Hello ice cream truck, goodbye summer

“Hey, what’s that noise?” I asked. Peeper looked up, her eyes wide. She turned to look out the window. “Let’s go see!” I said. I figured we had to do this one thing before we said goodbye summer.

As quickly as I could, I got our shoes on, picked up Kiwi and dashed outside. The metallic tinkling tune was fading as its source moved farther away. Undeterred, I hurried us along the quiet street.

Then, to my relief, the cheerful song got louder. And then we saw it: the ice cream truck.

Visiting the ice cream truck and saying goodbye to summer inspires me to take stock of what I learned about my daughters—and myself. Ten Thousand Hour Mama

A few times this summer, the ice cream truck has stopped in our neighborhood. The driver must have known about the groups of kids who rove through our block. They play chase, ride scooters, flirt and let the summer afternoons drift by as if time did not exist.

Yet I hadn’t taken my girls out to have their first ice cream truck experience. The truck always seemed to come right before nap time. Or, more honestly, I just didn’t want to deal with the sugar buzz, no matter the time of day.

But summer is coming to a close. Before we said goodbye summer, I wanted the girls to say hello, cream truck! Read more

Pure summer: How to make a wildflower crown

You belong among the wildflowers
You belong in a boat out at sea
Sail away, kill off the hours
You belong somewhere you feel free

Nothing quite says summer like strolling, picking wildflowers and weaving a crown. Don’t believe me? Make one and see for yourself.

Want to wear something DIY that's pure summer, either for yourself or your kids? Here's how to make a wildflower crown! Ten Thousand Hour Mama

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Family camping at Stub Stewart State Park

Family camping at Stub Stewart State Park, less than an hour outside Portland, Oregon, is great for families new to pitching a tent with kids. Ten Thousand Hour Mama

What better way to celebrate Father’s Day than a family camping trip? That was my thought when I booked a campsite at Stub Stewart Park, an Oregon state park less than 45 minutes west of Portland.

As soon as I committed us, though, I had flashbacks to the last time we went camping. (I wrote about my sleepless nights in the tent for PDX Parents’ Happy Campers, a guide to family camping in the Northwest.)

This trip—made slightly more complicated by the addition of a second kid who, btw, wakes every few hours even in the controlled, sound-machined environment of home—didn’t disappoint in the Lack of Sleep Department. But the memories we made camping as a family of four at Stub Stewart more than made up for the dark circles under my eyes.

family camping at Stub Stewart State Park setting up tent

If you’re looking for kid-friendly camping spots near Portland, here’s the lowdown on family camping at Stub Stewart State Park.  Read more

Happy Independence Day – the meaning behind the 4th of July

Happy 4th of July! Ten Thousand Hour Mama

Happy Independence Day!

My aunt and godmother just sent around this photo. My Grandpa Ryan is the tyke in front with the flag. He was also a WWII veteran.

The email from my aunt came shortly after I was complaining about fireworks. Our neighborhood is full of kids, which I absolutely love: They play tag, ride bikes and zip in and out of each other’s houses from breakfast until dusk. They even knock on our door to see if Peeper can play, and they take turns jumping on our mini-trampoline with her. We have a beautiful community.

But they also light fireworks. Perhaps the local fireworks tent had a buy-one-get-five-hundred-free deal, but good grief the explosions. Read more

Chocolate strawberry pops {Kid friendly recipe}

Welcome back, strawberry season. And hellooooooooo chocolate strawberry pops!

If you haven’t been stuffing your face with fresh, just-picked, locally grown strawberries, what the heck have you been doing? Just walk by the farmers market and you’ll smell strawberries warming in the sun.

And it’s u-pick season! If you’re in the Portland area, check out this article about the best u-pick berry farms from PDX Parent.

Now, the girls and I aren’t opposed to simply eating strawberries plain by the pint. But if you’re looking for a healthy dessert your kids can help make, you’ve found it. Recipe below!

Chocolate Strawberry Pops Healthy Dessert Recipe Read more

My peach

pregnancy and peaches

A blog I follow, Mama Said, just posted a poem that shot me back in time.

This summer I went to the orchard with my mom and Peeper. I was almost 8 months pregnant, and the baby girl growing inside me kicked and stretched, making me wince—and smile.

We had come for the cherries (and the farm animals, which Peeper simultaneously loved and feared), but it turned out that peaches were in season, too. We made a short detour on the dusty road, pulled over and found ourselves under a canopy of trees buzzing with sweetness and potential.

I didn’t have a bucket or a spare bag, so I balanced the peaches I picked on my belly. And I couldn’t resist—I bit into one (or, ah, several). I ate them surrounded by branches heavy with fruit, and the juice dripped down my chin and stained the shirt stretched taught over my big belly.

They tasted full—alive, vibrant, practically bursting with flavor.

Peeper was less interested in fruit picking than she was in feeding the goats, so we left not long after that. I drove us home, my sticky hands leaving smudges on the steering wheel, as Kiwi squirmed inside me and Peeper sang “Old MacDonald” in the back seat.

My life felt like those peaches—full and vibrant in the sweetest way.

14 months

In the last month, Peeper has gained the gift of gab. I’m astounded by the words she says: In addition to the baby basics like ball, cat and bye-bye, she names moles (her papa and I are marked by a constellation of ‘em) and clocks (despite our not owning one; she learned the word at her grandparents’ house and by looking at books).

Sometimes she gets a bit mixed up by her limited vocabulary. A few weeks ago we went to the farmer’s market, where they were offering free pony rides. When Peeper saw the horses, she shrieked, “Dog!” Um, close enough.Ten Thousand Hour Mama - Horse at Black Butte Ranch

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