The Oregon Tale » Our Adventure Journal

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Back in January, I shared an update about our little bird – all of the wonderful growth she was experiencing at 2 years old. I hadn’t realized until now that it was the last time I’ve visited this space. This used to be a place I loved sharing our life, our adventures. Something about last winter put me in a weird emotional spot. Now that I’m on the other side, I realize it was likely seasonal depression (thanks, dark Portland winter). Coming through that wave of anxiety and depression felt like a reemergence of myself, almost a new self. Sailing into summer with a 2.5 year old, life feels different. This season of my life is less of a transition (though, with a toddler, everything is always changing so quickly). Our schedule is more predictable, we are generally sleeping better, and we’re eager to get out and show the world to our daughter.

I regret that I’ve all but forgotten this space. The blog itself doesn’t mean much, but the posts and photographs within the pages mean a lot to my heart. This blog followed our life from Indiana to Oregon. We shared so many adventures from the first few years we’ve lived here. It documented my pregnancy with Alba. I got to share the super-humbling journey of becoming a parent. But then, it all became too much. Balancing life and work was a chore – it took everything I had, and even then, I wasn’t great at finding any sort of happy medium. I was overworked, not sleeping, and dealing with too much on my plate. Something had to give … so I stopped posting.

When the sun started shining again, it was like magic. I once again committed myself to documenting our life. Even though I had no plans of sharing it on the blog (it was a thought in my head, but realistically, I knew I wouldn’t want that pressure), I’ve been taking tons of photos. Since January, we’ve done some pretty fun things. We’ve gone yurt camping, tent camping, visited the coast, visited the gorge, taken our first trip to the San Juan islands, and explored more of our beautiful region with our daughter in tow. I’ve documented her face when seeing a sea lion for the first time. I setup the sprinkler, and photographed her playing in the golden liquid light in the evening. We’ve had family photographs taken (so treasured). I have images of our friends … everyday images that mean so much. I’ve been intentional about recording these special moments, but also ensuring I have more time away from the camera. Sometimes it’s just about living in the moment, and allowing it to live in your memory.

Of course, 2.5 isn’t always smooth sailing. We still struggle with sleep sometimes. Our child is very much the definition of a spirited or strong-willed child. We’re exhausted each day, and we’re constantly teaching ourselves how to be better parents for Alba. I’m still working very hard, but I’m happy to report that I have found more of a balance that makes me feel fulfilled. As we find more time to sink into this season of life, I hope I have more to share here … I’d love to share new spots we’ve found for exploring – after all, I know it can be challenging to find resources for family friendly adventures.

If you’re a reader here, and want to keep up to date with us, you can follow me on Instagram

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January-20

Remember when I used to document Alba’s life? She will surely appreciate reading about her first year of life. Thankfully, I’ve been great at keeping up with our photo albums. I need to focus more on documenting the little moments that make our life so unique to us … the fun, the crazy, the hilarious.

  • Alba turned two in early January … while my head is spinning (how do we have a TWO year old), I also have moments where I feel like she’s been with me forever. Maybe she has?
  • While she’s still learning new physical skills, most of her growth these days is related to speech. Girlfriend has no problem communicating. I’d say she says over 200 (300?) words … She talks in sentences, and we can usually understand what she’s saying. There are rare times when she just repeats a sound over and over, and we just have to say we’re sorry we can’t understand. I am not kidding when I say this … she talks non-stop. Literally, the only time she isn’t talking is if she’s sleeping, or she’s chewing food.
  • My favorite part of her speech right now is how she says some words. Dinosaurs = die-fears … scary = curry … bandaid = ban ban. When she wants us to open something up, she says, “Open it out!”. Last night, she said, “I want to hang up with Angie!”. We’ll work on those two.
  • With this language development, she can tell us how she’s feeling. A lot of things are scary right now. The giant bear mascot at the grocery store (I can actually see why he’s scary) is “wealwy curry”.
  • Songs! Oh, the songs. Alba loves to sing. She’s really into singing, “Happy birthday, dear ‘gina” – an ode to her lady parts! Her other favorites are rockabye baby, the itsy bitsy spider, and twinkle twinkle little star. She goes to see Red Yarn (a Portland folk musician) a few times a month, and she loves dancing around at home when we have Pandora playing.
  • When it comes to food, she’s basically eating everything … as long as it’s vegan! We still haven’t introduced spicy foods to her (she literally says lettuce is spicy), but otherwise, she enjoys flavors. Her favorite foods are oatmeal, avocado, bananas, rice (wice) + beans, chips + quac, cashew cream, and chick’n strips. She’s starting to eat lettuce & spinach which is a relief (hellloooo, vegans have to eat greens!). She loves her green smoothies, and won’t ever turn down a cupcake. It’s about balance, right?
  • She’s getting her two-year molars right now. FML.
  • Her favorite activities are: coloring with markers, painting, putting stickers on paper, playing with her babies, playing with her train track, her toy kitchen, blocks, and puzzles. She likes open-ended play, and we’ve noticed her imagination is exploding. She loves bringing us “food”, and telling us it’s hot … she then brings us “water” to help with the heat.
  • It’s been fun watching Alba figure out how to communicate & interact with the world around her. Things like catching her when she thinks I’m not watching. I love watching her right before she runs to tackle Jim, or when she tells me she’s going to knock me over. Sometimes she gets a look of “is this okay?” when doing something for the first time. It’s this really beautiful transition of her being super impulsive, and her learning to control herself.
  • On that note: she’s still very much a toddler. I’ve taken a lot of time researching “respectful parenting” with the hopes of being a gentle, kind mom. I know that Alba is a whole person – she’s just very small. This girl is a test of every ounce of patience I possess, but I hope that my intentional parenting will pay off. She is very kind & sweet, but I think if I had to describe her in 1 word, it would be: tornado. She’s feisty and strong-willed. She knows what she wants when she wants it. She’s not afraid of testing limits, and absolutely loves to be involved with everything I’m doing. We’re learning to give into the resistance. Jim built her a toddler tower for the kitchen, and now we let her help us prep food. If I let her “help me” with the vacuum, she doesn’t just cry. If we give her the chance to do something on her own, or have us help her, she’ll always choose to do it herself — and we’re learning to be totally okay with her making messes or slowing us down.
  • Potty training (learning) has been going really well. She’s been wearing underwear since about 18 months. We still have to remind her every hour or so, but she’s starting to tell us she needs to go. We average a few accidents a week, and I hope to get her fully trained (nights included) within the next 6 months.
  • School is going really well. She’s currently attending a small Montessori/RIE school near our home. Her teachers are amazing, and I appreciate that they are constantly evolving the space to meet the needs of the kiddos. It started with 1/2 infants, and 1/2 toddlers, but now that the kiddos are growing, it’s transitioned to toddlers & preschoolers. It means more activities & exploration. I love that she gets a ton of outside time, and interaction with other kids. The downside: we did have a raging case of hand, foot, and mouth over the holidays. Fun times.
  • With all of these things that are going really well, of course there are challenges too! She’s not the most gentle with the pets. It’s hard, because I react quickly if she steps on the dog, and she’s getting exactly what she was looking for (a reaction). Along with communicating well, I know that she understands nearly everything I tell her … this means I find it frustrating when she flat-out ignores me. She doesn’t really care if I’m not paying attention to her, but if I am trying to do something that means my attention is on something else (like talk to Chase’s fraud department about a stolen credit card), she runs to the first thing she can destroy (like my knitting project, a cup full of water, or anything that makes a loud noise). I understand the way out of this phase is growth … it’ll change as she gets older, and until then, I just remember that I’m doing the best I can, and I have to adapt to her as much as I expect her to adapt to me. What else? She still uses a pacifier at night, which isn’t the biggest deal, but we’re excited for it to go soon. In general, toddlers are the kings of “I love this!”, and then, “I hate this!” the next day. So, that’s fun!
  • You know that whole, “No TV before two” thing? Well, it didn’t matter if I wanted her to like TV, she just wasn’t into it. At all. Like, when I was sick, and had no help? Nope, she wouldn’t watch it. In the last month or so, she’s been into watching a few episodes of Daniel Tiger each week, and a friend just introduced us to Puffin Rock. We don’t really have time for TV during the week, but on weekends, I don’t mind if she wants to watch 20 minutes of D to the T (that’s what the cool kids are calling it) before her nap. It gives me a chance to do something for myself! Whattttt??
  • Lastly, one of my favorite things about two is that she is totally just becoming herself. She thinks farts are funny, she loves giving high fives, and she is passionate about giving us kisses on both cheeks. Sometimes she walks up and says, “I love you so much!” and gives me a huge hug. Other times, when I ask her for a hug, she says, “I want DADDY!!”. She likes certain things, and dislikes others. She’s expressive, dramatic, and hilarious. I think we’ll keep her.

So, that’s what life is like at two. It’s exhausting, but it’s really, really fun. And, for everyone who keeps asking: there will not be another baby anytime soon. We’re really enjoying Alba right now!

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After a few days of enjoying Portland with my mama (hooorrraaayyy, Gigi is here!!), we decided to take a trip to Cannon Beach — one of our favorite spots on the Oregon coast. What really made us want to take the trip was the fact that it was forecasted to be FIFTY and SUNNY!! In January! That’s nearly unheard of for the Oregon coast during this time of year.

When we got into town, we stopped at Seasons Restaurant for a quick bite. I loved that they had a few vegan options for Alba & I. It’s sometimes a bit challenges to find good vegan food (no, I don’t want salad) outside of Portland. Ooohhh, Portland … I just couldn’t quit you.

After lunch, we meandered around the town for a bit before heading down to the beach. I knew Alba would love it, but I underestimated how much she’d want to explore on her own. She immediately discovered the wet sand, sticks, and shells. She carried her little bucket around and collected treasures. She wasn’t afraid to get a bit of distance from us … she explored like a champ.

After a couple of toddler moments (like falling face first into the wet sand twice), the wind started picking up, and we headed back to the car for the trip back home — Alba was asleep before we even got into the car.

I’m so happy to finally have a nice (non-windy) trip to the coast with my mom. Our last few attempts have been a failure in the “OH MY GOSH, IT’S SO WINDY!” department.

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