March Misc Round Up

Lucy played the role of Michael in a school play! It was Peter and Wendy, which is a cut-down version of Peter Pan, with lots of fun touches for school kids. The whole thing, from auditions to rehearsals to costuming to performance, happened in the space of a single week, as part of a program from the Missoula Children’s Theater.

Lucy’s Tae Kwon Do group had fun breaking boards.

I went to Lucy’s culminating event, where her class showed off the board games and presentations they made as part of their research into different biomes. (Becky couldn’t make it, she was at the vet with Scout.)

Lucy went to a Harry Potter-themed slumber birthday party, and made her own wand; planted a garden box and designed fairy habitats for it; learned how to play Magic: the Gathering at the hobby shop down the street; and we met a bunch of her friends at Burgerville for a fundraiser.

Becky and I got all dolled up for the Enchanted Garden school auction. Becky had a photo shoot at Strut. Lucy dressed up for St. Patrick’s Day, and we had another snow day.

Puppy Time

H.B. Van Duzer Forest State Scenic Corridor

We were headed back home from Newport, and decided to finally stop at this little rest area that we’ve passed at least a hundred times.

This is part of our Oregon State Park challenge! Check out our progress here.

It’s a perfect place for a picnic lunch, especially if you’re headed toward the Portland area from the central coast. Oh, and if the weather’s nice. And if you have food with you. And if you like that sort of thing. Anyways, we liked it.

Agate Beach State Park

We were in Newport for Lucy’s spring break this year, and what do you know — there’s a state park there!

This is part of our Oregon State Park challenge! Check out our progress here.

Agate Beach State Recreation Area is kind of tucked away on the north side of Newport, and it’s a pretty comfy place to go visit. There’s a tunnel connecting the parking lot to the beach area.

We didn’t find any agates, though Lucy had her eyes all over that beach. Turns out there aren’t any; the interpretive center at that lighthouse in the distance said it’s been cleaned out. We also had fun drawing pictures with sticks, which was my most favorite thing to do as a kid on the beach.

If you’re in Newport and aren’t already staying on or near the beach, this is a great place to go and get your fill.

Lucy Spring Break

After spending the first half of spring break with Will in Albuquerque, we switched gears entirely and took Lucy to Newport for her spring break. On the way there we indulged our slight fascination with covered bridges.

When we got there, we looked at the weather report, and it was dire. A huge windstorm was blowing in, and it hit Newport first. We awoke to gale-force winds, and Lucy and I had to lean into the wind to go get coffee. Still, we’re from the PN freaking W, so we put on our gore-tex and stiff upper lips, and just went about our business.

We did more Oregon Coast Quests (post forthcoming), discovered a new brew pub, puzzled, found a basket of seashells at a thrift store, did tons of walking, and sent Lucy to the playground across the parking lot all by herself. It was great, and we might have to go back to this area.

New Mexico Spring Visit

Becky and I visit Will in Albuquerque about every six weeks. For our March visit, we wanted to enjoy the fresh spring weather! We drove out to Wildlife West, which is sort of a tiny zoo with all rescued animals. We were the only patrons, and the place hadn’t been spruced up for the crowds yet, but we still learned some things, and saw some interesting creatures. On our way back, we continued the tradition of going to Rita’s for some Italian ice.

Another day we had Will take us on a tour of the ABQ BioPark Zoo, which he has visited multiple times but we’ve never seen. He was a great host, and we had fun. We spent a lot of time just relaxing and being together at our funky Airbnb, which had a jetted tub the size of a large yard pool, and walking around the neighborhood. We also spent a day driving around and visiting Roadside America sights (post forthcoming).

Will is doing fantastically. In the past he’s always had trouble with boredom and adversity, and he’s handling both of those things much better now. The Sandhill staff is describing him as sometimes acting as a leader and a role model among his peers, which gives him a lot of pride – he’s never been in that position before. This was our smoothest, easiest visit to date, and we had a really good time.

Sick Scout

We’ve been on a medical odyssey with Scout over the last month. It started when we took her in for some dental work, and she had to have like 10 teeth pulled. She had to go under anesthesia, which meant having a tube down her throat. We brought her home, tired and sore, but okay.

(Non-trigger warning: the dog doesn’t die at the end of this one.)

She seemed to be recovering nicely at first. But that weekend Lucy and I headed to Mount Hood for some snowboarding, and Becky found out the hard way that Scout couldn’t keep any food down. She began vomiting every couple of hours. Becky spent 5 hours at the emergency vet on Sunday evening, and Scout spent the night there. We also stopped by Costco to buy a carpet cleaner.

The vet got her stabilized, and sent her home a couple days later with an armload of meds. The diagnosis was aspirational pneumonia – she had accidentally breathed in some vomit, and her lungs got infected. Then Becky left for Wisconsin for a week, and Hank and I mostly took care of Scout. She would still throw up (hence the sheet over the dog bed), but she was getting food down, and I thought it would pass. Hank would snuggle with her at every opportunity.

When Becky got back, Scout had taken a turn for the worse. She was losing weight, and her vomiting had come back with a vengeance. She was in and out of the vet, running lots of tests, and in the meantime put her on some different meds and a special kind of food – hydrolyzed protein, or as we like to call it, chicken liver gruel. She started to get better.

That was two weeks ago, and she’s doing very well now. She looooves the new food, which makes it easy to crush up a pill or two each day and mix it in, and she’s starting to plump up again. She’s got all her old vigor back, and it even seems like she can jump onto taller furniture than she could before.

Her diagnosis is still unknown, but the working theory now is that the top of her small intestine is constricted somehow (scar tissue from the dental tube?), and when she swallows any kind of solid-ish food, it won’t go through, so she throws it up. The gruel is really smooth, so it can pass through the smaller hose, and it’s super nutritious. None of that is certain, though.

The vet has offered to do a biopsy surgery to diagnose for sure, but Scout is stable and happy, and that would be really traumatic for her. She’s not a young dog, and we don’t want to risk losing her just to know. So we do a little extra to feed her and keep loving on her.

#86: Ben & Lucy Snowboard Weekend

Snow sports have been on our “someday” list for a long time, but we wanted to find the right time to start the kids out. We didn’t want it to be too early – there’s a lot of frustration to push through if you’re only hitting the mountain once or twice a year. Lucy’s 8½ now, and really physically coordinated, so the time seemed right.

This is part of our 100 Things in 2017 challenge. Here’s the full list.

Our plan was to drive out to the northern side of Mount Hood, stay there for a weekend, and hit the slopes for two days. I picked her up from school, and we stopped in Hood River for a nice sushi dinner. Then we drove the last half hour to our lodging, which is a simple couple of rooms above someone’s garage, with very pink carpet.

The next morning we grabbed a proteinful breakfast at (I kid you not) Wake N Baked, which was surprisingly excellent, and drove up to Cooper Spur to get our gear rented. Once we were fitted we stepped outside to find a light but steady rain was falling on our snow day! Kind of a bummer, but we didn’t let it stop us.

Lucy went to ski school for a two hour group lesson, but it turned out she was the only one in her group, so she got 1-on-1 instruction for the morning! She did super well, and graduated from the bunny slope to riding the lift!

After lunch we put on our by-now soaking snow gear and headed out to the slope for an afternoon of boarding together, but we didn’t last very long. The cold had gotten to us, and Lucy’s foot was starting to hurt, so we called it around 2:30.

But our day wasn’t over. Our friend-family happened to be snowboarding at Timberline that day, and they invited us over there to hang out a while! We hit the hot tub (with falling snow!) and sauna to warm up, then went to Oregon’s most iconic bar for dinner. Lucy and Maddie wandered around with her iPod and took some photos.

It was about this time that Becky messaged us with her status for the weekend: a sick dog! She’s fine now, but expect the full story in another post.

The next morning we started home. But first we stopped at the Portland Rock Gym for some bouldering!

Then we went home to rescue Becky from the puking dogs.

February Misc Roundup

Becky had a birthday! She turned 27.

Lucy’s been super busy! Pictured below: gymnastics class at a local activity center, her sick day, a field trip to the Audubon Society, sewing with Becky, and a Valentine’s day party.

My teammate Dexter had a birthday, so the company bought him a giant donut cake. We also had a team dinner at the incredible Farm Spirit!

P U P P I E S

#48: See a Musical

Live theater is one of our most favorite things to do on a date. Live musical theater is even better.

This is part of our 100 Things in 2017 challenge. Here’s the full list.

In the past we’ve been season ticket holders to the musical series at Keller Auditorium, but this year it didn’t work out. However, we’re fortunate enough to have friends who are members, and who sometimes can’t make it to their shows.

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The show this time was Matilda, based on the beloved Roald Dahl book. They messed with the story a bit too much for Becky’s taste, but the cast was great, and the girl playing Matilda herself was just perfect. The choreography was really different from anything we’d seen before, and the sets and transitions were really well-done. We had a great time, and we hope our friends get super busy for a long time.

#74: Heathman Hotel High Tea

We love Tea. It’s one of our favorite Things to add to our list every year.

This is part of our 100 Things in 2017 challenge. Here’s the full list.

Historically, the Heathman Hotel in downtown Portland has always done a proper British tea service, but in the last year management of Headwaters passed to Vitaly Paley, whose Russian-inspired cuisine has powered his restaurant Kachka to the top of a lot of lists. So now their tea service includes Russian flavor, and we can’t resist that kind of draw for long.

We brought our good friends to help us enjoy this, and enjoy we all did. Instead of the usual cucumber sandwiches and Earl Grey, there was smoked caravan-style tea and blini with caviar. So good. If you enjoy tea and tiny foods, this is the place for you.