What a Zoo Trip!

Excited to see fish!
Excited to see fish!

Living in such a prime location in SE Portland, we have a very easy time getting across town for a visit to the zoo. Simply walk a couple blocks to the bus stop, ride it downtown and catch the train right to the zoo!

Second Tuesday of every month is discount day. Simply $4 for one adult and the little girl is free. $5 gives a day pass for public transit, so I spent the $9 total for the day and had a grand adventure with my little girl. It really can’t get any cheaper or better than that!

The last time we took Marin to the zoo, she was under a year old and slept through most of it. Her favorite animals (when awake) were the arctic terns and the river otter. Both of them made her crack up laughing.

Now Marin is 16 months old and she had such a grand time looking at all the animals. She walked most of the zoo, periodically catching a ride up on my shoulders, but staying awake well past her regular nap time to see all the varying residents. At the very end we stopped in a quiet spot to nurse and she promptly fell asleep. I moved her to her stroller where she didn’t stir at all as we walked past the last two animals in the zoo (tiger and leopards), caught the train back downtown and  met up with Seth as he got off work. Eventually after a couple hours of wandering through random stores that I had never ventured into while she was awake, we decided to wake her up. The tuckered little girl had no interest in waking up at that point, but her parents are admittedly slightly selfish and didn’t want her late nap to run too long and cause an interruption in their own sleep later that night.

We have now scheduled Tuesdays off as our family adventure day and I even marked the second Tuesdays as zoo days on the calendar for the next couple months. I think with Marin’s love of animals it is well worth making a day trip out of the zoo every month when possible.

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Christmas on the Beach

Ahhh! So much has been happening, and there has been so little time/discipline to update my blog. Someone smack me over the head?

Looks like the last little update was to show pictures from our two week vacation out to Maine at the end of October. Since then, Marin and I took a trip up to Canada with my dad, visiting family and friends. Then recouped a week or two before Seth’s brother came to visit for two weeks from San Diego, C.A. during which time my older sister Layne also came down for a visit from Sooke, B.C..

December seemed to just be crazy in the way that every December gets for people, but we managed to keep the actual holiday time low key and pleasantly quiet.

Two days before Christmas, our little family (plus Andrew’s dog Lorax) headed out to the beach house in Manzanita. The weather turned sunshiny blue for us, making for wonderful beach walks! The very first afternoon Marin insisted on continually going out to the waves. They would recede out and look like they weren’t coming back in, so she would toddle out there with me in tow, then the waves would build up and come rushing back up the beach, sending a look of concern across Rinny’s face as she ran pell-mell back towards her daddy before I would scoop her up, thus rescuing her from getting wet. Unfortunately, one exceptionally large wave snuck up over the tops of my boots, drenching my feet. That was Monday. Today is Thursday and despite them sitting in front of the heater they are still damp. Grrrr. Lesson learned.

We have a slight fascination with bones right now. At least, I do. I’ve been carving pendants and pieces for earrings out of elk and dear jaw bones. Down on the beach we kept finding (and collecting) seagull bones. Some of them were nicely cleaned from soft tissue, but other times I had to work a little to get the prime vertebrae off the rest of the bird. Lorax of course thought they smelled wonderful and we were a little late in pulling him off one once, so now he smells faintly of dead seagull. Eeeew!

How was everybody’s Christmas? Did you get out and have some forced family fun? We saw a lot of that happening on Christmas Day. Families out kicking a ball around, looking like they all would much rather be sitting in front of a screen somewhere drinking hot chocolate or apple cider.

I was given a wonderful gift this year. Busy people out there who cook for your families every night, you will understand. I was given the day off from cooking and cleaning! And guess what! There was an absolutely delicious meal made that not only looked grand, but was so good that I hardly left any room for dessert, and ate some of the left-overs for breakfast this morning too!

Alright, we had a good time. Tell me about yours!

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Life Or Death In Portland

Everybody says that cycling in Portland is easy and safe for the most part.

I agree.

But sometimes you get reminded that you are still just riding two wheels with no bodily protection while the other road users are rushing around surrounded by a metal roll-cage and sometimes they don’t give a damn about you.

Seth and I were out for a ride with our new baby seat attached to the back of my bike, and it was Marin’s first time riding in it. We had a nice enjoyable trip out, but on our way back we, no kidding, nearly died. With our road going straight through and the side road having a stop sign, fortunately we naturally slowed down a little bit, because a fellow in a black pickup truck flying high as a kite gunned his machine of terror through the stop sign and straight into our lane, missing us by mere inches. He swerved away into his proper lane without slowing, careening down the street to the next intersection where he ran another stop sign, narrowly missing getting broadsided by a thankfully more attentive driver who had the right of way but braked just in time to save himself. Even after the crazy dude was out of sight, while we were standing in shock trying to catch our breaths and calm down, we could still hear his tires squeal around corners as he drove like hell was on his tail, around an elementary school and it’s quiet neighbourhoods.

Is Portland good for cycling in? Yes. Just keep your eyes out for the crazies and use common sense, ’cause you’re the only one protecting yourself from the cold metal terrors of the road.

Blacksmiths and a Birthday

To celebrate my brother Mitchell’s 15th birthday, we spent the day hanging out and exploring Durango. We didn’t know what to do before we got there, but as we drove through town we saw signs for multiple different shows all in this one little area, so we found a parking stall and people took off to go explore!

Marin was still asleep in her carseat, so she and I stayed in the van a little while after everyone else left, then once she was awake we went in search of the rest of the family. I thought they would have gone first to the big flea market, but I could not find them anywhere there! There was however lots of stuff to look at, so we didn’t rush but rather took our time perusing through the tables and admiring the hand crafted items. One particular table caught my eye, filled with hand forged knives, wall hooks and other assorted metal items. I thought the knives looked familiar, made from railroad spikes. My mom had sent me a link to a website by a fellow they met who lives in a school bus and makes a living out of making and selling hand forged items. Sure enough, the name was the same, so I increased the intensity of the search for my family, to tell them that Joe was here in Durango!

I finally found them up in some bleachers watching a junior horse skills “rodeo”, which they quickly abandoned once I told them that Blacksmith Joe was just at the far end of the parking lot. They all jumped up and excitedly started asking question, eager to see once again their friend Joe.

When Joe saw the family his face lit up with a big smile. Of course he remembered them!

Impromptu plans were made, and we so after the market shut down we met back up with him and he took us out to his bus, so we could have a covered area from the rain in which to share and eat cheesecake for Mitch’s birthday. He even had a candle in a heavy home forged base for Mitch to blow out!

Joe also gave me a little tour of his bus and how he has it set up to take veggie oil, which I found quite interesting because that is the set-up Seth and I would like to have eventually but I’ve never actually seen a veg-fed house-bus first hand before.

I would tell you how amazing the veggie oil system is, but that information is easy to find on the internet and with greater detail, so I won’t. But I got some pretty cool ideas from Joe, as he pointed out some quirks and fun finds that he discovered in the 4 years he has had his bus. Seeing someone actually live in a bus and see how they do it, gives me confidence that Seth, Marin and I will be able to do it as well soon-day.

Soon-day; Alternative to Someday which never becomes Today but rather always stays in the future, Soon-day is capable of transforming into Today and becoming a reality.

Calcium Lactate for Children

At first I thought it was just a mild case of heat stroke, but it hit again the next day as well and that time it was worse.

The day started normal with Marin laughing and playing the way she always does. Morning nap went well, then she went down in the afternoon and everything changed. She woke up burning hot, cranky, thirsty and tired. She would fall asleep nursing, only to wake up fussy and uncomfortable, hot as a fire to the touch.

Night was restless for her, wanting cuddles but too hot to lay next to me. She woke up fine in the morning though, so I thought maybe she was over it, until she woke up from her afternoon nap again. It was the same thing all over again, burning hot, tired and just plain not feeling good. There were no emergency signs though, so I kept her as hydrated and cool as possible until we could go to the health store in Cortez the next morning.

As I figured she was suffering somehow due to the heat that is hard to get away from while camping outside in Colorado, it made sense that electrolytes, hydration and maybe some vitamin C would help her recover. But I wanted to talk to D. at the health food supplement store, and see what she might suggest.

It didn’t take a second glance for D. to see that Marin was under the weather, and after a few questions and a simple muscle strength test she had narrowed the cause down to a mineral deficit. A few more tests and she had found not only the mineral Marin needed, but also the dose, which was a little higher than she originally thought it would be for such a wee little girl. I teared up and nearly cried when the right “medicine” (calcium lactate) was found for my little girl. I could have tried all sorts of pharmaceuticals and known that it was only covering up the symptoms but not mending the cause. This mineral on the other hand gets down to the root and fixes the cause, thus then relieving the symptoms. Best part, these calcium lactate tablets do not have random chemical fillers with unpronounceable names or paint products to make them look pretty like pharmaceuticals do.

Upon arriving back at camp with my precious little girl and bottle of minerals, I crushed two tablets into a powder and mixed it with water to make a paste then finger fed it to Marin who really didn’t like the taste of it at all! I think at least one quarter ended up all over she and I instead of in her mouth as she fought the taste. Within an hour though she was perking up and visibly recovering. Her eyes looked brighter, she smiled more, (before it took all her energy to try cracking a smile) and she started toddling around holding onto her aunt’s and uncle’s hands again. She still slept most of the day away, but her fever receded and her colour paled from it’s fiery blaze. She slept well that night and seemed normal the next morning. Through the day she obviously still didn’t feel 100% as she cuddled lots, was crankier than normal and took more naps, but it was a vast improvement from the previous day and her skin was comfortably cool to the touch instead of hot like a well stoked furnace.

Marin still doesn’t like taking her crushed minerals, but it is worth it to me to fight with her for a few minutes each morning, to see my happy smiling girl the rest of the day. Today in particular I found that it was easier if I snuck it in with a green smoothie, which Marin especially enjoys sharing with me each morning. This is not something that she will have to take for long periods of time. As long as she is suffering then she will have it, then as soon as she is better and back to her normal self then I can stop, as she then obviously has enough of the mineral for her body.

Live and learn! I had no idea that calcium could be something that breast feeding children could be lacking in. I also found that not only is muscle testing more specific and un-invasive than going to the doctor, it results in precise tailoring of prescriptions and doses for each individual according to their specific needs, instead of “this is the norm so this is what you have to do”.

Cooling Off In The Dolores River

Some days it gets so stinkin’ hot and there’s so much dust floating around in the air, that we feel all grimy, dirty,  hot and stinky. We can then either go into town and use the showers and the swimming pool at the Rec. Center, or scrub down with a wet cloth at home in the heat, or….. we can go up to the Dolores River and swim for as long as we want, enjoying the heat of the sun from the depths of the cool water. Then when we get out and stand full in the sunshine again, it is welcoming and enjoyable, drying us off and warming us up again.

This is such a classic way to freshen up while out camping, but reminds me most of the summer when our well dried up and we had to walk down to the swimming hole every evening to clean up from our grimy day of playing.

This particular trip to the river was with only my parents and two of my siblings, so there are not pictures of everybody.

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