If anyone has seen any of my Instagram posts lately, they may have noticed that a lot has changed in our lives – we have moved cross-country, we have left/changed jobs, we are now the gracious roomies of my parents (for money saving reasons), Lola has started ‘big’ school and Sadie has… well, let’s just say found her voice. Our next move is still being blue printed by the gods of destiny I guess, but as of this moment, I’m ok with that. I had an experience recently that has given me a new perspective. I have always believed in the ‘what will be will be’ ethos in life, but now I see that a little more is necessary. It is not enough to live in today but being grateful is the key – that is what makes today my new favourite day. I went to see a movie with my four old last night staring the always insightful, Mr Winnie the Pooh, who in fact lay this lesson down with a fully-grown Christopher Robin - “Today, my favourite day.”
One week ago, I found myself sitting in a busy hospital corridor, after two of the longest days of my life, waiting to be seen. I was waiting for a consultant to call me into his room to answer one of the scariest questions I have ever had to ask – is it a tumour?
We all hear cancer stories every day; sometimes it is in the news, sometimes it is friends of friends, sometimes it is closer to home, but one thing I never thought, was it could be me. I would have never thought that the blurry, distorted vision I was experiencing for a few weeks prior was something that would lead to a ‘query suspicious lesion, possible melanoma’ prognosis. It started a few weeks previous, when I noticed myself blinking and rubbing my eye a lot, which I was self-diagnosing as the usual parent broken-sleep tiredness, or maybe just time for a new pair of glasses and another thing to stack on that back burner. The end of the school year was nigh, we were moving to a new house, there was so much going on. It was not until one afternoon, when I was watching the girls play in the garden from the back door, that I covered my right eye and was shocked to see, or not see as the case was, there was a very evident blind spot. I could not see my kids’ faces. Still not too concerned, I made an appointment with an optician in a local Specsavers and it was there that things changed.
The optician showed me a worrying scarring/tear, which was visible behind my retina on the screen. She made a call to the hospital to expect me in asap. My husband had just finished work and dropped me in immediately. At this point, I was still unsure what was going on but was quite calm. I told him to return home with the girls and decided I would wait alone. It was only when the doctor called for his colleague to examine me also that I knew something was wrong. I was then told that there was a visible lesion or growth which had caused a haemorrhage inside, and they were querying it as more. Luckily, my Mum and sister were waiting for me after my consultation to bring me home, because as I left the room the tears were impossible to hold back. The atmosphere at home over the next two days was difficult to explain – silent, on edge, nauseating. I spent the night cuddling my little girl in bed, looking at every little speckle on her skin and imagining what I would do if I could not see these things anymore. These were thoughts I could not help but also, I could not avoid.
The waiting which followed through tests and scans was hard, but I was so lucky that it was not a long wait and, even more lucky with the outcome. I will never forget the feeling I got (and my Mum who was beside me) when the consultant said the words ‘it is not a tumour.’ Relief. What followed, of course, was nothing in comparison as far as I was concerned – a diagnosis of 'choroidal neovascularization', an injection into my eye, steroid treatment, progress check-ups for the haemorrhage and hope that sight will improve. I was told I was lucky that my peripheral vision has not been affected which means there is no need for laser treatment or for it to affect driving, etc. Now it is just a case of visually adapting (and maybe an on-call makeup artist!), which, in comparison to last week’s fears, is a huge relief. It is crazy to think so much can change in such a short few hours. For those who received much different news to me, I cannot even begin to imagine your journeys, but I am so proud of your strength and courage.
Today, as my mother and I currently discuss the excessive laundry situation which has turned her house into a TK Max of air drying – I smile with gratitude; gratitude for what I learnt yesterday, gratitude for what I have today, and gratitude for whatever tomorrow will bring.
So, Mr Winnie the Pooh, I must agree with you whole heartedly – today is my favourite day too.
We have quite a large and vast bucket list to get through this summer. In doing some research to find a few events that might help us tick a few off, I thought these were worth sharing. Here are six of the best family friendly events and festivals taking place this summer in Leinster and Munster.
Super Milk Wild Air Inflatable Run
What I Like...
Festival of Curiosity
(July 19th-22nd Dublin)
What I Like...
Bray Air Display
(28th-29th July Bray, Wicklow)
What I Like...
(4th - 11th of August Birr, Co. Offaly)
What I Like...
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SPRAOI Street Art Festival
(3rd - 5th August, Waterford City)
What I Like...
Castlecomer Discovery Park Digital Outdoor Scavenger Hunt
(All summer, Castlecomer, Co. Kilkenny)
What I Like...
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So on a mission to keep my sanity intact and to make some memories, I sat down with Lola (my only speaking little human!) and made our summer bucket list. I thought a four year old's bucket list prospects might be a tad far-fetched, but she surprised me - with most being quite achievable. Now, where to start...
What's on your bucket list this summer? We would love know!
We have been very lucky with the weather lately here in Ireland, and I have had to go out and purchase some sun cream tubs a little bigger than what is usually in my cupboard (50ml!). So with this in mind I have undergone some sun cream research which I thought would be useful to share with you for protecting your own and your childrens' skin. Enjoy the the sunshine y'all, and be safe!
Sun Cream Facts
There actually is not too much of a difference between SPF 50 and 30, with factor 50 blocking out 98% of the sun's UBV rays and factor 30 blocking out 97%.
SPF 15 blocks out 93% of UVB.
These are basically pointless. You may as well be applying body lotion.
On packaging now, sun creams cannot state they are waterproof, only 'water resistant'. They must also state after how long the cream has to be reapplied.
All sun creams HAVE to be reapplied after two hours, unless it the company has proven with test results that it can last longer
Most sun creams today should have UVA star ratings on them (between 0-5, 5 being best protection). What you want is a factor 30 or above with 4-5 star rating for the best sun protection.
These words indicate both UVA and UVB protection, a combination you want to get.
"That will be €74.65 please," the cashier declares. Just as your whole body begins to turn into anxiety fumed flames, Mum appears with the fish fingers and is as cool as a financially stable cucumber, "Sorry about that, here's my card," she pants as you pick your heart off the floor.
Now, as an adult this scenario is not on my panic radar, but that's not to say these types of irrational anxieties are not part of my every day life - here's my top ten...
1. Being the last car to drive through a crossroads before the lights turn red
2. Trying to pack my bags in Lidl or Aldi
3. Stepping foot into TK Max or Forever 21
4. When your phone is at 2% and you still have not reached your destination
5. A phone call from an unknown number
6. Walking in the same direction as someone I know after we've said hello or goodbye
7. Committing to anything
8. Getting in to bed and realising the wardrobe or bathroom door is open
9. Walking or driving by the Gardaí
10. When they have seen the text but are still not replying
I am writing this letter to you from your future happy place. It's purpose is encouragement, acknowledgment and hope. I know things seem chaotic and in limbo right now, but trust me, you are almost there.
I know you are feeling overwhelmed sometimes - overwhelmed trying to juggle work and being a mom, overwhelmed cleaning the same messes every single day, overwhelmed trying to find the time every day to get it all done. Speaking from your happy place, trust me, you are almost there.
I know you are feeling hopeless sometimes - hopeless about owning your own home someday, hopeless about keeping up with all the bills, hopeless that you will never ease your four year old's sleep time anxietiesl. Speaking from your happy place, trust me, you are almost there.
I know you are feeling guilty sometimes - guilty leaving the girls with someone else every day when you go to work, guilty for not knowing the other moms at Sports Day, guilty for having to take time off work to be with your sick baby, guilty for wanting some time to yourself. Speaking from your happy place, trust me, you are almost there.
I know you are feeling insecure sometimes - insecure that you do not look as good in skinny jeans anymore, insecure about getting older, insecure that you are not like most of those perfect Instagram moms, insecure about the choices you are making, insecure that he doesn't see you the same anymore. Speaking from your happy place, trust me, you are almost there.
I know you are feeling sad sometimes- sad that you are not asked to go to things as much, sad that a baby's tummy bug means that night out and make up has to be wiped off, sad that your date nights with cocktails are now late nights with Calpol, sad that time together has to be timetabled, sad that you both forget who you were at times. Speaking from your happy place, trust me, you are almost there.
I know how you feel, and I know because I have been there. But, I want to reassure you that you are where you are supposed to be. The organising, the rushing, the tantrums, the doubts - these things are real and these things are hard, but they are all part of your journey to get to where you want to be. I want to assure you that you DO get there - you will have your own home, you will sleep (so will your girls!), you will get on track, you will go on dates again, you will find balance, you will achieve everything you are working for. You will look back on these times as tough, yes, but it is during these sleepless nights, hectic mornings and stressful days, that you will see milestones, you will see firsts, you will laugh, you will play and you will learn. It's now that you are making memories, you are making a family. The best remember-when's are when you are on the way - and speaking from your happy place, you are almost there.
With love from your future self,
What better way to catch a glimpse into a toddler's psyche than just asking the questions!
Lola Rose is in the hot seat making some tough decisions...
This month I have been...
... READING TO THE GIRLS: Pig in Love
**Warning** Teacher talk coming**
Told in rhyme, which I love, this story gives kids an opportunity to get into the rhythm of the story. Stories told in rhyme show little ones how language works and introduces them to predicting which is an important reading strategy. (On a non-teacher note, a story about two piggies in love and flying to the moon is TOTES adorable!)
...WATCHING: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri
...EATING: Anything that can be made in a slow cooker!
...LISTENING TO: George Ezra
...LAUGHING AT: The Young Offenders
...FOLLOWING ON INSTAGRAM: Hailey Marie @ dreaming_aloud
... GOING TO: Corkagh Park, Clondalkin
... LOVING LOLA: playing pranks
... LOVING SADIE: mimic her big sister
What did you get up to this month? Any slow cooker tips for a novice?!
Please Ms Money Fairy - bring me shopping - I won't be greedy....
This month I have been...
Listen to their new song here.
What I'd like it to mean: A moustache on another level!
Adorable right? On the other hand, not so adorable when she is brushing my hair and informs me "Mom, you have a lot of SNOTS in your hair"
- a.k.a. s + knots
What's in your February roundup? Please share what you've been up to this month in the comments below, or on Facebook or Twitter.
Family | Lifestyle |
Motherhood | Me