Archive for November, 2015

That Time of Year

November 30, 2015

Its that time of year, lots of family sessions happening in the fabulous Fall sunshine. Lots of families rushing to get Christmas cards out, stylish and on time (something I myself struggle to achieve). And while the focus of my family sessions are always to get a great, relaxed, natural portrait of your family, I also like to allow some time to capture the kids being kids. And perhaps even squeeze in some romantic shots of mom & dad. This photo is from a family session this past weekend and there is a sweetness to it I just loved.

Thanksgiving 2015

November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving to all our family and friends. But to one special friend in particular, our little friend Gavin who recently finished 6 months of chemo. We are so proud of our Superhero friend and his amazing family for fighting the fight of all fights. So this year we decided to run our annual Thanksgiving Gobble Jog in his honor. Hooray SuperGav! But before running the family 5k for Gavin, my friend Mike and I raced in the timed 5k. And this race I ran in the name of another little soldier back in Ireland, a little boy named Eddie who was born with spina bifida but who in the last 12 months has been making amazing progress learning to walk on some brand new leg braces. So you might say it was a busy Thanksgiving race day for me.

A shot of the Gobble Jog turkey as the boys wait for momma’s first race to start.

There’s momma, off and running.

Awkward blurry photo of momma giving everyone high-fives before racing on.

The boys entertain themselves while waiting for me to finish.

There I am, and yes, I was as tired as I look.

Managed to grab a quick pic of Mike finishing.

Less than 10 minutes to recover, change and then get back to the start line for the family 5k for our little friend Gavin.

Off and running.

Daddy and Cullen.

Mike and Keane.

A cape for some extra speed.

Pause for water at the hydration station.

Oh, look out Gobble Joggers, Cullen is off and running.

Having the best time.

Some random mid-race moves from Keane.

A little wave to a small group cheering from the side. So cute.

Crossing the finish line.

Cullen’s finishing moment.

And Daddy finishing with an empty stroller.

After noticing a bunch of post-race runners walking around with their hands on their hips, Keane adapted the same pose.

Proud hugs from Pa.

Family pic.

Getting a picture of the boys together has started to become a real challenge.

For the first time Marietta Square has an ice rink for the festive season, and Keane was excited to give it a go.

Boot up.

If it looks like Daddy knows what he’s doing, he does. Back in the day he played ice-hockey.

Its like watching him learn to walk again.

Cullen dipping a cheeky toe onto the ice.

Having the best time watching Daddy and Keane skate.

Suddenly Cullen was striking this pose and yelling “bum-bum

His-fives from Pa for an amazing first skate.

Homeward bound, tired and happy.

All Go

November 25, 2015

There are a lot of photos in this blog post, so brace yourselves. One day in particular this past weekend we were biz-y. It all kicked off bright and early with Keane’s final soccer practice for the Fall season. And since his Massachusetts grandparents are visiting for the week, Grandpa Doyle came along to watch Keane in action. After that it was back to the house where we began work on an outdoor fire pit. We had this random idea the night before, that an evening of roasting marshmallow and making s’more was just what everybody needed. Chilly weather, smoking hot fire, surrounded by nothing but forest and eating warm sticky chocolatey treats, what could possibly go wrong?

Keane sitting patiently at the start of practice.

Coach Ben engages the kids in a game of steal a bib.

Explaining the rules, telling the kids he is the guarder of the bibs and they have to try and grab one before he catches them.

And Go!

Keane successfully steals.

And is super excited.

Next up, drills.

On each whistle the kids had to put an announced body part on the ball. This time it was their butts.

Off and dribbling again.

On this particular whistle its was their heads.

Keane impressing Pa with his ball control and balance.

Cullen chillin.

Some cone kicking drills.

And the jump-overs.


This little cone thief just can’t help himself.

Keane with some of his u4 teammates.

Coach Ben presents Keane with his first trophy.

Back home and we were straight into helping our friend Mike with the pit digging.

With their tiny shovels and their eagerness to help, this pit will be dug in record time.

Hooray, its finally deep enough. You’ll notice Mike standing with 2 shovels, one of them is mine. Proof that when I wasn’t snapping photos, I was actually helping with the dig.

Cullen shows up with his favorite truck.

Getting all fancy with some rocks around the perimeter.

Cullen has claimed our pit as his new playground.

Mike brings the final load of rocks.

And the pit is complete. And Cullen still won’t leave.

After an afternoon nap and waiting patiently for the sun to set, we were finally ready to get the fire started.

The boys couldn’t wait to for the fire to heat up enough before tucking into the marshmallows.

Now we’re ready to roast.

Keane and Mike roast the first marshmellow.

But it caught fire.

A 3 year and a 21 month old present and Pa is the one who spills gooey marshmallow all over himself.

Cocolate, marshmallow and cookie all over his face.

Grandma in a sticky finger situation.

Cullen’s turn to roast.

A fun and successful evening.

Manageable Moments

November 23, 2015

One morning every week each of the boys gets me all to themselves. Tuesday mornings, while Cullen is at his baby school, its me and Keane. Last week you’ll notice we spent that morning running hills and learning to journal. But Friday mornings is one of the days big brother is at pre-school, so Friday’s are “Mommy & Cullen” mornings. And I’m not gonna lie, the luxury of having just one kid to focus on and cater to, if only for a morning, cannot be over emphasised. Its like a tiny manageable mommy vacation. Its a sliver of silver lining in a week spent bouncing off the walls, trying to navigate my way through the chaos of “mommy he took my….,” “mommy Cullen’s not sharing”,I don’t need help”, stop hitting“,  ”mama Kee choo-choo” (Cullen telling me Keane has his train), “no momma, no tank ou” (Cullen saying no momma, no thank you to any and all my questions) “hee momma” (Cullen handing me millions of random objects throughout the entire day) and lets not forget my personal favorite “Nooooo!” From both boys. All day long. At varying volumes and levels of aggression. All you mothers out there with more then 2 kids, need medals. F’reals. If only for the fact that I struggle to have enough hours in my day to get my own sh*t done, I’d make and send y’all one myself. I am definitely at capacity with just the 2.

Ok, lets get back on track, venting was not actually the purpose of this post (although the little off-loading felt good), one-on-one time with each of my boys, yes, thats the conversation. Getting the opportunity to spend some time doing the things each of them enjoy, learning more about their unique ever evolving personalities. Thats what each of those mornings is about. They won’t be this small forever. They’ll grow, and some day I’ll miss all of these moments, but I’ll be so grateful to even have had them.

Last Friday morning Cullen and I met up with his friend Wyatt for some playground fun.

Both Cullen and Wyatt finding their courage to climb the spider web.

With a little help form his momma, Wyatt takes a spin on the spinning chair.

This guy took his own unique approach and when I tried to help give him a spin, I was very quickly told, “no momma, away” (No momma, f*#k off)

This photo made me laugh, my child has absolutely no concept of personal space. And clearly Wyatt wants it desperately.

The faces say it all.

I managed to talk Cullen into moving to the slide next to Wyatt, still close but not uncomfortably close.


Wyatt’s turn.

Joy ride.

Judging by Wyatt’s face, Cullen is that friend that leaves you wondering “what the hell?

After a snack it was off to play in the dirt with some tiny vehicles.

Loves dirt and loves vehicles.

Little besties.

Wyatt brought his motorized Thomas choo-choo and both boys spent forever just watching it go back and forth.

Believe It

November 18, 2015

Lets have a chat about motherhood and working out. Or lack of working out due to motherhood. If your the type of person who likes to train, which I do, and your a mother, which I am, then you know more often then not, these two worlds collide in the most spectacular fashion. When baby number 1 shows up you try to convince yourself nothing will change. You will still get to do all of the things you enjoyed before baby arrived. Then baby arrives, your world is turned upside-down and you are now at the mercy of the worlds smallest dictator. But in sheer desperation/determination to hold onto something, anything from your “pre-baby life”, sleep deprived and exhausted as you are, you stick him/her in the stroller and head off in search of trails that are mostly flat, cos pushing a stroller is resistance training enough right now. This works out well, fresh air for everyone, lovely power nap for baby and mom feels almost human again. Then 2 things happen, 1. baby gets bigger and refuses to stay in the stroller and 2. baby number 2 arrives. Now this is where the real fun starts and ends for mom.

I tired, I really did. I believed I could do it all, but the endless needs of a toddler and a baby proved that I just couldn’t. I was a mother all day and and more often than not, all night. On a good week I could find the opportunity and energy to do 1 run, but then 3 weeks would pass before the same opportunity arose again. Thats when you find yourself slipping into the rut of  ”why even bother?” And in that rut is where I’ve remained for the best part of a year. Completely immersed in the boys, always finding the time and energy to open them up to lots of exciting things, yet ignoring my own needs. I’d gotten so use to having zero leftover time or energy to run anymore that once the opportunities started to pop up, I didn’t even recognize them, or if I did, I was too tired to bother. Now the boys are older and everyone is sleeping through the night. Now my workouts have the potential to be more than chasing 2 energetic boys around. So now its time to get my workout sh*t together.

A recent e-mail chat with Irish steeplechase legend, fellow Olympian and European medalist Roisin McGettigan-Dumas, allowed me to offload and throw up some of my workout struggles. Roisin is now also a mother of 2, 2 cute as buttons little girls that are right around the same age as my 2 boys, so she gets it. She also happens to be the co-author of “Believe Training Journal“. She hooked this avoidance riddled mother up with a couple of these journals and honestly, its been the kick in the arse needed. The journal is for both the professional runner and those who just love to run. And there’s just something about the structure offered, the writing of a goal down on paper that somehow ignites the drive within. The empowering sense of being back in control of something. Tracking your accomplishments, even if its just to avoid eating chocolate for an entire day and owning the moments when it all went pear-shaped. The journal encourages you to share it all. These days my workout goals look a lot different, now I’m not so much chasing national records or Olympic qualifying standards, now I’m chasing opportunity and consistency. Its been 3 weeks since my journal arrived and for the past 3 weeks I’ve achieved my goal of 2 runs and 2 gym sessions per week. It hasn’t been easy, but I’ve forced myself to find a way. Sometimes that way meant having to include one or both of the boys and sometimes it meant battling myself. But we are making it happen and slowly I’m starting to rediscover the joy working out use to give me.

My Tuesday workout this week was all about hills. And my training partner was Keane. He wanted to run the hill first and asked me to time him.

56 seconds to the top.

Victory jump.

Momma in action, there’s still an athlete in there somewhere.

Being chased by a wagon dragging little person.

Who became my rabbit when it started to hurt.

Keane got his very own training journal and was so excited to document his first workout.

Tired but happy and we both get to journal our accomplishments.

Keane draws a bunch of hills to represent his workout.

Teaching him how to “Believe”.