Off season adventuring in Kelly Point Park

Betcha can't do thisThis summer we hit up the park at the confluence of the Columbia and Willamette rivers a couple of times. Beating the heat with a cool swim next to ships getting loaded with cargo destined for far off places. The beaches were packed and the mood was festive. Six months later at those same beaches we found new adventures in the midst of much fewer people. This past weekend the boys and I headed down to Kelley Point Park in Portland on a cold misty day. There were a few people walking dogs but we were mostly alone in the fog and sand. We played “I betcha can’t do this” trying to find things that the others couldn’t do like walking on wet logs or jumping over sand dunes. As we walked along the Columbia river around the point where the Willamette sneaks away we found a ton of drift wood. We set about making a shelter that soon turned into a fort/food cart/castle.

beach front food cartI wasn’t sure about heading to the beach on that wet cold day but we needed to get out of the house and explore somewhere and I found myself driving that way without any real plan. After a couple hours playing on the beach I realized that this was the very thing i grew up doing farther down the Columbia towards the Pacific Ocean. We played on the river what ever the weather and knew that there was as much fun to be had in the rain as there was in the heat of summer. I’m not sure why this was such a revelation for me but I was caught off guard by the off season nature of a familiar place. A favorite summer swimming hole could also be a great winter adventure land where the fog added mystery. We worked and played on that beach until our structure was complete and ate pretend burgers from the walk up window before heading back to the car and on to find warm drinks and dry clothes.

I love living in the North West where wet days don’t always mean indoor fun. While there are many great places to play inside when it gets wet and cold there are also so many great spots to explore outside with wet hair and rosy cheeks.

Portland Youth Philharmonic’s Cushion Concert for kids aged 2-8 this Sunday

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This Sunday, March 16th, take your family on a fun, musical adventure from the Portland Youth Philharmonic! Just hop on the MAX train and bring your little ones and your comfy cushions to this affordable, interactive, 45-minute concert designed for children aged 2-8.  Arrive a half-hour before each performance to experience our “instrument petting zoo” and try instruments in the string family.  Young String Ensemble conducted by Carol Sindell.  You can find more information on Facebook or by checking out the Portland Youth Harmonic Twitter feed. Hope to see you there.

 

FOR MORE INFORMATION & TO PURCHASE TICKETShttp://portlandyouthphil.org/concerts/index.php

But don’t worry daddy, we took care of the problem

I hear you need a plumber

I hear you need a plumber

It had been a long day. Not that there was any one thing that I could point at to say this is why I needed a break, it had just been a long day. So when my sister-in-law left for the store and I was left responsible for my nephew and my two boys I took the opportunity to grab some alone time. Grabbing a change of clothes I headed into our one bathroom for a long hot shower. Knowing how the boys see shower time as the best chance to catch up on the days events while peppering me with questions I removed the door knob from the bathroom door. We didn’t have a lock at the time so to keep someone out you had to resort to more drastic measures. Simple turn of the screw and the knob was off, the door shut, and the hot water turned on.

It really was a great shower if I’m honest. Those movie scene type showers with my head hung under a stream of scalding water as the windows and mirror fogs over. I could feel the stress rise off of me carried up and away by the steam to pool in some other corner. There were faint voices outside the door, something about how daddy does this some time when he needs space. I was grateful for the way that they knew me and enjoyed the luxurious peace. After resource wasting long time I turned the shower off, and took my time to dry, dress, and fuss over things before returning the know to the door and exiting the bathroom with a whoosh as two different weather patterns collided in the hall. The boys were jumping on my bed together, happy and free.

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“I pooped my pants uncle James!”

“But Don’t worry daddy, we took care of the problem!”

Wait are you kidding, are you making a joke?

“No I pooped my pants”  “It’s OK daddy, we took care of the problem”

Over three separate explanations the story started to become clear. My nephew, who is four, started the tale off:

“I felt like I had to fart and I kept playing, then I when I farted I pooped my pants”

They tried to get into the bathroom to clean up but there was no knob on the door because some idiot took it off for his own selfish reasons. The boys sprung into action. Primo had his cousin pull down his pants so he could see what he was dealing with. They decided to bring this party out to the back yard by way of the front yard. So our little soiler waddled out the front door with his pant around his ankles and tried to navigate the step and slopped sidewalk to the side of the house. This is when our neighbor Libby looked over from her porch. “uhhh …. what are you guys doing?”

“My cousin pooped his pants and daddy won’t let us use the bathroom, he took the door knob off, but it’s ok we’re taking care of the problem”

“Sure that makes sense” and on they went. In the back yard there was the issue of removing the poo from the chonies which Segundo solved with a wiffle bat. When I asked where the poop ended up they excitedly told me it was behind the wood pile. I couldn’t imagine how they got it there and even after their explanation of using the wiffle bat to hit it away from them I am still baffled. Did they smack it golf style while my nephew stood there, did one of them pitch it while the other swung for the fences? They told me that they took his chonies off and held them up while the other one hit the poo out T-ball style. Like the worst piñata ever created i guess.

After the home run shot the boys told me they threw the dirty chonies into the laundry. This translated to throwing them half way down the basement stairs towards the washing machine. Arguing semantics at this point seemed silly so we moved on. They then got some paper towels and cleaned the little man and his littler man off, pulled his pants back up, and proceeded to have a celebratory jump on the bed.

Problem solvers, these two boys

Problem solvers, these two boys

Now I know that I come off as a pretty terrible parent in this story but I think that reading misses the point. A better view sees the problem solving and outside the box thinking these kids of mine displayed. Should I have removed the knob of the bathroom door, who’s to say for sure. But were they able to asses their situation, come up with a great plan, and execute that plan with the tools and wiffle bats available.YES they were, they indeed took care of the problem.

Instajunction gift ideas from Instagram photos

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I have started to amass quite a collection of photos on instagram, some of them even pretty good. I was talking to a friend about this box at my parents house that holds all of these family photographs and how I love going through that box to find old pictures and letters. Holding the photos and shuffling through the stacks always last longer than you intended but is a such a rich experience. We don’t have that anymore with our traveling photo galleries on our phone and digital storages in the cloud. While we can share those great photos much easier I think something is lost in the handling and the story telling that comes from the box. While I am not going to start printing out all of my pictures anytime soon I was glad to get an opportunity to check out some options to have my instagram photos be a little more tangible. Enter the site Instajunction and their collection of products.

Instajunction is a site that allows you to turn your digital instagram photos into things like photo books, calendars, magnets, or Polaroid style cards. I had a calendar made as a gift to Beautiful’s dad for his birthday and it turned out great. The picture above shows Primo checking out the final product. The website was easy to navigate and connect to my pictures. Because I have a lot of photos it took some time to go through and pick the pictures I wanted, but that was a limitation of my indecision not the site. Shipping was quick and the calendar looked great.

When looking for gift ideas check out Instajunction and this weekend you can get 25% off your order with the following Promo Code: FRIEND25EZ

Create 2 Destroy Giveaway from Crayola

create 2 destroy

 

What do you get when you combine the creative tools of molding compound and the imaginations of kids with dinosaurs? So far at our house you get some pretty imaginative play. The folks at Crayola sent along the Dino Destruction Metropolitan Mayhem pack for us to try to make a video. We are entered into a competition with some other bloggers on the Crayola page so check out our video and the others and vote for you favorite. If you don’t want to head over and vote then check the video out below:

If you think you can make a better video you can enter yourself if by picking up your own Create 2 Destroy box and make a 15 minute video of your own. The most popular video gets $1000 gift card and your family on a Crayola box. Head over to Crayola’s Facebook page and upload your video.

I have connected together with some other Dad bloggers to help increase your chances of getting a box of your own. Joining me are Tom from Twins And Then, Chris from DadNCharge, John from Daddy’s In Charge?,  Colby from Days of the Domestic Dad, and Chris from Daddy Doctrines. Check out their pages and use the cool entry form below to enter for your chance at one of 6 prizes.

Good Luck and happy creating!

The Create 2 Destroy Dad Bloggers Giveaway runs from now until November 13th, 2013, at which point Six winners will be selected and notified. As the contest is open to U.S. residents only, after being notified the winners will have 24 hours to verify their U.S. mailing address to confirm their prizes.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Disclosure: Crayola provided me with the product, information, and a gift card to participate in the Create2Destroy video contest. All opinions are my own.

Starting Summer Off Right

adventure time

School is out and summer is a day or two old now but the boys have grabbed onto the adventure of this break with both hands. Segundo has been gone for a week now while primo only joined him this past Friday at my parents. Their cousins, my sister’s three kids, are there and my parents are pulling their typical crazy stunts like having five kids spend the week with them. So far they have spent a couple of days at house on the coast, camped in the back yard, target practiced with the BB guns, traveled to Mt. St Helens, and criss crossed the Columbia on the ferry. They are making treasure hunts for each other, cooking hotdogs on the fire, and having one the best times of their lives right now.

I remember getting to have those times with my grandparents on Mayger beach. We would spend all day in the river with our cousins and listen to crazy family stories around the camp fire until we couldn’t keep our eyes open any longer. While my boys are getting a much safer atmosphere then I had there is no loss in adventure closeness. Our boys are lucky that way, to have grandparents on both sides that not only want to spend weeks with them, but know how to make that time magical. There are more adventures to come this summer but these boys are already off to a great start.