Friday, August 31, 2007

#1 Playmate

The picture quality probably isn't too good, cause it's a phone pic, but I had to share this picture of Halen and Bruce playing together at the playground. Usually, I tie Bruce to the bench and he lies there whining the whole time Halen runs around playing. Today, I decided that I'd let him play too. There where no other kids and the playground is fenced on 3 sides. I figured I could keep him nearby. He had a blast. He went down every slide and jumped off every ledge, over and over again. He didn't try the monkey bars, but I'll work on it with him next time. Halen loved having Bruce follow him around up there.
We're still negotiating on paper, but have come to an informal agreement as far as the house goes. Now they just have to sign something and we'll be under contract. Hopefully the inspection will go well and there won't be a long laundry list of repairs that they want done. There's another couple interested, so maybe they'll make an offer before this one goes under contract. Wishful thinking, but it could happen.
Halen and I went blueberry and flower picking at a u-pick farm yesterday. His friend Ida and my friend Gigi brought us there. I brought the camera and didn't take a single picture. I guess I just wasn't thinking. It was pretty cool though. The farm is on Sauvie Island, which is a big island in the middle of the Columbia River. It's late in the season for blueberries, so they where small and picked over, but still delicious. Halen ate more right off the bushes than we got into the basket. Today he had tons of blueberries in his poop. There where many different flowers to choose from. We got to fill a whole 5 gallon bucket. There are flower arrangements all over the house now. It looks and smells nice.
REI called today to offer Dan a job. Yahoo. Things are going good. I wish I was asleep, napping with Halen right now, instead of blogging, but that would be too close to heaven. Oh well. I'll sleep when I'm dead.

Thursday, August 30, 2007


We got an offer on the house. Everyone needs to pray to the little baby Jesus that this works out. We would really love to not be paying for that house anymore.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Huck Finn's Guide To The Clackamas River

We finally made it back down to the river. We took the path that the snake scared us off of last time. Where this trail comes out, there is a creek that opens up and feeds into the river. It's at a bend in the river and the creek mouth is pretty big. It makes this perfect swimming hole. There's no current and it's not too deep. It was amazing. Halen was ready to dive right in. Bruce couldn't believe how much fun it was either. Next time, we'll definitely bring swim suits. It wasn't as cold as I thought it'd be either. I was trying to scout out a good rope swing tree, but there weren't really any adequate branches. Oh well. It's still a super cool spot. Dan was working, so now he wants to go and see it. I am dying to get a rubber raft. While on the little beach down there, several rafts with whole families went by. That would be serious fun. We just need to get the raft and someone to pick us up downstream.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Funny Shit

Apparently, this bird just told Halen a really funny joke. I don't speak bird, so I don't know what it was.

Sunday, August 19, 2007


We went downtown yesterday to meet up with one of my old college roommates and his family. Ben and I where part of the BRC, or Baltimore Rowdy Crew, together. Good times! Now we're both married with one kid here and another on the way, all grown up and shit. I was excited to meet his wife. She's super sweet and just a couple months behind me on her pregnancy. They're a vegetarian family too. Ida Rose is their 3 year old daughter. She and Halen got along marvelously. There will definitely be more good times to be had with them.
Today we went to Burgerville. It's a local fast food chain that serves all local foods, including the original garden burger and the spicy black bean gardenburger. The black bean burger is vegan. We all enjoyed some french fries, burgers, and apple slices. We where hoping there'd be a play ground, but it wasn't so. Maybe a different location will have one. We recently heard about a vegan ice cream shop that we will be finding very soon. They even have soft serve. Yummy!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Thar She Blows

My pops, sis, Halen, and I went whale watching yesterday. We went out on the Tacklebuster Chartered Whale Watching boat and saw us a resident gray whale. Her name was Bubbles. She was feeding directly off the coast. You could see her from the shore as well. We also saw some sea lions and beautiful scenery. The little town of Depoe Bay, OR is quite the sight. It had a pirate's restaraunt with a boca burger on the menu. We didn't eat there though, we ate Mexican food. The restaraunt was up on a cliff overlooking the water. You could see Bubbles come up and blow from her spout, while enjoying your food. It was pretty amazing. I can't wait till it's migrating season and you can see a whole bunch of whales at once. Halen was totally into it. Everytime she surfaced, she'd blow from her spout, so Halen could always spot her and would get real excited, clap, wave, and yell "hi whale, hi bubbles." When she'd go back down, he'd ask where she went. Then he'd just stare off the side of the boat, waiting patiently for her next appearance.
My father left this morning. Dan's at work. Bruce is sleeping. Halen is snacking on some dry cereal. Tons of unpacked boxes are staring back at me from where I sit, but I am blogging. We finally got our own internet connection and it's so much faster than stealing wireless from the neighbors.
utoh, the pictures where unable to load. I'll try again.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Ahhhh... DONUTS!!!!

Halen had his first vegan donut. It was a chocolate covered one. They where yummy! Portland is amazing when it comes to vegan food.
We finally got our stuff. It's all inside. We're still working on getting it put together and put away. There's alot to do. I can't find much of the hardware for the desk and bookshelf. Dan is at work and still doesn't have a phone. He's supposed to be getting one from someone soon.
My dad's here. I'm gona go.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Little Zig Zag Falls

We got up this morning and had nothing on the agenda, so I suggested we go to Mt. Hood. It's always looming hugely on the horizon, beckoning me to come for a visit. The hiking possibilities are practically endless. I searched for one that said it was easy and good for kids. Little Zig Zag Falls looked perfect, so we headed out. It only took 45 minutes to get there and was a beautiful easy drive along the way. The trail was amazing. It ran along the creek and ended at the waterfall just a mile away. I wish I could post the smell of the cedar forest along with the pictures, along with the combo of the cool mountain air and warm sunshine. Is this paradise? Poor Halen had a little accident on the hike. He was trudging along and tripped. He went straight down and his head landed on a rock protruding from the trail. Instant knot! He cried for a minute, I freaked out a minute, and then it was all over. No big deal. We worked up an appetite hiking, so we decided to try one of the local restaraunts we saw on the way out. We ended up at Los Burro Loco, or The Crazy Donkey! It was a mexican restaraunt, in the middle of nowhere, on a state road, and it had vegan options on the menu. It even said vegan on the menu! 3 thumbs up from this family. The baby may have thumbed up too, but I'm not sure. He moved around a bunch after the eating. I wish I could post more pictures because there's so many. It just takes so long and will only allow me 5 at a time. Oh well. It was a good day. It's not even close to being over yet either.
I guess I'll write more about events from a couple days ago. Dan had a meeting at his school, so Halen and I hiked back down toward the river. This time we went the other direction at the split at the bottom on the trailer park hill. We hiked for what seemed like forever. Halen cut his hand on a blackberry thorn. I was getting worn out from carrying him through the overgrown parts, for fear of snakes. Then all the sudden we came across an old playground. In the middle of the woods, no way to get to it but by trail, an old wooden playground. It had the metal slides that you haven't seen since you where a kid. We played there a little while and then headed on to find the river. We didn't get very far when I saw a snake. Bruce saw it first. They spooked each other. Bruce jumped up off all 4 feet. The snake scurried off into the grass and we hightailed it back out of there. When we got back, our neighbors where outside. All 5 kids and their dad! The dad informed me that there are no poisonous snakes in the Portland area. You have to cross over to the other side of the cascades and then there will be some rattlesnakes. Over here, they're all just harmless gardner snakes! What good news! Dan was super stoked, with his irrational fear of snakes and all. Now we need to go back down that trail and find the river, armed with the knowledge that the snakes won't get us. Maybe that's tomorrow's adventure.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

We May Live In A Trailer Park,

and I admit that it is going to take some getting used to, BUT...
This is a 5 minute walk...

Monday, August 06, 2007

Finally, More Pics

After I wrote the last blog in the badlands, I searched and searched and searched some more for a place to stay in Yellowstone. There was nothing! Well, there where campsites, but some jackass took that possibility away from us. I found a Super 8 almost 2 hours away, for $230. That was the only thing available. Super 8 is where out stuff got stolen from, so even if we could have justified spending the money, I currently have a bad feeling about Super 8's. So we talked it over and decided to skip Yellowstone for now. We're close enough now to just come back next year when we have our camping equipment and we can do it the way we want to. We spent the afternoon driving all the different scenic routes of the badlands. We saw wild buffalo, dear, and prairie dogs. We went into a field with a million prairie dogs and they went crazy over Bruce. Bruce went crazy over them. We had him on his leash, and they knew it, because they weren't scared or backing down. When we walked into the field, they all popped out of their holes and started barking their high pitch bark at us. Halen barked back. Bruce just whined. He wanted to chase those little buggers.
We got up the next morning and headed out early. We covered so much ground!!! We got through South Dakota, Wyoming, and into Montana. Montana is beautiful. Dan and I both want to move there. We don't want to live there during the winters though. We stopped in Billings Montana the first day, saw an awesome skate park, and ate at a health food store cafe that was really good. the girl who took our order was stoked to meet some vegans. She's been vegetarian for a few years and really wants to go vegan, but the only vegans she ever meets are people travelling through. That would be hard to be the only vegan in town. There was actually an article on a solo vegan in a free weekly paper in the Dakotas. It was real big on the cover, 'Being Vegan in the Dakotas.' There's two places for her to eat out and she has to order a bunch of her food for home cooking. Yikes. There where several pro-fur billboards on the side of the road in the Dakotas, and one that said something like, 'the Dakotas denounces animal rights activists.' We felt real welcome. Anyway, back to Montana. We stopped and slept in the small town of Bearmouth. We stayed in a tiny motel/lounge/gas station. We didn't have our own bathroom, but the view was wonderful and it was cheap. There was this great river running right in front of the place. It was freezing when we woke up in the morning. I did a load of laundry in the laundry room so that Halen would have some pants to wear. We left there pretty early. We found this great health food store in Missoula, MT called The Good Food Store. It was good food. Major thumbs up! I ordered a custom made sandwich that had this amazing store baked tofu in it. While waiting for my order, I saw that you could also get vegan breakfast burritos made to order. They looked amazing. I went and found Dan and told him that he had to get a burrito! He did! It was amazing! We got fruit breads and cookies and chips and got back on the road. We finally made it out of Montana. We spent many hours driving those beautiful curvy roads. Idaho was short and sweet, with a beautiful litttle lake town that you wouldn't believe! Then we where in Washington and Oregon in no time at all!
We drove along the Columbia River. It's so gorgeaous and untouched. We saw a few dear and a wildfire. Montana had some wildfires too. We got into Portland around 6:30. We had called ahead and had our keys left at our new house. It was good to be home. We still don't have hot water, but the gas guy is coming out tomorrow. I'm desperate for a hot bath in my giant new bathtub.
I'll update more about the neighborhood later. Dan is awake and I'm starving. We're going to go get more vegan breakfast. The food in Portland is amazing. First of all, the selection of places to eat is completely overwhelming. Then, when you get somewhere, the menu is outrageous too. It's so hard to choose! Whoopi.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Home Sweet Home

We're here in Portland. We got in last night around 6:30. We've been cleaning up and sleeping. We're up now and getting ready to go eat some vegan pancakes somewhere. I will report on the rest of the drive later today. And I'll post pics.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Slide It On

Wow. Since the last blog update, so much has happened. Unfortunately, not all of it good. I'll start at the beginning. As I was leaving the bookstore where the last blog was written and where we went to buy a hiking book about the area so we could get out of the condo, I twisted my ankle. Damn, it hurt. I hobbled myself to the car and held back the tears. I tried ignoring the problem and going on with the day. By the end of the day, I was holding back tears just sitting still and limping like crazy when I had to walk. I thought that the rest of our trip was ruined for sure. I iced and elevated it all night though, hoping for a miraculous recovery in the morning. As it turns out, I had one. It was sore and a little achey, but I wasn't limping and the pain wasn't any worse than any other soreness in my pregnant bones body. Whoopee! So, we left Arkansas. I was excited to try this little vegan coffee house cafe that was about an hour north in Missouri. When we got there, driving about 30 minutes out of our way, it was closed. Summer hours, closed Monday and Tuesday. The had different hours. I guess they weren't summer hours. I should've called. We left to look for a taco bell. We found a panera and that was much better. We ate some lunch and headed out again. Late in the day we did a beautiful hike at Squaw Creek Wildlife Refuge. Bruce was so happy to be able to run. So was Halen. We all wore ourselves out. It felt real good. We then headed on to Omaha, NE. Once settled in at the Super 8, we headed out for dinner at a veggie friendly spot a few miles away. I can't remember the name right now, but it was pretty durn good. I had some blackened tempeh, rice, and veggies. Dan had a curry casserole with the same tempeh. Halen tried and didn't like the red beans and rice. They where a little bland. He was probably just not very hungry since he'd been snacking all day. We finished off with a chocolate tofu cheesecake and went back to the motel to crash. Early the next morning I went down to the car to get Halen some clean diapers and a banana. That's where I discovered our car, minus our car top carrier. It had been cut off the top of the car, severed straps hanging from the doors. That was all our camping gear and then some. It was nice gear too. I couldn't believe it. Once again, our trip seemed ruined. I went to the desk and told them to call the police. Then I went and shakingly told Dan the bad news. Our homeowners insurance will cover $1000 worth of stuff. Unfortunately, it was all worth more than that. I haven't even finished tallying up all that was in there. I keep remembering more. The police took forever to show up. We had to wait in the lobby. When he did finally show up, he made quite the appearance. The guy must have been 6'6" and had a voice to match. He announced very loudly in the small room, "I'm here for the car break in." Dan went with him and they filed the police report. We then contemplated what to do, forget the planned route and just book it to Portland, go buy more gear and keep on as planned, or continue on the same route but look for motels. We opted to look for hotels and just get the hell out of Omaha. This is when Dan noticed that his cell phone was missing. After searching the room and the lobby and all hallways between, we just left it. We are both still hoping it's hiding somewhere in the car. The chances are not good though. The ringer was on and we where calling it with my phone while looking. We headed to whole foods to get lunch and then got on the road. After eating, I reached to my head to scratch an itch. I pulled out a damn tick. All this shit was happening within just a few hours of each other. I'm not sure how we kept it together. Halen probably helped. He didn't know anything was wrong at all and continued to be his delightful little self. Since we got such a late start, we weren't able to do a hike yesterday. We got into the Badlands National Forest last night. Amazingly, they had a cabin available for us. It's the cutest cedar cabin you've ever seen, and my lucky number 14 to boot. The Badlands are beautiful. We checked out the restaraunt menu and discovered they had veggie burgers. Were they vegan? I don't know. Did we care? Not really. So, we ordered our veggie burgers and fries, a pbj for Halen, and ate a nice little dinner. We all crashed early and got up early to do some hiking. Like I said before, the badlands are beautiful. The first hike we tried was pretty durn difficult and a little scary for neurotic a neurotic mommy. It went up into the crazy crests and towers. There where major drop offs and unstable sandy trails. We didn't get far before we decided to head back down and see what was more kid friendly. We found lots. Poor Bruce had to stay in the cabin. Dogs aren't allowed on the trails. It doesn't make any sense to me. He would have had more fun than any of us. We saw a deer with big ole rabbit ears. Oh, and the rabbit population is crazy here. I feel like I'm in teletubbies land. They're like squirrels, everywhere! They're the cute little cottontail ones. I love them. Halen is pretty stoked on them too.
Now the rest of my family is sleeping. I'm jacking wireless internet from who knows where! My cell phone doesn't get any reception at all anywhere, but I can get online. Weird. The connection isn't the fast though, so pictures will have to wait. I'll upload when I can. I still haven't found us anywhere to stay in Yellowstone. I'm a bit worried because we're leaving early early in the morning to head straight there. I have to search some more now to see what I can find.
Think happy thoughts for the rest of our trip. We need it. If one more thing goes wrong, one or both of us might snap.