Happy birthday Colum James Mooney!

Today (Tuesday, November 29) is our son’s first birthday. A year ago my husband John and I were smiling from ear to ear as our world changed for the better.

It’s hard to believe it’s been a year already, and anyone who reads this diary will know there is a second little Mooney on the way. Due exactly three months from now. We couldn’t be happier and truly count our blessings every day of the week.

As first timers to this whole parent lark John and I were not sure what to expect, but looking back we are pleasantly happy with the way things worked out.

The sleepless nights were few and far between. I can count on one hand how many times we’ve needed to take Colum to the doctor, and the entertainment we get out of our son every evening is priceless.

We pondered back and forth what to do to celebrate his big day and settled on a very small family affair on Thanksgiving Day. After all, it was a day to give thanks.

We had John’s cousins visiting from Ireland for the week, Sinead and Johnathan McCarthy and their niece Katelyn Markham Lennon. The McCarthys have a beautiful baby boy too -- Scott. He is only two days younger than Colum so a joint birthday celebration on Thanksgiving, was perfect.

We ordered a Thomas the Tank Engine ice cream cake (which went down a treat with our visitors) from Baskin-Robbins and put up the necessary themed balloons. We jovially sang happy birthday (twice) to the boys and they were mesmerized by the attention and burning flame on their cake. We later carried on the celebrations with Thanksgiving dinner at the Heritage Bar and Restaurant on McLean Avenue.

Seeing Colum and Scott together was fantastic. Colum goes to day care twice a week and enjoys the company of children, so having his little cousin around for a whole week made him so happy, and us too.

When the gang first arrived at our home in Yonkers the boys eyed each other up for a few minutes before getting down on the floor and chasing around after each other on all fours.


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Colum was fascinated by this beautiful blond boy who was taking over his room. He was constantly touching his hair and Scott kept showering his cousin with kisses.

It was a real sight and as parents we all enjoyed watching the cousins interact. We're sure when we move back home to Ireland they will be the best of friends.

John and I are really and truly grateful to have a healthy little boy. Only God knows what’s in store for the future, but this past year has been a really good one.

During my time as a reporter with the Irish Voice I’ve interviewed many families and children that have it so hard.  In some cases the children end up passing away from some horrible disease and I see how it crushes the parents to pieces. So from that experience alone I thank God as often as I can for our son’s health.

Having family with us to celebrate Colum’s big day was very special. We look forward to his second birthday even more when his grannies, uncles, aunts and all the other cousins will be present at a much bigger affair back in Ireland.

It's exactly six months till the Mooney family boards an Aer Lingus flight with eight suit cases, two strollers and two car seats. We have no idea where we will live (the plan is to settle in Limerick, but where exactly is another thing) and if we will settle into life back home easily or not.

But the unknown isn’t deterring us one bit. In fact it’s kind of exciting.

We spend most evenings on a website called Daft. It lists all the homes for sale in Ireland at the moment. We’ve been eyeing the site for nearly a year now, and to see the house prices drop so dramatically is comforting in a way.

The initial asking prices for some of these houses in the countryside in Limerick were ridiculous. Property experts are predicting that prices will continue to fall so we have that in our favor anyway.

Now if only John and I could agree on a house we both like. Our opinions differ in everything.

We have yet to agree on one name we both like for baby number two, so I can imagine the heated discussions that will take place in a small car in Ireland next summer with two babies crying in the back seat while we roam the country in search of the perfect home.

John’s first cousin/best friend Eoin Markham is getting married on June 8 so it will be our first time in three years being with all his family.  The wedding is to take place in Co. Galway, so a weekend away with everyone will be great.

Although weekends away will be few and far between when we get home, we are excited for the frequent trips to Kerry to visit my friends and family, and hopefully someday when we get settled into our own home to have them come to visit us.

But back to the present. Although it’s a little misty outside today I am planning to take Colum to Muscoot Farm in Katonah and to visit Colum’s good friends Jack and Maeve after for some more ice cream cake!