Archive for September, 2017

In The Face Of Resistance

September 23, 2017

The moment finally arrived, Cullen’s first day of soccer. It was the emotional rollercoaster we were expecting from our youngest boy. I don’t know why, but resistance is his thing. It takes work and it takes patience when Cullen tries new things. I’m sure these characteristics of stubbornness he’s been “blessed” with will all stand to him somewhere, somehow down the line, but damn if it doesn’t make for some challenging parenting moments. Anyway, with nothing but happy smiles and positive words spoken in upbeat and excited tones, in an effort to override and overcompensate for the whining, we eventually managed to get him to a place where he was willing to zip it! and open himself up to the possibility of actually trying and liking soccer. We knew he was going to like it once he gave it a chance, but like I said, resistance is his thing and pushing him past that, well that appears to be our thing.

Before we get into the photos, I wanted to give the heads up, the blog is going to quiet this week. The boys are on Fall break from school, so we’ve decided to take them camping. Yep, staying in a tent, cooking over a fire, fishing in rivers (washing in rivers too probably), type camping. This is going to be memorable, but they are so excited, and I’m bound to have some fun and interesting photos to share from the adventure once we return.

P.S I’m also feeling a lot better, thanks for asking. Whatever illness was brewing, has subsided. We are the picture of health again.

Back to the soccer and just look at that face. The face of resistance.

The body language of a child refusing to kick the ball around for fun or otherwise.

Had to get a front shot of that.

After a pep talk of encouragement he dropped his guard ever so slightly and was willing to at least stand amongst the other kids and parents to listen to the coach.

He doesn’t make it easy, but here he is, calm, openminded and willing. You’ll notice all the other boys and girls are wearing their newly issued team t-shirt, not Cullen. He point blank refused and I didn’t even care. I’m all about picking my battles and this was one I refused to take on.

Coach.

Starting things off with a game of tag. Look at him now? Like the past 15 minutes of non-stop whining never even happened. In the mean time, I’m drained and ready for a cocktail. Going rounds with a toddler will do that to a momma.

Some balancing drills.

And we’re off, and all of the chaos that goes with a group of 3 yr olds learning to dribble.

Some illegal hand balls happening that we chose to ignore.

A small change of role for Keane, this time he’s the supporter.

Being the more experienced, Keane kept wanting to jump in and show Cullen how to do all the drills. So we gently tried to explain how Cullen needs to learn by doing it by himself. But we did allow him one big brother moment when he helped Cullen with his one foot on the ball, balancing drill.

Nailed it!

Offering advice with his dribbling eventually gave Cullen the rage, so Daddy distracted Keane with some penalty kicks ahead of his own soccer game happening after Cullen’s practice.

A few little goal kicks.

End of practice clean up.

Post-practice chat.

Some small banter with coach.

And there we have it, first soccer practice in the bag.

The boy at the end of practice. A massive contrast to the boy that showed up at the start.

Minimum Commentary

September 21, 2017

So last nights plan didn’t exactly work. Today has been a major struggle. But I’m finally at the point in the evening where I don’t have to keep struggling. I can go to bed on a second round of medication (vitamin and over the counter), more fluids and a “this shit will not beat me” attitude. That feels like the winning combination to me, and guaranteed to take the edge of this illness (she says wishfully). But like a true soldier, I found it within myself to share the photos from Keane’s first soccer game of the season. But because I want to get to bed pretty swiftly, theses photos will come with minimum commentary. Enjoy!

Warm ups with Daddy.

The snacker.

Keane is number 42.

Line man, doin his thang.

Water break.

A “lets get the finger out lads” pep-talk from coach.

Something good is about to happen.

Goal!

Chuft.

Hi-five from Cullen for the score.

These 5 yrs olds are ruthless. A kid from the other team goes down…..

…but they plough right over him like he’s just some soccer pitch road kill.

Final whistle.

The fans go wild.

Post match tunnel walk.

Post game snack, of course Cullen is all up in it.

Go Man United! Yep, thats the name of their team.

Endless energy these 2.

Think Healthy Thoughts

September 20, 2017

Well I had big plans to spend my evening doing a photo share from Keane’s first soccer game this season, but I have a feeling whatever illness The Husband was struggling with last week, might have now become my struggle. Feeling a bit shit so I’m going to ingest above the recommended dosage of vitamin C, followed by only the recommended levels of ibuprofen, cos, you know, still would like a functioning liver in the morning. Skip the glass of wine for tonight and opt for illness flushing quantities of H2O instead. Then head to bed to hopefully sleep away this feeling of shit and wake up healthy and perfectly refreshed in the morning. If that does in fact happen, then we’ll be back with the rest of the soccer photos. Good luck to me. Think healthy thoughts.

When A Version Of Irma Strikes

September 17, 2017

Monday morning Irma finally showed up, but only at about 1/4 of the power expected. Which is obviously a good thing. Lots of rain, a gusty wind and not much more. It didn’t chance the fact that we were officially house bound. As parents we were now fully on the frontline of kiddy entertainment. There would be no going outside or morning trips to the park to help burn off their endless energy. No, we were in a code red situation and damn if we weren’t going to throw everything and anything we could at these kids to survive the great indoors.

First we threw paint at them. Well, not at them exactly, but we gave them full access and set them up to decorate a tunnel we’d built for the boys cars.

Méabh was marathon runner committed to this project. She stayed at it for well over an hour.

Cullen went at it sprinter style. Out of the blocks fast, but the energy and interest burned up quickly. So he went on the hunt for trucks he could dip in the paint to make wheel tracks.

An hour or so into the paint project and Méabh is still going. But we’ve moved on from painting the tunnel to painting our hands.

Eamon and Keane had zero interest in painting. They found another activity to occupy themselves, that featured heavily this oversized box.

Eamon, completely unaware that somethings living inside the box.

Until he spots a random limb.

Followed by a real live boy. Not sure Keane got the reaction he was hoping for from Eamon.

Some food, naps and the odd breakdown here and there we are back at the project table. This time we’re making slime. Which for the record I’d like to state, we will never do again. This stuff was a bitch to clean up. But like I said, we were housebound with 4 kids under 6 yrs old, in these moments of desperation, you don’t always make the wise choices.

The kids on the other hand, did not hate this project at all.

Getting all the ingredients together.

Testing the sliminess of the slim.

And here we go, sliming some tiny toys.

Note the faces, loving it.

Gooey and stretchy.

These poor toys.

Slime making wasn’t just fun for the participants, the audience enjoyed the experience too.

Bracing For Impact

September 14, 2017

Imagine you had uprooted yourself and your family, said goodbye to everyone, sold everything, boarded your flight in N. Ireland, landed in the U.S, had not yet familiarized yourself with your new city, or your new temporary apartment, hell you hadn’t even adjusted to your new time zone, when 3 days into your new life in Savannah, GA, you were hit with a mandatory evacuation notice. Irma was coming and your new city was directly in the path of her trail of destruction. This is exactly what happened my cousin, his wife and 2 kids. But the silver lining in this whole unfortunate storm of disaster? Well, they got to spend hours in evacuation traffic as all of Florida and South Georgia drove North seeking refuge. And it just so happens that we live in North Georgia. Which meant yep, impromptu, natural disaster, family reunion weekend.

Atlanta was to feel the impact of Irma too, but reports varied as to how aggressive it would be. Watching the continuous hurricane coverage, Sunday evening was her scheduled arrival time, so when we woke up Sunday morning to cloudless, sunny skies, we knew we had to take full advantage. Once Irma hit, who knew how long we’d be house bound. And with 4 kids aged 5 yrs, 3 yrs, 2.5 yrs and 9 months, this was going to require us to dig deep into our reserve of mad parenting skills, tap into Olympic levels of mental toughness, caffeinate ourselves by the bottomless pot full (for the grown ups obviously, kids on caffeine??? FU#K NO!), and of course a stash of wine and beer, to help celebrate and reward ourselves for surviving each of our housebound days, with kids.

A fabulous day like this, hard to believe we were bracing ourselves for a hurricane.

Cullen’s not concerned. As long as he has trucks, life will always be good.

The adorable Méabh (an Irish name, pronounced “Mave” for my US friends). Méabh is my cousins little girl, which based on our research (thanks Google) would make her my first cousin once removed, and a second cousin to my boys. Phew! Try processing that after a few vinos.

Méabh’s dad, my cousin (1st) Niall.

Cullen.

Some moral support for Méabh’s maiden voyage down the big slide.

Baby Eamon, Méabh’s little brother.

While the littler kids played on the playground, Keane was off riding the bike trail.

The bouys.

This exercise might be considered slightly controversial, or at the least questionable parenting, either way it didn’t change the fact that baby Eamon is in possession of some beast like upper body strength.

No lie, he dangled there by himself for a sold 10 seconds, maybe more. True, his face tells us he’s not loving it, but his brain tells him his life depends on his ability to hold on.

Good catch Daddy.

Done with his bike ride Keane pulls in for some playground action.

Momma Erin and Eamon.

Méabh watches as Cullen struggles with the idea of sharing his trucks.

It wasn’t easy, but 1 and a half meltdowns later, Cullen is ready to share.

Keane and Daddy rock climbing.

Méabh and Cullen, the eaters of the group. Both of them never without a snack of some sort.

Refueled Cullen is ready to get in on the climb.

We found a bearded dragon. But now he’s hiding from us.

Couldn’t get him to come back out.

Méabh goes another round of snacking with Keane this time.

Hill work, parent style.

Back home for some puzzle play.

Méabh impressing Keane with her magnet grabbing skills.

Some intense concentration from baby Eamon as he watches Keane work the rubix cube.

Cullen shows Eamon that most objects can be used as drums.

Then introduces Eamon to the world of trucks.

After dinner there was still no sign of Irma, so we enjoyed our ice-creams outside on the steps.

Cullen’s sudden concern that Méabh’s ice-cream was dripping.

The bigger kids.

And the happiest baby in the world.

Knowing this few sitting minutes of ice-cream consumption was my only real opportunity to get a photo of all the kids together, I quickly grabbed Eamon from the buggy and sat him amongst his peeps.

Post dessert and we are once again digging in the dirt.

With a huge lack of any girl toys for Méabh to play with, she was perfectly comfortable exploring all of the boys toys, especially this small green wagon.

Gearing up for a walk.

Keane insisted he would push the smaller kids.

Oh no! Baby Eamon fell asleep. Disaster cos its almost bedtime.

We found leaves!

Giant leaves.

He wasn’t happy, but we had to wake him up, if Momma had any shot at a nights sleep.

A race back to the house.

Some bubble fun to end the evening.