Must Be Love…

…or maybe he’s planning to suffocate him. It changes from minute to minute.

Photo Challenge Submission

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Best Face of 2012

When you have two children, how do you choose a best face for the year? This was the dilemma I faced when searching for a photo for the latest I Heart Faces challenge. It seems unfair to make me choose, but if I must…

I chose this photo of Samuel because it reminds me about how much fun it is to have a four year old in the house, even if it can be really tough at times. It reminds me about the value of imagination and how 2012 was the year of superheroes and ninjas and magic and trolls. It reminds me that, while I often wonder about how different my life would be with a little girl in the house, I am so very very lucky to be the mother of two fun, smart, creative boys.

Photo Challenge Submission

Welcome to the Weekend: Friendship

It’s finally Friday. This week has not been particularly difficult, but it felt long. The weekend promises more soccer – a game tonight and another tomorrow – a birthday party and a Mummy and son trip to the Childrens’ theater to see the BFG (which, let’s face it, I am way more excited about than Thomas and Samuel).

I’m kicking off the weekend with an entry in this month’s I Heart Faces challenge on the topic of Friendship.

As these two get older, not only are they looking more alike, but they are becoming the best of friends – with highs and lows of course. One minute I catch them in a very sweet moment – like when Thomas was teaching Samuel how to write a few Japanese Hiragana characters this morning – then the next, they’re bickering about something ridiculous. (“He’s only copying you because he thinks you’re awesome, Thomas”).

It’s no secret that I always wanted to have a little girl but, when I see how strong the bond can be between brothers, it makes me pine for that third baby just a little less.

Photo Challenge Submission

Not Quite in The Swing

This week has been just a little insane.

A quick recap:

  • Thomas went back to school on Wednesday and declared his first day to be quite a lot of fun (apparently they were allowed two recesses). I asked him on Thursday if he’d made any new friends and he promptly told me that he already made friends with everyone on Wednesday (accompanied by a big eye roll).
  • Samuel went to pre-k for three hours on Thursday. Drop off only took 5 minutes which is pretty amazing for the first day of school. I expected more clinging and crying but, although he was a little shy and nervous, it only took a few minutes for him to give me a kiss and send me on my way. First day was a big success and he’s excited to go back for real next week.
  • Soccer began this week. Kei is coaching Samuel’s team and, between the two boys,  we have three practices and two games each week. I’m a little exhausted just thinking about it.

The rest of my time has been about juggling school drop offs with work and having one child at home declaring “I’m boooored” every few minutes. It’s been rough and, frankly, I’m exhausted.

This weekend is going to be about celebrating someone’s 7th birthday (crazy!), a little bit of Soccer and a whole lot of recharging before school really begins next week. I think I might also find some time for a nap.

Also, a big happy birthday to my Dad today!

And because I can’t post without a photo, here’s one I took a couple of weeks ago, of the boys enjoying a Summer frozen yogurt treat with a friend. It’s going to be 92 degrees today so I suppose Summer’s not quite done with us yet.

This photo was submitted to the I Heart Faces photo challenge – www.iheartfaces.com

Photo Challenge Submission

Just Keep Him Laughing

Samuel is a tough child at times. At the ripe old age of three and a half, he has worked out that tears (and very loud crying) buy him an incredible amount of sympathy. I don’t know whether I should be proud because he is so smart and cunning, or frustrated because he’s slowly driving me insane.

One thing’s for sure, when he laughs, it’s the best sound in the world. Thankfully, it happens a LOT.

I love this kid so much – despite the fact that he’s driving me insane.

Posted for this week’s I Heart Faces challenge – Bust a Gut.

Going Dark

I haven’t had much to say around here lately. Actually, I supposed I HAVE had stuff to say, just not the time to say it.

I still don’t have time to put together anything deep and meaning so, instead, I will share  my stream of consciousness on a Monday morning. You’re welcome.

  1. I joined the gym. Week #1 went very well (4 visits!) and I’m looking forward to quickly becoming addicted to exercise (hah!).
  2. Autumn is definitely here – the leaves are falling from the trees and I’ve dusted off my winter coat. Our Summer was so short that it’s hard to get used to the fact that Winter is just around the corner.
  3. Although I am still firmly in denial, the end of daylight saving over the weekend threatens to pull me kicking and screaming into the new season.
  4. Sunset is at 4:50pm today. A moment of silence please.
  5. Samuel woke up in a great mood today – maybe the end of daylight saving is not such a bad thing after all.
  6. He went to school as Superman.
  7. It hurts to laugh thanks to my Yoga class on Saturday. It’s a good hurt.
  8. I ordered our takeout Turkey yesterday. Bring on Thanksgiving…
  9. …but not before I get on top of a couple of Xmas gift projects. Suddenly feeling very far behind.
  10. Thomas spent a good part of yesterday practicing his writing and drawing on the iPad. Moved a request for one of my own up to the top of my Christmas list.
  11. Catching up on Damages on Netflix. Fantastic new favourite show that I can watch while running on the treadmill – for about 10 minutes anyway (I’m easing myself in…).
  12. I hate ending a list on an odd number.

So I leave you on this Monday morning with a photo that is completely unrelated to the rest of post. Seems appropriate.

The theme for this week’s I Heart Faces challenge is “Black“. Because I had already exhausted my small Halloween photo collection,  I had to go back a couple of months to find this photo that I took on the day we visited the Zoo right before Karin and Mayumi went back to Japan. I love how the sea lion looks like he has his own space in our family picture.

Happy Monday – here’s to being a couple of hours closer to Friday!

A Taste of My Own Medicine

Both of my children love photographs. And who can blame them? They’ve both had virtually every significant moment of their lives caught on camera since birth. Thomas, in particular, has shown an interest in taking his own photos and we have quite the collection from our trips to Australia and Japan as well as some shots from around the house. It’s so interesting to see the world through his eyes.

Thanks to a husband who never throws anything away, the boys are now proud owners of their very own point and shoot digital cameras.

Samuel adopted our very first camera that looks a lot like the toys cameras they sell for children now, but less sophisticated. It doesn’t have a preview screen so he’s getting used to looking through the viewfinder and pressing the button at the same time while holding his superhero action figures. Quite the achievement for a three year old.

Thomas has our second camera – the one that we bought before we left Australia about 9 years ago. This little canon traveled to Hawaii and then across the states and back. It captured some of my favorite memories, including the birth of my first child, and started me on my love of photography. I love it that Thomas is now picking up where we left off.

And he’s off to a good start. We went on a photo walk late yesterday and every time I turned around I saw this…

A taste of my own medicine perhaps? Can’t wait to download the photos so I can share them with you. I’m pretty sure he took about 20 photos of porch pumpkins.

Sharing this photo for the latest I Heart Faces challenge – Hands.

White Out

I’m back from the beach, but blog posts may be sparse while my parents occupy our office. With Karin and Mayumi and my parents here, we are officially bursting at the seams and using every available room in our house.

Still, I have a few moments to post a photo for this week’s I Heart Faces challenge – White.

Our vacation in Newport, OR was beautiful and relaxing, but also a little cold and misty. I had heard about the difference in temperatures between Portland and the Coast but I wasn’t quite prepared for the whiteout conditions that greeted us on our first day. On the upside, it made for some wonderfully moody photos…

Friends? More Like Siblings.

The photo in this post is my entry for the latest I Heart Faces photo challenge, “Friendship”.

It’s interesting to look back over the last month and see how things have changed since Mayumi and Karin first arrived.Karin is not a shy child so, from the very first moment they stepped off the plane, she seemed comfortable in our house and with our children. But being comfortable and feeling at home are two different things and I think we can now safely say that Karin feels right at home.

This past weekend was the first time that Samuel and Karin really connected. And when I say “connected” I mean fought like siblings. Until now, Thomas and Samuel have kept up their constant bickering but Karin has largely stayed out of it. Now she is right in there with them, sometimes purposefully causing problems between the boys or trying to play on her cuteness. And I see this as a good thing. It means she’s comfortable. It means she can be herself with us, which I love.It means she treats our boys as she would a brother.

The challenge, however, is that the same rules don’t apply with Karin as they do with other children. When Karin takes a toy away, I can’t just ask Samuel to tell her how he feels and ask for it back because she doesn’t understand him. Of course the same is true of Karin – when she is upset she has trouble expressing her feelings in words unless Mayumi is close by to translate. Unfortunately it has resulted in a little more frustration and sometimes they act out that frustration by hitting. Still, I see this as a good lesson in patience (theirs and mine) and communication techniques when words don’t work.

So, where’s Thomas in all this? Well, he’s experiencing his own frustration. He doesn’t like it that the two little ones copy everything he does or when they take things away from him. He’s also having trouble finding his own space which is something we need to work on.

At the end of the day, though, the first thing Thomas and Samuel say when they get home is “where’s Karin?”. And Karin is all smiles the moment they walk in the door and they’re pretty much inseparable from that moment on. Maybe it was just a case of too much time together this weekend. Or maybe we just all need a vacation (coming soon!).

One thing’s for certain though, they are going to miss each other like crazy when Karin and Mayumi head home. Maybe, by then, I’ll manage to get a picture of the three of them together without the funny faces – or maybe this photo is a better reflection of real life right now, just a little bit crazy.