Hello everyone near and far! I think it’s safe to say, with caution, Happy Summer from Ireland! The last few days here have been gorgeous and sunny (reaching about 20 C or 68 F) and they came not a moment too soon! All the neighbors are out in their back yards, entertaining family and friends, and we’ve already had two barbecues to date (though just for us!).
The month of May just flew by… I was working quite a bit in the doctor’s office and in between we were trying to keep up with the garden, family and friends.
The last week or so has been the busiest, however! Starting last Sunday, Frank and I were able to meet up with a few college friends of mine, Aziza and Callie, in Dublin. We caught up with them in Temple Bar and had a nice lunch there while getting all the news from home. As I’m still working on making new friends here, it is always so welcome to see familiar faces when I get the chance.
This last Wednesday was my 27th birthday – my Golden Birthday! I took the day off from work and Frank planned a great little day trip away with his mum for us. We drove up to Newry, which is just over the border into Northern Ireland and about a 45 minute drive. It’s a really nice trip up, with views of the mountains and green fields, and the town of Newry is a picturesque village built around a canal.
For us “Southerners,” Newry is most famous for the great deals you can get while British Sterling is so low (€1 = 87 pence as of today). It was really a great day – so nice to get out of Drogheda for a few hours and do something new. We went through the two main shopping centres and also walked the more characteristic streets of the town. Frank bought me a nice new purse, which I’d been needing and not wanting to spend money on! We had lunch in a tiny cafe along the main street and I was even able to pop into a little local bakery for a birthday cake – coconut cream! – for myself. The whole cake only cost £3.70 (which is about €4.25 or $6!!!)
The rest of the week, we’ve all been preparing for little Chloe’s Christening, which was yesterday at Our Lady of Lourdes Church here in Drogheda. Frank’s sister, Lorraine, asked me to bake the Christening cake, so we picked out a design and flavors and I worked on that most of the week. It turned out fairly well – not perfect, under my critical eye – but it looked lovely on the day and everyone seemed happy. I can’t take all the credit, though – Frank was a huge help (as I struggled at 11 pm to get the fondant smooth!) and he even molded the little bears you see sitting on top. So, thanks Sweetie, for your help.
It was my first Christening experience, so it was quite interesting for me. Chloe was in with seven other babies and it was fun to watch them all come up in their little white outfits. Lorraine and Paul did their part as the beaming parents and Chloe did not cry or throw a fit! She was actually the cutest baby there, but that goes without saying! After the ceremony, we went down the road to Thomas Hanratty’s pub and restaurant and had a really fantastic meal with the Kellys, the Byrnes and a few close friends. Grandma and Grandpa Kelly took the baby for the night and the young folks headed out to enjoy the evening! It’s a bank holiday here today, so no one had to go to work. Frank and I were the party poopers and went home to Georgie!
I’ve been feeling a bit “off” for the last month or two… queasy, tired, emotional… you can probably already guess what comes next! Yes, Frank and I will be having our first baby later this year! It came as a bit of a surprise, but we are happy and excited! I don’t know my exact dates yet – doctors appointments can take several weeks here, so I’m still waiting for my first ultrasound, but I think I’m around 3 months along. So that’s the biggest news of all! I will keep you updated and be sure to post pictures when there are any worth taking! The good news is that all women in Ireland are eligible for a free “Mother and Baby” scheme if they choose to take it, so my pregnancy, hospital delivery and the first six weeks of checkups are covered. Part of me, in true Koopman form, wants to refuse the government help, but in reality, we’re too poor to do that and I am actually relieved that I will not have to worry about those extra huge bills. So God has been good to us!
On that final note, I will let you get back to whatever you were doing before you stumbled onto my blog. I hope you’re all having a great first day of June! Keep in touch! All my love…