The First Day

This morning, my baby started school.

No. That's not right.

This morning, my baby started creche.

I've been so fortunate in my time as a parent, that I haven't had to send him out for childcare. Instead, my mother watches him when I go to work. All two days of it. 

But as he's got older, I've felt that he needs friends of his own age. He has some, that visit the house, and some that live nearby. But I've imagined him with countless friends, his cheeks flushed from laughter, running out the school gates to tell me his days news.

This morning, my baby started creche.

He woke early, excited for the day ahead. Dressed and ready well before time, we were there early for once. Shy at first, he wasn't long digging into a box of dinosaurs, and trying to befriend a little girl sitting nearby. 

It pained me to leave. To see my little boy sitting there without me, without family for the first time. I could see through the window he was still playing with dinosaurs, lining them up along the edge of the table. He'll be fine. He'll be fine. He'll be fine. A mantra beating through me.

This morning, my baby started creche.

And I've been counting minutes until I can collect him. It does get easier, right?


Catch Up // Rose of Tralee Festival and more

Love it, hate it, never heard of it, the Rose of Tralee never fails to bring a crowd to this little town of mine. For those of you who haven't heard of the Rose of Tralee Festival, it's an international event that's a bit like a small scale beauty pageant, except the girls personalities are judged. Think Father Ted's "Lovely Girls", without the lovely bottoms. The woman who is crowned the Rose is chosen based on how "lovely and fair" she is, as in the song, and who the judges deem most likely to be the best ambassador for the festival and Ireland in the following year.

But for the rest of us, it's usually just an excuse to spend the weekend being drunk on the streets, at all hours of the day and night, while listening to music on stages set up around the town. So it can be a little messy, but it's also the only time of the year that the town shows any real sort of unity. Except for when we're gearing up for the All Ireland, but that's another story.

This year, was a little different for me, however. Firstly, we had Caelen's third birthday. That's a post in itself though! After a birthday BBQ in the house for all the family on the day of his birthday, we took him and his friends to an indoor play centre the following day. Lets just say we were a little exhausted after it all!

I also changed up my hair a little. Which involved the shop I normally buy my dye from being closed, and I panicked and ended up mixing together all the dye I had at home. Luckily, it came out somewhat bright!

The highlight of the Saturday evening of the Festival is a parade, filled with Roses on floats and marching bands, followed by a fireworks display. That little guy of mine was definitely a fan of both, he was completely mesmerised the whole evening. Also, excuse the strange face I'm making in the FIRST picture we have of us as a family. Caelen is quite heavy now, my back was clearly not up to the challenge. That's a smile of pain I tell you!

Over the course of the festival weekend, Tommie's grandfather passed away. Instead of Caelen going around the house searching for Tommie while he was with his family, we ended up taking a million and one selfies and having a fun hour or two to distract him.  Anything but watch another episode of that bloody Peppa Pig!

So, even though this was technically after the Rose of Tralee, I couldn't not include it in a catch up post. I mean, how cute is he? I got an order on my Inked Hibiscus Designs page to make a minion hat for a minion themed hen party, and couldn't resist trying it on Caelen. Needless to say, I've started on his very own minion hat now. It'll be so cute for when he starts school!


The Night Of The Power Cut

Last night started like any normal night. Caelen went to bed, as usual. Armed with his cuddly toys, we was asleep in no time, as usual. A quick dinner and a change of clothes later, and I met a friend for a nighttime walk and a natter. So far, so normal.

Until I got the text. The power was out. Not just in our house, not just on our street, but almost half the town. I will admit, I panicked. I had 14% battery on my phone, and I have a really bad habit of having little to no battery on my laptop at any given time.

Instead of conserving my phone battery like any rational person would, I took to Twitter and Facebook. You know, being a social media addict and all. All the while, the walking beard gathered supplies. Candles, battery operated fairy lights, drinks, Monopoly. Yep, Monopoly. Not being a huge lover of board games, I'd never played it before. 

Inked Hibiscus Monopoly night lights

And so, with such a rosemantic setting, we played a vicious game. Or you know, as vicious as teaching me how to play Monopoly can be. Until halfway through the game, when the power came back on, Caelen woke up, and I decided my back was too achy to plough on through the game.
But it did make me realise how much time I waste every night. Scrolling through newsfeeds and timelines, reading crap online, playing games on my phone (FYI - I'm currently obsessed with Little Alchemy and Fallout Shelter - try them, they're fun!).

I think a technology free night is in order once a week or so. Just to plug out of social media, and enjoy the simpler things in life. Like reading a book, or finishing some crochet projects without distraction, or another board game. Or you know, building a fort and camping out for a few hours. Which sounds pretty good right about now.


Tayto Park Adventures - The Smallie Edition

Have you heard of Taytos? As Ireland's number one crisp manufacturer (I'm assuming), as a child, I thought all crisps were called Taytos. Even know, years later, I'll often say I'm grabbing a "bag of Taytos" when I mean a completely different crisp.
Tayto Park logo
Tangent aside, back in 2012 Ireland's first theme park, Tayto Park, opened. My parents brought my youngest brother there just after they opened, and were impressed. So impressed, that with a couple of days off work, it was their first port of call. Naturally, I asked if Caelen and I could tag along.
Set in the grounds next to the Tayto factory in Ashbourne, Co. Meath, Tayto Park is a sprawling wonderland. With an emphasis on Irish culture, with some Native American influences, and Mr. Tayto of course, there's something for everyone. I was wary that there wouldn't be enough to keep Caelen entertained all day, but I shouldn't have been so worried.
Tayto Park

With playgrounds and rides specifically for the smallies in your life, mazes, a large selection of animals in the park zoo, face painting, bright colours and music pumped throughout the park, this little boy was delighted to spend the day in Tayto Park. 

Tayto Park tiger face paint

The meercats, in particular, were a hit. I mean, it is pretty hard not to find them ridiculously cute. Caelen was amazed to see them standing up on hind legs, and laughed when they poked their little noses out through the holes in the cardboard box they were hiding in. I found it hard to tear myself away from their enclosure too, though.

Tayto Park meerkats

Another hit on the day was the Pony Rail. Having already been on something similar during last years Rose of Tralee festival, Caelen was only raring to jump on a horse and play cowboy. Tip - if your smallie wants more than one ride, it might be a good idea to get one of the wristbands. In Caelen's case, it was €15 well spent!

Tayto Park Pony Rail ride

Unfortunately, I didn't get many more photos of the day. I had lugged my camera along with me, with the intention of taking a million and one snaps, but at the end of the day, I was more interested in spending the time as a family, rather than behind the lens.

All in all, it was a fantastic day out for everyone. If you're wondering about whether to bring your small kids or not, I'd say go for it! Under 2's have free entry, and if it's a fine day, there's plenty of space for a picnic lunch.

Have you been to Tayto Park? Did you enjoy it?