How your family can help kids thrive in school

I’m still riding the enthusiasm and excitement from the back to school season over here. Peeper is already adjusted to her half-days of pre-K (no tears, just a quick squeeze before we say goodbye!). And Kiwi just started homeschool preschool—more on that later! But not every child has what she needs to excel in school.

Back to school season is exciting - but not every child has what she needs to succeed. Here, 4 things your family can do to help. Ten Thousand Hour MamaBack to school time is exciting, but many kids don't have everything they need to succeed. Here are 4 ways your family can do good. Ten Thousand Hour Mama

School supplies lists can get expensive (the average family spent $100-200 on the required pens, pencils and binders, according to a national study), and that’s not even factoring in other expenses like clothes, electronics (required by many schools) and other items.

I wrote about how we can help ensure all the kids in our community start school ready to learn and thrive in my latest column for PDX Parent.

In it, I explore how even families with little kids—who don’t have many opportunities to volunteer in the traditional sense because they’re too young—can pitch in.

Your kids may be too young to volunteer, but any family can do good in their community by helping all children thrive in this back to school season. Here, 4 things you can do to help! Ten Thousand Hour Mama Read more

The best children’s books about grandparents

September 10 was Grandparents Day—a holiday that should come more than once a year, I say, especially because of how phenomenal my kids’ grandparents are. Although Grandparents Day has passed, we continue to love reading these children’s books about grandparents—and I have a feeling your kids’ grandma and grandpa would love them, too!

The 15 best children's books about grandparents will make your kids smile—and are a great gift idea for Grandma or Grandpa. Ten Thousand Hour Mama

This post contains affiliate links. If you click and buy, I earn a very small portion of your purchase—which helps me earn a living (and support my family)! Read more

Embracing a child’s joy in the rain

“Raining!” Kiwi shouted, her face beaming and shower-splattered. “Raining! Raining!”

As she ran, her joy in the rain was contagious. “It’s raining!” I echoed, laughing.

It rained this weekend—barely, but anything to quench our burning state’s thirst is welcome. As huge swaths of Oregon burned this summer, we played indoors, asked school to cancel outdoor recess, canceled trips. The inconveniences we endured from smoke-filled air are nothing in comparison to the communities ravaged by forest fire.

So as we skipped and stomped in the shallowest of puddles, the rain felt healing—like the most welcome weather in the world.

It's a welcome change to embrace a child's joy in the rain when the weather brings relief for the summer wildfires in Oregon. Ten Thousand Hour Mama Read more

A mom flashback: Growing from the size of an appleseed

This weekend I had a mom flashback. You know the kind—definitely not triggered by any wild drug but inspired by some everyday reminder of how little your kids used to be and how big they are now.

I was standing at the kitchen counter peeling apples. The girls, my mom and I had picked like 30 pounds of apples at Detering Orchard outside of Eugene over the weekend. I knew I needed to do something with the giant box of apples on the counter, so I started to make applesauce.

And it was peeling those Early Macintosh beauties that gave me the mom flashback.

Mom flashback: Marveling at how my babies grew from the size of an appleseed into giant, beautiful, rowdy kids. Ten Thousand Hour Mama Read more

What I wish I had known about motherhood: Real mom wisdom

What I wish I had known about motherhood: Real mom wisdom

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in the nearly five years I’ve been a mother, it’s this: Fellow mothers are the best source of no-BS, tell-it-to-you-straight mom wisdom you’ll ever hope to encounter. The trouble is we don’t always ask the right questions (or even know what they are), and you probably don’t have other sources telling you the straight-up truth about TMIs like post-birth constipation and just how world-rocking having a baby is. Nearly everyone has at least one “what I wish I had known” detail—so I’m sharing those tidbits of been there, done that know-how from a whole tribe of mom bloggers.

Below, you’ll read about everything: the good (the overwhelming love of your bubs!), the bad (mastitis—need I say more?) and the ugly (postpartum depression and anxiety are real—and all too common). So before you have a “what I wish I had known” about motherhood moment, read on. I can pretty much guarantee you’ll learn something from this mom wisdom—I know I did!

What I wish I had known about motherhood, from breastfeeding to postpartum depression: Mom wisdom from 20 mommy bloggers. Ten Thousand Hour Mama Read more

Mama truth photography: Beauty in the everyday crazy

Mama truth photography: Beauty in the everyday crazy

The morning Portland family photographer Ashley of Weeno Photography was scheduled to come to our house for a Mama Truth Session, I nearly called it off. Eric had been out of town for days. It took me two hours to get the girls to sleep the night before. And then they woke up at 5. But I didn’t cancel. Instead, I thought to myself, “Ashley is about to get more truth than she bargained for.”

Lately, the girls have been challenging. They’re chronically tired and we have been struggling to ensure they get more rest. They fight over ridiculous things (“I want the yellow bowl.” “No mine lellow!”). Kiwi cries and throws epic tantrums that we can do nothing to soothe.

So I’m not entirely sure why I thought I wanted a Mama Truth Session, where photographer Ashley LaMattino-Perlberg comes to your house to hang out for a few hours and captures whatever happens, from making a snack to soothing a booboo.

I think it was our initial contact. “The beauty in the everyday is always there,” she said. “And yet it’s so hard to see it ourselves. That’s why these sessions are so important!” Her words resonated deep within me. And it turns out she is so right.

A Mama Truth family photography session from a Portland photographer showed me the beauty in the everyday crazy of motherhood. Ten Thousand Hour MamaA Mama Truth family photography session from a Portland photographer showed me the beauty in the everyday crazy of motherhood. Ten Thousand Hour MamaWhy mamas deserve candid photos of themselves—and not only staged family photography—to show the everyday beauty of motherhood. Ten Thousand Hour Mama

I’m so grateful we did a Mama Truth photography session, which Ashley did for free for my family. The photos are beautiful, yes. Even more, though, the photographs showed me the beauty of my everyday life with my kids. And get this: Below, you can enter a giveaway for a chance to win half-off a Mama Truth Session with Weeno Photography. And anyone who mentions this blog post by the end of October will get $100 off a Mama Truth family photography session. Read on to find out more and enter!

We received a free family photography session in exchange for a blog post. As always, all opinions are my own. Read more

Kids’ mini mural crawl in North Portland, Oregon

Kids’ mini mural crawl in North Portland, Oregon

This summer I’ve fallen in love with street art. I think it started when two blogging friends and I hit up some of our favorite murals in Southeast Portland, Oregon. Lisa from This Beautiful Day, Jenni from A Well Crafted Party and I caught up (and goofed off) in front of some of the city’s most dramatic street art. Just about every chance I’ve gotten since then, I’ve made detours and special trips to visit Portland murals—and have been bringing my kids along, too. One of my favorite trips was a mini mural crawl in North Portland that both kids joined me for.

This mural crawl for kids was one of the most fun family activities I’ve done recently, partly because it was even more enjoyable for me than it was for the girls. (Pretty sure I’m not alone in planning 99% of our family activities around what the under-5 set wants to do—but not this time!) That said, Peeper and Kiwi really got into the kid-friendly mural crawl in North Portland. (See the photos for proof!)

A mini mural crawl with kids in Portland, Oregon is an awesome family friendly activity when you travel to Portland. Ten Thousand Hour MamaThis kid friendly mural crawl in Portland, Oregon is a super-fun outdoor activity for the whole family when you travel to the Pacific Northwest. Ten Thousand Hour Mama

Part of the fun was the novelty of the family activity: We’d never done something quite like this. Peeper loved directing me and Kiwi so she could take a photo. (She has a good eye, doesn’t she?) Plus, the girls were fascinated by street art. Their wide eyes seemed to say, “Wait, you mean artists can paint giant pictures outside? I thought you said we couldn’t paint on walls!”

Uh-oh, I might live to regret this Portland, Oregon mural crawl. Oh well, it was worth it!

This kids mural crawl in Portland, Oregon is a great family travel activity! Plus, you'll get incredibly family photos in front of street art. Ten Thousand Hour Mama Read more