Teaching Ollie How to Fly!

Out of nowhere the other day, Ollie asked me to take the training wheels off the bike he got for his 5th birthday. Yes!! I loaded up the kid's bikes, put a big wrench in my purse, and off we went to the park. I've been told by other moms that the trick with teaching kids how to ride with no training wheels is this - start them off on a tiny, sloped hill. That's it! That's the magic! And boy does it work! I spent about two months soothing my daughter through frustrating crashes on the sidewalk in front of our house when she was ready to learn, which showed me that she is determined and a wee bit competitive with herself. Once she got it though, there was no stopping her and now she is a speed demon! As always, Oliver wants to do what she can do so...

Off he goes!

Rachel was so encouraging!
Thanks for the help, but we won't be needing you anymore!
I just love this bike!
So proud!
After doing such a great job a little break was needed, so they climbed up this birch tree. 

A Great Blue Heron was fishing nearby. I wish I'd had the telephoto lens my Dad sent me for my birthday. Maybe next time.

The kids had such a great time that we went back on Saturday with Andy. Ollie is wearing the same green shirt in these pictures, but it was clean - I promise!

Thanks for looking...


Wish List

The view from the bottom of the Eiffel Tower last fall...

I've been seeing lists all over people's blogs and I really love the idea. Some are birthday-related, like hula seventy's fantastic one, and then there is the grand Life List that Karen of Chookooloonks put together. Inspired by their lists, and others, I decided to just do it for myself - I'm excited! I turned 38 last week, and while it would be nice to complete these items by my next birthday, I'm not putting any pressure on myself to do that. This is just for fun! I may add to the list, or change what I've listed, but I will definitely be crossing out stuff as I try, do, or complete them! Wish me luck!

Here goes, in no particular order:

  1. Get a massage (or two)
  2. Take Rachel ice skating
  3. Try paddle boarding
  4. Actually use the Project Life kit I just ordered
  5. Learn French - enough to feel confident in short conversations - booking a hotel, buying something, making a joke!
  6. Have more playdates with my friends
  7. Raft down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon
  8. Read The Swiss Family Robinson and Treasure Island with the kids, preferably while hanging out in the hammock
  9. Get really good at making something from scratch, like spaghetti sauce or chicken noodle soup
  10. Take Ollie fishing - with hooks!
  11. Go on safari with my dad
  12. Start taking ballet again
  13. Plant sunflowers in my yard
  14. Make a photo book of my 2009 trip to France and Italy
  15. Take a photography class at PCC
  16. Don't travel for Christmas this year
  17. Ride my bike more
  18. Celebrate my birthday, Bastille Day, in France
  19. Have more spontaneous dance parties in the living room
  20. Make a magical thinking jar  started 7.21.10
  21. Less coffee, more green tea
  22. Take Rachel horseback riding in the mountains for her birthday
  23. Read at least 3 classic books this year (not related to #8)
  24. Try surfing with Andy, but not in Oregon
  25. Make some of the felt softies I bought that book and supplies for
  26. Reorganize my closet (again)
  27. Keep up the hard work in pilates class!
  28. Plan a monthly date with Andy to do something fun, not just a movie
  29. Go back to Hawaii done - August 2010, but I'm keeping this one on the list
  30. Plan a party to celebrate a holiday, maybe Halloween or New Year's Eve
  31. Keep getting better at being on time - try being early!
  32. Take the kids kayaking or canoeing
  33. Create a craft space that isn't in the basement
  34. Eat more fruit & veggies (local, organic, you know, the good stuff)
  35. Get birthday cards mailed out on time to everyone this year
  36. Take a scooter for a ride
  37. Indulge in kindness and goodness
  38. Drink more water
  39. Breathe and relax
That's it so far! What would your list look like?


Picture Summer : Week Two

I've been busy trying to keep up with Picture Summer assignments, and sometime last week, the teacher of this class, Tracey Clark, happened to give us the hint of using photo editing software like Picnik to enhance our pictures. Eureka! And, it's free! I love this program now - it's totally user friendly, it connects with other programs out there like Flickr and Facebook (among others), and did I mention it's free! You can upgrade to a premium subscription which is totally cheap, but I'm having fun right now with the starter stuff. Did you see that I finally made a proper blog banner up there? Thanks to Picnik, I'm on the right track. Thanks, teacher!

July 8 - Treasure Hunters

These are shells and one cool nut that Andy brought back from his surf trip to Costa Rica last fall.

July 9 - The Shape of Things

July 10 - Making Memories

We had a nice summer BBQ in our backyard that Saturday evening, and knowing that there would be a gaggle of kids coming, I got a pinata. The prompt for this day's assignment was to take a picture that, upon looking at it later, would instantly take you back to the moment it was taken. A picture that would tell more of the story than what you see in the photo. This does it for me! I love how fancy my daughter got - although it had been a warm day, as soon as her little girlfriends began to arrive she took them up to her room and they all got fancy! Wouldn't it be fun to go over to your friend's house now and put on her prettiest dress as soon as you get there? I think so! (Provided you're a woman reading this. Ha!)

July 11 - Treat Yourself

There were lots of pictures this day of people treating themselves to milkshakes, pedicures, wine, and the like. For me, this day was all about treating myself to the Open House of the dream home I wrote about a few days ago. This is a picture of my son in "his room."

July 12 - Simple Solitude

My green tea tells me to "First think and then act." Ok, sounds good.

July 13 - Juicy Fruit

I originally took a bunch of pictures of a few nectarines in a basket. They were pretty, but I was experimenting with "antiquing" and they ended up looking country-ish, but not juicy. So, when we went to the farmer's market the next day, bingo! Juicy fruit!

July 14 - Summer Breeze

So, this was a great, special, super nice day! My birthday! Woohoo! I took this picture back in June, but whatever...it was my birthday and I make the rules! More on my birthday later...

Thanks for looking!



Oh man, why do I do this to myself? I am one of those people that can't stop looking at other people's houses - mostly the ones that are for sale. I waste so much time looking at sites like this one, that my husband has wondered if maybe I shouldn't actually just become a real estate agent. No thanks, I'm just browsing! 

So, here is a peek at my latest house crush.

I know, right? This house has it all! An extra wide lot - in the city - beautiful old architecture - so close to our gym and the kids' school...but the best part as I see it is that the inside hasn't been touched since the 70's! It has been a dream of mine for like, decades, to remodel or just plain build a house, the house of my dreams. Here is what I'm thinking about all the time now - just look at the kitchen.

Before (for reals)...


How about the bathroom...

Before (gasp)...


I'm sure I have no chance at this house. We'd have to sell our house first (which isn't even for sale) to cover the 20% down (and plus, who wants to get stuck with two house payments right now?). We really have a wonderful house as it is! It's just not in a part of town that makes sense for us (i.e., driving all over town everyday). It was pretty sweet though to go through the Open House last weekend - as I started to go up the stairs my daughter met me at the top and said, "Mommy, come see! We already picked out our rooms! This will be the playroom..."

I know the carpet is cool and all, but I was thinking something more like...

What? A dreamer can dream! It's what we do!

P.S. Less than an hour until my birthday! Hooray for getting older! : )


Picture Summer : Week One

So, in order to get to know my new camera better, we have been taking a class together. Picture Summer is an all-online class with daily email assignments that will last just for the month of July. I'll show you the pictures I've been posting to the student gallery - it's so fun to put up a picture and then get a couple friendly comments from people all over the country (and beyond) who are doing the same thing! It is a nice little community, and while most of us aren't pros, I think I've already learned some valuable things from my fellow students.

July 1 : This is summer!

Disclaimer - Here in Portland, it happened to rain for the first two days of this class, so instead of taking a new, soggy picture of something drippy and pretending that "this is what summer means to me," I posted a picture I had taken a few weeks previous. Now that it is hot and lovely out - no more excuses!

July 2 : Splashy!

I have to share the INCREDIBLE short story behind this picture! We were out at Short Sands having a wonderful day playing in the sand while Mr. C was out surfing. My kids were playing in a little stream that heads out to the ocean, digging and building sand castles with two other little kids that we didn't know. I was taking shot after shot, messing around with my camera, and noticed that the mom of these new BFF's was also taking pictures of them - the big difference? Her wonderful, long, totally professional-looking lens. Suddenly, she walked over to me and asked, "Would you like to try out my lens on your camera?" I was flustered and said something like, "Oh my god, yes!" through a bunch of schoolgirl giggles, all the while thinking things like "Don't drop it! What if I get it all sandy! How long can I keep it?" Embarrassed, I had to say, "I'm such a newbie! How do I take my lens off?" Thank goodness she didn't laugh at me!

The lens was heavy and intimidating, but I wheeled around snapping away, trying to make the most of the opportunity. In the end, I was extremely grateful to her - so much so that I forgot to ask her name. Way to go, Jenny! Maybe we'll see each other again out at the beach, and maybe this time I'll not be such a nerd.

July 3: Centered

I actually caught our new baby kitty, Star, sitting still for about 12 seconds! I like this picture of her, but I can't stop thinking, "Man, I wish I had scrubbed her face clean first! Get rid of the eye boogers!" Maybe that's how I'll teach myself Photoshop, since that seems like the next step in photo-land. She's a cutie, nontheless.

July 4 : Traditions

I've never been a very big fan of popping, fiery, loud explosives, but guess what? My little boy is!

July 5 : What We're Drinking

There were lots of good pictures of all kinds of drinks, most of them water. I actually ran outside while we were eating dinner because I noticed the sunset was warming up the porch so nicely. I love this glass - we bought it at a yard sale years ago. The lady selling them had three and I remember saying, "We'll take two," and she was like, "No, take three." So, ok, yeah, we took three for the price of two. Gotta love a bargain!

July 6 : Wide Open Spaces

There were many, many beautiful pictures posted on this day, but I was thrilled to get the comment, "This is one of my absolute, all-time favorites." Wow! I told my daughter as I was posting it that she made the photo interesting. As usual!

July 7 : Subtle

I had a hard time with this assignment. I actually didn't post anything because I didn't take that many pictures on Wednesday. It was the first of our close-to-100-degree days, and we spent it shopping in lovely, air-conditioned stores for the bbq we're having this weekend. But, now that I think about it, this picture works.

Already working on the second week - it should be a doozie!


A Day in the Life

Today I...

wore this

thought this was pretty

went here

followed behind

took the secret stairs


Hope you had a great Monday!


The Blues

Since it rained all day yesterday, I didn't take any new pictures. Not even one! Sad. So here are some that I took in June - and I'm beginning to think (now that this picture challenge is over) that there really weren't any rules about running out and taking that day's color on that day. I'm learning though! And, the sun is out again, so we're supposed to have a fab holiday weekend around here! Sign me up!