Tuesday, December 7, 2010


This year my cousin Baeu and his family came over from England. It was the best Thanksgiving we have ever had overseas. Baeu and Sherrill brought the America specific essentials from the millitary base and then we spent an entire day cooking. But it was worth it! Look at our beautiful pies! Blueberry, Pecan, Pumpkin, and Apple. The apple one we decorated with shamrocks!
Kat was a great helper and even stuffed the turkey!
And was a different kind of helper. He wanted to dissect the neck and giblets. Gross yes, but we are proud of his mind.
After Thanksgiving we did some touristy stuff. The Neals saw the Cliffs of Moher and then we tried to go to the Christmas outdoor markets, but they weren't on yet. We did have success at Bunratty castle. Here is our little family on the roof!
Creepy Dungeon! Nice eyes!
Outside the castle. The castle is surrounded by a village and we got to see how the people used to live. We also met some Irish wolfhounds!
We also enjoyed being completely moved in and hosting family.
Here we all are- 12 people for dinner!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Please to enjoy Connemara

One weekend we decided to see why people always talk about Connemara. We also stopped at the Connemara Heritage center and saw how the ancient Irish lived and then how the pre-potato famine generation lived. It was beautiful, inspirational and educational.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Walking in the Duke's Footstps

Not too long ago we took a trip up to the Connemarra Area. We had to pull over when we saw the sign for the Quiet Man bridge.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Once Upon a Fabulous Time!

A few weeks ago we were sitting at the dinner table, and as usual we were talking about the best and worst part of our days. When it got to Jason's turn he announced that the best part of his day was that he gets to take mommy to a party in London! I thought he was making it up! But no it was true! One of the potential vendors for Jason's company was throwing a party to celebrate going public on the stock exchange. Did I mention these guys are Indian billionaires? Yeah...
So Friday at noon while the kids were in school we jumped on a plane from Galway to London. I haven't been to London since 1999. It felt so amazing to be there again, without kids again! It was like a time machine! A driver picked us up and took us to the iconic Grovernor House Hotel.
We got ready and I donned my Ted Baker dress that my new Irish friend Marie had helped me buy. Her husband is a famous chef and so she knew how to dress for a posh party. I couldn't believe I found a modest dress in my city! You can see it here since we didn't get any good pictures of me in it. (mine was minus the belt) The car picked us up and took us to London's Natural History museum. Yeah, they had rented it out. We had cocktails (water) dinner, two comedians, acrobats and dancers. All under the skeleton of a huge dinosaur!

We even danced! Jason and I also found out we are in love with small talk but we did meet some really interesting people, and I found out I need to find four inch heels that don't cripple me!
We got back to the hotel around 3 am and got to sleep in until 9. We had just enough time to walk around a but and get breakfast at Pret A Manger (one of our favorites). I do love London, but I also realized that while I love a taste of the "good life", it is not my future. If I ever have that much money it will be to serve others and provide for my family and of course travel to exotic locations, but that is only because it is educational ;) But seriously, having a family and people you love around you makes you wealthy, healthy, and wise.

Thanks Jason for an incredible EPIC date night!

The New Walk

Now that we are settled in our new house I take a new walk. We only have one rental car (hopefully that will change this week), and so most of the time Jason has it and I am on foot. It is about a mile to the kids school. This is what I get to see:
There are bollards on the side of the road to make a sort of sidewalk for the kids to be safe on. Adam and all the other kids his age ride their bikes to school.
Like at our last place there are lots of blackberries to eat along the way!
This where you can see the Atlantic Ocean comes in to meet our village. The tide comes in and out so sometimes it's high sometimes low. You can see this from my bedroom. You can walk down this little lane anytime you want to see the water. BUT there is a man who lives on a houseboat that is permanently moored there. We have never seen him but there is a huge goose that guards the boat!
At the bottom of our road (which by the way has no name posted, but I am thinking is called the sea road) there is Kelly's. Kelly's is a little catch all shop including the post office. We send Adam here sometimes to get us sodas. You turn left here to head to school.
Here is a far away picture of the sidewalk we walk down. You can see there are a series of houses, three of them are pubs, one a cafe, a carpet shop, and a boutique. I think there are also some residences mixed in there.

As you walk past the pubs there is a bridge for which our town is named. It crosses the river Clarin. Thus it is Clarinbridge. After the bridge there is a little business complex that has the grocery, pharmacy, spa, hairplace, cafe, and art gallery. Pretty posh if you ask me. Finally after passing the abandoned convent you come to the school. I am sorry I am short on pictures but you can see and read about the school's history here.

As I walk nearly everyday, I have a lot of time to think and take in the scenery. I cannot explain how I feel about Ireland. The closest I can come is that I am in a relationship with it. I love it so much I am already afraid of the time when I will have to say goodbye. The scenery, the people, the cool weather, Jason's job, our neighborhood, it all feels like home. I hope you all come visit, cause I ain't leavin!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

And Then We Moved to Ireland.

In August we moved to Ireland. It was a very long day. The kids did great on the airplanes, but it was the in between and after the airplanes that was rough. But heaven knows it could be worse (and it has in the past) and I was just grateful to get it over with and grateful I don't have to do it again for a year .

Our rental house wasn't ready and so the company put us in a temporary place which is a holiday house on a golf course. The house was sufficient but far away from anything, and since we had to share one car, and I was terrified to drive, I found myself pretty housebound for 3 weeks. I would get the car about once a week and at nights, so I managed to go to the grocery store, movie rental place, and the public library. On most days we took advantage of the nearby park. When I say park I mean a huge expanse of land with fields, paths, woods, playground, and castles.

Since we are Americans it took us a while to get used to all this walking, but then it become routine. This is what our normal day was like:

We start at our cute rental house. It was very lived in, had little hot water, huge spiders, and mold. But other then that- it had comply duvets, cable tv, and a fully functioning kitchen. I am always grateful for dishwashers!

We walked down the road until there is a gap in the stone wall. There we entered the forest.

After about 5 minutes we emerged. There were a lot of blackberry bushes at the exit. We loved eating them everyday. Do you know there are no bears in Ireland? We had the berries to ourselves!

As we walked through the fields we could see the sea in the distance.

We walked about 5 minutes through the fields.

After the fields we came to a pond or boggy type place. There was water but it was covered by lily pads, catails, and something like bamboo. The funny thing is there is a life preserver station just in case someone is swimming in there. Weird.

We finally make it to the park. It has a stone wall around it and has lots of things to play on. The weather is about 65-70 F and the wind blows the clouds quickly along. Sometimes we have rain but it doesn't last long. We love Ireland.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

July on the East Coast USA

The best part of this summer was seeing all of our family. We had a great time at the beach this year and getting up to various shenanigans in the backyard.

I also got to see my favorite Centreville HS friends at our annual summit. I think we've been getting together for about 15 years. Crazy.
We got to hit the air and space museum as well. As Adam said "Space is my life!"
Airbender finally came to the theater and Alex got to make good on his hairdo. It was so good to see all of our loved ones before leaving the country. As usual we wished we could all live together but it is not meant to be. The summers are enough. I love my family.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Goodbye Austin!

Saying goodbye is never fun but we do it anyway. I asked myself this past month if it is worth it to get to entrenched with people everywhere we move, and I came to the conclusion that it is. I have learned so much from everyone that I met in Austin, and I wouldn't trade that for the option of having an easier exit. Here are some of our pics of our final moments in Texas. Above is Heidi and I at the Eclipse premiere. It was literally the day before I flew out. Heidi was really there for me this year and taught me about asking for help. She also is the best person to shop with and try not to gossip with, unless it's about celebrities and hey that is what they signed up for! Throw in some spiritual conversations and some solid advice, I know we really picked eachother up this year. Best Friend Austin goes to Heidi!
Another thing we HAD to do before leaving was go to Rudy's. Rudy's is a BBQ joint that Jason waxes poetic about. He even leaves his phone in the car for Rudy's. He doesn't even do that for me! I admit it was good! We met most of our culinary goals in Texas but I still didn't get Tamales!

Here is Kat and HER best friend Lola. This was the first time my laziness didn't get the best of me and I scheduled enough times for them to get together and become close. Her folks are great and had Kat over all the time. We even managed to have Lola spend the night before we left (which is a big deal for us)
Here are my favorite ladies from Toastmasters, Kay and Faye. They were my friends and mentors. They were my biggest fans this year and gave me the courage to really turn a hobby into a passion. You never know how much positivity can transform you until you have friends like these! I will miss my cheerleaders!
Here some awesome ladies and I shared a birthday. Brae and Amy and I put together a night of Kareoke and dancing. We threw a great party! I loved seeing all my church friends one last time though I did miss Jason who was in Ireland. Some highlights were "singing" Bust a Move with Adrienne, and a great duet with Nick. The cake though was the best part of my evening! Nisa did an amazing job and I could taste all the love that went into that cake!

Looking back on all of our moves I give Austin a top 5 for sure. You can't beat the culture, lake, and people as far as America goes. I wouldn't be disappointed if we moved back one day! But who knows, only God, we stopped planning years ago!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

In preperation for our move overseas we took a week to go see "Fremily" (Friends that are family and family that are friends). We drove up to Utah which took two solid days. I am loving the kids ages. Everyone did great thanks to Nintendo DS and DVDs. There was a lot of driving so we didn't get to stop much, but when we saw this rest stop near Moab we couldn't resist!
Here is Kat stretching her legs!
Jason and Adam took a hike up and around the formations. Can you see them? On our first offical day in SLC we had to go out Tooele to run an errand. We took the time to re-enact when me and my siblings first saw the Great Salt Lake. It is stinky! The building to the left is the Salt Air. It was the buggest dance hall in the country back in the early 1900's then it burnedt down. Then they made it a amusment park, then THAT burnt down. Then they made it a water park, then THAT flooded. Now this much tamer version of the original is a venue. Bor-ring! We did get some Salt Lake Taffy and a bottle of salt from the Lake though. The most important and fabulous part of our trip was visiting Lowell and Elaine Wright. They are part of our family's history. The short story is that a long time ago we were part of some missionary work along with the other people in this picture. It was a life changing experience and set the stage for all of the other good things in our life. That is the VERY short story. We spent hours together rehashing old war stories and swapping updates on our favorite people. Our kids played together late into the night. It was the highlight of our trip. The next day we got to visit the Temple with the Wrights and Thompsons and it was a very special experience.
3 couples who met up in Russia- the Jeppsons, the Thompsons and the Livingstons. We all have three kids- It was SO fun to see them play together. We call them the Russian cousins. They don't know we are arranging marriages!

We also got down to see Jason's siblings Candice and Brian and their families. Kat LOVED being with her girl cousin Grace! We went to a pirate place that is like Chuck E Cheese. After that we hung out at Crispy Creme. It was so good, we started dreaming about moving back!
We also got to see my bro John. He introduced us to Sub-Zero Ice cream. You pick the cream and toppings and then they add liquid Nitrogen and voila! Ice Cream! We also stopped by and visited Jason's Grandpa. We love him so much! We even got him out of the house to eat at Olive Garden. We talked about genealogy and flying planes. I am so glad that we have such an amazing ancestry! We talked so much we didn't take a picture.

On our last day we got all the way up to Logan to see Jason's cousin Brody and his family. It was so great. We hadn't seen eachother in about 10 years but it was like not a day had past. On our way home we went out of the way to visit the four corners- DOH!
Then stupid Blogger wouldn't let me take off these extra pictures. BOOOOOO.

Also on the way home we stopped in Roswell to visit the UFO museum. I thought I was a believer before! When I was a kid I used to think that if I thought about aliens they would know I know and come for me. Reading about everyones close encounters made me antsy! Over all it was a great trip for such a short time. We have no regrets- just close family and friends we wish we could visit with more often!