Apr 24, 2018

Our Trip to Ireland {part1}

A couple of weeks ago Tim and I had the opportunity to go to Ireland and Scotland. The trip was through his work, so everything was organized through them and we were with a couple hundred others, a mixture of colleagues and their family members.
I was supremely grateful we had this travel opportunity, especially since God truly kept working things out all along so that we could go- everything from my passport arriving in time to all of the family who stepped in to take care of our girls (which was *huge* since there was a change of plans the very week we left!). I'm really not great at being optimistic when it comes to things in the future or over which I have no control, but I tried to trust that everything would work out. Over and over the past few months I'd pray, "God provides. God is providing. God will provide. God has provided." It was hard for me to accept that God would give us this trip and work everything out- because who am I to deserve a gift like that? Nevertheless, He is good and I'm trying to work on accepting gifts instead of waiting for the other shoe to drop.
We had a direct flight to Dublin which arrived Saturday morning, and we were bused to our hotel where we were given all the detailed trip info. Our room wasn't ready yet so we set out to see what we could see, jet-lagged and all. Our aim was to find some thrift stores (for me :) and whatever else we happened upon. Our first stop was a beautiful church- I think named after Our Lady Refuge of Sinners.
Next we perused some thrift stores- each of them had a small amount of inventory (small spaces), were crowded, and were definitely pricey for what I'm used to, but it was still an exciting experience for me. Tim found some books and I realized it really is an economical way to find souvenirs! We popped into the library next, and afterwards sat down at a Lebanese restaurant just as it started raining. The food was SO, so good. 
So many tiled floors!
Each night of the trip a dinner was held with the entire group, for which a dress code was given. For me that made packing tricky- I can do the practical-comfortable-tourist dressing thing but to add business and business casual outfits as well for each day was hard for this stay at home mom! (I tried taking outfit pictures and will add them somewhere in here.) It was hard not to compare myself to the other women, who definitely didn't dress like they had saved a slew of "capsule wardrobe for travel" pins to their Pinterest boards. 

I also had to emerge from my comfort zone a lot that week, as I didn't know a soul besides Tim on the trip, and it seemed like everyone else either knew people from multiple previous trips, or was there with people they worked with regularly. I know with any kind of conference or gathering it is always a situation of either having your people with you or being the new person looking for a friendly face, but knowing that doesn't make it easier to be the new person! One of my pleas to God that week was, "everyone seems to be very senior (i.e. gone on these trips for years) and have their people around them. Well, where are *our* people??". (Wasn't there a "Friends" episode about couple friends?) That's not to say we didn't meet a lot of nice people each day; by the end of the week we made connections with some fun couples for which I was grateful- small talk is not my thing!

Anyway, moving on...
The second day we had mass at the hotel and then everyone split up for different tours. Tim and I picked the Book of Kells at Trinity College tour. First our bus stopped at St. Patrick's Cathedral for a quick photo op, then we headed to Trinity and had a brief tour of the Book (but we couldn't take photos) and ended at the library- which was incredible. I felt shock and awe when I walked inside!
I was in love with all the Georgian doors!
At Trinity College
The library!

Afterwards we had a few hours of free time before our bus headed back to the hotel. First Tim and I hoofed it over to the statue of Oscar Wilde which is right across from his childhood home. I've read and re-read his conversion story as well as some of his short stories and I heart him so much.

Next we ambled into the National Gallery art museum for a bit and then headed over to a church which houses the remains of St. Valentine! There were also several beautiful shrines inside- Our Lady of Dublin, Our Lady of Lourdes, St. Jude, and St. Therese. We came across another gorgeous church on our search for some lunch and made a quick stop. 
Walking through St. Stephen's Green
Our Lady of Dublin
That night we had dinner at the Guinness Brewery, which was a fun experience. I'm admittedly not a big Guinness fan- I love dark beer but learned Guinness has twice the amount of hops as regular beer and I don't prefer hoppy beers, BUT still a great time. 
 Such a great city view from the top!

The next day we drove out into the country where we had mass and then lunch at a manor house. At lunch I sat next to a lady from the local parish who was born in London but now lives in Ireland. It was so interesting conversing with someone from an entirely different background but a shared faith. Also, one topic that came up time and again during our stay was the concern the Irish (and Scottish) are facing over Brexit- something of which I really wasn't aware!
I loved seeing the gorse bushes!

On the way back to the hotel the buses slowed to a stop at the childhood home of Ven. Fr. McGivney's father, where a missionary priest now lives.
When we returned that evening we had to pack up most of our luggage and bring it into the hotel lobby so it could be ferried over to Scotland overnight! The next morning we flew out to Edinburgh, and that's a wrap of our Ireland visit.
I hope to be able to go back someday; I especially want to see the shrine at Knock.

Apr 20, 2018

7 Quick April Takes

Just throwing up some quick, quick takes of our Easter and linking up with Kelly, while it is still April!

Every one of us came down with what we're pretty sure was the flu in early March. While it was kind of abysmal, at the very least we were all healthy come Holy Week. My mom took Evie and a cousin to Holy Thursday mass, and then on Good Friday our extended family all met at the Franciscan Monastery in D.C. The weather ended up being really nice which was a huge plus, since the time we spend inside definitely gets shortened with two-year-olds on the scene.
On the way home we dropped Tim and Heidi off at the hospital- she fell and cut her chin open at the Monastery and ended up with a liturgical three stitches. :( 

On Holy Saturday we dyed eggs at my parents' house

And went to morning mass on Easter! I could not *believe* how packed it was (I had assured Tim we didn't need to leave very early- oops), and only later realized it was Christmas morning mass that I remembered not being crowded. -_- 

I again wish I had gotten better photos of the girls in their dresses. Heidi's and Cora's were matching, and Evie and Audrey wore their flower girl dresses. One of these years...
 *whispers* Why do men not make it a point to take full length photos?

My sister and brother-in-law hosted brunch at their house afterward, and set up a great egg hunt in their large yard.

After napping off our food comas we headed to my parents' for Easter dinner. Unfortunately mom ended up going to the ER that night but is thankfully okay now. It was definitely an unforeseen, eventful few days!

 The weather seems to finally be turning warmish, and I love seeing the trees sprouting green again! There are other seasons! Here's hoping for a lengthy break from the cold. :)

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