#54: Add two more monthly causes

Just like in 2016 and 2017, we wanted to continue expanding our contributions to causes we believe in. (Note: this post might be interpreted as political; whether you agree with our choices or not, we encourage you to contribute to those movements you believe in.)

This is part of our 100 Things in 2018 challenge. 

This year we added two causes to the monthly-donation list.

  1. The DCCC is a clearinghouse for funding Democratic election candidates across the USA. In lieu of donating to specific candidates, we decided to support a broad base of them in one fell swoop.
  2. Advance Peace “is dedicated to ending cyclical and retaliatory gun violence in American urban neighborhoods.” They work closely with those young people most at risk for gun crime, and help them break out of the cycle of violence. It’s a small program, but has seen some real success, and we want to see them try it in more cities.

We know our dollars are going towards promoting causes and outcomes we believe in, and we feel better knowing that our good fortune is spread out a little bit.

#10: Try the World Dinners

At some point, one of my Christmas gifts to Becky was a subscription to Try the World, a subscription service that sends you local foods that you can make into a meal. We didn’t have the emotional bandwidth to make them at the time, but this year we vowed to make it happen.

This is part of our 100 Things in 2018 challenge. Make sure to click on the photos!

Our first meal was from Morocco. We made two kinds of tea, and a lamb tagine with couscous. So good.

Another meal: Thailand! Thai iced tea and a curry, and mango sticky rice for dessert.

Meal 3 was from Sweden: several kinds of knäckebröd and a variety of other sides.

And a bonus (which didn’t come from Try the World): Italy! We brought back pasta and cheese from our Rome trip, and made mezze maniche carbonara and carciofi alla Giudia (Jewish artichokes), and it was delicious.

#30. Pumpkin Patch

Pumpkin patches are a thing you kind of have to do when you live around here. The big ones on Sauvie Island are always completely mobbed, but the ones nearer us in Vancouver aren’t too bad, and have just as much cool stuff to do.

This is part of our 100 Things in 2018 challenge. Make sure to click on the photos!

This year we jumped on a last-minute, afternoon invite to Bi-Zi Farms with our wonderful neighbors. Pictured: choosing pumpkins (you have to be able to carry it to the car), the corn maze, the hay pyramid, and tiny tractor bikes. Not pictured: a billion other people taking advantage of the gorgeous fall afternoon, and pumpkin chunking (where Becky came the closest).

#63: Offsite Office

When Will started attending Family House Academy in September, it was too far away to just drive home for the day and come back to pick him up. I tried working from coffee shops for a couple of weeks, but it wasn’t for me. I like having my own space, where I can set up my big monitor, and not feel like an itinerant all the time. So I went looking for office space.

This is part of our 100 Things in 2018 challenge. Make sure to click on the photos!

I ended up finding this little room in the heart of downtown Longview. It has a big window, a door that locks, and electricity, and it’s $200 per month (which is about the same as working from coffee shops, if you’re a good citizen). It’s cozy, quiet, and all mine.

#90: Ben – Buy a Tesla

Back in March, I wrote about reserving a Tesla Model 3, and how excited I was to own one. Well, in August I got the email to schedule my delivery! We started prepping the garage to have another car in it, organizing all the stuff that was just hanging out in that bay, and I had a garage door opener and a new circuit for charging installed. We even taped an outline of the car to see how it would fit.

This is part of our 100 Things in 2018 challenge. Make sure to click on the photos!

In late September I took our little Civic on its last drive as a member of our family, down to the Tesla Service Center in Portland to pick up the car. Tesla is completely overwhelmed with the scale of Model 3 sales, so my appointment was almost two hours late. They finally called my name, and after a 5-minute tour of my car, I drove it away!

I don’t know if I’ve ever actually seen this scene in a movie, but you know that trope where the 60’s family comes home with a new car, and the whole neighborhood comes out to admire it and talk about it? That’s what it feels like with this car. Teslas (and especially Model 3’s) are still rare and weird enough that people notice it, and ask me how I like it. My answer is probably a bit longer than they bargained for.

I’ve bought cars before. I’ve spent weeks doing research, reading reviews, agonizing over every little choice. I’ve gone to the dealer, haggled, signed the papers, and said goodbye to my old car as I climbed into a new one. I’ve experienced that excitement when the disorientation about where all the controls are and how to open the door gives way to familiarity and comfort. I’ve also been through the “shine wearing off,” when it’s no longer a new car, but just the car.

I’ve owned this car for 2½ months now, and the shine is still there. I still love it every time I climb inside, every time I turn on the autopilot, every time I park it in the garage and plug it in for the night. This is new for me, I’ve never had a thing where the new-thing excitement sticks around like this.

It truly is a great car. It’s so clear that this is where cars are going, and it feels like going 20 years in the future when I climb in. I couldn’t be happier with a vehicle than I am with this one.

#71: Break in the Fire Pit

One of the centerpieces of our backyard makeover was an area where we could have campfires! The pit itself was done pretty early in the process, and so was the wood, but due to a months-long recreational burn ban in our county, we had to wait until the first week of October to try it out. We forgot the marshmallows that night, but it was still pretty magical.

This is part of our 100 Things in 2018 challenge. Make sure to click on the photos!

#78: Silverwood Theme Park Trip

Weirdly enough, the Portland/Seattle area just doesn’t really have theme parks. There are a few waterparks around, but nothing with giant roller coasters. So we had to go to Idaho to find Silverwood Theme Park.

This is part of our 100 Things in 2018 challenge. Make sure to click on the photos!

The park itself is lovely. It opened in 1988, and has this nice Victorian/wild-west theme going on. We were there in late September, and they were just getting started with the Halloween-themed decor and props.

And oh, the roller coasters. We started the day by riding a wooden coaster backwards, which I do not recommend. Becky and I looked at each other afterward and wondered how old we were. The kids, of course, ran around riding everything in sight. We set some boundaries and then let them free to wander the park together while we holed up in an adorable coffee shop in the park. Each time we checked in with them they brought more friends to the meetup place. The lines weren’t too long, and we all got quite a bit of fun out of the day. At our final meetup they were soaked (from the log flume) and freezing, and had made an entire gang of friends. Youth!

Now you know we won’t drive to Idaho without seeing some Roadside America attractions. Here’s a sampling, including a Tardis coffee shop, an enormous wagon, some dinosaurs, and great ice cream.

 

#15: Weekend Trackers

We’ve been fans of Trackers Earth for a long time now, and we’ve been sending our kids to their camps and activities for 5 years. This year they both became old enough to participate in overnight camps!

This is part of our 100 Things in 2018 challenge. Make sure to click on the photos!

One weekend a month, we drop them off on Friday afternoon around 4, and pick them up on Sunday around 4pm, dirty, exhausted, and proud. They both chose the Realms of Cascadia theme, which means they’re tromping through the wilderness chasing after dragon eggs, and defending the world from the Orcish menace. They love it, and now they get to spend two solid days immersed in this story they’re building together, along with consistently adding to their repertoire of outdoor and survival skills.