Back to School Take 2

October 20, 2020

Virtual learning was hard. I’m not even going to lie. This is not how the kids want to do school. And it’s definitely not how I want to do school. But this was the situation. Every day we logged on. Some days it went well, some days it was a complete nightmare. And we all cried. At some stage every one of us shed tears over the situation. But at the end of September we finally go the news we’d been begging for. After Fall break, the kids would go back to school. Face-to-Face (F-2-F)! You can’t even imagine the joy. In an instant I felt a massive weight I hadn’t even realized I was carrying, lifted. Life, the complete and utter mess it has been this year, felt like it had a chance of going back to normal. The kids who have endured so much mess and upheaval this year, would once again get to see classmates and friends and their teachers in real life. It wouldn’t be the same exactly. Nothing is right now. Masks of course have to be worn, desks are separated, no large group events and lots more restrictions. But at least they got away from the screens and the Zooms and the house. Learning in schools is way better then learning on Zooms. And the teachers are much better teachers than the mommas.

On a positive side, I got the opportunity to “go to school” in America. I got to see what and how American kids are thought. I relearned a lot gammer, brushed up on my verbs, nouns, adjectives and pronouns. Familiarized myself with the structure of a story and got the chance to see how multiplication and division and being thought nowadays. And let me just tell you, the old way is much easier. Many minutes I had to spend on the YouTubes, learning arrays and sets and bouncing back and forth on number lines just so I could answer the math questions my 8 yr old was solving. The mental exhaustion of it all. Most I was the one  calling for the brain breaks. But look, we all made it. And 2 weeks ago the boys had they 2nd Back to School of 2020, complete with face masks.

The first day back was “Neon Day”. Everyone had to wear their brightest shirt.

Back To School Corona Style

August 20, 2020

Back in March when this whole pandemic kicked off, I could never have imagined that 5 months later, my kids would still be unable to go to school. Yet here we are and thats exactly what’s happening.

This past Monday the boys had their first day of virtual school. So we did what we do at the start of every new school year. We got dressed up. Dragged out the chalkboard sign for the obligatory “First Day of School Photo” and at least pretended that things were normal. Whatever your school choice (or lack of choice) right now, I know its been a tough one. Best of luck to us all this strange, strange year.

My happy, healthy growing boys.

3rd Grade for Keane.

1st Grade for Cullen.

I hope he’s always this happy.

Cullen lost his 2nd top front tooth the night before.

Giddy Up

August 8, 2020

Despite pandemic life, we are still managing to have a pretty good summer. In our efforts to keep social distance and avoid any kind of indoor activity, the boys are getting to try out some new things. Cullen is a huge animal lover and on our trips back to Ireland a good friend of mine who owns a riding school (shout out to Nicola), would always make time for the boys to stop by and she would put them through some intense riding lessons. Cullen took to the riding very easily and comfortably, so this year we signed him up for his first riding camp. And he loved it. The final day of the camp, all the kids put on a display of their newly learned skills for all of us proud parents.

The helmet strap struggle is real people.

Cullen and his horse Gizmo.

Up and ready to ride.

Proud little face.

Waiting patiently in line to show us his skills.

Keeping control of the horse and his balance for the ring placement challenge.

Horsey soccer.

The fans, Daddy & Keane.

Daddy making sure to get some video memories.

A medal for amazing riding skills. Well done Cullen!

Some of the amazing camp instructors and Cullen, still beaming over his medal.

Of course we had to get a photo of both boys with Gizmo.

Cullen made a new bestie at the camp too.

One very happy little cowboy.

The camper van is turning out to be the best gift we’ve ever given ourselves. For years we were back and forth over buying one. Wondering if we’d get the opportunity to use it as much as we’d want to. But just before Christmas, we pulled the trigger and finally decided to go ahead and purchase. Then, 2020 showed up in all its manic mayhem and this little camper van has been the saving of our sanity. We’ve been able to take off on adventures, keep our social distance and pretend the world is not the big fat fu@king mess it actually is right now. Without these escapes, am pretty sure I would’ve  snapped beyond the point of mental return.

Our most recent trip was over 4th of July weekend, where we actually teamed up with some friends and fellow camper van owners and took off to Hiawassee, Georgia.

Shortly after our arrival, camper is parked, we begin unloading of all the stuff, while Cullen takes Dexter for a stroll.

A little fishing pond right in the middle of the camp ground. The boys and their friends are straight into it. The fishing that is, not the pond.

Logan was more excited about scooping up the gross pond algae.

Keane is in the fishing zone.

And look what he caught, A FISH!!

Evening rolling in and we’re all getting tired.

Bright and early the following morning and we kicked off our 4th of July with a hike up Bell Mountain.

Hard to see them as they blend in with all the graffiti, but there are 4 little boys amongst the rocky cliffs.

Keane at the peak.

Our view of Hiawassee from the top.

Daddy, Cullen & Dexter.

4 little rock climbing friends.

Great seat with a great view for Keane.

A few more steps and a bit more climbing.

They felt like they were on top of the world.

Keane with his bestie, Luke.

The lads.

Cullen.

Back on solid ground we spent the afternoon at the lake. Keane & Daddy off for a kayak and a paddle.

Cullen kept himself busy on a great white shark.

While Logan struggled to get on top of a hammerhead.

Keane.

Luke & Cullen.

Back at the campground for a nice 4th of July BBQ, the boys were straight into the fishing.

Logan keeps Cullen stocked with fresh bait.

Here fishy fishy.

Logan the cast master.

Just before sunset and we are getting ready for some 4th of July fireworks.

Lighting the sparklers.

Glow masks and glow sticks.

For the final day of our weekend escape, we went tubing!! Logan and Keane called the first go.

Cullen and Luke cheering from the boat.

Cullen getting ready for his turn.

“Have fun guys”.

I think they’re enjoying it.

The big boys, Luke and Keane.

Logan, Cullen and Keane.

Luke, Logan and Keane.

Luke and Logan got bounced off the tube.

Here they are swimming back to Keane, the only one to have survived the bounce.

We dropped anchor for a while so the boys could play around in lake.

A high flying Cullen.

Keane and Cullen, always wrestling.

Keane and Daddy have a turn on the tube.

Followed by Cullen and I.

All the 4 friends.

Cuties.

Co-captain, Logan.

It was movie night back at the camp ground.

May Is Now July

July 7, 2020

Don’t think I’m ok with the randomness and lack of frequency with which I’m blogging these days. But life is not normal and like everything else in 2020, I just have to surrender to the situation and be ok with it.  And if that means sharing our May trip to the strawberry farm, in July, then so be it. Its not like every day, week and month of pandemic life doesn’t feel the same right now anyway.

So here it is, our May strawberry picking trip, shared with you in July. Enjoy!