Mariana meets The Doctor

— You saved my life, but I don’t even know who you are!

— I’m the Doctor—said he, with his dark, striped suit, leaning at the door of the strange blue box that I’ve never seen in my housing estate before.

— Doctor who?

— Just the Doctor.

— OK, Doctor, you came, saved me, saved the Earth from those horrible monsters. What’s the next step? Are you going home?

— Nope. Let’s say I can’t go home, because my planet is gone. My home is in here at the moment.

— My planet? You mean you’re not human?

— I’m a Time Lord, last of my kind.

— You look human to me, you act as a human too, mostly.— he raised one eyebrow, as I said that—What do you mean by your home is in there? How can you live in a police box? It wasn’t even here this morning!

— Come and see!—he put the key in the keyhole.

— You’re not expecting that I’ll go in, just you and me in that tiny…—he opened the door—thing… How?—I said poking my head in and out of the box.

There, inside what looked like an old police box, was something like a control room. With a huge tube in the middle, a panel with loads of buttons, levers, and one or two screens. It was HUGE!

— Say it. I love this part.

— It’s… it’s bigger inside!

— It’s called the TARDIS, Time And Relative Dimension In Space.

— You said you’re not human, so I suppose this is your space ship—I said, walking slowly towards the center, running my fingers slowly through the rails and looking around.

— Well, it’s not only a space ship, it’s a time machine.

— Flying through time and space! That must be awesome!

— Wanna try? Anywhere and any time you choose.—he pushed some buttons and drew a screen close to himself.

— I can’t—I said, looking at the door.

— Are you sure? What can be better than flying through time and space right now?

— Do you see that light over there?—pointing at the window of a house, right across from the TARDIS’s door.

— Is that your home?

— Not only that, that light means that my baby is still awake. Sorry, but I need to go.

He runs and stops at the door, kind of stopping me from leaving.

— Earth 2050? Mars? Oh Saturn, you mentioned you wanted to see the rings of Saturn.

— I guess you don’t hear a no very often, Doctor. Can you hear my baby cry?

— Yes, so what?

— Oh you probably don’t have kids…—I said trying to go past him.

— I’ve been a dad once… no, twice.

— You mean you have two kids?

— Not exactly, the second time was a bit… complicated. Anyway, don’t worry about your baby. She’s is saying she is not tired, and that she wants to see Peppa Pig. Who’s Peppa Pig?

— How can you know what she’s saying?

— Oh, I speak Baby.—he said with a cheeky smile—It’s a gift of the TARDIS, she translates almost any language.

— Would that work for me too? It would come in handy to be able to understand what my toddler says all the time.

— It won’t work if you leave. Look, you did so great today, I could use your hands on this deck more often—he said, pushing a few buttons and a lever.

— I have four pairs of hands counting that my own hands will be on my own deck tomorrow morning.

— You said tomorrow morning, so we can go now, for just one trip, you choose when and where, and I’ll bring you back to this very moment in today. Nobody is going to even notice that you left.

— But how on the universe will I be able to enjoy seeing planets and stars if I’m so tired, especially after this adventure of today. I haven’t slept well in months. Over a year maybe.

— If you spend a whole week in the TARDIS and come back to this very moment, you can come home rested to your multitude of little hands. Time is not a linear thing.

— Now we’re talking! Should I sleep first, then I decide where to go?

— Allons-y!—he said, closing the door of the TARDIS, and pointing to the console.

I still don’t understand how all that space fits into the blue box. But the Doctor gave me a room in there and I slept better than I had slept in the past few years. I did hear some noise, talking and, dare I say, some explosions?! I’m sure he got in trouble and didn’t want to wake me up. Then we went to see the rings of Saturn and even spotted one of NASA’s probes there. We watched a supernova, and had a chat with the Ood, very weird and sweet creatures. Then he dropped me home to that very moment when my baby was saying she wanted Peppa Pig at 10pm.


Writing about writing

I am considering starting to write a book. I just don’t know who’d be crazy to read it, but considering that some artists (and even scientists) weren’t recognized during their lifetime, I have some faint chance of succeed as a writer. Not that I aim for being famous, anyway, my idea of success is hearing God say “well done, good and faithful servant.” Oh, and I don’t mean to write theory books, theological books, I want to write stories that will stir people’s imagination. We’ll see how it goes.

Not that I have been reading a lot recently as well. I have many books lined up to read, and I end up starting two or three at the same time which is a bad mistake since my brain doesn’t soak up what they say individually, never mind all at once. So I end up giving up reading them because by the time I get to chapter four I forgot what chapter one had said. But I’m a fool and keep doing this, that’s why my Kindle account has many books for months or even years now.

What’s different now is that I am reading with different eyes. My mind is focused on the creative process. As I think about writing a book myself, or short stories, or whatever those ideas in my mind turn into in the end, I am reading thinking about how on earth did those writers get to those specific word choices, and characters, and lands, and plots. And I’m doing the same with the movies and TV shows that I watch (particularly with Doctor Who, which is my addiction for the moment.)

So, thinking about my own blog posts, that are not necessarily very creative, I can imagine how the books also work. The first book that is written is mostly a brainstorm, like words vomited on the page. A clean type of vomit, I’d say, not like what my daughter has been doing for the past couple of days. We write down the ideas all mixed up on the computer (or on a notepad, if you love handwriting like me), to get them out of your head and keep them from being forgotten. It sounds very romantic, but sometimes those good ideas come when you’re very tired, needing sleep, then you hit the pillow but can’t drift off because those nasty little buggers keep plaguing you. And if you think (like I did) “Oh, I can write them down in the morning when I’m rested” forget it! It never works. You’ll miss hours of sleep thinking about them then wake up with a blank mind. Write.them.down! And that’s exactly what I am doing now.

Then the second book is when you sit down with time, read again what you wrote and think “what did I have in mind?” Well those vomited words were exactly what I had in mind, duh! It might take more than one read through to actually get something satisfactory out of that puke. But that’s when I can organize them, swap paragraphs to clarify the idea, or give more suspense in the story, or even erase entire phrases that didn’t fit with the rest of the text. So it’s the gross clean up, but it’s not perfect yet.

The third book is the one I believe will be published. After that first decluttering, I do a little brushing up, check spelling again, and that’s when I’ll have to convince some editor to publish me. Don’t get me wrong, I know it’s much more complex than writing/rewriting/proofreading. I know that the book may go back and forth many times between writer and editor before this third book is actually published. But the idea is that first book that was dumped on the page is completely different now.

Honestly, that happens in any writing process. It was true for my college essays, and it is the same for my blog posts, with the difference that for these I am both writer and editor, so I only have to convince myself that my text was good enough to hand in to the teacher (and sometimes they weren’t really) or to press the “Publish” button here.

Any writers out there wanting to share their creative process experiences?

We Are Not Giving Up

Two weeks have passed by with the same verse on our board:

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens” Ecclesiastes 3:1

We’ve been through some hard time since the last post. Two of the kids had a fever, needed antibiotics and all, while Esdras was travelling. I’ll let him tell you where he’s been and how it went when he’s ready. :)

And that’s what real life is. Our life was never a fairy tale. Kids get sick, house work gets delayed, laundry piling up, dishes to wash, not even mention the sitting room that hasn’t been tidies in (what it feel like) ages. Life gets tough, but we’re never alone. God promised that he would never leave us or forsake us.

It seems like we won’t be memorizing 52 Bible verses in the end, maybe 51, or 50. But it’s fine, the number is not the main goal. The mais goal is like it says in Psalm 119:11: hiding the word in our hearts. So we are not giving up our goals just yet!

Happy birthday to me

Hi there! For those who are following our memorization process, here’s this week’s Bible verse:

Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.
1 Timothy 1:17

Yesterday was my birthday!

It’s not like birthday is the perfect day anymore. Nowadays if one or two things work well, I’m ok, even if the rest of the day goes out of tune. Yesterday, my husband and my daughters brought me breakfast in bed, but the car didn’t work for me to drive the kids to school. One of our neighbors kindly offered to drive the oldest to school, while I carried the other on my back half-way to preschool, and hurt my back because of that… But I’m happy! I’ve completed 31 years of life, praise God. A lot of people don’t like to tell their age, but I don’t mind. In fact, for what I want to say today it’s actually better if I “reveal” this information, because I’ve got a present that wanted for many years.

Since I was a child I loved to watch people play violin. I always thought that the sound of the violin was the most beautiful of all instruments. And when I told my mom that I loved it, she said we wouldn’t have money neither to buy the instrument, nor to pay for classes. We had a piano at home, but I never even got interested in learning. If I was to learn anything it HAD to be the violin (childish, I know!) So I ended up not learning either piano or violin.

My 5 year old daughter, Evelyn, also has this passion for violin. We were once in Galway, walking on Shops Street where there are many people playing instruments or doing other performances, and she stopped hypnotized by 4 girls. One of the was playing the celo and the other 3 playing violins. They could barely hear each other because of the noise of the street, and played more than one tune our of sync, but Evelyn didn’t blink while the songs were playing.

In sum, we ended up looking for classes for her. The music school that teaches the Suzuki method was fully booked, and they had no teachers in our town. But there’s this group called Comhaltas that works on promoting Irish culture. They have groups for literature, to speak Irish language and other stuff to pass on Irish culture. Music included! And guess what? Violin is included used in Irish traditional music. Even better, they have a teacher in a village 5 min away from our town. Just perfect!

She was excited, then she changed her mind and didn’t want it anymore after the first class, because there was no violin for her (it’s a group lesson). On the second class, the teacher managed to relocate her violins and Evelyn borrowed one. “Mommy! I’m gonna take the violin home!” she screamed when I came to collect her. And she reminded me to take the violin out to play every day, as it should be.

Even if she was making screechy sounds (as any beginner will do) and struggling to hold the bow the right way, seeing my daughter holding a violin lit up my old dream. I tried to drop the hint to get one for Christmas and it didn’t work, so I asked for one as a birthday present! God is GOOD!

Twenty something years dreaming about playing a violin, and now I’m learning together with my princess. Another prayer answered. Don’t rush, keep praying, God is listening and He will answer at the right time.

Grace and peace to you. Have a blessed weekend!

10 years ago…

For those who are following my Resolutions, the verse to memorize this week is:

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
John 3:16

If you see me online (or in person), feel free to ask me how the process of memorizing one Bible verse per week os is going. So far we did Psalms 119:11 and Luke 10:27. Accountability helps us grow, so don’t be afraid to ask.

But this week I’m writing for a very special reason. Exactly 10 years and one week ago, I, who was not an Alves Passos, became an Alves Passos.

Last week, Esdras and I celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary! Who would have thought? Add some extra kilos, subtract some hair on the head, but here we are, ready for another 10. Many things happened, many people have been in our life, but some things never change. Our house is still always full of people. Some come only to eat, some only to chat, yet others to study the Bible, but everyone has loads of fun with the guitar and singing around the table, and nobody turns down a good Brazilian barbecue.

In those 10 years, we traveled a lot; visited amazing places in several countries; met many people from different cultures; ha 3 daughters; planned a lot; worked a lot; planted many seeds for the Kingdom; watered many seeds planted by others; prayed and cried a lot.

I couldn’t let this date go unnoticed (even a week late), after all this blog is about our family, our life, our errands and adventures (even though sometimes they’re only interesting to ourselves.)

January 14th, 2006 was the day in which this branch of the Alves Passos was born, and we keep walking together, Esdras, Jesus, and I.

New Year Resolutions for 2016

Happy New Year!

Today is Wednesday, my girls are back to school. Some may think “Already?” Yes, it’s not Summer holidays here, as it is in the South Hemisphere (like in Brazil, where we come from.) The cold is coming, temperatures are dropping fast after the several tropical storms that we had in December. Most of the North hemisphere has only 2 weeks of holidays in the end of the year, so do we here in Ireland.

When I was in Brazil I used to write my goals for the next year in December (I later discovered that in English it’s called New Year Resolutions) I used to pray and think about what I wanted to achieve in each specific area of my life: personal, professional and ministry. Last time I did that was in 2010 I think, then my only goal was to survive through the early years of my kids (I was either pregnant or with a small baby). This year I decided to write again, and I want to share them here to have people holding me accountable of my “progress” :)

I have been reading loads of articles, both Christian and not, about defining goals and working hard towards them. But most of those encourage people to think big. I have a big difficulty in following my own plans, so I kept my Resolutions kind of low key :) Oh, and this list might grow during the month of January. December was a very busy month for us, the girls and I almost didn’t stay at home, so I had very little time to think and process what was going on. Now that we’re going back to “normal life” (if that even exists) I might be able to put myself together and plan some more stuff.

So, here they are.

  • Start the process for my Irish citizenship;
  • Translate the blog posts I promised in 2015;
  • Declutter my house (I couldn’t find a work in Portuguese for declutter!);
  • “be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.”James 1:19,20;
  • Memorize 52 Bible verses with the kids (1 each week).

So, those are enough to keep me busy for the year, right? :) Bible verse for the week is:

“I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.”

Salmos 119:11

We’re memorizing the verses in English, because that’s the language in which the girls use with their friends, it’s what we use in church and everywhere outside our house. And it’s surprising to see how fast they learn. We say it together when we wake up, having lunch and before bed, I read and they say it with me. We started Monday, it’s Wednesday and Evelyn already knows it by heart! She mixes up the numbers to say 119!

What about you? Do you have goals for 2016? Did you write them down? Do you need someone to hold you accountable? I was reading a research that says that we can read through the whole Bible in one year if we read as little as 10 minutes a day! Will you take the challenge?

Next week I’ll post the next Bible verse and maybe a picture of something that I’ve decluttered in the house.

May God give you wisdom and understanding to live another week for His honor and glory!

Mariana and The Force Awakens

If you’ve been following this blog, you know I’m no writer, and no critic. And also that I believe that the Bible is the primary source of teaching about God and everything He created. But as Jesus used to teach his disciples using things that were right there before their eyes, I believe that He still does it. After all, the Jesus that walked on this earth, teaching Peter, James, John, and the others, is the same who still lives and reigns, and teaches us through the Holy Spirit.

Last Thursday, Esdras and I watched StarWars – The Force Awakens. (NO spoilers here! Go ahead!)

Before I start, I want to leave my disclaimer: I’m not fanatic about Star Wars; I didn’t read or watch everything about George Lucas or the saga itself (and probably never will); what I write here is not the “absolute truth”,  it’s my impressions and what I feel I’ve been learning after watching The Force Awakens (and the older movies too), and you might disagree with me, which is OK.

For those who like action, adventure and special effects, Star Wars - The Force Awakens is great! Even if you didn’t watch the previous movies, this one is REALLY GOOD! But because of all the reference to the past relations between Darth Vader, Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia and Hans Solo you might fall into the temptation (like me) of wanting to know more about them. Nothing wrong with this. I know lots of fans of this (and other) series, or fans of a specific director or actor, who know everything about them without losing the focus in life.

I’m easily sidetracked, and I tend to fall into idolatry. That’s me. And in the last few days I’ve been spending hours watching the older Star Wars trilogies, other videos related (interviews, biographies etc). I didn’t remember the story in the first three movies (I was born after 1977, much after the first movie was released), so I watched them to catch up on Luke Starwalker’s story. And as I type this English version of the post I have also watched Episodes I and II as well (because I’ve watched them before but my memory is not the same after having kids).

But before I lost my focus, and started to “search my feelings”, I prayed and asked God to teach me something with all this Star Wars fever. As he used fish, nets, and seeds to teach his disciples and the multitudes, I asked him to use the Empire, the Jedi, the First Order and even the Force to teach me about God’s Kingdom and my life as a disciple.

Look, you’ll probably not going to read or hear me say “God said this”, because I take His name seriously, and it’s a big responsibility to say he spoke something. But I’ve been learning. Like Luke and Anakin (in the old movies), Rey, Finn (?), and Kylo Ren learn about the Force and how to use it, I learn about my role in the Kingdom and about staying in tune with the Holy Spirit. If you’re not a Christian, this will probably not make any difference in your life, but if you are, I hope my experience helps you too. If you’re grounded in the Truth of God’s Word you don’t need to be afraid of the Force :)

Everyone has a very strong sense of purpose in this saga (even the droids!) and I think that it is one of the things that hooked me the most (and the family relations too.) Even some characters that, for a moment, seem to have lost their goal in life find their place again. I had a time when I lost my purpose. Coming from such a disciple-making-oriented background, it was very difficult to attribute importance to my role as a mother (I was stuck in the house with small kids.) Skywalker and crew traveled solar systems saving the universe, and I was here folding my kids laundry and saving dinner. But the time I spent with my children has more eternal value than destroying the Death Star.

Luke Skywalker didn’t have a lot of patience when he went to meet Master Yoda and receive his Jedi training. And he used to put his own decisions and feelings over important decisions. I don’t know if he has acquired more patience in this new trilogy, but I keep repeating the same lesson every single day…

Obi Wan Kenobi felt like a failure for not being able to train Anakin to control his feelings. But he played a key role in awakening the Force in Luke and in his training. I have to keep this in my heart too, in case my kids decide not to follow God…

There’s a huge difference in self-control between Darth Vader and Kylo Ren. Vader simply turns back and retreats into his quarters when his plans fail. I react more like Kylo Ren… (you’ll have to watch The Force Awakens to know.)

It’s interesting how the Jedi close their eyes and focus on the Force, even in the middle of the most chaotic situations! That reminded me of Nehemiah, praying as he was going to meet with the King of Persia. I need to use this resource more often, to concentrate in God and make the right decision, or say the right thing (at the right tone).

God is not the Force. God doesn’t have a a Dark side. God is LIGHT! The Bible says that Jesus is the light of the world, and that He is the only way to God. The dark path is a path WITHOUT God. The things He created are never more powerful than the Creator!

Power corrupts. That’s no news. Anakin Skywalker had all the potential to be the best Jedi and was corrupted by the dark side, the promise of being more powerful. In Christian churches today, many people come thinking about following Jesus, but are corrupted by the power of influence they gain, or the position they’re given, or even by money. That’s why we need to keep the Word of God as our mirror. Are we really living (or trying to live) what’s written, or are we seeking power to put our plans into practice like Anakin?

And there’s a sentence that doesn’t leave my mind, spoken by Luke about Vader, and by Leia in the new movie: “There’s still good in him, I feel it!” Darth Vader thought it was too late to leave the dark side, but Luke believed (and insisted) until the end, proving that it was possible even for Vader to come back to the light. I know so many people who think it’s too late to come to God, or that what they’ve done is unforgivable. But it’s NEVER too late to come back to God. He’s always forgiving because Jesus paid the price for ALL sins, and God ALWAYS gives us opportunities to repent.

Luke insiste para Vader resistir à vontade do Imperador

There’s a lot much more going on in my mind now, but I don’t want to spoil the movie for those who didn’t watch it yet. Maybe I’ll talk about that again when more people have watched #TheForceAwakens :)

Happy Christmas! The reason we Alves Passos celebrate it is that our God, the God of the Bible, loved us all (the whole world) so much that He sent His only Son to be born as a man, live without sin, and pay for our sins on the cross. Salvation is the best present that we can ever receive, because it’s the only one that lasts forever!

Aurora Hunting with the Kids

We’ve been in Iceland for 6 nights.

The months of October and November are a bit slow over here, thinking about activities. Most of the exhibitions, parks, farms and other touristic stuff open only for the Summer months (that ends in September 30th.) So we drove to places to find a locked door. The weather hasn’t been good for outdoor activities as well. It’d be nice to do some hikes and get closer to nature. We came prepared for the cold (around 4 Celsius usually, so not too bad compared to Ireland) but the winds are crazy! Around 30-40km/h.

Even then, we managed to do some nice stuff. Earlier this week we went to the Zoo, it has a great playground! But it’s probably nicer in the Summer. Yesterday, we visited the Viking World, it’s a museum that tells the story about the viking settlements in Iceland (which started in 874 A.D.) with some nice artifacts in display. You can dress up in viking hats and gowns, and they have a replica of a viking ship that was dug up in the island. This replica has sailed from Iceland to New York in the year 2000 (if I remember correctly)! The girls had loads of fun with the viking costumes and in the interactive exhibition that explained the History and Fate of their gods.

Today the plan was to stay at home because Esdras got a cold. But the sun was so beautiful that we decided to drive through the Reykjanesbaer Peninsula and look for a lake that we didn’t find last time. The sun was shining but the wind was furious! The lake is called Kleifarvatn and it’s in the middle of the mountains! The landscape we drove through to get there is breathtaking (and part of the road was a bit scary.) And for those who didn’t know, Iceland is actually very green :) The Southwest part of the island (where we are now) is actually more green than ice!

But as we are a bit North, this trip had to involve the Northern Lights (or Aurora Borealis). Or at least plans to see it. As I said, it’s been 6 nights that we are here and so far we saw nothing. To be able to see the Aurora we need to have 3 things: clear skies (no clouds), high aurora activity (read more about how this is measured in this link) and lots of patience. When Esdras travels alone to do Aurora Hunting, he spends nights awake, driving around to find a spot with no clouds, but he can sleep the whole day if he wants to. We have the kids this time, so NO WAY we’re gonna sleep during the day! You might want to read Esdras’s old post about Aurora Hunting to get a glimpse of what it’s like to do it without the kids.

We had some nights with open skies, but the activity was really low. Today we have clear skies and a forecast for stronger Aurora activity. So we had dinner, put the kids in their pajamas, snowsuits over their pajamas, and put everyone in the car. It was around 8pm when we left the cabin to drive around. Esdras loves taking pictures of the Northern Lights, so we need to find a place where there’s low light pollution (a.k.a. no artificial lights.) We drove, we waited, we drove, we waited… the kids fell asleep in the car… no sign of Ms. Aurora. Then around 10pm we decided to go back to the cabin. After that, the clouds gathered and it started raining really heavily, with super strong winds (50km/h).

To sum up: we drove back to the cabin, put the kids in their beds, Esdras is asleep, and I’m still here looking out the window hoping that between the showers I can see some green dancing lights. Who knows if God will still take his magnetic paints out for us tonight? :)

Holidays again

Hi, this post is just to say the Alves Passos are in Iceland. I pr9mise I’ll translate it when I get home. You may try to use some machine translation in the mean time :)

God bless!


Muitas coisas aconteceram desde o último post. A Andrea já fez 1 ano, a Melissa começou a ir pra pré escola, e a Evelyn pra escola de verdade (ela já sabe escrever algumas letras!).

Tive sim oportunidades de sentar e escrever um post antes, mas entre gastar tempo escrevendo ou ir pra cama mais cedo,o sono venceu!

Mas agora estamos aqui, de férias de novo. Alguns meses atrás achamos vôos baratos de Belfast (Irlanda do Norte) pra Reykjavik  (Islândia) e compramos. Depois nos demos conta que as coisas na Islândia são tão caras que talvez temha sido burrice “aproveitar” o vôo barato.

E cada vez que a viagem vai chegando perto eu me lembro que apesar de gostar de viajar eu odeio fazer malas. A experiência do Camino já nos mostrou que precisamos de poucas roupas,mas viajar com bebê e criança com alergia alimentar sempre requer um pouco mais de preparação (ainda mais agora que eu parei de amamentar). As nossas viagens são sempre o mais barato possível, então viajamos só com as malas da cabine (uma mala pequena, de 10kg, pra cada passageiro).

Será que vai caber tudo?

Mas bem, fizemos as malas, diriginos quase 4h pra chegar da nossa casa até o aeroporto de Belfast, voamos 2h e chegamos!

Alugamos uma casinha de madeira a 15 minutos do aeroporto pelas primeiras 5 noites. Foi uma ótima ideia, já que chegamos bem cansados do trajeto todo. Agora estamos verificando a previsão do tempo (e cobertura de nuvens) para ver onde teremos maior chance de ver a Aurora Boreal.

Ontem à noite parecia que tínhamos as condições perfeitas para ver a Aurora, nenhuma nuvem no céu, noite linda com uma lua cheia enorme. Mas a atividade da aurora foi tão fraca que não chegou até aqui…

Fomos ao zoológico durante o dia, e agora as crianças estão dormindo, e o Esdras saiu para ver se consegue alguma foto boa. Estamos aguardando!

Stationary holidays

Hello dear reader that enjoyed our Camino.

I’m here today to talk about the latest trip. We’re just back from another holidays, this time we didn’t walk. This post will be especially interesting for people living in Ireland, or in the UK. (I promise to edit with pictures later!)

We live in the midlands, in Ireland, and we got a good deal for ferry and accommodation a campsite in the North of France. We have already used the ferry to cross to Scotland, so we know how expensive it can be. The ferry to Scotland is only 2h, to France it takes the whole night. But it has restaurants, cinema, kids play area, lounges, cafés, and cabins to sleep. The deal we got was REALLY good, if we think about all those attractions.

And it was my idea this time. I thought that after  a whole winter cooped up with sick kids, and after the adventure in the Camino, and after another adventure that we had recently (in an Island, close to the Atlantic, in a wind storm!), we deserved to have a more calm trip, relaxing trip.

There were actually no guarantee that we wouldn’t have unpredicted events. We actually had a number of them, like the two younger kids having chickenpox 2 days before we take the ferry But we were able to enjoy the trip.

The itinerary: driving from home to Rosslare, in the South of Ireland (3h); take the ferry to cross to the north of France (overnight); drive to our destination, which was around a town called Bénodet, in the Northwest coast of France (1.5h).

The destination was a campsite, where people can go with their own tents, or rent a tent there, or rent a mobile home (like we did). There are all sizes and types of mobile homes, ours had 2 bedrooms, a kitchen with sitting room, and a bathroom with shower and all. This campsite had also a complex with swimming pools, water slides, a wet playground and a schedule with kids clubs. So from Andrea (10 months old) to Evelyn (4 years and 9 months) there would be stuff to do.

This time we didn’t have to be so picky with what to bring, because we were not going to carry anything on our backs. We had our car (it’s big!) this time. But even having the car, after having 3 changes of clothes for 3 weeks in the Camino, I just couldn’t pack a lot of clothes… I think we took more food than clothes ;)

So I packed a bag for the 4 girls (me included) and Esdras packed his backpack. I also separated a handbag to take in the ferry (because we can’t be coming back to the car all the time while sailing, unless it’s something super important or an emergency) with a pajama, a change of clothes for each, and some food. And when I’m packing this type of stuff that breastfeeding makes my life a lot easier: I don’t have to pack bottles, formula, sterilizer and all that stuff! My milk is enough :)

In the ferry, Evelyn went to play in the kids area, she had a ice cream with daddy, then we had some food together in the cabin. I had to keep Melissa and Andrea in the cabin because of the chickenpox. When we come into the cabin, all you see is a couch, a table, and the door to the bathroom. Then you realize the beds are folded on the wall. So we pulled them down and they are like bunkbeds. We didn’t sleep much going to France, because Melissa and Andrea woke a lot with the itching, but on the way back it was kinda ok, even thou the sea was rough and it was waving a lot.

The first 2 days we were a bit stuck at home because the girls still had lots of fresh spots (we had to wait until they dried so they were not contagious.) Evelyn has had it before (during the storm trip) but the other two were still fresh. So Esdras and I were taking turns in going with Evelyn to the swimming pool and the playground, while the other stayed in the mobile home with the two littlings.

We had trouble in the mobile home as well. The fridge didn’t work, they changed it for another that didn’t work as well. The problem was the electric cables. The technician could only come next day. That night we had an infestation of ants (both with and without wings) probably because of all the fridge movement. Well, both problems were solved at once. Apparently the electric plug wasn’t working due to the ants in (yes! IN!) the cables.

Honestly, it was really cool! The girls loved everything! The ferry boat, the swimming pools, the water slides, the kids clubs, the playground, the bike lessons, and having an ice cream watching the sunset. (Sun sets at 10pm in Ireland right now, so they never get to see it!) It was nice for us too, even with all the overtired tantrums from the kids, and the chickenpox, and the baby sleeping (kicking us) in our bed. It was great to see the girls having loads of fun, and Esdras could even sneak in some snorkeling! (Praise the Lord for the kids club! :D )

The only thing I regret is not staying longer. I mean, it is a long trip to get there, and we “lost” some days with sickness. But if we could have extended for another week, it’d have been great! (it was a package, we couldn’t just decide to stay longer)

So, if you’re in Ireland, or UK, this type of trip is possible and really nice to do with kids. Just pay attention where is the campsite. Some are further down into France. Ours was only 1.5h drive from Rosslare, but a friend of mine had to drive 4h to get to hers (from the same company, but in a different place). And it’s worth staying longer than 1 week!

Next trip is already booked: we’ll be in Iceland in October! Another adventure.

Keep an eye on this space! :)

We praise the Lord for His creation, the sea, the sky, and for all the people who we met there.