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First day of the Hols

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Today was the first day of the summer holidays, everyone finally finished yesterday and we now enter the long 2 months of the summer. In America, Canada, Spain you can be fairly confident of what the weather will be like. Ireland it’s a different story, its normally slightly warmer but not always dryer than winter. So we have to make what we can of the good weather when we get it.

My wife was off to Naas last night for her sisters birthday and she stayed over, so I had the kids for day to myself. Much to my daughters disgust, when we all woke this morning at 7:30, I made her get changed immediately. No lazy Saturday lying in front of the TV for hours. By 9 we were out of the house heading over to Oldbridge Houseso I could do my stint helping out at the Oldbridge Parkrun. I must say my three kids were great. The older pair made friends with other kids being minded by their dad while he managed the race and their ma ran it. The youngest was grand for a while and then started to get bored in the buggy. So I let him out to play in the grass. He decided that he wanted to climb back into the buggy again. Instead of sitting in the seat, he stood on it held onto the bar at the front and tried to walk his feet up the back of the seat. His first attempt rolled the buggy, but his second was more successful.

After a quick snack for us all, and a run to the shops for some food for a picnic we were back in Oldbridge for the Country Fair which is on this weekend. And the kids had a great time. It started off with the kids decorating plant pots and planting flowers, which they got to bring home. They really enjoyed it.

Planting flowers at the Oldbridge Country Fair

Planting flowers at the Oldbridge Country Fair

We then had some lunch and were joined by friends from St. Mary’s Parent & Toddler Group and we watched the Musket demonstration before going on a long walk around the park doing a tree trail questionaire which kept the kids really engaged (well Aoife and one of the boys, the rest enjoyed the walk) and we made it back in time for the story telling with Delphine who was fantastic with them.

Oldbridge Country Fair Story time with Delphine

Oldbridge Country Fair Story time with Delphine

Soon after that there was a flower arranging workshop at which point I thought I’d like to go home, but my daughter was insistant that she wanted to do it. As Felicity was staying for it with her daughter, I took the boys off for a walk around the food tent and to see what else was being exhibited. When we got back they still hadn’t started so my two boys played while Aoife arranged the flowers with assistance from the others, and I’ll admit made a good job of it. It was her first time doing flower arranging and to my horror started asking where we could get the green stuff and flowers as she wanted to do it again on her own this time. I think she was disappointed that I didn’t know of any classes she could go to but I’ll have to keep her out of the garden centre for a while.

Flower arranging at the Oldbridge Country Fair

Flower arranging at the Oldbridge Country Fair


The kids were really thankful that I’d got them up and out early this morning. We left at 9 and didn’t make it home till 4:30 in the afternoon. And all for the cost of a picnic, 2 bars of chocolate and a tea & Scone. A really cheap and excellent day, we’ll hopefully be back tomorrow for day 2.

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Child care Dilemas

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First written and posted on my old blog on the 5 November 2010. I had been out of work for just over a year, it was the first time in 10 years I’d out of work. The first time I’d ever been “unemployed” and I didn’t take too easily to it. So almost the first thing I did was to enroll on a Masters course, and then start a 2nd course in 2010 on starting by own business. So we went from me being at home with the kids all the time to sometimes with trying to do work, study etc in my free time while someone else minded Aoife for us.

“Don’t leave me on my own daddy…”

That was Aoife’s plea to me at 7:30 am as I was preparing to go out for an interview on a cold Thursday morning. Her mum was still asleep in bed and Aoife was drinking her morning Yop and having breakfast.

And that is the challenge that I faced a few weeks ago as my wife’s maternity leave finished up. We had gone 9 months with my wife and I both at home, so any time I was called for a job interview or to go down to the Dublin jobs club or to do some networking to try and develop some job opportunities.

It’s difficult to know what to do when you have 2 small kids, whilst not every interview is at 8.00 in the morning, I would still need to be able to have some childcare options available to me. One problem is that my childcare needs are not regular or routine, the second is that once I arranged childcare any networking opportunities would cost me without necessarily bringing in some returns. As a result I now have to become more careful and picking of my networking, so I’ve had to drop the Dublin Job’s club, which I think was very valuable and in time may have lead me to new opportunities, but when it is costing €60 a week when I’ve no income then it’s hard to keep justifying. Which is a pity, but there are other options which I need to pursue.

So a few weeks ago we secured some childcare with a local woman who lives around the corner. The crèche costs for a 9 month old were frightening at over €480 per month in Dublin and over €540 per month in Drogheda. Luckily a child minder is cheaper and much, much more flexible. So fortunately we had cover for when I had to go to Belfast for 3 days for my course she was available to collect Aoife and mind her until my wife collected her and she minds Aidan once a week to enable me to do the things that I need to get done.

It has also brought other added benefits as she runs a parent and toddler group in her house on Fridays so now I’ve been able to meet up with some of the other mothers in my estate and it means that I know a few more people in Drogheda. I now need to focus my Mondays to networking and pursing those other opportunities.

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