Awesome Parenting

Sunday and Monday, Sam is at OSCON.  But I think I’m doing a pretty good job as a single-ish parent.

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Coloring outside in your jammies at 10am? Check!

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Watching Netflix until your brain drips out of your ears? Check! (For anyone wondering, that’s his favorite show Signing Time and his favorite episode “My Favorite Sport”.)

Yeah, I got this parent thing down.

 

OCF 2014

Last weekend, we made our annual trip to Veneta for the Oregon Country Fair.  It is an amazing and magical place with an event like no other.  You spend all day there, but it seems like you hardly were there at all. When it’s over, you’re exhausted and dirty and can’t wait to go again.

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Like last year, Rex especially favored the drum circle.  Sam was kind enough to lug his little drums around with us, so our little musician could drum along. He found the half-naked, painted, horned woman and aged tie-dyed hippie dancing together to be just fascinating.  I felt like it perfectly embodied the Fair.

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The weather was quite warm, and while his cheeks were rosy, we kept him pretty cool. Multiple applications of sunscreen and bug spray kept our little guy protected and we poured water down and on him as often as he would tolerate.

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Of course, what he really wanted was to play in the dirt. He came home with a piece of grass, picked from the field we parked in. His favorite souvenir.

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We are very lucky because we know folks who work and camp at the Fair.  Because of this, we were able to take a couple quiet breaks, off the path.  This allowed Rex to air out a bit and stretch his legs (we packed him the Ergo for most of the Fair).

This was Rex’s third fair and he seemed to really enjoy it. We can’t wait to go again next year!

Food & Attractions

As an aside, we stayed in Eugene and visited several nice local places. Obviously, we had breakfast at Off the Waffle (we like the new downtown location). We were pleasantly surprised at the delicious menu of Falling Sky Brewing.  We were less than wowed with the menu at Hop Valley Brewing, but the food was good and the beer was excellent. Don’t waste your time at Morning Glory* unless you’re a vegan who enjoys a pretentious atmosphere and terrible service.

*I could write an entire post ranting about that restaurant, but I’m going to take a deep breath, pull out my polite card, and leave it at that.

To and Fro: Idaho

I dropped off the map this week and popped in Idaho. Rex and I traveled by plane and by car to visit my grandparents.  We flew there and drove back, which made for very interesting packing.  As Rex is now two, he had to have his own seat. I also had to transport his car seat as well as all of our luggage through an airport. By myself. Thankfully, there is no photographic evidence of my pack mule look, but know that it was epic. I packed a week’s worth of clothes and supplies into an adult back pack, a kid back pack, a small messenger bag, and a small black travel bag. Through the clever use of space bags and bungees, everything we needed fit.

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Rex rode on the plane like it was no big deal. In fact, the only thing he was upset about was having to stow his books during take-off and landing.  We were met at the airport by my uncle and dropped off at the great-grandparents’ house. From there we met up at the hotel with my folks and my sister and her family.  All told, I moved Rex’s seat in and out of vehicles and on and off of the car seat dolly over a dozen times in 24 hours…

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Rex took naps in a variety of locations, including on Great-Grandma’s couch.  Buddy, one of her rescue chihuahuas thought napping was a pretty good idea.

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Of course, there were toys and balloons and all of the things that come from a trip with grandparents.

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And he ate more ice cream than he usually does in a month.

All in all, it was a very fun trip.  We got to spend some wonderful time with my grandparents and can’t wait to see them in August at the family reunion.  Rex was so sweet and gave his great-grandparents and his grandparents lots of hugs.  It was so neat to see how he changed this year as compared to our visit last year.

Beginning June

I blink and we’re halfway through June. May flew by like a stealth jet and June is trying to sneak by without a trace. June marked the 2nd birthday of my little boy and I finally tried my hand at making his birthday cake.  A football cake made in a Pampered Chef batter bowl and basketball and baseball cake pops using a BabyPops maker borrowed from my sister.

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We just did a small family affair at my sister’s.  With my older nephew in baseball and all of the vacations coming up, it was simpler to do a little party. Rex enjoyed opening his presents this year, with lots of help from his cousins.

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He was not wanting for gifts as Grandma and Papa bought pretty much everything on the idea list I had sent them… And, after months of waiting, I was finally able to give him his new bicycle!

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Going with the Strider ST-4 balance bike* was definitely the way to go. It is small and lightweight without pedals to hamper him. He can get on and off easily and really enjoys being able to ride a big boy bike on his own. So far he can only go in straight lines, but I’m confident he’ll figure out steering at some point.

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It was a great way to end May and begin June.

 *I purchased Rex’s bike on eBay from a bike shop. It was new, in box, and was a fantastic price.  His helmet came from a local bike shop and was on clearance for $10.

Da Bears

A sunny and not too rainy spring Saturday leant itself to visiting the Zoo this past weekend.  We packed a picnic lunch and made it a short trip, just checking out the Great Northwest animals.  Being spring in the PNW, most of the animals in these exhibits were especially active, as this is their native weather.

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These two bears were having some sort of quarrel.  Either that, or they were putting on a show for the visitors.

This bear was having a late morning nap in the cave.

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The bobcats wanted nothing to do with the people and were being quite standoffish.

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There were also otters (moving too fast to get a picture), eagles (we didn’t get close because they made Rex nervous), and assorted other animals.  This exhibit is all arranged in a forest setting that lets you “hike” around waterfalls, salmon runs, and assorted flora and fauna.  It is really well done and I highly recommend checking it out on your way to view the more exotic animals.

P.S. Other than parking ($2.40), this was a zero dollar outing for us. We used our zoo membership and brought our lunch.  It was a really nice frugal adventure.

Wildwood Trail

One of the benefits of living in this city is the amazing amount of parks and natural areas.  Today we went to Forest Park and hiked a tiny portion of the Wildwood Trail near Pittock Mansion. It was Rex’s first hike and he seemed to really enjoy it.

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I’d scored a $10 kids Poang on Craigslist, but the seller lived waaaay out in NW Portland.  So far in NW that we drove through Forest Park to get there.  Since it was about a 30 minute drive from our house, we decided to make an outing out of it.  We all wore our boots* and enjoyed a bit of mud and nature.

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Afterwards, we hit up Lucky Lab Brewing on NW Quimby for a bit of lunch and a beer for Sam. It POURED rain and hailed for a bit just after we arrived.  Then, all of a sudden it just stopped and the sun came out like it had never happened.  The weather here is weird.

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The Poang is in fantastic shape and looks almost new.  I washed the cover and could barely get it back on before Rex climbed in.  He’s quite pleased with his new chair and I’m quite pleased about my $20 savings.

*Rex is wearing Stonz booties.  They were a little pricey, but well worth it for my small-footed unsure walker. He’s been wearing them since crawling and we often pair them with rain pants from LL Bean.

Operation: Summer Fun

We spent the last three days helping assemble a play structure at our neighbors’ home. We had lots of “help” from the toddlers and all the parents participated.  Since we live right next to each other, this will be used a lot by both families. Chloe enjoyed spending three full days outside with lots of people throwing her frisbee and ball.


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The boys are thrilled and started climbing it before we could put the last screw in! It was totally worth the effort and (minor) injuries.  We have a couple accessories on order to add to it, but it is 99% complete. (I just realized that Sam isn’t in any of the pictures.  He was at work during a good portion of the building and spent the rest of the time helping manage overly “helpful” toddlers.)