Archive for March, 2017

Going Solo

March 30, 2017

Sometimes its nice to have momma all to yourself. To spend a morning not being bossed around by your big brother, not having to wait your turn or share. Not having to jostle for attention or fight your corner. Not having to compromise your own wants and needs in a given situation to make things fair for everyone. As second born and youngest, Cullen has never known a life that didn’t involve any of these things, so you can image what a treat it is on the mornings his big brother is in school and he has an all access pass to everything, to Momma, to the toys, to the general flow of the morning. Its all about him and his needs, until its time to pick up big brother of course. But a few hours of solo play and Cullen is more than ready to have his big brother back. He’s second born remember, he’s never known a life without a best friend.

When a giant pile of wood chips is delivered to your house and your big brother is not around to stop you using his digger.

Lets do this.

Over the digging. Time to climb this wood chip mountain.

Some of you might remember our pet turtle, Turtler, who joined the family back in October (click here for reminder). Well. Turtler is still with us and getting really big. Too big for his tank. So the boys like to take him outside for “exercise” most days while they play. Here he is swimming in the quarry while Cullen plays.

A possible attempted break to freedom happening here.

Cullen thinks Turtler is playing hide and seek. I think Turtler definitely wants to hide and would rather nobody ever came seeking.

A lot of kids love to dress as superheroes. I know this cos I see photos posted on Facebook and Instagram by some of my fellow moms, going about their daily business with mini Spidermen, Batmen and Captain America’s in tow. And just like other kids, my kids have superhero aspirations too, their superheroes just happen to be a little different, kind of non-traditional if you will. My kids can’t seem to get enough of dinosaurs. They literally eat, sleep, breath, read, play and live by these prehistoric beasts. Its unbelievable and actually downright impressive how into it they are and how much they know. And how much I’ve come to know from all the books we’ve read, documentaries we’ve watched and museum’s we’ve visited. Seriously, challenge me on anything dinosaur, I dare you.

Anyway, the other day while Cullen was getting his afternoon beauty nap, Keane, who naps no more (sad face) told me he wanted to be a microraptor. “Great”, I told him, “what do we need?”. He went into a lengthy discussion about head feathers, tail feathers and wings, long wings, that are not actually for flying. No, microraptors I was told, had wings, but couldn’t fly, they were gliders. Wanting to give him creative control of the project, I asked him what he thought we could use to achieve the microraptor look. He said he needed some time to figure out the head and tail feathers, but for the wings we could definitely use a couple of kitchen towels. “Look, see momma? You can clip them onto my sleeves. They’re the right length and will flap good in the wind”. So I executed his vision, to his complete satisfaction. Then outside we went to test drive our gliding skills.

Yep, we are loving ourselves and our microraptor sleeves.

Just waiting for the right kind of breeze.

In position.

And away we go!

Landing was a little bumpy. But trust me, after 30 minutes of non-stop gliding, the landing got better.

As soon as Cullen woke from nap, Keane was in his sleepy face, flapping his wings and telling him all about his gliding. Through his post nap fog, Cullen said he wanted wings to glide too. That brings us to this photo. Before he was allowed a turn, Cullen had to stand through a detailed demonstration of the best way to glide.

Finally Cullen was given the green light to glide. But Keane stayed close by, offering plenty of constructive feedback.

And away he goes!

In Cullen’s mind he leapt 20ft into the air.

A quick glance over to his mentor to make sure he’s happy with his execution.

First Game Day

March 23, 2017

I would never call myself a baseball fan. If you’re a person with a short attention span (me) then a game that takes a minimum, a minimum of 3 hours to play, is nothing short of torture. I’ve been to a game, cos thats what you do when you move to a new country, you immerse yourself in its culture and get excited about new experiences. I arrived enthusiast and excited. I listened attentively as my then boyfriend (now husband) broke down the premise of the game. It was the early stages of our relationship, so acting like I cared about something he was into, was of the utmost. But OMG, 1 hour in and we were still waiting for someone to make it to 1st base. Which I guess meant the pitchers were having a good night, cos one batter after another stepped up, swung the bat a few times, missed, fouled or struck out, so then had to sit their asses back down. It. Was. So. Boring. I’d given it my best shot, but the molasses pace of play was too much, for me the rest of the evening was all beer consumption, people watching and constant glances at the score board, begging it to get to the 9th and final inning already.

But then Keane goes and mentions wanting to play baseball and just like that I’m pitch side at every practice and jostling for the best viewing spot on his team bleachers at each game. I’ve become an overnight baseball fan, or maybe I’m just a Keane fan. Honestly, if either of my kids said they wanted to take up knitting, I’d be right there, cheering them on, waving homemade banners with their names in large font bubble style lettering. I’m that mother. But as luck with have, T-Ball games cap out at 1 hour. Sweet! Cos just like me, the attention span of a 4 year old is short.

After 2 weeks of practice here we are, getting fired up for our very first game.

Keane looks legit rocking his entire baseball ensemble.

Warming up the gloves.

Bringing it in for a team pep talk.

On 3…

…Go Cubs! Thats the team name.

There they go, off to T-Ball war.

One thing about Keane, he’s never rushed. So I wasn’t surprised to see him sauntering along bringing up the rear of the team.

Showing up like a bunch of little T-Ball rockstars.

Now we’re fired up and ready to play ball.

Then he gives me this wave and I melt.

Cullen pops into the dugout to wish the team “good luck”.

The Cubs open up the game in the out field position.

The fans are seated, with plenty of snacks and beverages.

Keane is on the mound as the other team step up to bat.

Stance.

Keane’s friend Bryson is somewhere in the vicinity of 1st base.

Other team bats.

Ground ball coming for Keane.

Got it!

Once he got the ball he wasn’t exactly sure what he was suppose to do with it. Haven’t quite covered that in practice yet. But big cheers from the crowd (mostly me & Cullen) and “great catch” words of encouragement from coach.

Bryson, watches the other team run to first base.

He feels like he should do something, but not 100% sure what.

Switch time, Cubs are getting ready to bat.

The other team out field and in position.

Here comes Keane.

Hit!

And off he goes.

Safe at 1st base waiting further instructions.

Next up, Bryson and can we just talk about the helmets for a second. Look how big. They all look like a bunch of little bobble heads.

There we go, another hit.

Bryson safe at 1st.

Keane moves on to 2nd.

The next batter and he progresses to 3rd.

Fist bumps from assistant coach.

Bryson guns it to 3rd.

While Keane races for home, with impaired vision.

A wave to his fans who had been cheering proudly.

OMG, I could not stop laughing, look at Bryson, helmet is completely covering his eyes. He’s all over the place as he tries to find his way to home plate.

A couple more outfield shots of Keane looking focused.

Just look at that sank eye he’s giving the other player for making it to first base. Thats my boy.

Post game dugout cheer.

And cos he’s unofficially part of the team, Cullen joined them in the dugout, or “jail” as he liked to call it.

The lads.

And the randomness of a 3 year old.

Lets Play Ball

March 20, 2017

So Keane is getting to that age, the age when they begin to show an interest and want to try every sport they get exposed to. I have no idea how baseball came onto Keane’s radar, but a few months back he and his friend Bryson suddenly started talking about how they were going to play baseball. We (the momma’s) didn’t really think too much of it the first couple of times it was mentioned, but they just kept talking and talking about it. Realizing this topic wasn’t going away, that the boys were serious about their baseball plans, we began the search for the most local baseball league for 4 year olds. I keep calling it baseball, cos I’m Irish and what the hell do we know about baseball anyway, but when your 4 years old and really only learning the sport for the first time, its actually called T-Ball. The kids learn to hit by placing the ball on a tee instead of being pitched to. So no irony there, its exactly what it claims to be. Anyway, we got the boys register for Spring T-Ball and 2 weeks ago they had their first practice. And of course I was there with my trusty camera to capture all the action. Actually, this post is combined photos from their first and second week’s practice.

Week 1 and here we are getting introduced to our coach, our team and our equipment. Keane is preoccupied with some of his equipment.

So Cullen is not “officially” part of the team, he’s still a year too young to play, but he couldn’t understand how his brother and his friend were all getting ready to play and he had to stay on the sidelines. But our coach is awesome and let him join in the practice.

I wish I knew what Cullen was saying to the coach here.

“Oh look, an airplane”

Beginning with the concept of running bases and Bryson is eagar to go.

Keane is making sure Cullen understands what he’s suppose to do.

Lets see how he does.

Off he goes.

And he made it to first base.

Keane’s up with a pretend bat.

And then run.

At this point running was what this team was all about.

Getting in some skill work. Catching ground balls using the glove, or is it mitt??

Time to get our hands on some bats.

Swing technique.

Cullen’s priorities suddenly switched to snacking.

Bryson out field and not 100% sure of his role.

I think Keane knows his job is to catch the ball, am just not sure he knows the right way to wear his glove.

Cullen hanging out on 2nd base when the rain decided to show up.

Base running.

Here we go, ball teed up and we’re ready to bat. Bryson first.

Then Keane.

A cold and wet end to their first t-ball practice.

Week 2, no rain. Dry and not too cold.

The attention span of a 4 year old is short, this kind of spontaneous play happens often during practice.

Working on our catching skills.

And throwing skills.

Cullen told me he didn’t want to play with “team” today. He just wanted to run by himself.

Nothing as unpredictable and concerning as a 3 year old running around swinging a bat.

The line up to bat.

Bryson.

Cullen and Daddy are 1st base high-five givers.

Keane.

Cullen didn’t even have to look up, his high-five is on reflex.

Home run for everyone.

Team cheer to end the 2 nd week of practice.

Time For Departure

March 16, 2017

This is it people, the final post from our trip to Australia and its taking place at Melbourne airport. Why? 2 reasons, 1. our flight back to the US was delayed. Logically I know a delayed flight is not exactly cause for a photo shoot, but 2. its your 2 year olds birthday and everyone deserves to have their photo taken on their special day. Now, the photos I’m about to share are probably the epitome of irresponsible parenting. But since the lads were about to embark on a 15 hour flight, that was already delayed, and I was already irritated and past caring, and it was Cullen’s 3rd birthday, I let them run wild at the terminal gate. Risky? Yes I will concede that, someone could have gotten hurt, but I was feeling bold and reckless and since my hurdling of the waiting area chairs was most likely an arrestable offense, I settled for living vicariously through the boys.

See, we’re not barbarians, we did chose a deserted part of the terminal to commence climbing all over the furniture.

Look at Cullen’s face, he wants in on this game badly.

Up he goes, but cautiously at first.

Keane coaches him though it.

Game switch, time for a combination hide & seek – chase game.

Wedged and not happy about it.

Ah yes, going low was the solution.

Spotted, Keane.

Hot on his tail, Cullen.

Chair hurdling just got real, bro vs bro.

Keane completes his row the fastest.

Celebration arms from Keane, copied by Cullen.

Keane quickly let Cullen know he could not cheer or put his arms up until he had gotten to the last chair. #bossy

They race again, but clever Cullen figured out the best way for him to beat his big brother, was to skip the hurdling completely and run the flat.

Cullen is the winner.

The runner-up and none the happier for it.

Time to wind things down prior to boarding with the magic tablets that made this lengthy travel survivable.

Oh, did I mention we stopped off in New York on the way home?? We spent 36 hours there, most of those hours the boys and I slept trying to recover from all the travel. But for the few hours we were awake, and while Daddy was at the Milrose Games, we ventured down to Time Square. Had to do something New York’ish, right?

From the summer of Australia, to the blistering cold of New York and all I’m thinking is someone is bound to get sick from this dramatic weather change.