Independence Day 2014

I already shared one of my more surreal images from our July 4th celebrations but I’m never one to post just a photo or two from a day that included fireworks.

We spent the first few hours of our celebration at the home of one of Kei’s golfing buddies – a friend who also happens to own a pretty delicious Hawaiian restaurant in Portland so, FOOD! At one point I loaded up my plate and counted five different types of meat. The margaritas were also pretty good which explains why some of my photos from later in the evening were a little shakier than usual.

Despite the 200 or so people who attended the party, it was a relaxed event with lots of Hawaiian music and random acts of Hula. The whole experience really made me want to jump on a plane to Hawaii. (Random Acts of Hula would make a great band name. You’re welcome to use it.)

The kids enjoyed Hawaiian-style shave ice, drowned with colors not found in nature.

While we had originally planned to stay for what was sure to be an epic Fireworks display, a quick family poll revealed that the boys were looking forward to lighting some of their own so we headed home around 9:30. The fact that they stayed awake for the entire car ride at that time of the night meant that the Hawaiian shave ice was doing its job.

At home, Kei let my teeny tiny little 8 year old light a few fireworks. I tried to remain calm.

Side Note: The yellow cast in the photograph is from an overheat streetlight in the alley behind our house. We started a little earlier last year so I was able to avoid it.

We started with the smallest fireworks and then gradually moved up to the bigger displays with names like “Hell Fire.”

The blue bucket is there for the trash. At one point I referred to it as the “trash bucket” and our neighbor thought I was using a new Aussie slang for “rubbish bin”. It surprises me how I can still so easily be misunderstood even after 11 years in this country, even when I’m trying to talk like an American. Trash Bucket would also make a good band name.

This next photo is a rather cool mistake.

After we exhausted our small supply, we headed down to the corner of our street where the neighbors brought out the big guns.

I managed to take two or three photos before Thomas begged to go home to bed. When that sugar crash hits, you have no other option.

And that’s a wrap for Independence Day, 2014. God bless America (and friends and hawaiian food and fireworks).

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Sledding! In Portland!

Gosh, it feels like a lifetime ago that we had snow here in Portland. In the two weeks since the snow let up enough for the kids to go back to school, I’ve had a near-miss teacher’s strike (glad I didn’t have to manage the logistics for that one), guests for a long, rainy weekend and then, this past weekend, photos at our school auction and a great Karaoke night. In the midst of it all the whole family attended a Zentangle class at the local library and made some wonderful artwork.

Sound random? How about a trip to San Francisco tomorrow to mix it up just a little bit more. Yes, life is flying by at an alarming rate.

So let’s step back to a day when we had no choice but to let it all go and focus on the moment – mostly because everything else was closed due to the snowstorm. I have to admit that I have a love/hate relationship with the snow. On the one hand it’s messy and annoying and, in Portland, a little treacherous, but on the other hand it forced us to let everything go for a few days. It was wonderful to see the entire neighborhood out enjoying the weather without the pressure of work or sports or even a trip to the grocery store. Sure, I was ready (REALLY ready) for the kids to go back to school on Tuesday, but a weekend of being snowed in may have been just what the doctor ordered.

This is not my child – just a friend who joined us in a very freaky hat.

Samuel is somewhere under that snow. The kid had a ball.

I know it’s blurry, but I love it.

And, finally, putting all vanity aside and to prove that I was really there, some video evidence. That word I’m saying at the end is “Pole!”

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!