Wednesday, February 25

5 days down... 10 to go!

What would we do without friends? On Monday, Kelly and Trevor came over for dinner. Kelly picked up Thai food and I made the boys corn dogs and mac & cheese. On Tuesday, the Murray Family had us over for a yummy dinner -- Sheperd's Pie. This morning, Henry had a jam-packed playdate with Nadia that included a trip to Saint Cupcake and the climbing gym! This afternoon Henry received a fabulous care-package from his dad that included Magic Treehouse books, a Curious George DVD and a new pirate game! Tonight we stayed home for "hair washing night" and an early bedtime - 7 PM. We finished reading Maybelle in the Soup.

Sunday, February 22

What would we do without Meghan?!

Thank God for our babysitter Meghan! Meghan and Henry enjoyed a fun morning at OMSI where they finally got to tour the USS Blueback, the U.S. Navy's last non-nuclear, fast-attack submarine. They have been trying to go for weeks, but it is usually sold out. I had a lovely walk to Sellwood to meet my friend Rachel for breakfast at Grand Central Bakery. After breakfast, Rachel and I took another 3+ mile walk. I returned home around 1 PM and headed out to run grocery errands while Meghan and Henry hung out at home.

After briefly checking out "The Red Carpet", Henry and I headed out for a special dinner at Tastebud. We played a fun game while we drank our grape-juice based drinks and then shared a cheese pizza with arugula on the side.

Henry complained that the pizza was too "burned" for his taste. I mentioned this to our server and she explained that is how they make their pizza there. Hhmm...

13 more days...

Saturday, February 21

Fifteen Days!

I just sent my husband off for a two week trip to Boston. Tyler is participating in an executive education program at Harvard Business School. The Program for Leadership Development is a six month distance learning program that requires two 2-week trips to Cambridge. Tyler will even celebrate his 37th birthday on March 6th while he is away. Henry and I have been busy booking playdates and other activities to help pass the time -- and keep me sane. The countdown begins!

Friday, February 13

Ladybug Nature Walks

Portland Parks Environmental Education Ladybug Nature Walk program kicked-off their 2009 season this morning with a chilly hike through the Hoyt Arboretum. This is a lovely program where kids age 2-5 join a trained naturalist for a walk though various parks throughout the city. The kids strap on a ladybug backpack filled with nature tools, such as bug catchers and magnifying glasses, to explore the dirt, bugs and flowers in the park. Rain or shine -- 10:00 AM -- the cost is only $2! Henry warmed up with some hot chocolate after the walk.

Next week Henry will participate in the Nuts About Nature preschool program.

Important note: You can help to protect these programs!

The City of Portland is in the process of preparing the 2009 – 2010 budget. Portland Parks & Recreation has submitted a requested budget that includes $2 million in cuts due to the economic forecast for next fiscal year. One of the programs identified in the cuts is PP&R's Environmental Education program.

Last year, Parks Environmental Education provided activities for over 9,000 children, 1,000 teens, and 6,000 adults in classrooms and parklands throughout the city. We offered Ladybug Walks and Nuts about Nature experiences for preschool-aged children. Elementary school aged students attended field trips and nature monitoring activities at Hoyt Arboretum, Forest Park, Powell Butte, Mt. Tabor, Laurelhurst Park, Oaks Bottom, and many other parks. Approximately 700 students attended Nature Day Camp - a week long nature experience offered for 10 weeks during the summer. Although the 2009 revenue from camp was $98,000, over 250 youngsters (36% of campers) received full or partial scholarships to the program. Adults and families learned about wildlife, plants, geology, and stewardship in Portland's parks at the GreenWalks, Bird Festival, Arbor Day, Earth Day, and many other free events for the public. Our GRUNT (Greenspaces Restoration and Urban Naturalist Team) teen program attracted 18 culturally diverse teens who were trained to take leadership roles in environmental education. These youngsters through the multitude of their contacts are continuing to be spokespeople for urban nature in their communities.

For a City that proclaims itself as a "green city", the action to eliminate a program that promotes green practices through knowledge and stewardship to all its citizens is a backward movement. If you care to make comments, here are some suggestions.

· Send this letter on to friends, family and co-workers who care about environmental education in our beautiful city.
· Community Budget Forums will be held:
Feb. 19 at St. Johns Community Center, 8427 N. Central St., 6:00 - 8:30 PM
Feb. 21 at Floyd Light Middle School, 10800 SE Washington St., 9:30 - Noon
Feb. 24 at Multnomah Arts Center, 7688 SW Capital Hwy, 6:00 - 8:00 PM
· Letters, email, or phone calls to:
Mayor Sam Adams

Commissioner Nick Fish

Thank you for the support that you have given to our urban natural environment.

Saturday, February 7

Neighborhood Clean-up!

Further inspired by President Obama's Day of Service, we decided to organize a neighborhood clean-up. We used to create our event. We e-mailed neighbors within six square blocks of our house. The turn-out wasn't huge, but the results were great. We collected six bags of trash!
We rewarded ourselves with yummy donuts from Staccato Gelato!