Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Musings about Ireland - Nationality's

2 things I thought interesting.  

First:  I never noticed until our trip when in a different country- that when you ask a Texan where they are from, they say Texas.  If you asked a person for Oregon or Montana, they'd say the United States or America.  Quite interesting and so not surprising eh!! (Hey I can type this and dig on Texans cause I married one!)

Second: 6 times with shop keepers this happened, and I was soooo impressed!
Shop keeper: Where are you from?
Lori: Texas, United States
Shop keeper: But you do not sound like an American, I thought you were Canadian.
Lori: I am Canadian!
I could just about hug them!  They get lots of tourists so I guess they pay attention to accents!  Very very rarely do I get asked if I'm a Canadian here in Texas.  Maybe just maybe if they hear me say "again" or "eh".  I'll never forget the driver instructor in California when I had to take a driving test there for a CA license.  He asked which side of the road we drove on in Canada.  I think he was even confused as to where it was.

I just really really appreciate people who know a bit more about other countries than just their own!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Deep thoughts

I'll try to keep this short.  If you are pregnant or have a newborn, please don't read this! Serious.

This weekend a mother, father, siblings and extended family are laying to rest their 2 month old baby.  I can not stop thinking about it.  It brings up memories like it was yesterday even though it's been over 2 years.

Something I couldn't talk about then.  As a parent, you never think for a baby or child that you would have to choose a burial plot and where... what makes the most sense for the future... and do we buy plots next to the little one for oursleves, etc etc.  You never think you will be looking at tiny caskets and picking one out for your child to lay in forever.  You never think you will be putting together a memorial/funeral/burial.  It's not supposed to happen in youth, but it does.  And because it does, I cannot be thankful enough for a comforting God that through all the gut wrenching pain emotionally and physically, he does comfort and give you peace.

As I rock Madelynne to sleep whether it be nap time or bed time, I look up at the shelf and see Esmee's photo and the blanket sitting there that she was wrapped in for the few precious precious hours that I got to hold her.  I feel very selfish as I look at Esmee's picture because I want them both, here, with me, now.  My heart still aches for Esmee.  But then at night I thank God again for the short time I knew Esmee and that she is always ours, always loved, never replaced and such a huge part of our family still.  And thank God that she brought Heaven closer to us.  I love that every day when I pray to God, I feel close to Esmee as she is with Him in Heaven.

So as I think of this precious family saying good-bye, I know they will feel God's love, comfort, tender care and peace wrapped around them, even in the pain.  I want to let them know my heart goes out to them 100% right now.  My heart aches for what they are going through, and I am praying for them.

Musings about Ireland - Roads

The roads... well I like the North American roads better!  But these have character.  Unless you are on the 4 lane motorway, the roads are hurting.  And narrow.  Most rural roads are only fit for 1 car, but are considered a 2 lane road. 
People park where ever, even if it now blocks a lane of traffic, you just drive around when you can!  
Bridges tend to be one lane when not in the city.
Roundabouts seem to be preferred over traffic lights.  Galway is a city of roundabouts.  It's especially fun when there are super big roundabouts with traffics lights in them!  I think we can say we concurred the roundabouts, they even became fun!  Keeps you alert.
No texting or talking on a mobile while driving.  On the main roads, they have a side lane to pull over if you get a call.  I loved this.  Cause really, how attentive are we when texting and driving?  Not very.  And with the roads there that are windy and narrow, it's just plain not safe!  
The roads are bumpy and windy!  I know it has to do with economy, not able to fix the roads, but even the roads that get fixed, the big tour buses come along in drooves and you get a bumpy new road!
The boys threw up a few times!  We soon becamed prepared in the car with bags and paper towels just in case!  The boys became very careful to not look down when driving now, it was cute :) but I think that was one of the main reasons why Mason wanted to go back to Texas!  We definately do not eat while moving in the car! 
Very common to share the road with a tractor, be it a rural road or motorway.  We don't get to see this much living in the city so the boys thought that was great! 
I wish we got a picture of one sign.  It said "temporary dip ahead" but it was a permanent style sign!  So temporary may mean quite a few years! 
On the topic of roads, the absense of trucks hit us at first!  I think we saw 5 trucks total that have a "nose"!  Like our typical trucks.  They have flat nosed ones out on farms, but otherwise it's cars, SUV's and people movers (vans). 
I guess the last big thing about the roads is the side they drive on!!  We did ok, it was just in parking lots that I had the biggest problem remembering!

Hello Mr. Blue Tractor!

2 lane main road through downtown Athenry.

The road heading towards our house,
I scraped the bushes on the left soooo many times as it narrows at the corner!

Just an extra view from the road picture on our way home.  Loved the stone walls/fences.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Musings about Ireland - People

People are super friendly, everyone is.  
They are quick to help, don't expect tips.
When out for a walk, everyone you meet says hello, it's nice.

I really enjoyed the people, perhaps I can go out on a limb and say it's the friendliest country I've been too.  (I've been to many.)  The Lewis brothers (my dad and uncles) are super friendly, and I believe it's the Irish in them, not the English!  :)

Musings about Ireland - Toilets

Toilets... the system is old.  Hey, it's an old country!  (This is not just Ireland!)  A lot of times when you go to use a toilet, it's not flushed!  The tank takes a long time to fill.  So unless you hang out in the bathroom for 30 minutes, you end up not flushing yourself!  You get used to flushing first :)  Thankfully the toilets at our house didn't take too long!  But a lot of older houses and shops, well, you just deal with it!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Musings about Ireland - Houses

As an architectural junky, I love looking at houses, wishing I could knock on the front door and ask for a tour of certain ones.  This remained true in Ireland.  I loved looking at all the neat houses, and the yards were well kept at all times too.  The window flower baskets added the sweet pretty touch!  It was common to have a sun room sticking off to the side of the house.  I really liked that idea.  Also common to have a bright colored front door - LOVED that!
Within the houses, every room has a door (yes that includes the kitchen and living and dining) so that you can heat up individual rooms.  No central heating that I saw.  We could leave the windows open all the time.  The sea air was lovely!
The house pictures below are random ones on the way to our house.  All taken while driving by so quality isn't the best!  Enjoy!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Nicola and Abby

Friday, Oct 15
As Julie and Laura drove away, Nicola and Abby drove up!  Nicola kindly let us use their cot (aka crib), exersaucer, toys, etc!  It was a lifesaver, Madelynne slept well in it, where as a playpen she would not!  We packed up all the baby things in their car, and then went to one more place Ruben was telling me all about that I would love!  Talk about checking things out last minute!  It's the g hotel in Galway.  It's strange, it's fun, it's colorful, and it was the pink room that drew me to the hotel!  It was a very tastey lunch!
Thanks again Nicola and Mervyn for letting us use all the baby goods, and we loved our playdates with Abby.  Come see us!!!!

Nicola and Abby

Nothing like letting your kids play on the floor of a posh hotel!  Hey, it was a cool rug, can't blame the kids!

Our lunch spot in the Pink room.

One last cup of tea... for now!

Friday, Oct 15
In the morning, Julie and Laura stopped by for a quick cup of tea and chat.  We just couldn't say good-bye earlier in the week, (sniff sniff!) so we were sure glad they came by one last time!  Writing now a couple weeks later, these 2 special ladies are missed by all in this house!  Chase constantly says he wants to go back to Ireland because he misses the sister workers!  He told me today that the workers are waiting at the airport for us wondering where we are, and if we don't get there quickly, they are going to leave! 
Thanks Aunty Laura and Aunty Julie for the encouragement you've been to us and for the great work that you (any many others) lovingly do.  The words of #405 come to mind.  You will always have a special place in our hearts!

Julie, Laura ~ Mason, Chase

My silly helpers!

Thursday, Oct 14


Thursday, Oct 14
Time in Ireland is disappearing!  It was a day of packing, and that included the laptop!  The boys gave Eoghan some birthday presents and then his mom organized a quick birthday supper for the boys.  Eoghan turned 6 two days after we left.  They loved it, they still miss their buddy Eoghan whom they almost played with everyday.  I'll venture to say he misses them too!  (FYI, this is the boy we thought was named Jake for the first 6 weeks or so!)


Then we quickly went to check out a house one of Ruben's employee's rented.  We almost choose it, but due to location and being in the country, it scared me a bit especially since I'd have no vehicle, has a creek running thru it's 1  property and neighbors not so close by!  But boy was it a sweet house!

Stove that's half electric and half oil.

Great art.

Fancy front entry.
Best I could do for an outside pic.

Chase having fun with the camera taking pics of Mason.

Chase on piano, Mike on guitar!

Living room.