June 28, 2017

Cale's 7th Birthday

My nephew Wolf was born last week. He's perfect, beautiful, and healthy and my sister is exhausted and emotional and absolutely on Cloud Nine with her sweet baby. It genuinely is wonderful to see (and I got to be there in Arizona for his arrival!), but of course it brings heavy emotions closer to the surface. My parents have three grandsons and two granddaughters and the three boys were all born in June which is special. When asked how many grandchildren he had, my ears couldn't help but eavesdrop as my dad replied, "five, but four living." I was so grateful for that reply and that acknowledgement of Cale.

What Wolf's arrival reminded me of was not only how damn special and amazing a newborns (SAFE) arrival is, but just how sad I am that Cale did not have that experience. Of course I'm sad for all our family has missed out over these last seven years, but I was reminded that his birth was not a celebration. It was grief and heartbreak and darkness. And that's just so unfair. Because he was and is none of those things. He was excitement and hope and love and he is beauty and gratitude and LOVE. 

Seven years seems so big, but I find myself thinking that every year. Early on I used to think how it was my baby who I was missing. I wanted my baby back. But lately I've been searching for what my seven year old would be like and it seems he's a familiar stranger to me. I've always said I miss who he was and miss who he should have been, but what's hard is missing what you don't even know. Who you don't even know. Tonight at dinner Finn asked why Cale had to die and after telling him that I just don't know and I wish he didn't, he simply stated, "but he should be here with us." Yes, sweetie. He should. 

Happy seven to you, Cale. Wish you were here with us. Always.


June 13, 2017

Finn Turns Six

He endured a lot of changes this year - leaving behind a sweet group of little friends and a world that was familiar for a new house, new school, new country. If we were still living in the states he would have just finished up preschool and been off to kindergarten this fall, being "old" for his grade though undoubtedly still one of the smallest. Instead Finn is in Year 1 (kindergarten) here in England where he most definitely is one of the smallest in his class. School doesn't end until late July as the terms here make school a bit more year round though he will get six weeks off for the summer and we get to enjoy two week breaks in between each term. Living here will probably afford him the only opportunity to have his birthday celebrated while in school. He's adjusted well to his new school, though it took a little bit of time. But overall he's a resilient and adventure seeking little expat who now speaks with a slight accent on some words and phrases. 

He loves sports - he's currently enrolled in football (soccer) and goes weekly to his Ninja Skills class at Miles' gym (a hybrid of kids' crossfit and gymnastics). He asked for a basketball for his birthday and recently completed his first timed race and eager to do more. 

He's the self proclaimed "boss of pancakes" and eats a really impressive amount, especially given his size! He still doesn't have much of a sweet tooth, would pass on a donut if it has frosting on it (what!?), but at least requested an apple pie for his birthday (over cake which he doesn't really care for).

He can be thoughtful and sweet and infuriating and a really terrible listener. His imagination impresses us with his Lego creations and his new found enjoyment of Harry Potter makes my nerdy heart so happy.

He thinks Miles no longer has a job (fair enough) and that I should get a job at his school because some moms work there. Right now he says he wants to be in the Navy, though he gets a little motion sickness on boats, so perhaps he'll be a pilot as he is fascinated by different types of aircraft.

He is inquisitive and smart and asks unending amounts of questions. He saves his money to buy Legos and is eager to help with chores when he knows there may be a small reward involved. He can't find his shoes to save his life, but knows an impressive amount of Star Wars Trivia.

He's our rainbow, our delight, our headache, and now our six year old. Happy Birthday, Mr. Finn. We love you so much.

Finn Hidalgo: Mall Cop

Finn content with Apple Pie. Mary not content with her inability to reach the other desserts.

June 10, 2017

Trip Recap: Ireland & Northern Ireland

After traveling to Wales we took a ferry to Ireland. The ferry was a few hours, and it enabled us to bring our car. It was really great though - they had rooms for kids to play, movie rooms, game rooms, several areas to purchase food, and lots of different areas to sit and relax. When we arrived in Ireland we spent two nights in Dublin and honestly we would have been fine with just spending one night there. It's not that there's not much to do there - there certainly are ways to fill your time, but Dublin is definitely more of a college city and not so much a bring your small kids and walk around city. We did a tour of Christ Church Cathedral, the Guinness Storehouse, and quickly walked around the Dublin Castle. We wished we would have known, but Ed Sheeran had a concert in Dublin during the time we were there and with the grandparents traveling with us, we could have had free babysitters! We also got to meet up with a friend of Miles who is stationed just outside of Dublin right now - small world!

The Dublin Castle is now used for government offices

After Dublin we drove to the west coast of Ireland and saw Cliffs of Moher (so beautiful!) and the Bunratty Castle (big hit for the kids).

Poor little Hidalgo kids - such a rough life.

From Ireland we drove to Northern Ireland and stayed in Belfast for two nights. We did a bus tour of the city and a visit to the Titanic Museum which is located right where the Titanic was built. The middle schooler in me was pumped! We also got to walk on and tour the SS Nomadic - a ship that was used in both World Wars and brought passengers (the unsinkable Molly Brown) on to the Titanic. We had a really nice time while in Belfast (we were there for Easter) and it was nice to be back in Northern Ireland as I visited the country once before after graduating high school. We'd love to go back and make it out to the Giant's Causeway and some of the more scenic parts of the country we just didn't have time to squeeze in on this trip.

Next stop: Scotland!