Oct

27

This weekend was a lot of fun. Thursday night saw Orla head with GrandMa and Bethany to the Headless Horseman, the most popular haunted attraction in the country. Having read the eponymous story by Washington Irvine the previous day, she was all set, and the chainsaw wielding ghouls and creepy creatures didn’t faze her at all… Meanwhile, Jenn, Eoghan and I watched The SpiderWick Chronicles on our big screen, and Eoghan was thrilled to learn all about brownies and boggarts and goblins…

On Friday we took the kids to Ferncliff Forest, originally part of the Astor estate and notable now for its observation tower. Orla and Eoghan had a great time climbing up to the top, where we had spectacular views of the Kingston Bridge and a panoramic view of the Hudson river and the fall foliage.

On Saturday, we had two Hallowe’en parties. The first was at the home of one of Orla and Eoghan’s friends, where they got to see his chickens, and played some fun games like pin the tail on the donkey and bash the pinata ! We brought along a traditional barm brack that I had made, but I guess the kids don’t trust my baking…

Next up was a party at GrandMa’s where she had a party celebrating both Hallowe’en and Bethany’s birthday. The kids loved the decorations, and were especially impressed by Patricia’s witch costume, although the stormy weather with its thunder and lightning freaked Orla out a bit…

On Sunday we dropped the kids, together with Jenna their babysitter, off at a local craft store in town where they spent a few hours painting different kinds of pottery. It’s being fired now,and we plan to pick it up on Thursday. I’m hoping I can sell it, and put the kids to work full time ! While the kids were busy, Jenn and I headed to yet another park in the neighbourhood, at the Unification Seminary, where we explored the trail along the river. We didn’t make it to the Labyrinth, but hope to check it out next weekend.

Oct

16

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As usual, I’ve been very remiss in updating the site. My excuse is that we’ve been busy !
September saw two birthdays – Orla’s and mine. To celebrate, we had a dinner party, and we asked Ivana to cook. She did a spectacular job, preparing a sumptuous meal for us – aided in the kitchen by Seamus – and Orla ! – with the dining room being decorated by Barbara ! So all hands were on deck.

It was a fantastic night, with incredible food and great friends (including Hilary, Kevin and Lisa, and their assorted kids). There was plenty of wine, with the dessert wine being a big hit, and at least one of us got rather merry, ending up reciting poetry – Yeats, Tennyson, Keats and finishing up, last but not least, with Robert Service’s ballads immortalizing Dan McGrew and Sam McGee ! And while the adults were waxing eloquent, Orla and the other kids had a lot of fun, too, with Ivana’s pasta being voted a big hit. It was Ivana’s birthday that week too, so we celebrated hers along with mine and Orla’s with a pile of cakes and Ivana surprised me with a pavlova. Next year we’ve a hard act to follow…

September also saw me take another quick trip to Ireland, for a last tour through our family home before it was sold, as well as taking in a school reunion. A primary school reunion, that is ! It was great fun catching up with Peter and Frank, as well as our honorary classmate Brendan. The reunion followed a crazy night out with Peter, Liam and Kierman where we ended up in our old haunt of La Cave. It was 5AM when I made it to bed…

Sunday saw me catching up with Leanne and Anthony – fresh from promoting his movie Anton – in St. Anne’s Park, for a picnic at the Children’s Playground, where we were joined by Frank and Noriko. It was an absolutely gorgeous Sunday morning, and we had a glorious time strolling in the Rose Garden – it reminded me of what a wonderful place Clontarf is, and what a fantastic place it was to grow up.

September also saw Morgan and Jenn’s wedding in New York City, at the Old St. Patrick’s Cathedral, which is a beautiful church. We left the two older kids with Grandma, and took The Conallator down with us. (We stopped off for lunch in a diner on 57th St, and Jenn was tickled to see the paparazzi waiting outside. The crowd wasn’t, it turned out, waiting for us. Rather they were waiting for Angelina Jolie who was shopping next door). The wedding reception was in their loft and was a lot of fun, but with the drive back home ahead of us we weren’t able to hang out too long.

Speaking of the kids, they’re in fine fettle. They started back to school with lots of fun field trips with Jenn. They visited the local orchard, collecting apples and raspberries, and the local mansions where science classes are offered. They also started up piano, gymnastics and Russian. Orla is thrilled to be riding at a new stable where she is now cantering and jumping. She is really thriving in the new environment, and can’t wait for a winter show !

Conall – The Conallator – continues to grow like a giant. He’s wearing size 4T and already outgrowing that size! He is convinced he’s 6 years old and mirrors everything his older siblings do. He is very independent and brave on the playground and on the trails where we’ve introduced him to letterboxing. No one, including himself, would believe he’s still only 19 months old. And he thrilled his Grandma this week by shouting her name perfectly to get her attention. He’s almost ready for a tryout with the New York Giants…

Last weekend saw me make a flying visit to Boston, to meet up with Ian and June for dinner and a few beers. We had a good time catching up, but I headed back at 5am on Sunday morning since Jenn told me that Orla was on hunger strike because she missed her Daddy. Fortunately there were no cops out that early and I made it back in plenty of time for breakfast.

With the turmoil in the market it’s been crazy at work. The angel of death passed through my group last week, leaving a number of casualties in its wake including my boss. There are a few things afoot; more news to come on that front in the next week.

The excitement at home is now for Hallowe’en; the kids are getting their costumes ready and are looking forward to trick or treating. Watch this space !

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