#79: Will Discharge

Will started his work at Sandhill Child Development Center in June of 2016. On the third of July, 2018, he moved back home.

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

We brought Lucy with us to his discharge ceremony. Every kid who’s done at Sandhill gets one of these, and the atmosphere is like a birthday, except more heartfelt. His entire peer group and all of the staff he had been working with gathered around and took turns telling stories or saying what they admired about Will. It was super heartwarming and teary.

He’s been home a while now, and it’s amazing the transformation he’s gone through over the last two years. He’s two years older, yes, but more than that the real Will has emerged from behind his emotional struggles. He has more tools to help himself out, and we have more tools to support him in his journey to adulthood. It’s going to be great.

Bonus: we ended up with an extra 1½ days in Albuquerque, so we took Lucy to see the sights, including the Explora, the sculpture garden at the Albuquerque Museum, and a fancy tea party!

June Misc Round Up

Will: enjoyed the runup to his Sandhill discharge with tiny goats and yard work; wrote in his journal; built and made friends with robots at OMSI; and got fitted for his final Isla bike (this is the biggest one they make!).

Lucy: went to Black Butte with the Swank/Aldridge clan and had a blast.

Lucy also: ran her homemade beauty products booth at the Gardner market; had her 10th birthday party at Oaks Park; had a birthday burrito with a candle in it; had her face painted at another Gardner event; and attended her last day of 4th grade!

We grownups: enjoyed hanging out with other grownups at the Gardner last day of school event; toasted to Microsoft buying GitHub; love a good brunch cocktail; also love a fancy tea service; and also love a good smörgåsbord for lunch.



#77: Organize Camping Gear

Camping is a thing we do as a family, and we’ve accumulated a good amount of gear over the years. Sadly it had just accumulated in piles in the garage. This year we decided to do something about that.

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

The first step was to inventory. We brought everything into our living room, took it out of the motley assortment of containers it was living in, and weeded out the things we didn’t want or need any longer.

We repacked what was left into four big, clear, uniform bins, organized so that it’s easy to grab the two or three we need for a particular trip. They all live in one place in the garage, and it’s easy to find things in them. Success!

#6: Parent Retreats

Every year we each get what we call a retreat – 3 nights and two days of just being a grownup, all by yourself, to do whatever you want. We’ve been doing this for years now, and it’s become an essential part of our self-care routine.

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

Becky rented an adorable apartment in Newport, right above the water. She had a fantastic and peaceful retreat, and did a lot of walking, eating good food, reading, and hand-sewing.

My retreat was during the work week, so I stayed in a tiny house in the Kerns neighborhood in northeast Portland. It was the perfect size for me, and I was able to take transit to work every day. It was lovely and refreshing.

We can’t recommend this practice enough. If you’re a parent and haven’t taken any time for yourself in a while, do it! Even if it’s just a day, you won’t regret it.

#84: Ben – British Baking

Ever since we’ve started watching The Great British Bake Off and seeing all the mouth-wateringly delightful projects these amazing bakers pull off, I’ve wanted to try my hand. Well, it wasn’t very long before Becky bought me a cookbook as part of Jólabókaflóð, and I started looking for opportunities.

So I set aside some weekend time for baking projects, bought some staples that we hadn’t had in our pantry for years (AP flour! Yeast!), ordered some exotic-in-the-States ingredients (Black pudding! Dark treacle! Muscovado!), and set to work.

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

Project 1: Sticky Gingerbread

Lucia helped me make this. It’s essentially a very moist gingerbread cake with a very sticky sauce on top, and it was delightful. It didn’t last long.

Project 2: Roquefort Walnut Loaf

This was a huge hit. In essence it’s a regular loaf, but kneaded with walnuts and with a ribbon of roquefort rolled within. Toast with butter, and it’s amazing. Highly recommended.

Project 3: Pecan Shorties

With Lucia’s help again, we made these lovely little shortbread cookies, which are partially dipped in melted chocolate, and disappear very quickly when presented to hungry people.

Project 4: Morello Cherry Bakewell

A Bakewell Tart is a pie crust, whose filling is a series of layers, including frangipane and jam. This one tasted of creamy almonds and deeply dark cherries. I messed it up a bit, but it was still pretty darn good.

Project 5: Paul’s Sausage Rolls

These turned out to be very useful, and even helped power us up the side of Mt. St. Helens. The plaits were a lot of fun to make, and they look pretty good, don’t they?

Project 6: Hazelnut Strawberry Roulade

So good. This tasted like strawberries and cream wrapped up in crispy-baked meringue. It disappeared in record time.

I really enjoyed these projects, and although we’ve discovered that nobody in our family has a dairy intolerance any longer (yay!), this amount of carbs just doesn’t agree with us. So I won’t be making a lifestyle out of baking, but I do intend to continue making treats from time to time.