Sunday, September 27, 2015

Oregon Adventures XII

 My parents might have detected a hint of homesickness when we were talking a few months ago, a couple of weeks later they called and said, "We're coming to see you guys!"  Our spirits instantly lifted and have remained at a good place ever since. 

We took them to Salem's Saturday market.  Ezra got to be a helper to this hula hooper who was once on Germany's Got Talent.

Sunday we took them to the Oregon State Fair (where Ben was volunteered by Ezra to go up on stage).  Ben was less than enthused.

 I think my parents had a a good time.

 We did too!

This is the footpath two doors down that takes you to either the elementary school behind us or to a nature preserve with wild blackberries and a creek.  Phoebe rides that tricycle every chance she gets!

We go every night that the kids are needing to burn off energy, which is most nights.

One tradition my parents have started is to put on a tea party for the kids every time they get together.  The parties always have themes and are quite elaborate.  Some have suggested my mom go into business putting on themed tea parties.   This trip, they did not disappoint.  It took months of preparation, as usual, with days of work preceding the actual event: baking cupcakes and painting little wooden figures to coordinate with the characters in the book, "Pilgrim's Progress," the theme of this week's tea party.  Themes in the past have varied from, "The Very Hungry Caterpillar," to "Pirates and Fairies".  In the weeks prior to my parent's arrival, I read aloud a children's version of "Pilgrim's Progress," by John Bunyan as retold by Geraldine McCaughrean.  They loved it.  Now, they get to act it out with figurines they made with their grandparents!

Gathering the materials for this project (and getting them to Oregon) was no small feat as well.

 Up close

Tea Parties often involve costumes for the kids.  Here Ezra is in the new tree house that came with the house, taking a break from the tea party theme and instead acting out Monty Python's famous line, "Your mother was a hamster and your father smells of elderberries!"  I love that my dad taught him that!

Not sure who enjoys the tea parties more, my parents or the kids.

One night my parents watched the kids for us so we could go on a date.  We went to a very nice restaurant called, "Rafn's" that used only local foods, then just walked the streets of downtown Salem to get to know them a bit better.  This was a cool tree we found.

We walked a super long time.  It was a lovely night.

We drove to the ocean the day before they left.  I think, if I had to guess, this was my mom's favorite place.  I think it brought back memories of when we lived in Monterey, California.  I was just little (maybe five?) and my dad was there to learn Persian Farsi at linguistics school.  I can still say, "My name is Rebecca and I am five and a half years old," and count to ten. :-) He used to write our Christmas lists in Farsi, so we couldn't read it.  

Sunday we went to Portland and met some of their friends from England and Germany, while they toured the Sunday market.

They got to see some of Portland's finest.

Including VooDoo Donuts which has a constant line stretching down the street (we did not bother, though we all wished we could try the crazy donuts they sell there).  We had some maple bacon ice cream from the market instead, which was surprisingly good.

The week and two days went entirely too fast, but it was medicine for us all and greatly appreciated!  Not pictured are all the restaurants we visited together and all the work my parents did in our home while they were here.  I didn't do any laundry or dishes for the entire week thanks to my mom and tons of odd jobs around the house got done thanks to my dad. While sight seeing, I heard them often compare Oregon to England or Germany, which I think could be interpreted as "feels like home" coming from them after having lived in Europe for 23 years.  We definitely felt they came and gave their blessing on our new home and it was just what we needed.  Thanks for visiting, Mom and Dad!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Oregon Adventures: Moving Day

 When we moved all our household goods from Ohio, Garmin sent a giant moving truck and movers who packed all our breakables (we packed up the rest).  This time, we were only moving 15 minutes away from our rental home... 

to our newly purchased home, 
6388 Doral Dr SE, Salem, OR 97306

...but we were without professional movers...or so we thought.  In the two weeks prior to moving day, we had numerous people call about an e-mail forwarded to them by their pastor at Salem Mennonite church, offering to help on moving day.  I believe twelve RSVP'd, but 15 showed up.

The Linds were the lead volunteers and brought their truck and trailer along.
 They started a little before ten and were done by eleven a.m., so we had an early lunch!  I wanted to order Chipotle catering, but it was so expensive, so earlier in the week I made homemade refried beans, shredded some chicken, cilantro lime rice and had our own version of Chipotle.  

Many of our morning helpers stayed on for round two at the new house.  All was done by 3pm and our plans to order everyone pizza were null and void as it was far too early for dinner.  We had one incident where I smelled something funny inside the house and we realized it wasn't the forest fires outside, it was the box sitting on the stove top that had caught fire!  Our new stove has knobs in the front that turn on easily, something to be aware of!

We felt so overwhelmed by the gracious help of so many people we didn't even know.  We were exhausted the next day, but visited their church again, just to say thank you!  We were so humbled when our house sold in one day in Ohio, and again, faces in hands, completely full of gratitude for the help that was sent.  

It's been three weeks since moving day, and one week after the big move, my parents visited from Tennessee for one week (lots of pictures and stories forthcoming about that), and have begun our school year.  Today, Saturday, the 12th of September, is the first day we've spent completely focused on unpacking since the move.  We took everything out of the garage to sort and organize it.  We had no less than twenty people stop by and ask if we were having a garage sale!  The kids were worried people would walk off with our things if we weren't out there.

We have loved living in this neighborhood  already!  We chose the house mainly because of the layout, the low traffic and proximity to two parks.  Turns out, there aren't many cars, but there are a LOT of people that walk by all day long:  Dog walkers, moms and dads with strollers, walkers, runners, people taking their kids to the school behind us and so on!  It's been fun for the kids.  We also have a brave gray squirrel and our own family of Western Scrub Jays (stock photo, not mine).

We are very much at peace with where we have chosen and in spite of still being surrounded by boxes inside (the garage looks great!), we still feel very much at home.  We are so ready for some permanency and routine, it's been a long transition!

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Oregon Adventures XI

There was so much interest in the train that runs along the road, that when I finally saw the train as I went Northbound on River Road, I grabbed another pic to share with you.  I should have mentioned in the first place that this train goes very slow.  It is odd being allowed to drive so close to it though.

Well, we basically had one last whirlwind week just before we moved on August 22nd. We started out with a trip to OMSI, Oregon Museum of Science and Industry located in Portland.  It is huge and fun!  Here's Phoebe playing chipmunk in the imagination play room.

 Ezra making spin art by light of a strobe light.

This room took my breath away.  It's a room of babies.  Real babies in formaldehyde from a few weeks old to birth.  It's better than any ultrasound to show the humanity and miracle of even the tiniest unborn baby.  As you enter, a sign says that all the babies died of natural causes.
There were parents telling their children about their birth experiences and a woman silently standing, unmovable in front of one baby, 19 weeks, I believe.  It was a place of contemplation and reverence.

The girls especially enjoyed the Chemistry room where three lab assistants were available to help with one of their experiments set up around the room.  We conducted four experiments before we moved on.
OMSI seemed endless, there was more there than our little ones were capable of seeing in one day.  I appreciated the robotics department and the earthquake room simulating what we might feel someday.  I am very much looking forward to taking Ben here.

This is Bonnie and her baby girl!  She and her family kindly included us on their trip to OMSI.  She's my Canadian friend who loves Yerba Mate tea so much. :-)  She is my favorite surprise blessing since moving Oregon.

Wednesdays we have enjoyed going to the local Children's museum for drama time.  Juni loves the "China Room" the most.  I just noticed the jumping boy in this pic! Ha!

Thursday and Friday had us busy cleaning the new house and packing up the little we had unpacked at the rental home in preparation for moving day.  So, we treated ourselves to Thai food at Mina's Cafe for lunch and for kicks tried the menu item called, "Bubble Tea."  It was a smoothie with giant tapioca balls in it that fit up the large straw you use.  So, you are drinking a smoothie then pausing to chew up what feels like a gummy bear every few seconds.  Ezra and Phoebe and I loved it.  Juni is like her Daddy and is a texture person and Bubble Tea is too strange of a texture for her.
Saturday was moving day and it gets a post of it's own. Thanks for reading!