Tag Archives: oregon

The Riverfront Carousel


One of the more challenging aspects of a small town vacation with rambunctious newly minted 4-year-olds is finding an intellectually stimulating activity that will still drain the preschoolers of a good deal of energy.

To the park! Continue reading


Up the Waterspout

I never thought 8:30 a.m. would be considered “sleeping in.” But this morning, I heard some muppet chatter at 7. I closed my eyes briefly, hoping they were just checking the time with one another. (“OOoahhhh?” – Search, I’m awake. Are you? Should we get up now? “Wwwwmllawww.” – No Destroy, it’s too early. We should lay here and quietly entertain ourselves so Mom can get another hour of sleep.)

Much to my amazement, when I opened my eyes again, it was 8:30! The muppets were calmly talking among themselves in the other room. I was greeted with wide eyes and bright smiles. See! These morning attitudes are why sleep is so exciting. Ready to tackle our lazy Sunday, we meandered downstairs for some breakfast and rounds of Itsy Bitsy Spider. Destroy serenaded us with his newfound talent for squealing (I’ve got to teach that kid that if he reduces the amount of air crossing his vocal chords, he’ll still get his point across…) and I crossed my fingers for a puke free meal. It reminded me of what I was doing one year ago, this holiday weekend.

Last October, my girlfriend Amber and I were sharing an office at our client’s headquarters. (I know it’s January – stick with me here, I’m getting there.) Out of the blue, she turned to me and said, “Southwest is having a sale – $100 to Portland round-trip.” AuntJ and Auntie Beeeca live in Oregon. Amber’s aunt and Grandma Winnie live there too. (Yes, you read that right – we both have Grandma Winnies.) Spontaneously, we exclaimed, “Let’s do it!” And within 15 minutes we’d planned our vacation.

Well, as we now know, by the time MLK weekend in January rolled around, I was a double trouble muppet mom-to-be. And I had the morning sickness to prove it. I considered bailing on the trip, but despite my renewed acquaintance with every toilet (or secluded hedge in a pinch) around me, I wanted to visit family and friends. Besides, it seemed like a good idea.

Amber and I agreed that I would be the driver of our rental car. We weighed the pros and cons: Pro – me not arfing on Amber and her small child (the ever adorable 18-month-old, Henry). Con – my proven directional abilities may have us ending up somewhere in Idaho. The final conclusion was determined to be a preference for not getting arfed on, regardless of location. Additionally, I could then drop Amber and Henry off at her family’s house and have the ability to make the two hour trek back into Portland to visit Auntie Beeca over the weekend.

So off we went. It was pouring when we arrived. (Shocking right? Rain in Oregon in winter?) After Henry made his way down the line of people waiting to board the plane out of Oregon – shaking hands and hugging babies, we hit the road. Henry took “Henry’s spot” in the back of our Ford Focus and started chatting away. I smiled thinking of the little muppets I hadn’t met yet.

When I arrived in the small town that AuntJ calls Home Sweet Home, I greeted my family, handed them their belated Christmas gifts, and arfed. Then I came back to meet their new puppy. Uncle Mark was sent to the store in search of fruit punch Gatorade and its electrolyte-y goodness. AuntJ and I headed into town for a Girls Night Out – fine dining at Applebee’s and a George Clooney cinematic experience.

Applebee’s was a happening place, and because AuntJ wasn’t about to miss any minutes of George’s mug, we headed to the bar. I headed to the single open seat at the same time another bar patron attempted to do the same. “You have to let the pregnant women have the seat!” AuntJ proclaimed. Fabulous. Announce to the world that the pregnant woman is at the bar.

The following day, I breathed deeply many times over and went to meet my little niece Leila. Auntie Beeca was there too. “So, things are good.” I told her. “Oh, and we’re having twins.”

“We’re having twins!” Auntie Beeca screeched to her very bewildered looking husband. He appeared very thankful to then turn and see me sitting on his couch.

That night, as I pulled off Interstate 5, I saw the lights flashing behind me. I’d never been pulled over before. The officer walked up to my window. I turned the car back on so I could roll down my window and peered out. I assumed he was less than pleased to be standing in the pouring rain asking for my license and registration. I was sweating. I started to have a difficult time catching my breath.

This was not going to look good. Rental car, headed off an interstate known for drug traffic and a panting, sweating suspect. This trip had seemed like a good idea, but throwing up on a cop would be a very bad idea. Apparently sick and tired almost-moms-of-multiples were not what he was after, so he returned my paperwork and sent me on my way. (No ticket.)

Now a year has passed. I didn’t get puked on at breakfast. I did get puked on at lunch and dinner. And after this evening’s rice cereal attempt, Jon surveyed the “artwork” (or carnage) and announced, “This round of Mom vs. Muppets definitely goes to the muppets.”

What a difference a year makes. And the itsy bitsty spider went up the waterspout again.