I know, I know, we’ve been back for months…

But honestly, I have so many Aussie pics to go through and I just keep finding little gems for my Project 365. I think I’m going to have to post every day to catch up.

This is one of my favourite photos from the entire trip.

Grandpa and Samuel sharing a moment by the river. Or maybe Grandpa’s just trying to keep Samuel from diving in. It’s honestly hard to tell.

The whole family (uh, minus my two brothers…)

I look back at these photos and even in just the past couple of months, I can see how much Samuel has grown up. He looks like such a baby here.

While we were visiting, my dad (otherwise known as Grandpa) planted a tree for each of the boys. We’ll be able to see their progress on each visit back to Aus, and if my Dad decides to take a few photos and send them over in the meantime.

Uncle Jono… again.

And, on the day before we flew home, a quick trip to the Melbourne zoo. It poured with rain while we were there so I spent much of our visit walking around in one of those bright yellow plastic ponchos, only pulling out my camera when I was certain it wouldn’t get wet. So I only have a few photos to show for our visit, and none of the boys petting Kangaroos (gasp!). Instead I took photos of inanimate animals that were thankfully under cover and, therefore, the perfect dry photo subjects.

And, finally, our layover in Auckland as we headed home toward Portland. This is as much as I have ever seen of New Zealand (sad, but true) and has now become a regular port of call as we attempt to fly with Air New Zealand every time we head to Aus. I am incredibly grateful that our trip home was a lot less eventful than the flight over, even if it was more crowded thanks to a cancelled United flight (curse you, United!).

Farewell, New Zealand (airport)… and Farewell Australia. We’ll be seeing you again soon.

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Yellow

Of COURSE I had a photo for this week’s I ♥ Faces challenge. The theme is “Yellow” and anyone who knows my son is aware of his obsession with the colour – one which has faded over the past year as his obsession with Star Wars has taken over. I am thankful that the days of him declaring “I like yellow! No one else can like yellow!” are over, most importantly for the fact that his little brother is free to wear yellow hand-me-downs without vilification.

I often wonder whether my child is more obsessed with things than others. He seems to cling to a particular object or theme and not let go for many months. But then we also have Samuel who’s hat obsession is equal to that of his brother at the same age. So either it’s completely normal for children in their first years to experience this type of behavior or it’s an Ishida family quirk.

Recently Thomas has also declared his love for the color red so it now equals yellow in favorite color status. There is one exception, however. Red and yellow in the form of traffic lights are NOT ok. That has become the latest chant from the backseat on the drive home from school and, frankly, I can’t say that I blame him for that.

Dreaming of Sunshine and Warmth

I usually avoid talking about the weather on this blog because, well, I live in Portland, OR and if I started talking about the weather I would likely never stop. Usually the rain doesn’t bother me. I grew up in Melbourne, Australia – a place that has the same reputation for rain and generally crappy weather – so I am used to wet winters.

I have to say, though, that the rain that we are experiencing in Portland right now is starting to get to me. If it wasn’t for the few sunny days that have dragged us temporarily out of the grey drabness, I may have been taken away in a straight jacket days ago.

Thankfully I have memories (and photos) of a warmer climate living on my hard drive. This flashback to our St Kilda beach visit  just a couple of months ago will have to be my sanity-saviour for the time being.

Oh, and also a little TV show called Lost… just two more sleeps! (Sorry about that.)

It’s Moustache Thursday. Why Not?

Today:

  • Catching my breath after a few busy weeks at work –  not that it’s going to get quieter, just need to catch my breath every once in a while.
  • Excited that my front door is being painted RED as we speak. I have wanted a red front door ever since we moved into our house four years ago and it’s finally becoming a reality. SO much better than pukey purple (yes, purple).
  • Wishing the rain would go away, but grudgingly accepting the fact that we chose to live in Portland and with the good comes the bad.
  • Looking forward to another charity event in memory of a good friend’s father and supporting the Downs’ Syndrome Association. It’s a golf tournament to be held on Columbus Day. Of course I’ll be taking photographs, not playing golf. It’s best for everyone involved. (Details coming soon!).
  • Thrilled that I have some client sessions coming up. I have been so busy over the past few months that I had to take a short break, but I realize I need to take time to do this. It makes everything else easier in the long run and ensures I have an exciting (very) long term goal to work towards.
  • Motivating myself to get started on a couple of photo book projects – one of them being my 2010 family book. It seems to take me about 6 months of “reflection” before I can begin pulling my yearly albums together (at least that’s what I tell myself so I feel better).
  • A little too excited about the Lost finale on Sunday.

Finally, enjoying these little forgotten gems that I found when flicking through photos last night.

Happy last-day-before-the-last-day-of-the-week!

Two Today

My baby turns two years old today (pause for some gentle sobbing).

At two, Samuel:

  • Says “I love you Mummy” daily, without prompting.
  • Loves hats and jackets and coats. It’s quite the obsession.
  • Wears his helmet around the house every chance he can get.
  • Assigns ownership to everything. (MY hat, Daddy’s guitar, Mummy’s shoes, Thomas’ shirt).
  • Loves to play outside and ride his bike. We have had more than a couple of tantrums when he’s been asked to come inside for dinner.
  • Has just started blowing kisses with almost every goodbye. It’s adorable.
  • Likes to torment his brother when he finds a weak spot.
  • Still sings the “Goodbye Song” at the top of his voice at every chance he gets, but has added “Twinkle, Twinkle” sing-a-longs at bedtime.
  • Is a great dancer.
  • Still says please and thank you – although sometimes only after he finds that screaming won’t get him what he wants.
  • Usually does what he’s asked by the time I count “1… 2… 2-and-a-half…”
  • Responds well to time outs… most of the time.
  • Is accident prone right now (I was embarrassed to take him to the pediatrician today with his cut lip, bruise on his back and scratch on his cheek).
  • Has started peeing in the potty almost every night before bath.
  • Has almost given up the nighttime binky. Almost…
  • Has three “babies” – a blue bear called ‘Baby’, a koala called ‘Koala’ and a blues clues dog called ‘Blues Clues’. He likes to stick with the basics when it comes to naming his babies.
  • Is a truly adorable, chatty, fun, inquisitive, funny, active, wonderful two-year-old.

Finally, a few photos of him jumping on his birthday present – his very own big boy bed. He has slept in it for three nights now and so far, so good. I am secretly enjoying his requests to “lie down with me Mummy” when I put him to bed at night. NOT so fond of them at four in the morning…

Happy birthday baby.

11 years.

Eleven years ago, on a cold day on MT Dandenong in Victoria, Australia, I married this man.

It’s crazy to think that it all happened that long ago – in many ways it feels like the blink of an eye. But then I think back on all we have achieved together and it seems incomprehensible that we did it in such a short time. After we made it through that first (very rocky) year, it seemed there was nothing stopping us. We bought an apartment in Australia and lived there for a few years, then moved to Hawaii for a few months, drove across the United States and back again, settled in Portland (where we knew no one but each other), found jobs, bought a house (after selling the apartment in Australia), had two adorable babies and, in the midst of it all, found time to travel back to Australia numerous times, all while balancing a full time job each, daycare/school schedules and everything else that life throws at us.

Sometimes it’s hard – it’s always busy – but I really don’t think I would be where I am if I didn’t have the most wonderful partner in the world. And I’m happy with where we are, with what we’ve achieved, with the little people we’ve created and the parents we are striving to be. I think we balance each other well and keep each other sane (most of the time). We’re partners in life and, above all, we love each other (well, I love him. Kei may have to write his own blog post to confirm).

Happy anniversary honey. I couldn’t imagine having spent these past eleven years with anyone else and I look forward to SO many more. Mwah!

The Big Day

Our entire visit to Australia was building up to one big moment – the day my brother, Ben, was to marry Emma. The ceremony took place in Melbourne’s Carlton Gardens which was just beautiful (thankfully the rain held off until the very end). The bride was fashionably late so Thomas and Samuel entertained guests by wrestling each other on the red carpet.

I had a couple of responsibilities on the day – accompanying my son down the aisle with the rings and giving a reading – so I wasn’t able to take as many photos of the ceremony as I had liked. I did, however, have a fabulous view from the front row of the bridesmaids…

…and the grooms men/woman. That’s my baby brother Jono in the middle. He turned 30 during our trip so I suppose he’s not much of a baby any more.

And of course we had the perfect view when the vows began. I began crying the moment I saw Emma get out of the car and I’m pretty sure I didn’t stop until the marriage certificate was signed. I blame the extra hormones that come from having given birth to two children.

And of course Emma looked stunning. (Ben looked OK too).

A light rain began to fall as the champagne was poured, so we quickly headed off to the reception at a nearby Chinese restaurant for Yum Cha (Dim Sum for my American blog readers).

I love this next photo. It is so “Emma”.

I told you she looked beautiful.

My kids were the life of the party.

Especially after the pants came off.

We gave Samuel free reign with the binky during our visit. It began with needing to help sooth him during our flight from hell on the way over, and became a crutch to help him cope with the fact that he was introduced to about 50 new people during our stay. I was worried that he would continue the binky addiction when we got home but, thankfully, he reverted back to bedtime-only as soon as we touched down in Portland. Still, I’m a little disappointed that he has a binky in every single photo of him at the wedding.

Of course between the moments of child entertainment, there were speeches from both best men, father-of-the-bride and father-of-the-groom, my cousin Luke who acted as MC and the bride and groom. Nothing too embarrassing (although I’m sure there was plenty of fodder) and I continued to cry. (I swear I didn’t cry this much before I had children – not even at my own wedding).

The very proud parents of the groom.

And another one of Jono. I’m not absolutely sure why I took so many photographs of him during this visit, although I suspect it’s because he’s matured enough that I no longer have to photoshop a certain middle finger out of all of the shots.

Finally, in what is likely to have the longest wedding celebration in history, we headed to a nearby pub for cake and dancing. My flash misfired on this next photo but it ended being one of my (and my brother’s) favourites.

Kei and I partied into the night after my parents took the kids back to the hotel. It was wonderful to have some time to relax and catch up with cousins who I have not seen in years, as well as get to know some of my newly-acquired family members.

It was a wonderfully beautiful day and a great party – and I even scored a sister out of the whole deal (my second one). I’d call that a huge success.