Archive for December, 2015

Santa Encounter Part II

December 16, 2015

Sometimes you need a break from all of the holiday craziness to just sit and work on your pottery painting skills. So thats exactly what we did for our mini playdate this week.

The lads are into it. Look at the focus.

No surprise that Cullen picked a truck to paint.

Keane went with the theme of ruggedness and also chose a truck.

Wyatt went nautical and picked a fish.

When the tongue is out, Keane means business.

Air drying our paint before they get blasted in the kiln.

Ta-dah! The boys and their artistic creations pre-glossy finish.

Afterwards on our way to the park, we spotted a sleigh parked outside a store. The boys wanted to climb in, not knowing why it was there or if in fact we should let them, we (the momma’s) looked around, saw zero presence of any kind of sleigh law enforcement, so we gave them the green light to climb aboard.

But then this happened, Santa showed up. Very exciting.

He spent several minutes talking to the boys about all things sleigh and reindeers and before he had to return to his post at the store, he asked Keane for a hug.

High-fives and hugs from Wyatt too.

I was nervous for Santa as he turned his attention to Cullen. Their last encounter ended in tears.

This time there were no tears, just happy high-fives. Phew!

Cute moment when Keane gave Cullen and hug and said “see Cullen, Santa’s nice”.

The Santa Visit

December 14, 2015

So yesterday we went to visit Santa and this is how it all went down. Keane didn’t wait to be be called, he didn’t wait to see if there was another kid ahead of him in the line (thank goodness there wasn’t. I didn’t want some security footage of me and some other mom pulling hair and throwing down on the evening news over a breach in Santa line etiquette ) he simply walked up and began to remind Santa of the list he’d already e-miled (yes, the North Pole now has access to the world wide web). We confirmed that nothing on the list had changed, reassured Santa that we’ve been very good and then smiled nicely for the camera.

Cullen on the other hand never really got around to telling Santa what he wanted.

He was a little busy losing his mind.

Oh but look at this, 2 seconds later, “meltdown? what meltdown? I’ve no idea what your talking about.

Keane, Cullen and our friend Wyatt have found the cookie counter.

“I’ll have this cookie momma. The one thats bigger than your angry face, and I won’t be sharing.”

Let me just make sure that Santa guy is not watching”

Wyatt keeps a look out as Keane and Cullen revisit the cookie options.

Keane in the background hasn’t moved. He’s so busy making sure nobody buys the cookie he’s got his eye on.

They all eventually got a cookie. How could you say no to those faces.

Smith Family

December 13, 2015

Let me share a little something with you about Irish women, we HATE to be in front of the camera. We’re our own worst critics and we’re relentless in picking ourselves apart should anyone manage to grab a snap shot of us. Crazy? Absolutely, but if you know any Irish women, then you know most of us are in fact crazy. While we were in Texas I told my friend Caitriona that I’d take some family photos for her. I made sure not to ask, cos in true Irish women style, she would throw up some very creative excuses so as to avoid putting herself in front of my camera. Telling her it was going to happen was the only way to do it. And wouldn’t you know, she did it. Even though it went against all of her instincts and pushed her so far outside of her camera comfort zone, she still did it. And since she’s already in the zone of discomfort, I thought I’d push her just that one step further and blog some of my favorites from the shoot. There’s a good chance my friend will hate me for this, but I’m willing to take the risk, cos I think she and her wee family are perfect and look nothing short of adorable.

Gorgeous Roisin (an Irish name pronounced “Row-sheen” for those unfamiliar). Only 6 years old but one of the smarts kids I’ve ever met. I couldn’t even pretend to know some of the things she talked about.

This little guy Ronan is all lad. High energy and doesn’t stay still, not for one second. There’s just too much that needs exploring for him to hang around.

There he is, gone.

While Daddy ran after Ronan, the ladies worked their fierce.

Fist bumps for the lads.

Daddy asked for a kiss, and this was Ronan’s response.

Shooting fast was paramount, Ronan would only give me .05 seconds of his time before he was ready to move on.

He’ll hate me for saying it cos its so not macho, but Paul is one of the sweetest Dad’s around. One minute dealing with little girl hair emergencies, the next minute crashing trains and miniature cars with 22 month old boys.

And if pretty and smart wasn’t enough, Roisin’s also got an abundance of athletic talent. Not surprising, her mom and I actually trained and competed together back in the day and her dad is highly skilled at martial arts.

Age difference be damned, Ronan believes he can keep up with any 6 year old.

Oops, a little tumble and in true sibling style, Roisin thinks her brothers fall is hilarious.

Not even a tear, up and ready to go again.

Caitriona and I have known each other for a long time, and its amazing to see her now as a mother, doing a kick ass job at one of the most challenging jobs there is.

Baby tosses, always a great shot.

A little family race and poor Ronan went down. I love how Roisin powered on, a true competitor.

Switching gears to try and sneak a little romance into the shoot…..

…was short lived. Life with kids. Gotta love it.

Starting to get tired.

A Coyote Hunt

December 10, 2015

Up bright and early again, this time it was all for a good cause, to hunt coyotes. I don’t know how Keane got it into his head, but there we were, strolling the Texas hills, looking for, but desperately hoping not to actually find coyotes. At least I was hoping, and I’m pretty sure had we come across any, Keane would have changed his mind very quickly too.

And here we are, desperately trying to get a kids group shot, but everybody wants to sit in a different place, nobody wants to look at the camera and they blatantly refuse to acknowledge the efforts of all parents present as we jump around like crazed fools making weird animal noises. Now that I think of it, maybe they’re just mortified and would rather act like they’d no idea who the hell we were.

3/4 of the coyote hunting group.

And we’re off. Look out coyotes. One man down (Ronan) in the stampede of excitement.

On his feet and back in the hunt thanks to Daddy.

Hunt leader, Cullen.

Until he was a man down too and all his friends just stepped right over him.

Our view from the top.

Headed back, disappointed not to have found coyotes but consoled by a little snack consumption.

Not sure what gave Ronan this surge of joy.

An old truck, always fun.

Ha! Brothers.

Something very low to the ground needs Ronan’s attention.

We’re in Texas after all, of course there would have to be some horse shots.

A while later I spotted these 2, up to no good by the looks of it.

They found a tap to play with.

The New Weekend

December 9, 2015

I still get excited about the weekend. Force of habit from my life pre-kids. Weekends use to mean sleep-ins were definitely optional, and preferable, especially after a long week of work. Now the weekend get up time and the weekday get up time are the exact same, and strictly enforced by the smallest, loudest, most persistent controllers of all things time. Weekends use to mean meeting up with friends, grown up friends, who like you didn’t have kids and could enjoy a lovely brunch at a trendy breakfast eatery while sipping strong adult beverages. Now you avoid the fancy eateries, unless you like spending your entire meal corralling your noisy off-spring, repeatedly threatening to duct tape them to their seats if they don’t stop licking the sugar packets, as you launch yourself under the table for the 4th time to pick up random tossed and dropped Cheerios and goldfish. Picnics, thats how we brunch now. Anyway, bla bla bla, the point is, weekends in the world of motherhood are different, and its ALWAYS nice when you get to share and enjoy the not so lazy weekends with other mothers, who just happen to be good friends from days of yore, the days before we all became mothers.

Although this particular morning while visiting my friends in Texas, it was me and Dad (Roisin and Ronan’s dad) that tag-teamed the morning of fun. Caitriona had an unthinkable 18 mile run to do in preparation for the Austin marathon in 7 weeks. So as she hit the road at 7am, Dad (also known as Paul, but not my Paul (The Husband) but my friends Paul, her husband) confused? You should be, anyway, we fed and dressed the kids and released them to the garden to play. No joke, its not even 8.30am and here they are, playing away. See, no sleep-ins.

The adorable Ronan, with the squishiest cheeks in the entire garden. Oh, and in case you didn’t make the connection, Ronan’s dad is Scottish, so that should explain the hat.

Roisin and I engaged in a game of soccer, where she showed me how not so skilled a soccer player I am.

I’m so use to play time with boy kids. All my Georgia mom friends have boys, so it was nice being around this pretty little girl who actually wanted to be around me and my camera (my boys tend to just ignore both me and my camera these days) and who kept things fresh with cute outfit changes.

Keane was decent enough to cut the grass, just at a gesture of “thanks” for letting us invade their lives for the weekend.

Cullen, hmmmm, lets just say he offered to do some shopping as his gesture of “thanks”.

Ronan flashes us his fancy red sports car. Cullen gives him a push but I’m thinking it was to hurry things along so he could have his turn.

Yep, I was right.

Vroom, vroom!

Now the fun is starting.

Cullen’s turn to pull his grass cutting weight.


Keane gained lots of positive points by cutting the grass, but lost them all when he started tossing a football into the nice trees and eventually it got stuck.

Keane looks pretty impressed with his ball tossing skills and Ronan is amazed.

Roisin eventually steps in to help the smaller kids.

Ronan and Cullen team up in some tree exploration.

After lunch and nap and even though she was wrecked from running 18 miles, Caitriona and I loaded up the kids and headed off to a science and nature type place.

Checking out the bobcats.


Why stand when you can always climb.

The group has moved on, but Cullen doesn’t want to leave the raccoons.

Roisin finally gets him moving.

Time to see the snakes and lizards.

Owl gazing.

The lads.

To Keane’s utter joy the nature centre had a Dino Pit, and lots of tools for some bone excavation.

Roisin uncovers some dinosaur bones,

And is briefly joined by her brother.

Keane identifies the bones as a triceratops.

And takes full credit for the discovery.

Roisin helps Cullen with another excavation.

The boys team up for a particularly big dig.

Until Ronan preferred to engage in a game of peek-a-boo.

And Cullen wanted to toss sand.

Dino spines are always excellent photo props.

The new besties being silly.

After a feed and a bath it was movie time.

But the babies got tired and it was just the big kids.