Sunday, July 27
We did it! We had our first family camping adventure.
We went to S'mores & Snores at NW Trek, a 750 acre wildlife park between Olympia and Mount Rainier in Washington State. We rented gear from REI and ventured off into the "wilderness". It was a bit of a nightmare and a bit of fun. On the whole we decided that we need to get out for at least one camping adventure every summer. It will certainly take a bit of practice and getting used to. Henry did great! Mom and dad have a way to go.
Tuesday, July 22
My sweetie is coming home tomorrow... I can't wait!
As part of Tyler's sabbatical he planned a 10-day trip to Montana to do a motorcycle ride with his dad and spend time with reminiscing with his high school buddies in Butte, MT. Tyler and his dad rode 1,000 miles in three days. His brother and sister-in-law also flew to Missoula to spend some time with him. It sounds like it has been a fun and relaxing getaway.
As for me... I have been surviving (barely!). I am not cut out for single parenting. Henry has been busy with his summer preschool program and I have been working. Henry and I spent the weekend in Pacific City at my friend's parent's beach house. It was a lovely getaway, but the two 4-year old boys were a handful. They terrorized each other (and especially their moms!). Next time we need to coordinate a sitter.
Thursday, July 17
Seven months ago, my routine 40-year old mammogram revealed an irregular mass. Since then I have had 5 mammograms, a sterotactic core-needle biopsy, a MRI, a PEM scan and ultimately a lumpectomy in my left breast.
It has been scary.
It has been stressful.
It has been concerning.
In the end, I have been lucky. Today I learned today the mass is not cancer.
I have learned much through the process.
Life is fragile and it can change too quickly... unfairly...
Today, I escaped, but many have not. This journey has introduced me to some very inspiring people, like Kelly Corrigan. I just learned that Kelly will be in Portland in August and I am working to put an event together. I hope to post more details soon.
Tuesday, July 8
The BBC has a fabulous children's network called CBeebies. The programming is so much more clever than U.S. programs.
We were turned on to a fabulous Nick Park (of Wallace and Gromit fame) program called Shaun the Sheep.
Charlie and Lola is another popular program. We love this show. There is a U.S. site where you can purchase (U.S. compatible) DVDs.
Our final favorite is Mama Mirabelle's Home Movies. This show airs on PBS on Saturday mornings. It is such a great show. I wish we could see more of it.
Saturday, July 5
It is hard to believe our trip is over. We will take a taxi to Heathrow at 8 AM in the morning. This is an expensive splurge, but we can't bear the thought of lugging all our stuff (and the kid) again. The transitions are really exhausting! We are willing to pay any price to not have to haul our bags down another street or through another subway station.
We arrived in London on Friday evening (July 4). We are staying at a great hotel in Tralfalgar Square. London is dramatically different than Paris. This is a party town... It reminds me of a Boston. Bar crowds pour into the streets and alcohol is consumed massively. It's like a big frat party. People are dressed more casually... t-shirts, shorts and jeans. The people are fatter and louder (It seems like there are a lot of Americans here).
It feels really nice to stay at a hotel for a change. Once we got settled into our room we went across the street to a traditional English pub for dinner (Sherlock Holmes). It was wild chaos! We managed to get some beer and fish & chips. This morning we signed up for a tour program. It was probably our best opportunity to see the city in one day with a 4-year old. We also took a river cruise on the Thames and took a ride on the London Eye. Henry needed a long nap, so we spend a few hours at the hotel. We wrapped up the evening at a fun, kid-friendly restaurant called Giraffe.
See you in Portland!
Wednesday, July 2
Our friend Brooke lives in Paris with her husband and son Felix (age 15 months). Brooke is the daughter of our good friends Helen & Dennis in Eugene. Brooke and Dave moved to Paris two years ago for Dave's work (astrophysicist). Brooke has been a god-send with kid-friendly planning in Paris. She has a great network of English-speaking moms living in Paris. Brooke was so helpful in helping us to decide on the best neighborhoods to stay in, the best kid-friendly activities, the best parks, she introduced us to Henry's summer camp, she lent us her pousette (stroller) and has even shared her babysitter Pierre. Pierre will come over and watch Henry for our last night in Paris. Thank you Brooke for helping to make our trip so easy!
Paris is a very intimidating and overwhelming city. We are grateful that we had Brooke to "hold our hands" through many of the rough spots. Today Brooke and Felix joined us for an afternoon of champagne and treats from the Le Grand Epicerie (The Whole Foods/ Dean & Deluca of Paris). It was our first rainy day, so it was nice to spend time in our apartment and do some entertaining.
It is hard to believe that we will be back in Portland in a few days (Sunday night). We leave Paris on Friday afternoon. We will take the train to London and spend two nights in there before flying home on Sunday morning.
Tuesday, July 1
We are settling into Parisian life. Paris is much like New York City. It is thrilling and exhilirating, yet it is busy, stressful and exhausting. You come to a big city for excitement and adventure - not rest and relaxation. Big cities and young children are a challenging mix. We have to remind ourselves constantly to keep our plans simple, allow for a lot of extra time and be mentally prepared to spend a lot of money.
With that said, we are making the most of Paris. On Sunday we went to the Jardin des Plantes where they have a charming zoo. Later we met Henry's pediatritan, Dr. Gopal, and her family. At Henry's recent 4-year old appointment we learned that our trips would overlap. They decided to spend 5 nights in Paris on their way to India. I was impressed with how much they were able to do traveling with 2 girls (ages 11 and 8) and a 7-month old INFANT! They made it to practically every site and museum! We met at the famous Berthillon ice cream shop. Again, I sampled "salted butter caramel."
Yesterday, we raced to get out of the apartment by 8:30 AM. We have been on "vacation time" so that was no easy task. We rode a bus to Henry's school (Bilingual Montessori School of Paris). He is attending a summer program for 3-6 year olds for one week. He seemed to enjoy it. On Friday he will take a field trip to the Centre de la Mer et des Eaux (Aquarium).
Yesterday we ventured to the other side of Paris to visit a special boulangerie and Parc des Butte Chaumont. It was a glorious sunny day... Henry rode the carousel (the French love carousels... they are EVERYWHERE!) and he played a fun carnival-type game where he caught moving plastic fish for a toy prize.