Kiwi is 12 months old: Leading me

Not long ago, Peeper came home from gymnastics. She ran into the bedroom, where I was changing Kiwi’s diaper.

“We learned frog jumps!” Peeper exclaimed—and began bouncing up and down, landing with her hands between her feet.

Kiwi squealed. She rolled over. Coming up to her knees, she started to bounce, too.

The two sisters laughed and jumped like frogs and laughed some more, all the while watching each other.

That little scene perfectly shows the core of Kiwi’s personality—her exuberance. She is so in love with life.

At 12 months old, my baby (wait, toddler?!) is the one leading me! Ten Thousand Hour Mama Read more

Peeper is 3

It’s hard to believe that 3 years ago, my beautiful Peeper made me a mom.

I will never forget that day. Early that morning I woke with contractions. A bit later, Eric, my sister, Finn and I went for a hike. My water broke on the car ride home. At the hospital, I endured excruciating back labor that made me wild with fear. But just after 9pm, I met the tiny person who had grown from two joined cells to an entire person, and my life broke open in the most joyous way possible.

This preschooler is 3 years old and brings me so much joy. Ten Thousand Hour Mama

Peeper’s third birthday marks a division in my life—a clear before and after. But she continues to rock my world every day we spend together. Read more

Happy Mother’s Day to Me: My 100 year old birthday prize

This guest post is by Jenni Bost, expert party-thrower, generous extrovert and wonderful mama to two boys. She blogs about DIY entertaining projects and motherhood at A Well Crafted Party and organizes the blogging group Portland Bloggers—in addition to working outside the home. (Phew!) In this Happy Mother’s Day to Me series, Jenni and a whole slew of mothers are celebrating themselves for the dedicated, loving, tireless mamas they are. Check out all the posts in the series!


 

mother's day family photo
Family Photos by Macey Snelson of www.momentsbymacey.com

Do you remember that feeling of never being big enough, fast enough, or strong enough? Living life through the eyes of my sons—with the knowledge that comes with getting older—is humbling to say the least.

My oldest son is four years old and very much enjoys growing older. While I wince with each creak of my aging body, I hear my son talk about his next birthday (not for many months yet) and all the joy that comes with that celebration. (He is totally my kid.) He often talks about “when I get to be 100 I’ll be faster than anyone” or “when I get to be 100 I’ll be a giant.” One hundred years is not old to him.

On a recent car ride and yet another discussion about his birthday he quieted in concentration and then quite seriously asked me, “Mom, do I get a prize when I get to 100?”

“A prize?” I asked.

“Yea, like a toy or a present or something?” he asked in explanation.

I laughed at the time and joked about telling him once I get there. However, the thought stayed with me for some time—especially as I had been mulling around about what I’d write about for this “Happy Mother’s Day to Me” series.

I work in the senior living field and know firsthand that living to 100 (or much older) is no longer the complete fantasy it might have been.

I also totally believe that a prize should happen if I hit 100 years old. The thought inspired my letter to my son for when I hit 100 years old.  Read more

Peeper is 2 1/2

“I’m showing you two, right?” Peeper asks, holding up her index and middle fingers to show how old she is. She hasn’t quite mastered holding up a half-finger, though technically she should: She’s 2 1/2 years old.

Eric and I routinely marvel at how freaking awesome she is. She makes me laugh, like when she warned Eric, “Don’t get a head wedgie!” and when she blows a raspberry and says, “You tooted with your mouth.”

Toddler playing cardsPlaying poker with Grandpa Read more

Painting birthday party: Making a group easel [tutorial!]

DIY painting easel for kids - Ten Thousand Hour MamaPeeper loves to create, so when it came to planning her second birthday party, I knew I wanted to incorporate art. Thanks to getting almost no sleep and leaving most of the party prep till the morning of, I had to scale back some of our painting plans, but one activity made the cut: the group DIY easel.

Peeper and her friends got to paint alongside each other in our front yard, and each kiddo took home a piece of art (or several!). Peeper’s painting is now hanging on our wall above the dining table.

The setup was surprisingly easy—and cheap—and we’ve left it up in our yard for now. Peeper continues to use it, and when we do decide to take it down, we’ll recycle or reuse all the pieces for projects later!

DIY painting easel for kids - Ten Thousand Hour Mama

DIY painting easel for kids - Ten Thousand Hour Mama

Want to get in on the artistic action, too? Here’s how to make an easy group DIY easel for your kids to paint their own outdoor masterpieces.  Read more

Ups, downs and change: Our weekend recap

Swimming in the Clackamas RiverWhen I worked at College Possible Portland, a nonprofit that helped low-income high schoolers get into and graduate from college, we often ended the week reviewing the ups, downs and what we’d change. Allow me to steal the format for today’s blog!

Ups

Swimming in the Clackamas River
Peeper isn’t hitting me; she’s getting the baby wet!

Swimming It’s still blazing-hot hereabouts, so we went swimming in the Clackamas River at Milo McIver State Park (yes, still one of our favorite places to be!). Peeper is her happiest in water, and I’m carrying a 38-week-old furnace, so splashing in the river was pretty much the best.

Peeper’s birthday party We didn’t throw a party for Peeper’s first birthday and I knew I wanted to do a little something this year. I considered canceling it (see the downs below) but am so glad I didn’t. Peeper and her friends had a wonderful time painting and playing in the water, and we got to properly break in our newly fenced front yard! More about the party in a later post.

Seeing family Much of my side of the family came in for Peeper’s birthday party, and I’m always grateful when the Ryans are around! After the party we watched the U.S. women’s soccer team beat Japan (in style!), eat pizza and play video games. As we drove away from my brother’s house, I was overwhelmed with the wish that we’d all live near each other permanently. My brother recently moved to Portland, so that leaves only two more siblings to get down here!

This up was a little bittersweet, though, because Eric’s parents were meant to have arrived this weekend, too. They had to delay their trip out to deal with some health stuff (good thoughts/prayers/internet love to my mother-in-law much appreciated!), which is important and necessary, but we still missed them. In fact we re-sang Happy Birthday to Peeper so we could record it and send it to them! Peeper didn’t mind. 😉

Downs

Cornhole
Uncle Sean asks for Peeper’s help to win Cornhole at a 4th of July BBQ.

Fireworks Ah, the holiday my noise-phobic toddler and high-anxiety dog love the most! Happy 4th of July! Call me a grump, but I hoped every single boom was the last. We will not be spending Independence Day in town next year. You can find us running away to the mountains somewhere fireworks are illegal.

No sleep Ironically, Peeper slept a few hours through the fireworks and woke up shortly they were finished—and wouldn’t go back to sleep. It was horrible. She hasn’t had a night like that in… oh, a year and a half? We finally left her to cry herself to sleep and she passed out around 5:30, a half-hour before I’d set my alarm to prepare for her party.

Eating struggles I should apologize to all my friends who have to hear the latest tale about how Peeper just doesn’t eat. Not that she’s picky in a I’ll-only-eat-chicken-nuggets kind of way, but in the sense she’s completely uninterested in food. It was worse than usual on Saturday, which led to my redefinition of a meal on Sunday because hey, at least Ritz peanut butter sandwiches and ice cream are calories!

Change

Here’s where I mess up the format. I wouldn’t change anything (except maybe the fact I got 2 hours of sleep on Saturday). Every experience, both good and bad, shapes me as a person and a mother. I learn from some of it (leaving town on the 4th!) and revel in the rest (treasuring the memory of Peeper “getting the baby wet” in the river).

How about you? How was your holiday weekend?

From near and far: Summer family visitors

Summer in Oregon is pretty much the best time/place combo I can think of. With the state’s beautiful weather, easy access to swimming holes and unbeatable hot-weather harvests, it’s no wonder we get a ton of visitors this time of year.

It’s just mid-August and a slew of family members from afar have made the summer even more wonderfully full.

Grandparents - Ten Thousand Hour Mama

Portland Zoo - Ten Thousand Hour MamaGrandparents - Ten Thousand Hour Mama

Eric’s parents drove their mini-RV out from Michigan. They hadn’t seen Peeper since January, so she was quite a bit different! They witnessed her first solid food then; this go around, they joined us for her first camping trip. We also visited the zoo, though Peeper was more interested in playing with leaves and bark chips than watching the animals. And we captured a rare moment: Peeper with all four of her grandparents.

Bill Ryan - Ten Thousand Hour Mama

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My brother, aka Uncle Fuzzy, jetted out to surprise a friend for a camping bachelor party. Thankfully he had a few days to hang with Peeper, too. We went berry picking and played at the park, but the highlights were tickle fights and roughhousing at home. Even better: Uncle Fuzzy will be out later this summer, too!

Welches, OR Old Salmon River Trail - Ten Thousand Hour Mama

Ten Thousand Hour Mama

My sister from another mister Monica and her son T joined us for Peeper’s birthday celebration in Welches. We discovered an island along the Old Salmon River Trail and plotted a camping trip at the secret spot. T pretended to fish in the creek, and Peeper pointed at the water a whole lot.

Ten Thousand Hour Mama IMG_4866

My younger sister and her husband moved from Berkeley to Seattle this summer. Now that they live much closer, that means more games of chase and high fives lessons for Peeper.

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We also visited Mr. T for his big 4th birthday party. He loved his superhero costume (which I ordered from the Etsy shop Fun Kidz Stuff) and his alien-themed party in the park. I enjoy eating blue-frosted cupcakes and wearing bobble alien headbands as much as the next guy. But most of all I loved being with those I care about.

Have you had family visitors this summer? What parts of your town or state do you show off?