We’re there.

Today we hit double digits.

And suddenly I find myself remembering when I turned 10 and how excited I was to finally be in the double digits. And then I think that if I can remember something from 30 years ago, then my child is currently storing up all of his nine and ten year old experiences into a vault in the back of his mind that he may or may not decide to retrieve when he’s forty. And suddenly the experiences seem more important and the lessons we teach more critical and, before I know it, this whole parenting thing enters a new phase.

Phew! Ten is rough for parents – but also so, so rewarding. There’s a lot of letting go while trying to hold on at the same time. A lot of deep conversations about worries and conflict and how I can help him manage the thoughts in his head. I find myself having to fake being wise on a daily basis and, because he’s my first-born, Thomas is the first recipient of all of this “wisdom”. Cue the mummy guilt.

But the reward is that I am watching this little boy turn into a little man and I can try to take a little bit of credit for the great kid he has turned out to be.

At ten, Thomas is:

  • Sensitive – easily hurt but also quick to understand the hurt in others.
  • A reader – to the point where I often have to say “don’t read while you’re walking.” He received three new books for his birthday yesterday and had almost finished them all before bedtime.
  • A good team mate – Soccer is still his favorite pass time and this year he will play in a competitive league for the first time with some of his best friends. I predict a lot of lessons about playing fair, managing disappointment and being a good-sported winner.
  • A great big brother – the sort who will often advise his brother on the best way to get out of trouble “just apologize, Samuel!’, and will share his brand new birthday presents as soon as they’re out of the box. They also share all of their money.
  • A thinker – we have a lot of conversations about the thoughts floating around in his brain, especially right before bed time. These negative thoughts hinder sleep so we work together to come up with a list of good thoughts to replace them. Last night it was imagining what a Calvin and Hobbes TV show would look like. The mind of a 10 year old is always working.
  • Simply a great kid – We’re so, so proud of him. Sure, he’s not perfect (not many of us are ;)) but his intentions are good and he always tries his hardest. Above all, though, he has a good heart. There’s not much else that you can wish for your child.

Happy 10th birthday, Thomas! We love you so much.

Summer Postcard: Sand in The City

A few weeks ago (oh gosh, it was probably months ago now), I took the kids downtown to check out the annual Sand in the City contest. I love our city and will pretty much look for any opportunity to catch the train downtown (or drive if we’re lazy) to visit Powells or check out a photo gallery or just to see what’s going on. There’s an energetic vibe in the city during the Summer time that’s only beaten by the vibe at Christmas (I LOVE Christmas in Portland).

Although I have lived here for more than 10 years, this was my first visit to Sand in the City.

At first the kids weren’t overly impressed but then they started to spot some of their favorite characters from the Lego movie…

and Star Wars…

…and, of course, once they started they couldn’t stop pointing out their favorite sand sculptures. I wonder what drew them to this one?

You can’t beat a little family-friendly fun in Portland.

Wordless Wednesday: A New School Year

First grade and third grade. They refused to take a photo outside the school but I was lucky enough to catch them before we left the house. They had their arms around each other in every single photo.

And a wide view so you can appreciate the care Samuel took to match his shorts to his new sneakers. That kid’s not afraid to make an impression. Even his T-shirt glows in the dark.

It’s going to be a great year, I can feel it.

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.


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.