Wednesday, June 30, 2010


Hey, Jen here: We started our first week of summer break this week. I didn't want it to be a whole 2 months of just sitting around, watching TV and doing nothing in particular. So, I sat down and made a list of fun things I wanted to do or try with the kids. One of those things was to finally use one of the packages of real Nestle Tollhouse morsels I brought back with me from my time in the States.

Now, I have to admit, I'm not a great mom when it comes to involving the girls in the kitchen. The mess and disorganization stresses me out, and it's just "easier" to do it all myself. But, I knew they'd love making these together. So, I got everything together and out on the table beforehand. We all got gussied up in our aprons and hairbands and set to work.

I couldn't believe how smoothly it went, and how much fun we ALL had! I was so proud of them as they took turns, helped each other, and praised each other throughout the process. All I did was read out what we needed to do with each step. I helped Cailyn measure out the items, and only helped Hannah if she really needed it. Other than that, they did it ALL themselves.

I tried really hard not to train them to make cookies my way (aka, eat half the batter before you even put it on the baking sheet). And we did have to switch spoons a few times b/c someone couldn't resist the urge to sneak a lick. We did each get a spoon to lick when it was done, and of course a warm cookie at the end.

It was the perfect way to kick off our summer and I'm SO glad we did it all together!

Everything is set!

Cailyn carefully pouring the flour

...and stirring it up

Hannah's turn!

Such concentration...
You can almost hear a 'Homer Simpson' groan - mmmmm...cookies....

Carefully cracking the proud she did it all by herself!

Hannah proud of the finished mix...Cailyn - well...yeah...

Time to enjoy!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Galway boats...

Fishermen a couple hundred years ago decided to figure out a better boat to serve their area. With all the inlets and coves that line the Bay here, there was a need to have a boat that could handle the shallow waters and enable them to fish more often. They developed what is called the Galway Hooker. While it still serves a purpose, it's more of a historical masterpiece nowadays than a working craft and any chance to see one is always like looking at a painting. Here's a shot of one we got to see last night -

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Long, long days...

So, I blogged several times in the winter about how amazed I was at how early the sun goes down; missing seeing the sun setting over the ocean at 4:00 in the afternoon. Well, short winter days mean we also get very long summer days as well. With the amazing weather we've had this week, the sky has been bright well past 9 in the evening, with traces of daylight still visible past 11. It's just amazing to me. The evenings feel odd at times; we find ourselves having to keep close eyes on the time because dinner time just doesn't feel like dinner time, and there have been a couple days when the girls got to stay up quite late because we lost track! Well, last night I was in the office on skype with a friend of mine at almost 11 when I looked outside and saw the sunset. The colors were amazing, and I just had to get out and try to capture the scene. I came pretty close...

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The warmth of the sun...

We have had some amazing weather this week! I think summer came in full when we weren't looking. It's so great when the weather is like this...everybody, and I mean everybody is outside; working in the garden, staring at the ocean, having a cup of coffee or tea while the sun beats down on them - it's all great. It's amazing the way it changes the mood of the place; Ireland is so "warm climate" in their culture in terms of relationships in that they're always willing to talk, friendly, and enjoy a chat. But with the sun and the amazing warmth, that's even more so. We see so many people that are normally just going about their daily routine outside enjoying the beauty. You may think it's a bit extreme, but people around here have learned: enjoy it while it lasts. I remember last August lighting fires because the warm weather didn't stay. When it's here, it's to be enjoyed like it's going away tomorrow...because, it just might!

A couple of pics of the girls savaging for sea shells. I was about to start fixing dinner when I decided a quick walk on the beach was in order. They love the beach!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

School Walk Day

This morning was a fun day! The school Hannah goes to does all they can to encourage the kids to exercise and be active. So, aside from the sport day from a few posts back, they'll go on sporadic walks and explorations, especially when the weather is nice. It's almost as if the teachers see a sunny day, and as everyone else does here, find whatever excuse they can to be outdoors. So, this morning the whole school met at the local pub and had a mass Walk to School. Hannah really thought it was fun, and there was a good spirit all around. And with summer here, the weather being so gorgeous today, it was just an amazing addition to what is normally a routine activity!

Hannah decked out in her safety vest, ready for the walk!

This actually turned into a huge cultural experience for I mentioned before, we met at where else? THE LOCAL PUB! Only in rural Ireland!

On Cailyn and my walk back to the car, there were a couple of horses that were really ready for some attention. So, we stopped, petted them and Cailyn thought they were great!!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Funny perceptions of law...

I had a conversation a couple weeks ago with a man that is sort of a park ranger/manager of a particular place I like to go - You've seen pictures of it here before, and probably will again; a 5,000 year old burial chamber. Around this burial chamber is a rope. Yep, a to the extreme! Anyway, the day I'm talking to this guy, he's explaining to me that this rope is there only for show basically, and that they really don't want to keep people away from the site necessarily. Just groups of people, like over 30 or so at a time, they don't want anyone crawling around the thing. But, if it's just one or two or so at a time, they don't care. He told me, "When it's just yourself, sure! Go ahead and hop over...take your photos. We really don't care!" He went on to explain to me, since he obviously knew I was American, that their laws aren't quite like our laws. Our laws are meant to be kept. The laws here, well...not so much. I mean, speeding, burglary, theft, arson, general traffic regulations...yeah, those aren't the ones I'm talking about. It's more like the public notices, the "don't litter here" or "no parking here" things that really turn more like suggestions. In this case, it's the single rope strung up around a 5,000 archeological treasure that's really not meant to signal "keep out," rather, "one at a time, please." At first, I thought this guy was joking, but then I realized that he got much of his information like the rest of the world does regarding American laws: from CSI and NCIS and any reality show that's shown cops, park rangers, and any other kind of law enforcement actually doing their jobs. He went on about how strict America is compared to Ireland, which I thought was just hilarious. But, there you go...there is a sense of the menial things being overlooked here. And some are sadder than others like minors in rural areas able to buy alcohol pretty easily. The authorities don't like it, but they don't do much about it either. In someways it can be sad. I've grown up thinking, "if it says don't do it, it means don't do it" mentality for the most part...but apparently here, not so much. But, there's a good feeling to it as well...there's a trust that people are actually doing things right, and authorities aren't clamoring to "bring justice" to every infraction they see either. Either way, it's kind of interesting.

All this to show you a great photo I got the other day. Jen and I were at the hospital getting the scan of our baby when I looked up and saw this sign:

The funny thing to me is what I read into it after the conversation I had with the man at the historical site; "No smoking. And this one we actually mean no smoking. Please...for real. Don't smoke. Sorry, but we really mean it this time..." and on and on.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Today's Cutie...

The girls have really enjoyed the weather lately. With the evenings really long right now, it's great for them to be able to enjoy being outside, sometimes right up until the go to bed. It's light now until past 10, which is great. Anyway, the other night the girls grabbed their bubbles after dinner and headed outside. I was able to sneak in a few shots of them having's one of Cailyn

Friday, June 4, 2010

A Sneak Peek at the Newest Deibel

This has been an exciting week for our little Crew! We had our "big" doctor's appointment this week and were able to get an ultrasound of our little Pumpkin. We were all anxiously awaiting this day, hoping baby would cooperate in allowing us to find out if we were having a sister or a brother!

Most importantly, we found out that baby is perfectly healthy, right on track with grown, and all organs and limbs look perfect. When the scan started, baby was sitting in the breech position, with it's bottom down and head up pointing towards my lungs. In this position, it's often difficult to get a good gender shot, but our little one cooperated anyway.
Baby Deibel, with pointer finger on lips, pondering whether or not to let us see if it's a boy or girl
Thankfully, they decided to cooperate and showed us that they are a healthy....
This little piggy went to market....

Flexing his muscles for Daddy

A look right at his face; looks a lot like a scan pic we have of Hannah!

Profile shot - mouth open, ready to suck his thumb!!

Another profile shot, hand up by his face

We are all so happy and excited to be welcoming a boy into our family! His name will be forthcoming soon!!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Sports Day

Every year, the schools have "sports days" where they load the kids in the buses, take them to the local field and have a day filled with games. It's a great day, and all the kids get to participate. The older kids have some games like the distance run and high jump that Hannah didn't get to take part in, but she got to do a lot. It was a great day today to be out! The sun was shining, and there were lots of people from the community there as well. We got to talk to a lot of people that we normally wouldn't see for more than a few minutes, so that was really good. I took lots of photos (of course) and just enjoyed the day. Here's some pics of Hannah's Sports Day!

Hannah in the wheelbarrow race

Potato sack (or actually a coal sack) race

The egg in the spoon race - of course, we live in Ireland, so they use Potatoes instead...

Having fun doing some Simon-says games

Can you tell she got worn out??

Cailyn came with us, of course...and had to have her own events. Not sure what she's doing was almost a somersault, but then she stopped. But she was proud of whatever it was!

Cailyn asked us to sit in the stands so she could give us a show. She did her best ballerina dance for us!