Ten on Ten

I'm becoming more and more wedded to the idea of memory keeping. As Stella grows further away from babyhood it becomes increasingly apparent that those moments which felt so vital and central to my being, those "I'll remember this forever and for always" times that seemed as though seared into my brain, fade with time until I can hardly remember how old she was when she started laughing or how we passed the long afternoons together when she was not yet sitting, and still a little colicky.  

I love the idea of a Ten on Ten, a little visual peak into our day. I love the idea of looking back on these pictures four years from now and remembering the rhythm of our days, what it felt like to spend my time with these two little people on a June day when Stella was newly four years old and Hugo was just four months old. 

Inspired by Ronnie, her love of memory keeping, and and this great project, I'd like to put these pictures together in a book, with stories of our days and months, what our seasons looked like, and how it felt to live here, a young family together in Indonesia. 

And, um, apropos of nothing, I'm realizing how difficult it is, really, to take pictures of an infant when he's either in my arms, or tucked into his crib, and we alreay have a million sleeping Hugo pictures, so, sorry Second Child Syndrom? 

::One:: Brushing teeth, with a late start this the morning. And actually, it was about nine o'clock before I remebered that was ten on ten day.

::Two:: I'm undergoing a major closet re-org. Out with most, in with freshly dry-cleaned duds.

::Three:: A trip to the grocery store where Stella likes to "measure" the fruit "by my own". So, OKAY!

::Four:: I've started mandatory after lunch story time as a time to relax together and ensure we get our reading time in each day. So far it's going well. 

::Five:: An unexpected rain storm put the kibosh on our plans for a pool afternoon.

::Six:: Instead we played in the corridoor with the neighbour boy.

::Seven:: And then the sun came out after all. For a brief moment. It was thunder major time right after this.

::Eight:: Oh hi, Hugo. Sorry you have no photos.

::Nine:: Dinner in the day's last light.

::Ten:: With both kids asleep, it's time for me to eat dinner, do a little computer stuff. 

::BONUS!:: And head to bed too. GOODNIGHT! 

Happy Tenth!

Linking up here

Looking Ahead

Santa really knocked it out of the park this year. Much to my surprise, a shiny new full-frame camera was waiting for me under the tree.

I don't think Santa could have come up with a more meaningful gift if he had tried. I was getting frustrated by the limitations presented by my old camera (well, technically it's Mr. Chef's camera, but surrendering your possessions to your partner is true love, right?) My much-loved 50 mm lens was way too tight on my crop sensor camera. And I was really having trouble getting sharp images unless I was outdoors. Not to mention that I couldn't really shoot anything over ISO 400. 


But more then eliminating some pain points, this camera is like a ticket to spend time on a passion of mine. I really love keeping a visual record of or every day lives, and this camera is going to open up so many new possibilities. 

Already I'm feeling five hundred times more inspired. It's like the thrill of going from a point and shoot to a real DSLR, only like, way more exciting.

I haven't really had a whole lot of time to sit down and really learn my new toy, but so far, I like what I see (namely sharpness, light, and a wide open field of view. Oh, and I'm kind of digging that vignetting.)

Here are a few random snaps I took while trying to learn the settings. There's nothing really spectacular here, but look! Light! Clarity! Sharpness! 

I pretty sure that there's a photo a day project waiting for me in 2014. 

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"a portrait of my child, once a week, every week in 2013."

Stella: Feeling proudly independent, and happily swimming on her own. 

We're celebrating Canadian Thanksgiving in Jakarta today and I'm busy in the kitchen. So I'll just pop in and highlight this image of sweet Bo who has traveled all the way to from her side of the world, where we are visiting, to celebrate autumn and the harvest festival in my side of the world. 


I'd love it if you could send a vote or two my way on this happy, thakful day! 


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project life: week fourteen: Sulawesi + bali

Alternate title: here are a million pictures of our vacation, most of them featuring the back of my child's head.

I was congratulating myself for having made so many images of subjects other than my child. But looking through these, I guess I don't really know what the fluffernutter I am talking about. 

I'm a bit behind on my Project Life sitch, which is mostly due to the fact that my vacation has left me totally and utterly exhausted. Too much fun can do that to a person. So can too may 4 AM wake ups, and too few moments spent alone, which for an introvert like me can result in some pretty major orneriness.  

Nevertheless, a great time was had by all. This kid of mine, she was a real star. After a few nights of pretty dramatic papi-separation-melancholia, she jumped right into the idea of being away from our normal routine, christening each new hotel in which we stayed with a new moniker: Bunaken Home, Tomohon Home, Bali Home, and then back to Jakarta Home. 

I guess that's the nature of expat childhood; you kind of learn that home is not a static place, rather it is where you are together with your family. 

Still, we're both trilled to be back in Jakarta home. Stella is dreaming about choo-choo rides with papi, and I'm thinking about consequential and far-reaching matters in homemaking. Like, OMG, totally want to make something with cream cheese frosting, and maybe I should buy a baking sheet, and lets talk about couches for ever and ever and ever, okay? 

Anyway, enough rambling. Here's what we were up to, two weeks ago. 







the discovery of a guitar at our hotel pretty much made her life // building sand castles and decorating them with coral // left the rainy beach for the rainy highlands // toddler style is inexplicable // jungle behind, ocean in front // an after lunch walk and the sun finally came out // the rim of a volcano // I've always dreamt of sleeping in a bed with mosquito netting. so romantic. (I shared it with my kid and her nanny / my friend. less romantic.) // fish at the market in Tomohon, which was so bonkers I've got to tell you about it one day. //

Linking up for Sunday Stills at The Beatle Shack.

Happy Sunday!

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Project Life ::: Week Ten



story-time instead of nap-time // sunny afternoons and a quiet moment with a book // evening at the pool // baking muffins in the darkest of galley kitchens. 


Hey, all of you. A major major major thanks for the continued support. My little ol' blog has inched it's way into the top three spot on Tob Baby Blogs which totally blows my mind and makes my heart swell with more thank-yous than can fit inside. 


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Family Photography in Jakarta

I have some images for you this morning.

Because I went to Yoga for CrossFit last night. 

And then did a CorssFit conditioning workout.

Because I woke up this morning feeling like I'd been hit by a bus.

Because I have a gigantic stack of work to do.

Because I'd rather take a nap.

Because I've been sitting on these pictures for two months. And I lost the CD which houses them. Twice.

I thought I'd better get around to putting these up on the internet.

That's why.





And because I have no self control and because the images are so good, I'll just go ahead and post a billion. Okay? Okay.

The super-talented (and all 'round quality human being) Becks of Viveash Photography made these images for us. And to say that I was pleased is a total understatement. They came out better than I could have imagined. I'll be so happy to look back on these many years from now and remember when we were young and fun and settling into our great Indonesian adventure. 

If you're in Jakarta and looking for portraits or family photography, may I suggest you get in touch with Becks? Because you should. Totally. 

Project Life ::: Week Five

Well week five! FIVE! Already! Time. Clichés, et cetera.

In case you're wondering about my intentions with Project Life, I've finally come to a conclusion re. the Great Scrapbook Dilemma of 2013. Exciting, yes?? 

I walked into a scrapbooking store to buy some paper for Stellla's Valentine cards, and then kind of wanted to punch myself in the face. (Sorry scrapbookers, different strokes and stuff). So that decides it. Photo book it is. 

Anyway, here's what we were up to last week.






Afternoon Painting // Pool-side Bubbles // Pool-side Lounging // Pool-side Playing // Sunday Walk on Car-Free Day // Sunday Kitty Snuggling.

Project Life ::: Week Four

A sick week. Monday started off just fine, but by Tuesday, there were fevers, and tears, and tantrums, and refused naps, and a maneuver which I like to call "force sleep" wherein an exhausted and frustrated parent holds an over-tired, feverish, and super-pissed child still until that sick baby eventually closes her eyes and goes the funsicles to sleep. See? This is the result. 

As you can see, we didn't really leave the bedroom. 

Until we did. And by "we" I mean "she", and by "leave" I mean "escape into the hallway unbeknownst to her mother".

A glimpse into our life, the fourth week of 2013. Again, thanks for the inspiration, Pink Ronnie!


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We've really moved up the charts on Top Baby Blogs. I'd love to see this momentum continue!

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Project Life: Week One

Project 365, you were great and everything, but boy-o-boy, I am not cut out for regiments, schedules, and daily practices. (No one tells me what to do, especially you, self! Ha!)

So, this year, I'm trying my hand at a new sort of project. Project Life. As inspired by Ronnie (whose little corner of the internet would be a great place to visit if you're feeling short on inspiration.)

I won't be bound by schedules, or daily practices. I won't force myself to make a poor quality image if I'm not feeling it. Instead I'll post snipits from our week, maybe on Sundays. Maybe on Mondays. I'm not too sure. Let's see how it goes.

I initially conceptualized this project as a digital-only sort of deal, but now I'm thinking that I'll do a combined digi / actual, printed out, tangible, (dare I say it) scrapbook-esque sort of thing. I don't know. I have a lot of issues with scrapbooks. You see, in my mind, they congure images of middle-age surburban sub-awesomness, (totally my own rediculious deal, scrapbookers of the world, I recognize that my inability to recognize your awesmness is my own failing). Basically, I question their radness, and since I'm already suffering from an existential crisis surrounding my own declining state of rad, it's all just a bit much, you know?

So, anyway, I might print these photos out, in addition to posting them on my blog, once a week. And I might put them in a book of some sort. There may, perhaps, be some washi tape involved. Dunno. But I draw the line at decoupage. OKAY??


Anyway, with that overly angsty preamble, here's week one!



No school, no schedule, no plans, so what to do other than set up the camera and hand the remote to the toddler. 

I swear that Indonesia purposely kept all Christmas gifts in a little corner of the customs office, only to be released after the holidays. These little treasures came from Switzerland and France, my girl was thrilled.

A first birthday party for Stella's best baby friend. And this little one serenaded the whole group with a rousing rendition of Twinkle Twinkle. 

the year that was.

The year in review. Including selfies. Perhaps the most sybaritic piece of blogger trickery imaginable. But. Twelve months ago, at just about this same time, I dove headfirst into the changeover of year. So eager to begin again, I didn't stop to consider what had come before, or what the coming year wanted of me. So. Headfirst with a plan but not much clarity. I didn't achieve many of my professional goals in 2012. A few pieces of writing published, one or two of which I'm particularly proud, but not on the order of what I had expected of myself. And amidst this certain degree of floundering, I don't want to forget to remember what a beautiful year it really was. Now, if you'll excuse me, here comes a picture-laden romp through my memory. Okay. Go.
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Scavenger Hunt Sunday

I so enjoyed last weeks Scavenger Hunt Sunday that I'm joining up again. 

So, we're off!

Beneath Your Feet


Hey pigeons, what's up. I'm beneath your feet. 


Capturing Movement

In Japan, I don't get the impression that pigeons are thought of as the rat of the skies. In fact, they seem to be appreciated. So much so that the shrine at the bottom of my street offers pigeon food vending machines (of course) and a couple of weeks ago, an old lady filled my hands with bread crumbs so that I could feed the flock of pigeons that live on the grounds of the shrine. 



The torii (and dirty lens apparently) at our neighbourhood shrine on a rainy day. Massive tree trunks, green with age.

Face Your Fears

Creepy crawlies are a major fear of mine. Unfortunately I have to face them in Japan. Way more often than I'd like to.



Two years and one hour since my girl was born. Exactly. This was where and when we had her birthday party. Today.

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Scavenger Hunt Sunday

I've been following along with Scavenger Hunt Sunday for a while, seeing the meme pop up on blogs which I frequent, and I've long thought about getting my act together and joining in. But. Well, getting my act together has never really been a strong suit of mine. Until this week when I decided I was going to DO IT I SWEAR. But, turns out that a week is sort and being creative means that you have to get your brainz to work and stuff, so. Anyway. This is what I've got. Hopefully as the weeks go by, my act will slowly congregate, get together, and be strong. Until then....

1. Rainbow


I started off the week with good intentions. I was determined to get writing again, and do all the things, and catch up from last week's chickenpox stagnation, and the previous week's toilet training extravaganza. But see above and acts and my inability to get them together. Ha. Also life totally went kablamo. More on that later. Still, I have a nice notebook and pretty rainbow pens, so.

2. Fluffy


You guys, this one is a total stretch. But...my kid's hair. Some major fluff. As the humidity builds and we enter rainy season it's getting fluffier. And though I know it bodes poorly for adolescence hence, (I mean, helllo...her hair came from some place, and I'm pretty familiar with that particular part of fuzztown), I'm pretty stoked about a return to baby curls.

3. Letters

Ahem. Pass.

4. Metal

My child's favrouite thing in all of creation is riding the subway. And in the ten minutes it takes to get from our stop to downtown, she cycles through sitting on the seat, hanging onto the handles, standing in the aisle, terrifying me with her toddlerish instability (mental and physical), and hanging onto the handrails. 

5. Trees


Not trees exactly, but sorta. Kinda? In our city there are several green buildings. Called thus because they are green. Literally. As in, covered in plants. 



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Beijing Furniture Market {or, a bunch of pictures of stone things}

I'm still reveling in my recent trip to China. And despite Mr. Chef's admonitions that I not talk too much about China on this here blog for fear of invoking his own Sino nostalgia, I'm going to indulge myself once again. Because, whatever, this is MY internet.

Stella and spent a sun-drenched afternoon at the Beijing Furinature Market with our Beijing friends. A massive space, full of trinkets, and curios along side stone lions, goddesses of mercy, and Buddhas by the billions. If you happen to be in the market for a two-story high stone pagoda, well, this is your place. Merchants spread their antique Communist propaganda and "antique" porcelain on tarps in the middle of the market grounds. Further into the inerior there row upon row of permanent stalls where you'll be badgered to part with your money in exchange for silk skirts from Southern China, little Chinese shoes, bracelets, taxidermy sparrows, plastic toys, and strange rocks that sound like a cat when you strike them in just the right way.  It's packed on the weekend, mostly with Chinese tourists, rather than their foreign counterparts.

The atmosphere was something to behold. Shouting, and good-natured insults, bargaining in that particular Chinese style, and the promise of discovering some hidden gem. It was magical. Stella was the star of the show, obviously, being the only foreign kid there. And, thank goodness for that, because I did keep her about about three hours beyond naptime, and it was only the promise of sprinting free amongst the stalls to elicit fawning attention from the shopkeepers that kept a massive meltdown at bay.

If you're in Beijing, this place is a definate must visit. 

IMG_1563 IMG_1567 IMG_1568 IMG_1578 IMG_1587 IMG_1588 IMG_1594
Image credit for above photo: My one-year-old.


Yeah. That one. Who gets picked up and loved by every stranger we meet.

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Shanghai Street Life

What I love best is girt and steel. Gleaming monuments, steel and glass and straight edges, design that makes you think that you might have gotten on a subway train and emerged in the future right along side grunge and noise and chaos and people getting their breakfast at a street stall, two bao zi steaming  in a flimsy plastic bag, and men looking for work, or the lucky ones earning a few honest dollars in the street selling sundries or fixing your bike, or carrying away what the rich don't want. That's Shanghai.

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Beijing Hutongs

I first arrived in China in August 2006. It was hot. The air was stagnant and nothing moved. It wasn't until evening that we got out to explore and as we rounded a corner in our taxi, people came into view. A community of people on dining room chairs, dragged out of still-gaping front doors. A semi-circle of people, formed around a man-made lake, as people ate, gossiped, and stared. In China, life is vibrant, loud, passionate, and in your face. And it's lived outdoors in the streets, where you can get a meal, a shoe-shining, or a haircut.

I spent three years in China, and then moved to Japan. Now, after being away from almost two and a half years, it was time to go back. So we did, my girl and I, to Beijing and then Shanghai.

Beijing hutongs offer a glimpse into this outdoor community. While the hutongs have suffered the ravages of central planning and development, and the ones that still exist are overrun with tourists, mostly Chinese, there still clings a sense of real China around the edges.

My girl and I spent a long time wandering arond hutongs. This is what we saw.


Hutongs are full of mystery and atmosphere, life and noise, food and clatter. The center streets are bustling with tourists, food stalls, young men standing around, and grannies walking kids home from school. Side streets are empty and quiet, but hanging laundry and leaning bikes, and the clatter of a pot and in some deep and distant kitchen and offer hints as to the life behind closed doors.

For more on Hutongs, read The Last Days of Old Beijing. It is a truly wonderful tale of a vanishing way of life.

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Christmas Preview

Seeing as how we're less than two weeks from the big C, I thought I'd better do something about Christmas cards. You know. Because there's still like two weeks to go! Plenty of time! And heyyyyy, I've got things to be finishing and deadlines and stuff, so let's spend the entire weekend day stalking the elusive toddler pose conveying the perfect amount of holiday cheer while staying well on this side of cheeseballz.

We only got ONE good shot. But one is all you need. 

Here are some of the others:


Setting up our shot. Creating a seamless backdrop with my sheets and then allowing my toddler to climb over everything. Because I'm so pro.



Practicing posing. Where posing = running away then coming over to me demanding to see the poorly executed picture.


Christmas Photo Tired Baby

Deciding to do a photo shoot with twinkeling fairy lights and then disovering that the lights that you bought are battery powered and the battery holes are covered by a plastic plate which is screwed on by the world's smallest phillips-head screws and we don't have any screwdrivers small enough but that's okay, I'll MacGyver a solution with a pair of tweezers and some scissors and OH THERE! I got it open, but that's the computer chip so let's go back and unscrew these other screws and now I've stripped the screws and now this is impossible and it's naptime therefore eff everything I'm sending my husband to the hardware store. A poorly executed plan if there ever was one.


Christmas Photo Setup 

Okay, regrouping. Testing the setup with Baby Honey while Stella naps.


Christmas Photos Twinkle Lights 

Run away baby.


Christmas Baby

Trying really hard to get some festive non-cheezy hat photos. (Shuddup. It's not a cheezy idea.)



With a very suspicious toddler.


Who is obviously taking none of my bs.


I tired really hard for the hat photo, guys. It just wasn't hapening.


Anyway, there you go. 


Friends and family, from the above outlined evidence, you can expect your cards sometime before Valentines day.


Internet, I'll post the winning picture on Christmas Day! Hooray! You WIIIIIIINNNN!


****Updated to add*****


OMG BLOGGY FAUX PAS!!! I forgot to attribute this idea! I got it here! I wasn't trying to be mean and steal stuff like ideas and things, but I just forgot! I swear! I forgot! Anyway, Baby Rabies gave my the idea, and you can go there now for a wonderful tutorial on how to take photos JUST LIKE THESE (with hopefully a more willing participant).

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