Saturday, June 20, 2015

The 4T Trail

When Adam's parents were here, they did some amazing house work for us.  Glenda was a maniac with a paint brush, and then later at the sewing machine, making valences for the kids' rooms.  Bryant changed outlets and fixed all the messed-up base boards and door molding.  Adam stepped in to help all over.  I had the oh-so-exciting job of keeping the kids out of the way and making sure no one went hungry.  Thankfully, we were able to take a day together once the bulk of the work was done to explore the city a bit via the 4T Trail.  The trail makes a loop around the city, and in addition to the trail, the OHSU tram, the trolley (Portland streetcar), and train are key players.  We decided to begin with the trail at the zoo.

The trail was marked all over the city with these lovely signs to let us know we were on the right track:

Here we are at the beginning, when we were all still fresh and full of energy:

I will admit, I was a little nervous about the trail.  The hiking part was about 4 miles, and I wasn't sure how the kids would hold up, considering that most of it was uphill (it was an 800 ft. rise in elevation!).  Here we are taking a little breather at Council Crest (supposedly the highest point in Portland).

Then it was back on the Marquam Trail for more hiking.  I was really impressed with the kids.  Henry rode a little bit in the stroller, but the vast majority of it he hiked himself.  

And I know this girl got tired (heck, even I was exhausted!), but she did such an amazing job!

And this little one rode in style with no complaints!

As we neared OHSU, the trail became extra steep, and though Henry was walking, he needed a little intervention in order to pick up the pace. 

It was such a reprieve to be in the OHSU building waiting for the tram.  The air conditioning was heaven sent!  Harper caught a few Zzz's waiting for the tram.

The view from the top!

Sharing a snack while waiting for the trolley.

Henry was excited for the trolley ride.  He ran to get on board!

And then after the trolley, we had to walk a few blocks to catch the train back to the zoo.  The online trail guides suggested stopping at the food carts or in Pioneer Square to rest up and have a bite to eat, but I think by that time we had already been gone for 4+ hours and just wanted to get home and have a cool shower!

And the tired bunch got on the train just in time for rush hour. 

The train was full of ruffians and thugs during the evening commute.  It was a little sketchy.

A few thoughts on the 4T trail:  it was a lot of fun, but the route we took was mostly uphill.  It was tough.  Plus, it was pretty warm out, which didn't help much.  I would love to do this again, but the fall or I early spring seems the ideal time to do this trail.  The OHSU tram costs money to ride it up hill, but nothing to take it down hill, which is what we did.  Even though it would be more expensive, I would consider taking the trail in the other direction so that the walking part of the trail wouldn't be so hard with the kids.  Also, the trail is NOT stroller friendly.  It is narrow at times, there are a lot of stairs, and tree roots and rocks make very regular appearances.  So the bigger kids would need to hoof it the entire time, and Harper would need to be in a pack.  I'm glad we did the trail and that I could cross it off my "Things to do in Portland" list!

Strawberry Picking

We have lived in berry country for 8 years now (!!), and we finally went strawberry picking for the first time.  Shameful, really.  We always look forward to the farmers' markets where we can buy the beautiful strawberries, but we've never taken the opportunity to pick them for a much cheaper price ourselves.  We finally changed that when Grandma and Grandpa Belnap came to visit.  It was Hood strawberry season, and the $1.50/lb was more than worth it!

I think the Hood berries are seriously the best I've ever had.  They are tender, super sweet and really juicy.  We picked three bowls full, and they were gone within a couple of days!

Even Claire helped with the work!

Harper Shenanigans

This little one-year-old is managing to become cuter and cuter.  She likes to talk on the phone.

She is awesome at giving slobbery kisses.

She makes snack time an opportunity for displaying cuteness.

She loves to give herself yogurt facials and hair treatments.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Seattle With a View

When Adam began work with Intel, we always said that we would stay in the Portland area at least 7 years.  That is the time when Intel employees can take sabbatical - a 2-month-long paid vacation.  Adam hit seven years with the company last year, but with a brand new baby, we figured we wouldn't be able to do much when nursing schedules and lack of sleep prohibit much in the way of fun.  So he delayed his sabbatical until this summer.  To kick off his first day of vacation, Adam planned a celebratory date night just for the two of us.  The Red Sox were in Seattle, so he got us amazing tickets, arranged for overnight childcare with some friends, and booked a hotel.  Best date night ever!  This was our first time catching a game in Seattle, and we had a great time!

Safeco Field is a great ballpark.

We had 12th row seats, almost right in front of home plate, with a straight shot view of the first base line.  Perfect view.  After one of the innings, the Red Sox catcher was walking back to the dugout, caught sight of Adam in all is Red Sox gear, and threw the game ball right to him!  It was amazing!  

Big Papi and Dustin Pedroia warming up.

The Sox lost with a walk-off hit by Seattle's best hitter.  Oh well.  It was still a great game.

After the game, we figured out the train, walked through downtown a bit, and made it just in time to head to the top of the Space Needle.  It was a beautiful night with a perfect view.

And just because they are so gosh-darn cute:

Adam wanted to be sure that I had a Red Sox shirt for the game, and while we were shopping for me, we bought the kids their own gear!

Harper Turns 3!

We sure love this little girl, and we were excited to wish her a happy birthday.  But, of course, this little sassafrass decided to have so...