Kiwi, our 2-year-old, is currently in a phase where she covers her eyes and cries “No!” every time anyone tries to take her photo. So I was less than confident how our family photos would turn out when we met Becca from Becca Jean Photography on a recent fall afternoon. Becca and I met on an online group for mom-owned small businesses, and she offered to take our photos for free—an amazing and generous offer, especially considering her beautiful work. A bit later, I warned her about Kiwi’s camera shy phase.
Becca wasn’t too concerned. “I’ll joke around and you guys will play and the girls will naturally be smiling,” she assured me.
It turns out Becca was right, and I could not be more blown away by the family photos she took. If there is an award for getting kids who favor the stink eye to smile, Becca wins. Hands down.
Kiwi comes with me to drop off Big Sister Peeper at her pre-K every day. She puts together puzzles, reads books, waves to the teachers and constantly tries to sneak the same teddy bear home with us. (“Blue! My favorite!” she insists, clutching the bear to her chest, when I have to yet again persuade her to put it back.) So when I told her she would be going to her own school—a toddler homeschool preschool—she shone the biggest smile at me.
“Me school!” she shouted, literally bouncing up and down. “So excited!”
I saw it with Peeper when she was a 2 years old: Her homeschool preschool strengthened her curiosity, listening skills, friendships and love of learning. I knew it would be no different for Kiwi, so several friends and I recently began a new toddler homeschool preschool.
They’re loving it already.
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Last year, when I scheduled a holiday family photo shoot, I did close to zero prep—I was busy enough wrangling a photo-adverse husband and two headstrong kids to consider how to make the photos actually look good. The best family photographers do the bulk of that for you, but a little preparation doesn’t hurt to get the best holiday family photo to put on your Christmas or New Year card this year.
(Looking back at 2016’s images, I laugh so hard at all the drama Kiwi caused! Poor bug was really ready for her nap.)
If you have holiday family photos on the horizon and want to capture your family at its best, look no further. I asked five of the best Portland family photographers to offer their wisdom with these 5 tips to get the holiday family portrait you’ve dreamed of.
We are just coming down from a beautiful, sunny summer here in Portland. But along with the return of school and pumpkin spiced everything, the rains are back. Luckily, fall is my favorite time of the year, so I welcome the change of season—but I’m sad to say goodbye to summer feet.
You know, summer feet: When your soles harden from climbing trees and playing chase and walking around barefoot. Or maybe it’s been so long since you cultivated your childhood summer feet that you’ve forgotten.
My girls are definitely familiar. But just as their soles have toughened up after a summer of outdoor play, this fall, we bid goodbye to summer feet.
A few weeks ago, I found myself in a thin hospital gown, staring at the speckled ceiling tiles as I waited for my ultrasound technician. The last time I’d done something like this was finding out the sex of my baby, who turned into Kiwi. This time, I was making sure a lump in my right breast, which I found during one of my sort-of regular breast self-exams, wasn’t going to kill me.
I hadn’t been that worried. In fact, I mentioned the lump to a breast health specialist in an offhand way when we were talking about my genetic risk factors for the Big C, since my mom had a very aggressive form of breast cancer at 39. The specialist referred me to an ultrasound tech, “just to be on the safe side.“
So I wasn’t sweating my appointment—until I was half naked, waiting, with nothing to distract me from my spiraling thoughts but the pocked patterns in the ceiling.
Spoiler alert: I’m totally fine. Turns out my boob is “cyst-y,” as the radiologist came in to tell me. (Pretty sure that’s a medical term she learned in very expensive medical school.) So in addition to having post-breastfeeding sad sag, my breast is also lumpy.
But! The cysts are totally benign. And lumpy is much better than deadly.
Autumn is my favorite season. As much as I love summer, by the end of August I eagerly await fall’s crisp evenings, the trips to the pumpkin patch, the excuse to cuddle under a quilt and drink tea, and the changing leaves. Oh, how I love fall leaves! Good thing for me, Peeper and Kiwi share my love of autumn, so it’s no surprise we’ve collected a list of our favorite books about fall leaves and autumn.
After all, autumn is the perfect time to crack open a book after running around outside.
Jump in puddles, get muddy at the farm, collect fallen leaves, collect a pocketful of acorns—then head inside to read a stack of children’s books about fall leaves. Need some ideas? Check out this list then request a few—or them all!—from your local library. These make for a great unit for homeschool, if that’s your thing, or just a lovely read-aloud to learn about autumn.
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Days like yesterday, I just want to burn shit down.
I, like so many, woke up to news about dozens dead and hundreds injured after an angry man opened fire on a sea of strangers in Las Vegas. And then I went through what many of us have experienced so often before: Shock. Anger. Sadness. Frustration.
The terror, then grief, thrust upon hundreds is absolutely needless—and preventable. That’s why I am so furious: Because events like those in Las Vegas (and Orlando, and Sandy Hook, and San Bernadino, and Aurora, and many more) are predictable. They will keep happening—unless we as a country do something about it.