Archive for June, 2017

Play, Sail & Play Ball

June 29, 2017

After an action packed beach day the following morning we woke up to a light and misty rain. Which was just fine. Some of us were in need of a much slower and leisurely start to the day. And by “us”, I’m obviously not talking about the kids. As usual they woke up with plenty of bounce, excited and anxious for more fun and adventure. So we, the grown-ups, let them off as we gathered around the breakfast table trying to caffeinate ourselves awake.

Gradually the rain passed, so we took the gang off to a nearby playground.

This downward climbing tire tunnel was the most popular attraction at the park. At least with our crew anyway.

Swing take over by the bigger boys.

Keane is curious about the tire tunnel now too.

The below view.

James is next.

Paul gets a little help from Cullen.

Pouty face on Cullen, but I can’t actually remember why.

Bug hunting again.

Chillin in a bubble.

More grumpy faces from Cullen.

The afternoon we took to the high seas for a cruise around The Cape.

A launch boat (which is like a sea taxi) ride to where Uncle Jack’s boat is anchored.

Uncle Jack and a happy Keane and Dinara.

Boarding boat Doyle.

You might say there was a slight wind on the sea that day, check out The Husbands jacket.

The initial part of our voyage was captained by Paul and co-captianed by Uncle Jack.

The boats and beach houses of some of the Cape Cod resistance.

Each one of them was impressive.

Even my kids were impressed.

Passage under the bridge.

We have a new captain.

A patch of rough sea.

Before all was calm again.

Anchors down and here’s the launch boat to take us back to dock.

So these photos show each of the boys cleanly exiting boat Doyle to get back onto the launch boat.

Then there’s Cullen’s exit. Full of emotion, gripping the pole, absolutely refusing to get back onto the launch boat.

He had to be literally dragged off of it. And instead of helping, like everyone wanted me to, I thought I’d just focus on capturing the crazy.

Finally we are all back on the launch boat and the mommas wanted to get a shot of the cousins. The secret to making that happen? Well you might have spotted Dinara there to the left of shot, holding up a packet of Skittles. Yes, we sunk so low as to buy our childrens cooperation with the promise of sugar and artificial coloring.

But it worked.

Dinara, making good on the promise of Skittles.

A less dramatic return to dock by Cullen.

Nothing but a bunch of Doyle boys and men. All of them bribed with Skittles.

A few minutes to kick around on the beach.

Some of the conversations these two have are just downright funny. I love listening to them.

Back to the house for some snacks before changing and heading to a local baseball game. And if you were to ask me who out of all the boys was the most reserved and quiet, without hesitation I would have to say James.

See, sometimes you forget he’s even there. Never one for the spotlight.

Closing out another amazing day with a baseball game. Off to cheer on the local Cotuit Kettleers.

Action shots from the game.

It was only a matter of time before sitting and watching the game was no longer fun for the little boys. So Cullen and I took a stroll around and found this play area set up under the stands. Such a good idea for families who go to support but who have small kids with zero interest.

The big cousins get right up next to the team dugout.

Paul ended up getting a game ball from one of the players.

Life’s A Beach 2017

June 27, 2017

While its true we just got back from our 10 day trip to the northern corner of the US, we are literally only home for this week before we’re off on the next adventure. So look out Ireland, we’re comin for ya. The boys and I are so excited to be headed to Momma’s homeland to spend 2 weeks hanging with all of our Irish peeps. And while 2 weeks does sound like a good stretch of time to spend anywhere, somehow it never feels quite long enough. Not long enough for all the people you want to see, not long enough for all the things you want to do. However, we always do our best to pack in as much as we can. But that all kicks off next week. This week let me power on with the photo sharing from the always amazing and fun time we have when we get to hang with our cousins.

Post mountain run we headed to Cape Cod for a few days. We had an invitation to come visit from our Uncle Jack and Aunt Anne who are lucky enough to live in this fabulous place on a permanent basis. And since we just happen to be in that corner of the country already, it felt rude not to show up on their doorstep thats 10 minutes walk from the beach, with 4 adults and 4 kids in tow. Talk about a take over. For 3 action packed days we turned their house into a circus, but they could not have been more welcoming and tolerant, even happy to have us and our high energy brood invade upon their serenity. That kind of hospitality needs a medal of some kind.

Of course the first thing you do when you hit the Cape, is hit the beach.

Lots of sea creatures (mostly of the dead kind) were found washed up in and around the beach area. And for 4 creature loving boys, this was heaven.

Crab corps.

Of course everyone wants to have a turn holding it.

The boys returned the crab corps back to he ocean, hoping to resurrect it.

James with another sea type thing. I’m sorry, my marine biology is not excellent. So I don’t want to take a stab at guessing what things are and have the world wide web giggle in judgement at my lack of ocean knowledge. But this thing was in a shell and was alive.

Digging for some live crabs.

But didn’t have much luck.

Bros!

Sometimes in life you feel some kind of way, happy, sad, angry, whatever and all you want to do is have a really good scream. Cullen, never shy about acting on his emotions.

Oh, James returns from his stroll with something in hand.

There’s Cullen dancing in excitement.

A toss back to the ocean for whatever creature that was.

Keane collecting random body parts.

Castle building time.

Just a couple of proud castle builders.

What castle would be complete without a crab corps topper.

Cullen gathers buckets of water for the castle moat.

Keane decorates with shells and rocks.

Another moment of pride.

The water gathering for the moat went on a while. Somehow the water just kept disappearing into the sand. But it didn’t stop them trying and trying.

Dinara and some of the boys headed off on a beach walk.

While they were away and the castle was left unsupervised, someone saw themselves an opportunity. An opportunity to do no good judging by that face.

Castle, flattened.

And he’s not even sorry about it.

Here comes Daddy with a couple of buggy-boards.

Cullen absolutely loves buggy-boarding in the sea.

Momma and Keane ready to take on the waves.

A little child swapping happening here. Keane off with Daddy, Cullen now pairing up with Momma.

A convoy of Doyles (with a token Shinkins).

Time for the bigger Doyles to have a go.

Daddy found a shell with a crab hiding inside.

So we popped it into a buckets and watched and waited for it to come out.

We passed some of the waiting time burying some of the children.

They eventually freed themselves.

Towels give us some major imaginative flying powers.

Actually no, the Mommas were not drinking today. Just high on life.

One more dip for Cullen to close out a great beach day.

Alive And Survived

June 25, 2017

Back from our trip to Massachusetts and back from another grueling 7.6 mile run up Mt. Washington. I’m alive and I survived. This year the experience was no less painful but it was definitely less of an emotional rollercoaster. We knew what to expect. We knew the burn the body was about to feel and we knew that each mile meant a steeper and steeper climb. The whole run was a basic bitch, we knew it, but this time we were ready-’ish. My performance this year was better than last. I finished 3 minutes faster. But if I’m honest I was kind of bummed. The running effort I put out there this time, was so much better than last years, I really thought it would result in more than a 3 minute improvement. But shit, it could have been worse, slower or non-finisher and I’d really have a reason to be bummed. But that 3 minute improvement resulted in me finishing 284th out of 1300. Last year I placed 415th out 0f 1300. And this time I was 9th in my age group, last year I was 21st. Which basically means if I keep going, within the next 2 -3 years, I should win the damn thing.

The recovery from this years run was painful, but not even close to the same suffering I experienced post race last year. Last year I was begging to be euthanized the body hurt so bad, I was in a constant state of wanting to throw up and my head was pounding for days. This year the body ached bad, but there was only some minor stomach upset and a headache that only last a few hours. So to sum up, the Mt Washington One Hill Run is still one of the most abusive runs I’ve ever taken on. Yes, this years run was an all around improvement from last years, but I’m done. I have no desire to take this shit on again. None. So when sign up time comes around, don’t anybody ask me, cos I might say “yes”, and I really, REALLY, don’t want to.

Weather wise it played out exactly like last year. Rain and misery the entire day before. Number pick up the evening prior was a cold and wet affair. This is a shot of the very start of the climb to the top of the mountain. Usually you can see the summit from here, but this particular evening it was covered by rain clouds.

Rain never seems to bother some of us.

Watching their cousin James do a little rope climbing.

Monkey see monkey do.

My sister in law Dinara, is way too excited for the run we’re about to face.

We’re got our numbers, we got our free t-shirts (very important) time to get out of cold and wet dodge.

Wait, not before we stop for a shot of the runners (me and Dinara) and our group of smallest supporters. Honestly, trying to get all the kids into one photo is like trying to herd cats.

But we eventually got there.

Ok, here were are, the morning of the race. Our happy little group on the left, with the top of the mountain still hidden by rain clouds. But 15 minutes later the clouds lifted and boom! the right photo you see the summit of Mt Washington, aka, our finish line.

Not a rain cloud in sight. Just an all around fabulous day.

Final group photo before the gun. Start line there to the right of the group, finish line top left corner. My running buddy for so many years now, Mike.

There I am, about a mile from the top, running amongst the clouds.

The first 4 finishers survivors from our group.

We’re taking off this week. Off to Massachusetts, to spend time hanging with the cousins, via New Hampshire, where for the 2nd year I’m about to do the Mt Washington 7.6 mile run. If any of you remember, this mountain run nearly killed me last year and I swore I’d never do it again. But here we are, 2 days away from another murderous mountain running adventure. But I’m pretty confident this will definitely be the last time I sign up for this. If I even survive it. So this will will be my last blog entry, well, not THE LAST, just the last until we return 10 days from now. Alive preferably.

Before we readied ourselves for the 10 day trip, we took the time to return out pet turtle, Turtler to his natural home at the lake. We’ve kept him safe, warm and well fed since October, but it was time for Turtler to go home. The lake water temperature is perfect now, so it was the right time to transition him back. There were a few tears from the boys, but they’ve always known he couldn’t stay with us forever. And am sure he’ll pop back up to see us on our day trips back to the lake. At least I’ve told the boys thats whats going to happen.

The final moments in his little tank.

Cullen scoops him up.

And of course there was a fight over who should put him back in the water.

Somehow they came to the agreement that Keane would do it.

And there he goes. Turtler-Fast Little Turtle-Hungry Little Turtle-Doyle (thats his full name).

A while later we were playing around in the lake….

….and look who popped back up to say “Hi”, Turtler.

He hung out for a minute.

Before he dived off and went on his way again.

Cullen thought it was so exciting.

Cullen and Daddy try to do some buggy boarding.

Keane buggy boarding solo.

But they kept a permanent eye put for their turtle friend.

Exhausted and elated, at the end of hard day of partying, as I put Keane to bed he told me 1. he wants to live with momma and dada forever 2. he wants a water slide for his birthday party every year and 3. he had the best birthday ever. Big “Thank You” to every one who came, celebrated and made this Keane’s “best birthday party ever“.

The slide arrived a couple of hours before the party. He’d been waiting 12 months to have another water slide, it was too much to expect that he wait a few more hours for his friends to arrive.

For the first time in 2 years Keane’s party was not dinosaur themed. This year we are all about the geckos.

The friends have arrived, its time to party.

Cullen looking like he’s some type of slide security.

There goes Cullen.

Safe to assume he enjoyed it.

Hmmmm, Cullen and his friend Brendan attempt to walk up the wet and slippery slide.

Honestly, I was surprised not one child was launched over the top of the crash wall. They came down like rockets.

Cake time.

We had a little issue with the candles, the breeze kept blowing out the flame.

Eventually we got there.

Clean up on the youngest.

Water balloons!

We’ll end with a shot of the Birthday Boy.