Archive for July, 2017

Amused

July 30, 2017

Weather is something we’re constantly talking about in Ireland. Why? Cos good weather is never a guarantee. It may be summer, but that means nothing to a country positioned on the edge of Europe, hanging out there solo in the Atlantic ocean. Taking a beating from all of the winds and rain the Atlantic has to offer. But for the duration of our trip, we struck weather gold. 80% warm temperatures and sunshine, 20% overcast with a misting of rain. I like to think we had something to do with it. Maybe we dragged the warm front with a more westly facing sun on the tail wing of our flight from Atlanta, or maybe we just got lucky. And just in case it was the latter, I made sure to buy myself a lottery ticket, but not the winning one.

Since the climate was changing in our favor, we took full advantage and spent as much time as possible enjoying outdoor pursuits. This day we headed to Tayto Park, an amusement park in Co. Meath. Despite the sun shining you’ll notice our cousins arrived wearing their rain jackets. Cos us Irish people know, our weather cannot and should not be trusted. My lads are not wearing theres, but I have them in my back pack. You can take the girl out of Ireland, but you’ll never take Ireland out of the girl.

Of course the first place everyone wants to go, the Dino exhibit. I wasn’t sure about this particular scene happening in front of us, but the kids loved it.

My just hatched nephews Evan and Nathan.

And my own dino babies.

From blood thirsty dinosaurs to crashed trucks. The violence of it all. But again, another big hit with the kids.

These awesome zip-lines. Keane and Cullen were so excited.

But the bad news, height and weight restrictions. Boooo! Even on his tippy-toes Keane wasn’t even close.

So he settled for waving at all the people who were tall and heavy enough zipping past.

Next stop, the Ice Valley.

Radom fake snowfall has Keane all confused.

Emily on the other hand embraced the oddness of it all.

The zip line was not the only attraction that posed an issue with height restrictions, many of the things the lads wanted to go on they were too short for. I asked one of the park employees if there was anything in the park that a group of 3-8yr olds could enjoy, he pointed us in the direction of the playground. I was slightly pissed at our effort to drive and pay premium amusement park entry fees (thanks dad) to be told that the playground was the only joy ride our kids could hope to experience that day. But obviously did not make my feelings of hostility known to the kids, as they played happily.

Look who we bumped into, Mr. Tayto (an FYI for my American peeps, Mr. Tayto is a potato chip).

Spotted, a Viking.

This was Keane and Cullen’s first viking encounter, but they instinctively knew they should fight him.

The result of trying to get a cousins group shot.

Hooray! We found a ride Keane was tall enough for, the river rollercoaster. Post splash and it looks like granny and granddad enjoyed it as much, if not more than Keane.

Choo-choo ride.

Splash park. Was not expecting to see one of these in Ireland, so had not packed any swimmies for the boys. But I had packed extra clothes, cos my 5 years of motherhood has thought me to be prepared for everything.

Cullen and Nathan enjoyed the splash park the most.

Ok, now we’re dried off, tired and ready to leave. The park is about 30 minutes from closing and what do we find?? An area full of amusement rides dedicated to children 10 yrs and under. ARE YOU FU#KING KIDDING ME??!? I wanted to hunt down that twatty little employee and smack him hard. All day long I’d had to keep breaking the news to 5 sad faced little kids that they were too short for most of the rides. And all the time there was a secret corner full of small people rides. Argggghhhh!

We did manage to jump on a couple of rides before it was really time to go. And overall the kids had the best day. So hurting twatty little employees wasn’t really necessary.

Let The Sharing Begin

July 27, 2017

Ok, so a slow start to the sharing of photos from Ireland. I’ve plenty of excuses as to why, a couple of client shoots I was working on (clients trump vaca photos in the priority stakes), the mad dash to get all of the “back to school” essentials ready for the boys, who are in fact about to head “back to school”, and just life in general and my need to adult on a daily basis. All those factors have limited my time to comb through and get posting anything from Ireland. But tonight things aligned and at last I got the opportunity and possessed the awakeabilty to get this Irish party started.

The first couple of days we usually spend in a fog of jet lag. So we keep a low’ish profile and mostly hang out at Granny and Granddads house. The morning after our arrival I wake up to find my Dad and my kids blatantly creeping on my parents neighbors.

The neighbors are in the precess of doing some renovations, so the creeping was cleverly packaged in a harmless “oh, the kids just wanted to see the digger” way.

Spotted and Keane threatens to deal with me in the way most paparazzi should be dealt with.

Post creeping and we’re off for a walk. Oh and Keane picked out a new back-pack before our trip, thats why its coming everywhere.

We spy a horse.

Trespassing in Ireland? Sure its grand if you just want to get a closer look.

To the railway bridge for some train spotting.

Passing the time while we wait.

Hooray! A train.

Later that evening we go meet up with our Irish cousins for a scoot.

Cullen, not as fast as the others but he manages to nab the last parking spot.

Like a bunch of little ants.

Keane.

Evan.

Nathan.

Cullen.

Water and rocks, it never gets old.

Cullen is back into trucks. He took a brief hiatus into the world of dinosaurs, but he’s back to the trucks in a big way.

The climb out of the river not as easy as the climb down.

Just a couple of 5 year olds, hanging out discussing life.

The gang is done, time to scoot up and roll out.

Some scooter issues for Cullen, but Uncle Edward’s on hand to pull him along.

We’re back from our travels. We’re back but we literally have not stood still since our return Tuesday afternoon. Compliments of the jet lag, the boys and I were wide awake somewhere around 4am Wednesday morning. We tried our best to get back to sleep, forcing ourselves to readjust to civilized US sleeping hours, but at 5 am we gave up the effort and got up. The boys thought this was amazing. Up while the sky was still dark and the rest of the world sleeping. Like little house elves we tackled the unpacking, the laundry and the freshening up of a house that had seen minimum human activity for just over 2 weeks, yet still somehow managed to accumulated plenty of dust. By 10am we were ready for lunch and after that we hit the road bound for Greenville, South Carolina. Yep, we just got back from our trip to Ireland and here we were, off again on a mini road trip. Cos apparently we don’t like to be grounded. Staying in any place for too long appears to not be our style. Its beyond me why we don’t just sell everything we own and start living the gypsy life. But this trip was for a good cause, we were there to support and watch The Liberty Bridge Jump Off, a street meet set up and run by The Husband in downtown Greenville. Yep, he closed down a small corner of the city and put on an amazing meet with featured events being the womens pole vault and the mens long jump. On top of that we had a DJ to keep the crowd pumped, plenty of snacks and beverages, party type beverages if you know what I mean. It was awesome. It was packed, everyone had an amazing night. Especially my 2 boys.

And while I have plenty of photos from our trip to Ireland that I’ll be getting around to sharing over the next week or 2, I’m going to start with the photos from an amazing evening of vaulting and long jumping competition as experienced by my boys.

We arrived a couple of hours before the event kicked off, so the boys could take part in some of the pre-meet kids activities. Coaches were on hand to give kids their first lessons in vaulting.

One go and I knew by his face that Keane was already hooked.

Daddy takes a break from set up to give Cullen some vaulting instruction.

We got a brief demonstration, we got our poles and now we are headed to test out our skills.

Coach points the boys in the direction of the run up.

Small crowd of kids gathered, excited to learn how to pole vault.

My 2, bickering over who’s going to go first I’m sure.

Looks like Keane’s up.

Good run up.

Decent pole plant.

Push off looks good.

Clear, with plenty of room to spare.

Cullen’s turn.

Getting to grips with pole hold and position.

Nice low power drive.

Excellent push off.

And he too clears it.

High-fives from our friend Jordan.

Ice cream break to help cool us down in the 90 degree heat.

Olympic Silver Medalist from the Rio 2016 Olympics, Sandi Morris stops by to meet some of the kids and offer vaulting tips.

Putting Keane through his paces.

Meets about to start, we are getting ourselves to a good viewing position and Keane is not letting go of his new pole vault pole.

Cheer squad.

DJ is spinning, MC is MC’ing and in this world of social media, The Husband is Tweeting, IG’ing and SnapChat’ing.

The perks of knowing the meet director means you get the good “seats” for the event.

And by seats I mean you get stage access, which you can use to perfect your own jumping skills, like Cullen did.

Excited Daddy came back.

The ladies getting ready to compete.

Jill Marois

Kortney Ross.

Mary Saxer in action.

Clear.

Look who’s helping the MC keep the crowd pumped.

While Cullen spends some time playing with his monster truck.

Tyrone Smith in action and the eventual winner of the mens Long Jump competition.

Can’t get much closer to the action then this, right on the edge of the mat.

Keane continued to work on his vaulting throughout the competition.

Sandi Morris on the runway.

Good opening jump clearance from her.

Once the long jump competition ended the kids were allowed to play in the sand. First in was Cullen, he’d been waiting all evening for this.

Trying our his own long jump skills.

And how amazing is this older lady? In her 60’s and delighted to be having a go at the long jump.

Parallel to the long jump pit, Sandi Morris goes for her final attempt at a seasons best jump of 4m 86.

But falls short.

Winner of the event and finding some good form ahead of the World Championships in 2 weeks.

This gentleman took his opportunity to dance with all of the pole vault ladies.

Back at the long jump pit the kids are still going.

And Keane finally gets to test his new vaulting skills out on the real mats.

Sandi meeting fans and signing autographs.

Out of the sand pit and onto the mats for Cullen.

They’re being Spidermen here.

Time to help disassemble everything.

Keane discovered Sandi is also a big fan of all things reptile, so they had a chat about his geckos and she told him all about her pet snakes.

Now they’re besties.

Initially Cullen didn’t want to get in the photo, but eventually changed his mind. Maybe he just needed a minute to finish the beer in his hands.

Sweaty, exhausted, but so happy we take a walk over Liberty Bridge headed for our hotel. Notice Keane still has his pole.

View of The Falls from the bridge.

Homeward Bound

July 3, 2017

Both boys are down for a nap, yes, even Keane. The nap gods are working in my favor today cos now I have a kid free window to rush around and do all of the last minute packing (and blog posting) ahead of our flight tonight. We are Ireland bound and we’re so excited. I’ve packed way too many shorts and t-shirts for this particular trip, but Ireland, I believe in you. I believe you can bust out a few days of summer sunshine and heat, and when you do, we’ll be ready. But just in case I’ve also got the rain jackets and longer pants options. So basically, we’re ready for it all. This means I’ll be off the blog for the next 2 weeks, which I know will leave everyone with such void, but 2 weeks from now we’ll be back with lots to share from the homeland. Before we leave, let me close out with a random selection of photos from the last few days of our trip to Massachusetts.

James was in the garden practicing his batting. Keane was curious as to why James didn’t have to put the baseball on a stand to hit it, like he does in t-ball. So I had to explain that when you get older you don’t use a stand, the ball is thrown to you by a pitcher.

Looking and learning.

After watching for a few minutes, Keane wanted to have a turn being pitched to. Paul gives him some technical assistance.

James is the pitcher.

And bam! He hits it. He probably hit 2 out of 10 pitches, not bad.

Cullen couldnt care less about pitching and batting, he was busy chasing bubbles.

Paul and James have a cool zip line in their back yard, hours of fun for my boys.

This is Cullen’s first go zip-lining.

Keane runs with him for the first one, a bit of moral support.

Then he’s off and zipping solo.

One of the very generous neighbors lets the boys invade their pool.

Crab Trappin

July 1, 2017

Last day on The Cape and as usual the boys were up with the sun ready and beyond excited to be heading down to the dock with Aunt Anne who was about to give them all a lesson in crab catching. So far on the trip the only crabs the boys had encountered were the corps kind, so the idea that they were now about to catch some live, was just the adrenaline rush they’d been looking for.

With baited traps and a little direction from Aunt Anne, its was bombs away.

While waiting for the crabs to take the bait, the boys passed the time on a small beach next to the dock hunting for any and every kind of ocean life.

And James got something.

A big rush to show everyone.

A crab. He caught a small crab.

We got a little bucket going to put all of our ocean finds.

First catch of the day.

Paul and Keane on the hunt.

And Keane got something.

The pride and excitement each of them had with their catches was completely adorable.

Another one for the bucket.

Cullen was in awe of all the creatures.

A quick check on the traps. Nothing yet.

But here comes Paul with something to add.

Our bucket is filling up with all kinds or crabs, sea snails and moon jelly.

Pa adds another set of eyes to the hunt.

James helps Cullen with his first catch of hermit crabs.

Another trap check. Still nothing.

These boys were determined to find every crab they could. Hunting in all corners of the beach.

Another exciting catch from Keane.

Trap check and this time, We Got One!

Look at the size of this guy.

James in a mad rush to alert the others.

Here they come.

Such excitement.

This crab was too big to share the small bucket with the other crabs, so Pa and Cullen get him a big bucket of his own.

The transfer to larger accommodations.

There he is. Looking at us. Pissed.

Uncle Jack shows up in time to witness our large catch.

Keane is off catching minnows now.

The result of all the boys hard work.

But before we left, we retuned each of them back to the ocean.

There goes the biggest guy.

One of the small ones released by Keane.

Swim away little crab.

Aunt Anne and Pa with 4 very happy boys. Thank you so much for your hospitality and all of the very unique and forever memorable experiences you provided for our boys during our stay. The bad news is they will probably, I mean, they will ABSOLUTELY want to come back again next year. But don’t worry, the mommas will arrived armed with visit surviving essentials, like wine and caffeine, thus giving us all the extra bit of edge needed to keep up with these high energy boys.