28 February 2008

St. Augustine

The first part of our sunny adventure was with family in the north of Florida. It was the first time all the Arnolds were in one place in a long time and we all had so much fun.

I could do a whole post on Jack mugging for the camera. I'd call it "Just Jack"
When he wasn't hamming it up, Jack whooped Lawrence's butt in checkers. Jimmy rides shotgun to rub it in.
In addition to being a wisenheimer - Jimmy gives the best hugs. Here he is with Grandpa.
Here's Nino getting some Grandpa action.
Nino's Grandma and Mommy.

Aunt Alli played Fashion Plates with Aunt Pittypat and dolled her up in this fabulous wrap dress. History was made - Chris is actually speechless.

Princess Alli also had fun with Aunt Alli's fashion accessories.

Aunt Jackie doesn't need any help being fabulous, she manages just fine on her own!!

The weather was gorgeous and those of us from chillier climes soaked it up. Chris had the kids playing, you guessed it - lacrosse, on the back lawn.

Taking Nino for a walk, sitting on the back patio watching the golfers go by, leaving the windows and doors open for a nice breeze...it really was nice to be back in Florida.
Mom was a great hostess and Brian, her chef. The two of them in the kitchen put out several great meals and made it look effortless. Here they are serving up breakfast. Thanks to both of you for all the hard work!

Mmmmmm, omelet fixins.

Oh, by the way, Grandpa isn't a Yankees fan AT ALL. He was just feeling chilly and this jacket happened to be lying around. He is actually a VERY BIG FAN of those Amazing Mets. Ain't that right Grandpa?

This might have been my favorite part - watching Aunt Jackie and the kids love all over each other. The five of them form a very tight knit mutual adoration society. This is definitely my favorite picture (credit to Alli Arnold for this and a few others.)

This was just a small representation of all the family goodness we got. It was a great way to begin our vacation but didn't last nearly long enough. Lucky for us we got to see the kids again once we got to the Tampa Bay Area but Chris and I miss both our families so much. You are always in our thoughts and we are already look forward to the next time.


27 February 2008

Tampa Jam !

by Chris

Wow ! What an awesome trip. Kelly & I had been looking forward to this trip since we left Florida last May. It was great to be back home in sunny & WARM Tampa. We have a lot of stuff to post here on the ol' blog so stay tuned over the next few weeks as we catch up. We visited our family and friends in St Augustine, Tampa and St Pete. Lets start with the reason we traveled in February.

The 14th annual Tampa Jam Lacrosse Tournament in St Petersburg !

This year there were 6 teams playing : Southern Empire (Atlanta), Hogtowne (Gainesville), Atlantic Sportswear (Maine), F.R.O.G.s (Florida Really Old Guys - Tampa) and 2 Tampa Thunder teams.

We missed hangin' out with our Tampa Thunder lacrosse friends since we've been gone, and the Tampa Jam enabled us to see everyone all in one weekend. Unfortunately, we didn't take nearly enough pictures, as we were very busy catching up and socializing. WooooHoooooooooooo Thunder !

Atlantic Sportswear beat Southern Empire to win the tournament (2nd time in 4 years) after a disappointing Thunder showing. (Including a 17-0 asskicking handed to the B team by Atlantic)

Ahhh the warm weather, so different then playing lacrosse in Ireland.

Suzanne traveled with us to Florida and had her first lacrosse experience...she'll be back next year, she's hooked on lacrosse !
Bingo had time in between games to model girls bracelets and daydream about ways to get out of work.

Whats better than a good ol' fashioned game of Quarters after a long day of lacrosse ? There was alot of elbow gesturing as people "consumed" rather than "drank" their beers and obeyed a long list of other typically ridiculous rules. Everyone had a great time

Suzanne's hair smelled really good

Brian & Clayton comparing beer bellies as Bingo looks on and dreams of men's bellies.

I'd been looking forward to this for a while. A blackened grouper sandwich...oh yummy yum yum

Our home away from home. The Miramar Beach Resort. Full of drunken Canadian retirees and lacrosse players.... Heaven on Earth.

Miramar gang signs. We threw them around...alot.

Beach+Beer+Male Bonding = New Sports. In the tradition of other made-up sports of days gone by like Volleybat last Easter (see link - Volleybat), we came up with a few new events for the St Pete Beach Olympics (SPBO)

Event #1 - Gladiator Beach Square Football (GBSF)

Participants take turns rotating thru all 3 positions, accumulating points for completed passes and interceptions. Although Chris was the early favorite due to his height advantage over Joe and Matt, Joe's aggressive defense won the day and earned him the Gold Medal with Matty coming in a close second. I had to settle for the Bronze.

Event #2 - Miramar Pool Pail Ball (MPPB)

Objective : shoot a water logged tennis ball into one of two pails floating on a boogie board. Easier then it sounds when there are two defensemen and no rules of contact. The picture above shows how the defense worked together as Matt tries to take my legs out while Joe jumps on my back like a rabid monkey. Their efforts were in vain

Gold Medal - Chris

Team Event - Shuffleboard

There were many shuffleboard matches and the competition was fierce, but the Chris/Joe matchup was too much for our opponents.

Gold Medal - Chris/Joe

Individual event #3 - St Pete Beach Chair Toss (SPBCT)

Laid out the same as a Shot Put contest, the chair toss combines brut strength and quick thinking as to avoid smashing yourself in the face with a chair.

Mens Gold Medal - Chris , Womens Gold - Kelly

After a disappointing showing by the Irish Womens Team (Suzanne) she got some quick pointers from the SPBCT Gold Medalist on the next event :

The St Pete Beach Over the Head Chair Toss (SPBOTHCT)

Once again Kelly won the Gold in the Womens Division. Joe showcased his superior upper body strength and took Men's Gold.

All in all a succesful SPB Olympiad

No wonder that by the end of our vacation, we were exhausted.

More pics and stories to come soon !

We're Back !

We're back in Dublin after a WONDERFUL 10 day trip to sunny Florida.

Stay tuned for a new blog post tomorrow !

15 February 2008

Outreach Moldova

by Kelly

This coming May I will be spending two weeks volunteering in Moldova at an orphanage for disabled girls with a Dublin based charity called Outreach Moldova. Since 2000, this organization has virtually rebuilt a crumbling facility in the former Soviet republic. Conditions found by aid workers before this charity was founded were appalling: ranging from inadequate food and clothing to non-existent medical care and severe neglect.

I urge you to check out Outreach Moldova's website for details on the improvements made in the last seven years and all the amazing work they still do. It is heartwarming to see what they have accomplished: new medical and dental facilities, sanitary and functioning kitchens, living and sleeping areas that are safe, clean and cheerful.

From May through October Outreach Moldova sends volunteer groups for two week trips to the orphanage to assist the staff and provide the girls with much needed love and affection. I'll be going with the first group, leaving Dublin in late May. Wish me luck!!

I can go on and on about the good work this charity does and how excited I am to take part in it but I'll leave you to investigate their website.

One of the requirements for volunteers is fund-raising and I must raise a minimum of €1700 (about $2,400) in order to make the trip. This sponsorship is one of the ways the orphanage is able to continue operating and keep improving the facility.

Please make a donation if you are able. No amount is too small (or too large!) Please use the Paypal "Donate" button on this page so that all contributions can be counted towards the total I must raise. It takes just a few minutes to donate by credit card, no need to create a Paypal account. And if you can think of any other generous souls who might contribute - feel free to pass this on!!

A thousand thanks!!!


p.s. Thanks to H.K. for making the very first donation :)

Happy Anniversary

by Chris

We celebrated our 10th Wedding Anniversary/Valentines day with Michael & Patrice. We had a lovely dinner at the Town Bar & Grill in Dublin, then went out for drinks at 4 Dame Lane, The Market Bar and ended the evening at Copper Face Jack's

Town Bar & Grill

Someone at Copper's thought I was Dylan McGrath, the Chef from Mint...a fancy schmancy restaurant in Ranelagh.

When I told the guy that I was not the Chef from Mint, Patrice told him that although I wasn't a world class chef, he probably recognized me because I play for the New England Patriots !

He didnt believe that, of course.

We stayed out too late and drank too much but a great time was had by all. Poor Michael was the only one who had to work today, as he is quick to point out, he has a J. O. B.

14 February 2008

13 February 2008


One day while Mike & Bobbie were visiting we met a kitten, the sweetest and friendliest cat I've come across in a long time. We called her Cheese and spent at least a half hour getting and giving cuddles and love. Never mind the ruined abbey and nature trails, Cheese was Glendalough's star attraction that day. In this pic you see the tiny hand of an adorable Czech girl who loved Cheese as much as we did.

It was soooo nice to get a cat fix.
I miss all the kitties I've had in my life, particularly Marley, the last precious honey to own us.
So how thrilled was I to come home after our Cheese encounter and find the following e-mail in my inbox?

Dear Kelly and Chris,

Your cat has won the hearts of her new homeowners. Having had Siamese cats for 20 years we never expected a Tabby to be so communicative. We find it difficult to turn over in bed at night since she has us pinned down and we do not want to disturb her. It’s worse than having a kid in bed with us.

Hope you are enjoying your new life in Ireland. We hiked along the coastline, north of Galway four years ago.

I will never forget my first experience spending a day in the rain crossing a bog.

I hate to report that if you ever return to the states you can not claim Marley.

All the best,


What can I say? It was a real feel-good day. I am eternally grateful to Marley's new Mommy and Daddy, especially since they had never met us and still took in our darling old broad. Also big thanks to our new Mommy & Daddy finder, Clayton.

Marley always felt like she was misunderstood by most, and I tend to agree. It's nice to know she's got new humans that get her.

Here are Marley and Jack in a rare moment of sibling love. Jack lives with his new Mommy, my sister Tina, for the last few years. I am hoping to get a face full of that belly on our trip to F-L-A.

I am not sure if he'll still let me, but a girl can dream, can't she?