Cooling Down

What a fun weekend! We managed to squeeze a lot in but we also enjoyed a little downtime. That’s the best kind of weekend in my opinion.

Kei and I managed to land a couple of tickets to see Book of Mormon at the Keller Auditorium in Portland on Saturday. While it felt a little strange to see a musical at 2pm on a 90 degree Portland Summer day, it was definitely worth the couple of hours of air conditioned comfort. Such a funny, entertaining, slightly (ok, very) offensive show. I really want to see it again but it’s a little spendy so I’ll have to make do with YouTube replays.

I ran errands on Sunday while the boys watched the Soccer World Cup final. The look of devastation on Samuel’s face when I got home told me that Argentina lost and, while I’m sad for my child, I did appreciate the two hours of quiet shopping time while the rest of the city watched TV. Then Kei took the boys to a baseball game in Salem and I was blessed with 6 hours all to myself. I did laundry, cleaned up and caught up on some Master Chef Australia. I know I live life on the edge.

It’s been a warm Portland Summer so far and this week is not exception. I’m grateful that the boys are spending the majority of their time indoors at music camp while the heat and humidity is at it worst but, sadly, our house is most comfortable at around 80 degrees. So, we’ve been finding other ways to cool  off – trips to the public pool, visits with friends to play in their temporary summer pools and popsicles, lots of popsicles.

But there is one thing we always find ourselves enjoying at some point over the Portland summer and that’s the low tech, but highly effective, fun of the sprinkler. It worked for me as a child growing up in Australia (when we didn’t have water restrictions) and it works just as well over here on the other side of the world. These photos are from a couple of weeks ago but I have a feeling the sprinkler will make another appearance when we hit the mid 90s tomorrow.

I think they had a good time.

He’s Six! (Finally…)

For me, six came far too quickly, but for a little boy who is one of the youngest in his class, the journey to six years old was a long one. It didn’t help that we had his birthday party over a week ago so it made the wait for his actual birthday feel just that little bit longer.

At six, Samuel…

  • Likes to play in the rain (unless he’s being asked to play a game of soccer…)
  • Loves to read and has progressed from simple three letter words to entire books in the span of just a few months.
  • Is enjoying the second (or, quite possibly, the fifth) resurgence of Star Wars fanaticism in our house. He has seen movies 4, 5 and 6 (the originals).
  • Pushes his big brother’s buttons one minute and then can’t live without him the next.
  • Spends a lot of time building new Lego creations but mostly enjoys playing with the mini figures.
  • Still has all of his baby teeth – no wiggly ones in sight.
  • Says “WHATEVER!” that, for most kids, would be incredibly disrespectful but, for Samuel, means he is finally going to do what I asked him to do. Still, it’s something we need to work on.
  • Loves to write and draw. Lately, we’ve seen a lot of dragons, vikings and Star Wars characters.
  • Does not like to be upstairs by himself. Samuel needs someone around him at all times – not because he’s scared but because he doesn’t like to be left behind. However, sometimes being alone is the best thing for him.
  • Is smart, clever, funny, cute, stubborn, loud, gentle, a GREAT hugger and kisser and still my baby.

Six years has flown by. While I miss the baby he used to be, I enjoy watching him grow into a little independent boy. He and I are a lot alike which makes me incredibly happy and a little frightened at the same time. 🙂

Happy birthday sweet Samuel. I have the feeling that Six is going to be a great year.


We had a busy weekend but, thankfully, managed to get a lot accomplished. Birthday party and soccer on Saturday, 4 hours (!) of weeding on Sunday, shopping and laundry. Then we finished it off by watching Game of Thrones and Mad Men. I went to bed WAY too late thanks to a Portland Trailblazers basketball game that went into overtime. But they won so I guess it was worth it.

I also finished my 2013 photo books – only 4 months too late for Christmas but a huge load off my mind.

Oh, and it was Easter yesterday – which has a lot less meaning for me here than it did in Australia where it’s an actually HOLIDAY. Still, the boys enjoyed their little visit from the Easter bunny who apparently did extremely well in the gift department this year. Who knew Mixels would be such a popular choice? And the chapter book Thomas received? He already finished it. Of course they received some chocolate as well and I made the mistake of letting them have some before taking them grocery shopping with me (Kei was playing golf). I thought about leaving them them at the store but didn’t want to be arrested for disturbing the peace. Good thing they started out in my favor thanks to some great report cards.

I also continued my habit of not taking even one photo.  I was simply too busy and covered in dirt to even think about it.

So, I’ll share some photos from a brief visit downtown a couple of weeks ago. I chased the boys around with the camera while they tried to avoid me. I supposed we’re hitting THAT stage in the love/hate relationship with having their photo taken. Made for a few fun shots though.

Happy Easter Monday!

Samuel’s pose in this one cracks me up.

Samuel was trying to “help” me take Thomas’ photo.

Hiding from the paparazzi.

When Charlie Came to Visit

I realized last night that I hadn’t yet posted all the photos from my Brother’s visit way, way back in February. I blame this oversight on my crazy work travel schedule, Spring Break and the allergies – oh, the allergies.

I love cherry blossoms but hate that they’re slowly trying to kill me with their beautiful pink blooms. If I weren’t so vain, I’d skip the mascara in the morning and rub my eyes all day crying “WHY ME!!!” I know there are far worse ailments but, honestly, right now I feel like gouging my eyes out.

Sorry – sidetracked. Back to February.

My brother, Ben, his wife Emma and two-year-old Charlie came for a long weekend visit in the middle of their multi-city US trip. It was wonderful to see them and Portland did it’s best to make them feel welcome by raining buckets and buckets. I think it was nature’s way of saying “I know I’m having a great time ensuring Australia dries up into a shriveled prune, but look what I can do on the other side of the world! I’m multi-talented.”

Still, we had fun finding ways to keep three boys entertained. We dug the Toy Story box out of the basement, planned a trip to the indoor playground, saw the Lego Movie, did some shopping downtown and took a break for some ice cream on Mississippi. This wasn’t Ben and Emma’s first time to Portland so we didn’t feel the pressure of showing them the sights. Instead, we were able to relax and let the cousins get to know each other a little better. Thomas relished his role as the big kid, Samuel enjoyed not being the youngest for a change, and Charlie? Well, Charlie just followed them wherever they went and laughed at all their jokes. Friendships were definitely forged.

If all goes according to plan, we hope to get these boys back together again soon.

They’re all waiting to jump out and scare Kei.

Boys Will Be Boys

We returned home yesterday afternoon following a brief Spring Break adventure in Sunriver, Oregon. The biggest part of adventure turned out to be predicting the weather from minute to minute. We’d move from a brief moment of sunshine to rain, then hail and snow. Apparently Sunriver is not the destination for Spring Break if you’re looking for a warm weather recharge.

Still, we managed to squeeze in a bunch of activities to keep seven children entertained and I even challenged my husband to a couple of games of tennis while we dodged a light hail storm. He won, but I blame the distraction of the hail storm.

I’m back at work today and trying to turn the switch in my brain from vacation mode to work mode. It’s an uphill battle.

I haven’t had a chance to edit all of my photos from the trip but this one stood out to me. Who needs a toy gun when you have fingers and the ability to make someone walk the plank? I promise I don’t teach them this stuff – it’s just boys being boys.

From the Frontlines of Snowmageddon 2014

Portland shuts down during a snow storm – which is both a good thing and a bad thing. Thankfully, this year’s snowstorm hit over the weekend, but the boys have another snow day today which means I’ll be juggling work and children’s entertainment. If we’re lucky we may venture out to the grocery store. I’ve just about reached the bottom of the freezer and the back of the cupboards.

Don’t get me wrong though, we had a fun weekend. The boys spent a lot of time outside in the neighborhood with their friends and we went sledding on Saturday before the freezing rain set in and covered everything in a layer of ice. I’ll probably need to break this post into two parts just to share a small portion of the photos I took.

So, I declare Snowmaggedon 2014 fun for a weekend and a great source of inspiration for this photographer – but now we’re ready to move on. If you could just warm up a little more, Portland, I’d be grateful.

Most of the following photos were taken Thursday afternoon and Friday morning, before the worst of it hit.

I have no idea what Thomas is doing here.

Dry snow makes for extra slippery slides. Thankfully, snow gear provides additional padding.

“My legs hurt! I. can’t. walk. any. further.” We’re one block from our house.

Coming soon: More snow! And Sledding!

Friday. Snow Day.

It doesn’t snow very often in Portland – we’re lucky if we get one decent snowfall a year. So, when the snow comes down like it did yesterday, the city stops. Schools and public buildings are closed, public transport is crawling and the highways are almost empty. We’ll be spending the day hunkered down at home, venturing outside every now and then to enjoy this rare event (I’m sure I’ll be taking some photos).

Samuel and I took a walk through the park yesterday. It was about 25 degrees fahrenheit (-7 celsius), with wind gusts that blew snow across the park and made me lose all feeling in my face. The weather is going to last through the weekend and then Portland will warm up again. I’m going to try and enjoy it, knowing that it will be over in a couple of days. Although, by this time tomorrow, I predict some cabin fever will set in.

Samuel kept stopping to eat the fresh snow. Thankfully he knows to stay away from the yellow stuff.

And he also stopped to write his name in the snow more than once.

Thomas joined us for about 10 minutes before he lost his sense of adventure. (or maybe he realized how crazy we were)

This was just the beginning. We accumulated about 4 inches by 8:00 last night.

One more reason not to get a dog…

mmmm – tasty.

Looking forward to more adventures today.