Monday, August 31, 2009

Jackson's Second Birthday

Happy Birthday Jackson!

We can't believe you are TWO! Have a wonderful Day Little Man!!!

We Love You!

Mommy, Daddy and Kaitlyn

Ireland

It has been a week since we went to Ireland. I still don't think I am caught up on sleep or back on Texas time, but that is okay. Ireland was a beautiful country. We spent four days in Dublin and then as the Irish say, "We hired a car to tour the country."

If you have time here is the link to our photos. I cut them down to about 350. A word of caution: I labeled the photos so they are not in order, but I will give you a quick rundown here and that may help with looking at the photos.
http://www.kodakgallery.com/ShareLanding.action?c=hhuz2tp.4ixt43x1&x=0&y=f12b4m&localeid=en_US&cm_mmc=site_email-_-site_share-_-core-_-view_photos_album

If you see a letter in front of the description of the photo, that is for the day so I can remember which days we did what - M, T, W, TH, F, S. We arrived in Dublin Monday around lunchtime. Our luggage didn't make it with us so we wore the same clothes to the Guiness Brewery and Storehouse ADP in Dublin that night. It was so nice of the hotel to provide us with tolietries and some clean underwear!

On Tuesday we toured the Wicklow Mountains and Powerscourt Estate. You will see these photos at the end of the slideshow. It shows an old monestary where the vikings roamed and St. Patrick and St. Kevin converted the people to Christianity in the early 12th century. They began using a Celtic Cross - the circle around the cross because the vikings worshiped the moon and sun.

On Wednesday, we took a quick tour of Dublin mostly in the bus of Dublin Castle, Trinity College, Christ Church where they were filming the HBO show, The Tudors. We also went to St. Patrick's Cathedral.

On Thursday, we went took the train north to Howth. This little town on the sea sits just above Dublin on the East coast. It was cute and had a long trail around the cliffs just outside of Howth.

Surprisingly, Dublin is pretty modern and Americanized. We heard lots of American music, and they had lots of different restaurants, including tons of Italian. We had Italian a couple of nights to get away from all of the beef and beef stew. Frankie's Italian Restaurant in Dublin has great food.

The pubs in Dublin are a dime a dozen and all very Irish and very ecclectic. We went with three other couples from the ADP Dallas office and one of them brought their five month old baby.

On Friday, we got a rental car and began the drive through the country. We did rent a GPS. It helped us a lot; however, we were confused by it a lot because the maps of Ireland are not totally up to date and it showed us driving off of the roads a lot. Brandon got the hang of driving on the other side of the road and how narrow the roads were. Everyone was very relaxed and it was okay to drive slow, but most people drove fast it seemed like.

We went to Cashel, which is an old Cathedral and Abbey sitting on top of a hill. You will see most of these castles and ruins have towers. They kept a lot of valuables in it - up top and a lot of people would try to hide in the top if the town was attacked. In Cashel, the townspeople all came to this Cathedral when the town was attacked and about 800 people ended up dying here. It had beautiful views and our tour guide there was so Irish. His name was Seamus.

We then drove through Cork, the second largest city after Dublin, and to our bed and Breakfast. This is where you see the sheep pics and garden pics. It was a nice bed and breakfast owned by a really nice family. They had a pub and restaurant down the road, very Irish country and so nice. We also went to the Blarney Castle and I kissed the Blarney stone. That was a little scary laying on your back upside down holding onto bars, but Brandon wasn't going to do it and one of us had to!

Then Saturday we were up early and drove around the Ring of Kerry down in the south, most of our scenic pictures are from here. The Ring of Kerry is just a scenic route through a penninsula with tons of history and scenic stops in towns.

We then made our was to Shannon and to our next bed and breafast. I didn't have any pics here because there really wasn't anything to see. We then went to the Cliffs of Moher and those were really pretty. The wind was strong and has been known to blow people off of the cliffs. We then wrapped up Saturday at the Durty Nelly pub next to the Bunratty Castle.

We left Sunday morning early and our plane was delayed five hours. We made it home after almost 18 hours of travel at 9:30 pm. We were so happy to be home.

The kids were with both grandparents while we were gone and did pretty well. This week has been tough getting back into a routine and Jackson and Kaitlyn do not want me to leave them for long. He did cry this weekend when he saw all the family as I think he thought we were going to leave. But overall, the reports were great and they were very busy with playing!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Ireland

Ireland is so cool. The people are really nice and Dublin has a ton to do and see. They like to have a lot of fun too. The pubs are great and we have listened to all of the music and saw some dancing. The Temple Bar area is the place to go.

We are burned out on the Irish beef stew, but believe it or not, we ate at a really good Italian restaurant.

The churches are great and went to Christ Church and St. Patrick's. There are two main Anglican churches and the Catholic churches are hidden away because the Catholics weren't allowed in the early 19th century so it is harder to find those churches. Very interesting history. They were filming an HBO show inside Christ Church and saw some of the setup, but no actors. We got to see where Guinness is made and that is central to Dublin. It has been cloudy, but only rained a little bit at night.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Countdown until Ireland

It is less than a week until we go to Ireland on Sunday! I can't believe and don't know how we are going to make it being away from Jackson and Kaitlyn for a week. It is going to be crazy! Get ready for a ton of pictures coming soon of Dublin and the south of Ireland.

Soccer time

So it is that time of year. We signed Kaitlyn up for soccer. The neighbor, Kaitlyn, who is also four and just two days older than our Kaitlyn signed up and they will be on the same team. They needed more coaches so who signed up - Brandon. He has never played soccer, but they are four year olds. How much are they really going to do? They play three on three on a small field.

There is a coach camp this week and my brother and his girlfriend, Amy came over last night to give some pointers. Amy coaches soccer and Stephen has played since he was very young. Amy said Kaitlyn has a good, strong kick.

So practices should be fun. Amy suggested making a lot of games out of teaching them to kick and stop the ball like all the girls kicking the ball to the coach and playing red light, green light. I think it will be a hilarious, fun time for the kids as well as the parents. I see Kaitlyn's competitive side and I think she will like it. Go Pink Panthers! That will be their name.

Brandon, I am sure will have no problem settling into a coach role. Some friends have said that it takes over on Saturdays! I love the fact that it will be a family affair and this is a big sign of growing up. Ah man, she is growing up too fast! And Jackson is about to be TWO? What is that all about?

And just for fun, here is a picture of Kaitlyn and Jackson. If you come by in the fall, we may just dress them up to "greet" trick or treaters. Maybe a ghost and a goblin. Hahaha. Just kidding. But this is a very good hiding place from me inside as they can totally fit into these windows and close the shutters behind them!