Between The Extremes

November 30, 2016

40 + days without rain. Then suddenly today, we went from drought warnings to tornado warnings. But in between those extreme weather conditions, is the opportunity to go puddle jumping. So while little brother napped, Keane went at it with both feet.

Watching this happen the adult in me wanted to sream Noooooo! But the child in me wanted to scream Yeeeeeeesss!

This shot, and all I can think of is laundry.

Chateau Escape

November 28, 2016

While the rest of the world was going nuts bursting down doors and trampling over their fellow shoppers at stupid o’clock on Black Friday morning, we were smuggly enjoying a little escape at a way too fancy Chateau about an hour outside of Atlanta. In theory this was going to be a lazy, luxurious weekend of fine dining and even finer drinking. In reality, we brought the kids, enough said. Fancy Chateau + 2 little boys who’s current favorite pastime is wrestling and dragging each other across floors and furniture = 2 parents under constant scrutiny by Chateau staff and fellow Chateau dwellers radiating disapproval from the very core of their dilated retina’s. But we refused to be intimidated, brazenly taking our place in the overly fancy dining hall, believing we could telepathically communicate (cos one does not yell at ones children in a Chateau dining room) to our 4 yr old and 2 yr old our desire for them to elevate their behavior to civilized, at least for the next 30 minutes. But the food service was slow, deliberately so, as its designed for the child free adult with all the time in the world to sit and eat and drink and converse. It was not designed for the likes of us. So one meal experience was all it took for us to take the rest of our dining off the estate.

Pros of the weekend? well, there was the whole opportunity to spend time together in fabulous surroundings. The complimentary bottle of wine (aka momma’s juice) delivered to our room every afternoon. No cooking, cleaning or any other daily household admin work to perform. The gift of napping, while the children napped. Small things, but one should never underestimate the value in small things. All in all we did enjoy it, just not in the way we’d imagined.

Le Chateau.

The Chateau was on the grounds of a winery. Wine as far as the eye can see.

A few stubborn grapes braving the cold and managing to cling to the vine.

Walking the gorgeous trails.

The pool on the property was outdoor and cold, but the hot tub, was hot and we had it all to ourselves.

10 minutes up the road was the Mayfield ice-cream factory. So we decided to take a tour. Keane meets daisy the cow.

In for the tour.

No photography was allowed during the factory tour, but our main concern was the ice-cream tasting afterwards.

Gobble Jog – 2016

November 24, 2016

Another Thanksgiving means another Gobble Jog for The Shinkins and The Doyles. Its really the only way to start off a day focused on food and overindulgence. Guilt free eating is the prize for every step of the 5k.

As usual my friend Mike and I kicked off early with the timed 5k.

There’s Mike.

20 minutes and 5 k later, not so smiley.

My 2 biggest fans.

And 1 wore out momma.

Mike manages to smile through his fatigue.

Next up was the family 5k. Daddy decided he was going off on his own for this one. An increase in physical activity lately and he’s game for test driving his running legs. Here he is explaining his running plan to Keane, Keane ponders the info.

With Daddy off on his fitness mission, its Mike, the boys and I.

Yes, Cullen for the surge.

Keane off and opening up a gap.

Never without a truck in his hands.

Pause, to appreciate Falls colors.

Cullen also distracted by the glowing leaves.

Look who it is, Daddy, we’re closing in on him.

Water station.

Back in the race and Cullen needs a recuperation break.

Eventually, so does Keane.

But we’re in kicking distance of the finish line now, so we’re off and gunning for home.

Daddy rejoins the team and Cullen wants back in the buggy.

We’re so close, we can smell our victory.

Hooray! Another Gobble Jog for the boys complete.

The 2016 group shot.

And now for some play and exploring.

Cullen told me he was “a bad guy” and had to go to jail.

Never misses a truck.

Keane meets the Gobble Jog turkey.

Cullen is in my arms telling me “no go say hi to turkey” as I’m taking this photo,

Raise A Glass

November 20, 2016

As the blog infrequency would imply, I’m still not caught up on my work load. And traditionally, a situation like this would trouble me to the point of anxiety. But tonight, I’m raising a glass to it. I’m raising a glass to silence that nasty and judgmental inner voice, whose only real purpose is to elevate my stress levels and make me feel like I’m failing. I’m raising a glass and sucking down some “momma’s juice” (aka wine) cos tonight I feel like having a little party. Cos sometimes, in moments of deep overwhelmedness, the only solution is to block it out, with alcohol. Drink the joy back into your life, party in your pj’s, cos the kids are sleeping and apparently its “irresponsible” to leave them home alone while you continue to sup and forget at a bar or club, even if you bring the baby monitor. The world can be a very judgey place. So here I am, blogging under the influence instead of being more productive #priorities.

Speaking of priorities, thanks to the messed up priorities of one of our neighbors, this weekend we found ourselves forced to make a premature start to our Christmas decorating. Yep, said neighbor went and filled his garden with twinkle and shine that did not go unnoticed by the boys. They then began the harassment and endless questions about when were we going to start decorating our house for Christmas. As it turned out, when was very early Sunday morning, at Wal Mart, where we trolled aisles for tacky Christmas decor that gave the boys nothing but joy and excitement.

We have another photographer in d’house. Keane found my Fuji Instax camera, for those unfamiliar, its basically a Polaroid. Take a picture and the photo prints out instantly. Now he takes it everywhere and photographs everything. Its costing us a small fortune in polaroid cards. But he’s loving it and has started keeping small albums with all his photos.

A little secret about myself, I can’t stand inflatable Christmas decorations. They give me a rage that can only be overcome by puncturing them with a sharp object. I did everything I could at the store today, everything to steer the boys away from the inflatable tack, but they were having none of it.

And there he is, Cullen, proudly carrying a ridiculously oversized inflatable Minion. Give me another drink.

Keane, taking the Christmas decorating shopping very seriously.

Look who found a truck ornament.

And almost tripped over himself in his hast to show daddy and Keane.

Spotted, a tree choo-choo.

And cos Daddy’s a sucker, he bought it.

The holiday spirit is alive in Cullen and Keane.

And here we are, inflating the tacky Christmas inflatables. We convinced the boys that it was a great idea to inflate them at the back of the house. So we could deny their existence by not having to see them every time we came and went from the house.

Well, this might not be the worst idea after all. Clearly the Minion loves the odd drink himself #miniondown #drinkingbuddy.

The snowman that is also a hunter, see his camouflage jacket? #winning

So clearly I just took an unannounced and unscheduled break from my blog. Last week was just one of those weeks I struggled to get my sh*t together on every level. That feeling of being spread too thin, of failing at work, mothering, wifing and basically everything I touched was at times overwhelming, exhausting and causing me to snap, psycho bitch style at everyone. So, for the sake of my sanity, my need for sleep and to preserve whatever love my family may have left for this teetering mother, I needed to prioritize, and sadly blogging did not make that list of priorities. The past month has been one of my busiest for photo shoots, which is great, no complaints. But it also left me buried in edits and searching desperately for additional opportunities to get caught up in days that are already heavily scheduled around the needs and wants of a 2 and 4 year old. Needless to say the opportunities to get caught up were in the evenings, after the boys went to sleep, before I eventually got to crawl into bed well after midnight. And don’t worry, I can feel your sympathy for my first world problems pulsing through the fiber optics, and I’d thank you for your support, if I wasn’t so fecking knackered.

Two boys who never appear to get knackered, Cullen and Keane. Here we are spending an evening racing our dump trucks and diggers.