Portland Parks

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! 🙂

Kelley Point Park Beach Day

Another activity crossed off the summer bucket list!

My day started with a run. It was going to be a nice day, and a hot one, but I was out early enough that it wasn’t terrible. I laced up my shoes, slathered on the sunscreen, and walked to the neighborhood school track. There were three other runners out there with me that morning. It was quiet and peaceful and I have to admit–it was kind of nice to just run and not have a goal. Training for my 5k was fun and I was so happy I was able to do it, but every run that I did the closer I got to the date, added pressure to myself. I just couldn’t enjoy it like I used to because all I could think about was how I hadn’t trained ENOUGH, or I wasn’t fast enough, or there’s NO WAY I could run the 5k without having to walk…

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In the end, I really hadn’t trained enough, I was slow –who cares?– and I did have to take walk breaks. But I still finished my 5k and RECOVERED from it, too. So I’m happy about that. And now when I run, there’s no pressure and no expectations. I just ran until I felt like I needed a walk break, then I ran some more. It was a really nice run!

After that I got cleaned up and Michael and I packed up some provisions before heading out for our day. The plan: meeting friends at Kelley Point Park!

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We got sandwiches from New Seasons on the way to the park and met our friends at a picnic table to eat. I was famished after my run. I devoured that sandwich! They make amazing sandwiches there. So freakin’ good.

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After we were done eating we headed down to the beach area. It was supposed to get to 90 degrees that day. Last time we were there with my friends Erika and Charles, I regretted not bringing enough water. This time I packed tons. I filled our insulated growler with ice water, plus two water bottles, one bottle of Powerade (just in case) and a soda for Michael and I. I brought Bella’s water dish and made her drink throughout the afternoon, which she sometimes stubbornly refuses to do. I put on more sunscreen (another goal for this summer–be better about sunscreen). We spread out blankets in the sand and just chilled.

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I had been apprehensive about taking Bella there. Part of me was excited to show her something new and exciting that I knew she’d LOVE. But part of me was nervous about a lot of things. First, there were going to be a lot of people there (she gets nervous around strangers) and second I knew there would be tons of off-leash dogs. I also worried about Bella running away if we let her off the leash. But in the end, she’s usually pretty good with her recall and I just wanted her to have fun so I let her off the leash.

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The second she was off the leash she was in the water! I’ve never seen her more excited!!! She had the biggest, goofiest look on her face! She splashed around in the waves a bit and then started jumping over the waves and jumping into the water. I took a very hilarious and adorable video and posted it on my Instagram, if you want to check it out.

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At one point we threw the ball in the water and she jumped in to go get it but I think she realized she was out a little too far and couldn’t get the ball so she just turned around and paddled back to shore. Charles waded into the water and grabbed her ball. LOL Look at her tongue!

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She also made a friend! There was a little dog with some people next to us who was chasing a tennis ball and retrieving it from the river. Bella ran next to her up and down the beach. It was so cute to watch! They’d throw the ball for their dog and both dogs would run after it but Bella is never interested in any ball but HER OWN and so she never tried to take the other dog’s ball. She just wanted a partner to run with on the beach!!

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I have to tell you, there is no other feeling better than the pure joy of watching a dog have fun! It’s such an amazing feeling seeing her experience things for the first time and just experience JOY. How often as adults to we take pleasure in new things and feel JOY? Rarely. Not often enough, for sure. Bell was having a BLAST. She was racing up and down the beach, flopping and rolling around in the sand, and swimming in the river.

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I wish we had had more time to spend out there. Alas, after about 2.5 hours we had to pack up and head out. I had plans to meet my friend Star for a very needed pedicure and desperately needed to shower off the sand beforehand. And you better believe Little Miss had a bath that night! She was covered in sand. 😉

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I think I spent too much time in the sun over the weekend. I had a dull headache for both Saturday and Sunday evenings, despite trying to drink a ton of water and using sunscreen. My shoulders, neck, biceps and deltoids were positively WRECKED from kayaking–I was SO sore (and really, running was the only thing I could physical do that next day–no way was I weight lifting or swimming). Despite that, the weekend was superb and I am happy with the memories AND crossing things off my summer list!