Friday, January 2, 2015

Major New Year's Catch Up

I know, I know, I can explain. The past few months have been absolutely hectic for me and my gang. It's impossible to backtrack and try and cover all of the points and places that I've been. I can give a teaser anyway. And so I'll explain what I mean with my annual...

2014 Year in Review

Moved into our own apartment

  We've really been happy here. There really is nothing like having our own space and creating our own home. We've had a great time hosting various get togethers, BBQ's, and even Thanksgiving. I still pinch myself. If you want the full run down on the apartment check out this post from earlier in the year.

Let's just cut right to the chase...I got pregnant!

I've actually been really spoiled with my pregnancy. I've been EXHAUSTED, nauseous, and downright moody (poor Scarecrow) but on the whole I haven't had it bad at all. So here we are, with only about 5 weeks left, and I'm ridiculously excited.

Got to play tourist and tour guide to some pretty cool Americans 

 I LOVE when friends come to visit. I live in an amazing country and I know it. I love showing it off and sharing my favorite places. Not to mention I get to be reminded what an actual American accent sounds like.

Helped to organize a nationwide youth conference for the teenagers in church

 This was a completely exhausting, frustrating, but worthwhile endeavor. The event took place over the August bank holiday weekend and involved housing, feeding, entertaining, and inspiring over 100 kids aged 14-18. It took months to organize and my poor Scarecrow took a lot of the brunt and burden, especially in an effort to make sure I didn't do too much. Besides the actual logistics beforehand he refused to go to bed before 3am every night of the conference in an effort to make sure the kids were safe in their houses. I love being around the teenagers and their happy, eager, good natures. But am I glad that it'll be another 6 years before we have to do something like this again? Absolutely. Immediately after the weekend the Scarecrow and I snuck off to a hotel and hid for a few days. There are few things that breakfast in bed and a trip to the spa won't cure.

 Watched my baseball team, the Kansas City Royals, make it not only to the post season, but to a league championship and to the World Series. 

I won't lie, I was really sad that I wasn't in KS for this. It was some October. I did my best to support the side from over here. I would wake up at all hours just to catch a few innings. Pregnancy insomnia was actually pretty convenient around this time. The Scarecrow even watched a few with me. I think I created another superfan. And as we always say in Kansas City, there's always next year. I think this time though people actually believe it.

It's never enough to look to the past. You've got to be willing to look forward as well. And we all know how I feel about lists. So here we go with my...

2015 To-do List

Have a baby
Not really an option here. Baby's coming one way or the other. I start my maternity leave in about 2 weeks and the baby is due about another 2 1/2 weeks after that. It's definitely starting to get real.
Figure out what I want to be when I grow up
I don't want to be a tech support agent for the rest of my life. I'd like to get into my field, but if that doesn't happen then I'm at least going to work on getting closer to what I really want. 

Create meaningful habits
That means spiritual habits, physical habits, and emotional habits. And yes, keeping up with my blog is one of those habits.

So here's to a new year with new and exciting adventures. Another year with my family, the ones I have and the ones I'll have soon. I can't wait to see where it all goes.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014


Before we begin, welcome to Spring!

In case anyone has figured it out yet from my experiences, being an expat is hard. It's one thing to study abroad as a student, knowing that you're in a temporary experience and will soon return to the familiar. It is something completely different to make the conscious decision to make living in another country your reality. It is exciting to start from scratch and learn an entirely new system of living and working. But that's not to say it isn't one of the most challenging things you'll ever do either.

I am so blessed to have the Scarecrow in my life. As much as I've always been fascinated by Ireland I don't think I would have ever made the decision to live here permanently if it weren't for him. He makes living here infinitely easier for me. He understands our insurance. He knows where to go to get the car fixed. He understands jokes, slang, and hot topics that would fly over the head of anyone who hasn't lived here their entire life. And I have finally realized that I have come to use him as a crutch. Sometimes I worry that I won't get it right; that I'll say the wrong thing. And so we go together. Certainly that's what marriage is about, working together as a team. But we need to learn that I can handle it.

A couple of weeks ago the Scarecrow heard about a meteorology and monitoring symposium to be held in Galway on the radio. Since I subscribe to the list serve of the Irish Meteorological Society I'd heard about it but hadn't thought much of it. He asked me if I was planning to go. I had assumed when I first heard that I would have to work, we would have some other activity planned, etc. But when I realized my weekend was free I decided what the heck!

We had toyed around with the idea of the Scarecrow coming along, hanging out in the city or maybe golfing with a friend. But when none of those ideas panned out we realized how silly it would be for him to tag along when he would be much happier at home. This seems a little ridiculous given that I'm a grown and capable woman, but I was a nervous to DRIVE by myself, navigate the city, figure out where to go, and be comfortable in a setting where I knew absolutely no one. And I think the Scarecrow was nervous too. That's when I realized that I have allowed him to become my security blanket. Of course I need to rely on my husband. Naturally he is my greatest support and cheerleader. But I can't be afraid to do things on my own.

I have no idea how people make such a transition on their own, without a "native tour guide" like I've been blessed with. These people are certainly braver than I can ever be. But my new goal is to take more opportunities to stretch and do my own thing without the Scarecrow there to take the lead.

I leave you with your Irish tid bit. Everyone loves a good flash mob, especially when it's local! For some perspective, the Scarecrow works just next to this airport.

Thursday, March 13, 2014


This is more of a plea for help/advice post. You may recall from my last post that I was most worried about the Scarecrow and Toto adjusting to the new flat. Turns out that it's Maybelle that I should have been concerned with. She has NOT been adjusting as well as I thought she would have. I thought that she would have been happy anywhere, as long as she was with us. She'd been pretty mopey apparently when she was left at our previous residence. But now she's developed all sorts of nasty habits.

For example, the first night we brought her over she whimpered, whined and barked in the living room from her bed and wouldn't relax unless I was in the room. So I spent her first night sleeping on the couch. I've had to do it one other night as well. She's gotten better about that the past few nights so I've been able to enjoy the comfort of my own large, luxurious mattress.

Next, Scarecrow walked in and found Maybelle chilling on the sofa that is not strictly ours. No good. I went into town today and experimented with the good ol' tin foil on the couch trick. And I can verify that it did indeed work. So for extended trips outside the house there is now a long strip of tin foil that will be gracing our sofa. So there's 2 bad habits knocked out of the sweet pup.

Bad habit #3, taking food off of the counter. She has a track record with this from her half-starved rescue dog phase. She once ate an entire loaf of bread and half a tub of butter. No wonder she's on a diet now. But today Toto forgot her breakfast on the counter and let's just say it wasn't there for long after. I think the only thing to really do here is for us to not leave appealing foods for her on the counter.

The habit that is currently distressing me the most is her inability to do her business outside during her walks. She's had a couple of major accidents inside and it seems as though she's just holding it in until she can't wait anymore. And that seems to generally occur when we are out of the house and she can't be taken outside. We walk her at least twice a day, generally along the same route in order for her to get comfortable. She has done the deed in the pebble half of our patio and so I was hoping that it would become her "spot" where she could smell her territory. Today I even took some of her, ahem, presents and put them outside in the pebbles in the hopes that she would realize that this is where it should go. I generally think that she'd much rather be inside with us or walk with us that she's putting off this basic function.

So besides getting her to go where she's supposed to go I am also wanting to find ways to keep her entertained during the day. Between Scarecrow, Toto and myself we are generally out of the house anywhere from 6-8 hours a day. I feel terrible that all she's doing is lying around all day long. And so I'm trying to research ways to keep her somewhat occupied during the day.

I'm sorry if this seems like rambling, but I am really worried about this sweet girl. I don't see the point of having a pet unless you're going to responsibly take care of that pet. And so, dear pet owner friends, I'm appealing for any tips, suggestions or advice. How can I help my country dog become an apartment dog and be happy about it?

Maybelle was a great comfort to me when I first moved here. She gave me someone to love when I felt alone during the day when the Scarecrow was at work. I want to be a comfort for her now.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Return of the Twister

The Twister has come again. This time it's swept the Scarecrow, Toto and this ruby slippered girl into an adorable 2 bedroom flat right in the area we wanted to be. I can hardly believe it! From viewing the apartment to moving in it was only about 2 weeks. We've since been moved in for 1 week. I'll be honest, it's not the cute little house I imagined our first place would be. But it's adorable and I love it. It's about a 20 minute walk home for Amy from her bus through a residential area and about 25 minutes walk for me to work. It's a ground floor flat which is perfect for Maybelle and even boasts a little patio area. Let the projects begin! (Caution ahead, lots of pictures. Yep, I'm excited!)

Our Target bedding that we still love. Our room came with two bed side lockers, a dresser, and a BIG, BRAND NEW MATTRESS! We opted to swap the bedside lockers and dressers for our own. Definitely kept the mattress!

The master bedroom is really big. The space from the wall to the wardrobe is thankfully big enough for both of our dressers to fit. I was worried we'd have to try and share. Yeah, that wouldn't have worked at all. Scarecrow has way too many clothes.
Oh, and the wardrobe is massive. I can finally see my shoes!

En suite shower! Praise the Lord! It also just had the shower head replaced given that for about 4 days we thought it was broken. Turns out there's just a pump that has to be turned on for it to work. Never mind that now we have to turn on the sink first in order for it to work. Call it a quirk. Also, check out the super cute bathmat. Only Penney's finest for this crowd.
The other side of the en suite. Why yes, that is a giant blank wall that I want to fill somehow. And yes, I did have to stand in the shower to get this shot. No shame here.

We waited about a week before bringing this sweet thing over. She's been a little anxious but hopefully she'll learn just as when we first got her that we aren't going to abandon her or forget to feed her. She wouldn't stop whimpering from her bed in the living room last night so I slept on the couch. This too shall pass...hopefully.

You thought you'd seen all the bathrooms? Oh no, my dear friends! Main bathroom sports a lovely bathtub and an eclectic selection of tiles and a stenciled mirror. As Tim Gunn would say, make it work.

Don't mind the dog collar. Madam Maybelle had herself a bath today. Managed to spray all the walls pretty good. Thankfully each bathroom comes equipped with a smaller HEATER to remove all water spots from the wall. This is going to be mainly Toto's bathroom. She has an adorable little room that she's decided to give a French theme. No pictures of that, no way I'm breaching that privacy agreement.

There's a really good sized open space right when you walk in that then branches off into all of the separate rooms. Seems a little unusable/wasted. I can't decide exactly what to do with this little gem of an alcove. Toss up between book shelf or coat area. There's also a LOT of white walls in this area that will need some TLC. Currently the only piece of art in here is a Van Gogh poster that was in the back of Toto's closet. Hey, it was framed and is well proportioned. Not my favorite of his but it'll do for now.

I have felt so terrible that we haven't been able to use hardly any of the beautiful wedding presents that we were given a year and a half ago. Ask the Scarecrow, the pile of wedding presents outside our bedroom was a constant source of frustration to me. Now to try and figure out how to appropriately show them off.

Our main space consists of a living room/dining room/kitchen arrangement. The couches are pretty new and so is the coffee table. The only additions we've brought to this so far are a corner TV unit and a bookshelf currently stuffed with DVDs. Oh, and Grandma Pat's beautiful, handmade afghan along with some cute pillows we picked up in Heaton's. We only went for glass jars for flour and rice. Left with just a bit more. OK, more than a bit.

See, giant bookshelf of DVDs. I think the majority of the boxes we brought had DVDs in them. They are the Scarecrow's vice. Better than drinking I guess. See second adorable little couch by the door and awesome little corner unit for the TV. Also note the LARGE amount of WHITE wall space. Trying to come up with apartment friendly projects for this. I found where they sell Command hooks. That will definitely help.

My sweet Scarecrow's contribution to decorating thus far. I worked late nights this past week and told him I was feeling slightly overwhelmed with unpacking and organizing everything. Came home to dishes done, laundry folded, and perfect little touches like this. That painting of the Kansas City Temple was the first thing we hung (there was already a hook there). I thought I wouldn't leave it since it looked so small and lonely on that big wall. But I think next to everything on top of the shelf it's perfect now. Perhaps we'll get a copy of the Family Proclamation to accompany it.

The view from the door of our "living room". Maybelle's bed is the latest addition though she much prefers laying exactly behind you when you're working in the kitchen.

One entire wall of the "main room" makes up the kitchen. You've got to hand it to the Europeans, they know how to get a lot out of a little. The appliances include a freezer unit (far left corner), washer/dryer (left of center), oven and stove top (right of center) and refrigerator (far right). No dish washer, but it's worth if for having a full size freezer instead. Loads of storage too.

Perhaps one of my favorite things. Lovely wedding gifts on our table including our I Can't Believe It's Not Buddha butter dish from Grandma. She just gets me.

She's been following me EVERYWHERE. Poor thing, she's just so confused.

We bought ourselves a big Le Cruset pot with some wedding money. I love it against our hunter green back splash. Here's to years of stews and crusty bread with this bad boy!

A mix of wedding presents, Christmas presents, and moving out presents. I don't know why but this cabinet makes me really happy.

Why is there an adorable box sitting on a table behind our couch? It's holding a wonderful little secret.

Yep, the modem for our 50 M BROADBAND!!!! This blog post is brought to you by UPC, giving me the fastest internet I've ever had in my life. And a big shout out to Pinterest for the cute way to hide the ugly modem and assorted cables.

And the box of magic and phone sit atop a gift from Scarecrow's aunt and uncle. I wasn't sure if we'd have space for the pair of them but I'm glad we did. Now to jazz this glass topped, gold legged beauty up. I feel a project coming on.

Yep, still watching. And not laying in her bed. Such a funny creature.

How we've managed to fit so much into such a small space. Suitcases and under bed storage bins. 12 euro in Dunnes but absolutely worth it. The bin with the red box in it contains all of our current holiday decorations. Gotta love smart storage solutions.

Large window and glass door leading out to our patio. The place feels so much bigger thanks to this gem. There is SO much light thanks to being a ground floor, corner apartment. And yes, another project. This bad boy definitely needs some curtains. Hoping to hit up Guinney's today and praying they have something good.

Our patio! The clothes horse will be leaving soon. Planning to have a small container garden. There's someone that lives in the same unit as us in another one of the apartment buildings who has totally pimped their patio. I'm talking mosaic tile on the ledge, gate leading to the parking lot (very jealous) and a retractable awning. Hopefully we'll be moving into a house in about a year but I'm still hoping to make this feel as much like home as possible.

It has taken some adjusting, I think for Toto most of all as she was with her mom this past week (our first full week). I'm hoping she'll be happy. I'm hoping Scarecrow will be happy. They've both lived most of their lives in Scarecrow's parents house. It's new and different, but here's to making this little place our home.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Rolling with the punches

Or a second title, The one that never was.

Life is full of disappointments. It sucks, but it happens. We learn to deal with them and then have to move on. That's just the way it goes. I perhaps set myself up for the most recent disappointment. I treated an unknown as a sure thing. I jumped up and down, got excited, and in general got my heart so set on it that when it didn't work out I was devastated.

We thought we had a place to move to. It was in the perfect neighborhood. It was the perfect price. It allowed for pets. It was a solid, good house that we would have loved and taken great care of. Unfortunately, the previous tenant did not take such great care of it. And as we put in our repair requests to the landlord we learned that he didn't care about taking care of it either. He was unwilling to do ANY of the things that we requested, all of which were entirely reasonable. Even the owner of the leasing agency says that he was out of line and she hoped that they never rented the place. I'm talking about things like taking molding carpet out of the bathroom and removing stickers from the wall. And so we walked away.

Yep, pretty stinkin' adorable.

I had imagined where we would put our Christmas tree. I'd already had ideas for a couple of projects that I would do. I mentally prepared for friends and family to come and visit. And now I have to forget all of that. It was probably too good to be true if it had worked out. I know that good things do happen to good people, but lately it seems that good things happen to Scarecrow and I only through extreme diligence and humility. Perhaps that's what is required here...again.

One of my favorite quotes from Mother Theresa: "I know God won't give me anything I can't handle. I just wish he didn't trust me so much." It's safe to say I feel like it applies here.

But it's not all sadness and gloom on the Emerald Isle.

Last weekend the Scarecrow and I were able to make one of our 2014 goals happen; visiting the temple. We went as chaperones for the kids in church on a whirlwind, overnight trip to the London temple. What a great 24 hours! I love spending time with the kids in church and it was great to get away from it all, even only for a short time.

Our little gang

Read the top, Ryan Air is so funny

For those unfamiliar, we believe that the temple is the house of God. We don't hold regular church meetings there but instead participate in sacred work both for ourselves and for those who have passed away. You may remember that Scarecrow and I were married in the Kansas City temple. Our kids participated in what is known as baptisms for the dead. Since we believe that everyone over the age of 8 should be baptized, this is a service where we can physically stand in for those who have died and be baptized on their behalf. We don't believe this forces those souls into anything because we know that even after we die we are given the ability to choose. And those individuals who are baptized even when they are dead have the choice whether or not to accept the work that is done for them in the temple. It's a great feeling to be able to serve.

Despite the downs, we certainly have some pretty good ups.

Couldn't resist this sweet picture

Not really an Irish tidbit, but a point of interest for you. Tomorrow is the Scarecrow's birthday! I won't give up his age (he is older than me if you didn't already know), but he has decided that he is "30-sexy" this year. Please don't kill me for sharing babe, I just think that's too funny!