Saturday, September 30, 2006

Day 42 Evening: Gareth and Clare's House

Gareth, Clare and the kids left for a two day holiday before heading to England for Quincy's wedding. We all hung out at the house that evening and let the kids say their good-byes. Here are a few snaps of the evening.


Kate and Gemma with their qipao on!


Joe and his Granda Ken. (Jonny's Uncle)


Joe enjoying his new Chinese attire!

Gareth and Clare are great hosts! We couldn't have asked for a better set up while my parents were with us. We are so fortunate to have such generous family and friends opening their homes to us this summer.

Day 41: Here at Castlerock!

Although Ireland is not known for their summer weather they have lots and lots of beautiful beaches. We usually go to Benone beach, but this trip we tried a new beach in Castlerock. I would have to say this was probably the nicer of the two beaches because there was a nice little cove that was so relaxing. I just plopped myself down on the sand and read my book while my Dad to hundreds of pictures, the Grannies walked on the beach, Jonny and his Dad picked strange creatures up off the beach and the kids played and dug in the sand.

Gemma is a beach girl at heart!


My Mom and Angus walking on the beach.


Our niece Rebekah and Gemma digging a hole in the sand.


Angus playing in the hole they dug.


The Grannies taking a break from their walk.


Angus just loves to pose for pictures.



My Dad checking out the ocean.


Jonny kept seeing a bunch of these all over the beach. I just thought it was seaweed, so I didn't pay much attention. Of course Jonny had to dissect it to see what it was. For some reason there were tons of baby octopus that washed up to shore. Not quite sure why they were doing this and I tried to research it, but I couldn't find much other than how to make baby octopus in tomato sauce!


Here are our two with their cheesy grins! If you could only see the crevasses I found sand on these two!


Here we are with the kids! It was a great evening at the beach and I highly recommend visiting Castlerock if you ever make it to Northern Ireland.

Day 40: BBQ in Limavady

After we left Bangor we headed up to Jonny's home town of Limavady. My parents stay with Sidney and Caroline and we were lucky enough to stay with Jonny's cousin Gareth and his fabulous wife Clare. I think the best part of staying with Gareth and Clare is the fact that they have a little girl, Kate who is Gemma's again and a little boy, Joe who is a little bit older than Angus. They all get on very well and they had a ton of fun together.

On the day we arrived in Limavady Gareth and Clare had a few people over for a BBQ, this time sans rain. Norman and Nicci, who were recently married in South Africa in April were in town from the U.S. to attend Quincy and Ali's wedding. It was great to chance for everyone to get caught up.

Clare is such a great hostess and cook. She had a beautiful spread for us and I do have to say my favorite was her new potatoes in a Greek yogurt sauce. I still dream about them today!

Here are a few photos from our night.


Angus and Maeve (Maeve's Daddy Niall was in our wedding.)


Kate (Gareth and Clare's daughter.)


Here are the kids in the playhouse enjoying their ice cream!


Niall and Gareth


Nicci and Clare


Norman, Curly, and Jonny


Curly and his son Carter.


Helen (Curly's wife) and her baby Isaac. Curly and Helen are expecting a new baby early next year!


At bedtime Gareth was the dotting Daddy reading Joe and Angus a bedtime story.

We had a lovely evening and it was great to see everyone. We were all looking forward to our trip to England the following week-end for Quincy and Ali's big day!

Day 39: BBQ, Ireland Style!


The first week we were in Northern Ireland we spent our time in Bangor at the house of our brother-in-law Richard's parents home. They were in Scotland visiting their daughter and offered their house up to us so we could be closer to Richard, Rebekah, Erin, and Ethan. On our last evening we decided that we would have everyone over the house for a BBQ. The picture above was of Jonny BBQing on this fine August day in Northern Ireland. The food turned out wonderfully despite the rain and we had a nice evening.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Day 37: The Guinness Brewery, etc.

The next day after breakfast and checking out of the hotel we hopped on the bus to do some more sight seeing and to take the tour of the Guinness Brewery. Here are a few sites we enjoyed.


Trinity College, home of the Book of Kells.


River Liffey


Christ Church Cathedral Check out a brief history, the church dates back to 1030 a.d.!

After seeing a bunch more sites on our open bus tour we headed for our much anticipated tour of the Guinness Brewery. I couldn't believe how great the tour was. I left feeling like I could actually make Guinness myself. I highly recommend this tour if you make it to Dublin.


Here are my parents getting ready to go to the tasting room.


My parents having a taste of the black stuff!


Cheers! I also learned that the Guinness we get in China is their special Guinness Foreign Extra Stout.


There was a place to leave your mark in the Brewery.


The pour!


At the end of the tour we all had tokens for our free pint of Guinness. We managed to give two pints away and sipped on the other. My parents aren't big drinkers and I am not much of a beer girl, but I have to say I enjoy the flavor of Guinness. They have a great bar, where you get your free pint on the top floor, that give you a spectacular view of Dublin.

After our tour we headed to the collect our bags and on to the train station. I had a great trip with my parents and I hope I can do that again some day.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Day 36: In Dublin's Faire City!

After Jonny arrived and we were all reunited with him I left the kids with him and took my parents to Dublin on the train from Belfast. I have not been to Dublin in 12 years, so I was excited to see the changes it had made over the years. Honestly my first visit was a blur, it was my first trip overseas and Jonny and I were still in the initial stages of our high speed relationship. I hadn't ever took the train in Ireland either, so that was quite a treat! My parents were a little nervous going with me as Jonny is more the seasoned traveler, but I think I may have impressed them with my map reading skills.

We arrived just in time to check into our room and go for lunch. We walked from the train station to our hotel which took about 30 minutes, but it was well worth it because were were able to see quite a few sites.


Here are my parents getting ready to walk down Grafton Street.

One of the most famous is Molly Malone, do you know the song?


Here I am with Molly and her wheelbarrel.

I took my parents out for their first Turkish kebob, which they really enjoyed. I was very surprised, but so happy that they tried it. It wasn't the best I have ever had, but it gave them an idea how to eat outside the box!

We decided that our best bet in seeing the whole city in 2 days was to take the open bus tour which you could use your ticket for 24 hours, which was perfect for us.

We had a lovely rest of our evening having dinner at a nice quiet restaurant by our hotel who served up the most fanciest and tastiest Fish and Chips I have ever had. My parents and I had a great time at dinner and I don't think I have had such a great talk with the in 10s of years! Maybe it had something do with the bottle of wine... My parents wanted to see an authentic Irish pub so we hit the place next door and had a nice time.

We went back to the hotel room and thought that it was such a nice little place, but little did we know that there was a disco in the basement. Usually they wouldn't be open for dancing, but the high school kids just got their test results and were out whooping it up until all hours of the night. And we thought we were in the quiet part of town!


My parents in front of our hotel.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Day 31 - 33: Bad Day to Fly and Downpatrick

We left the US on the day of the Heathrow liquid bomb scare. Luckily we were flying directly to Belfast instead of going through Heathrow like normal. Our flights were a bit late taking off, but we made pretty good time to both New Jersey and Belfast. We arrived and had to wait for an hour for a rental car, which was kind of inconvenient.

Our first day was filled with naps and getting our body clocks adjusted. The next day we headed out on a little sightseeing tour to Downpatrick to see the grave of St. Patrick.


Here are the kids with my parents on St. Patrick's Grave.


Here is the whole gang.


Rebekah and Gemma.

We had a nice time and we were excited to pick Jonny up that day, but unfortunately with the fiasco at Heathrow caused his flight to be over 4 hours late and he missed his connecting flight. He did manage to stay at his friend Quincy's house and meet his fiance Ali. He made it to Belfast on the very first flight of the morning and we were all over joyed to see him!

Day 30: Henry Doorly Zoo


Our last day in Nebraska and the US I took the kids to my favorite place in Nebraska, the Henry Doorly Zoo. If you ever get a chance to go to Nebraska it is a must see. I might even go as far as saying that you should make a special trip to this zoo. It is the best zoo that I have ever been to in the world. The kids had an fabulous time, especially Angus as he is at the perfect age for the zoo.


Angus and Gemma with the cock-a-teals.


Angus in the petting zoo.

The best part of the whole zoo is the gorilla exhibit. They must have over 30 gorillas and the place where they live is very much like their own habitat. I was so impressed by this area and so were the kids.


Here was a gorilla looking in the window at everyone. I swear he looked like King Kong! All of the gorillas were fascinated by the people on the other side of the window. I wonder if they thought they were visiting a zoo too????


I put this picture on my blog more for the expression on Gemma's face. This is classic Gemma. She was getting sick and tired of me taking pictures of her and she was telling me so. I have to say in this pictures she looks a bit more like me.


If you would ask Gemma she would tell you the carousel was her favorite thing at the zoo!


After the zoo we went back to my parents house for dinner. My dad bought sweet corn, which is one of my favorite things in Nebraska. The sweet corn in Nebraska is the best around! Gemma and Angus thought so too. Gemma scarffed down 4 ears of corn herself!!!

As my dad and I were preparing dinner the kids went outside to feed the ducks some bread. The are so tame and will come right up to you. I was so surprised they came so close to the kids.




After dinner my friend Paula came down from Omaha for a short visit with the kids. She hadn't met Angus yet or seen Gemma this trip. Here she is with the kids.


We had such a great time in Nebraska. I thought it would drag because there isn't much to do there, but much to my surprise the time flew. I was very sad to leave the slow paced life and sad to take my kids away from it. They had the time of their lives there and I hope to spend many more summers there with the kids while they are little.

Day 29: Aunt Jerry

When I was in Nebraska I was able to visit my Grandpa George's sister Jerry (Misao). We also had the pleasure of seeing her grandson Matthew, who I haven't seen since our wedding. We stopped by to see her a few times while we were back and I was lucky enough to remember my camera! Jerry is an incredible woman, she is 80 + and still mows her own lawn and does all the handy work around the house. I can only hope to be in her condition when I am her age.


Here are the kids with Aunt Jerry.


The kids with Jerry and Matthew.