Friday, October 15, 2010

Portland, Oregon: Part 1

Jude and I traveled for 11 hours (3 airplanes) on September 16th, from Burlington, VT to Portland, OR, our new town. It was a weird feeling to be flying into Portland, firmly believing this is my final destination. It is likely that this is where I'll buy my first house, establish a midwifery practice, and raise my little Jude. These are all very adult activities which I have never done before, and they will all be done in a place I have never lived before. It's really pretty exciting, and I am very fond of adventure. . . but also just weird. . . that I'm here by myself, without a husband. I'm living with my way-too-generous cousin Robin, and also mooching off my big brother David and his wife Jo. When we arrived after that hellacious day of airports, we were picked up and hugged by my brother Dave, driven to Robin's house, and then we walked into this room, which Robin calls "the sanctuary". Robin put this room together for me, and it is incredibly inviting!

The basket on the middle shelf was full of little decadent treats, lotion, bath salts, and the like, as well as information about local attractions (and, in true Robin style, a library card application).
There is now a crib where that Pack N' Play was. Robin called me while I was still in TN and asked me what my favorite color was. I told her kelly green. Now I know why she was asking. Ha! I LOVE waking up to this wall every morning! This color represents life and new growth and the peace found in nature to me. Some people think it's too bold. I can't get enough of it.

This was, by far, my favorite part of walking into my room that night. I worked as an instructor for a wilderness therapy program for troubled teens called Anasazi. It was a magical, life-changing part of my life. Robin also was a trailwalker, and she pulled this "song" (the Anasazi word for it) out of the book we used on the trail. It still sits up there, as a daily reminder that I am making a forward walking now, and there is joy and peace to be found.

Okay, next. . .

A couple times a week, all the kids end up in the bathtub together. This is Talmage, Jude, and Sydney. Jude seems to be having a great time spending his days with his second cousins. He also spends a lot of time with his cousins (David's kids) Joseph and Isaac, and has also taken a few baths with them. Hey, whatever it takes to get him in the bathtub! His language has DRAMATICALLY developed! He is saying some full sentences now, and uses his words to tell other kids what he does and doesn't like!
I think every parent understands the state of this room.
The pink and purple Big Wheel at Robin's is the perfect height for Jude's legs right now. He LOVES this Big Wheel, and he has ridden it for at least a mile while I walked beside him! Jude and his wheeled objects!
Robin and Briton's oven broke, in every sense of the word. So, they got a new one, and this is the box it came in. This is Isaac, Joseph, and Talmage, bulldozing along in their new "clubhouse". They quickly learned how to push it along like hamsters on a wheel.
Then Jude tried to join in the "fun", and it threw off the mojo.
With my new library card, I can check out passes to different attractions in the city. Jude and I checked out the Chinese Gardens last week, and I was blown away! I felt exactly like I was in Hong Kong again! This was the most authentic Chinese garden I can imagine. It flowed well, had all the hole-y rocks and lotus water lilies, and koi fish. It was amazing! It all fits within one city block, but I thought it felt much bigger than that.
This is the face Jude gives me when he figures out I have the camera, something he covets
Thanks for reading!

Portland, Oregon: Part 2

Hi! Some more pictures and goings-on. . .
Here is Robin in her element. We got in the Halloween spirit and hung a giant spider web on the front of the house. Then the kids got to put the spiders in the web. I think in nature there is no such thing as a communal spider web. It seems like it would not be advantageous for a spider to share a web with other spiders. However, it's kind of symbolic of Robin, Briton, and my relationship.

Then we used a pair of red underwear to make a guy who would sit by the water feature, "fishing" on Halloween night. Here he is laying on the living room floor with naked kids running around him.
More kids! Robin is the neighborhood mom and she usually watches like 8 kids every day, just out of the goodness of her heart.
Dave and I took the boys hiking at the bird sanctuary last weekend. It was slow-going as we had 2 poopy diapers within about .3 miles. But we saw all kinds of interesting birds.

Talmage gathering autumn leaves

Oh wait. These are actually 2 different hikes. Anyway, here's Joseph.
These kids are serious about their cartography skills.
This was taken by Talmage, but I think it ended up being kind of artistic.
I watched Dave and Jo's boys while they went on a date. I was so surprised to find the ever-awake-and-energetic Joseph asleep on the floor in the middle of the day.
Also in the spirit of Halloween, we carved pumpkins for Family Home Evening.
Here is Jude pulling the guts out of his first pumpkin. He found just as much joy putting the guts back in the pumpkin. Poor Jude has conjunctivitis in this picture, so his eyes are weird, crusty, and red.

So those are the recent goings-on. I am still waiting for my Oregon nursing license to process. I can't get a job until I have it. I am currently working out a sketchy car deal with an Iranian man. That is a whole other story. I told Robin if I find cocaine hidden in the seats of the car, we can split the profits. All's I know is, I'm getting a STEAL of a deal on this car! Ha!