Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow...

Ahhh, spring break in Florida...the Sunshine State...the mecca for winter weary Northerners seeking respite from down parkas and Vitamin D deficiencies!

Ummm, not so much!!!!!!! Remember in a recent post how I mentioned our lack of luck? You know the "never even match a number on a lottery ticket" kind of bad luck???

We did make it to the beach EVERY day so far...the sun didn't but we sure aren't letting that old party pooper ruin our precious few days of spring break! In all honesty the sun has peeked out from behind the clouds a couple of times BUT then it saw the Mahoney family was still there and it went back in hiding!

We Mahoneys are a tough bunch though! Where there are 80 degree temperatures there we are, so off to the beach we go EVERY day (:

We have the routine down with every member carrying out his or her assigned duties like a well oiled machine! Patrick is in charge of producing shade for the Irish skinned members while the kids are in charge of chair set up and towel distribution. Auntie Peggy and I handle food and sunscreen duties.

We've done a LOT of reading!

And with 75 degree gulf water we have done a TON of swimming!!!

Boogie boards and piggy back rides through the gulf surf seemed like they were going to be the highlight of our days at the beach this vacation....until today!!

Until Mother Nature gave us one of her best shows ever!!!! Can you see it????

Today we swam with WILD DOLPHINS!!!!! I mean I was speechless for once in my life. This is just the kind of special memory we hope to give the children when we make trips like this together! We will be talking about today for YEARS to come!

But just like clockwork the beautiful day became...


So we washed off the sand and gathered up Grandpa...
So I could celebrate yet another birthday!!

Doesn't every girl deserve a tropical drink and dinner out with those she loves on her big day??
[Man I cannot deny being his daughter can I? When did I start looking so much like him???]

There is more rain in the forecast, of course! But we plan on having more fun in the water...

and Alyssa will spend another morning lathering on sunscreen as she whines,
"I want a  do-over! I wish I was born in Guatemala!"

and Mari will have a couple of more days of  wishing the beach came with air conditioning...

and I will have a couple more nights of  sending everyone off to bed with the assurance that,
"Surely the sun will come out tomorrow!"

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Springbreak Status

The car was packed efficiently and in a timely manner. The children all executed their school dismissal plans letter perfect and all seven of us were seated in a mini-van heading south by 4PM Friday afternoon. The weather co-operated. The traffic co-operated. The kids co-operated!!

Lots and lots of this....

and this went on over the next TWENTY hours!

The driving duties were split between Auntie Peggy and myself and we powered through the night only stopping for a 30 minute nap just north of Atlanta waiting for sunrise to help keep us from getting hypnotized by the headlights!

We knew we were conquering the 1300 miles as the morning dawned to Spanish Moss draped trees...

and blooming azaleas! Bummed to have missed my absolute favorite signs of spring as the Redbud trees were not visible in the dark ): but surely the trip home will reveal a purple haze spread across a Tennessee mountainside!

Then before we could be camera ready it happened!?!?!

We officially were welcomed by the state of Florida!!!

Before you knew it...okay four more hours of driving into Florida...we found my Dad pretty much in the same spot we left him when we left Sarasota last fall!

We emptied the car and fixed dinner and spent the first, of what we hope are many, evenings watching the sunset over the Gulf of Mexico!!!

Then we went for a night walk in the neighborhood

and now one by one they have crashed into their beds were I will be a nanosecond after I hit the publish button on this post!!

Friday, March 25, 2011

FFF- Our Choice

I'm surmising that it has "been that kind of a week" for a lot of us! Nora has decided that we should choose our own Favorite Friday Foto theme. Right up my alley since all I have to post today is a quick tribute to the talent in the family before popping SEVEN of us my mini-van and taking off on spring break!!!

It was quite a feat to even get today's pictures!!! I thought I was sooooo doing myself a favor to take Thursday off of work so I would have time to pack and prepare for our annual sojourn south. I don't have that kind of luck. I mean the almost NEVER even match ONE single number on the lottery ticket kind of bad luck!! Julia did finally get on a new antibiotic that pushed her back into the land of the living...just as Patrick succumbed. Then as I'm nursing the 'man cold'...[you know the "I can't even reach the remote" line from the commercial type of 'man cold']....Mari starts whining about a sore throat and runny nose!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am literally the last one standing and I have a 20 hour car ride to take with these petri dishes...count on my unhappily sick on the beach for my birthday post....I can feel it in my bones.

Anyhow, we had one last social event we HAD to squeeze in last night before we packed the car!

See, every family has that one person that is the complete package. In this generation that person would be my niece Mairead!! The girl is not only tall and gorgeous but she is a brainiac. She just received her acceptance letter to THE premier academic high school in Chicagoland!! She plays the flute so beautifully that at the last music competition not only did she receive an Outstanding but she was one of only two players to receive a PERFECT score from the judging panel!?!? ....and she does a ton of extra-curricular activities with her school like the volleyball and basketball pictures I've shared in the past. So no surprise that she also tried out for the school musical and made the cast of Thoroughly Modern Millie!

Now she was not the star but she did have a need to wear a microphone singing part and....

a tap dancing chorus member part!

The family came out to support her on the FIRST night jitters performance! Even with our impending departure we wouldn't miss such a momentous occasion!!

But my FFFoto of the night is...

The 1997 twins!!! You know this is going to be my Facebook profile picture shortly.
To see what other bloggers have selected for their FFF check out Nora's blog here.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Song of praise!

When the dog bites,
When the bee stings,
When I'm feeling sad,
I simply remember my favorite things.....

And then I don't feel so bad!!!!!!!!!!

Eating a big piece of humble pie when I say this but "I LOOOOVE my Urgent Care Center!!"  You see, when I was a naive and idealistic dental student I shunned the concept of a 'doc in a box'. I took the oppositional stand in every debate over the benefits of establishing such a health care facility. I vowed that neither myself nor any member of my family would EVER risk our lives by seeking medical care in such an environment!....then I had kids....

On Thursday we had a glorious 60 degree day. Julia frisked, like a colt let out of the barn, around our yard all afternoon. As she laid down for the night she told me her throat hurt. Assuming it was her allergies, I gave her an Alavert and told her it would probably be better in the morning....it wasn't. Since she had no fever, or any other symptom, I sent her off to school with the advise that it was probably her allergies mixed with a little virus. She walked out of school and climbed in the car with the words, "My throat still isn't better Mom!" We went home and took her temperature. Normal! Clearly a virus so I gave her Motrin for the pain and inflammation and told her to be patient.

This morning I woke to a little girl who had dragged herself to the couch...and was now sporting a 100 degree fever. She has quite a history of Strep. 8 times in 12 months at one point in 2nd grade. Back in the earliest of posts on this blog I told of another time when my stoic little lady even progressed into Scarlet Fever because her Strep had not given her enough pain to warrant a complaint!!!!! Her last bout of Scarlet Fever came just before a scheduled trip to Florida.....we're supposed to be leaving in 6 days?!?!?!?
So off to the Urgent Care we went this morning. Forty minutes later we were walking back in our front door!!! I mean it almost takes that long to just sign in at the Emergency Room and at least that long waiting in the pediatrician's office just to get shown to an exam room. The Urgent Care nurse took her right back and did the Strep swab first thing. While we waited for it to 'bake' they did the usual vitals, registered her health history and insurance information in their system, had the 'doc in the box' check her over and within 2 minutes of him leaving the exam room he was back in with a prescription pad in hand...because OF COURSE it was positive!!!

She's had a veeeery rough day. Fever kept climbing all day [well between doses of Tylenol and Motrin anyhow] and the voice is now officially gone. But she had a couple of doses of antibiotics today so here's hoping the night is uneventful and the morning dawns with our Julia back to her usual sweet self!!

This is the third time I've taken one or the other of the girls there and I've even used their services twice! I really do looooooove my Urgent Care Center. They make this Mom's life so much better with the time they save in her busy routine. Time to enjoy more of my favorite things...

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Everyone's Irish Today!!

Guess you could have all placed bets on the fact that I'd manage to get a post up today?!?!? How does the wife of an Irishman named Patrick NOT make a fuss over the feast day of the patron saint of Ireland? But I do have moments when I angst over the attention paid to things Irish. While Patrick and I both share the same cultural and racial identity our daughters live a conundrum. Racially they are Guatemalan/Hispanic/Mayan and culturally they are American/Irish...not your everyday suburban inhabitant to say the least!

There's already a sector of Americans who find it hard to look at my daughters' faces and see "American". Some even visibly start when they hear them speak in their flat mid-western accents...they assume my girls will roll their R's and speak some variation of Spanglish?!?! So imagine the reactions when my two year old Julia would say in her mid-western/Irish accent, "Mommy I'm tirsty!" Or the explaining I had to do to Mari's kindergarten teacher on how very CORRECT she had been on her articles of clothing alphabet project when for the letter G the word GANSEY was written?!?! [Irish word for cardigan sweater used EXTENSIVELY in this house] Then there was the whole 'amadon' incident at the park one day.....well lets suffice it to say that the other mother was not smiling as my four year old piped up  "My Daddy says it is the same as a mu-or-on!" Hey, at least we no longer 'Hoover' our carpets or write with 'Biros' and he has even learned to put his mess in the 'basura' and 'comida'  on his plate!!!

We really do try to balance our three different worlds. As a matter of fact we try to seek out and embrace many different cultures! We've done Chinatown in San Francisco as well as Chicago. We've done Italian, German, and Greek summer festivals. Last Monday we met a group of families formed through international adoption at an Ethiopian restaurant!!!! .....but Irish still seems to predominate in our lives. So.....

We went to our local St. Patrick's Day parade last Saturday!

Our Irish knit GANSIES on and decked out in all things green,




and GREEN!!!

 Julia, Auntie Peggy, and myself cheered and waved flags...

While Alyssa, Mairead, and friend pretended they weren't interested in the candy being thrown....
and Mari and Deirdre marched with their dance school!...and Patrick went to work shaking his head at the antics.

It was a gusty COLD day and one little girl was worn to the bone.

Okay, the big girl was pretty wiped out as well!!!!
But as all good Irish women do.....

I had put the corned beef in the crock pot in the morning so frozen little American/Irish/Guatemalan girls could revive themselves!! I mean look at her savoring the delectable bite of that most enigmatic of St. Patrick's Day foods?!?!? Where else but in America is it no big deal for a child born in Guatemala to eat corned beef on Saturday with the Irish and injera and tibs on Monday with Ethiopians?

So while I may have a moment or two of angst over the favoritism that the Irish part of our triumvirate receives, today we will have a traditional Irish breakfast...
....modified a bit! Usually that plate would sport some fried tomatoes and black pudding, as well as the bangers[sausages], rashers[bacon], eggs, spuds, and beans. Tomatoes are not in season right now and not even the Irishman can stomach black pudding....aka BLOOD sausage, yuck AND gross!!

And for dinner we will fix the TRUE national dish of Ireland!!!

You see, corned beef while delicious is an American phenomenon! It was the closest thing that Irish immigrants could find to their comfort food....Bacon and Cabbage!! Not bacon as in the streaky, smoke cured stuff Americans eat for breakfast but a wet cured pork loin. Took me calling one of my Irish sister-in-laws for help the first time Patrick requested "A nice bit o'boilin' bacon with pandy." [FYI, 'pandy', 'boxty', and 'shpuds' would all be interchangeable words for mashed potatoes!!! ]
As is their custom, my girls will fight for the last banger in the morning and sniff over the simmering pot of Bacon and Cabbage after school clamoring for dinner to be served. They will plaster shamrock tattoos on their cheeks in the morning before school and wear green. They will run to the TV every time they hear Irish music to see "if we know any of the dancers" and they will chortle at their father's tales of growing up on a farm in Ireland. ....Heck, today is St. Patrick's Day and even little girls from Guatemala who live in Chicago are Irish today!!!!!!!!!!! 

Saturday, March 12, 2011

FFF- Interview

After an educational career in which I successfully mastered aliphatic compounds and differential maxillofacial pathology, you'd think I'd have no issues with uploading a video from my camera to my blog....but you would be wrong!!! In more hours than I care to admit I think I have finally managed to load an interview I did this afternoon with my daughter Julia...I think...I mean there is no real way to check until after I hit the publish button?!?!? Seriously, this has me FRUSTRATED!!

One time in the past I tried to upload a video. It never was a successful endeavor. So many of my Blogger buddies and Facebook friends post them with such frequency that I feel there must be some tutorial out in the nether world of the internet but where??  I have two new, state of the art computers that upload my pictures in the blink of an eye yet a video takes the same time it took to make shrimp tacos, eat said tacos, make a bowl of popcorn, eat said popcorn. Then there was the eternity it took for Blogger to upload it from my video file on my computer. A kind Etsy friend once gave me a suggestion to get my pictures uploaded onto my site which worked wonders. Any kind Blogger friends have a suggestion on how to post videos sometime this decade?

Camera shy Mari asked to be interviewed for tomorrow's post!!! It may be months before that request is repeated so I'd love to jump on her interest...but the thought of waiting through another Blogger upload ....I'd rather crack open a Calculus textbook ..or cook fried liver...or scrub the grout in my bathroom!

  To see more FFF posts check out Nora's blog here.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Confirmation Time

As we head into Lent I think it appropriate to jump this post ahead of a few others waiting. On Monday night two more of the cousins embraced their adult role in the church!

Mairead Eileen had my first cousin Eileen as her sponsor and took Caoimhe as her confirmation name. Caoimhe, not one of the top 10 saint's names for sure! As a matter of fact, Cecilia was the clear 'winner' in this years confirmation name choice for girls in our parish. Mairead decided to keep with the 'theme' of having names taken from the Irish language. Why, when she has spent her whole life explaining how to pronounce her first name??  She's that thoughtful of a girl, that's why!! Caoimhe is pronounce kee-vee...just like it's spelled, right (:  So Mairead [Irish for Margaret and pronounced like 'parade' but with an M] shared her confirmation with......

Andrew McAllister who had Uncle Peter as his sponsor and took....PETER as his confirmation name! The Drewster was leaning toward the current trend of just reaffirming you baptism name but had an 'a hah' moment when it came time to select a sponsor and decided it was his honor to share a name with THE favorite uncle in the family (:

I'm a little less than inspired to prose tonight. Thought I'd let the pictures speak for themselves....

Mari felt a little left out as she is one of the '97 triplets but her December birthday puts her a grade behind Andrew and Mairead so she came to check out what she's in for next year!

The godparents there for him at another sacrament of initiation!!

 Playing with my camera while waiting for the festivities to commence...do not know why some of the above are looking out of focus here on Blogger?!?!? They aren't like that in my photo album on my PC. Have had a frustrating week trying to re-sync all my old and new computer files so I guess I've got to go trouble shoot another problem now!