyone can’t be wrong.  I knew kids needed some form of looking after; you know, feeding and the like and in turn a certain degree of responsibility was necessary for the position.  You couldn’t go into this half-cocked; a teeny tiny person was completely dependent on you.  For everything.  You needed to think for them, be there for them, provide for them and on occasion, decide stuff.  Important stuff.  At times life altering stuff. 

This was going to be hard.

But it wasn’t all doom and gloom surely.  After all, people were still having children like they were going out of fashion and if they could grow a baby, give birth and make it through the first year relatively unscathed, there was hope for me.

I like to think I’ve done a good job. Of sorts.  I also like to think that if someone ganged up on any one of my kids or had a go at me my boys would stop them in their tracks with a firm, “she’s the best mammy in the world.”

But of course you are never quite prepared.  No-one is.  There is always something waiting to trip you up.

Here are my I-never-thought-of-that moments. 

The expense

The first six months were easy.   I needed to buy a few baby-gro’s and lots of nappies and after that it was all free(ish).  But then along came the first pair of shoes.  That hasn’t stopped.   Kids will get sick.  Even healthy ones will need a visit to the GP and some magic medicine.   Breastfeeding rocks but solid food has to be introduced at some time.  After years of wishing they would eat something, anything, mine have hit the bottomless pit stage.   It’s.  Never. Ending.   School happens next with all of the books, shoes, runners and uniforms.  Birthday parties, theirs and others.  Will I leave college for another day?  Ok then. 

 All of the opinions

Everyone has something to say.  Especially if you do something a little differently.  Sometimes people are just in bad form and they take that out on you but their comments can hit where it hurts most; how you raise your kids.  It’s crap and it can come out of nowhere and leave you reeling.      

The dirt

Someone smart/funny/drunk once said cleaning your house when you’ve got kids is like brushing your teeth when you’re eating cookies.    I could spend all of the day cleaning up after my kids and I would still come into the kitchen the following morning to find twenty-five cups and fourteen plates in the sink. How?  Just how?

Disappearing objects

I put down a pen, a cup, a half-eaten biscuit or a book, return a few seconds later to find it gone.  No-one saw it.  No-one took it and no-one knows where it is. 

School stuff

Major head wreck ahead.  Which school should they go to?   (Hint – pick the nearest.  Traffic will break you!)  Then you’ve got age to contend with.  Is your Spring baby too young to go at four and a half or is waiting a year for your winter one putting them too old at five and a half?  (answer - wait.  Five and a half is good.  It’s very good.)   From after school activities to playdates.  From homework to school runs.  Bullying and sick days.  From not believing them when they say they’re sick to getting that phone call at 11.30am to say you need to come get them.  Home-schooling seems pretty attractive from where I’m standing.

Recently someone caught me by the hand to tell me how big the boys have gotten.  They received my stock response; “I know!  It’s great!” and it is great.  I made to move on because this person is adulting teenagers at the moment and I knew what was coming and I really, really didn’t want my bubble burst.  He kept a firm grip on my hand and beckoned me closer.  

I did it.  I really did. 

I leaned in. 

“Wait till they’re teenagers.”


And there’s the rub.   Stay tuned because by all accounts there is more to come.    

Friday, 1 January 2016

Happy You're Near

When I was younger, one of the biggest nights of the year was New Year’s Eve.  The build-up usually surpassed the reality but I still went for it, year in year out. 

It just had to be done.  Looking back, I think I had a chronic case of FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) and it took me years to admit that NYE was actually a bit rubbish.

I suppose middle age will do that to you; you want to go out but there are conditions:  will I have to walk and will there be a seat when I get there? 

Fast forward a few decades and the shine finally wore off NYE.   In actual fact, it’s been ten years since I saw in the New Year.

Christmas was great this year.   The best one in a long time if I’m to be honest.  The kids are older and their excitement levels knew no bounds. However, they couldn’t possible compete with Storm Eva, just one of the many ravages our little country has experienced during the month of December.

Cries of “this is the best Christmas Day ever!” and “This is the best Christmas dinner ever!” and “we love Christmas!” were very gratifying but cabin fever was setting in.

For me. 

My phone pinged.  But the message came through at a time when I was forcing four boys under jet streams of water and into bubble baths.  Followed by hot chocolates and bedtime. 

It was the following morning before I saw the message.  It appeared I had missed the opportunity for a few drinks in the pub. 

New Year’s Eve rolled round and one of my sisters was having a get together in hers.  I considered driving so I’d be bright eyed and bushy tailed for a certain New Year’s Day birthday.  In the end I accepted a lift and had a few beers with the banter.

At this stage in my life I consider this to be the best way to spend NYE; the company is great, the food is moreish and most importantly of all, I’ve got a seat.

However, I cannot ignore the other fact of middle age – I get banjaxed at the drop of a hat.  

Particularly if there is a drop taken.  And I was drinking beer because it is kinder to me than wine.

It was 11.10 and the troops decided to take the party downtown.  I decided to take my sorry, tired, middle-aged self home.  So I wished them all a good night, a Happy New Year and as luck would have it, I was very kindly dropped home.

I was home by 11.30 and I paid my usual visit to each of the boys’ bedrooms to wish them a goodnight as I had missed bedtime.  The older two boys were still awake having stayed up to watch a movie. 

Absolutely wrecked and wondering when it was midnight, their eyes closed as I kissed them and wished the birthday boy a happy 8th birthday twenty minutes early.

I paid a visit to the other two boys who were happily snoring softly and then into my own bed.

It was a happy new year but I was just happy they were near. 

Goodbye 2015, you were good to me and hello 2016.  I am expecting some fantastic things from you.  No pressure.