Summer Splashing

Last night at Grant Park:

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This morning at Blue Lake Park:

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Trying to get in a bit more summer fun before August zooms away…

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Randomly on a Friday

Rex has mastered the word “no”. He uses it at every opportunity.  My formerly compliant child has turned into an opinionated two-year-old and I’m having trouble coping. We’re working on Mama taking lots of deep breaths and Rex saying “yes”.  It’s a process for sure.  In the meantime, he’s making up for his new, uncooperative attitude by being extra cute.

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We took Rex to a Mr. Hoo show in the Woodlawn neighborhood this morning. Afterwards, we wandered down the street and hit up a little coffee shop. I was surprised to see a Jack Rose on the cocktail menu.  It was too early for cocktails, but the coffee was quite good.

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On our way out of the Woodlawn neighborhood, I saw some cool graffiti.  I love the little space ship.

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Also, how the heck is it August?

 

Summer Company

We had company come to stay with us for the last week. Wednesday-Sunday, we hosted the lovely Liisa and Shanti (and Dobby!). Sunday-Tuesday, we had another set of friends with their two youngest daughters. We whooped it up, visiting lots of local sights and eating way more than we should. OMSI, the Zoo, Pearl District, etc. We hit a few new-to-me shops including Penzey’s, where I got dried chives and shallots to experiment with homemade ranch mixes.  We also did the tour of Bob’s Red Mill and spent some time in their factory store. (Dave’s Killer Bread is made across the street, so the entire block smells like a bakery.)

2014-07-25 10.29.33Bob’s Red Mill Whole Grain Store

At the Zoo, Rex decided he was afraid of most of the animals. He was mainly interested in the lions (the cubs are getting so big!) and the boa constrictor.  The giraffes and the hippos were ok, as long as we didn’t get too close.

2014-07-29 11.33.16Mama Rex Selfie at the Zoo, in front of the lions.

I love having friends visit, but I am looking forward to a quiet day tomorrow. I may just stay in my stretch pants all day…

 

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.

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.

A Trip to the Zoo to Meet the Lion Cubs

Recently, the mamas went on an adventure to the Washington Park Zoo with toddlers in tow. We thought ahead and packed stroller, Ergo, and lunches.  It was the first really beautiful day of Spring and (unfortunately) the first day of Washington schools’ Spring Break… The zoo was busy, but we had a great time anyway!

2014-04-07 11.03.39Ready to see the animals!

2014-04-07 11.21.05This polar bear kept swimming up to the glass, doing a flip and swimming away. The kids just loved it!

2014-04-07 11.45.33The entire lion pride was out, enjoying the sun.  Two of the cubs were wrestling while their sibling worked on breakfast.  Daddy lion was less than impressed with their antics, especially when they tried to include him in their wrestling.

2014-04-07 11.49.56We saw a lot of sunbathing.  The cheetahs were napping in the grass.

2014-04-07 11.59.19The hippos were sunbathing on the rocks.

Packing our lunch was definitely the way to go. When the kids started to melt, we just stopped at an open bench and fed them lunch. You could hear the entire tone of the Zoo change as noon approached.  There was a steady din of crying children and irritated parents that got louder as time went on. So, parents of toddlers (or any age children), pack food!  When you start hearing the irritation of empty bellies happening around you, EAT.  It made our trip much more pleasant.

As an aside, we were lucky enough to get a Zoo membership through Sam’s work.  But, as with the OMSI membership, they pay for themselves very quickly. We’ve gone four times now and all we’ve paid for is parking. Our particular memberships also allow guests in (quantity depends on membership), so they make it easier to go with visiting friends and family.  If you can afford a membership to a local museum/zoo/etc. that you really enjoy, do it!