Saturday, December 12, 2009

A Christmas plea...

With all the craziness and chaos at this time of year, it's easy to lose sight of what Christmas is really about. So my Christmas plea to all is to take time to make a difference in someone's life. Who in your community could you help, an elderly neighbour, the homeless guy who stands on the corner, a friend in need? Could you make a batch of soup, volunteer at a shelter, invite someone who is alone to share a meal? As Gandhi said "Be the change you want to see in the world".

Image from follow studio.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Fourteen sleeps to go...

Goodness - only 14! Or as Turtle pointed out "only 13 for us" as we lose a day flying home. We have presents under the tree (a first as I usually wrap them on Christmas Eve), snow is forecast for the weekend, and R will be home on Sunday. So as the man in the song says It's beginning to feel like Christmas...

Monday, December 7, 2009

And today's high...

...will be around 30. That's Fahrenheit folks! Which is roughly around zero. Referring to it as a high seems a tad contradictory in my books, but perhaps that's why the US uses Fahrenheit. A high of 30 sounds far more appealing than a high of zero. I now also appreciate and understand why people wear ear-muffs.

Image from here.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Saint Nick...

Hmmm... I can't work out whether Turtle & Mu do still really believe in Father Christmas, or whether they're stringing us along, or whether deep down they know he's not real, but like the idea of believing. I mean what's not to like about someone who pops up every December bearing presents. Given that the boys have worked out that Father C has a hangar full of jumbo jets flown by remote controlled robots, and that the elves no longer make the toys (apparently they're all ordered online!), I'm fairly certain they know he's not real, real. So then I suppose the next question is at what age does "Father C" stop giving gifts? Christmas - fun, festive, and fraught with "issues".

Friday, November 27, 2009

It's beginning to feel like Christmas...

Portland is bedecked in twinkling fairy lights, the Made in Oregon sign is lit, and their is a red light on the deer's nose, Christmas trees are springing up in the parks, and carols are playing non-stop! Now we just need some snow.

A Portland Thanksgiving...

...with a fire truck! The boys and I had a lovely Thanksgiving dinner at A and R's last night. There were dogs, people and children everywhere, and all was going swimmingly until the chimney stopped working, and smoke started to fill the house setting the fire alarm off. Well between the smoke, noise, alarm, and so on no one heard the phone ring. So the fire department, not getting a response, opted to send a fire truck with lights flashing. Hugely entertaining for the neighbours and a unique way to get Christmas lights. Obligingly the entire fire crew tumbled out and posed happily for photos. Hilarious!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Weekend adventures...

We had a wonderful weekend filled with fun. Friday the boys tried out the local pool and the "cool" water slide. It was high, long and fast! On Saturday we made our second (and successful) trip to the Pearson Air Museum. The highlight was the virtual flight simulator. Turtle crashed a few planes then proudly landed a Cessna at Portland airport. Mu flew a Wright Brothers plane and a Boeing, plus quite a few in between. In other happenings Turtle painted a money box cow that looks suspiciously like a pig but as far as he's concerned it's definitely a cow. Mu was delighted to finally be able to (after lots of saving) buy himself a new watch, and has "decided" he no longer wants a Palm Treo for Christmas. Apparently a 96 pack of Crayola crayons would be "better"!?!? R is home tomorrow - albeit briefly, but it will be nice to see him, and the weather is such that it is now dark at 4.30pm! Ugh!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Oregon in 3D...

Turtle has been working away on a 3D map of Oregon - well the main mountain ranges in Oregon. And viola! Here it is in glorious techincolour. Other developments this week - in no particular order -
- our new couch arrived - hurrah.
- I skinned all the knuckles on my right hand - ouch.
- R left on Tuesday for a week in China.
- The boys and I travelled to the Pearson Air Museum only to find it was closed.
- In anticipation of a very wet and cold winter I purchased a pair of wellies and a pair of slippers!
- I sliced a quarter of the way through my left thumb and nail with the bread knife. Nasty.
- Mu announced he'd like a Palm Treo for Christmas, and Turtle chimed in and said he'd like some post-it notes!?!
So a bit of a mixed week - who knows what the weekend will bring. We've decided to make a second attempt on the air museum, and I'm avoiding all sharp implements for now.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Cloudy with meatballs...

A busy day shopping then off to the movies with Turtle and Mu. We saw Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs in 3D. Love those 3D glasses. Lots of fun! I'm still reeling from the size of the 'medium' coke and popcorn. Seriously you could have feed a small family for a year with that amount of popcorn! The boys are back to school tomorrow after a four day weekend, and we are just about starting to count down the days 'til Christmas.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Pumpkin hunting...

We went "pumpkin hunting" on Halloween which was fun. The results of our first ever pumpkin carving are below - not bad for first timers. This afternoon we stomped our way through all the leaves at Hoyt Arboretum. The boys have the day off school tomorrow so we're off to the movies, but the best part is we get to sleep in - hooray!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

The travel game...

Turtle designed a new game this week called The Travel Game. Named this way because "it's small and portable, and you can take it with you". It's really neat and fun to play. Yesterday we had Turtle and Mu's parent/teacher "conferences" - they were both great. Both boys are doing extremely well and "are a delight to have in the class". The boys teacher - who is sooooo lovely - told us a story about OMSI camp. Apparently there was a ritual where each day a piece was added to a puzzle and the person adding it was meant to say "ooh ahh most revealing". One evening all the boys were being silly and kept saying "ooh ahh most revealing" whenever they spoke. After a while Turtle pipes up and says "ooh ahh most annoying". All the adults cracked up because it was totally annoying!

New headers....

Turtle and Mu have designed a range of new headers for the blog. There was a huge debate over which one should be used - in the end we chose one of Turtle's.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A wonderful weekend...

We've just had the best weekend away! Friday saw us drive south for about four hours (in the torrential rain) to Camp Sherman, where we holed up in a little cabin on the Metolius River. There was hardly anyone about, just the odd fly-fisherman and the occasional elk or squirrel. The scenery was stunning - lots of ponderosa pines, and autumn colours. There is one small store in Camp Sherman that sells all sorts of fly-fishing gear and basic supplies, oh and there's a tiny little post office but that's about it. Saturday we 'hiked' along the Metolius, got a little bit lost, and quite some time later managed to 'hike' back, before heading into Sisters for the afternoon. A bit of pottering about the odd collection of shops then back to the little cabin for some down time. On Sunday we drove home via Bend, then up through the Warm Springs Indian Reservation, on through Mt Hood and back to the condo. Being able to get away for weekend like that make all the difference, as much as Portland has lots to offer nothing beats getting out into the wop-wops* and getting away from it all!
* The wop-wops is not a small town in New Zealand, as someone who shall remain nameless thought. It is New Zealand slang for remote country areas.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Camp debrief...

The boys arrived back from their camp near Bend last week. They were full of news, and quite tired, and just a little grubby! Mu had trouble sleeping on the first night because "it was too dark for me". Sadly (for Mu) they weren't allowed to use their headlamps for the night hike, but he said really enjoyed "the aquatic ecology study" they did. No wild animals were sighted, except for a salamander and a few rowdy children. And they both seem to have returned home with half of the Bend bush in their bags!

This weekend we are off here - which we are all very excited about. If you look closely you can see the little cabin tucked away in the trees - that will be our home for the weekend - hooray!

Images from here and here.

Thursday, October 15, 2009


Turtle & Mu departed for camp early (and I mean early) on Tuesday morning in the freezing rain! From what we hear they are having a blast - there's snow on the ground, and tonight they are all going on a 'night hike'. Bats, owls, animal tracks and so on seem to be the order of the day. Both R and I are very much looking forward to seeing both boys tomorrow evening and hearing all their news. We will post pics (they both took cameras) in the coming days.

Image from LAS Outdoors.

Friday, October 9, 2009

A day off school...

School was closed today, so the boys and I headed off to OMSI. Just over four hours later we emerged super excited. Well truth be told Turtle & Mu were the excited ones, whereas I was just in need of a good cup of tea! A few errands around town, then off to meet R for dinner. Oh and to purchase more outdoor gear for OMSI camp. I swear they boys are so well equipped they could tackle Everest.

Tomorrow we're heading off to Mount St Helens which should be fun. Even more so if she decides to erupt!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Hiking the Garden Trail...

I joined Turtle & Mu's class for their weekly hike this afternoon. After a picnic lunch at the bottom of the Japanese Garden, we headed off up the Garden Trail in Washington Park. It was a jolly decent 'hike' with lots of hills and switchbacks. All the kids did really well, and so did the parents! And of course the scenery was stunning. Huge stands of Sequoia, and lots of pretty bright green Alder sparkling in the dappled sunlight.

Our OMSI Camp organising is well underway. Both boys now have hiking boots, and a somewhat extensive range of super-duper outdoor gear. They even have little packets of disposable soap leaves!?!? Short of a bear attack they should be more than adequately prepared for most eventualities.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Things have been busy...

I'm a few days behind. We've been super duper busy organising Turtle & Mu's gear for next week's camp. Both boys are beyond excited.

Our weekend was fun - we went to the local farmers market which was brilliant. Lots of yummy organic fruits and vegetables, all kinds of artisan produce, fresh fish, meat, homemade cheese, cakes, and flowers like you wouldn't believe. Sunday saw us head up Mt Hood to Timberline. One word - amazing. The scenery was breathtaking. There was snow on the ground and sprinkled across the trees. R said it was bit like being inside a snow globe! And you could smell the clear air and fresh scent of the trees - sublime! We had lunch at the historic Timberline Lodge. Built in the 1930's it is a wonderful reminder of an era gone by. We can't wait to head back into the hills!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A few things from NZ...

IB people from NZ are in town next week and they've asked if there's anything we'd like. The first three things that occured to me were -
1. Vogel's bread (sadly I don't think they'd get through customs with it).
2. Milo - I've yet to find and American equivalant. If you know of one do tell.
3. Marmite - to go with the Vogel's....

**Newsflash - while searching for an image I think I've found some Milo online!***

Images from Vogel's, Nestle, Marmite.

Mu's photostream...

Mu no
w has a set up on flickr - check it out here!

Monday, September 28, 2009

A couple of bookworms..

We spent a good part of Saturday morning in Powell's Books on Hawthorne. Turtle & Mu spent the entire time in the IT section - no surprises there! We did manage to get a copy of An Awesome Book, and How to be an Explorer of the World, plus A Couple of Boys have the Best Week Ever as well! Our Sunday doesn't bear mentioning. The boys got their 'gear' list for OMSI camp yesterday, and we'll soon be counting down the days.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Legal aliens....

Another warm sunny day. Most of which was spent battling my way through red tape in the never ending quest to get a social security number, and master the banking system. It's one thing being called a 'legal alien'. It's another one to feel well and truly alienated. The good news is that it's Friday and we're looking forward to a potter-y about kind of weekend with nothing much planned. Hope you have a lovely one too!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

One girl & a $9 screwdriver...

What a busy few days. Yesterday I spent the morning shifting the 'hired' dining table into Mu's room - and then shifting around all the furniture in his room - in preparation for the delivery of our new table. Sure enough it arrived. But it was securely fastened in a wooden crate! With R away overnight, and not being one to wait, I took it upon myself to open that crate and construct that table. End result - one sore hand from a large angry splinter, one hole in foot from standing on a nail, and one very proud girl with a lovely new table! It's quite amazing what you can do with a $9 screwdriver. Now we just need to find some nice chairs....

Turtle & Mu are prepping for tomorrow's 'hiking training'. Turtle is taking it all very seriously, and has asked that I volunteer to be a driver 'Mom'. I've happily put my name down, but wonder what will happen when it comes to the criminal record check (a school requirement). I mean there was that rather unfortunate incident with the Turkish Ambassador's car not so long ago. Not to mention I have developed a frustrating ability to get well and truly lost. So much so the boys both look thoroughly relieved when I arrive each afternoon to collect them.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

One sunny Saturday...

Last Saturday saw us heading west. We drove out to Cannons Beach (quite touristy), then down to Oceanside and Netarts (quite lovely). Lots of breathtaking scenery along the way, quaint little towns with funny little shops, and the prettiest drive back up the Wilson River home.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Scenes from the school run..

I'm not kidding when I say we have the prettiest drive on our school run! Just imagine what it will be like in Fall. Portland is still basking in a late summer and we are feeling more and more settled which is nice.

Mu is over the moon as he finally got his new cyber-shot camera this week after months and months of saving. When he gets home from school I'll see if he'll let me post some of his pics - they're rather cute. R and I went out with a group of IB people last night which was fun - they're all really lovely. Our 'Back-to-School' night was fab. R and I are blown away by the level of schooling here and are so grateful that Turtle and Mu get to experience it. Among the many things their class is learning (piano, Spanish and Ice-skating(!?!)to name a few) they are 'learning' hiking and have a number of trips planned in the lead up to the OMSI camp.

While there are lots of things I miss about New Zealand - clear air anyone? There are many neat things here, eg:
- the little 'one car per green' traffic lights for the motor way on-ramps - so civilised.
- the abundance of green and trees. Oregon has the most amazing scenery.
- the ice cream selection - unbelievable.
- the low-cost of things - food, eating out, furniture and so on.
- the super-friendly people. OK I've met a few rude ones too but overall people are really nice.
- the access to such a diverse range of goods, services, classes.
- and yes the shopping - !

Monday, September 14, 2009

An Indian summer...

We've been having the most glorious warm weather. Everyone seems to be talking about Fall, but I'm quite happy for the temperature to stay how it is - at least for a while. We're feeling quite settled after just a week and are loving our little neighbourhood with all it's old wooden houses and beautiful trees. Turtle & Mu are very relaxed and enjoy wandering the neighbourhood with us in the evenings exploring. They are both enjoying school, and have some fun things coming up like the OMSI camp! Mu bounced out of class the other day and excitedly told me that their class is not only putting together a school newspaper, but they are organising the Fall Festival as well! We have a 'back to school' evening tomorrow so will know more then. And we are hoping to head out to the Oregon coast this weekend to explore.