Happy 4th Birthday Cullen

February 13, 2018

There are officially no babies in the house. This past weekend Cullen crossed the threshold from toddler to small boy. Not really sure if a 3 year old is still technically a toddler, but it suited me, a mother who can’t fully grasp the notion of her kids growing up, to believe it was. I mean, 4 short years ago all there was was babies in the house. Now I have 2 little boys, with personalities and interests as different as different can be.

Since turning  4 a few days ago, Cullen wakes up every morning and asks, “am I still 4 momma?“. He has been wishing and talking about this day since before Christmas, and now, he can’t believe its finally happened. I can hardly believe it myself. Shortly before his birthday, Cullen ended his 2 year obsession with trucks. Literally over night trucks were replaced by sea creatures, sharks and anglerfish to be exact. Thats all we play with, thats all we read about. Our conversations revolve around ocean creatures, especially the predator kind, and our screen time favors heavily David Attenborough’s Blue Planet. His knowledge is deep and vocabulary on the topic is downright impressive. Outside of wrestling with his big brother, swim class, gymnastics and ice hockey are Cullen’s favorite activities. Having a big brother also meant that Cullen inherited a network of friends, now however, he has started making his own friends, separate from his brothers. His personality remains for the most part unchanged. He doesn’t trust easily, he’s stubborn and determined in what he wants, but more importantly, what he doesn’t want. As a mother I try to walk that fine line of encouraging him to try things outside of his comfort zone, without being pushy. He’s smart, cheeky and funny, although most of the things that make him laugh theses days involve talking about farts and poop. His favorite food is anything with cheese and chocolate. Since he was 5 months old Cullen has had a special sleep pillow, it comes everywhere, without it sleep cannot happen. Adjustment to school was challenging for Cullen. The whole idea of being anywhere without momma, was too hard to bare. These days however, he bounces out of the car, forgets to wave goodbye as he rushes to catch up to his friends. His zero eff’s approach to life is never more evident then when I pick him and Keane up from school. Keane stands at the pick up point, shoes on, laces tied, backpack in hand, jacket full zipped. Cullen on the other hand races to the gate just as I’m pulling up, shoes untied and usually on the wrong feet. Jacket is on but upside down. Yes, upside down, the hood bouncing off the back of his legs as he runs. On a good day he’s dragging his backpack with him, but most days he’s racing back into the classroom cos he forgot his backpack. The whole scene never fails to make me giggle. The list of things on all things Cullen is endless. But in the interest of wrapping things up, I’ll end it all right here by saying “Happy Birthday” to our youngest boy, Cullen. Life without you, unimaginable.

Every year I take photos of the boys on their birthday. This year it rained most of the day of his birthday, there was a short window of an hour or 2 late in the afternoon when the rain stopped. So we raced outside to grab these few shots.

A quick demonstration from Keane on the 4-finger pose.

A shark and anglerfish themed party for the birthday boy.

Cullen was very motivated to help set up the cake and cupcakes.

The reward for helping with the set up was a shared cupcake.

This year we decided to have Cullen’s party at The Husband’s gym. Which given the horrible rainy day, worked out perfectly. A bounce house and bounce slide for added fun.

Excited to see the bounce things have arrived.

Shoes off in readiness to test drive the bounce house.

Integrating the gym equipment to the party fun.

Inflation complete.

The friends have started to arrive. Now the fun really begins.

Time for food and cake. Cullen and his friend Christopher stop to admire the dessert table.

Candle time.

Refueled on pizza and sugar, its back to the action.

Enjoying some of his gifts.

More To Come

February 12, 2018

This past weekend was all about celebrating this young fella. Cullen turned the BIG 0-4.  I’ll be sharing lots of pics from his day of birthday fun tomorrow. Would have done it tonight but I’m too busy living my best life buried in spreadsheets trying to get a head start/play catch up on taxes. Yep, go ahead, envy me.

Growing Up

February 8, 2018

Its been a pretty long week of adulting in the house this week. And if there’s one thing I can say about adulting, its exhausting and not at all fun (technically 2 things). We’ve had grown up/heated conversations with most of the scary professions this week. Accountants, bank managers, insurance scammers advisors and tax consultants.  My brain is fried and I want nothing more to do with anything grown up. So over it all. Ironically, this weekend is all about growing up. Cullen is about to turn 4!! Saturday is his birthday, so Saturday we will party like a bunch of aging toddlers. Cullen is so excited. The countdown to his big day has felt long. He’s been talking about it since before Christmas. Now at last, the day is almost here. In between all of the adulting, I’ve been doing all the final preparations for his party. Cullen has been very specific about the type of birthday he wants, and was allowed to make all of the decisions. Now he’s seeing it all come together he’s literally bouncing off the walls with excitement. He can’t wait to celebrate with his friends.

Busy with other things this week, I didn’t pick up my camera, not once. But as I’m in the throws of playing catch up on our family albums, I came across these photos of the boys from their gymnastic class a couple of months ago that I never got around to sharing. Its from a presentation evening, where the kids get to demonstrate for their parents, the various skills they’ve learned. And at the end of the presentation, medals for everyone.

A Day Of Disappointments

February 4, 2018

I’m writing tonights blog post to the soundtrack of the Super Bowl. The Husbands team, The New England Patriots, is once again playing and they are losing. Now, The Patriots are notorious for this, taking all of their fans to the brink of heart failure, only to pull some play magic out of their arses in the final seconds. So I refuse to get dragged into their emotional rollercoaster of hell. My rhythmic breathing, essential oil diffusing and camomile tea (just kidding, I’m on my 2nd glass of wine) are keeping my emotions stable.  And for the safety of our marriage, The Husband and I are watching in separate rooms. He’s not himself when the Patriots play. More of a weird psychopathic beast with an uncontrollable back and forth rocking urge. Random outbursts of abuse and love are at the same angry volume. At any moment, from a fully seated position, he can suddenly eject himself off the couch and kiss the ceiling with the top of his stressed out head. To be on the receiving end of an embrace will leave you wondering if you just got punched or hugged. His intensity is too much for both of us to be in the same space.

In other disappointing news, today I was to run in the annual Hot Chocolate 15k, only to realize a couple of weeks ago that it was the same weekend The Husband was in New York for the Millrose Games and his flight back didn’t land til late Sunday morning, where as the 15k start time was 7.40am. So being the responsible mother that I am, I chose to not leave the boys to take of them selves while I ran the downtown streets of Atlanta. But we did show up to support my running partner and good friend Mike as he and thousands of other runners braved the early morning monsoon style rains.

I had initially decided not to take the boys downtown to cheer for Mike, the rain was that bad. But as the morning wore on, it had decreased to what we Irish would refer to as a simple “dirty day”. And on dirty days, we get on with shit. So there we were scanning the runners looking for Mike.


These runners are dressed for the weather.

A little puddle play while we wait.

Spotted, Mike.

Supportive cheers and high-5’s.

So happy they got to see him.

Its just so hard to resist a puddle.

Memory Keeper Catch Up

January 31, 2018

I’ve never been the type of mother that was able to keep baby books for my kids. Yes, I bought one when I found out I was pregnant with Keane. My plan was to write in it regularly. Document all of the check ups, glue the sonogram photos into the designated windows on the the appropriate pages. Chronicle the story of his arrival into the world and all of his various milestones that first year of his life. Like the first time he rolled over, sat up, first word, steps, first haircut with accompanying small clump of baby hair sealed safely in the tiny envelop provided. But guess what, I did none of it. His baby book is blank. Don’t get me wrong, I still have the sonogram photos, they reside in a draw in my closet. I have a small lock of his hair from that first hair cut, thats in the night-stand next to my bed. I have all these special and important things, they’re just not organized or presented perfectly in the pretty baby book I bought, over 5 years ago.

It use to really bother me that I failed at keeping such an important log of the very beginning of each of my kids existence. That somehow I’d missed out on providing them with that ever important first piece of the puzzle that is their life. Then I realized, I absolutely do keep a diary, of sorts. My diary for them just happens to be of a visual nature. The photos I take serve as the story of their life. And at the end of each year, I put together an album, filled with photos of all of their milestones and all of their adventures. Well, at least I did for the first 2 years after Keane was born. Then Cullen arrived and, well, the struggle became real, time was limited, my exhaustion levels were always high, so photos sat on hard drives.

Fast forward to last week when the boys were thumbing through the 2012 & 2013 Family albums and Cullen kept asking “is that me when I was a baby momma?“. And I, shamed faced and riddled with guilt had to keep replying “no buddy, thats Keane. You weren’t born yet”. To which he said “wheres the book that I was born?“. To which I said, “momma is making it right now. It’ll be ready soon. In the mean time why don’t we pull up mommas blog and swipe through photos of you as a baby?”. He said “no thank you momma, I like the book“. And that right there was the kick in the arse this mother needed to get her shit together and start catching up on the 2014, 2015, 2016 & 2017 Family Albums. Shit, thats a lot of work right there. But I did it to myself. Now its time for this visual memory keeper to play catch up.

This week I’ve been working hard on putting together the 2014 Family Album. It should be finished and ready to order by the weekend, then I can move onto 2015. Below are just some screen shots from the album creation process. A little peak at some of the pages from the album that will at last include the part of the story when Cullen joined the family.