64 posts categorized "NW"

We Deserve It

January 25, 2006

Thanks to local mama Kate for pointing out that Portland is ranked number #1 by Fit Pregnancy as Best Place to Have a Baby!  It rates various cities around the nation according to different factors such as: affordability (housing is cheap when compared to the Bay Area), maternal and infant health risk, breastfeeding, birthing options, stroller friendliness, fertility laws/resources, access to hospitals/doctors, and safety. 

Now that baby's here, I'd like to see a ranking of most family friendly on criteria such as number of running mamas, number of blogging parents, number of parks per square miles, libraries per capita, density of coffee shops with play areas, and number of neighborhood associations per square miles.  That would be an interesting survey.  Any other criteria that makes a city "Best Place to Raise Children" (well, aside from funding schools)?

Stuff To Do

January 24, 2006

With two little ones, I often find myself with little to no quiet to myself. I find myself wishing Matt would take at least 2 yo Ella out and about.  So, I asked him, why don't you guys go somewhere??  He said he really didn't know where to go... Being that we have been here only a year and a half, neither one of us knows of a ton of stuff to do.  With that said, I did some quick research and compiled a list of activities that I thought they would both enjoy (I think I would enjoy most on the list as well).  Also, some of these attractions can't be fully appreciated by a 2-3 yo, but they would certainly get something out of it!! Thought I'd share the list.  Again, we are pretty new to Portland, so you may know of most of these suggestions, but maybe you don't or maybe you forgot!

Please also let me know if you'd add anything to the list, would love more ideas.

Swimming - local parks and rec indoor pool has family or open swim times - http://www.portlandonline.com/parks/

Pearson Air Museum - "A pre-WWII Army Air Corps Airfield preserved with flight capable aircraft on
display and interactive hands-on activities for the children" - http://www.pearsonairmuseum.org/

Bring a bike or ball to your local park

Smith Berry Barn (Hillsboro) - check out the goats and chickens - also a beautiful farm and nursery - http://www.tricountyfarm.org/detail.asp?ID=56

Arboretum - http://www.hoytarboretum.org/

Childrens Museum - http://www.portlandcm2.org/

Local Library Branch for storytime - Special trip downtown ride on Max and go to the Central branch near Pioneer SQ.

Kidd's Museum of Toys - http://www.viamagazine.com/weekenders/Kidds_Museum05.asp

Barnes & Noble - Train set in Kid's section is fun.

Waterfront - grass play, check out big boats and bridges

Carousel  @ Jantzen Beach

Oregon Maritime Center & Museum - http://www.oregonmaritimemuseum.org/ - BIG BOATS!!

OMSI - laser show, play ground, planetarium, etc...

Evergreen Aviation Museum - home of the Spruce Goose - http://www.sprucegoose.org/ - Tualitan

Washington Park  - kids playground and general frolicking

Beaverton Hilltop Riding Stables - hourly riding, pony rides or just checking out the horses - they do birthday parties as well. - 20490 SW Farmington Rd., Beaverton 503-649-5497

COOL ROCKS!!  Rice NW Museum of Rocks and Minerals - 26385 NW Groveland Dr., Hillsboro - 503-647-2418

Historic Belmont Firehouse - Safety Learning Center & Fire Museum -  900 SE 35th Ave./Belmont - Firehouse Event Hotline: 503-823-3616 - Tours and Information : 503-823-3615 -         http://www.portlandonline.com/fire/index.cfm?c=25923

Another mama looking for a preschool - N.NW.NE

January 17, 2006

So, I met another one of us - a mama scouring options and search far and wide for the best situation for her 16-month old son.  She needs FT care in the very inner N.NE.NW areas.  Her son is now at the Peninsula Children's Center, and she's looking for a new space where her son can grow, live, learn!  Any ideas or comments?  Growing SeedsRowanberry School (Angela?)?  Escuela Viva?  Any other great in-home schools?

Best of Family Friendly Portland Poll

December 20, 2005

Please help Marlynn (yes, she's Portland Family Friendly, Motherhood Mayhem, New Biz Mama blogger; Event Bliss and SchotlandPR entrepreneur) compile a "Best of Portland" for families on her OregonLive blog  where you can read her call for your advice.  She'll compile all of your comments and post the results on January 9th.  What a great idea!

Wanna Contribute?

November 22, 2005

When we started bouncing around the idea of creating an on-line parenting resource for the Portland metro area, we really envisioned that eventually the breadth of contributors to the site would expand to include other mamas interested in writing about and sharing their experiences - the good, the bad and the ugly!  In some of the early brainstorming sessions, we hoped to create something like the Berkeley Parenting Network which dear Erica greatly missed since her move away from the Bay Area.  So, here we are, about a year later, with something we strongly feel and hope that could be as useful to us mamas in Portland - this nifty thing we call the urbanMamas blog.  To keep up the momentum we wanted to create with the launch of this site, we are soliciting help from all you mamas out there.  Here's how:

  • Send us an email.  Do you have interesting and insightful content for the site? Send us an email at urbanmamas [at] gmail [dot] com with your name, email address, and let us know if and how you'd like to be identified.  We would more than gladly post your column, question, or tidbit of knowledge!  Please understand we get tons of emails a day, and we may need a few days to get back to you.
  • Send us info about events.  The urbanMamas calendar is so awesome only because of all your suggestions of fun & wacky & cool things to do in and around Portland.  Have a suggestions for an event for all the mamas, kidlets, and families out there?  Send us an event invite via Outlook, Google Calendar, or any compatible iCAL format and we will add it to our events calendar.  The more info the better, and be sure to include a link where we can find out more.  If you can't send an event invite, feel free to put all the info into an email to us.
  • Post on the Childcare Forum.  So you wanna post a childcare related question?  Or maybe you have an opening at your childcare facility or preschool? Or maybe you want to rave about your fabulous nanny?  Or perhaps you're looking to sell / purchase, or pass along goods and services to fellow urbanMamas?  We're testing out a way to allow the urbanMamas community at large to post on the childcare and exchange forum.  Here's how it will work.  We've set up a junior level author account so that you can log into our blogging software directly to compose your question.  The complete instructions are found here.

The urbanMamas community is committed to providing a welcoming, nonjudgmental, open, supportive environment where parents can seek and share parenting advice.  The urbanMamas site is a purely grassroots effort and is maintained on by a few volunteer mamas in their spare time.  urbanMamas reserves the right to unpublish comments deemed to be detrimental to the openness we strive to achieve.

Any Recommendations for Co-Op Preschools in Portland?

November 09, 2005

A mama (Julie) emailed me recently inquiring about recommendations on co-op preschools in Portland.  She currently lives in the 'burbs and is hoping to move closer in with the next year or two.  Her child is 2 years old.

Unfortunately, I have little advice to give since my research has been limited to a couple of full-time preschool programs in the SE.  So, for those more knowledgeable in the area of co-op preschools in Portland, or if you run a program yourself, can you comment on any recommendations?

Finding Daycare, Part 29

November 03, 2005

Good grief.  It never ends, and it never gets easier.  We have two girls, ages 5 and almost 2, and we've had to do the whole daycare search for one or the other each year, sometimes more than once a year.  It is so hard:

- finding your place in the whole gamut of child care / school options -- in-home schools, families to share a nanny with, nannies to share with another family, Reggio Emilio, Waldorf, Montessori, public Pre-K programs, and the list goes on.

- finding something generally convenient -- somewhat near home or work or both, making it accessible for both parents or back-up caretakers in sharing pick-up and drop-off responsibilities.  (For us, this means the inner N/NE/NW areas.)

- finding something affordable.  (I can't believe some schools and daycares hover around the $1000 per month range!)

- finding something practical for a family with two working parents.  We need full-time care!

- finding something that will have an opening for your child at the right age at the right time!

Right now, I am focusing on September 2006, when our eldest will enter 1st grade and our youngest will enter preschool (or pre-preschool).  Can we find them a place to go to a school together?  Yes!

Childpeace Montessori seems like a perfect place in many ways: perfectly calm, decent location for us (4 miles from the house and 1.5 miles from my office), accomodates children from 18 months to 12 years old, a great environment to learn, and an amazing facility with a gym and outdoor play space.  BUT: it's expensive, it's homogeneous (ethnically and socio-economically), and they may have space for just one of our daughters but not both!  IF they could accomodate both of our girls, we may be able to overlook the 'cons' of the matter.  But, if they can't accomodoate both of them, then the point is moot.

Now, the mission is to find two schools that each meet our initial criteria but that are also convenient to one another.  It doesn't seem that the girls can go to the same school until they are both in elementary school.  What's another 3 years of the inconvenience of dropping off and picking up at two different locations?

For girl 1:
Childpeace Montessori for reasons stated above.

Emerson School.  They have a direct instruction program for tons of one-on-one between teacher and child, mixed-age groups make for diverse interactions and problem-solving, it's located near the pearl and old town and urban adventures are part of every day, and it's part of the magnet portland public school system.  Doesn't seem like there are many cons here.

Beach Elementary Spanish Immersion.  Children are great linguists.  Here is more on two-way bilingual immersion.

For girl 2: 
(the main goal is convenience to the above girl 1-potential-schools as well as meeting other criteria)

Fruit and Flower.  Close to Childpeace and highly recommended by others who can't get into Childpeace because of the eon-long waitlist.  We haven't visited yet so we'll just have to see.  Because it attracts a similar student base to Childpeace, I would venture to say that the same pros and cons exist.

Rowanberry School.  I heard great things about this school and it's in our neighborhood but ... OOPS!  It's only part-time.

Trillium Preschool.  It's convenient, uses the community and urban environment as a setting for learning, it's diverse, it's a public magnet (read: "Free")...  and wait, then have an elementary school too!  This is worth exploring.  Potentially both girls could go at the same time next fall ...

And, the search goes on.  It gets so much more complicated when two kids are in the equation.  Whatever we decide, it'll be all good.

A good place to chill

October 01, 2005

Sometimes I feel debilitated when I walk into a quaint coffee shop with those cute little bistro tables littered throughout the 500-square feet of space. Forget about navigating a stroller into and around such places. Setting itself apart from your cute, quaint, neighborhood java joint, Urban Grind (especially the NE location) is a great find for the mamas and papas with tykes in tow. The eastside location is humongous. Was it a former warehouse or something else gargantuan? Whatever it used to be, it's now a hot spot for wi-fi and coffee lovers, with or without kids. They've got couches, counters, tables, and .. a train table and buckets of toys in the back. They've got space, space, and more space. You could even play indoor soccer in the amount of space at Urban Grind in the northeast. They've also got some panini and salads. Great place for an indoor playgroup or mamalicious coffee date.

The Urban Grind in the Pearl is a great find, too. Not too many diversions for the kids aside from magazines and newspapers, but they've got a ramp that leads up to their side door and ample room for us to stroll in. So, we've also put it on our list of kiddie-friendly coffee shops.

* the Urban Grind website says that they're closed on Sundays but I could have sworn I've been there on a Sunday.

Yoga Studios

February 03, 2005

I work full-time outside of my home. So, the only time for me to work-out, exercise, or enjoy some time for myself is duing my lunch break. I work in Old Town/Chinatown. Luckily, I have a group of midday running buddies who keep me on my toes: we run up to Washington Park or around the River. Outside of that, though, I am looking for more places to maintain some level of fitness. I've discovered a few yoga studios, but - IMHO - classes are expensive, ranging about $10-15 per class. You can buy a card, which can reduce your per-class cost down to maybe $8. Some studios have introductory specials that can be more affordable, so I want to highlight those here. And, since I am only usually available for lunch-hour sessions, this original list will focus on establishments close to my OTCT office. I am interested, however, in hearing about more yoga studios on the Eastside, in case I can ever escape my house for an hour or two in the evenings or on weekends.

Continue reading "Yoga Studios" »

Libraries

January 15, 2005

Libraries aren't just about books anymore. The local library near you can offer you and your family many fun activities. From infant book babies to summer reading programs for kids of all ages, the library is a great place to escape. For those in Multnomah County, visit the Multnomah County Library website to seek out the library closest to you. In Washington County, visit the Washington County Library website In Clackamas County, there's the Clackamas County Library And last but not least, in Clark County there's the Clark County Library. Check these sites out to find out which activities are available when, and at which branch.

Portland Parks and Recreation

Indoor Park Program Drop-in, open play for children ages infant to 6 years. Age groups vary by recreation centers. Children must be accompanied by parents. Visit Web site, or call center for open play dates and times. Centers with indoor parks include:

  • Matt Dishman, 77 NE Knott, Portland, OR 97212; Phone: 503-823-3673
  • East Portland, 740 SE 106 Ave, Portland, OR 97216; Phone: 503-823-3450
  • Fulton Park, 68 SW Miles, Portland, OR 97219; Phone: 503-823-3180
  • Hillside, 653 NW Culpepper Terrace, Portland, OR 97210; Phone: 503-823-3181
  • Montavilla, 8219 NE Glisan, Portland, OR 97220; Phone: 503-823-4101
  • Mt. Scott, 5530 SE 72 Ave, Portland, OR 97206; Phone: 503-823-3183
  • Peninsula Park, 700 N. Portland Blvd, Portland, OR 97217; Phone: 503-823-3620
  • Sellwood, 1436 SE Spokane, Portland, OR 97202; Phone: 503-823-3195
  • Southwest, 6820 SW 45 Ave, Portland, OR 97219; Phone: 503-823-2840
  • St. Johns, 8427 N. Central, Portland, OR 97203; Phone: 503-823-3192

Kids' Town, USA

Bethany Baptist Church
4545 N.W. Kaiser Road
Portland, OR
Phone: 503-645-2106

Friendly House Play Group

Friendly House Preschool 2617 N.W. Savier Portland, OR Phone: 503-228-4391 Web: http://www.friendlyhouseinc.org

Athletic Center Indoor Playground

Tualatin Hills Athletic Center 50 NW 158th Avenue Beaverton, OR Phone: 503-645-6433 Web: http://www.thrprd.com