December 26, 2007 | Leave a Comment

Another year almost over, and the kids are growing up fast. Conall is huge, enormously strong, and with a sweet disposition. Eoghan is a real play actor, who loves to goof around and make funny expressions. And Orla is developing a great sense of humour, as evidenced by two things she said the other day.
She, Jennifer, and I were having breakfast, and talking about what we would like for Christmas.
Do you know what I would like for Christmas, Orla ? asked Jenn.
A new husband ? replied Orla.
We all cracked up.

A little while later, I walked through the kitchen wearing just a pair of shorts.
Euch ! Do I really have to see that ? Orla exclaimed, pointing at my chest.

The kids were, of course, very excited as Christmas approached. Eoghan was a little nervous on Christmas Eve, asking Jenn to check “Santa’s Good List” on the internet to see he was going to get a present. Orla – probably far more likely than Eoghan to be on the Naughty List – was highly confident that she was on the Good List. Both of them, on the other hand, were sure that Dad was on the Naughty List.

On Christmas morning, after keeping the kids waiting a suitable period of time to build up their anticipation (and, more mundanely, while I got the turkey in the oven), we led them into the Red Room where Santa had left all the presents under the tree.

Orla was on tenterhooks, hoping desperately for a guinea pig. She was delighted to see Santa had, indeed, delivered one, as well as an American Girl doll and other assorted goodies. Eoghan, on the other hand, who had assured his mother on five occasions that what he wanted from Santa was a snowmobile, was devastated as soon as he saw that, while he got a sled and, indeed, a snowmobile (remote control), unlike Orla he did not get a guinea pig. He was in tears and did his usual hiding under the furniture for quite a while before we could coax him out to play a game with Orla…

Dinner was at Jenn’s mom’s house, but the food was fine – we cooked the turkey, ham, brussel sprouts and potatoes and brought them with us ! There were about a dozen of us, with Jenn’s brother Kris and his family having flown up from Florida for the week. Orla and Eoghan got a few more presents, and the kids were delighted – and not surprised – when I got one from my mother-in-law that was the same as the one Jenn had given me. Coal !



Snowed Under

December 16, 2007 | Leave a Comment

Outside right now, we’ve about 10 inches of snow that fell yesterday, with another inch or so of ice on top that fell this afternoon, and expecting another inch or so of snow tonight. Winter has come in with a roar. This morning we took the kids sledding, which was great fun. The roads were very quiet, due to the ice storm, but our trusty truck had no problems. Berger Hill was, alas, closed, but the State Park at Mills Mansion – across the road from us – was open (the driveways were ploughed, compliments of our tax dollars). The kids had a good time, although as soon as we got to the slope Eoghan tripped and lost his grip on his sled; it went careening off down the ice covered snow for about 100 yards; your’s truly had to retrieve it for him – hard work in icy snow ! We were the only ones foolhardy enough to venture out, but it was invigorating. We had planned to meet up with Kevin and Lisa, but missed them; we did, however, manage to meet up with them for a late lunch.Speaking of working our way up and down slopes, last weekend we took the kids up Berger Hill for the first time in years. This was prompted by the fact that the house we’re probably going to buy (of which more later – watch this space) backs up onto the western side. We had a great time chasing each other up and down the hill, which wore us all out – none of us are fit these days !

Last weekend also saw a visit from Seamus and Ivana; they came up for lunch in our local Thai restaurant – Aroi (which serves a spectacular cashew chicken nothing like the Chinese variant). We took them to see the new house – at which Seamus managed to set off the burglar alarm – before repairing to the barn. They were delighted to see their Godson, Conall, who is continuing to grow. He’s off the charts according to the doctor at his recent checkups, and that’s borne out by the fact that at eight months he was wearing clothes for an eighteen month old !

The previous weekend was very traumatic for Orla… her fish died. Or rather, was eaten. The smaller of her two fish was devoured by the larger. She was inconsolable, and blamed herself for not feeding them sufficiently.
It’s all my fault. I should have fed Silver Diamond more. I know just how Grandma feels. I miss him so much.

On a more cheery note, that weekend also saw us pick out the new house, and make the offer which was accepted. We hope to close in January… Orla was delighted because her room has cat wallpaper. Jenn is delighted because the house has an attached garage. And I’m delighted because it has a basement in which I can construct a wine cellar.

Thanksgiving was quiet – we did it here in the barn with Sue and Bethany, with our usual – turkey cooked in the Aga. Low key but very restful. On the Sunday we headed into the city, and while Jenn, Grandma, Eoghan and Conall went shopping at FAO Schwarz, Orla and I made our third annual trip to see The Nutcracker at Lincoln Center. It was as beautiful as ever; Orla had her picture taken with a ballerina, as usual, and just like last year, when Arabian Coffee (Teresa Reichlen) danced her sultry solo, she turned to me and said Dad, you should have married her!

Now we’re on the run down to Christmas. We’re checking Santa’s list to see if we’re Good or Bad, and can’t wait for the sleigh to take off !