Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Oregon Adventures IV

Sunday - We kicked off this week with our 18th anniversary.  We were all exhausted from Ezra's birthday celebrations the day before and so didn't go anywhere or do anything all day.  That evening though, the kids brought us fancy drinks to the kiddie table in the backyard and then put on a performance for us with singing, dancing and a brief comedy routine. We are planning to celebrate our anniversary at a later date, but the kids' gift of trying so hard to make it a special evening for us made our day. 

 Monday - Ben was back to work, which he LOVES, by the way.  He is really coming into his own at Garmin, I am so proud of him.  The rest of us went to Eugene, Oregon, which is an hour South of us to see an old friend of mine from Ohio.  Melinda Caldwell and I used to work at a crisis center together.  Now she runs a booming supervised visitation program and teaches co-parenting classes in New Philadelphia.  Her daughter is an aspiring Olympian and came to Eugene to qualify for the Olympic team and other honors.  Melinda and her mother-in-law came to watch and we spent lunch together before she had to catch a plane back to Ohio. It was a little surreal to have our worlds collide out here, but sweet medicine for the soul!

Tuesday: We went blueberry picking with the Linds, they have kindly shown us all the best picking spots in the area.  This berry orchard is about 20 minutes from our rental home, just outside East Salem.  

 We didn't pick nearly as many blueberries as we did cherries the week before, but the Linds shared some of theirs with us and we still ended up with plenty.

We had school and laundry to do afterwards, and so put the two together.  I read the 20 rules listed on the wall of the laundry mat and though one said, "No sitting on the folding tables," it said nothing about the washers.

OK, so we broke a rule (that's Phoebe on a folding table).  There were clearly 19 rules we did not even touch, like smoking and leaving children unattended. Sometimes, I am a little rebellious.  It was worth getting half of school (and the laundry!) done though.

This is our favorite (and the most prominent) mural in downtown Salem.  The kids have named her, "Eleanor Chrysanthemum Morocca," and it fits.  I just researched and found out that her stage name was Theda Bara, she was a silent actress from the early 1900s.  This walking blog had a nice tour of Salem's downtown, if you are interested.

Salem is considered the most rural and agricultural of the three big cities in Oregon, with lots of farms and orchards surrounding it.  Coming from Northeast Ohio, we are spoiled though, every time we see this scene, we remember the beautifully hand stacked corn and hay in Amish country. 
As a side note, I have also been missing my beloved granola that I used to buy from Shepherd's Market.  Marion Yoder makes homemade graham crackers and crumbles in it, it's got toasted coconut and walnuts too.  If you live in Tuscarawas County and haven't tried it, you are missing out.  You can get it, and it's GF doppelganger Wednesdays 3-7pm at the Tusc. County Farmer's Market at the fairgrounds.  So far, I have found nothing even remotely comparable and there is even a large population named after the stuff here!

We still love our new neighborhood.  Who knew how nice the suburbs could be for family living!?

We are eating up the blackberries we find on the side of the road near our rental home.  Hee hee!

Wednesday and Thursday were busy with school, homeschool park day and seeing off our friends from Switzerland. :-(

Since we first found out that we might move to Salem, we have been interested in visiting the "The Gilbert House Children's Museum."  It is 10 minutes down the road and is three historic houses full of imagination play.  There is also a large outdoor play area with lots of shaded seating, so even if it's raining, it will be a fun place to come and do school sometime. We got a membership.  We used to go to a similar place in Mansfield, called, "The Little Buckeye Children's Museum," it's worth the drive, Ohio friends!

There's a psychedelic digital body art room

The China room where Ben and I were served "tea" by someone else's children.

An aerospace science room, that got under Ben's skin a little.  The buttons and knobs should actually work, in his opinion.  He has plans to approach Garmin execs about making this a reality. :-)

There's a farm room to collect eggs, pick veggies and milk a cow. 

A stage for singing the A,B,C's.

A creative design block room and many more (I had way too many pictures to share).

A. C. Gilbert was the originator of the erector set and produced many other toys back in the early 1900s. He was born in Salem, OR, but did most of his work on the East Coast.

Saturday: We had a low key Independence Day.  The fireworks didn't start till 10pm, TOO LATE!   We had a nice cookout with our new friends, Chris and Bonnie Lehman.  Chris reports the politics from the State House here in Salem for NPR.  Bonnie is a soon-to-be homeschooling Canadian and is addicted to Yerba Mate tea.  She gave us a kilo's worth and a bombilla (metal straw/sieve) to get started.  All of us are enjoying the tea very much, it's fun too because it's a communal and you pass it around.  I had only had instant yerba mate before and it's very different.  Oooh, I got my first mosquito bite that night.  There aren't many mosquitos here, only in their backyard, I'm pretty sure.

In Ohio, living in the country, we were used to bugs.  We made peace with them and usually let them co-exist with us in our home.  I went from being nervous around spiders to picking them up with my bare hands and carrying them outside if I didn't wish them to be in a particular room.  All of Salem and Keizer is known for the orchards that used to be here, many are still here.  Our rental home sits on what used to be a cherry orchard.  We had an ant invasion this week that caused me to forego my peaceable ways.  I'm not proud of how many ants died in our vacuum this week, but Juni has found a new way to help out.  If she sees an ant, she turns the vacuum on.

Pictures forthcoming.  We are staying in boxes in our rental as we know we will be moving into our new home in the next month or so.  We should get a closing date this coming week.

That's all the news from the Wigtons in Oregon!  Have a great week everyone!

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