Hello and happy spring! I know that spring "officially" started a couple weeks ago, but we only got our first taste of it this weekend. We've had nothing but rain here in Portland for several weeks now, and by rain I mean the flood-inducing type of non-stop downpour rain. It's left us really craving some sunshine, so over the weekend we hopped in the car and went on an adventure to track it down. The only place within reasonable driving distance that had sunshine in the forecast was central Oregon, so that's where we headed. And find some sunshine we did, in a tiny town called Maupin.
The population of Maupin, Oregon is about 400 people. It sits right on the Deschutes River, which makes it a popular spot for rafting and fishing in the summer months. In the off season, its not exactly a tourist destination. There are about 4 lodging options (all geared toward rafters), 1 market, and 1 schoolyard playground. I'm not going to lie, I was worried that we would get bored spending an entire weekend here. But it was was a place we've never been to and it wasn't raining there, so we stayed. And turns out, it wasn't boring at all.
First of all, the lodge we stayed at was amazing. Not at all what I had pictured for the small, off-season price we paid for it. Each room in the lodge has its own unique theme related to Oregon history; ours was an "expedition" theme with decor inspired by the travels of Lewis & Clark. We had a river view, a deck, vaulted ceilings, and NO TELEVISION (my dream come true). Outside, the lodge had an open-flame fire pit with a fire going all day. They also had lawn games, picnic tables, a volleyball court, riverside swings, a huge lawn, and restaurant with an amazing patio overlooking the river. Here's the place, if you want to check it out: deschutesriver.com/best-hotel-in-maupin-lodging/
We spent a lot of our weekend just enjoying time at the lodge. Did a little fishing, taught Avery how to log roll down a grassy hill, played in the sandbox (aka volleyball court), hung out by the fire, and ate at the restaurant. I'm usually a go-go-go type of person who likes to cram as much seeing and doing into a day as possible, but on this particular trip, it felt so good to just relax and enjoy some simple things in one place. In a way, it was a relief to not have places to go or things to do around town. It allowed me to slow down and truly enjoy time with my family.
When it was time to check out of the lodge on Sunday morning, we did a little exploratory drive around the area before heading home. We ended up finding a little road that ran right along the river and discovered an excellent picnic spot where we stopped to eat lunch and play a little more.
It was a perfect off-the-beaten path adventure. I see a lot more of these types of trips in our near future, since Avery is at the perfect age now where she can entertain herself literally ALL DAY just by being outside. She loves rocks. She loves sticks. She loves mud. She loves every bug she encounters. It was a good reminder to us that we don't necessarily have to take her to child-geared places like the zoo or the bounce house (which she also loves, don't get me wrong) to have fun. Fingers crossed that her adventurous spirit sticks around forever and ever.
One of my resolutions for 2017 was to do more traveling. At the beginning of each month, I check in on my resolutions list to see how I'm progressing toward my goals, and I realized this month that I haven't touched my traveling goal at all. I can safely say that traveling is our favorite family activity (yes, even with a toddler). We love seeking out adventures, experiencing new places together, and showing our enthusiastic little one this big, wide world. So why have we been in such a rut these past few months?
Whenever we discuss travel plans, there always seem to be the same road blocks that come up over and over again. Money is one of them. Vacation time is another. When we put our mind to it, we do a decent job mitigating these things by taking weekend road trips. We don't mind driving and we don't mind staying in cheap hotels (as long as they are safe and clean), which gives us plenty of options for affordable weekend adventures. Yet this year we've barely managed to scrape ourselves out of our neighborhood to take a single day trip to the beach. Laaaaaaaame. So what's been the hold up? It finally dawned on my this past weekend....
Last Friday, I sent a text to Brandon in the morning telling him that I really wanted to get out of town to clear my mind after a hectic week. Like the awesome husband he is, he booked us a surprise weekend trip and had everything packed and ready to go by the time I got home on Friday night. We ended spending the weekend in Newport, which is a beach town about 3 hours from where we live. On our way down, I asked Brandon what the weather was supposed to be like over the weekend, and his answer surprised me: "I don't know, I didn't look." In my type-A brain, alarms and red flags were shooting up all over the place. What if it rained the whole time? What if we didn't get even get to play on the beach? How could he have adequately prepared not even knowing what to expect of the weather?
Well it turns out, the weather SUCKED. The whole time. It was rainy, windy, and really cold. It even hailed, and then snowed for a bit. But guess what - we had an awesome time anyway.
I realized quickly that one of the big reasons I'd been putting off travel plans was because of the weather. Oregon weather in the winter and early spring months is nothing to write home about. 95% rain, 4% hail, and a 1% (slight chance) of sun. Since we tend spend a lot of time outdoors wherever we go, I think that in my subconscious mind I was avoiding the possibility of going somewhere and not being able to do anything fun because of the weather. But Brandon's laid back attitude showed me different. We are not the kind of family that shies away from bad weather. We pack our rain boots and nerdy rain pants and outside we go. Moral of the story - I'm going to try reeeaaally hard to not even look at the weather forecast when we think of planning a weekend trip somewhere from now on.
It has been FRIGID around here over the past few days. Like bitter, bone chilling cold. It's weird because when we lived in Alaska, I could easily go for a hike in 0-10 degree weather and be just fine. But here in Oregon, temperatures in the teens and twenties somehow feel much colder. Maybe the moisture content in the air is different? I don't know. All I know is I have been freeeeezing over the past few days. I've been drinking hot chocolate like it's my 9-5 and have had zero motivation to get outside for a workout. I think the only thing that inspired me to take off my fuzzy socks and get some exercise this week was knowing that it would warm me up. I ended up doing a couple of HIIT workouts in the garage, my favorite of which I posted below (as a winter themed graphic, naturally).
Once I was all warmed up from and had my post-exercise endorphins on board, I started reminiscing about how this cold spell makes me miss Alaska. It was actually two years ago, right around this time, that we saw the most incredible northern lights display up there. It was a very cold, clear night. Just a few days before Avery was born. We got a text from a friend telling us that the northern lights were out, so we headed outside at 3 am to check it out. We stayed out for over an hour just watching them dance around. Hands down, one of the top 5 most amazing things I've seen in my life. Here are a few photos we captured that night:
It was most definitely worth braving the sub-zero temperatures. Now if only Oregon offered some kind of reward for this bitter cold we're having...(cue snow dance)
It's all of a sudden gotten much colder in our neck of the woods this past week. There was even news of a pretty good snow storm on Mt Hood, so we wasted no time this weekend in heading up there to check it out.
We did take Avery up to the mountain a few times last year, but as toddler's memories go, this was a whole new experience for her. At first, she hated it. She hated the thick layer of clothes she had to wear. She hated that she couldn't use her hands effectively with mittens on. She hated that it was cold. And so forth. It took us a while to warm her up to the idea (heh. sympathy chuckle for my pun?), but when she eventually figured out that she could eat the snow, things turned around. The way to this toddler's heart is definitely through her tummy.
After a about an hour of snow eating, snowball stomping, and giggle fits from getting stuck in the snow, Avery was ready to head back home. It was a short trip, but we knew going into it that it would most likely be that way. I feel like that's one of the biggest and most important lessons we have learned with having a toddler - to not have grand (or any) expectations. In our pre-baby days, we wouldn't have even bothered to drive up to the mountain if we didn't get at least a half day of snowboarding in. Nowadays we've decided that if we want to introduce Avery to some of our favorite things, we have to do things drive 2 hours for 1 hour worth of fun. But it really is worth it. Plus, we go a pretty hilarious family photo out of this partiular experience. This one is going on the Christmas card for sure....
Oregon isn't known for sunshine in November, so on the rare occasion that we do get a break from the clouds/rain this time of year, it goes without saying that we drop everything and go play outside. Yesterday was one of those days. AND it happened to be a weekend day.
We packed a picnic lunch and headed to Molalla River State Park for a casual riverfront hike. Personally, I like fall hiking even better than summer hiking. Less crowded, crunchy leaves under your feet, crisp air, and no mosquitoes. Avery is still learning to love hiking. She is happy in the carrier *only* if there is a snack involved (see photo above), and willing to walk along a designated path for a reward (see photo below). Otherwise, she prefers to run amok and collect twigs, stomp in puddles, sample the flavor of leaves, etc. But honestly, that's why we always opt for easy hikes where there is lots of room to roam. We have such a blast watching Avery explore the outdoors, and love how enthusiastic she gets about the simplest things.
Fingers crossed for plenty more fall days like this ahead!!
We recently got back from a whirlwind trip to visit family and friends in Colorado and Texas. As always, we indulged quite a bit in the dining department during our vacation, and are now experiencing not only the post-vacation blues but also the post-vacation bloat. Since I know that this is pattern in our family, I’ve been making a more concerted effort to exercise during our vacations. My one rule is this: vacation exercise must be something I wake up in the morning and get excited to go do. Burpees = not exciting. Going for a jog on the beach at sunrise = exciting. So that’s exactly what I did in Texas.
I also snuck in an early morning run while everyone was still asleep when we were in Colorado. By the way – big high five to Denver for having SO many parks and open spaces in practically every neighborhood. It was ridiculously easy to find jogging trails all over the place, even when we were in the middle of the city.
My other vacation exercise rule I forgot to mention is that when I go for runs in new places, I always stick to developed neighborhoods or busier jogging trails for safety (<---courtesy of dad's voice in my head). You can never be too careful (hope you're reading this, dad!)
I’m Betty and I live in the beautiful pacific northwest. I'm a mommy. Vegetarian. Wife to a meatatarian. Pediatric physical therapist. Outdoor enthusiast. Enjoyer of fitness/healthy living. Even bigger enjoyer wine and chocolate lava cake. And hoping to find some balance between it all.