Portland (kid-free!)

John and I recently celebrated our 1o year anniversary and traveled for the first time by ourselves since having babies. Portland is one of my absolute favorite U.S. cities. If you have not been, hop on a plane right now and go! This is the perfect time to visit.

Food

One of the things John and I were most excited about was eating. Portland has some incredible restaurants and while most of them are kid-friendly, we could be a little more adventurous, wait in longer lines, and order whatever we wanted because we didn’t have to share with little people who can be picky. 🙂

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Our first stop for dinner was the recently-opened Grassa, because our friend, Ian, is the chef there! And also, because he hand-makes pasta and makes amazing food. Grassa lived up to the hype and was delicious. We loved watching the pasta being made while listening to records.

Broder for breakfast has been on our list of places to go for a long time. We tried once before, but had the girls with us and couldn’t wait in line (there almost always is a long one on the weekend). Yum!

Several friends highly recommended tapa restaurant Toro Bravo (another restaurant with a usually-lengthy wait) where the shrimp was incredible.

Luce was insanely good. This tiny restaurant was absolutely adorable and the food was divine. I felt like I was in Italy again.

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Of course, you must visit Salt and Straw – the famous ice cream shop. It was as delicious as we had heard; so good in fact that we went twice.

Coffee/Drinks

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Albina Press is a friendly grungy coffee shop that we have loved for years.

John recently went to a conference in Portland and visited Secret Society, where he couldn’t wait to take me back to on this trip.

I found a little champagne bar called Ambonnay with a friendly owner and warm space, conveniently located next to Olympic Provisions that I loved.

Fun

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We wandered the Portland Art Museum, leisurely, for hours. We were lucky enough to catch the Cyclepedia exhibit (John was so excited). I was entertained by the preschool class on field trip there (and even more so by the parent chaperones attempting to keep the preschoolers’ hands off the bikes). We also caught the Gaston Lachaise exhibit, (a French sculptor – we had the best timing!)

Of course, we wandered Powell’s for ages and found some adorable drawing books we bought the girls.

We strolled for a bit around Mt. Tabor Park (an ancient volcano right in Portland) until I got blistered too badly and had to go back to the car and change shoes for our antiquing trip through Sellwood.

 

Just a sampling of our favorites from our trip to get you started on yours! Bon Voyage!

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10 Years!

Newport Bay

Newport Bay

John and I recently celebrated our 10 year anniversary (!) by retracing our steps of our honeymoon. We both grew up in Florida and lived there until 8 years ago. Neither of us had been to Oregon, but we both had a pull toward it and decided to travel here on our honeymoon. We actually stayed a night in the town we now live in because John thought there was a chance he would apply to grad school here.

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Boiler Bay

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Bob Straub State Park

My parents came out for a couple of weeks and John and I left the girls with them – our first trip away from them – while we drove up the coast, ate our way through Portland, and spent some time in wine country. It was my first vacation away from the girls. I went away for a few days to visit friends several years ago, but I’m not sure if that counts because I was pregnant and sick the whole time. 😉

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Bob Straub State Park

Cape Lookout State Park

Cape Lookout State Park

We stopped on a whim at Cape Lookout State Park and hiked along a steep, rainforested cliff hoping for a clearing and view of the ocean. It was one of my favorite things about Oregon – the wet, green forests full of ferns and moss that open up into incredibly dramatic views of the ocean.

Cape Lookout State Park

Cape Lookout State Park

Twin Rocks

Twin Rocks

We stopped for the night in a small, loveable coastal town in a motel that looked out on the ocean. We were charmed and dreamed of having a place of our own on this coastline.

Manzanita

Manzanita

I missed the girls terribly, but enjoyed the spontaneity, leisurely pace, and ability to do things that we couldn’t have done with the girls tagging along. I’ll try to post more adventures from Portland soon. These photos were all from the first day!

Link love: kid activities

Ahhh, summer. Our mornings are so much more relaxed these days, but there is also so much more time to fill!

Here are some sites to inspire:

photo by Kate from An Everyday Story for Playful Learning

photo by Kate from An Everyday Story for Playful Learning

I’ve linked to Playful Learning before, it’s a wonderful site full of authentic activities your children (and you!) will love to experience together. The page of Activities for Kids has all kinds of fun inspiration – from art activities to well being.

Did you press flowers as a kid? I did and loved finding forgotten flowers as I was reading the books I used to press months later. Here’s a little tutorial to walk you through the process.

photo by Skip to My Lou

photo by Skip to My Lou

Skip to My Lou is a fabulous resource of parenting activities – including tons of great gift ideas for teachers! I love this list of literature based activities, especially this lupine seed packet to partner with a reading of Miss Rumphius.

When the weather is beautiful, we like to move our everyday activities outdoors. The girls love to paint outside and the clean up couldn’t be easier. We love using natural materials for stamping or painting.

This just seems wrong, but the girls got sick this week. Ginger seems through the worst of it, but I’m still constantly worrying about Ruby’s cough. We use many of these home remedies for the girls to help them get through their funk. Fingers crossed they’ll be back to themselves quickly, especially because Grandma and Gramps are here!

Any fun activities or helpful sites you can share?

Big Changes

Summer is in full-swing here. Ruby is out of school (a first-grader now!). We’ve had lots of sunny warm days and we’re all gearing up for big things to come this fall.

First day of kindergarten

First day of kindergarten

Last day of K - I think she's grown up a bit, yes?

Last day of K – I think she’s grown up a bit, yes?

This kid will be going to preschool.

IMG_2901(hopefully she won’t break too many hearts)

AND, I will be going back to teaching! A half-time kindergarten teaching position opened up in our school district, so I applied, went through an intense interview process including teaching a lesson to kindergarteners I’d never met before while the hiring committee of seven people observed (yikes!), and got the job! I’m so excited and proud.

It’s going to be a biiiig adjustment for all of us this fall and I’m a little nervous about that (moms, any advice on balancing working outside the home, taking care of your own little ones, the house, and yourself???) but in the meantime, I’m going to soak up as much of this as possible:

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Happy Summer!

Ruby is six!

I can hardly believe that I have been Mama for six years. I am insanely proud of this girl.

IMG_3012Ruby’s birthday fell on a school day, but John took the afternoon off to help us celebrate after she got home. We baked cupcakes and opened gifts – including the card that Gigi wrote by herself and the gift she gave Ruby – noodles. “Because I know that Ruby really loves noodles.” Ruby was gracious as she opened each gift, oohing and aahing over everything; appreciating the thought, time, and effort that went into choosing and making each special present for her.

IMG_3017The next day, we hosted a small birthday party for her – a pink and purple ice cream cone party at her request.

IMG_2703She painted ice cream cones for the invitations.

IMG_2812We hung giant ice cream cones on our front porch to greet Ruby’s friends.

IMG_2801The kids dressed up their ice cream cones with seriously delicious toppings that Ruby picked out at Trader Joe’s (easiest party idea ever).

IMG_3030Then outside to burn off some sugar and enjoy the perfect weather! The girls took turns racing each other with “waffle balls” balanced on top of ice cream cones. Ruby is concentrating very hard.

This kid is growing up way too fast for me. Ruby still loves to snuggle up and read with me, but she is somehow old enough to have two wiggly teeth too. She has taught me so much, these past six years. I’ve learned more about love and letting go than I imagined possible. She has always had a fiercely independent spirit and challenged me to honor that. Ruby observes and memorizes details, loves to play with Ginger, and speed read her chapter books. She is thoughtful and wise and my hope is that she holds on to her strong sense of self while remaining compassionate towards others.

This is one special six-year-old.

 

La Petite Vie’s new website

John has been hard at work creating a lovely little website for me.

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It’s a hub for everything La Petite Vie. You can find links to my shop, blog, twitter, facebook, and read detailed information about the shop. I’d love to hear what you think of it!

I am also excited to announce that I have added soy candles to the shop as well! The popular and beautiful Fresh scent is available now. I will be adding more scents in the near future. (Any requests?) My friend, Lynn, made these adorable letterpress tags for the candles. Aren’t they sweet?

il_fullxfull.457261671_1esnil_570xN.452885053_gfx2I made this addictive little bee balm in the Fresh scent for Satsuma Press’ shop. You’ll just love it, I promise!

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photo of little bee balm by Satsuma Press

Three!

My sweet little Ginger turned three! IMG_2538

We had a quiet celebration with the four of us at home. (We had big plans, but alas, Ruby was very sick and on breathing treatments every four hours. So sad! Plans are postponed.)

Ginger’s only requests were for treats. She named everything she could think of in the weeks leading up to her big day. In the end, I decided for her and made a chocolate cake with chocolate filling and cream cheese frosting.

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She was thrilled.

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Gigi is a silly little girl, always making funny faces and jokes. She is super smart and already starting to read! She is the absolute sweetest kid. She’s the first one to cheer someone up, crawl into your lap for a snuggle, and give sloppy kisses. I couldn’t love her more.

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