favorite parenting moment (leading to a lot of sam updates)

I think that one of my favorite moments in parenting was teaching Sam how to lick an ice cream cone. Sounds silly, but I've had that thought floating around in my head for weeks. It was a perfect combination of deliciousness, unbelievable adorableness, funny-ness and rewarding...ness. I mean, you don't get to eat ice cream during most of your parenting moments, and you are also teaching them, you know, a needed skill in life (hence the rewarding).

It was just so cute, him learning to stick his little tongue out for the purpose of getting ice cream, only to have him open his mouth instead and try to bite it. It was the best.

Sam is getting so big these days...so independent but still so dependent on us. And that leads to quite a few tantrums these days; some are the actual lie-down-on-the-floor-and-bang-my-fists type, and those are exasperatingly endearing. We are just trying to get him to realize that he actually can do things on his own and he actually will NOT die if, say, one truck doesn't balance perfectly on another. Or if something falls, you can pick.it.up.again.

Next is getting him to realize that he will not starve to death waiting for a meal or a snack, but on the other hand, we hate for him to be unhappy and feel like he's starving. You know, parent problems.

He knows lots of animal sounds (an impressive roar, too), vehicle sounds (his little "too too" kills me) and says a few words and uses a few signs. He is also impressively communicative using his hands on your knees, and sometimes I think is really trying to pick me up (when I'm sitting on the floor) in order to have me go where he wants.

The other day Dave opened the fridge (gotta do that really fast these days) and Sam walks up like a boss, grabs a half-full gallon of milk and just starts fast-walking away. Like, ok, where were you taking that? It was just so funny. So much attitude, but also, so sweet.

He blows kisses, pats your back, gives you a squeeze, and likes to fold his arms for prayers. We are borrowing a little firetruck ride-on toy that he loves. He is also very good at copying you, even when you aren't teaching him anything. He will put silverware in the drawer, pretend to make copies, use the rolling pin, brush his hair, etc.

He chatters away in the cutest little voice, pointing and telling you all sorts of things. I wish we could understand what he's saying, but I'm sure that will come soon enough. He is one busy, fun, adventurous and entertaining toddler.
photo by the great al/so

bike camping

The craziest thing I did this summer was bike 50 miles over 2 days! I joined a group of fellow downtowners from my church group, and we biked 25 miles past the end of the MAX (our subway/metro) line to a campground and then came back the next day. It was half trail, half riding through back country/town roads, so not very busy at all. It was a lot of fun. There were four ladies and six kids. Oh, and one husband joined us for the ride up. :)

We biked all our gear with us, and luckily we were sleeping in heated cabins (rough, I know), so we didn't have to carry a lot of gear. The back of my bike trailer fits quite an impressive amount, though.

I was a little nervous about biking that far, but it really wasn't too bad. And there were two 8 year olds that were biking as well, so really, I was fairly confident I could keep up. Those girls did an amazing job. They didn't bike the entire 50 miles, but at least half of it, which is impressive! There was one 5 mile stretch the first day leading to the campground that was pretty miserable. It was slightly (or more than slightly) uphill and just went on forever! I think I prefer city riding to trail riding because trails go on forever and look the same and it's often hard to gauge where you are.

Anyway, a lot of walking was involved for the last two miles into the camp BUT it was worth it in the end. The whole area was gorgeous. I wish I could have captured it all. And the next day, we had miles and miles of downhill. It was wonderful. 

 
Sam loved camping. he loves being outside and just loved the dirt, fire pit (he did touch a hot grate, but no lasting harm. He was more upset by the multiple table/head collisions and face plants). We have this hand-me-down flannel shirt that I thought was perfect for the occasion. He's so cool, right? His hands were stained black (and purple, see below) for at least two days.

 

On the way home, we stopped along the trail to pick the wild blackberries and they were sooo good. I think everyone ate about a pint, and they were a perfect mid-trail snack. I almost couldn't pick them fast enough. His little ziplock of berries, meant to last the last 2 miles into town, didn't even last before we started back up again.

I know this photo is pretty bad, but I tried. It was just miles and miles of forest and mountains and blue sky.

Sam was an amazing passenger. I think there was maybe an hour total (of about 11) of whining/crying, but he slept, ate, looked at/ripped up books, etc.

Not pictured: me changing a poopy diaper in the middle of a field on the way home. (although I do have that picture)

wear all the stripes!

One of the highlights of August was driving up to Long Beach, Wa. and meeting up with the Skidmores! Kristen was one of my freshman roommates and I love her! They've spent the last 4 years in DC for law school, and we're finally back on the same coast.

It was so great to catch up and see all the boys play. The dads and boys had fun playing on the beach (even though the sun was stubbornly staying inland). We eventually abandoned the beach for a playground and found some salt water taffy to end the day. Next year we'll have to find a beach with some sun (that does exist up here, I swear).

you could look happier for being carried up a mountain.

A few weeks ago my aunt drove through town and we met her at Multnomah falls for a short hike. It's all switchbacks, and luckily my aunt was awesome enough to split the hauling of Sam. We tried out a real hiking backpack and he didn't love it. (And these pictures make it clear that Sam needs new pants for the fall.) I didn't take pictures of the large waterfall or the view...but it is beautiful.

And I'm not gripping him around the back because he is going to fall in, more like he wouldn't look away from the water and I was trying to hold him still.
 This is not The Fall, but the very top of it.
Sam was enamored and was really mad he couldn't play in it. I let him dip his toes upstream, but he just wanted to get in and we had to pull the plug on that one.

Then we had lunch at the lodge and headed back to Portland via ikea with some fresh blackberries from my grandpa's yard. win.

the beach!

 A few Saturdays ago Dave rode with a group from our church from Portland to the coast! It was his third century ride. I know, impressive.

While he did that, Sam and I went to a primary/nursery activity and then drove out to Ecola state park, which is beautiful. We only had an hour or so to hang out (which included a lot of waiting to get in) but we'll have to go back next year.

Sam loved the beach. He thought the waves coming in and out were so fun, he loved digging, splashing, etc. I had to drag his shivering self out of there.
We (I mean, I think he did one scribble) made a little kite and got adventurous on the playground.

random parts of august

One Sunday some friends invited us over for dinner.. They have lots of toys and a bunny, who Sam loved and probably poked in the eye a bunch. 

One evening we decided to use an olive garden gift card so we didn't have to cook. Sam really chowed down on the salad. Yes, he loves lettuce/spinach (with dressing, obviously) these days. He preferred this to the pizza. !! And he often eats with his hand up like that, mostly because he stuffs his mouth so full he always needs back up. 

We went up to a big park at the rose garden a few times. Sam finally decided he likes swinging and actually requests it. He also climbed those stairs all by himself (not even holding onto the rail). Which, now that I write that down, seems like a weird thing to brag about, but I think for 1.5 year olds, it's totally a big deal. 

Sam's always had fun with the elevator (banging on the walls, stomping/marching, not to mention all the lights and buttons), but earlier this summer he got his hand stuck in the door (wait, did I not write about that? We spent a nice evening the the ER, which was basically pointless, but you know. due diligence) and we had to coax him over the threshold for months. He finally runs in now and hangs on the bar and really enjoys the ride. I imagine he'll be the only kid of ours with such frequent elevator rides. 

Earlier this month we joined some friends of ours for a concert at a really cool concert hall downtown. It was really fun! It's been a while since I've been to a big concert and I loved it. It was band we'd never heard of (broken bells) but they had a great show.

this year's reads.

This spring/summer I feel like I accomplished a lot as far as reading goes...I finally had/made the time to sit and read. And listen to books. I feel that still counts, and it's a way for me to read (or "read") when I couldn't otherwise.

It's been a few years since I did a list of my favorite reads and since lately each book I finish I dub my favorite book of the year...I thought maybe another list was in order. Well, there were a few duds in the mix, but you can't win them all. (only one I didn't include on this list because I just can't recommend it)

Looking back on the books I read this year, I was surprised that I actually read (not "read") the majority of them. Fancy. Most of these came at recommendations, because honestly, I don't have time I want to spend reading books I know nothing about or that didn't come from at least one other person on the internets that I "know".

And in chronological order, because I'd be hard-pressed to pick favorites.

1. Killing Jesus: I don't listen to Bill O'Reilly in any other context, but this book was fascinating.

2. This is the Story of a Happy Marriage: wonderful book of short stories.

3. Ender's Game: nothing new, but after watching the movie, we listened to this during our beach trip. It's awesome.

4. How We Decide: you know I'm a sucker for books about decisions. This one was pretty good.

5. Stories I Only Tell My Friends: I mean, Rob Lowe is awesome. And if you like celebrities and fun stories about how rob low seriously knows every other male celebrity every (rdj, tom cruise, etc)...read it! I also had to watch a few episodes of the West Wing after. 

6. Proof of Heaven: super interesting and it resonated with me; I felt it totally jived with part of my beliefs about heaven. 

7. Things A Little Bird Told Me: A Colbert bump, I was intrigued and I really liked it.

8. David and Goliath: if not for just a more correct perspective on the actual David vs. Goliath story, it was a really inspiring and had lot of things to incorporate into future thinking. How was that for vague?

9. The Body Book: A Jimmy Fallon bump. And it's written by a celebrity who isn't an expert in that field or anything, but I liked it. I like the science and while I didn't necessarily learn anything new, it was a great overview. Plus I felt like Cameron Diaz and I were having a chat and were bffs. There are worse things.

10. Divergent: I know it's like written for teens and there is plenty of things to roll your eyes at but I still liked it. One review mentioned how it isn't a girl deciding between two boys, but between something like "good and evil", which is much better. I read it twice in a row during our utah trip (and saw the movie again). I saw the movie earlier this year, and thought they did a great job with it. Dave even read it (though he isn't patient to wait for the other two and just looked up the endings on wikipedia). He wondered why it always talks about girl's stomachs. Which is a great question. But seeing the movie, I suppose I can give you Four reasons ;)

I still haven't read the two other books, but my hold for the third one did come up, so I'm just hoping the second one does too...otherwise...that was pointless and back into the really long hold line I go. 

11. It's OK Not to Share: My favorite parenting book, by far. I love her philosophies and really want to incorporate a lot of these.

12. All Joy and No Fun: I listened to this and it was so great. A fascinating look at parenting and made me quite introspective (I'm not quite sure how to use that word, to be honest) on parenting and our life. And the future. yikes, the future scares me. Highly recommend.

13. Blink: Listened to this one and Malcom Gladwell is a great narrator. I love his books, and as always, they are just so interesting and give you a lot to think about. In this case, it's thinking about how you think. Ha.

14: The Princess Bride: I've never read it! But my sister-in-law said it was a must read (or something, sorry if I'm misquoting you, Karren) and I was a little nervous it would read like an old classic that would be harder for me to read, but it was a quick read. I started it on the way home from the beach last night and finished it today. It is hilarious (I love his style), easy to imagine since the movie was pretty much spot-on and of course, a great love story. And I also learned it's WesTley, not Wesley, as I had assumed.

I also re-read (or listened to) Tina Fey and Mindy Kaling's books, which are always great. I also listened to The Fault in Our Stars (which I read a couple years ago) and I can't decide if I preferred listening or reading. Both made me cry, of course, but something about listening...I must see this movie soon. 

You can find more books I've read in the last few years here, if you're interested.

I want to know what I should read next!