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Two weeks ago, we went to Powerscourt Gardens for the day. It’s only thirty minutes from our house. Sometimes I have to pinch myself to believe that we live near so many beautiful spots.


Powerscourt Gardens is an old estate owned by a wealthy family who has opened it to the public. Can you even imagine taking your tea every day on this terrace?

There is an Avoca cafe and shop inside the castle. We ate lunch here and felt spoiled. Look at that view.

That’s Sugarloaf Mountain.

This is our Sugarlump. Ha.






He napped for most of the afternoon. She had a blast exploring.


The gardens are extensive and gorgeous.


Sigh. What happy memories of a beautiful place.


Apparently I’ve been rendered incapable of producing a cohesive piece of writing, so here are some scattered observations on New Year’s Eve.

I’m listening to Bronwyn sing to herself as she plays with Duplo, her Christmas present from us. I didn’t know they’d be such a hit, but she’s been playing steadily with them ever since we gave them to her yesterday. We won’t tell her that the set was a thrift store find. She’s perfectly happy with it, and so are we.

We’re planning to sleep the New Year in. Doesn’t that sound exciting? Hopefully the neighbors have similar plans or else are invited far away for their parties.

Gabriel and I have spent a lot of time rocking, walking, bouncing, or jiggling Gregory to sleep–only to discover that often he goes to sleep perfectly well by himself, in his cot. Now for a way to get him to bed earlier than 10:30pm. No matter how I try, it seems he just can’t settle before then. But then he sleeps until 6:00 or 7:00, so I shouldn’t complain.

We celebrated four years of married life by going to Newgrange with Gabriel’s parents and sister, who were visiting us from Ukraine at the time. Newgrange is a burial mound/religious site that is older than Stonehenge, purportedly built a few hundred years after the Great Flood. (This is a must-see if you tour Ireland.) Each year at sunrise on winter solstice (the day that is also our anniversary), the sun shines into the entrance to the mound all the way to the back of the chamber. You can enter a drawing to be one of the few hundred allowed in to see it at sunrise over the few days this happens. We put our names in for next year. As it was, the day was cloudy, but we still got to enter Newgrange on winter solstice, on our anniversary.

Our Ford Galaxy van, which we love so much and which has made our weekly trips to church and back so much easier, has had the clutch go out and needs extensive repairs. At least it didn’t totally go out until exams were over. As it was, the first time it happened was to me on an early morning trip to the airport, the day of Gabriel’s last two exams. I couldn’t get it into gear, so Gabriel got a taxi to the airport (5:00am is too early for city buses) and drove it to the mechanic in second or third gear. Sometimes it would let him shift, but other times he’d have to turn it off, put it into second, turn it back on and immediately GO.

I mentioned airport trips. Living close to a major airport in a city with no other Mennonites means we get a decent number of overnight visitors heading to or from the airport. We enjoy it. One of Gabriel’s friends thinks we should have our own parking bay at the airport — not a bad idea considering how often we go there.

This story made me laugh out loud.

We took a mini-holiday to Co. Kerry the week before last. A friend of ours, a classmate of Gabriel’s, invited us to his parents’ lovely country home near Tralee. We felt so spoiled to be able to stay there for a few days.

On Monday, we visited Blarney Castle. A major tourist trap, but the grounds are well worth seeing. We didn’t kiss the stone because the queue was stretched from the top of the castle down the stairs to the entrance, and we both have the gift of gab well enough. 😉

Blarney House, which looked a lot more interesting than the castle. It was closed at the time but it normally hosts tours.

Some of the gardens were breathtaking.

On Tuesday we took Connor Pass over the mountains from Tralee to Dingle.

It was stunning.

But I was glad I wasn’t driving! Yes, that is a one-lane road you see. We had to pull over fairly often to let other cars pass.

When we got to the top, we stopped to look around. Can you recognize anything in this picture? Those red bits are a shattered car hundreds of feet down the mountainside. Our friend told us later that it happened a week earlier when a tourist got out to take pictures and forgot to set his brake! At least no one was in the car at the time.

Coming up on Dingle Bay.

In Dingle, we visited the aquarium. It was so fun to show Bronwyn the fish and see her taking it all in. One of the big reasons we went on this trip is because we wanted her to do something fun this summer besides sit in the house and do all her “normal” activities which mainly are: sitting/playing on her car, sitting/playing at her table, and going for walks in the buggy. Not bad things, but it gets so monotonous even for me, and sometimes I feel like we’re stunting her mental growth or something by not giving her more things to do in her body cast.

Anyway! Back to the holiday.

This baby saw sharks!

And penguins! Actually Gabriel and I had never seen penguins before either.

After the aquarium, we spent the rest of the day driving part of the Ring of Dingle, a coastal route. The weather and the scenery just got more and more spectacular.

We visited Louis Mulcahey Pottery. This is the view that greets you as you leave the place.

This sign is rather self-explanatory, don’t you think?

This is the drop-off it was warning us about. I was standing about a foot from the edge when I took this picture.

If this photo doesn’t make you want to visit Ireland, there is no hope for you, my friend.

We came home on Wednesday. Friends of ours stopped in for the night before their flight back to America the next day. The following Sunday we invited more house guests—friends of friends from America who were stranded in Dublin when their husband and father had to be admitted to the hospital. They’ve been with us for the past week now and have no idea when they’ll be able to return to the States. I’m sure they’d appreciate your prayers for their dad’s healing. We’ve been on the receiving end of others’ hospitality so often that we feel grateful to be able to do this for someone else. It’s so neat to see how God has worked this out in giving us a bigger house (we’ve had at least three sets of overnight guests in the month we’ve been in the house) and making us stay in Dublin longer this summer than we wanted to. If we’d be in Canada now, we’d be missing this blessing of being able to host this family. Also, He knew we’d need the memories of this sweet little holiday with just our family before the next few hectic weeks.

I needa go to bed. 6:30 is too early to get up on a Sunday morning.


Bronwyn has been one year old for over a month now, and even though I have loads of unpacking to do from our move, I decided today was The Day to take pictures of her. Tomorrow she goes into a hip cast for three or four months, and I really wanted to capture her running free at this stage of her life.

We visited a park that is — get this — just across the road from the housing development where we now live. It has acres of walking trails, as well as this beautiful walled-in garden where these pictures were taken. It was so tranquil and beautiful; I almost forgot I was in Dublin. (Sorry, that wasn’t as bitter as it sounded.)

I wanted her to be all cute and look at flowers, but nope, scattering stones was The Thing To Do. It makes me so sad to know that tomorrow she’ll be casted and unable to bend over and play with whatever she sees. But at the same time I’m so thankful that her hips can be treated.

I was happy with this one. I definitely found out that I should have taken along another person to keep her attention towards the camera. Oh well . . . candid shots are nice too, and maybe they document life more honestly.

Run as much as you can, baby girl! She loves that monkey . . .

She was looking at a lady I met in the park who managed to keep her attention for a few minutes.

Some things Bronwyn is doing at thirteen months:

-Climbing stairs. She just learned this since we’re at the new house. She gets about halfway up and then whines until I come get her down.
-Plays wild games of peek-a-boo. Loves to be scared.
-She says “Daddy” and “oof-oof” for puppy (she LOVES dogs). Not really much of anything else.
-She’s not usually scared of other people. On Tuesday when we moved house, Regina volunteered to watch her all day. Bronwyn didn’t even act like she missed me; in fact when they came back from a long walk, she headed straight for Dan’s lap instead of me!

Say goodbye to your freedom, little legs. We hope and pray to see you again in October!

For my birthday, Gabriel gave me a perfect gift: a family trip to Avoca last week with all the time I wanted to browse and a bit of money to spend. We even ate lunch at their cafe.

Okay, let me tell you a little about Avoca. It’s a family-owned Irish business that has outlet stores where you can buy things made at their mill plus all kinds of other household items, from gardening things to kitchen gadgets, Avoca brand clothes, quality kids’ toys, home decor, their own chutneys and sauces, and lots of other things. Everything is high quality and the prices reflect that, but with an unlimited budget a person could do some real damage at Avoca.

Even the grounds are pretty. We stopped to take some pictures of our sweet pea. It’s so hard to believe that she’s already a year old.

Inside, the displays are cute and original, which adds to the appeal of shopping there. It’s worth a visit just for the eye candy.

Did I tell you that Avoca has cafes with amazing food? I wish I could cook like that! Our lunch there was so delicious.

My plate: Spinach Brie Quiche, Melon salad, Potatoes & Mint salad, and Moroccan Couscous salad, served with a side of their tomato chutney. I loved all of it, but Gabriel’s meal was the real winner. Keep in mind that I’ve rarely seen him order a vegetarian meal and never heard him rave about one, but here he did both!

Toasted ciabatta with grilled vegetables (peppers, zucchini, and asparagus) and a slice of toasted goat cheese. It was scrumptious. He also had Three-Bean salad, an Asian noodle salad, and another vegetable salad.

This was definitely a favorite birthday present—thanks to my thoughtful husband for making it happen.


I can hardly believe that my baby is already ten months old. Has it really been that long since she was born? It feels like only a few months ago.

We drove down to Wicklow National Park to see the ruins of St. Kevin’s monastery at Glendalough the other weekend. The whole place had an aura of . . . I don’t know, mystery and intrigue. It was thrilling to imagine living there centuries ago when the monastery was in use. Thrilling, that is, until we realized how hard, dangerous and YUCK life was back then. Who wants to live in a stone house with tiny windows that let in only a little light and all the cold air, with no indoor plumbing, knowing all the while you were in danger of marauders from nearby countries? Not me, thanks.

Anyway, while we were at these ruins we snapped some pictures to document Bronwyn at this age.

We think she definitely looks like a Jantzi. Not much of her mother’s genes, I’m afraid, except that she does have the Zimmerman blue eyes (which sadly escaped me).

She has two teeth, is walking more and more by herself, and is f.i.n.a.l.l.y sleeping a consistent 10-11 hour stretch at night. She waves bye-bye and night-night and loves to look at books. Hopefully that’ll turn into a love for reading. She is definitely the light of our household and we can’t imagine life without her!


Last weekend, one of our friends from America, Jason Zook, came to visit. He had a two-and-a-half day layover in London, so in seasoned traveler style, hopped on a flight over to Dublin to see us for a night and a day.

We went to see Malahide Castle, which is north of us in one of Dublin’s outlying villages. It was quite impressive, but I didn’t get any pictures of the inside. I wanted to, but there were signs everywhere not to take pictures.

It’s hard to believe this is the middle of December, isn’t it?

She was a jewel for most of the day.

After a hearty carvery lunch at a local pub, we drove over to Howth Summit to see the fishing village and the lighthouse. Gabriel and I had only been out here via Dublin bus, and it was nice to drive around in the car wherever we wanted to go. The weather was spectacular.

We dropped Jason off at the airport in the evening and headed home to get ready for church the next day. It was a lovely day, and we felt privileged to have been able to show him around our part of the world.

Forgive yet another post about the snow, but people, it is just so amazing. Yesterday it snowed all day, and this was the view out our window last night. That’s our car, and yes, we treasure every other bit of “scenery” we have: trees, bushes, and twinkly house lights in the distance.

In the midst of snowy weather, this is what our little miss has been doing. Apparently, the simple skill of crawling is so last week. Now she’s pulling herself up to a standing position on the walker, the side of the tub, anything within her reach. I’m kind of proud of it and kind of sad about it at the same time. My baby just isn’t very babyish anymore.

Happy weekend.


(We have to get better about signing our posts. It’s been confusing around here sometimes, I know.)

Yesterday turned out to be one of those heartwarming days that you tuck away into your memory for safekeeping. It started with biscuits and sausage gravy for breakfast. After that we were pretty lazy. Bronwyn found out she can stand on the couch to look out the window with Daddy’s help to balance her.

She was excited about that.

They watched the neighbor kids play in the snow.

Later that afternoon we took a drive up through the city to see what we could see. The roads weren’t bad and there was a lot less traffic, so it was an ideal day to be out. We drove around Phoenix Park for a while. It was lovely. This park is a good place to get “away” from the city (although it’s kind of a tourist trap, too). It’s huge, beautiful, and even has a herd of deer living in it.

A monument to the Duke of Wellington.

It was cold for the little baby.

Funny, this weather reminds me of South Carolina when it gets snow—people sledding down hills barely covered with snow, and grownups making snowmen.

After we left the park, we headed home straight through the city centre. We drove down along the quays all the way to the port.

On the way, we passed Heuston Train Station,

and the Dublin Eye.

Some architect had fun dreaming up this bridge …

… as well as this movie theatre.

We drove home, then.

Supper was bread (fresh out of the bread machine) and sausage vegetable soup, with this for dessert:

I don’t usually bake like this just for us. This cake was made with a fellowship meal at church in mind, but then church got cancelled, and so…we got the cake, which was a sweet ending to a happy day.

And…I don’t think we’ll be going to church today. Cozy Sunday, here we come.

The only unfortunate part is the fact that I’m up at 6:34am. Someone around here just doesn’t know how to sleep in. (I’ll let you guess whether I mean Bronwyn or her dad.)

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