I am Santa Experience at Rosnakill Mum

Before Christmas, we were invited to visit Santa at his magical wonderland at Rosnakill Community Centre in Donegal.  Having NO idea what to expect, we set off on an adventure one snowy, cold afternoon.

What we were going to, was possibly THE loveliest Santa Experience we’ve ever had.

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On arrival

The hall was decorated from the front hall. Trees and bunting and lights everywhere. Christmas music was playing and we were met at the door by lovely Elves.

 

We were led into Mrs Claus’s sitting room, where she called the roll.  I cannot tell you the SHOCK on Mini-Me’s face when their names were called out! Priceless.

Mrs Claus read them stories and then they were whisked off to ELF SCHOOL, where a cast of superbly talented young elfies reenacted some scenes from ELF, songs and all. Buddy even created his Candy Spaghetti…and ATE it! Yuck!  But the kids just LOVED it.  After “singing songs for all to hear” the kids were lead off through a magical tunnel to the next part of the journey.

 

I’ve never seen so many lights. Everything was covered and it truly was beautiful.

Off we went to the next room, where cookie decorating and colouring were set up.  Each family had their own personalise table, with more candy and sweeties than Buddy the Elf would have been able for.  The girls took to their tasks with gusto, and Mammy and Daddy helped too.

Then, the lovely Ladies went around with freshly cooked Pancakes! AND hot chocolate. The atmosphere in this room was electric as one by one, the elves called the different families in to meet Santa.

And then it was our turn.

Santa’s room was AMAZING! And Santa was soooooo lovely.  He took time to speak to the girls and laughed a bellylaugh when Mini-Me told him she was probably on BOTH lists because sometimes she forgot to be good.

We got more sweets, two gift bags and our photographs taken by an Elf. (I must give special mention to this little Elf.  Wise beyond her years and oh so eloquent and confident.  She was amazing!)

We returned to the room to collect our pictures and art. There were even calendars for them to colour in and take home, as well as little decorations.

The presents knocked me off my feet.  Personalised, handmade reindeer.  Each one with a little scarf that was hand-knit by a local Mammy.

ANd of course, Mammy got her photo taken with Santa too!

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Yes. I shall always end up on Santa’s knee 🙂

This is no ordinary village hall.  How could it be with the people who are running it?  The imagination, the attention to detail, the effort, the pride, the community spirit… The love that went into this project was infectious.    The group who ran it were working harder than any elves I’ve ever seen.  The atmosphere was incredible.

The visit lasted just under an hour, and we all left happy, fed and full of Christmas spirit. Then a few days afterwards, this photograph arrived in the post from Santa.

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Yes, she’s wearing wellies.

This experience books up quickly, and I see why.  We can’t wait to return next year.

Well done to all involved and thank you for having us.

The S-Mum

 

(Mammy and the family were invited guests of Santa, but all comments and reviews are honest and reflective of the experience we had.)

I am So Glad I Did

Mammy had a near birth experience on Friday.

Where did this happen? In the arms of Jim.

You see Mammy, being the turbotwat that she is, decided that yes indeed, of COURSE, she would take part in the current members’ challenge. Mammy is young and fit and as able as the other (actually) young and nimble Jim-goers she trains with.

Mammy is just as strong and hardy as the 20 somethings whose pelvises have yet to be battered by the joy of carrying their minions, and whose lady-bits don’t rebuke them for over exerting themselves with threats to pee, or you know, BURST, mid-burpee.

Yes. Of course Mammy could row 500 metres at great speed, for Mammy is a fucking legend. Mammy is also, a deluded twat.

And so Mammy sat her legging covered posterier onto the rowing machine beside one of her lovely training buddies. The crowd gathered around, most of them genuinely encouraging, some possibly hoping Mrs R would slide off the machine and land on her arse. Regardless, ALL were glad that the seats of both machines were inhabited by arses OTHER than their own.

And so began the row. “3,2,1 GO!” shouted Mr Fucking Motivator. We began our jaunt. “Go, go, go! Keep it steady. That’s good. You can do it. Pace yourself… “

In the midst of the calls and cheers from the onlookers, I can hear The Him in my ear. I can hear my comrade breathing beside me as she too realises after 100 metres that there is a very strong possibility that we are both going to require defibrillation after this. Peter, our lovely new other Mr Motivator is in her ear, muttering similar encouraging things to her…“You’ve got this. You can do it. That’s it. Good good good…”

“Pace yourself” mutters Him in my ear. (Him should know from experience that the words “Pace Yourself” might as well be “Here’s another bottle” to me.) Mammy does not know what these words mean.

And so Mammy tears on, partially determined to do this, mostly terrified of looking like a twat in front of all of these lovely peoples. “Shit” Mammy mumbles as the strap begins to loosen on her right foot. “Fix my right strap” Mammy gasps between rows. The Him begins to fix the left strap. “TheOTHERrightstrapyouTwat!” Mammy screams (in one breath!) Encouraging cheers now erupt in to laughter.

“Half way” announces Peter. He has to be joking obviously. We have by now, rowed the length of the fricken Irish Sea. We must have been going for 37 minutes.

“Faaaaaaack” I’m not sure if that was me or my lovely comerade beside me. We’re both struggling. I am now breathing like what I imagine a tortoise giving birth to an elephant would sound like.

I’m pretty sure that there are women who have given birth to triplets, each weighing 8lb+, without drugs, who have sworn less and breathed less than me. I sound like a foghorn. Like a Baby Walrus calling for his Mammy. Like a confused cow who’s just had its nipples clamped. It’s not good. My hands are so sweaty, I can’t hold the handle much longer.

“Nearly there!” calls The Him.

“I can’t do it. I’m done”  roars Mammy.

“No you’re not. keep rowing. Don’t you dare stop!” The crowd begin to roar and cheer as my buddy beside me glides across the 500 mark. I have about 50 metres to go apparently. I can’t feel my arms. My legs feel EXACTLY how they did those times I had epidurals. In fact, I’m pretty sure there are women giving birth in the nearby hospital with less sweat, swearing and tears than me right now. I can’t breathe. My chest is closing. My head is spinning. I may puke. I want to cry. The crowd are cheering and The Him is still whispering “Come on. You’re nearly there.” I want to kill him. I want him to shut the fuck up, and yet I hear only his voice as my body gives in to the last surges and I DO IT!

I hear myself let out a roar and I push through what can only be described as HELL to get that number to 0. I only know I’m finished because of the noise of my buddies. My body is numb. My head is spinning. I have just rowed for at least 94 minutes. I am a machine…

“Well done!” they chorus, laughing and clapping; energized by our race.

“Good woman” gasps my lovely rowing buddy, who is all her youthful glamour and beauty, is (I am glad to see) looking equally as fucked as I currently feel.

“That’s my girl” The Him whispers as I lie on the floor. (I will hurt him later, I think, when I regain control of my body.)

Turns out, my ordeal lasted 2 minutes 11 seconds. I’m pretty fecking proud of that!

Turns out, it’s really easy to give up and decide that I can’t do something.

Turns out that with the right voices in my ear and the right people around me, I can actually do anything I fecking put my mind to.

If he’d let me give up when I said I was done, I would have. I would have given up and thought that I just couldn’t do it. But I didn’t.

The human body is amazing, but the mind is so much more powerful. And stubbornness. Stubbornness and pride can help you across any finish line. 🙂

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I am Speed-Clean Queen Mum

Good evening, on this, the 83rd of January, 2018.
 
It is Sunday night once again. Mammy has a list of things she needs to do, but after running around the house for the past 90 minutes finding schoolbags, and lunchboxes and searching for the magical tie and parts of the uniform that get blown to the 4 corners of the earth on a Friday evening, Mammy is fit for NOTHING except parking her posterier on the sofa.
 
Mammy had some lovely friends over for an impromptu dinner last night. Mammy spent 45 minutes speed cleaning the rooms in which her lovely friends would be. It is amazing just how much Mammy can get done when faced with the thought of lovely friends coming to visit. (Not that lovely friends give a continental shite what state Mammy’s Layer of Love is in, but still.) And so Mammy managed to blitz the kitchen, tidy, move, clean bathrooms, mop floors and clean glass, all so that she could apologize for the “state of the place” when the lovely friends arrived.
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How ridonculous eh?
 
“Good evening Lovely Friends, please doooooo come in and look at how homely and coziful Mammy’s practically perfect in every way home is on this fine evening. I must apologize for the layer of love. Please do not judge Mammy for the mess of her candlelt kitchen… Woulds’t one likest some cucumber in one’s gin?
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Ready for catch ups

 
And of course the response from one of the lovely friends was “Yeah yeah. The place looks great. Shut up and start pouring.”
 
The evening was lovely until Princess decided to have her firt EVER nightmare just before 1am. The poor little cretur screamed so loudly that one of Lovely Friends almost spilled her cucumbery gin over herself. And so Mammy had to bid her lovely friends Adieu and take the High-temperatured, sweaty little shaking mess away from the “Bug Bear under me bed” and into our bed.
On the up side, The Him was happily left entertaining lovely friends AND HE did all the cleaning up of Mammy’s showhouse worthy kitchen before he went to bed. And so the remnants of the Heavenly Indian takeaway we had, were gone when I got up.
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Could lick the screen…

 
Fear not however my Mammies. The house is once again a mess and all pretentious notions have left Mammy. Mammy is back in reality, smiling at how quickly Mini-Me and Princess recreated their Layer of Love and glad to have such Lovely friends to speed-clean-for-them-to-not-notice anyway.
I am now ready for bed, hoping and praying that there is no bear or monster under Princess’s bed tonight.
Hope you had a lovely weekend and that you are ready for the last 38 days of January.
The S-Mum

I am Some Time, Sometimes Mum

Mammy wrote this poem on Wednesday after a few days of emotional news, both good and bad. I found myself looking at my girls, wondering how on earth I could EVER protect them from the world, from life. Wondering how they are growing up so quickly. Wondering how I can make sure they have everything they need to battle the bitch that life can sometimes be.

That morning, a few of my friends and I had been joking about our little rascals not sleeping, or misbehaving etc. It was typical Mammy chat; nothing major, but I was stopped in my tracks when one of the, let’s say, more experienced Mammies in the room laughed to herself and announced, “Enjoy it all. Before you know it, you’ll be wishing you could have these sleepless nights again. It all goes so fast.”

And that was that. How right she was eh? These pearls of wisdom from a wonderful Mum whose sleepless nights are still caused by her children, even though they’re far away from home, coupled with my general “What is life?” mood, started singing this poem in my head. I had to get it written down.

And I’m glad that I did. Writing my own “advice” to myself has helped a bit this week. Sometimes words can help. Even when it seems that there are none. Life is a bitch; of that we are certain, but I suppose if we can put our energy into enjoying it while she’s behaving, we’re winning already aren’t we?

I am Some Time, Sometimes Mum

(Dedicated to Michael)

We’ve “no time” for dancing, We’ve “no time” to sing.

We can’t play that game or go play on the swing.

There’s washing and cooking and things to be done

And sometimes the last thing we think of is fun.

And this is all normal and life does get busy,

But if it’s so hectic it’s making you dizzy,

It’s time to consider the things that mean more,

The small things we all take for granted, I’m sure.

Like breathing and laughing and reading and such,

Like the fact that our lives are each made up of much,

Much more than our jobs or our grades or successes.

They’re made up of giggles and family and messes,

Of routines and drop offs, of friends and of breaks,

Of worries and stresses, of plans and heartaches.

If we knew every morning, what would lay ahead,

There are mornings we’d probably stay in our beds.

But know we do not. Of nothing we’re sure,

Except that we’re here and have one morning more.

So take all the compliments, laugh all the time,

Always give hugs and sometimes drink wine.

Build all the jigsaws, take all the smiles.

Walk in the countryside, drive one more mile,

Say if you’re sorry, cry if you’re sad,

Don’t waste time fighting. Fighting is bad..

Look at the sky and take time to see

the colours and patterns, reflect on the sea.

Don’t waste time worrying about what MAY be

Think of your present. Enjoy memories.

Follow your dreams, Make all the plans,

Never let anyone tell you you can’t.

And while we have problems and things might go badly,

Remember that others would swap with us gladly.

So if you love someone, please make sure that you say;

Tell them and give them memories to replay,

Because we just never know when that last hug or kiss

is being given. So make sure it’s one you don’t miss.

Breathe it all in and live life as you must,

Be kind and polite and remember to trust.

Travel and wonder and read all the books

See all the beauty we’d see if we looked.

When life is good, live it, and take every chance

And never look back wishing that you had danced.

Leave “no song unsung and no wine untasted”

For time spent being happy is never time wasted.

So play all the games and run to the swing

And always make time to dance and to sing.

greatmornings

Maria (Jan 2018)

Delighted to have this post featured on #Blogcrush

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And published on my Thoroughly Modern Mammy column on the very fablis Donegal Woman

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I am Some Things that Make me Smile Mum

What makes you smile Mammy?

“My children’s arms around my neck… spending time with my family… seeing my childrens’s faces when… hearing my children’s voices…cuddles with my babies…”

Yadda yadda yeah.

Of course these things make you happy.  And so they should. Being Mammy is the most rewarding and smile inducing thing in the world.

But Back up Bitcheepoos.  I asked what makes YOU happy.  What things, (not including your precious little cherubs and their hillarious/cute/wonderful milestones), make Mammy smile.   I want the OTHER answers, the things OTHER than your kids that make you smile, because it’s important to remember the things that make Mammy smile, other than being Mammy.

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Apart from these two, obviously.

Here are some of mine:

Food:  Food is possibly my favourite thing in the world. Nothing gives me the same joy as good food. The smells.  The textures. The flavours… I have been known to make questionable noises while eating certain things.  Add a smooth warm wine to a Prawn Balti and I may just love you forever. Eating is not just functional.  It’s sensual. God dammit, sometimes food is just sexy. End of.   I’m salivating now just thinking about it… To Hell with diamonds…The way to this woman’s heart is through my belly.  Just feeeeeeed me.  I’m like a puppy.  I’m not beyond being bribed to do tricks…

When someone else thinks of me:  When Himself leaves my cup and pod ready in the coffee machine before I get up.  When my friend hands me a pair of ridiculous slippers just because she thought of me when she saw them. When someone calls me, not looking for something, just to say hi. When someone texts me out of the blue.

Chatting:  With two chatterboxes for daughters, I don’t get a word in edgeways.  If I get the rare chance to meet my mate, my Him or my Mum for a cuppa without my little people, Oh but it does make me smile.  Uninterrupted, uncensored conversation with our favourite grown up people is soooooooo good for us, isn’t it?

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Hugs:  Apart from my Him and the Hers, there are some people whose hugs make me especially happy.  My Daddy is the bestest Hugger in the world.  End of story. No one will ever win an argument with me about that.  I love hugs from my siblings, especially the two who flew over the Irish Sea to make their nests. It doesn’t matter how long has passed between hugs, they’re stronger than ever each time.

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Hugs makes the sun shine

Being alone:  The true joys of being alone can never be understood until you are a parent.  When I get it, I take it.  And I’m talking ANYWHERE!  The bathroom. The shower. The car journey between drop off and work.  Sometimes, I run awful errands just to get 25 minutes alone! Even putting the bin up to the road is a chance to stop and breath and be alone for a minute. Grabbing a coffee alone is a luxury. I get up most mornings before 6am, just to have an hour to myself.  And who needs a holiday when you have the Supermarket to mosey through all by yourself?

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How I feel on aisle 3

The Beach:  The beach near my home is my absolute favourite place.  It’s my thinking place. Yes I love to walk here with the girls, but add this one to Number 5 and you’ll see a content and happy S-Mum.  If I stand on that shore long enough, all the world realigns and everything is better. It’s cleansing. It blasts away my stresses. And I’m discovering as I get older, that the worse the weather is, the better the blast.

People watching:  This one makes me smile just thinking about it.  I LOVE to people-watch.  I love to pretend and make up what is happening with them.  I write them into characters and scenarios in my head, and sometimes in my book.  (If you have ever passed me, especially if I’m alone, there’s a chance you’ve inspired something. That counts as a disclaimer right?)

Exercise:  This one might not be everyone’s list, but it’s definitely something that makes me smile.  It also makes me swear, grunt and cry, but so does food! There is a fine line between pleasure and pain isn’t there!?

Food: I know I’ve said food already, but seriously, I don’t think I have enough words to make anyone understand the utter joy that it brings me. 🙂

Smells: Stop and smell the roses, or the cut grass, or the baking bread.  Breathe in your Granny’s perfume, your baby’s head, the chocolate cake.  ALWAYS take a second to smell your wine. Or your coffee.  Or the washing powder.  Or the smell in your parent’s hall when you visit.  Smells are memories.  Memories make me smile.

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Breathe it in…

I could go on.  And even as I write this and think about these things, I realise that they are largely easy to do, find and that they are mostly free.   And so it makes me wonder, why I don’t do them more often.  Of course, time is an issue. Being a busy Mammy with a job and 20,000 other things going on will always make time an issue, but at the same time, none of these things are outrageous or elusive really.

And so maybe it’s time to make time to do them.  

So now, I ask you again.  What makes YOU smile? (apart from your Darlings).

Write down a few of them and stick the list on your fridge or in your diary.  Then, try to tick one or two of them off that list at least once a week.

 

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