The best parks in West Linn, Oregon

Some people ask, why move to West Linn? Here’s one reason why: When we were getting ready to move two years ago, we were looking for a welcoming neighborhood in a family-friendly city. So when we began exploring West Linn, Oregon, we knew we found home. It has an incredible school district, access to the outdoors, a small-town feel outside Portland—and a wealth of parks. We love to spend time outdoors as a family, and as soon as we bought a home and moved, we began exploring the best parks in West Linn.

There are so many great outdoor spots to play, we could hardly choose a favorite. It’s just as well, because mixing it up keeps my kids happy! When I get the girls packed up and tell them we’re going to the playground, they ask, “Which park, Mama?” Will it be the one with the dinosaur skeleton? Or the one with the giant rocks you can climb in the splash pad? Or the one with the two-story high slide built into the hill?

So many choices!!!

The best parks in West Linn, Oregon, outside Portland // family travel // Ten Thousand Hour Mama Read more

Must-do kids activities in Portland: Oregon bloggers’ recs

Having a bunch of blogger friends is the best. They’re like a combination of the hive mind, Yelp, google and a travel agent, except with really awesome photo skills. When I need recommendations on where to eat or what to do in Portland, Oregon, I ask my Portland bloggers buds first; ditto where to stay at the coast, or what to cook for an upcoming BBQ. So when I wanted to collect a bunch of must-do family and kids activities in Portland, I knew who to ask.

I posed this question in a handful of Portland bloggers groups I belong to:

When friends and their family visit Portland from out of town, where do you send them?

Lucky for me (and you!) they sent a bunch of responses. Read on for insider tips, recommendations and curated travel plans for the best Portland family-friendly spots and kids activities!

Blogger recommendations for the best restaurants + kid activities in Portland, Oregon! family-friendly travel // Ten Thousand Hour Mama Read more

Motherhood this week

“I should remember this.”

The thought strikes me every day as Peeper does something funny or sweet or ridiculous, yet I don’t keep a baby book and I haven’t updated my Peeper journal for months. I’m afraid all the tiny moments will slip into oblivion while I mark only the big ones.

Here, then, are a few glimpses into our everyday lives. These won’t make the front page headlines, but I think they’re worth recording.

Friends with Freddy. Our downstairs neighbors decorated for Halloween, draping the bear statues with fake spiderwebs and hanging spooky critters. They also put up a lifesize paper cutout of a Freddy Krueger lookalike, which bares its sharp teeth at us as we walk toward our door.

Whenever we walk past, Peeper says “Hi!” to Freddy in her cheeriest voice.

“You’ll know to worry if she starts saying ‘hi’ to her closet,” my brother said.

At the park - Ten Thousand Hour MamaPumped up at the park. Yesterday Peeper was a beast on the playground. She was struggling to get up the first big step on the play structure but didn’t ask for help (“hep!”), so I didn’t intervene. She kicked her leg up to shoulder height and somehow pulled herself onto the step.

She was too busy moving on to the next one to celebrate or even recognize her accomplishment.

She climbed up and down the rest of our time there but by the end, she was clearly getting tired. Instead of giving up, though, she’d grunt and yell with the effort of dragging her little body onto the first step. She reminded me of a bodybuilder or Maria Sharipova. Peeper’s a beast!

Toddler irony. Peeper recently discovered my underwear drawer. She opens my nightstand, drapes my bras around her neck and tosses my undies over her shoulder.

I figured that since she was happy and occupied, I’d change her diaper while she played there. When I came back with a clean dipes, I realized she had pooped—on my lingerie.

Well, I guess that’s kind of what it’s for.

The kicker: She’s done this twice in the last week. That’ll teach me.

Ten Thousand Hour MamaFamily plans. Verizon and AT&T got nothin’ on Annie’s. Peeper has been using anything and everything—a box of mac n’ cheese, a cup of crayons, the remote control, a package of oatmeal—to call her grandma.

“Nana, Nana,” she says while cradling the object near her ear.

We’ll see if messaging and data rates apply.

How did you record your kids’ everyday antics?