So, it’s summer time. The girls have been off school for two weeks now (45 days to go, not that I’m counting or anything…) so we’ve already had two weeks of fun, frolics and…. f….ighting. Okay, they haven’t been that bad! (sometimes) We’ve been in the middle of a heatwave (by Irish standards — I can hear the collective bless-your-hearts from here) and nobody has been sleeping well which never helps. But we’ve got a bucket list to complete and 45 more days to complete it, so we better get a move on. I’m a mama on a mission.
The main item on our list is our first family break since February 2016’s little stay in a cottage on the Causeway Coast. It rained and rained, and then rained some more, but we had a blast all the same, and the girls are still talking about it. The last few years have been a total washout, sometimes literally. Summer 2015, the weather was absolutely pants! It just rained incessantly (bit of a running theme here, no?) and we couldn’t really go anywhere or do anything worth talking about. I bought new swimsuits for the three bigger girls that year and never got to use them — in fact, I just took them out of their packaging yesterday, happy to see they are the right size for numbers 2, 3 and 4 for this summer. (Side note… Does anyone know if you can use sun cream that expired 3 years ago? Asking for a friend, needless to say.)
By 2016, I had returned to work after maternity leave for #4. And was pregnant with #5. (Yip. They just loooooooved me.) I had umpteen health issues going on, massive stress at work just to top it off, and by the middle of the summer I was on sick leave then hospital bed rest. We got a couple of little day trips that year — our girls were easy pleased, when a drive followed by a quick jaunt on the Strangford Ferry (which two of them slept through) constitutes a grand day out.
Then 2017 brought the anxiety of not wanting to go anywhere with a little one with a compromised immune system, a gazillion health issues (her and other family members), feeding and weight problems, hospital stays and an NG tube… Plus lots of grief over a bunch of trees and facing eviction (Ugh. Long story.) Oh, and no money to do anything anyway, lol!
So. 2018 brings nicer weather, by the looks of it. For now, anyway. We’ll probably get rain at some point or another but hey, it’s Ireland, rain is what we do best. Some things have changed — I’ve left work and we’ve moved house, for starters — and others haven’t changed — we’ve still got Little Miss Complex Needs (though I might be a lot less anxious about her now), we still have the NG tube, we’re still skint, and our girls still think the Strangford Ferry is the best thing since sliced bread.
One thing’s for sure, our family has been through the ringer over the last couple of years, and it’s taken its toll on all of us. Kids included. So when Naomi qualified for a grant from the Family Fund, we jumped at the chance to have a family break. After a lot of back and forth on what options were out there, we booked a few nights in North Wales in a Haven Holiday Park. And then thanks to a bit of jiggery pokery with search engines and Tesco Clubcard vouchers, we booked the ferry to Holyhead. Can you imagine what the reaction will be on that trip, for girls who think a teeny tiny car ferry is the bees knees?! There’s lots to do at the Park itself, both indoors and outdoors (so the rain shouldn’t bother us too much — though this is Wales, not Ireland… Do they do rain in Wales?!) and the girls are getting really excited about going swimming and doing all sorts. We’re tired just thinking about it. But overall I think the chance to regroup and hang out together is what we’re looking forward to most. That, and giving the girls some good memories of summer holidays to carry with them.
Of course we’ll still have all those other weeks too, with working on toilet training #4 (oh JOY!!!!) in anticipation of starting Nursery and all sorts on the agenda.
I’m sure we’ll be able to squeeze in a quick trip on the Strangford Ferry too.
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