There are Two Ways to be Rich

I bought this print years ago and had it tucked away in a drawer – waiting for the day I could afford to have it framed. Professional framing is not something that is in my budget right now but oh how nice it would be. In the time since passed it has lost some of its aesthetic appeal (so many typefaces!) but the message speaks more to me now than it did years ago. 

I decided, after a couple of weeks of moping in the lead up to pay day (coupled with a rather fat bill from the US taxman…grrrr), that I needed an attitude adjustment. Our financial situation is unlikely to drastically change in the near future and so my attitude towards it must. Rich is a relative term and I can’t help but feel equal parts frustrated and humiliated when I lament our low bank balances while still able to fill our fridge, drive our car and pay our bills. And so herein lies the need for a change of perspective.

There are two ways to be rich: earn more or want less. A new house motto. 

An entrepreneurial nature coupled with a fondness of babies lead to me a lucrative babysitting career early on. Chasing toddlers and reading bedtime stories fuelled my teenage spending habits. It afforded me new outfits, foreign adventures, college trips and much more in between. I saved and budgeted where needs be – but I had no true expenses beyond clothing myself. Almost all of my spending was discretionary now that I think about it. 

Thankfully those years of earning and saving and spending within my means prepared me for the sudden thrust into the world of full on adult responsibility. But being prepared doesn’t mean its all fun and games. I wander aimlessly through aisles, running my fingers through racks of soft cottons and linens. I eye up cute baby shoes and squish wooly cardigans – wishing I could just take it to the till without a second thought or hit that ‘purchase’ button without hesitation. Part of the frustration lies in that I can’t wear anything I want to. I am so frustrated with this body for doing its job so well. I am tired and grumpy and swollen and so unbelievably ready for it to be over. I want to lie on my front and sleep without needing to pee every ninety minutes. 

And then I look into my fridge full of food, my freezer of meals prepared and tucked away, I feel the warmth of the room when I walk in from work and I relish in the heat of the shower as it hits my skin at a pressure more desirable than most and I know that I have more than enough. My baby kicks and wriggles and jives inside me and I know that I am fortunate. I don’t have to climb into a boat and risk my life because my home has become unbearably dangerous. I don’t have to starve or worry about where my next meal will come from. I have clean clothes, a dishwasher, a place to sleep and a person to figure out all this adult shit alongside. 

The extraneous stuff can wait. I will earn and grow and achieve more than I know possible at this point in time. I will one day sleep on my stomach again. It will be worth it.

Learning to want less is not about being mean or cheap or a martyr. It’s simply a shift in focus, a minor attitude adjustment and a leaning towards creativity in place of consumerism. I think for the most part I am up for the challenge. 

Spreading the News.

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This is what it looks like when you tell your best friends from college that you can’t go travelling with them next year because you’re going to have a baby.

Fiona in Vietnam, Kirstyn in Knocklyon, Nicole in Monaghan, and me in Berkeley. Four friends in three different timezones and four very different places. 


I found out I was pregnant on a Saturday morning in Berkeley, California. I glanced at the test casually, assuming it would be negative because I must have been paranoid and it was just a weird feeling after all.

I nearly lost my legs when I saw the plus sign. I freaked out, heart thumping like a drum in my chest. I showered, got dressed and took a photo of myself in the mirror; a strange compulsion to document the moment overrode my initial panic. I promptly went back to work at the table and watched the entire series first of Grey’s Anatomy in one sitting. Denial. Evasion. Whatever. 

Rich was at work. He text me to tell me he was going to be late and I played normal. I honestly didn’t know what he’d say. This was something we wanted some year soon but not exactly something we had intended for right now. 

When he got home I thrust the test at him and burst into tears. I’ll never forget his face. It lit up with pure joy. Moments later the panic and fear and complete thunderstorm of everything washed over him but that first split second of joy told me that everything was going to be perfectly OK. 

I cried a lot. I was really angry and scared and frustrated. I felt sick and anxious and shaky for days. I couldn’t think straight or function clearly or focus on anything. I started waking up at 5am, nauseous and exhausted.

We talked about all of our options. I told my bosses and friend in work and talked to them about every possible potential outcome. It felt empowering to know that I had a choice in this situation. Even though I am 100% pro choice in every sense of the word, I never thought that I would have or want an abortion. But the reality of a situation is different to the theoretical and that is why having a choice is paramount. It felt good to know that we could choose if we wanted to go down this road or not and that it was going to be OK either way. I felt incredibly supported but still completely confused. I went out to look for pregnancy books and instead bought Brene Brown’s Daring Greatly; I needed some guts.

I started going to acupuncture. It felt like part needle sticking and part therapy. The acupuncturist’s partner was also pregnant and so he knew all the right things to say and questions to ask. I relished the time on his table to voice the running stream of chatter in my mind. He told me he thought that our baby just couldn’t wait to be ours. That maybe we weren’t ready but that the baby might be. 

We decided to have the baby. We agreed that while we didn’t plan the pregnancy, we could plan for the baby. And that was enough for us. 

We love each other and we’re going to love the hell out of this baby.


Now I am 30 weeks and the countdown is on. Our baby punches and jabs my insides, lodging parts of himself in my ribcage at the most inopportune times. I almost fell asleep at my desk on Tuesday and was in bed my 9pm. I am knitting and cleaning and constantly frustrated with how no matter how much I tidy and clean, the kitchen is perpetually messy. I  try and to do too many things in too short a time and burn myself out. I am ready for it to be over. 



New York

Some days it feels like we never lived in California. Our life here is so far removed from anything we experienced there. Walking to walk, damp and drizzly, trying not to slip on Dublin’s cobble stones couldn’t be further from my hot and sweaty cycle through Oakland’s colourful neighbourhoods and along Jack London’s stunning waterfront. I get flashes of it all sometimes and it feels more like a weird dream than a true memory. I often find myself thinking ‘we did all that? How crazy.’ 

We flew to New York City at the end of October. It was a sort of mini break before diving head first into our new (old) home in Dublin. Rich had never been and I was excited to revisit, especially in Autumn. All that awful first trimester nausea had finally subsided and I was ready to stretch my legs and adventure for a few days.

We walked everywhere and ate our weight in everything. It was so sweet to wander and talk and have one big long uninterrupted date. We ate Shake Shack and nutella crepes and dive-y pizza and delicious grilled cheese sandwiches from Chelsea Market and amazing cookies and maybe Shake Shack again and about a million other things in between. We walked the entire length of The Highline, took the Subway across the water to DUMBO and walked back across the Brooklyn Bridge. We walked to see the Flatiron and rushed our way through Times Square (not for the claustrophic, crowd hating, slow walking averse!), we walked along the waterfront and visited Ground Zero. On our last day our paths crossed with a friend from home and we found ourselves ducking in from the downpour for pints in a pub as if we were back in Dublin. It was busy and bustling and the weather was crisp and autumnal. We had a ball and can’t wait to go back some day. Here are some photos if you’d like to see… 

It’s good to be Home.

We flew into Dublin airport on a Thursday morning. Two weeks ago today. Rich spotted a Dublin bus from the air as we landed. We revelled at all the green fields and trees and grey drizzly sky. Though it was nothing compared to the torrential downpour we left behind in New York. A whistle stop tour in which we walked and ate and walked and ate and walked some more. In other words, the best kind of tour. I’ll post some photos if I ever find that roll of film we shot. 

Rich kept saying he wasn’t sure if he was ready. Was this ok? Were we right in coming home? [did we have a choice?] All good things must come to an end and I gave him a firm ‘yes.’  I had no doubt really. This is home. Nowhere else will ever be that. The streets, the people, the smells and sounds,  the familiar clouds in the sky—together they make up our home and my place in this world. The place I want my baby to know and love [keep reading, I’ll get there]. I feel comfortable, even though our situation is anything but right now. Precariously living back at home—and someone else’s home at that!—after year of independent bliss is challenging. To say the least of it. 

We came home with excess baggage in the form of five suitcases, one large cardboard box, a bicycle, helmet & skateboard, two backpacks and an unborn seventeen week old potential somebody. Surprised? Tell me about it!

We surprised my brother on his doorstep at 10 am. Tears sprung from his eyes upon seeing us. It was worth the lying and the butterflies. My niece hugged me with her chubby little arms spread wide and showed Rich everything in her bedroom, pointing and laughing. That was all the confirmation I could ever need. Our people are here and this is our place. 

One day soon I’ll write about all the things I learned and all the ways we grew. There will be time for photos and sharing and keeping track of what’s what. For now we are home and that is enough. 


I scribbled this out one day as a response to ‘show me love’ [an assignment for a poster making class]—it lived above our bed for a year; an often necessary and worthwhile reminder.

Endless Summer

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A few weeks ago when chatting with my friend Kirstyn she asked me how I felt about not getting a summer holiday this year. While we both took some time to ourselves over the past few months this counts as the first summer in our respective 24 years where we haven’t had at least two months of pure freedom. Oh the perks of being a student. It wasn’t something I had thought about and so her question stopped me for a second.

Truly, it feels like I have been on summer holidays since I moved to California. I think it might have something to do with the weather? I’m joking…it has everything to do with the weather. I can count on one hand how many times it has rained since we arrived. (This is not a good thing, the drought is truly a natural disaster.) However, for this Irish girl so used to a damp, cold and changeable climate being able to count on sunshine for days on end is nothing short of revolutionary. 

It is one, big, long, endless summer and it’s coming to a close. My heart is starting to beat towards home again and it’s all kind of coming full circle. Before then here are some photos to recap on the last couple of months. 

When Hannah came we spent some time exploring San Francisco before embarking on our road trip. We cycled through the city and across the bridge to Sausalito which is a cheesy, touristy thing to do but definitely worth it. I love cycling around this city. 

We spent 4th of July at Lake Anza. I read half a book, basked in the heat of the glorious sunshine and avoided the millions of kids in the water. Haha. 

These above four photos are from Jack London Square in Oakland. For about ten minutes of my commute to work this is my view. It’s stunning no matter the weather or time of day—though the morning I shot these photos was particularly stunning.

What are brothers for except playing leap frog and other weird stuff like that? We have fought and we have made up and bickered and drove each other crazy this summer but it has been nice to have him here…most of the time. 

We have spent some time housesitting and garden-sitting over the last few months. These are some of my favourite photos I’ve taken this summer. 

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Hanging out in Temescal Alley is always a good idea, especially for those filled-right-before-your-eyes doughnuts from Dolly’s! 


How has your summer been lovelies? It was 34 degrees on Monday and in the high 20s today so it doesn’t look like this summer is ending any time soon. I think we’ll just have to come home to get our quota of autumn-winter chills and cosy fireside cuddling.