Archive for December, 2013

Lets Get Physical

December 28, 2013

This weekend we have 2 of The Husband’s cousins staying with us. Well, they are his cousin’s sons, which would make them our 2nd cousins, I think. I’m not really great with family math beyond immediate family members. Either way, we are excited to have them here. The main reason for their visit is to get physically abused by The Husband. Joey and James are 2 very talented sportsmen. Joey in baseball and James in track, and since they are both on Christmas break from school, they decided to take advantage of the time off and pop down to do some speed and strength work with The Husband. This morning their workout involved some nasty repeat hill runs. So Keane and I tagged along to offer the boys a little moral support. But never one to sit on the sidelines, after observing Joey and James first couple of sets, Keane decided to was ready to jump in and do some working out himself.

Like every good athlete he started with a warm-up, prisoner squats.

Keane watches the boys take off for their final hill run.

Then he takes off right after them.

Half way up Keane bumps into the boys who are on their way down.

James gives Keane an encouraging high-five.

Then he heads off to run the rest of the way to the top.

Made it!

Very proud of himself.

While the boys are cooling down, Daddy and Keane race to a nearby tree.

Trying hard, but not quite strong enough to push it over.

Merry Christmas 2013

December 25, 2013

Wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas and here’s hoping you all surrendered to the joy, chaos and overindulgence that goes along with every Christmas Day. For the first time in I don’t know how many years, we opted not to pack up and travel the skies between Europe and the U.S. Instead we enjoyed a pretty low-key celebration in our new home. It felt weird not to be around the rest of the family, but with the aid of a little Skype, we made sure to check in on at least a small part of everyone else’s day. And just in case your curious, here’s a look at how our Christmas morning went with Keane.

After our 6.30am wake up call, compliments of Keane, we headed downstairs to see what Santa brought.

Something you may not know about my son, he loves everything footwear. He’s not only particular about the shoes or boots he chooses to wear every day, but he is also big on selecting the shoes or boots Mammy and Daddy should wear each day. So you can imagine his joy when he opened one of his gifts and found these kick-ass Elmo boots inside.

When your a choo-choo train fan like my little guy, you can never have enough choo-choos.

Helping Daddy assemble the new set.

Eventually Keane got around to checking out the biggest gift, his very own red wagon.

After breakfast we hit the trails and enjoyed a chilly morning hike. Keane has reached an age where he flat out refuses to be in his backpack, instead he insists on walking or running everywhere by himself.

A quick pit-stop to check out some ice.

Then we are off and running again.

A future hurdler???

Absolutely loves the recklessness of running downhill.

Ann-Marie and Gary, when I sat down to put together this blog, I struggled. I had no idea where to start. Gary and I have known each other for years. We’ve been on the Irish track team together since our mid-teens. We went to the same college and travelled the world representing our country proudly at many European and World Championships and also Olympic Games. On the track and throughout his career, Gary was a highly motivated, ferocious and determined competitior. But off the track he is hands down one of the nicest, most thoughtful and considerate people you could ever hope to know.

His new wife Ann-Marie and I only met for the very first time the evening before their wedding, but instantly I liked her. Her smile was infectious and her personality bubbled over with warmth, but there was also an honestly in our conversation that let me know that this women does not play. She knows exactly what she wants and has the drive and determination to make it happen. But somehow she manages to do it all with a huge sense of adventure and fun. To say she was a perfect match for Gary would just be stating the obvious.

Ann-Marie and Gary….  I still feel like I’m struggling to find the right words to go along with this blog. I was so completely honored to be apart of your day. Together you are two of the most kind and optomistic people I have ever met. And despite the nasty presents of biblical winds and rain, you both showed up with a determination to have fun and face whatever the day threw your way, and for that reason your wedding day was perfect. I wish you both all of the happiness in the world. Shinks XO

This little Church has so much history for Ann-Marie’s family. Its the Church were her parents married and also where she was baptized.

Ann-Maire’s dad was a member of the Irish army, unfortunately he passed away 12 years ago, but the entire family made sure his presence was felt in every element of his daughters day.

The groom and his groomsmen kick the day off right, making time for a full-irish.

The simple and elegant details of the bride’s dress.

Proud mother-of-the-bride helps her daughter into her dress.

The proof that I wasn’t lying when I said it rained, hard. Believe it or not, there’s a little flower girl under that sheet.

Only Ann-Marie could arrive in weather like this….

…and still walk down the aisle beaming.

Gary couldn’t take his eyes off his beautiful bride throughout the entire ceremony.

The rings make it official.

The bride and groom exchanged some very personal gifts. Gary gave his new wife his European medal, and Ann-Marie gave her new husband 3 of her dad’s military medals.

Look at this little wedding photographer in the making.

By some miracle the rain stopped just as the bride and groom were exiting the church. So we raced to the reception site as fast as the legal limit would allow to try and grab some sunset photos before the heavens opened up again.

The bride’s mom and her sister also married at this Church, so it was only right that they toast to the legacy.

Never would we have anticipated a sunset like this. So grateful.

Ann-Maire’s gift to Gary were little athlete cufflinks. Loved it!

Reception time.

Oh yeah, the party is officially started.

Rocking the wellies. These smart ladies came prepared to handle all kinds of rain.

To see more Ann-Marie & Gary wedding images CLICK HERE.

And Still It Rains

December 22, 2013

I’m so over the rain. It appears to have followed us from Ireland all the way back to Atlanta and I’m ready for it to move on somewhere else, anywhere else. “Just go away already”. Its ruining my Christmas spirit. Or maybe its Keane’s new jet-lag induced wake up time of 4am that has me a little off. Either way I am still managing some sort of productivity in the midst of a derailed schedule. And to prove it here is a little sneak peek from Ann-Marie & Gary’s wedding which I am currently in the midst of editing.

If your wondering where we’ve been for the past 2 weeks, then wonder no more, I’m here to share all. We’ve just got back from a 10 day trip to Ireland. I was there to shoot the wedding of a good friend of mine (more on that over the next few days) and also to spend a little time with the Shinkins side of the family. But this trip was not without its challenges. We arrived in Galway, the location for my friends wedding, the day before, and spent a little time checking out the adorable little church where the ceremony was to be held and where Keane decided to photo-bomb my church shooting efforts.

Overall the weather was cold and a little on the damp side, which is to be expected for this time of year. But in the wee hours of the morning, the day before the wedding itself, something horrible happened. Winds and rain of a biblical nature blew its way into the West of Ireland and proceeded to beat down and across us for the entire day. As a result Keane picked himself up a nasty sore throat and chest infection. My little American boy doesn’t appear to be built to handle the extremities of Irish weather. So after a trip to the doctor we spent much of the week confined to the great indoors, riding the roller-coaster of sleepless nights, discomfort and misery that goes along with being ill.

It was literally down to our final day in Ireland before we were able to bring the little guy outside again, and being the big “Thomas the Train” fan that he is, once we could take him out, we brought him to the local train station where he could experience some real train action first hand.

Enjoying the rush of speed and noise as the trains go whizzing past.

Getting a little aerial view from the footbridge.

More approaching trains.

This time the train driver even blew his horn.

That face practically shows his brain processing the whole experience.