Pumpkin Patch!

IMG_3625This has been the most incredible fall! We are in peak leaf season right now. Every view, even in a parking lot, is breathtaking. It makes me so giddy! I love fall and feel so lucky to live in a place with fall color.

IMG_3615This weekend we visited “our” farm, Gathering Together, for a CSA member pumpkin harvest celebration. It was sunny, about 60 and I was so excited. They welcomed us with freshly made potato donuts, hot apple cider (from a friend’s farm – La Mancha – the best!), chips and house made salsa, coffee, and house-made wine! We saw a bunch of friends, including one of my students. ๐Ÿ™‚ Then we gave ourselves a little farm tour (we didn’t wait for the farmer to give us the hayride), walked out to the huge pumpkin patch and hunted around for just the right ones.

IMG_3618It was the perfect day.

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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. ๐Ÿ™‚

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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!

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. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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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!

Mini-retreat

This past weekend, two of my closest friends that I’ve known since high school came to visit. We all turn 35 this year, so we wanted to get together. We live all over the country. The last time we were together was over 3 years ago. It’s been way too long.

Taken by Lourdes Irizarry slacklinedesign.com

Taken by Lourdes Irizarry slacklinedesign.com

I picked them up in Portland where we ate, shopped, recharged, and shopped some more. That pretty much sums up our weekend, actually. We ate our way through town, taking breaks to play legos and read books with the girls, and then back out for more food.

But there was so much more than that. These girls have been in my life longer than my husband. They know me deep down. There is no drama, no expectations, we just are. Together. These girls can give me one quick little look and it changes the way I think about things for days. This is so rare for me right now. I took a break from being a mother for the weekend. I was as off-duty as you can be when you’re still at home.

After driving back up to Portland to drop off the girls at the airport (and eat, and shop), I realized that I felt like a person again. Not just a mother. I needed this retreat time so desperately.

Of course, I love being a mother and would be miserable if I wasn’t, but it is crazy intense and never-ending. To have a break from it was so much fun! I left the weekend with memories, a stronger sense of myself, energy for my family, and some really cute clothes.

I’m hoping to plan some more get-away time soon. You should too!