Archive for the ‘Personal’ Category

Meeting Mr. Claus

December 17, 2014

Prepare for the worst is what I always say, and that was exactly my attitude this morning when I took the boys to meet Mr. Claus. I was ready for tears and resistance and sorrowful pleas not to be placed on the lap of the full figured man with the unnecessarily long beard. I got my camera settings ahead of time and my trigger finger was poised and ready to shoot fast, that way I could get the shot quickly and not have to leave a possibly hysterical child on the strangers lap a second longer than necessary. Well shame on me, cos the whole expericence went off without a hitch. In fact, when it was his turn, Keane bounced up on the lap of Santa and immediately launched into the thing he wanted most for Christmas. He complimented Santa on his tree and then went on to share all of the details about his own “big, tall tree with yots of yights” at home. Santa was very impressed.

Cullen took it all very much in stride too. He was happily confused and I believe his biggest concern was how he was going to get at all of the shiny decorations that surrounded us.

Chillin with St. Nic

So the Holiday activities continue, and last week we took our annual trip to the Atlanta Botanical Gardens to enjoy their Night of Lights spectacular.

The weather this particular night, was baltic. I ended up donating my scarf to Keane to help fend off the icy wind that was whipping around.

My friend Mike with the boys and their new friend Toad.

This year the gardens had a fire-pit section, and least you forget, the tempetures again, were baltic, so we spent a good bit of time standing safely close to these fire-pits. We even got to roast some marshmallow and make Keane his first s’more.

S’mores for Mike and Keane.

And in the spirit of trying to include myself in more of the photos this year, here I am with the lads.

Cullen, the happiest tree ornament in the gardens.

Keane is the experienced ornament, he’s been in this tree before. (Click here for flashback)

Other happenings last week, my eldest baby had his first school concert, and let me just say, the second he walked up on stage, I became that proud, gushing, pushy, “get out of my way bit#h I need to get a shot or 20 of my baby singing Jingle Bells” mother. I never believed it before this moment, but now I know future me will absolutely be that mother my children will be mortified to know.

And there he is, star of the whole show, no honestly, he was, well, to me at least.

Keane’s teachers Ms. Tara and Ms. Debbie help the kids sing Happy Birthday to baby Jesus.

A wave to the crowd at the end of the performance.

The boys.

A little self-timer selfie so I could include myself.

The Lovely Jumpers

December 8, 2014

This one’s for my mother. “Mam, your package arrived and among all of the wonderful things you sent the boys for Christmas, hands down the second favorite item in the box, after the chocolate of course, was the 2 lovely jumpers.” Nothing says winter, or Christmas or a gift from my Irish granny like a good old wooly jumper. For any Americans reading this wondering what the hell a jumper is, well its a sweater, duh. And with the weather now taking a turn for the crisp and chilly, the boys put their lovely new jumpers straight to work.

Keane, thats a lovely jumper your wearing. Thanks Cullen, my granny sent it. I like yours too.”

The boys think if they turn their back to me I’ll go away. Wrong!

Baby Maya stopped by to add a dash of girl to some photos.

Even Maya knows a lovely jumper when she sees one.

And the lads are off.

Cullen ensures Maya has the best view of his new jeans as he exits.

Just the boys again.

Keane’s log stomping was not well received by Cullen.

Christmas Has Arrived

December 6, 2014

Christmas has arrived in the Shinkins-Doyle house, and its bigger than its ever been, 14 ft bigger. This year The Husband lost his mind and went all out in the Christmas tree department. As a result, we now have a Christmas tree in our living room thats so big I could literally hang both of my children and all of our pets from as living ornaments. Speaking of ornaments, if your at all concerned about us decorating this tree, don’t be, the thing reaches right up to the 2nd floor walkway, so we simply lean ourselves over the banister for all of our light and star placing requirements. But the kids, and when I say kids, I mean The Husband too, are all very excited and happy, and by purchasing this humongous tree we were also supporting a children’s home not far from where we live. So good vibes all around.

And here we go with a little visual presentation of our humongous tree purchasing process.

The boys taking in all of the tree options.

Cullen believes he has spotted the right tree for us and heads off to investigate.

Keane off to do some searching of his own.

Peek-a-boo momma.

Cullen is really enjoying the experience.

Keane starts to run laps around the rows of trees.

Eventually he makes his selection.

“These tress are all very nice Daddy, but wait, I think I see a ridiculously big tree that I know only you would be “smart” enough to purchase.”

And there it is, my boys next to what is now our Christmas tree.

It was so big we couldn’t even bring it home on The Husbands pick-up truck. It had to be delivered on a trailer.

Someone thinks he can lift it out all by himself.

The big boys walk it onto the house.

And there she is.

Gobble Jog 2014

November 27, 2014

Its Thanksgiving here in the US and for the Shinkins-Doyle clan that can only mean one thing, “Gobble Jog”. The Gobble Jog has been an annual event here for the past 12 years and this year my friend Mike and I were participating in our 10th. Don’t even, I know, crazy to think we’ve been doing it now for 10 years. The realization this morning made us both feel suddenly old. Especially cos now I’m also participating alongside a new generation of Gobble joggers, my kids. But here’s hoping we continue to do it for another 10 years, while remaining ageless in our appearance and that the kids will always want to be part of the 5k fun.

The fun gets started early, Keane walks around taking in all of the craziness.

Momma and Mike participate in the timed 5k race first. Thats me waving to my fans, the kids, roughly 200m from the finish.

Mike crosses the line.

A brief moment to chat with our support crew and fans.

Then it was time for us to get going in the Family 5k.

The boys, enjoy the initial part of the race from the comfort of the stroller.

But it was only a matter of time before Keane was wanting out to race all by himself.

Keane got sidetracked by these exact same rails last year.

Oh and he also couldn’t resist a moment to crunch through some leaves.

Back into the race.

Powering along.

Just over an hour and we have the finish in sights.

The final surge.

Whahooo, we have a family of finishers.

Its always a little nerve wrecking for me to pass my camera off to strangers and ask them to take a family shot. But if I want to be in the photo, then I have to trust that they will manage to get something that is in focus and includes all of us. And I would say this years stranger didn’t do too bad.

Keane still has plenty of leftover energy, while his brother is entranced by the flags.

“YAY for my first Gobble Jog”

On the way back to the car there was no way the boys were allowing us not to stop at the fountain.