The Deck is Back!

We spend a LOT of time on our deck. It is a race track, drawing surface, and more. And it was looking, well, a little sad.  After nearly two years of heavy use, most of the stain had worn off of the high traffic areas. Our lovely landlords had it refinished, but the deck guy was very unreliable and it took a long time. Thankfully, it is finished now and the weather is nice enough that we can start playing on it again!

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Rex and Chloe romped up and down the newly finished deck yesterday before we put the furniture back on it.

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I also rearranged a bit, pulling some new toys outside. The basketball hoop previously lived at the end of the hallway.  The red rolling bin was downstairs in the play room, gathering stuff. We picked it up at a yard sale last summer and it lived next door as a sand/water bin. I’m planning to put sand in it again, as we had the idea to turn his little sandbox into a garden bed. The green/blue basket I bought last year, but never found a good use for it. Now it’s housing the outdoor balls. The white milk crate has a set of “dig digs” (bulldozer, excavator, and backhoe) that haven’t seen much love lately. I’m hoping that moving them will give them new life.

We also bring out a couple of ride-on toys when we’re playing, but since it is still raining fairly regularly, they have to live inside when they’re not in use. I have some ideas for building a covered “garage” so the vehicles can stay outside without getting ruined.

Also on the docket is a new gate to keep the kiddos safe (see half-assed gate in the first picture) as the old one was removed when the deck was repaired. (It was broken and due for replacement anyway.)  But more on that later.


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.


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.


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.

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.)

Guitar and Hat

We blew Rex’s mind yesterday by taking him to his first (toddler) concert.  We went to Rain City Coffee to see Mo Phillips. You should have seen his eyes light up when, not only did he have a hat, but a guitar and harmonica, too!  After a couple of songs, Rex finally got out of our laps and joined the group of kids boppin’ around on the carpet.  It was a lot of fun and we enjoyed it thoroughly. Mo had a variety of original numbers as well as a few classics with a twist (I particularly liked his version of “Row, Row, Row Your Boat”).  We finished out the morning with brunch at a nearby Sushi Land and he was asleep before we were halfway home.

2014-01-25 09.53.49Ready to rock!

2014-01-25 10.02.10A hat AND a guitar?!

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Toddler Sensory Activity

We’re trying to soak up the last of the sunshine before it runs away. This last week afforded a beautiful day on the deck where I was able to let Rex have a sensory activity.


I took a large sheet pan (this one purchased at a restaurant supply is a full sheet size that I usually use for making granola) and filled it with assorted containers as well as a couple of spoons.  I added four containers of sensory materials: flax seeds, sunflower seeds, steel cut oats, and rice.  I went with small, edible items that wouldn’t be choked on if tasted.

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Oddly enough, Rex wasn’t interested in tasting this particular activity.  (He eats chalk, bark, rocks, and paper any chance he gets, but you give him an edible activity and he doesn’t even bring it near his lips…)  His favorite part seemed to be reaching into each container, bringing out a handful, and then dropping it onto the deck to see what it did.

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After a while, he finally picked up some of the containers, dumping them out completely.  Gravity!


He then examined the empty containers, to see where the contents had gone. He didn’t really utilize the other containers to pour into like I thought he would.  He was more interested in the seeds and things and how they reacted to different removal methods.  All in all, this activity kept him busy for almost an hour and was easy clean-up (I just swept it off the deck for the birds). This is definitely one we’ll do again.

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After our activities with grains, we went down to the yard and played in the leaves.   All in all, a beautiful fall day.