Sunday, June 28, 2015

the kitchen, the garden


scones with jam, coconut cream and strawberries

vegan fruit flapjacks and spelt soda bread

calendula for salves


comfrey for massage oil


onions and cabbage

captain and spartacus

lifeboat steaming out on a shout

towing casualty back to harbour
Now that school is finished we have had a few days of setting the house straight(er) and getting back into the kitchen and garden properly.

In the kitchen we have made bread and biscuits, fish cakes and nut cutlets, elderflower cordial and lots of meals.
In the garden there are: cabbages, cauliflower, salads, chard, onions and scallions, garlic, spinach, tomatoes, cucumber, courgette, lots of herbs of all sorts, peas, beans, strawberries, gooseberries, currants, rhubarb, raspberries, blackberries, potatoes and lots of wild flowers.

It feels so good and nourishing to be able to provide for ourselves in this way. Good, happy food.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

an infinite capacity for cake

 In this past week I have discovered that I have an infinite capacity for cake. There have been so many celebrations (most of them involving cake of at least one kind) and I have enjoyed each and every one of them...celebrations that is...and of course the cake!

Joa turned 5.
We didn't get to spend much of his day with him as he was at pre-school and then at his dad's house for the day, but we all got up early to sing to him and watch him open his presents. Then in the evening after I picked him up we had a surprise beach party for him with some of our friends from the village. We ate bbq sausages and treats and played together in the sand and the sea.and we had cake...

 Then a few days later his pre-school had a little graduation ceremony for the kids leaving to go to big school this year. The class performed a wee show, singing 'He's got the whole world in his hand' and dancing to 'Uptown Funk' which I thought was a hilarious mix and so very cool. Each child was congratulated in turn and then there was cake.

Rebe and Benny had a school celebration on the same day, they buried a time capsule and raised flags the school had won. It is a fantastic school and I am so happy that the kids go there. We got to look around the work they did this year...and there was cake.
medals rebe and benny won at sports day
rebe's letter to go into the time capsule

 And then it was Benny's Birthday.
I can't believe he is 7! I remember his baby snuggles like it was yesterday. We have been talking about 7 being a big age; the end of being a little boy and the beginning of being a big boy. It feels like a milestone of sorts.  We had a lovely day out at the Model Railway Village. Garry gave Benny a coin so that he could throw it into the pond to make a wish. He wished that he would have a Happy Birthday and at the end of the day he said that his wish had come true.

 After the little trains we went to the beach for an hour to try out the gift we gave him of snorikle (how Benny says it) and flippers...

 It was so awesome and then we had cake.

On Sunday it was Father's Day. Garry's first Father's Day so it was very special for him. The older kids were with Andy but they had left cards and gifts for him to open in the morning.

Ena's caul preserved: a gift from her to him.
After breakfast Garry, Ena and I went for a drive and we found our way to Drombeg Stone Circle. There was a beautiful strong, positive energy there. People were still there meditating for the solstice. It was so nice to take the time and quietly reflect on how lucky we are. How happy I am that Ena is here and how special my life is with these wonderful people in it.

Although all of these celebrations were lovely, it was pretty exhausting having them all in the same week. Making sure that each was marked in it's own way and that everyone felt special and celebrated. But now we can rest. Today the kids finish school for the summer: 9 glorious weeks of relaxation and rest, adventures and fun....and probably a few more slices of cake :-)

Saturday, June 20, 2015

a spin down west

Last Sunday Garry, Ena and I took a spin down west. Garry's brother and his family were camping at a lovely campsite and we decided to call down to them for the afternoon.
It was a lovely drive. We went the long way round and it was just beautiful.
We spent a glorious few hours talking and eating and exploring the bay with Keith and his family.
I wish the older kids could have been with us, but we will definitely head back there sometime with the trailer tent!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015


We have been a family of six for a month now. How quickly that has gone. As always with any change there is a period of adjustment. Some days it is easier than others. Some days the older children are really self sufficient and Ena sleeps well, and we are on top of the washing and the weather is great and I have eaten enough at the right times..and other days, well, it's not like that! 
my favourite sling, Storchwenwiege
Time slows down with a little baby. Whole days go by with nothing to show for them apart from a heap of washing up and a carpet of dog hair on the kitchen floor. And although I know this, some days it is hard looking at the piles and piles of 'things to be sorted' or having to ignore my desire to sit down for longer than 3 minutes and 45 seconds to sew something or write this blog. Some days I resent this, I am a do-er and not doing, just being with Ena takes a lot of practice and a lot of remembering to breathe and remindng myself it won't last.

We have discovered the 'Guinness Book of Records', 1 euro well spent in a charity shop

Rebe actually broke the world record of eating jelly with chop she says
Life is made easier though, being in a team. The kids are super, they have their little jobs and can do so much for themselves and I share it all with Garry who is there with me for the nappy changes in the middle of the night, to wipe the tears when I am over tired and frustrated, to gaze lovingly at our little ones, to laugh at some outrage.

park fun

sage in bloom
I have been trying to just focus on the important things. Keeping up with the washing, making sure we are all well fed and watered and time spent with each child doing what they need to do, be it reading stories or playing catch or endless hours on the boob.
herbs from the garden for veggie sausages
I am trying to keep up the good habits I developed in pregnancy, focusing on my well being: eating as cleanly as possible, sleeping when I can (even if I would rather stay up and watch that film or do some knitting) and getting outside every day.
nappies on the line

the back garden

a half sewn doll and Benny's school trousers that I cut into shorts for the lovely weather
But through this adjustment, there is so much joy. We are all growing, we are all enjoying each other. We are loving life, through all the little things.
Yesterday Joa asked if we could have a picnic for lunch, so we packed a sandwich and an apple and some squash and we went to the green at the top of the hill. Joa and I sat there for ages, eating, watching aeroplanes scribble across the sky, looking at bugs and enjoying the sun on our skin.

He said to me 'Mummy would you like to take all your clothes off to have a real 'lax in the sunshine'? I said I didn't really but he thought he might like to give it a try...

Special moments, all of them!

Monday, June 1, 2015

the day Ena arrived

the only picture of me in labour, mid contraction

just arrived! you can see the caul on the towel behind her head

meeting her Nana and brothers and sister for the first time

our wonderful midwife 

Garry cutting the cord

first snuggles with daddy

being weighed all 9lb 10 oz of her.
Wow, it is over 3 weeks since Ena arrived into our lives and I want to write our birth story before I forget all of the details.
The pregnancy was a long one. Luckily I felt so great all the way through, right through the due date and through 8 days of being over-due. I won't go into all of the pre-birth details, but suffice to say I was very ready for her to arrive 10 days before it finally happened.
 As is my usual pattern I was looking at going into hospital for a scan. I knew that I was so ready to have the baby that if we went into hospital they would never have let me out again to birth at home, being nervous about the water levels being low etc, which I was sure they would be and also the speed at which I deliver.
The night before I was quite upset, trying to get my head around the fact that we were not going to birth this baby at home and trying to come to terms with all of the logistics and organising going into hospital would take.
I woke the following morning with a sinking heart. The alarm had gone off to wake us up for school at 6.50am.  No baby and no signs of labour starting. I got up and went to the loo then got back into bed for 10 minutes. In bed I turned over and as I did I felt a 'clunk' and thought 'That's my waters'. As I thought this I felt a low wave of contraction beginning. I got up again and went back to the bathroom to clean up a little. As I did that I felt another strong, deep contraction. It brought tears to my eyes; tears of relief that I was finally in labour (at home) and also tears of fear (oh gosh this is going to hurt). 
Garry saw these emotions and I told him I was in labour he hopped out of bed and started organising. Bringing the boxes, sheets and blankets that we would need for the birth into the bedroom.
I remember wandering around our room and looking for something to wear. I always seem to have this issue in labour trying to find the right thing to wear. I tried on pyjamas and a couple of t-shirts which just didn't feel right and I ended up wearing one of my best dresses (go figure...maybe next time I will labour in a ball gown...who knows!)
At this point I took some rescue remedy and aconite (a homeopathic remedy for fear and fast birth) and called our midwife. I don't really remember the conversation, and I think I just hung up as another contraction took hold.
Garry took the phone and went to call our friend to see if she would come and get the kids and have them for the day instead of us worrying about getting them to school.
 At this point I felt a huge urge to push. I just couldn't believe it, that I needed to push already! I called for Garry and he came running. I don't know what I said to him, but I do remember telling him not to touch me at all. I stood at the end of the bed and worked with my body, allowing our baby to come out into the world and into her daddy's arms. 
I feel almost like Garry would be better to write this part as I don't remember much of it and he had a much more interesting experience, but he watched our baby emerge, with the membrane still intact. So he alone had the experience of seeing what she looked like in the womb. He guided our baby out into his arms and told me it was a little girl (which of course I didn't really believe as I was so sure I was having a boy, so I made him check again). He passed her to me, she still had the caul over her face and I brushed it away from her face and she took her first breath and started to cry and she was born. 
Our dear darling daughter. 
She was born at 7.15am, 15 minutes after my waters broke and I had the first contraction.
We made a little nest on the floor of towels and blankets and I sat there with her wrapped in towels. The cord was still attached so I made sure everything was covered well before the kids and Nana came in to meet her. 
We sat talking and cooing over her and we told them her name. 
Ena Moira Barrett. 
And none of us could believe she was finally here and that she was as perfect as she is. 
We called the midwife to let her know and we called my mum too. Then the kids said goodbye and went off with our friend for the day.
When the midwives arrived we had tea and told the story of Ena's birth for the first time. 
Garry cut Ena's cord and held her next to his heart. 
Shortly afterwards I put her to the breast and with one contraction I delivered the placenta. 
Then Ena was checked and weighed and dressed and I was checked and made comfortable in our bed. The midwives left and we had the most beautiful day snuggled in bed, the rain falling softly from the grey sky outside. The house was quiet and peaceful. It was a perfect start to our life with Ena.
It was like a dance her birth, it was so perfect and so calm and peaceful. It was the most special experience Garry and I could share; birthing our daughter, together, in our own way, as a team. It was so special that the children and her Nana got to meet her so soon after she was born, that they heard me birthing her and heard her first cry. 
It was so special and she is so special. 
Our perfect little girl, calm and peaceful and perfectly, perfectly her.