Happy New Year. Where did 2011 go? Now that 2012 has arrived in full swing, plans are quickly taking shape for our big move home in May.

Our second baby is scheduled to arrive on February 20, and exactly three months later my husband and I are set to board an Aer Lingus flight at JFK bound for Shannon with two kids, eight pieces of luggage, two car seats, two strollers and God knows what else. It will be a mini adventure to say the least.

We had John’s (my husband) sister and brother-in-law visiting over the holidays, and that was very special. Nothing like having family around at Christmas.

We made the most of the beautiful weather, took a few shopping trips (Woodbury Commons, etc.), had a nice few meals locally and rang in the New Year with our 13-month-old jumping up and down to the Times Square ball drop on television.

It was probably the most memorable Christmas we have had in our nine years in New York. It was of course bittersweet too. Our last Christmas in New York, our last everything from now on!


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Dropping my in-laws back to JFK on New Year’s Day had me up in a heap. I’m usually sad saying goodbye to anyone at the airport, but this time the tears came from a different place.

I knew the next time I would see the departure area of Terminal 4 at JFK would be in May. And then it will be us boarding the plane.

Don’t get me wrong. John and I are fully confident and happy with our decision to move home, but naturally after building a life together and spending nine wonderful years in New York we will be a little (or a lot) sad leaving.

Saying goodbye to the wonderful friends we have made down through the years will be heartbreaking, and knowing that the next time I’ll see the Manhattan skyline will be on television will also sting a little.

But as I’ve said before and will say again, the reason we are moving back home is to be close to our family, to allow our children to have full access to their grandparents, cousins and relations.
The bottom may be falling out of Ireland but that’s okay; we’ll survive and once we remain optimistic all will be work out.

So back to the present. We are currently getting ready for the arrival of baby Mooney number two.
For those of you new to this column, we have a 13-month-old son, Colum, and are excited at the prospect of our second in February. (yes, Irish twins).

The pregnancy has been pretty much the same for the most part. We didn’t find out the sex and look forward to the surprise.

My money is on another boy but either would be great.  Two boys very close in age would be a lot of fun, but a girl might balance out the craziness, so whatever God blesses us with is fine.

Colum is now swinging into the toddler years -- literally. Now that he is walking everywhere it’s great for me. He is able to get from A to B without my assistance, can climb up and down steps by himself and, best of all, when we call him he comes of his own accord.

Of course the freedom of walking now gives him the confidence to climb on everything and anything, but it’s all part of being a boy I’ve been told.

His energy is contagious. We enjoy watching his curious little face when out and about, and as he begins to string words together it’s funny to listen to him from afar.

We’re not sure how he will take to the new addition. At the moment he is a happy go lucky little man, and we hope he will remain so for the next six weeks, but I’m sure a new baby taking mommy and daddy’s attention away from him will to some degree cause upset.

Only time will tell I guess. Hopefully he is too young to identify with jealousy.

When Colum goes to bed in the evening we spend hours on the Internet looking at homes in Ireland, Limerick in particular.

We initially had a wish list of homes in specific areas, but now that it’s getting close to the move home we are becoming more open to different homes and areas.

Ideally a nice small house in the country would be fabulous -- but there are pros and cons with that.


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Neither of us have lived in the country (I’m from Tralee town and John from Limerick city), most homes in the country come with land that has to be maintained, and we would be a considerable distance from family and friends depending on where we would be.

On the brighter side, we would get more bang for our buck in the country. I like the idea of our children having a field to run around in and more space to entertain. I also have visions of walking the country roads with a dog and the kids during the summer evenings.

A house in the city (or in the suburbs) is also tempting. Prices are dropping a substantial amount.

We would be close to everything, including friends and family, schools, stores and activities. The cons with the city would be a smaller home, probably a semi-detached and very little garden space.

It’s exciting, though, trying to decide where we will rent and then eventually buy. It always works out, so whatever is meant to be will be.

We will be bringing our American furniture home with us, but while purchasing a few years ago we were very conscious to buy relatively small pieces so they will fit in a home in Ireland.

People have recently advised us to fill the container as much as possible. I’ve been told by a number of people to buy tin foil. Apparently it’s way more expensive in Ireland, the size we have here isn’t available there and the quality of American foil is far better. Who would have thought!

I guess I better get in a few trips to Costco in the next few weeks before I’m home-bound with a new born. That’s it for now. Happy New Year everyone.