Friday, August 27, 2010


[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="240" caption="Brian and Lil B walking the beach"]Ocean[/caption]

I was 22 years old before I laid eyes on my first ocean. It was spring break and my friends and I went to LA to visit my friend's sister. After my mom died, I felt I just needed to travel. When I discovered Oregon in 2000, I felt at home when visiting my friend. I enjoyed the fresh mountain air and the cool crisp feeling of a high desert evening. My family thought I was nuts when I moved four years later.

Since my mom died, I have laid my eyes on the Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean and of course the Pacific Ocean. I always think of her. I don't remember her ever visiting the ocean on business trips. Maybe she did and I just don't remember?

Recently, my family took a trip to the Oregon Coast and pitched in on a beach house with another family that has a child a similar age as Lil B.  It's a family we don't see often as they live in another city but they are dear friends and we always seem to pick right up where we left off.

As we walked along the beach, I said to my friend Shawn how lucky Lil B is to grow up near the beach. This astonished her as she, along with her husband and mine, grew up in Oregon. She was also astonished to hear I didn't see the ocean until I was 22 years old.

Our vacation was only 4 days (my husband still doesn't have much vacation time from his new job) but we vowed to do a whole week next year. Lil B does great in the car until the last 30 mins before we arrived in Bend and his DVD player died. How the hell did I ever live without a DVD player before road trips?

This trip, we did a lot of morning beach combing (something new to me) and sand castle making and tearing down:

Other highlights included our stop at Eola Hills Winery on the way over, the Oregon Coast Aquarium and cone licking in Depoe Bay and kite flying! I can't wait until next summer!

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="500" caption="footprints in the sand"]footprints in the sand[/caption]

Monday, August 23, 2010

For Grandma Jeanne

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Little boy haircut"]Hair cut[/caption]

When it comes to getting my little boy a haircut, I procrastinate. Getting Lil B's haircut is something I task his father with -- it's something they do together. I love it when they walk in the door after their haircuts. Lil B always looks so much more grown up after.

Sunday, August 22, 2010



Today I am reminded of how lucky I am that my child can grow up near the ocean.

Friday, August 20, 2010

What's good for the soul

July and August are chaotic at work with events. For 6 weeks in a row, I'm off on Friday because I've worked so much before Thursday. Usually, I spend those Friday days  grocery shopping, cleaning, doing laundry because Lil B is at pre-school. Fun times!

On the 6th Friday, I asked my Linda if she wanted to head for the mountains and go for a long hike we me. I love Linda because I learn so much from her (parenting, eco-friendliness and tips about life in general) and we always have a great time together.

Our hike ... Tam McArthur Rim ... 2.5 miles up switchbacks to a beautiful view of Three Creeks Lake.

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="500" caption="Three Creeks Lake from Tam McArthur Rim Trail"]Three Creeks Lake from Tam McArthur Rim Trail[/caption]

The whole time we were hiking, we kept saying ... "Why didn't we do this every Friday?" Yea, that's what I should have been doing -- enjoying the great outdoors with my girlfriend -- that's good for the soul! At the top I exclaimed in Dora the Explorer style "We did! We did it!"

After about three hours, we were back to my Jeep and off the Three Creeks Brewery for some beer and burgers.

I realized on the way home that I need these mini breaks to keep life in check.

To view photos from our hike, go here.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

In the woods

[caption id="attachment_852" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="The Mighty Ni"]The Mighty Ni[/caption]

Some of my fondest memories as a child were camping with my family in the summer. Each year, we'd take a float trip down the Niobrara River and camp for a few days. We'd spend the day canoeing along and then spend the evening trying to see who can find the most firewood, make dutch oven cobbler and tell ghost stories. The best part of the trip were those nights around the camp fire playing UNO or trying to scare my younger brother into thinking there is a guy named Three Fingered Jack (which I had no idea there was a mountain named this until I moved to Oregon).

My husband and I love the great outdoors but since Lil B was born, we haven't camped. Each weekend, we say we're going to go but we don't and then our friends gave us a little push so we met them out last weekend along Cascade Lakes Highway.

Even though we forgot a few things (the pack n play being the most important), the camping trip was successful. The only minor thing to happen was Lil B didn't take a nap and got a little overtired. He wouldn't go to sleep so we took him for a car ride and he slept from 6:30 pm to 6 am. I bundled him in his sleeping bag and fleece footie jammies and not a peep until morning.

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="240" caption="Mud pies"]Mud pies[/caption]

Some of the highlights of the camping trip:

  • Lil B learned how to make mud pies

  • I tried stand up paddle boarding and loved it

  • We played UNO and I learned I was playing it wrong all these years

  • Our dog is good at keeping the chipmunks away

  • Compostable baby wipes are not just for a baby's butt but have a multitude of uses during a camping trip

  • Kids (and parents) get really dirty while camping

  • I can take 3 kids under 4 years old for a walk along with a dog off leash and have no problems

  • There are a lot of stars out at 3 am when I have to pee "camping style"

  • A two year old will stay away from the camp fire after one time of feeling the heat

  • Once a bag of kettle corn is open, you have to finish it

  • A bucket and pail will keep a toddle busy for hours

You can view more photos here.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Budding artist!

[caption id="attachment_880" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Fun with sidewalk chalk"]Sidewalk art[/caption]

The fact that my son loves and excels at coloring is not a surprise to me especially since my husband is very creative (graphic artist, videographer, musician, writer). I came home from my Sunday morning walk to Lil B and my husband playing with sidewalk chalk in the shade. All day, Lil B insisted on going outside and was relentless if he didn't get his way. Even I got into the action and made a beautiful butterfly. It's better than watching the movie Cars over and over (I swear, I have that movie memorized).

This has inspired me to start doing more crafts. Sure, they do crafts at day care but it would be cool to help Lil B excel in this area. Anyone have any ideas on books or websites?

You can view their sidewalk art here on my Flickr page.

Saturday, August 14, 2010


I told myself a few days ago that I would stay off twitter and Facebook and turn off the @wilcohq updates to my cell phone. Why? Well, the Solid Sounds Festival is happening right about now and well, I'm so mad my family is not there.

I've been intentionally been looking past their twitter updates all week until I read this morning that you could dunk Jeff Tweedy as he'd be in a dunk tank and you could "pay a price" and dunk him. Here is proof of the said dunking:

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="480" caption="Tweedy. Dunked."]Tweedy. Dunked.[/caption]

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="514" caption="Tweedy. Dunked. Again."]Tweedy. Dunked.[/caption]

My question for you Mr. Tweedy ... Why the beard in August?

I'm going to curl up and read a book because I.AM.JEALOUS of everyone at the Solid Sounds Festival.

Monday, August 2, 2010

A day at the fair

"What? You have never been to a county or state fair? You're from Nebraska!"

Yes, that is true, until Saturday, I have never been to a county or state fair. I have been to a carnival (SeptemberFest) and amusement parks (Peony Park, Adventure Land, Worlds of Fun). I have seen livestock shown by 4-H kids (River City Round-up which come to find out IS NOW the Douglas County Fair -- they merged a few years ago to now for River City Rodeo). So, when the Deschutes County Fair rolled in last week, my husband decided it was time to introduce Benjamin to a tradition of his childhood.

(now, on a side note, I have NEVER been to a rodeo either which is shocking considering my dad was a bare back rider in the 70s and has an expansive belt buckle collection. He stopped his rodeoin' before I was born. I see a trip to the Sister's Rodeo in my future next summer).

First off, holy hell -- parking was a nightmare in Redmond! Finally after 10 mins in traffic, we found a spot not too far from the entrance.  The toddler was in amazement at all the people and was clingy to his stroller which is funny because earlier that day he was practically the only boy at a toddler birthday party and showed those girls how to party (by running all over the place and not minding). Our first stop ... to see livestock.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="240" caption="Sheep at the fair"]Sheep at the fair[/caption]

We stopped by the goats and sheep. Lil B was repeating "bah" over and over and over. It was funny the first twenty times but enough was enough after the 100th time. I guess I should be glad he's finally talking.

His favorite were the pigs especially when the pigs were up milling around and snorting. He was giggling away at those pigs and was in love with the piglets.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="240" caption="Priceless pig face"]Priceless pig face[/caption]

We were all hungry and armed with $30 we had a brat, corn dog, pulled pork plate and two ice cream cones for dinner.  Fair food rocks. I was sorta wishing I had enough money and stomach room for a funnel cake but both didn't pan out.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="240" caption="Lil B's first ice cream cone"]Lil B's first ice cream cone[/caption]

It was almost toddler bed time we walked out to our Jeep to find it was blocked in on all four sides.  There was no way we could leave. The Redmond Police and fair folks had no idea what to do. Luckily, one of the cars blocking us was a Jeep with the top down.  They ended up jumping in it and moving it so we could move our Jeep. I feared we were going to have to call for a ride or take a cab home.

I'm looking forward to going to the fair when Lil B's bigger so he can enjoy the rides and I can mortgage my house to pay for him to go on those rides.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Embracing my inner cabbage

I don't like coleslaw. I have tried it and can say that I have never met a coleslaw I like therefore, I gave up on trying to like coleslaw along time ago. A lot of it has to do with it being made with mayo which is another thing I will never like. (On the other hand, I do like potato salad which has mayo but more mustard than mayo ratio so it cancels out the mayo part). My mom made me eat too many mayo and cheese on white bread sandwiches that I have this crazy aversion to mayo now.

One time, my husband and I were enjoying lunch at Crater Lake Lodge when my entrĂ©e came with a side of coleslaw. My husband knows I don't like coleslaw but he insisted I try it. I made horrible awful face that the lodge manager noticed and came over to see if everything was ok. I explained my dislike for coleslaw and he came back with a side of green salad.

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="143" caption="Trader Joe's Island Soyaki: good for a lot of things"]Trader Joe's Island Soyaki[/caption]

Fast forward five years and in my CSA basket I'm presented a head of cabbage. Last year, I gave cabbage away each time but my friend Linda wouldn't take the whole head. Instead she suggested that I make crunchy Chinese cabbage salad with my Trader Joe's Island Soyaki. This particular Soyaki I often use as a marinade and salad dressing (mandarin oranges tastes yummy with this sauce) . It's a staple in our house. I tell you, if we ever move, one of the requirements will be that there has to be a Trader Joe's in that city. I can't live without that place.

Time to improvise.  I did a little research on google and came up with this fabulous recipe!

Shannon's Crunchy Chinese Cabbage Salad

1/2 head of Cabbage
2 green onions
1/2 cup toasted slivered almonds
1/2 cup Trader Joe's Island Soyaki
1 package chicken flavored ramen noodles

Chop the head of cabbage into thin strips.

Chop the green onions and combine with cabbage in a large bowl.

Add almonds and toss Trader Joe's Island Soyaki.

Right before serving, add one package of crushed up ramen noodles.


[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="240" caption="Crunchy Chinese Cabbage Salad"]Crunchy Chinese Cabbage Salad[/caption]

No mayonnaise was harmed in the making of this recipe!