Archive for September, 2015

Home Town

September 20, 2015

Today’s photos were all taken in the place I grew up, the town of Newbirdge, in Co. Kildare. My Newbirdge peeps will recognize and remember everywhere you’re about to see. I have so many memories of all of these places. They were places my friends and I biked to and spent hours playing and exploring. They were places our parents took us to, to run us wild and wear us out. Now they are places I come back and visit with my own kids, and its weird how everything you see as normal and probably take very much for granted, can appear so foreign and so exciting to someone who hasn’t grown up the same way. Its nice to revisit these familiar places and see them with fresh eyes through my kids.

Just outside of Newbridge is Pollardstown Fen, a rare and protected nature reserve.

Cullen will always stop to “smell the roses”. Flowers are a very curious thing to him.

Watching for frogs.

We came across a slug having himself a dead worm for breakfast, and Keane decided he wanted to take a picture with Daddy’s phone.

Daddy showing Keane the photos he captured.

Then he wanted to take a photo of Cullen having his own snack break.

In the evening we took the boys and their cousins to The Curragh, to a part commonly referred to as “Donnelly’s Hollow” as its the place a famous Irish fighter, Dan Donnelly fought one if his most famous fights back in the 1800’s. Next to the Donnelly monument are foots steps rumored to have been made by a giant. And there is not one child in Newbridge who hasn’t walked in these “giant footprints”. This day Keane and Cullen took them on.

Made it to the top.

A herd of sheep showed up.

And Cullen was after them.

In Ireland sheep and cars share the roads.

Cullen continues with the chase.

Our cousins Emily and Nathan arrived and Emily takes her turn in the giant footsteps.

Keane and Emily talk all things giant as she nears the top.

Here comes Nathan.

Emily and Nathan’s new little puppy Zoe.

Can you tell Cullen’s excited to see Zoe?

Of course there was lots of running.

And climbing.

And more running.

These 2 had some much fun hanging around the monument.

This photo of Cullen cracking up, cracks me up.

My sister-in-law Sarah has her hands full and her legs being used for a game of peek-a-boo.

The group makes a discovery.

A hole!

The next day we took the boys for a walk “down by the Liffey” The river that runs through Newbridge.

Crackers for the swans.

And crackers for Cullen.

Again, Cullen obsessed with the flowers.

Keane and the swan statue.

Sometimes we all just need a moment to sit and reflect.

Into the South-West

September 17, 2015

A couple of days after our arrival in Ireland, we headed west, well, south-west to be more precise on a little railway adventure. From my parents house in Kildare we jumped on a train bound for Cork to visit my good friend Derval and meet her new baby girl, baby Dafne.

The anticipation and excitement builds as we await our choo-choo.

Cullen, the unpredictable loose cannon was constantly trying to get a closer view of the tracks, so Keane takes a hold of his hand to keep him safe.

Keane is very into maps right now and loved figuring out where we were and following the train route to where we were going.

Finally on the train.

A face full of wonder and awe.

The lads.

Ok, so all the moms out there know how stressful and exhausting those first couple of months are with a newborn, not to mention how overwhelmed, emotional and irrational new moms can be (no offense Derv, we’ve all been there), so the last thing my new mommy friend needed was me and my over active, over curious, often very loud boys showing up on her doorstep. So it was decided that me and the lads would stay at a B & B not far from Derv’s house. Dev selected the B & B and let me just say if nothing else, this place was very unique. It was an old farm house and for our survival it required us to forage for our own firewood for warmth and if we wanted breakfast in the mornings then we were more than welcome to collect eggs from the chickens and pick any fruit or vegetable from the garden we needed. No first world privileges for me and the lads here, your basic needs had to be earned. This was our cozy little farmhouse.

Keane uses his binoculars to see if the chickens have laid us any eggs yet.

Adding a whole other dimension of weirdness uniqueness to our accomadations was the presence of this yurt in the back garden. Talk about random. And just in case you have no clue what a yurt is, cos believe me, I didn’t, “its a round portable tent, usually made of skins, a popular dwelling for nomads in Central Asia” (thanks Google). And being lads, Keane and Cullen thought it was awesome. Keane mentioned sleeping in it but luckily I was able to change his mind.

Keane’s “what that….?” face.

Cullen decides to stick the kettle on for a nice warm cuppa tea.

The interior.

Off for some more farm yard exploration.

The view of our farmhouse from the opposite side.

Collecting sticks for our wood burning heat source.

Bright and early the following morning we had our newest little friend over for breakfast and the boys couldn’t get enough of her.

And baby Dafne was just as transfixed with them.

After brekkie we took the short walk across the road for a little beach time.

Cullen doing some kind of happy dance.

Despite the serious looking facial expression, Derv is very happy to play with us on the beach. I promise.

Cutesy momma, even cutesy’er baby.

Having a blast.

You’ll notice in this photo Cullen has lost all of his clothes. Lets just say on one of his walks into the ocean, he kept on walking and momma had to race after him before he made it all the way back to US soil.

Later that evening as baby Dafne took her 50th nap of the day, the boys and I went for a small country walk and meet ourselves some country cows.

Getting better view.

Of course the morning we left Cork there had to be the obligatory group selfie, minus baby Dafne who was busy being loved on by her granny Eva.

Cousins and Friends

September 15, 2015

We were just a few hours off the plane when the boys cousins burst through my parents door full of energy, full or noise ready to reconnect and ready to play like no time had past since they last saw each other. Random conversations and important pieces of news, as well as updates on all of the happenings since our last visit were hurling around the kitchen. Everywhere I turned there was a child bouncing excitedly as they all eagerly and desperately tried to share and be heard.  It was chaotic and it was awesome. Of course very quickly and inevitably all of that excitement headed outside, where Emily and Keane took on a very random project of burying flowers.

Make no mistake, Emily is a natural boss. It was she who selected the exact spot for each flower burial and in her sweet little girl way ordered Keane to do all of the heavy digging.

She then placed each flower in its grave and had Keane do the cover up.

Proud of “her” work.

Nathan sticks his little nose out to see whats going gone.

He offers Keane some assistance by tossing a few rocks on the pile.

Biggest cousin Evan was excited to show me his basketball skills.

Inside Cullen had taken full possession of all the vehicles.

Evan is obsessed with Legos and was happy to show the littler kids his building skills.

I swear these two have a non-verbal language of their own.

Cullen working on putting the trucks together.

Emily is in charge of the stickers for each truck.

Coming together nicely.

Evan lets Keane help with the big boy Legos.

Now Cullen has the stickers.

Later that evening a little more outdoor fun before it was time for bed.

Welcome Back

September 14, 2015

So its a big old “Welcome Back” to us. Back from our travels and kicked completely sideways by the jet lag. This momma is beyond ready to put her head down and sleep, but the boys are operating under some kind of “Hey, lets never sleep again” plan. Awake most of the night and day. Which obviously means I too am very reluctantly awake most of the night and day. Its torturous and emotional and even though I harbor no military secrets, I am close to confessing to any kind of involvement in nuclear testing if it would just give this momma a few solid hours of unbroken sleep.

Of course I was trigger happy the entire trip and I’ll be sharing lots of photos over the next week of so. I just need to start putting all of my awake hours to good use and begin uploading and culling through all of the images captured. But while you wait, here are my beach boys enjoying themselves a little Atlantic ocean action.