family

Wednesdays with Logan

 

This post is geared toward Portland area readers with kids, so if that doesn’t apply to you, feel free to skip!

Since February I’ve been home on Wednesdays to spend time with Logan. I’m still considered full time and get full time benefits at work, but I took a pay-cut to have this day each week with just me and my Little Dude. I’ve LOVED having my one day off a week to be with him. Sadly, that is coming to an end soon. Starting in September I’m going back to work full-time. I’ll have a new schedule working longer hours so I can have every other Friday off. We’ll see how it works out.

My goal was to do fun stuff each Wednesday just the two of us — hopefully out of the house. The first few months it was winter and gross out, so we did a lot of activities that were inside. Once the weather got nice we started doing outdoor things. I tried to find something new and fun each week. We did do some repeats of things that were fun and Logan really liked.

This website is really great for finding activities and there’s a daily calendar of events all around Portland. There are fitness classes, like group stroller walks and runs, Baby & Me Pilates class, reading classes, etc. I’ve used this website a lot to find things to do.

Logan usually wakes up pretty early so 6am we are up and at ’em! We have breakfast and play a little bit and if the weather is decent, we go for a run together. It’s a great way to have a change of scenery when Logan starts to get a little fussy and I get my workout in! We stop at our favorite coffee shop on our run. Sometimes we hang out and Logan plays in the kid’s corner. After our run, usually 1 hour long, Logan takes a nap and I do some laundry, clean the house and take a shower. Then we are on to our Wednesday activity!

Here are some of the things we’ve done that were particularly fun. Also, I tried to find free things as much as I could! Sometimes there was small fee for the activity. (We haven’t done the zoo or Children’s Museum yet because both are kind of expensive.)

LIBRARIES

Multnomah County Library – Tiny Tots and Storytime

The local libraries have a ton of activities for kids and toddlers. When the weather was really ugly, we were going to the library every other week! There was a toddler class that Logan loved going to. We sang, read books, played games and at the end of each class the teacher dumped two boxes of toys in the middle of the room for the little kids to play with. It was really fun and interactive and we both liked it. It was also free!

Each library offers the classes at different days and times. One time our library had cancelled the Tiny Tots class for the day so we went to a different library and checked it out. The class was a little bit different than our normal class, so it was a nice change!

Oregon City Library Art Class

One time we went to the Oregon City Library for an afternoon kid’s art class. It said “all ages” on the website and there were some younger kids there but Logan was just a little too young when we went, so we haven’t been back. But I plan on going again once he’s a little bit older.

The Oregon City Library is actually pretty amazing. They have a huge kids section on the main floor with tons of kids books, toys, a train set, legos, a reading nook, and those kid’s “kitchens” and “grocery store” toys. It’s a pretty nice library and we’ve hung out there a few times just playing with the toys and trains.

MUSIC

Chirp! Music Class

I wanted to include this class even though it was really expensive and we’ve only been once–because it was SO much fun. It was a really great class (first class is only $10) and Logan had so much fun. I really wish it wasn’t so spendy because I would have bought the punch-card and gone back again. Maybe in the future.

The class is lead by a music therapist. It’s interactive and geared towards fun, learning and brain development. She played songs on her guitar, passed out maracas and drums and tambourines for the kids to play with the music. Logan had a blast. (And my mom bought him some maracas to have at home since he loved them so much at class!)

Know Thy Food

This is a funky little food co-op in inner SE Portland that happens to have musicians come in and play for kids. We’ve gone to the Wednesday morning music class and the afternoon music class (different performers). It was fun and they just ask for a $5 donation, so not too expensive. There are toys and a train set, too.

WATER FUN

Mount Scott Community Pool

A friend of mine has a daughter who is about 2 months younger than Logan so we often meet up on Wednesdays to do stuff together. In the grossest winter months we were going to the Mount Scott pool at least once a month. It cost about $4 I think (Logan was free) and from 9am-11am the little kiddie pool section was open for toddler swim time. So we’d just go and hang out in the pool and float around. Logan was freaked out the first time we went and clung to me like an octopus, but then he warmed up to it. I’d like to go back and try to teach him how to float but he hated it when we tried before. Maybe he needs to be a little bit older…

Splash Pad — Oregon City Library

It was a particularly hot day and so we went to the Oregon City Library to check out their splash pad! (We had tried to go to the one in Happy Valley and it was closed when we got there.) It was a lot of fun. Logan wasn’t quite sure about it at first but once I showed him how to splash around in the fountains he really had fun. Also, free!

 

PARKS

Westmoreland Park

What a cool park! It’s really big with lots to do. The kid’s area is huge and there are so many neat things to explore. There are things to climb, rocks and “trees”, there is a sandy area and toys with a slide. There’s a picnic area. We’ve been a few times and the place is always packed with kids playing. There’s plenty of parking, and it’s free.

The only downside is the play area is out in the open, no shade, so if it’s a really hot day it gets warm fast.

Tryon Creek Park

Our plans for one particular Wednesday fell through so as a last minute idea we went out to Tryon Creek Park for a “hike.” It was fairly close to our house, so it was nice to discover a new place to go!

The park is really big and I think all the nature trails add up to about 7 miles. We didn’t really get a chance to explore much because Logan was leading the way. 🙂 We “hiked” about 1.5 miles in an hour. Except a lot of that was just walking a few feet in one direction, turning around and walking back, then turning around and going back again. Ha! But it was cool to just let him explore nature and figure things out. He climbed trees, benches, logs, explored, played in the dirt, and just had a fabulous time.

It was pretty shaded, in the woods, with lots of trails and different paths to take. There is also a little store/interactive museum as part of the park. The park has bathrooms and it’s free to explore.

Mount Tabor Park

Mount Tabor is a Portland gem. It’s a fun park, in the middle of SE Portland, with tons of running and hiking trails, paved trails, several areas where kids can play and lots of kids toys. There are places to have a picnic or just hang out and the views of downtown Portland are phenomenal.

OTHER

JJ Jump

What a cool find! We discovered this place almost by accident and it was so much fun and so cool! For only $4 Logan got to play with all sorts of cool toys and climbing things and slides. They had open play and there were kids running around everywhere. He spent most of the time in the toddler room, which was super cool and very big. So much stuff to choose from.

There were a few other rooms. There was a bouncy house room with about 5 bouncy houses. Some big ones with giant slides, some smaller ones and a toddler sized bouncy house. There was also a black light room with bouncy houses and other cool things, plus a kid-sized rock climbing wall. It was definitely worth $4!

Hike It Baby

I discovered this group on Facebook and joined the local Portland branch. It looks like it’s all over the country now, so check our your local branch!

There are different kinds of organized hikes. Sometimes it’s parents hiking with babies/toddlers. Sometimes it’s “toddler led” meaning–the toddlers just roam around and you aren’t really doing much hiking! LOL But I love the idea. I want Logan to grow up curious and loving nature, so this is cool. It’s also a good way to meet other people! Just join your local branch and they post hikes and get-togethers on the calendar or their Facebook page.

Sauvie’s Island — Kruger Farms

Recently we met our friends at Kruger Farm’s on Sauvie’s Island for a picnic lunch and then time to just roam around the farm. They had some animals for the kids to check out. They had a giant pig (Matilda) that we were able to feed, a few smaller pigs, and chickens. The kids loved walking around the farm and checking things out.

Logan is too young to go berry picking, but I’m thinking next summer we will be able to try.

 

I hope you enjoyed this post! If you have any suggestions on stuff to try in Portland, please leave a comment! 🙂

Checking In

It’s been a few weeks since Yggdrasil passed away.

The next day, Michael suggested we go for an easy family hike to get me out of the house. It was a good idea. That week following his death was hard for me. I cried a lot. For the first days I kept expecting to see him in the house–sunbathing by the window, sleeping on Bella’s dog bed, burrowed underneath the covers on the bed (his favorite spot)–and when he wasn’t there, I was reminded.

Every day got a little bit easier, I guess. I got distracted with other stuff and was able to get a few hours a day of relief from grieving. But nevertheless, it would come back. I know time will heal the sadness, but it’s been hard.

Yggdrasil was such a big part of my life for so many years. I was definitely in denial that anything would ever happen to him. And when it got towards the end, I was still in denial. I kept thinking…maybe he would get a little better and we’d have more time. I know now, after the fact, that it was clearly time. But it’s been a hard realization.

I miss him a lot. Being busy has helped. It’s the downtime that makes me sad.

About a week after his death, we got the call that his ashes were ready to be picked up. I immediately burst into tears because the realization that he was truly gone hit me.

I cried a little bit when Michael brought the ashes home, but at the same time I felt a little bit better having him “home.” I really loved how great Compassionate Care Portland was. They were so amazing during the goodbye and I paid extra to get Yggdrasil’s paw prints and to get a clay paw print made. I absolutely loved how they turned out and they are so special to me. I plan on making a little photo box memorial with the paw prints and some photos.

That first week that Yggdrasil was gone was hard on Maya, too. For 14 years she’s been by his side. They loved each other so much. She cried a lot that first week. I feel like she was telling me she missed him, that she was lonely, and it broke my heart. For a few nights, my scaredy-cat Maya came out at bedtime and wanted me to give her pets.

She hasn’t done that for like 10 years. Yggdrasil was my shadow. Maya never really seemed to like me. She likes Michael and lets him pet her but she’s just not a cuddly, lap cat like Yggdrasil was. It was nice that she came to me wanting me to pet her. For three nights in a row, she let me pet her for over 30 minutes! Shocking!

I was hoping Maya would continue to want pets from me, but she’s back to being standoffish. 🙁

How have I been doing? I guess ok. It’s sunk in that Yggdrasil is gone and I’m sad and I miss him, but I’m trying to grieve and process the loss. I haven’t been taking the best care of myself. I’m working out, I’m counting my calories but I don’t have the best appetite and when I do, I’m not making the best choices. I’m just trying to do what I can right now.