09 January 2014

So that was 2013, a look back at what the boys did last year .....

The boys had a very busy 2013 ....

They started 2013 just as they finished it - in Spain

They really love the time they get to spend there.  Murray would spend every week of the year in Spain with Clive if he could! Spain means lots of time together for all the family, lots of time to walk the beach and collect shells (Murray's absolute favourite thing to do!) and lots of time to be with Clive!

February saw them back on the Costa again - enjoying the beach and being together all day long again .....

March 2013 was the first time in 10 years that the family hadn't been to Disneyland Paris for St Patrick's Day but it was also the first time in 10 years that they got to enjoy the St Patrick's Day Parade in Dublin.  It was a fantastic parade and they were very lucky to be able to watch it from Daddy's office on Dame Street.  They had a fantastic view down on all the participants and they also had the pleasure of having Murray's cousin Soline visiting from Bordeaux.  Murray loves Soline so getting to meet up with his 'big' cousin is always special!

Easter 2013 was spent back in Spain - the boys had a lovely Easter with Uncle Kevin & Auntie Maire visiting from Belgium, helping their cousin Kevin celebrate his 5th birthday and getting to spend lots of time on the beach again collecting shells with Mum & Dad.  The Easter Egg bunny even remembered to leave some eggs in our garden in Spain!

In May the boys were left at home (for once!) whilst Mom & Dad got a well deserved break away on their own in Lyon ....

Now that Murray is getting older, it's easier for Mom & Dad to leave him at home and most importantly for him to cope with the separation.  Murray doesn't like his routine changed but sometimes 'change' is necessary and good.  It wouldn't be possible without his wonderful sister Sorcha who looks after him so well and is so good with him.  We are truly blessed with having such a great daughter who enjoys her 'special needs' brother so much and is happy and willing to look after him.  He might drive her a little mad 'on occasion' but what brother doesn't!!

By June the boys were on a mission - to visit Disneyland Paris!  Clive had never been so after a lot of 'pleading' by Murray that Clive would love to go with him, Murray & Clive with Sorcha and Mom & Dad spent a wonderful few days in Disneyland Paris.  Clive did indeed enjoy it and Murray did loved it of course!  The characters and cast members were wonderful with the boys and the boys had such a magical time that months later they are still talking about it and planning a return visit.  However, that was the 11th year in a row though so enough is enough - we have told Murray he is 16 this year so NO more Disneyland!!

July and August were spent in Spain and the boys had a busy summer there - lots of time spent with cousins, lots of friends who visited, lots of beaches to visit, lots more shells to collect .....

Very importantly for Murray also - lots of chocolate cake to eat at his favourite restaurant - Mom & Dad were 17 years married, Sorcha was 16, Murray was 15 and then Dad was 50 so there lots of excuses to eat chocolate cake over the summer ....

Murray also tried did the Benehavis river run with his Dad and Sorcha - a big adventure that involved a lot of cold water, steep climbs, large rocks and climbing!  Murray did it though and we were very proud of him!

Finally the summer drew to a close and the boys came back to Dublin and a great surprise - all summer long Coca-Cola had been running a 'Share a Coke with .... ' campaign and Murray & Clive had really wanted to get coke bottles with their names on the bottles!  We had found Murray's Mom & Dad's names easily, Sorcha was no problem either but there were no Murray or Clive bottles to be found!  However, the power of blogging and facebook cannot be underestimated and the boys had their bottles within a week of posting about them ....

Huge thanks again to the very special person in Coca-Cola for organised that for us.  Every time we have visitors to the house Murray takes out his Coke bottles to show all the bottles!  He is very proud of his 'family' of Coke bottles!  It's the little things that make the biggest impact sometimes!

September was also very important with Dublin winning the All Ireland Football Final again ....

The boys were thrilled - there is nothing quite so special as being in Croke Park on All Ireland Final day and seeing your team win again!  The family just love their football! Up the DUBS!

Dublin Culture Night was also a September evening that the boys enjoyed.  Although the boys travel a lot there is nothing like their own home city for culture and entertainment.  Also, despite other countries being better in recent years with assistance dog access, nothing beats Ireland when it comes to access and acceptance and the sheer friendliness that the boys encounter when they are out and about together around Dublin .....

In October the boys were to travel to New York but Clive got sick.  He had a large lipoma removed from his sternum the week before the mid-term break and Murray was very upset.  He found Clive's scar, stitches and drain very hard to cope with and the fact that Clive was so unwell and so not himself for a few days.  Each time Clive gets sick now and as he's getting older, there are more occasions when this is happening, it is very difficult for Murray to cope with the worry and fright that Clive is ill. The boys are so used to going everywhere together ....

However Murray went to New York with the rest of the family and did the one thing he had wanted to do for years!  He got to visit the Statue of Liberty!  His excitment was immense as the boat approached Lady Liberty ....

Museums were a bit hit too - the Museum of Natural History because 'Night at the Museum' as filmed there.  Gloria, the security guard who took time out to show Murray around some of the exhibits used in the film was wonderful and Murray is still talking about you, Gloria!!  You were a huge hit with him! The time you took to engage with Murray and share your stories is something that Murray still comments on months later.

The Guggenheim was used in Mr Popper's Penguins so Murray was amazed with that museum too!  He is very easily pleased - a few hours in the Guggenheim and he was so happy!  He walked around those floors over and over looking for penguins!

New York really excites Murray - everywhere he looks he is reminded of one of his favourite films - a walk through Central Park is like a film review for the family.  We get to hear all the best bits of Murray's favourite films, scripted perfectly!  We all get to share in his favourite film moments!

We also got to meet our very good friends and fellow bloggers Jane & Petey in New York - in fact, Murray & Sorcha got to stay with them in the West Village on Halloween night.  They had a wonderful time with Jane & Petey and Murray loved having some 'canine' company particularly!

Back home in Dublin November was a month that Murray will remember always because he got to meet one of his biggest heroes!  Murray adores animals, Clive is NO.1 but Murray gets really excited about all animals and particularly ZOO animals.  We visit Dublin Zoo a lot and Murray's Mom & Dad have got very used to giving up a Sunday morning to wander through Dublin Zoo yet again with Murray whilst he 'scripts' the Zoo series and tells them all about Head Keeper Gerry Creighton and all the animals.  Following on from a blog post earlier in the summer, Dublin Zoo contacted us and invited Murray in to meet Head Keeper Gerry Creighton ....

Words cannot describe Murray's happiness at meeting Gerry!  He was beyond excited!   Gerry made him an 'honorary Zookeeper, Zookeeper no.23 as there are 22 Zookeepers currently working there'.  Murray has not stopped talking about being an honorary Zookeeper since, everyone we met gets to hear about Murray meeting Gerry.  Murray is convinced he will be working in Dublin Zoo in three years time when he finishes school.  Every evening, I kid you not, the discussion over dinner is 'when I'm working as a Zookeeper with the giraffes'!  There are nights at the dinner table that Murray's sister wants to scream 'no more Zoo talk' please Murray!!!  But when Murray is on a mission and obsessed about something .....

Well, there will be Zoo talk in our house for a long time yet ....

December was another busy month ....

The boys loved attending the UCD Veterinary Carol Service in aid of Irish Guide Dogs and they were really thrilled to attend Mrs Brown's Boys in the O2 in aid of Irish Autism Action and meet Brendan O'Carroll and 'Winnie'.  Murray finds Mrs Browns Boys 'totally hilarious' - he screams with laughter when the show is on so to get to meet Brendan aka Mrs Brown (that took Murray a bit of time to comprehend) and the lovely Winnie was a real treat for Murray!  Mrs Brown's Boys donated over €100k to Irish Autism Action which was incredibly generous and a wonderful Christmas present for IAA.  Murray was so excited on Christmas night in Spain watching Mrs Brown and telling the 'television' - "I met you last week, you know" ...

December also saw us back on a plane once more and we have to thank Aer Lingus for the wonderful care they have taken of the boys this last year.  The boys were in the 'air' with them half a dozen times in 2013 and Aer Lingus make travelling with an 'assistance dog' and 'special needs child' very easy! Dublin Airport Authority also have their 'special assistance' down to a fine art - you only have to travel through Dublin Airport on one of the busiest days of the year with a special needs child and service dog and not even notice the 'queues' and 'crowds' to really appreciate how well DAA look after and understand their 'special needs' customers.

Clive is constantly out in public and always looking wonderful so huge 'year end' thanks to Positive Dog Training for keeping Clive looking so well throughout the year.  Liz, totally understands that Clive has to 'look' the very same for Murray regardless of grooming and she always manages to groom Clive but not so Murray notices!  A true art!

Finally, the boys finished the year as they started it, back in Spain .....

Christmas in Spain meant lots of time together again, meeting up with our 'Spanish' family there, our lovely friends who live there all year and time to chill out and yes, collect more shells on the beach.  You can see a 'theme' to our year and shells play a very big part in it.

We were very lucky to end the year on positive and happy note - Murray is doing really well, Clive is well and still up for all the travelling and adventures with Murray.  Our boys are good and that means the 'family' is happy too!  It wasn't an easy year - there were lots of minor hiccups along the way - but that was what they were, minor and at the end of 2013, we could all look back and say, that was another positive and good year, progress was made and here's to 2014 ....

We look forward to sharing the boys adventures with all our friends in 2014 and we want to thank each and every one of you for the huge interest, support and kindness that you show to the boys.  We truly feel blessed to be surrounded by a great network of friends who support us, encourage us and care for us and that means the world to us all.

So, that was our year 2013 ....

Thank you for sharing it with us ....

- Clive & Co


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks Lily! Hope 2014 will be good to you too!

  2. What fabulous pictures and such wonderful memories! We love your new header picture, Clive and Murray! We hope 2014 is a fabulous year for you both!

    Love ya lots♥
    Mitch and Molly

    1. Thanks a million Mitch & Molly, we hope you have a wonderful 2014 too! Glad you like the new header photo too!

  3. Wow what a year of travel - we must a little more time in beautiful Ireland next year!!!
    Well done on a beautiful recounting of what was a great year where Murray continued to grow into that awesome "man" that he will soon be.
    Special thanks to Blogger/Mum - can't wait for the book of Clive and Murray sometime in 2014!!
    Any publishers out there that would like to take it on as a project?

  4. The boys are blessed to be surrounded by so much unconditional love from the Home Team. Lovely account of the past year and may the New Year be a happy one for all. By the way, for anybody who can get hold of the magazine 'Ireland's Own', No. 5428, January 17, 2014 there is a special 'Songs, Poems & Recitations' in this issue. And there is a recitation called 'Piddling Pete' included. It is massive! I will try to include a little bit of it but may run out of space.
    'A famous dog once came to town
    Whose middle name was Pete
    His pedigree was two yard long
    his looks were hard to beat.
    And as he trotted down the road
    'twas beautiful to see,
    His work on every corner,
    his work on every tree.

    He watered every gateway,
    he never missed a post,
    For piddling was his masterpiece
    and piddling was his boast! etc. etc.

    1. Anne, thanks for your comment! As always, you put a big smile on Murray's Mom's face!!