Three Stories Up: A Lookout Tower Weekend in Central Oregon

A short time after Lucie was born last September, Ted called me from work and said, “Here are the dates for a four day weekend in February, I want you to have fun finding somewhere to go, just the three of us.”

Let me tell you, if there’s anything a house-bound postpartum traveler wants to hear, it’s “Cheer up, love! Let’s book our next adventure. Put a bit of fun on the horizon.”

- Photo collection & travel notes from our first vacation as a family of three -

lookout-tower-weekend-in-central-oregon

It felt so good signing in to one of my favorite day-dream corners of the internet (Airbnb), and getting the trip-planning gears turning again. Continue reading

Orbit

Here we are, on the far side of the sun.

At that half-way point between birth-day and birthday.

Closer to one than zero.

babyOregonian turned six months old this week, and planet earth’s orbit is headed back toward that place in space where we hung in the skies last September 17th.

Funny what seems new, what feels familiar.

Continue reading

Walking With African Elephants

Today’s my mom’s birthday. And Abraham Lincoln’s. And…a sweet little friend of mine named Amelia: a little girl who happens to love elephants very much.

When Ted and I were in South Africa in 2012, little 1+ year old Amelia saw pictures of elephants in my Instagram feed, and her mom told me about her excitement.

I’d intended to write a story about the facility we visited and their elephant program, but after the day’s experience and the additional research Ted and I did about the system of elephant “rehabilitation” they purported to provide (and after the fruitless series of emails we exchanged with the operators, asking for more transparency in their operation), neither of us could in good conscience recommend the place.

I ended up writing a different post (The Questionable Ethics of Wildlife Tourism in South Africa), and later on in Asia we steered clear of animal-related tourism, including the famous Asian Elephant parks. We’d become awfully jaded, tired of petting zoos masquerading as medical centers, tired of tourists buying into the bull.

Yet, there was something undeniably amazing about standing next to those mighty animals that day in South Africa…

This year, I’m dedicating a little collection of elephant photos to Miss Amelia on her third birthday. Continue reading

High Desert to Hawaii: Our 2014 Itinerary

And then there were threeOregonians, with new adventures ahead!

Ted and I managed Pacific Coast beach runs and northwest road trips in 2013, but last year was really all about returning from our journey around the globe, pioneering life in Oregon once again, and growing a sweet little girl from scratch.

This year, we’re pulling a few repeats, but we’re also branching out, braving border crossings, and attempting a few plane rides with a baby. (Speaking of border crossings, I need to get Passport paperwork done for the wee one.)

20140205-121428.jpg

While this current winter snowstorm pummels us here in Portland, I’m anticipating trips out and about to Oregon’s high desert and rocky coast, rural Texas, “Beautiful British Columbia,” and (!) out into the middle of the Pacific Ocean to the warm and welcoming Hawaiian Islands. Here’s a sneak peek of where you’ll be seeing us in 2014: Continue reading

As I Went Down to the River: Champoeg State Heritage Area

Our January days are flowing calm and quiet, one into the next. A bit like the Willamette River ambles through winter landscape when there isn’t excess Oregon rainwater to manage or riverbanks to break.

I’ll take it.

This rhythm.

Willamette River at Champoeg State Heritage Area

It’s different than travel: the go-go-go of new scenes and cities each day.

Different than work: tasks and client meetings dotted through familiar Portland and surrounds.

It’s a new sort of productive meander Continue reading

In the Rear View Mirror: Favorite Trips of 2013

It’s an odd New Year’s Eve. I’d planned to post this collection of memories from our 2013 travels, but I woke up to two glitches: first, my web host’s servers were down and I couldn’t access my site, and second, the black and silver analog clock that hangs in the middle of my house was stuck all day at 6:45am.

It’s funny how time passes and how we choose to keep track.

Continue reading

A Wild Christmas Tree Grows in Oregon: New Traditions for Our Little Family

It sounded like a romantic notion, bundling up the 2.73 month old and venturing into Oregon’s Mt. Hood National Forest to cut down a wild Christmas tree…but how did it actually go, you ask?

A December freeeeeezing snap wrapped our city in a bone-chilling cold (a dozen degrees Fahrenheit is pushing it for temperate Portland), but the skies were filled with sunshine and the Saturday roads were clear, so we borrowed a pickup, threw in a handsaw, packed a bag of dried fruit, jerky, and chocolate and a thermos of cocoa and set out as a little family of three toward the village of Zigzag, Oregon near the timberline of Mount Hood.

All we needed was a Christmas tree permit and a Christmas tree.

Seems straightforward, right? Continue reading

Kurt Dehut: Travelbrag with a Heart

It’s refreshing to come across a little tongue in cheek travel humor. Especially when it’s from someone with wicked wit and a good heart.

You know that friend who pops up on social media with something interesting to say, posting photos that tell mini-stories and quips that make you laugh (oh, let’s be honest) chuckle out loud?

Kurt Dehut is that friend.

We met as young kids, and for a short time, our two families (five boys and a girl, each, funnily enough) actually lived on the same rural road in Oregon. Now, Kurt’s based beyond the state line in southern California (and soon moving to Tennessee!), but judging by his Facebook feed, he loves packing his bags and spending time across other borders, too.

Kurt is an advocate for orphans around the world.


“This is the album cover for a new boy band: The Mighty Orphan Power Rangers.” (Mariupol / Ukranie) -Kurt, Facebook…via Instagram…

Kurt was one of the first kids I remember meeting who had an adoption story to share: his own.

Twenty some odd years later, he still shares with his friends about his love for his adopted family. Case in point: the Mothers Day “card” he posted on Facebook this past spring. Oh my word. Continue reading

babyOregonian: 80 Days in Pictures

We’ve had our little babyOregonian for the span of time it took Jules Verne’s character Phileas Fogg to circumnavigate the world. It’s Lucie’s 80-day birthday!
Home Sweet Home: Go Oregon! At Autzen StadiumEight Week old Lucie at her first Oregon Ducks Game

We haven’t made a second trip around the globe, but we’ve now been around the block a time or two these past few months when it comes to diapers, baby baths, and try-it-and-see bedtime routines.

Speaking of, we’re not racing time for the sake of a wager, but we’ve certainly spent weeks up around the clock, desperate to get Lucie to shut her eyes and go to bed so we could have just a little time to ourselves. (Lesson learned: Sleep? Don’t bet on it.)

We’re not carrying carpet-bags or trundling along in steamer ships or railroad cars, but we’ve swapped our trusty backpacks for a classy diaper bag and we’re making our way just fine with a little baby carseat. Continue reading

oso market + bar: oh-so thankful for friends

Earlier this month, we bundled Lucie in her little beige sweatshirt and bright yellow leggings and set out for Saturday brunch with friends at Portland’s newly opened Oso Market + Bar.

After all the meals around the world, there’s still nothing like breaking bread (or splitting charcuterie plates, as it were) with people we’ve known since childhood.

“The Six of Us” are three couples who have palled around for decades (since grade school in several cases), and considering we’re only hovering at three-decade mark in median age, that’s saying a lot. Darian, Rebekah and their daughter Ashlynn were home visiting Oregon from transplant life in Nebraska, and Ryan, Sara and their daughters Genevieve and Madeleine made the hour drive up from Molalla. As part of our Portland reunion, “The Six of Us + Offspring” planned to start our day together at Oso Market + Bar, where Ryan’s brother Jason is executive chef.


Ryan, Ted, and Lucie with Oso owner Holly Johnson

“Spanish Brunch!” boasted the clever little shop sandwiched among the trendy taverns and tasty restaurants of the Central Eastside Industrial District. The bright orange chairs popped against sidewalks of Portland cement, and blustering fallen leaves chased us in the front door. Lucie slept contentedly, bundled in her blanket, oblivious to the cold and the commotion. Continue reading

Thanksgiving-Eve: This Calls for Pie

Thanksgiving is tomorrow. Ted worked a half day and rode the MAX home from work, and as traffic stacked up on Portland freeways, we took Lucie a dozen blocks down the road for a holiday kick-off cup of coffee and slice of Bipartisan Cafe pie…

Continue reading

Oregonians: If You Haven’t Got Your Health…

I’ve been mothering a little sick baby this week. Two month old Lucie came down with her first cold, and the past string of days has been a blur of steam baths, nasal saline drops, delightful Swedish inventions (ha!), cuddles, nighttime rocking sessions, and daytime board books for temporary distraction from the snuffles (maybe more for me than her?).

Speaking of healthcare and temporary distractions from the snuffles (or snafus?)…

Oregonians: even though as of last week we haven’t enrolled a single applicant through our state’s insurance exchange website (oh, and we hired 400 temps to process paper applications in the meantime), just remember, we still have two killer music videos to remind us of healthy days. Continue reading