7.30.2009

Hot, Hot, Hot



It was 108 degrees in some parts of Portland today. It's Day Three of Hotpocalypse, and tomorrow it's supposed to start cooling down to 100, then 90s over the weekend. We Pacific NW folk aren't used to this kind of heat. My webbed feet are melting.

Luckily, both our house and my office are well insulated, so they stay cool. I didn't need to turn on the air conditioning in the office until late afternoon on Monday (it was 103) or Tuesday (105) and today I turned it on around 1pm.

Normally we'd go cool off at the fountains around town, but we've just been staying indoors as much as possible. Shut-ins during summer -- it's almost a crime!

7.22.2009

Farm Fresh Fridays: Round Up

In our lil' experiment to visit a different farm each Friday this summer, we've been able to experience a decent variety of farms on the westside of town. We've decided to skip the bigger, more popular farms like Sauvie Island/Kruger's farms for the smaller farms. For those that live in or near the Portland area, or are thinking of visiting, I thought I'd do a quick round-up of the farms my kids & I have visited during our Farm Fresh Fridays experiment (apologies in advance for some of the bad cell phone photos).

If you live outside of
Portland, do you have a good variety of farms where you live and do they all have kid-friendly activities and areas like U-Pick, picnic areas, play areas, petting zoos, and camps? Let me know! I'd love to hear what other cities and states have, and I'm sure those who live in your area would love to know more family-friendly spots to visit as well!

BAGGENSTOS FARMS


15801 SW Roy Rogers Road
Sherwood, OR 97140

Phone/fax: 503-590-4301

Pros: Big parking lot, large play structure, nice mostly-shaded picnic area, goats & chicken coop U-Pick: Strawberries, raspberries, blackberries during the summer; pumpkin patch in the fall

SCHLICTING FARM

503.625.3312

20225 SW Scholls-Sherwood Rd.
Sherwood, OR 97140

Note: The photos on their website absolutely do NOT do this place justice.
Pros: Friendly staff, beautiful hanging baskets, great selection of fruits & vegetables in the store, super fun "Coop" filled with metal art pieces in shapes of animals and other ornamental decor that our kids loved. U-Pick: Lots of options! Strawberries, cucumbers, zucchini, corn, tomatoes, peppers and more during the summer; pumpkin patch during the fall. You can also pick fresh flowers.

SMITH BERRY BARN

24500 SW Scholls Ferry Rd
Hillsboro, OR 97123-9320
(503) 628-2172
Pros: Kids can feed the goats & chickens, adorable "country store" with ice cream/coffee shop, small selection of fruits & veggies for sale, and some pricey but stylish kitchen accessories and decor. We always get a new retro-style button for my son when we visit (at $1.25 each).

U-Pick: berries during the summer


BLUEBERRY HILL

13794 SW Roy Rogers Rd.
Sherwood, OR 97140
(503) 590-1525

This place is all about picking berries: blueberries, raspberries, marionberries, blackberries. Best blueberries and raspberries around, in my opinion. All at a great price too!


LOLICH'S FARM
Phone: 503.352.4448

18407 SW Scholls Ferry Road

Beaverton, OR 97007

Pros: picnic area, friendly staff

U-Pick: blueberries (but they also have cherries, raspberries, marionberries and more that they've picked & sell in the store)

7.13.2009

Why a Vacation Sans Kiddos Is Not a Vacation

At the start of this month, my husband and I did something we'd never done before: took an actual vacation without the kids. Oh sure, we went to the beach overnight for about 20 hours without them once. We event went to SXSW in Austin, TX for 5 days without them. But overnight trips are quick, and SXSW was crammed with conference and work...and in the same country. We not only left our kids for a few days, but we left the country. Yeah. I nearly pissed my pants from anxiety the entire week before we left (kidding. I just didn't sleep for 5 days. Not kidding about that).

It was a tough call to make: do we take the kids or don't we? We did travel a few times back East and once internationally once with our son when he was younger. Now we've got two kids, including a newly 2 year old daughter who will not sit still in a shopping cart for 2 full minutes, so asking the two to travel for 20 hours? Out of the question. Oh, and my daughter also likes to scream. Loudly. Not just when she's upset, but, well, all the time.

We could have separated them and just took our son while our daughter stayed with my parents, but to separate these two would have been devastating. They LIVE for each other, as I mentioned in my last post. They would have been heartbroken without each other for a whole 5 days. That's a heartbreak that this mama just couldn't live with.

Finally, we really only had 3 full days of non-travel. The kids wouldn't have even had a chance to acclimate before we'd have to leave again.

So the hubby and I went to Zurich to visit family on our own. My parents stayed and spoiled the kids. Zurich with family? Yes, it was insanely fabulous and I loved catching up with my in-laws (who are truly the greatest in-laws on earth; I am so very lucky). Here's hubby and I having a great time in Zurich:


But it was also an internal hell for me. I missed my kids INSANELY. I was so anxious being so far away from them, worried about what could possibly happen and how long it would take us to get back. But the worst part? Everywhere we went, everything we saw, I couldn't help but think "oh, my son would love that" or "oh man, I wish my daughter could experience that at this age." I had these thoughts literally every few minutes. About EVERYTHING. It was bad enough to give my stomach knots and cause more insomnia. You know, because my normal everyday, in-town insomnia isn't bad enough.

I loved this trip...and I hated this trip. That's the awful truth. I know I should be so thankful that we were able to take this time and be together. I love my husband dearly, and we were able to spend some great quality time together. Yet there were the kids...totally happy, having the greatest time being taken to a million super fun places and being doted on every second by my parents...and me being quietly miserable thousands of miles and oceans away.

So now that we've done the trip I can honestly say that I never want to go anyplace for a vacation that long and that far away without my kids again. No way. I suck at it. I've traveled, I know what it's like, but this is their time. It's time for my kids to see the world together, it's my job to show it to them and I would absolutely love nothing more than to see the world through their excited youthful eyes. Next year, we're taking 2 full weeks and taking the kids to Switzerland, Italy, France and maybe Germany. Now I just need to figure out how to pay for it...