Hello New York. It’s been a busy few weeks in Ireland. Since I wrote my last column we’ve been to two christenings, a confirmation, and two birthday parties. I’m worn out. I’m not able for late nights and early mornings. The early morning issue only arose in the last two years when both my kids were born. They don’t like to stay in their bed past 7 a.m. so we (my husband, John, or I) spend half an hour fighting the night before about whose turn it is to get up with the kids. We usually work it out.

The kids are getting so big. Our son Colum is now two years and four months and Sadie is 14 months. They get on like a house on fire. Sometimes Colum drives Sadie a little mad when he smothers her with kisses – she is very independent and likes her own space - and he doesn’t like it so much when she pushes him away. But they are good, most of the time.

Every now and then Colum becomes a little demon- demanding, shouting and crying when he doesn’t get his own way. This started about two months ago. The terrible twos people said. I was upset with his behavior because he normally has a very gentle disposition. He is kind, polite and does what he is told most of the time. And then this new little monster entered our home. It lasted about a week the first time. I was grumbling to my friends about it, giving him relevant time outs and trying to figure out ways to reign him in and then all of sudden it stopped. The day is stopped was the day he finished an antibiotic for an ear infection. Coincidence I thought.

 Last week Colum had a vomiting bug. I took him to the doctor and thankfully I did. He had a very bad ear infection (he is prone to them). I immediately began him on a course of antibiotics and guess what happened; he has begun to act out again. It still could be a coincidence or maybe he is just going through another phase or maybe he is acting out this way because the pain he is in.

We took the kids into the city on Sunday afternoon and did some shopping. When Colum didn’t get what he wanted at the checkout he threw a strap. He was one of “those” kids that everyone looks at.

He has never done this before. I was embarrassed and angry. There was no reasoning with him.

nyway he is due to finish the antibiotic in the next two days so we will see if the well behaved son I brought home from New York last May will return.

Sadie on the other hand is so placid that everywhere we go people offer to take her home with them- for a week.  Long may it last. I heard the teenage years are tough with girls. Some of my friends now have kids entering high school and it’s not easy for the moms. The girls’ moods are erratic, there is constant arguing (or negotiating) going on and reasoning with the girls is not an easy task.

So that’s the kids. We are looking forward to a week’s holidays with friends and their children in Roscommon in early June. We joke all the time that our friendships might not last past Roscommon after spending seven days in one log cabin with six kids (a six-month-baby, a 16-month old, two two-year-olds, and a teenager).

I’ve been busy with my side project. Actually it’s more than a project. It’s a whole new business venture and I’m entering rocky terrorrity in this economy but all I can do is give it my best shot. I’ve mentioned in this column before that I’m launching a local bridal magazine in Limerick (Brides of Limerick) at the end of the year. I’m currently working on a mock up and last Saturday we had our first photo-shoot for the magazine. It was a great day despite the rain and a real learning experience for this particular editor-in-chief.

Because it’s a local community magazine I wanted to make it as real as possible so I used three local girls who got married in the past six months for the shoot. They all wore their own dresses. If I learnt anything from working at the Irish Voice it was that people love human interest stories. Each of the three models for the day will feature in a three page spread in the magazine with their stories and pictures.

This was my first shoot of any kind and I was as prepared as I could be but not prepared enough. I had met with the hotel (the Lakeside in Killaloe, Co. Clare- a popular venue for Limerick brides) the week before to scout out possible photo-shoot locations and booked a room and some food. They assigned me a small private dining room for the hair and make-up. Great I thought until I arrived and it suddenly dawned on me that the brides had no privacy to get dressed. The hotel was fully booked out so there was a slight panic. I couldn’t possible ask these girls to go into the toilet to get ready. I was angry with myself for not having the cop on to think of this before. Lesson one learned.

nyway problem was quickly resolved when a room became available about twenty minutes after we arrived.

 The girls were nervous. They had never met each other but after exchanging wedding stories they relaxed into it. Suddenly it dawned on them when they began to get ready that they would be asked to strike certain poses and wear certain make-up and hairstyles for the shoot. They finally came around and got into the flow of things pretty quickly. They really enjoyed it, or so they said.

When we arrived at the hotel the sun was shining in the sky. It wasn’t long becoming overcast and before we knew it the heavens opened and the rain came pouring down. I was determined not to let the weather dampen the spirits of the crew so we worked with what we could inside and when the rain lightened off we went outside for some shots. There were some nice ones but the wet ground (the girls weren’t too happy putting their freshly dry-cleaned wedding dresses on wet ground and grass) and the wind proved difficult to get the perfect outdoor shot. We got some lovely ones but none that were front page worthy in my opinion. We made up for it with inside shots and got one that I think I’m happy with- I’m still waiting to see the final product. So lesson number two is to always be prepared for erratic Irish weather. Have a plan in place for inside alternative shots.

 And lesson number three is to not let other people take control of my shoot. The hair-stylist (who did a great job) has worked with several celebrities in Limerick and was not a novice when it came to photo-shoots. It was nice at the beginning to have her advice on what normally happens on shoots and let’s face it I was as much in the dark on these things as the newlyweds but by the end of the day she was directing the photographer on what kind of picture to take, what to photo-shop out and was very clear in her opinion if she liked something or didn’t like it. Timmy the photographer for the shoot was fantastic. He is a student who is starting out on his own and took some amazing shots that I was very happy with. It was a little awkward but I quickly began to learn that there were a lot of chefs in the kitchen. I also realized I needed to be more assertive when it came to taking charge of my own shoot. But I live and learn. It was a great experience and I’ve no doubt that the product at the end of it will be great. In the mean time I have a lot of work to put into it to get it right.

As for the house hunting I think we have finally narrowed down our needs. We have a specific area in mind, a few houses that we are going to view and it will be off to the bank with us to apply for a mortgage and that’s a whole other challenge in itself so we will see. Renting isn’t so bad anyway.

Our washing machine, our boiler and shower all went in the one week. The landlady had them all fixed within two days. The advantages of paying someone else’s mortgage I guess.

So now it’s off home I go to see how my children are behaving. Hopefully it will be a calm Mooney household tonight.

April, John, Colum and Sadie before attending a family wedding.Handout