We are getting a handful of summery days in the forecast—my weather app is looking positively perfect—and all this sunshine is making the blooming rhododendrons outside look even more gorgeous! When I was looking for fun springtime family activities in Portland while my mother-in-law was in town recently, I found the Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden. We made plans to go.
I woke up that morning not feeling well. The girls hadn’t slept much and were fighting over a pair of Anna and Elsa figurines. “Are you sure you still want to go?” Eric asked me as I brushed my teeth. “WE’RE GOING,” I said. And I’m so glad we did!
I’m one of those strange hybrid creatures you read about in Buzzfeed articles: the introverted extrovert, or extroverted introvert, or whatever label we’re using these days for someone who likes to be social but tends to become totally exhausted when my calendar isn’t empty. I can also get extremely socially anxious—every so often, I feel like I’m floating outside my body and am sure that everyone can see what a phony I am as I make sure to laugh in the right places and stand in a way that I don’t look as awkward as I feel. (Overshare!) But this weekend I got over all that when I made myself just say yes—to a full three days’ worth of unforgettable experiences.
We travel to Eugene as a family every few months—my parents live there, so we drive the two hours from Portland often to visit the grandparents. When we brainstorm family friendly activities in Eugene, Oregon, we always come back to hiking Dorris Ranch, a great hike for kids and families.
Dorris Ranch is a 250-acre park in Eugene, Oregon, that is an operating hazelnut orchard. You can stick to the path, wander among the rows of hazelnut trees, eat a picnic along the Willamette River or hop on the multi-use Middle Fork Path, which runs to Clearwater Park and connects to the 8-mile-loop Mill Race Path.
The scenery is gorgeous any time of year, and this Eugene kid-friendly hike is easy for babies in strollers, toddlers and big kids ready to race ahead.
From the moment Peeper wakes up until the second she closes her eyes, she is playing. Nonstop. For reals.
Her first question out of bed is not, “What’s for breakfast?” but “Do you want to play Curious George in space?”
When I was pregnant with Peeper, and then with Kiwi, I did my best to record my thoughts, feelings and hopes for them. My journaling success was hit or miss with them—some nights I wrote long entries about the fluttery feeling of a tiny baby moving inside me; some nights I was too exhausted to do anything beyond flopping into bed. This year, I wanted to make a DIY Mother’s Day gift for some friends who are expecting so they, too, could remember this incredible time.
After some thought, I made a DIY pregnancy journal for two friends who are expecting their second babies. I know from experience that when you’re pregnant with Baby #2, you’re just not as focused on the pregnancy—after all, you’re too busy memorizing Daniel Tiger songs and ensuring your little daredevil doesn’t dart into the street. So I came up with these 30+ journal prompts—questions that will encourage a mom-to-be to reflect on her hopes and thoughts during pregnancy.
A dear friend of mine (whom I’ll not name so I don’t embarrass her) recently texted me. She was at work on a short break and was pumping milk for her baby at home. Not only that—she was catching up on emails, sending me pics of her munchkin and blow drying her hair (which she’d left in a wet bun until now). I couldn’t believe all her multitasking while pumping at work. Wow, she is a supermom! I thought.
As her need to do so much during such a short time shows, pumping at work is not easy. Plus, many moms feel a lot of pressure to make enough milk for their babies while they are at work. So it’s no surprise that nearly every pumping mom I know has, at some point, wanted to pump more milk.
I have logged a lot of miles hiking with little kids. My daughters have trekked all over the Pacific Northwest—sometimes on their own two feet, sometimes riding in a carrier. And as a mom who has weathered toddler meltdowns and reluctant preschoolers and little kids who just don’t want to hike anymore, I’ve learned a few tips along all those trails.
Yes, hiking with little kids can be challenging, and you won’t get to go at your pre-children pace. But hiking with little kids is also rewarding and super fun!
Learn from my many trips to plan a fun hike for the whole family—and avoid those mid-trail tantrums.