Appreciating the Journey

My car is in the shop. Again.

We got rear-ended on the way home from OCF.  The insurance has been great and no one was injured (it was VERY low speed).  But for some reason, my brake lights have stopped working. They’re trying to figure it out, but I’m carless in the meantime.

Luckily, I am privileged enough to live in a city with excellent public transit and walkability. So we’ve been walking for the past two days. We walked to swim, we walked to the park, and, if I’m still carless tomorrow, we’ll take the bus to the Asian market to shop with friends.

Want to know something? I’m loving being carless!  Sure, it’d be a pain when we go grocery shopping. But walking lets us appreciate what’s around us so much more.  To that end, I’ve been indulging my secret love of flower photography.

2015-07-28 12.06.10These pink flowers were covered with honeybees.

2015-07-28 09.47.15Sunflowers taller than myself.

2015-07-27 17.58.57Particularly striking, these were growing alongside a fence.

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Quiet Morning

I sit here, bleary eyed at nearly 8:30am. I know, many of you have been up since way before that and normally this wouldn’t be that early, even on a Saturday. But Rex had a nightmare at 2:45am that took nearly an hour to soothe and get him back to sleep. Chloe woke me at 7:45am, desperate to go outside. And now that everyone’s needs are met, I sit here, drinking coffee, and derping around on the internet. Sure, I could be productive and clean something. But the rest of the house is sleeping and it seems like I should just sit here quietly, having a little time to myself.

Perhaps I’ll have more coffee.

Baby Hippo

I’m having a lot of frustration today. It’s all grown-up stuff like dealing with insurance, technology, parenting, etc. In the meantime, I have this amazing little boy who is full of life and happiness. So, instead of venting about things that would just add to everyone’s anxiety level, I’m going to tell you about Baby Hippo instead.

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We welcomed Baby Hippo to the family earlier this week. A $2 score from the Goodwill, Baby Hippo is the current favorite. Rex has suddenly hit that stage where a specific toy needs to join him everywhere for a while. Today it was Baby Hippo. Above is Baby Hippo sitting in a chair at the table during breakfast.

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Baby Hippo went down the slide several times. (Rex did not. Each time he would climb down the stairs and run to the bottom of the slide to get his toy.  You can see him to the right in green.)

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Baby Hippo spent a long time on the swings.

2015-07-17 11.03.26And Baby Hippo even rode the bouncy bike.

I’m curious to see if Baby Hippo will have more adventures in the future.

Monday Morning at the Zoo

We did a brief Oregon Zoo trip this morning, followed by lunch downtown. I was originally going to take Rex through the Pacific Northwest Exhibit (it’s close to the entrance, cool in temperature, and not usually crowded), but he was insistent on seeing the giraffes (which are at the very bottom of the Zoo loop). He was a little trooper and walked the entire time we were there. My best estimate (based on my FitBit) is that he walked around 2 miles or more. That’s not counting how much we walked to and from the MAX and lunch.  Not bad for a three year old!

We saw some of the animals we normally bypass when traversing the Zoo with friends and family.

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The crocodiles were active in the water today.

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The flamingoes were beautiful and pink as usual.

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We lucked out at the giraffes. Not only were they out and active, but a Keeper was feeding them leafy branches, which brought them very close to the upper viewing area.

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And for once the hippos weren’t both napping!  I was sad to see a sign that said the hippos will be phased out in 2018. I guess we have three more years to enjoy them before the rhino habitat is expanded. If you’re interested to the changes happening at the Oregon Zoo, you can visit this link to read all about the new and upcoming improvements.

Quick & Dirty Patio Tour

If I don’t do this the easy way, I never will. So here’s a quick and dirty patio tour. No professional level photos here folks. What I managed to snap with my phone is what you get. Let’s begin!

Here’s the “before”:

2015-06-03 13.53.23The “yard”.

2015-06-15 11.17.45Rebar in the “yard”.

2015-06-17 19.54.57Aging bamboo privacy fencing and what used to be a barked area.

2015-06-18 16.33.36Blackberry vines, coming over and through the fence.

Here are some of the upgrades we did: (P.S. You’ve already seen a few here.)

After I put down the faux turf and changed out the bamboo privacy fencing, there were just a few things left to do. First up was to install our “outdoor cuboard”. Also known as a Rubbermaid Roughneck Shed.  The model we got is roughly 2’Dx4.5’Wx6’H and holds a surprising amount. We built a little platform out of cement pavers to make it level with the patio. (See that broken one? It nearly broke my pinky toe.  Jerk.) 

2015-06-18 17.16.49Building the platform.

2015-06-18 20.22.22Rex putting the finishing touches on the shed.

Next I rebarked the debarked area and added some concrete bricks to separate it from the turf, as well as keep the edge of the turf from lifting.

2015-06-18 20.48.47Much better!

All of that happened a couple weeks ago.  Here is how it looks today.

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The view as you step out the sliding glass door.  We haven’t acquired patio furniture yet, so we’re using some spare dining chairs in the meantime.  My “garden” is to the right. There are three types of tomatoes, basil, sunflowers, and rosemary, as well as my Mother’s Day rosebush.  There is an existing rosebush that I have yet to decide the fate of.

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A terribly bright photo of the corner of the yard. You can see his little wading pool resides on the corner of the patio.  The bark area is where Chloe does her business (she has little interest in the turf I put down for her).

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The view to the left of where you step out. There is the “yard” area with Rex’s sandbox and my pots of petunias.

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And, finally, the view from the opposite corner of the yard, facing the sliding door. My strawberries reside opposite the rest of the plants, next to Rex’s basketball hoop.

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And, just because I’m super pleased with them, a picture of my hacked tomato planters. These are $2 FNISS planters from IKEA.  I drilled some drainage holes in the bottom, filled them with dirt, and planted my tomatoes.

And that’s the outdoor space. We still have more finishing touches to add, but for now, it’s quite livable out there.  Now, if only the temperatures would come down a bit, we could actually enjoy it!

Happy Fourth!

Happy Independence Day, all!  Stay safe out there.

Gratuitous child and animal photos follow, because I don’t have any patriotic ones to post.

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Rex, relaxing in a bed at IKEA.  He saw it, ran over, and climbed in before we could stop him. Apparently, it’s comfy.

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Chloe doesn’t understand why humans always get to sit in the chairs.

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Inara playing with the crystal in our front window.

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Nanook rolling around in Rex’s wading pool before I filled it up.  She was so disappointed when I put water in it.

Beating the Heat

The Portland heat wave continues, with temps in the 90s this week. My wonderful parents sprung for a freestanding AC unit that arrived earlier this afternoon.  We got that hooked up, but it only does one floor at a time, so the house is still warm in spots.

And let’s talk about being outside. My patio makes Hell look cold. The concrete radiates heat like it’s the center of the sun. (I have plans to deal with that, but I’m waiting for the Man in Brown before that can happen.) So, we’ve been chasing the sun around with a little umbrella and beating the heat as best we can.

Rex’s Method: The Wading Pool

2015-07-01 10.15.22Good for splashing and basketball.

Chloe’s Method: Doggy Ice Cream

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There are all sots of recipes out there for homemade doggy ice cream.  Here’s what I did:

Ingredients:

  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter (I used natural, fresh ground)
  • 16oz plain yogurt

Directions:

Blend ingredients together until smooth. (It helps to pulse the banana a bit first to break it up before adding the other ingredients.) Pour into silicone cupcake molds set in a muffin tin. Freeze until solid. Pop out of molds and store in the freezer in a plastic bag or airtight container.

Common Sense Notes:

  • If your dog is sensitive to dairy, don’t give this to them.
  • These are a treat, feed in moderation.