Finally Hot Enough for a Little Water Fun

We had such a wonderful, busy, productive weekend and I have so many photos to share. Of course I need to edit them all first (I’m a little OCD on that front) so, in the meantime, I’ll share a quick photo for this week’s I Heart Faces photo challenge of “Water”.

To be honest, when I saw the challenge subject last week I was a little skeptical that I’d actually be able to take a photo this year that fit the bill. While the rest of the country has been baking, we in the Pacific Northwest have been enjoying an extended spring. What that means is rain, lots of rain. Quite frankly, I’m a little tired of the rain. OK, that’s an understatement.

So, when the sun came out this weekend we did what almost every Portland family does at one time or another, we (actually, I) blow up the wading pool and let the children play while the parents relax on their brand new deck.

May I say again, that the backyard deck is possibly the best invention known to man? We tried it out this weekend and it offered everything we had dreamed about and more (more, meaning a lot of mud thanks to a grassless patch of ground where we set up the wading pool).

Mayumi said it best when I offered her a glass of white wine while we sat and watched the children as the sunlight filled the yard – “I am very happy!” Me too, Mayumi. Me too.

A Weekend Well Spent

There is nothing better than returning to work on a Monday with the feeling that your weekend was well-spent. This weekend I had the perfect mix of getting some work done around the house (painting started but laundry not quite finished), time with the girls (hello, karaoke!) and family time that also included a whole lot of bike riding. No wonder I slept so well last night, although I could easily have done with a couple more hours. I’m waiting for my second coffee to kick in and get me through the rest of the day.

For my I heart faces entry this morning, I chose a photo that I took while we took part in Portland Sunday Parkways. The challenge is “whimsical” and I suppose this fits the bill…

Had to borrow a friend’s child for the photo because my two boys would rather do anything than run around under a sprinkler and get wet.

This week promises more house painting, prepping Samuel’s bedroom for Japanese guests (SO excited!), more laundry and, hopefully, a little time to squeeze in some photo editing, car cleaning and maybe even a pedicure. Bring it!

Celebrating Fatherhood

Unless you’ve been living under a rock in America, you’ll know that today was Fathers’ day. A day that, thanks to it’s close proximity to U.S. graduation, earned the unfortunate marketing phrase “Dads and Grads.” It’s sad that Dads don’t get their own marketing phrase. Fathers’ Day falls in September in Australia and does not conflict with any other major holidays. I’m sure that’s by design.

But I digress. Today was about celebrating the dad in our life – the Yin to my Yan – the one who makes this whole parenting thing a true partnership and provides balance. The one who makes up for my weaknesses with his strengths.

The man who will get down on the floor and wrestle. Who will talk through an issue when I just want to put them both in time out. Who persists with the bike riding and the T-ball and everything else that I (honestly) don’t have the energy for. That’s what makes this whole parenting together thing so perfect.

Happy Fathers’ Day to the man who helped me bring two wonderful little boys into this world. I truly could not do this without you.

This photo is also my entry in the latest I Heart Faces challenge, “Let’s hear it for the boys.” Ok, now I have that song stuck in my head for the next couple of days…

A shocking turn of events

My boy is about to commence his last two days of Pre-K. OK, so maybe I’m more shocked than anyone else, but I can’t believe that my baby is on the verge of beginning Kindergarten, which is called Prep where I come from. You see, in Australia, prep marks the beginning of elementary school (primary school) and I CAN STILL REMEMBER PRIMARY SCHOOL! (Thank you, Miss Fraser).

How did my child get so old? How did I get so old? Why is this happening to me?

Before I know it he’ll be six, and then seven…and then nineteen! It just doesn’t seem right.

And I am completely unprepared. Not only because I am in (a little) denial about the fact that my child is going to be an adult one day (too soon!), but also because his experience of school is going to be so completely removed from mine and I am going to be learning right along with him. I went to Primary school and High School. That was it. There was no middle school, no cafeteria lunches, no fraternities and sororities (ok, maybe I’m getting ahead of myself). My point is that it’s all foreign to me from here on out. I may as well be living in a different country (wait…).

So I have about three months to get used to the idea that I am soon to be the mother of a KINDERGARTNER. Rest assured, I’ll be taking lots of deep breaths and drinking a few glasses of wine to get used to the idea.

Oh, and here’s my photo entry for this week’s I heart faces challenge – bright and vivid. A photo of Thomas (my soon-to-be-kindergartner) taken on the last day of Samuel’s baby daycare before he moves into the pre-pre-K class.

June is really not a good time for mothers…

A Touch of Spring

Back at work today after a fabulous long weekend that began with a birthday do-over and progressed to an anniversary dinner, a Spring Festival at Thomas’ school, a T-ball game and then a belated birthday dinner with the girls. And that was just Friday and Saturday.

Needless to say I have a TON of photos to go through and post but until then I will leave you with a touch of Spring in the form of my latest post for the I Heart Faces blog. This week’s challenge is “May Flowers”. I managed to take this photograph on Mothers day thanks to a patient family who agreed to a walk in the rain just so I could capture a few tulips while they are still blooming.

Back with more soon.

Battle of Wills

My second born child. Closest to me in birthdate and personality. Cheeky, funny, smart – and also the one who is currently pushing me to the edge of sanity.

This weekend was tough. Oh, it had it’s wonderful moments filled with laughter and play and putting on shoes without debate. But, for every good moment or two we experienced a major backslide – and when the meltdown begins there’s no knowing how or when it will end.

When Thomas was this age, he’d quietly go and stand or sit in timeout with very little resistance. After 2 or 3 minutes we’d talk and hug and it would be over. We’d move on. In fact Thomas’ meltdowns were so rare that I honestly can’t remember a single traumatic parenting event – at least as far as tantrums were concerned.

Samuel, however, is headstrong. He refuses to sit in timeout despite the number of times I pick him up and place him back on the step. If I close the door, he sits and kicks it with his feet until it sounds like the house will collapse around us. On Saturday it got so bad that I had to leave him screaming upstairs for at least 30 minutes while I regained my composure. This morning I carried him out to the car without bothering to fight the battle of putting on his shoes and the only reason I was able to get him out there at all was because he was a little terrified at the prospect of being left home alone (a veiled threat of course).

The thing is that he’s a relative angel when he’s with other people and we’ve received nothing but good reports from his new daycare. I really hope that this is just a bump in the road of his development and that Samuel’s responding to changes in daycare and the stress of potty training (it’s gotta be stressful, right?). I know my sweet baby boy is under there somewhere and I want him back.  In the meantime, I’m prepared to read as many books as it takes to find a solution. Feel free to share recommendations.

I Can See Clearly Now…

Laser eye surgery is truly a miracle. I can now see more clearly than I could when I was a teenager. 20/15! Last night we went to an Ice Hockey game and watched from a box. I could see the expressions on the players faces – it was incredible.

The downside is that I can now clearly see how much I neglected my eyebrows over the past few months while I plucked blindly.

As for the surgery itself – I spent a lot more time waiting for the Xanax to kick in that I took for them to complete the surgery. It was weird and uncomfortable but painless. The worst part was the anxiety involved in having someone prop your eyes open and then place you under a large machine. They gave me a stuffed animal to hold to keep my hands occupied during the procedure and I didn’t realize how tightly I was gripping the poor thing until I was done. But they talked me through the whole process as it was happening and there were few in-the-moment surprises. I felt as though I was in good hands and, judging by the pace of recovery, I was.

Immediately after the procedure I was given some very sexy Bono-type goggles and instructed to head straight home to bed and go to sleep before the pain set in. Unfortunately we had a bit of a drive in front of us so the pain did begin before I was finally able to go to sleep. I slept well (could have been the medication) and when I woke up I could see perfectly without need to reach for my glasses.

So now I’m religiously following the post op instructions (eyedrops every hour!) and wearing goggles to bed to avoid eye rubbing during the night. Honestly, the goggles and fact that I can’t put my face under water are the most difficult side effects of this whole process – and they’re temporary. Brilliant!

So I’ll end this post with a photo that I took last night at the Hockey game. It’s my “slice of life” photo for this week’s I Heart faces challenge and one of my first opportunities to take photos without looking through the extra lens of my glasses.

Samuel wasn’t a fan of the noise that erupted each time the Winterhawks scored a goal – and with 7  goals in the game, that was a lot of noise.

The Boys

I love capturing images of my boys together. It happens so rarely that it clearly takes a bathtub to ensure they stay in the same place for more than five minutes. Of course this photo only came about after about 100 other shots, but it was worth it.

These are my favorite faces for February and my entry in this week’s I heart faces challenge.

Right now…


  • A great big brother – looking for lost toys and making sure his brother is doing the right thing.
  • Sensitive – we’ve been dealing with moments of sadness and insecurity. Not sure if this is a five year old thing or just the musings of a very sensitive and thoughtful little boy.
  • Curious – right now we’re in the process of identifying every single sign we see on the street (that’s 35 limit, mummy) and reading – numbers (above ten) and putting together letters. It’s all coming together.
  • Smart – Being sick means staying at home, too many toys means it’s too much for him to possibly carry… Thankfully Mummy is still a little smarter.
  • Learning – How to swim. He’s done so well with swimming lessons over the past few weeks. Our timid little boy is now put his head fully under water without fear until we count to 10.


  • Funny – he will do just about anything to make us laugh these days – and do it over and over if it makes us laugh just once.
  • Musical – Drums, guitar, singing. One of my favourite things at night is to sing a few songs with him before he goes to sleep.
  • In Awe – of his big brother. If Thomas does something, you can count on Samuel trying to do the same thing just a few moments later.
  • Slow – OMG – it takes this kid soooo long to finish a meal. He’s often left at the dinner table by himself.
  • Making choices – his favorite color is blue, his best friend is Bowie (and then it’s Maggie, and then it’s George…), his favorite book author is Mercer Mayer (although he doesn’t know that, he just likes the critters), his favorite food is still blueberries (thankful they’re coming back in season).

Looking forward to, and a little frightened about, all March will bring, including travel (for Kei and then me), a big change with Samuel’s daycare, MORE photography (a promise to myself) and, most importantly, SPRING!

Bring it on!

Monday Madness and a Little iphone Love

I’ve realized I should top talking about how busy every day is and just accept that this is the normal rhythm of our lives right now. Work is crazy, life is crazy – end of story.

Thankfully the weekend was a minor respite from the madness of work. Amidst the swimming lessons and trips to target (I should just deposit my salary there) we managed an unplanned trip to the Zoo. It was cold but the sun poked out once or twice and it was a lot of fun. Zoo membership means that we don’t have to try and reach every little corner of the zoo each time we go. It affords us the luxury of choosing so that our visit is not threatened by the meltdown of an overtired two year old and I think we escaped it on this visit by the skin of our teeth (what a horrible expression). This weekend we focused on the big cats and the primates. The Orangutans were the biggest hit, followed closely by the enormous pythons that seemed to be hidden in every corner (I think we counted five by the end of our visit). Such a fun family day.

But, alas, it is Monday and I need to get the kids off to a play date so I can head to work. This week is going to be busy (ahem – normal), so I am preparing myself for it now.

I have just enough time to share my I heart faces challenge photo. This week it’s all about the cellphone photo and I found this little gem hiding on my iphone. It was taken way back when the days were warm and the reflection of light off the table was enough to illuminate Samuel’s face – and what a sweet face it is. It was back when he still looked like a baby. Now he looks like the cross between an adorable toddler (on a good day), and an angry teenager (on a bad day).

I took a few photos of our trip to the zoo and hope to share them later this week.