Archive for February, 2016

Cold With A Side Of Rain

February 28, 2016

Flying with kids is a risky business. I’m not going to lie and say I enjoy it. Its hard, way hard. But for me the opportunity to take the kids somewhere new, or visit family and friends greatly outweighs the struggle of changing your toddlers nappy in an airplane bathroom no bigger than a phone booth, while your 3 year old sits on the sink just to give you the few extra cm’s of elbow space needed to get the job done. Or wearing yourself out trying to come up with entertaining games and conversation in an effort to distracted the kids from the length of time they’ve been stuck on plane. Or trying to not to lose your temper when for the 2 seconds you had to focus on your 2 year old, your luggage and your flight information, your 3 year old disappeared to play his new favorite game of “hide and remain silent” and all of a sudden your head is spinning, your stomach has fallen to the floor, theres a check-in lady asking you repeatedly for your passports but you can’t even hear her cos your in a mental panic thinking something bad has happen to your child. Then he pops out all smiling and joyous shouting “boo” and you want to simultaneously hug him and yell at him. “Stay close. Listen to momma” is what I find myself saying over and over again. Its a tough gig for sure. Its exhausting and its such an effort trying to present yourself as calm and totally in control so that the kids actually enjoy the traveling process and not associate it with momma turning into some psychotic and over bearing nut job. But on the inside thats exactly what I am, a psychotic over bearing nut job with elevated blood pressure and a desperate need to chain the kids to me, at least until we reach our destination. So its no surprise once we do finally reach our destination, all I want is a nap. But of course all the lads want to do is explore. And once we reached my parents house in Ireland, they were off.

Unlike Orlando, Ireland was mostly cold with a side or rain. Or was it mostly rain, with a side of cold? Either way the lads didn’t care, they were busy digging up my parents driveway for the purpose of rock forte building.

There are a ton of toys at my parents house, but this is what all the grandkids love to do the most, dig and play with the rocks on the driveway.

Making sure to abuse all of granddads garden tools as they smash up the place.

Later in the evening we had a visitor. A lovely little lady by the name of Dafne.

Dafne is the baby girl of my friend Derval and she the happiest, smiliest, most edible little thing ever.

My boys loved her.

Lady D is a big eater. She’s just started on her solids and can’t get enough of this new world of flavors.

Post dinner and Cullen gives Dafne a lesson in clapping hands.

While the babies went to bed, the mommas stayed up drinking wine, but the babies never took our late night of boozing into consideration when they woke us up at 6.30am looking for breakfast and playtime. So we rallied, and here they all are, a group shot of their early morning pajama fun.

Not sure what happened, but suddenly Cullen had the urge to stick his finger in Dafne’s mouth. Keane showed his skills as the eldest by correcting Cullen and saving Dafne.

Dafne, shocked and confused and less than impressed. Cullen, thinks its all the craic really.

Happy 2nd Birthday Cullen

February 23, 2016

Just over a week ago my youngest baby turned 2. But due to all of our travel and the week spent in the trenches fighting the war on illness, I just couldn’t seem to get around to celebrating his milestone moment here on the blog. So lets go ahead and fix that now, before I start the sharing of photos from our trip to Ireland.

What can I say about my little toddler Cullen? He is simultaneously the sweetest, yet most trying child ever. He’s got a cheekiness and a spunk that I find both challenging and irresistible. He’s a momma’s boy straight up, and he makes no apologies for it. You want to play trucks with him? He’ll walk right up to you, take the trucks from your hand and say “Momma do it” as he marches across the room to give me the trucks. Offer to help him tie his shoes, “No, Momma do it”.  Try to open something for him, “No, Momma do it”. It may leave you feeling slightly wounded, but you know who doesn’t care? Cullen. He knows exactly what he wants and he will not tolerate it any other way. He’s the type of child that makes you work for his affections. He deems everyone shady until they prove otherwise. And even though you may have succeeded in breaking down some of his walls today, thinking that cos he eventually let you play and interact with him you are now besties, well you would be very much mistaken. The next morning you will find yourself back to square one, working your ass off trying to re-earn his trust and affections. He’s obsessed with all things truck, monster truck, cars, diggers and trains. He adores his big brother and spends his days trying to copy everything Keane does. His language abilities blow me away, the words and sentences falling out of his mount these days are impressive and funny. Books are another one of his favoutire things. His room is a constant mess of books. He pulls them off the shelf one by one and demands that you “read it to me mommy.” His way of saying “yes” is to bounce his entire body. No matter where we are, when he hears a song he likes, he dances and often demands “momma do it too“. Luckily I’m an amazing dancer, think Beyonce, so its never embarrassing when I have to twerk it out in the middle of the poultry aisle at the supermarket. Honestly, this blog could go on and on. There are literally hundreds of things I could list about this little fella, but it all basically comes down to us feeling like the luckiest parents in the world to have him in our lives. The family just wouldn’t be complete without him. So “Happy 2nd Birthday” to my not so Baby Cullen.

I know I take tons of photos of my boys. You know I take tons of photos of my boys. The blog is full of nothing but photos of my boys. But each year on their birthday I try to make the effort to dress them a little smarter and capture some photos of them doing nothing other than being themselves. And each year since Keane was born I’ve managed to pull it off. This year however, I was a couple of days past his actually birthday. In my defense we were in the throws of jet lag, and his mood just wasn’t right for a photo session. And if there’s one thing we’ve learned about Cullen, he will not do anything he doesn’t want to do. But we eventually managed it, so here for your viewing pleasure, is my 2 year old boy, Cullen.

And while I try to make the session mostly about the birthday boy, there is no way not to include the sibling, they are such an important part of each others lives.

The adventures, sometimes reckless Keane.

Yep, Keane got to dress nice and sharp too.

Take it off momma, no like the jacket”. So off came the jacket.

Another runner in the family.

If you ask Cullen how old he is, he yells “Twoooo” and throws up his 2 fingers.

It never goes the way I want, yet I always try to get a photo of the boys together.

I wasn’t planning to have a birthday party for Cullen this year. My thinking was that he’s not fully clued into the whole birthday thing, and I find hosting parties a little stressful, so we were just going to celebrate it ourselves. Well turns out he knew exactly what was going on and I was struggling with some mom guilty over my “no party” decision, so in the end I decided on a little birthday play date.

Ballons, its not a birthday without balloons.

Team effort on the candle blowing.

Yep, I saw that Cullen.

3/4 of the family. Daddy had a business trip.

Group shot.

Pool All Day

February 21, 2016

For our final day in Orlando all the boys wanted to do was swim. So we let them. Keane, Cullen and I were boarding a flight to Ireland that evening, so a day full of pool time shenanigans meant that come evening, I would have 2 very wore out boys on my hands, and if the travel Gods were feeling anyway generous, this would translate itself into 2 boys sleeping the entire 7 hours to Dublin. So swim my little tadpoles, swim, ALL DAY LONG.

Jumping into the pool, it never stops being fun when your 3 years old.

Cullen giving his best “Blue Steel”.

Time to give this diving thing a go.

Delighted with himself.

Keane announces he’s going to do a cannon ball.

But modified it slightly, knee grab before airborne rather than once your airborne. Which I believe is more adorable.

Cullen minding his own business, swimming away.

Until Keane announces that he’s going to help Cullen swim.

But instead ended up unintentionally trying to drown him.

A game of football begins.

Uncle Mookie with the throw.

Ferocious competition for the catch.

A new game of throw the ball and toss the child. James in action for the catch.

Mad catching skills from Paul.

No ball involved here, just go ahead and toss the child.

The only way to grab a photo of Pa, snap him unaware at the end of a long day of swimming.

Snap Snap

February 18, 2016

The week of illness continues. And yesterday Keane joined the party. Another doctor visit, another trip to the pharmacy and yet more long sleepless night. I’m tired. They’re tired. We’re all grumpy and there’s a lot of emotion flying around the house. The Husband is currently in New York, shopping (just kidding, he swear’s he’s working) but every time he calls to check in I want to verbally rip his face off. He’s missing all of the snotty, pukey, coughing, sweating, long nights of fun and as a result, when he calls, he has to suffer the psychotic anger and tears and blame for all that is wrong in the world, or at least whats wrong in my world. But honestly, I feel being the verbal punching bag is the least he can do. I mean, he gets to hang up his phone, put his head down on his fluffy hotel room pillow and sleep all night long. OMG, that last sentence just gave me the major rage, Husband, if your reading this, don’t call right now, I’m about to go nuclear.

But the up side of these long nights is its given me the opportunity to comb through a bunch of our vacation photos. And seeing everyone happy and healthy is a nice distraction from our current situation. Today I’m sharing photos from our visit to Gatorland. This place was amazing. The boys loved it, I love it. If you find yourself vacationing in Orlando, you should definitely check it out.

The boys watching all the gators soaking up the morning sunshine.

So many gators.

Cullen was fixated for the longest time.

Some bad ass birds showing zero gator intimidation.

An albino gator.

Taking our seats for one of the shows.

Lots of dangerous creatures being introduced to us.

This box was placed in front of my sister in law. She was asked to open it. Instead she tries to look away and pretend it doesn’t exist.

Her face pleads with another lady at the back to open the box and to her relief, the lady obliges.

And this was what was inside, a tarantula.

Keane throws the tarantula some shade as its brought around for a closer look.

Big snakes.

Now this right here, WTF? I was amazed. Nerves of steal.

Off to watch us some gator wrestling.

The gator is selected.

Someone needed a closer look.

Definitely not my idea of fun.

I guess Cullen found people spotting to be more interesting.

Time for some photos on the alligator. Paul first.

Followed by James.

Keane on deck.

Not a bother.

A Magical Few Hours

February 16, 2016

There is no way you can go to Orlando with kids and NOT visit Disneyland. In fact, I think hotels are encouraged to “turn in” the names of any parent who vacations with their children and does not spend at least 1 day at the Magic Kingdom. So being the good tourists that we are, we decided to comply with the expectations and spend our 2nd day in Orlando at the magical land of Disney. And it was magical, for the first almost 2 hours. But very quickly the busyness of the park and the long lines for everything, started to wear the boys out fast. I did my best to keep the mood as happy, cheery and magical as the professionally trained Disney employees, but thats whole other level of cheer right there. Years of smile and joy training I’m sure goes into every person who puts on that Disney shirt, and it shows. But I wanted the boys to have the best time, I wanted them not to focus on the crowds or the long lines and short rides, but to instead to talk to them about the numerous Disney characters we might see, and the fun that we’d have once we eventually made to the top of each of the long lines. And it worked, each time I brought forward my inner Disney cheerleader, they rallied, for 10 mins then all I heard was “when can we go back to our apartment and play in the pool?” Seriously, we paid an arm and a leg to get into this place, y’all are going to suck it up at least until the 3pm parade. But we never saw that 3pm parade. When children are over it, they are OVER IT. And I was exhausted trying to keep the mood positive and happy, so after lunch we bounced.

But here we are minutes after our arrival, when the excitement and joy was still high.

Not a bad family photo captured by Gandma Doyle.

The magic of Cinderella’s castle.

This was the type of joy and excitement I was hoping to see on their little faces. I was just hoping it was going to last the entire day.

They got the Disney buzz.

Whats going on here I hear you ask??

Well, we’re following and walking like the ducks obviously.

The infamous teacups.

That face.

Keane is controlling the spinning of the cup and Cullen is looking dizzy.

That moment when you don’t want to get out of the teacup.

But the consolation prize, driving a race car with Daddy.

Pile up. After this point things went downhill fast. I wasn’t snapping many photos cos I was busy trying to navigate the breakdowns while encouraging everyone to dig deep, the parade would be worth it.

But I wasn’t enough, and here we area about to board our steam boat to the car park.

Our steam boat.

Bye Disney, I’m sure you will see us again.