Tree Choices

December 9, 2019

So we disappeared to California over the weekend to attend a friends wedding. The weather was a combination of sunny and pissing rain. Mostly the rain. But we didn’t even care. A nice little break from the norm is always good, especially for the mental health and especially this crazy time of year. But, before we left for our mini break, we went shopping for our Christmas tree. The biggest Christmas tree we could find.

We arrive at the Christmas tree lot and the boys are ready to shop.

Found it! The biggest Christmas tree on the lot.

But the bad news? It was already sold. Daddy goes off to do a bit of negotiating with the Christmas tree people, and we wait.

Unfortunately, we can’t have our 1st tree choice, so we pick out a perfectly good and also big 2nd choice.

Cullen’s shark approves the decision.

Already decorating with their toys.

Entertaining ourselves with a game of catch while we wait for our tree to be cut down.

And there it is.

Loaded up.

Cause Christmas tree shopping can be exhausting.

Gobble Jog 2019

November 28, 2019

Today we celebrate Thanksgiving here in the US. And as is the tradition in our house, Thanksgiving means Gobble Jog. We’ve got the drill down to a perfectly timed science at this point. My good friend Mike and I always run the 10k which goes off at 7.30am. Its a cruel and early start to the day and today we woke up to some pretty baltic temperatures. It honestly took me about 4 kilometers before I started to feel any kind of heat in my body. Once Mike and I finish the 10k, I have about 30 minutes to get rehydrated, nibble on a snack, meet up with The Husband and the boys and get ourselves to the start line for the family 5k.

These 2 little faces, waiting for me at the end of my 10k. You can tell by Cullen’s face that he’s well up for this 5k.

All the men in the family.

Puffy jackets are off. Its time to get this 5k started. Cullen’s mood has taken a turn for the joyous.

Headed to the start line.

And we’re off!

This is the last shot I got of Keane. He and Daddy took off and kept going all the way to the finish. He’d no intention of waiting for his little brother or his Momma.

Meanwhile, Cullen and I are stollin our way along.

Important to hydrate as you stroll.

Looks like the water had a bitter edge to it.

But we are off and running again.

And we’ve spotted the finish line, hooray!

A big surge in pace as we approach the finish.

Very excited.

And look who was waiting for us after we crossed the line, Daddy & Keane.

Keane ran most of the race, poor little fella was wrecked at the end.

Off to get their finisher shirts.

And a shot to prove I was also there.

Now to head home and get started on Thanksgiving dinner.

The Newest Member

November 24, 2019

Since he’s been a member of the family for almost 6 months, its seems like now would be a good time to share the news. Well, 6 months ago would probably have been the ideal time, but listen, life, am I right? As you all may remember, back in June, we lost our first fur baby, Fintan. Fintan left a big kitty sized hole in all our hearts and I wasn’t sure when we’d be ready to get another cat. We knew we would definitely get another, it was just a matter of when would be the right time. Well, a couple of weeks after Fintan passed turned out to be the right time. One of our local shelters was having an adoption event and we thought we’d stop by, just to look. But of course the boys instantly feel in love with a tiny Fintan lookalike. I tried my best to steer them in a different direction, towards a patchy back & white kitty, but they zero interest. All they wanted was the tiny ginger tabby.

After filing the paperwork for the adoption, we had to wait a couple of days to get approved. During those day we had many discussions about what our new kitten would be called. Everyone had a favorite name suggestion. It was put to a vote, but some of us were disappointed that their name wasn’t the winning name. It was messy and it got very emotional. As a result, the new kitten got ALL the names.

Keane working on the “Welcome” sign for our newest family member.

Everyone, let me introduce you to our new cat, Boston Patrick Hiccup Shinkins-Doyle. Yep, thats his full name.

These pictures were taken back in June, when he was just 3 months old. He’s obviously a lot bigger now.

The boys adore him, especially Cullen.

Right from the start these 2 became good friends. Boston lets Cullen chase him all over the place and they both love to rough house.

He’s such a curious and friendly little guy. Has no problem wandering up to anyone and everyone that comes to the house.

So he doesn’t get cold.

See, lets the boys do anything.

Change Of Plans

November 18, 2019

Sunday was suppose to be “Fun Run Day”. We and a bunch of our friends had signed up to take part in a family fun run. But Saturday night we received an e-mail telling us the event was cancelled. No reason, just a sincere apology. Knowing we would have a group of very disappointed little boys on our hands, who were all kinds of pumped to run together, we set about looking for something else we could do that they might enjoy. And as luck would have it, our local park had just the event, The Atlanta Lantern Festival. And even though it wasn’t our initial plan going into Sunday, it ended up being one of the coolest things and not a bad way to spend an evening with friends.

Off to the Lantern Festival.

Upon arrival we picked up our lanterns and got to work personalizing them with lots of creative drawings.

Cullen going with an ocean theme. No surprise there.

Keane and his friend Luke in deep discussion about their drawings.

So far Keane has drawn a turkey (Thanksgiving is coming up soon) and the earth.

Deep focus from Logan.

Someone is super excited by his lantern design.

Ashton’s is almost complete.

And looking very impressive. Just don’t ask me what he drew.

A shark for the win on Cullen’s lantern.

Keane’s work is now complete.

Logan’s also complete.

For my lantern I went with a family theme.

A very proud creation by Luke.


Looking for fishes.

While we wait for the sun to set, the boys check out the face painting booth.

Any guesses what Cullen chose?

Snake for Keane.

A look in the mirror to make sure we’re happy with our shark.

Logan also wanted a shark.

Almost sunset, time to get our lanterns ready to float.

7 works of art, ready to set sail.

The excitement is building as the evening gets darker.

And its time to set our lanterns afloat.

There goes mine.

One thing we didn’t anticipate was the very emotional reaction by some of the boys to watching their lanterns float away. They had worked so hard and were so proud of their lanterns, that they couldn’t bare to see them sail off. So suddenly, inside of waving our lanterns bon voyage, we’re desperately trying to fish them back to shore so the boys can take them home.

We did in fact manage to secure everyone’s lantern.

So pretty.


November 11, 2019

Disappeared to Texas for the weekend to visit a good friend. Nothing like spending time with someone you’ve known since you were 11 yrs old and she, 9 yrs old. Always so much to laugh about, chat about and reminisce about. The Husband held it all down on the home front in my absence. Lots of manlike adventures with the boys. And I did my best to relinquish control and keep the texts to The Husband  to a minimum.

In the spirit of switching off and enjoying the time away, I decided not to bring my camera. But Caitriona’s (my friend) husband grabbed a few lovely little memories on our Sunday morning group hike.

From the left: Me, Caitriona (bestie), Aileen (Caitriona’s bestie), Roisin (Caitriona’s little girl) and Ronan (Caitriona’s little boy). Oh and Alfie the dog.

Caitriona and I having the chats. And beneath that, me taking a walk in the very cold pond.

Master hiker Ronan. Below, Aileen, Ronan and Roisin skipping rocks.

Managed to get Paul (Caitriona’s hubby) in the group shot. Photo credit goes to a complete stranger.