The mini train ride around the grounds of the fair - a huge hit, of course.
Woo-hoo! Race car drivers!
Both kids loved the beautiful old carousel.
And for our final act, a mistake: we let them go on this kids' roller coaster by themselves. They really wanted to go on. We only had two tickets left. They were smiling up until it jerked into motion, and then the whimpering began. They started to recover but then were horrified to discover that the ride went around the circuit twice - Liesl cried a bit when it passed by us standing at the station. Oops. Still, no harm done - they recovered quickly and stopped nagging us to go on more rides.
Our new babysitter came today for the full day - 9 to 4 - while I tried my hand at editing a political science brief for an old friend and got started on my summer freelance writing work (writing medical school recommendation letters for Columbia students). My day was slow. I felt as if my brain was wading through molasses, trying to get firing again. I haven't thought about most issues of political science for 7-8 years, and there's definitely a remembering curve. I also had logistical issues - where would I work? Was it a good space? Where would I eat lunch? Would my (ancient) computer work with the technology? Etc.
I missed the children, and they missed me. Very clingy when I came in, and Sebastian was very clear that the day had been too long. September is going to be tough for all of us.
Here's a picture of my monkeys cuddling on the couch yesterday:
I bought myself a used Jamis Commuter bike (7-speeds, comfy seat,
fenders, rack) and found a Trail-a-Bike for Seb and an Ibert front seat
for Liesl on Craigslist*. We're on the move!!! Slowly. And not up any steep hills. :)
*This led to some great conversations with Sebastian about the internet - like, what is Craigslist? Are we going to a store? What do you mean it's someone's house? Are they selling other stuff? It also led to a very non-New York experience, wherein a guy I only knew from a Craigslist post and a couple of text messages left the Ibert on his front porch for me. I stopped by when he wasn't home, took the bike seat, and left cash in his mailbox. Crazy.
We took both children to see the Oregon Children's Theatre production of A Year with Frog and Toad tonight. It was at the Portland Center for the Performing Arts, with is a really cool building with big glass windows and spiral staircases and a center skylight and overlook. The show was an hour long, with a lot of singing and dancing, and it followed the storylines of a number of the book's chapters. The actors had fun costumes to dress up as squirrels and birds, snails and mice, and (of course) Frog and Toad. There was a sort of 1920's flapper vibe to some of the numbers, and overall it was pretty entertaining. Both kids were fascinated by the show and by the sets, which were somewhat elaborate, and sat very still and quiet throughout. (Okay, that's not quite true - Liesl talked to me a lot, but she sat on my lap and tried to whisper. :) ). We had built it up as a family date night - a special treat - and so we all got dressed up in our fancy clothes. It was really fun.
After the disaster of last week's stomach virus, it was a relief to return to our regularly scheduled lives this week. We went for little hikes in the forest, we met up with friends at the children's museum, we met up with friends at the zoo, we explored the Smith & Bybee Wetlands area with the moms' group, and Sebastian returned to his nature adventure class at the Arboretum. The highlight of the week for me was on Monday, when I rented a bike and a double Burley trailer and took both kids for a long ride along the river. We crossed over the Hawthorne Bridge, down the Springwater Corridor by Oaks Bottom, across the Sellwood Bridge, and back along the west side's bike trail. It was probably 10-12 miles, and my legs could definitely feel it afterward, but it was fantastically fun for me. I can't wait to buy a bike again and take the kids out for more rides.
Today, Sebastian ate one bran muffin, one oatmeal muffin, a bowl of yogurt and granola, a banana blueberry smoothie, scrambled eggs, half an apple, a cup of nuts and dried fruits, a jam sandwich, a burrito with black beans and sweet potatoes, a cheese stick, two helpings of pasta with bolognese meat sauce, and peas.
Well, it was a tough week. Both children remained very sick all week long - Liesl threw up on Thursday morning and again on Friday, and Sebastian continued to cry and complain of stomach pain through Friday. Neither ate much of anything for days, and both spent nearly all of their time lying on the couch, dozing on and off. We visited the doctor on Friday morning (which is where Liesl threw up, charmingly), and she confirmed that it was likely a virus caught at the Jamison Square fountain. No dairy for Liesl for one to two weeks (since she immediately vomited the yogurt on Thursday), and lots of liquids for both kids. Neither is taking in enough liquid to adequately fight off the virus, and so the doctor recommended loading up on juice, ice pops, etc. - whatever might tempt them to drink more. Very strange advice! We went to the store and bought all kinds of normally forbidden treats - popsicles, apple and grape juices, little juice boxes, Gatorade, ginger ale.
Today was the first day they both began to return to normal. They were hungry, mainly for bread and jam, and they played with their cars and babies as usual. Thank goodness.
Mother's day (mama's weekend, really) was still very sweet. I had a long solitary hike on Saturday afternoon in Forest Park, and we had dinner at Bamboo Sushi. Steve made a lovely breakfast today - asparagus, spinach, and gouda egg scramble, with excellent rye bread and strawberries to accompany it. We went out and on a whim rented a crazy two-person, two-passenger bike at a place on the waterfront, and took it for a spin on the bike paths along the river. It was grand fun and the children were thrilled. We came home for lunch and for naps, and I managed to go out and get a hair cut and some other chores accomplished. Steve and Seb both drew me sweet pictures to mark the day. And then in the afternoon Steve played with the kids while I baked two batches of muffins - oatmeal with rhubarb and strawberry, and molasses raisin bran. It was a lovely way to while away a rainy Sunday, and I'm guessing I'll be able to tempt some small appetites with my efforts.
In a sad coda to our fun-filled weekend, the children have come down with a stomach virus. Liesl threw up twice in the night and again this afternoon; Seb threw up three times during the course of the day. In between, they lay around the house on the couch and the purple hippo, too lethargic and miserable to do anything. I cleaned floors and toilets and beds and did loads of laundry and cuddled smelly children. On the bright side, since they got sick together they should recover together, and we can return to our regularly scheduled play. On the other hand, I feel as though we're waiting for the other shoe to drop - will one of us get it too?
One moment that brought a smile to my face: when Liesl first threw up in the night, she cried, but she wasn't crying for herself but for bunny Fufu. She came into my room wailing, "I messed up Fufu! I got him all wet! Look! Oh, poor baby Fufu!" So our first task was to quickly wash off poor Fufu's ears so she could cuddle with him again.
We had an amazing weekend here - fantastic outdoor adventures, and our first trip together to the coast! Everyone keeps telling us that this weather is abnormally warm, sunny, and dry, and we shouldn't get used to it, etc etc., but I say, make hay while the sun shines! And so we did.
We went to the Japanese Garden first thing yesterday morning - we became members in part so we could get in at 8 am every day, two hours before the public. It was so beautiful and serene, and the trees are vibrantly green and blooming. We then went to the farmers market at PSU, and then home for naps. We hit the quadrafecta! It was much needed. After that, we hiked in Forest Park on a new section of the Wildwood trail, and then bought sandwiches from Lovejoy and enjoyed a picnic in Jamison Square. The kids frolicked in the fountain, and then we had ice cream from Cool Moon. It was a jam-packed, outdoorsy, fun day.
Today we woke up super early (Liesl woke everyone up at 5:30) and we were on the road before 7. We drove west on Highway 26 to the coast, to Cannon Beach. It was gorgeous to be on the beach in the early morning sun, and despite the water's chill, both children got wet and ran around giggling. We left the beach for coffee at Sleepy Monk (a place with coffee and ambiance so memorable that I have had the name stored in my brain for seven years - this was my first return visit since that first one) and breads and pastries from Waves of Grain - a new and delicious discovery.
And then we went to the beach at Oswald West State Park. Steve and I camped at Oswald on the second night after we were married in Portland in 2005 - it was a memorable hike from the car down to the campsite, along a quarter-mile trail, in the pitch black. We didn't have flashlights and couldn't see the trail, or indeed our hands in front of our faces. But the campsite was perfect, and in the morning we walked over to the beach and then on a beautiful coastal trail. We wanted to return and see it in daylight, and it was fun to be there. The beach itself is a bit rocky - very popular with surfers - but because it is in a cove between high cliffs, it was shaded at mid-day. A beach with shade!! It's a dream come true for Steve, my quickly burning hubbie. :) The boys threw rocks, tried to dam a small trickle, waded across the stream that cuts the beach in half, and explored. Liesl made sandcastles and then crushed them, again and again. She got sand everywhere and was blissfully content.