Opposites

Most of my side of the family came down from Canada during the holidays, so we got the biggest family photo taken in years! My neighbour did the honour of clicking a bunch of shots, and my little sister Maret did the photo editing.

Back Row: Seth, Everette (Dad), Anders, Mitchell, Toveli, Gaelyn, Maret, Karen (Mom), Laars Front Row: Rauchelle (Me) with Trista on back. Elita and Marin in stroller
Back Row: Seth, Everette (Dad), Anders, Mitchell, Toveli, Gaelyn, Maret, Karen (Mom), Laars.
Front Row: Rauchelle (Me) with Trista on back. Elita and Marin in stroller.

As you can see, there is a REALLY BIG van behind us. That is the 15 passenger van my folks drive around from Canada to Mexico and back, as need and/or whim dictates. My mom has a really good blog about their adventures that you should check out if large family travel interests you.

The thing I think is a little funny about this photo (besides the goofy faces) is the stroller, which is our main mode of transporting, in comparison to the van. These are two totally different, opposite, yet equally awesome family lifestyles represented here. Seth and I have a stationary family, living in one place, raising our girls with alternative means of transportation. My parents have the family of movement (which I would love to mimic when the time is right), raising their kids in alternative locations. So far, my younger siblings have an almost equal grasp on Canadian, USA and Mexican cultures. They have participated in community activities in all three countries, and they can get by in more languages than me!

Keep doing the great adventurous things you do, Mom and Dad!

P.S. I’m still car-free.

Clown Time

On the weekend we were invited to join Portland’s clowns Olive and Dingo in the Division Street Parade. We arrived on time, were all set, then one of the bands started up right beside us in the staging area, setting Trista into a scared crying fit. There was nothing to do but back out and comfort her while the parade took off. Trista eventually did calm down and fell asleep, so we were able to rejoin the fun further down the street.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

A few days later, we hung out at a coffee shop just down the street from our house for Story Time where the clowns do their act every week. Don’t worry, they have a NEW act each time. This particular day they had a camera crew filming them. If the footage gets posted online, I will add the link!

At the end of Story Time, they always make balloons for the kids. Marin usually asks for a bow and arrow, while Elita is happy with anything, sometimes a flower, or snail, or dog… yup, content girl! Today they got something completely different. Observe….

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Run and Hide, the Clowns are Here!!!

We were quietly watching the neighbourhood folks work and play along the street, some painting the compass rose in the middle of the intersection, while others sat on lawns snacking and catching up on gossip. Then the clowns showed up.

I had finished face painting some designs on a couple children and was just started to pack up, so had Marin watching Elita for me. When she saw the clowns, she turned to sit facing away from them, begging me to go home. I refused. When the paints were safely packed away, I sat beside her, holding Elita and comforting Marin, refusing to take the girls home until we had at least seen some of the performance. For the first 5+ minutes Marin would barely look at me, and wouldn’t even venture to sneak a peak at the clowns.

Seth met our SE PDX clowns, Olive and Dingo about a year ago with Marin, who (at the age of 1 1/2 years) did not take to many people in general let alone someone with face paint and crazy hats! The whole summer Marin and Seth had casual encounters with them, but never once did they crack a smile out of her.

This year though? It’s gonna be different! Marin is now 2 1/2, and after those first 5 minutes of her not even looking at them, she slowly turned just so she could keep an eye on them. Then her curiosity got the better of her and she sat, facing the “stage”, watching intensely and keeping one hand over her mouth as she always does when she is nervous. By the very end though, she was brave enough to talk to Olive, giving her a smile even! And when Dingo came over with a cupcake to get his picture taken with her and her half eaten one, she actually stood beside him and mimicked him, holding her cupcake out. I think it helped that they gave her a pink balloon dog.

These amazing people, Olive Rootbeer and Dingo Dizmal, ride around town on tall bikes, performing for the comunity almost every day, making kids (both big and small) smile and laugh, being what clowns everywhere should be. Good, honest, cheerful people who are lucky to make so many others happy.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Crazy And We Love It

Last night I had another one of those “my family is awesome” moments. 

Marin and I had cycled across the river to meet Seth as he got out of work and then we were going to check out the concert by the Weezers that Microsoft was putting on. 

The trip started with a delay by the princess, so Marin and I were a little tight pressed for time to stick to our prearranged schedule with Seth. That meant that I couldn’t take my time riding downtown, I had to push it. Do you know what it’s like to ride a slow, loaded three wheel cargo bike from 39th to Pioneer Square in 30 minutes? Your legs get a wicked burn just going up little inclines like the ramp from the esplanade up to Hawthorn bridge, and did you ever notice that most of the bridge itself is an uphill ride? 

I forget which road we turned up from the river side (maybe Taylor?), but the first light you hit is always a red. Once you get the green on that though, if you can keep your speed up it is a straight shot with constant green all the way up the hill to the square. I love that shot. It is a small adrenaline rush for me, surrounded by traffic, pushing the muscles hard to stay with the flow and not miss a light.

Breathing gets fast and heavy, calves yell with the effort and that’s when Seth called on my cell! Fortunately I keep my phone in a little pocket on the bike just below te handlebars, so I could access it without breaking rhythm. 

“Hey, I’m out of work.” Seth told me.

“Great! Sorry I’m late, but I’m almost there. On 5th and coming your way.” 

I think it was easy for him to figure out from my heavy breathing that the conversation had to end right about there, as I was too busy to focus on chatting about anything else, so he said bye and went out to the street corner to wait for me.

Huffing, puffing, smiling big and giggling, I found my man and we took some time to let me catch my breath before grabbing a bite to eat at Freshii and exploring around the concert area for a while then we both at the same time called it quits and said we were uninterested in the music they were playing. 

Somehow we almost always seem to be on the same page with stuff. We like similar styles of food, with each of us coming down to the same two dishes we want to try at restaurants, so we just get both and share them! Or like last night, we were both curious about the concert, but both lost interest at the same time. Then on the ride home we stopped to admire some live-aboard sailboats and we both liked the same one. Sometimes I think we must be a crazy couple, but then, it’s probably better to be crazy and love it, then sane and hate it!

End Of Day Parade

A good long nap for Marin set the stage for the evening adventures!

Getting ready for summer hikes (I don’t know when we will get out), I loaded Marin up in the big baby backpack and headed across the river with the dog to meet up with Seth after his work shift. Let me tell you, that pack is NOT my idea of comfortable! It fits Seth perfectly and he loves it, but I have found that all the packs I have tried from that particular company have never fit me well enough to make my experience anything other than a complaining adventure.

The legs were feeling the load when we got across the river, and we still had plenty of time before meeting Seth, so I called a halt at one of the big water fountains and let Marin play in the water, splashing herself drenchened and loving every moment of it! But it couldn’t last too long as her bottom lip started to vibrate with a chill, so warming up on the sun-warmed stones was in order for a quick recovery.

Mama got the granola bar and baby got the wrapper
Mama got the granola bar and baby got the wrapper

Then after a break on a green strip to let Marin stretch her legs again and where I could get off my feet, we continued on our way to meet Seth, having to divert around the perimeter of that night’s parade. The streets were crowded and blocked off to vehicles.

When we eventually did find Seth and a bite to eat, we conveniently found a nice little alcove along the sidewalk where we were all able to crowd together along with the bike.

Changing station where Marin could play with the bike pedal at the same time
Changing station where Marin could play with the bike pedal at the same time

The first thing to go past was a foot race. Ten minutes of runners. Some dressed up in goofy outfits… the best was the lady with a doll upside-down strapped to her front so it looked like she was in labour while running!

Then of course came all the marching bands… and more marching bands…. and more. Eventually we called it quits on the bands, but not before we got a quick photo of one….

The last band we stayed and paid any attention to
The last band we stayed and paid any attention to

THAT my dear friends, was our night. Okay, well there was the whole walk home with a baby, a dog and a bicycle, but that doesn’t seem like something you want to hear about!

Mother’s Day Adventures

Mother’s day was a little different this year. For the good and bad.

The good part was that this year I woke up with my daughter beside me instead of IN my belly, and Seth was there beside me as well. Last year we were in different coountries on this day. A good thing was Marin and I got out for a bike ride and spent a wonderful time with some friends that we ran into.

The bad part was having a full day of dealing with a teething child whose gums hurt her terribly. Oh well, that’s life!

"Tall Bike Tim" out for a political cruise
“Tall Bike Tim” out for a political cruise

While we were slow peddaling along the Springwater Corridor, we came across our friend Tim, parked on the side of the path, handing out Free Floride Free Water to passing walkers and cyclists in an awareness campaign about the issue of having low grade floride chemicals put into Portland’s drinking water, which causes all sorts of health risks especially for individuals who aldeady have health problems.

Anyway, here’s a picture of him on his tall bike towing a trailer behind. Sorry you can’t see the trailer very well.

As most of his water had been drunk up, we waited while he loaded everything back down, then together headed back to his place to visit Jan and show Marin the chickens and pigmy goats at their neighbour’s place.

Getting baahs from the goats and giggles from the girl
Getting baahs from the goats and giggles from the girl

 

Fairy Gardens For Toveli

My little sister loves making little fairies with houses and gardens wherever the family travels. The latest fairy colony has been in Mexico, but there there was another one of decent size in the USA as well.

My beautiful princess sister is queen of fairies and a mermaid in the ocean. She has an amazing imagination and can come up with pretty dress designs and costumes for her little fairy friends.

For the houses she had help from some of her other sisters and younger brothers. All together they did a fine job.

While on a walk with Seth and my little one, we found two fairy compounds in someone’s yard and of course I had to take pictures of them to share with my little sis.

Here they are:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Swings!

Having fun swinging in the breeze while watching all the other little kids
Having fun swinging in the breeze while watching all the other little kids

Piccolo Park is an easy walk from the house and attracts all the youngsters in the neighbourhood on sunny days. I thought Marin might enjoy watching them, so we sauntered down with the dog and found an empty bucket swing to put the little girl in. She sang and chattered, as happy as could be, watching mesmerized as older children ran around and climbed all over the playground.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

No Cares On A Sunday

Another day spent outside with my little girl. Nothing too important to do. People watching, slow peddaling.

This morning while taking down the tent in the wind, the fly got a small puncture and a couple good scrapes in it. Wasn’t the best way to start the morning, that is for sure! It is lightweight silnylon made by Nemo. Beautiful tent and well structured! But that silnylon along with being ultra light for camping, is also surprisingly easy to tear and not so easy to fix.

While Seth headed off to work for the day, I did an internet search on how to fix silnylon. You can’t just sew on a patch and throw some goop on to waterproof it and call it good. One of the beauties of the fabric is that almost nothing ever sticks to it……….including adhesives. So my searching was also one to find where I might pick up a patch kit. Easiest place was REI, so off we went. Well, sort of.

There were delays getting to the sports store, as Andrew volunteered to make lunch and I was not about to say no to that! And then there was the issue of it being a highly breezy day and me only having one pair of shorts (whose reach just covers my knees) so Marin and I stopped at Goodwill to find a cooler pair of shorts for me. Okay, so I didn’t really find shorts, but a nice running skirt with built in boyshorts seemed to do the trick for keeping me cool the rest of the day.

Finaly we made it to REI and Marin started telling me she was hungry, so I found a quiet little corner amongst the sleeping bags (like anybody is gonna go shopping for a bag on a sweltering hot day like today!) where I could nurse her without any distractions. It worked so well though, that she fell asleep and refused to wake up! So I carried her all sprawled out in one arm while searching out the repair kit and I had to ask the cashier lady to bear with me as I had to do everything one handed. In fact, Marin was so sleepy that only opened her eyes for one second, not even two, when I put her back in her carseat on the bike. Zonked OUT!

When Marin woke up from her nap we watched all the little kids playing in the water fountain down by the river. I did some drawing while she watched the kids and played with her little maraca, becoming the center of attention for a couple other little tots who thought she was awefully cute (as always!).

One of the fun things about these longer nice days, is that Marin and I can meet Seth downtown when he gets off the train from work, and we can cycle home together, often stopping somewhere for a bite to eat first.

I love seeing Seth at the end of his work days! We have such fun together and it doesn’t take big activities to keep us entertained! Small little things like walk, bike rides or simply watching other people go by, is enough to keep us amused and happy.

All and all, I think it was a fantabulous Sunday! Yay!!!!

 

Late Night Transit and Timbers Game

Letting Marin go for a couple of hours is a really hard thing for me to do. Yeah, yeah it’s something I need to get used to and blah blah blah…..

Just the other night I was busy nursing Marin when Andrew came downstairs and asked if I might be interested in going to a Timber’s game that night. He had two tickets, didn’t want to go himself, but Leah really really wanted to go, so I thought about it a minute. Thought, “Heck, how often will a chance like this come up where I can go to a soccer game?” 

Andrew was offering to look after Marin for the evening, and I know that she is good with him, so in a burst of adrenaline and adventure I agreed to go to the game with Leah!

I had no idea how we were getting there and back, but a quick internet search showed an easy route that I hoped would make sense when scrawled across a scrap of paper.

Marin was a doll and didn’t fuss too much as I ran around, trying to understand maps, get myself ready, find all of the baby stuff that I thought Andrew might need, and get Marin fed and changed before heading out. She just rode on my hip for most of my running around and watched as I threw stuff together. What a girl!

Having seen her settled and content in Andrew’s arms, Leah and I ran out the door, heading for a night of noise, bright lights and loud noise!

There were people everywhere! The stadium was crowded. The game was on.

For all you big soccer fans out there, you gotta realize that I have never been to a big game before, or even a small “community kids” game.

At first I was taken aback by all the spectators. There must have been thousands and thousands!!! All talking, chatting, yelling, chanting. So much green! So many smiles!

I looked down on the field where the game had already started and thought; people are paying to see a small white speck get bounced and chased around a grass field by men that look the size of ants, who seem to get a thrill out of bashing their heads simultaneously against a fast-moving ball and the heads of other players. Why is this a sport?

Then I got into it. I couldn’t help myself! I kept pushing thoughts of worry over my baby out of my head (mom’s can sympathize!) and just sat back and soaked up the excitement and thrill of being surrounded by thousands of people brought together for one thing. And that one thing started to get to me too! I found myself cheering wholeheartedly whenever the Timbers stole the ball from the Quakes, then stood up and gave it my all when the Timbers scored in the 78th minute.

Wow! What happened to me?

At the end of the game I steered Leah out through the tightly packed crowd and made it out onto the street. That’s when I realized that my written directions were gonna be no good, cause there weren’t any bus about to come along this road, what with all those soccer fans milling around!

On a hunch, I led us around a corner and thankfully found what I was looking for. The train heading into the city center. I don’t know this city very well, and had never ridden the public transit here before except for one stretch of the train to get out to the zoo earlier this year. Yeah I’ll admit I was a little nervous, trying to get myself and my niece back home on the other side of the river, late at night, on a system I was unfamiliar with. But we made it!

Home safe and sound.

Yeah!!!

I can’t wait till Andrew gets more Timbers tickets that he doesn’t want to use himself!