73 posts categorized "SW"

Reminder: SW w(h)ine night is tonight, Thursday May 2.

May 02, 2013

See details and info here. Hope to see you there.

SW w(h)ine night: Thursday, May 2

April 08, 2013

It has almost been a year since we met to w(h)ine in SW Portland. So join us for snacks, wine and conversation.

date:     Thursday, May 2nd

time:     6:30 pm

location:     Korkage Wine Shop located at 6351 SW Capitol Hwy in Hillsdale.

Please RSVP in the comments.


save the dates: lunch and sw w(h)ine night

March 21, 2013

Quick post to have you mark your calednars and save the date for a downtown mama lunch on Thursday, April 25th and a SW W(h)ine Night on Thursday, May 2. Details and locations for both will posted the first week of April, but I know lots of mamas who pencil in events weeks (or even months!) in advance. Hope to see some mamas in April and May. 

Obstetrician: Portland newbie needs recommendation

August 30, 2007

I'm always amazed at the chutzpah it must take to move while you're pregnant! Of course, if you're coming to Portland, it's for a good cause. Alecia is one such gutsy mama, and needs a recommendation for a good OB/GYN on the west side. You all gave us lots of raves and reviews of your fave obstetricians and gynecologists last winter; any new ideas or specific doctors in her neighborhood?

My husband and I are moving from Texas to Hillsboro, Oregon. I will be around 20 weeks when I arrive in November. We have researched Providence Saint Vincent and were wondering if you could recommend some OBGYNs. Obviously some who are reputable. We are also aware of the Women's Healthcare Associates right by this particular hospital. Any suggestions would be wonderful! We are very excited about this big move and want the best doctor for our first baby!

How do you find a pediatrician?

August 18, 2007

LeeAnn is having her first baby and she hasn't chosen a pediatrian yet.  Does she need to? 

I'm due November 7th and just had my 28 week check up with my doc at OHSU this morning.  On top of taking the icky Glucose test, and questioning my overall well being, she asked if I've looked into any pediatricians yet.  No I have not.  I have Blue Cross Blue Shield and being my little man will be born there at OHSU, I've just been assuming I'd pick one up there at Doernbechers - but I'd love to hear of other BC/BS pediatricians.  We live in the SW (near Multnomah Village) and like the location of OHSU, but are there others out there I should consider that are also close in proximity?  Also, is it customary to 'interview' the pediatrician before birth?  What do I ask?  What am I looking for?  What's typically accomplished in an 'interview/meet-n-greet' with a new pediatrician?

Mid-Summer Thoughts: Concerts in the Park

July 23, 2007

A few weeks of concerts are now behind us - be it concerts at the parks, Kruger's farm concerts, Zoo concerts.  In the past few weeks, we've seen triple digit temps and rain, which has definitely affected whether we pack the picnic or not.  Last week on a rainy Wednesday, we decided to brave the weather and hope for the best: we hit Peninsula Park for some 'hot 20s jazz'.  The rain decided to stay away, but the concert was cancelled for good measure anyway.  It was just as well: we caught up with old friends and spent the evening picnicking right on the stage.

In the past few weeks, we have picnicked at Sellwood Park, Fernhill Park, Peninsula Park.  We've had several evening jaunts at Jamison, too, of course!  We have found that we all enjoy it most when:  1) the play area is within line of sight from the grassy area so the kids can play while parents catch up on the picnic blanket, 2) we are able to position ourselves in the spot that is just-so -- not too close to the music so we can still catch up with friends, and 3) we have enough provisions for the hungry picnickers.  For these reasons, we have enjoyed our concerts at Fernhill - with the merry-go-round in plain sight from the parents' perch on the grass - even though Peninsula Park is more of our neighborhood park.

So, we ask: Which parks have been great for you and your picnicking family?  What's in your picnic basket?  (We typically have tofu slices, prosciutto, grapes, straweberries, baguette, cheese, water, wine)  How many concerts in the outdoors have you hit so far this season?  How early do you get to the park - a little early to score the perfect spot or after the first set has already begun?

When the heat is on....

June 03, 2007

Did we break 90 degrees over the weekend?  Or cloJamison_2se to it?  When the heat is on, where do you go?  Jamison Square is always a favorite standby, but it isn't always easy to get to, plus there are no public restrooms!  Have you hit all of Portland's 'municial fountains'?  Can't wait 'til our neighborhood wading pools open up!  Maybe you just fill up a kiddie pool in your front yard and invite all your friends and neighbors?  What did you do this weekend when the heat was on?

Moving to Portland & Seeking Advice!

May 08, 2007

In the most recent "Cities Ranked and Rated", a study of 400 metropolitan areas ranks Portland at number 3.  Even the Places Rated Almanac shows Portland at the top of list, as number 4.  Here at urbanMamas, we know we have a great thing.  We've had numerous conversations here about sense of place and our neighborhoods.  Many of us have lived in different cities and have made the decision to move to and stay in Portland.  Simply put, Portland's 'da bomb'.

Many of us know what it's like to research online to find the perfect neighborhood, school, and community.  We've received a few recent emails from folks moving to Portland, asking specific questions and seeking your input, advice, and suggestions. 

Amy and her family are moving to Portland from the Bay Area:

My husband and I are finally carrying out the dream we've talked about for years: Moving from the Bay Area to Portland.  I grew up in Southern Oregon, and came to the Bay Area for grad school, as did my husband.  Then we just kind of stuck around here. Now, we both work from home, have a toddler son, and we're ready to move. We really want to live near shops, good public schools, and parks —after commuting an hour each way every day to work for eight years, I'm done with driving for a while! Here are the neighborhoods we like:  Irvington, Alameda,
Beaumont, and Laurelhurst. (We want to live really close-in, even Mount Tabor and Multnomah Village felt a little too far for us). Does anyone have thoughts on those neighborhoods, in terms of being family-friendly, close to things, safe, and having good public elementary schools?  Also, some friends recommended we check out the west hills area and NW, but I was unsure after driving around there if young families live there and couldn't tell if the vibe was as friendly
as NE?  Seems like Chapman and Ainsworth are good schools, but I really want to be close to other families and good stuff to do with my son (libraries, parks, museums, etc). Any thoughts would be much appreciated!

Continue reading "Moving to Portland & Seeking Advice!" »

Seeking Certified Nurse Midwives

April 04, 2007

We are all in search of an ideal birthing situation. Karli seeks your suggestions and experiences:

I am pregnant with baby #2. After a hospital birth with baby #1, we are looking for a natural birth this time at home with a certified nurse midwife. I am unsure why I hesitate to go with a lay midwife, except that I might feel more comfortable with a CNM, knowing they have the medical training to intervene if the need should arise. I don't know which clinic is the best. I would like to have a referral to the best -- in SW or close-in SE -- if possible. We are looking for a home birth, or may possibly go with a birthing center, but I am leaning towards a CNM. A lot of the feedback on the blog is recommendations for lay midwives. Are there any recommendations for CNM's that deliver at home? I'm also interested in reading that might make me feel a little more comfortable with a lay midwife--as this might expand my options. This will be my last birth, so I want to make sure I make the best decision.

Westside Montessori Recommendations

March 13, 2007

Sarah's seeking advice on Montessori schools on the west side.  Can you help?

I'm researching preschools for my 3 year old daughter who we'll be enrolling for school in fall of '07.  Does anyone have any experience or knowledge they can share about Two Rivers Montessori, West Hills Montessori, West Hills Learning Center or Sunny Hill Preschool? There are so many options, and I'm planning to visit each of these, but I'd love to hear from any mamas who have first-hand experience.

Peanut Butter & Ellie's: New & Improved

March 11, 2007

When was the last time you were at Peanut Butter & Ellie's?  Portland's veteran of kid-friendly establishments, PB&E has gone through a renaissance.  Way back when, when we first moved to Portland in 2003, PB&E was in the neighborhood.  It was a great little spot for the kids to grab a snack and a great way to meet new families. Fast-forward to 2006.  PB&E closed it's doors at its NE Fremont location.  Now, in 2007, PB&E is back in full effect.  They're back and they're better.  Their new menu boasts grown-up food like steak or taquitos.  Their newest big person offerings are burgers and baked sweet potato fries.  YUM!  Even better, they've got beer and wine!  AND, they've got table service.  PB&E's still focuses on fun food for the little folk, and they make the environment playful and happy. So, uMamas, have you been to the new PB&E's in SW Portland?  What do you think?  Is it yummy?  Is it fun for the whole family?

City Versus Suburbia Conundrum

March 07, 2007

We've had discussions on whether you would recommend your neighborhood and feeling a sense of community in Portland, but here's a different side to this question.  Melanie is wondering if you can find of a bit of suburbia in the city.  She writes:

Although my husband and I have lived all over Portland we always chose to stay close to the urban center, but after having kids we headed out to the burbs for lots of reasons: spacious affordable housing, wanted our kids to have other neighborhood kids to grow up with, good schools, very close neighborhood parks, strong community feel (at least in our Burb).  However, we miss living in close for all the usual reasons.  We've been batting around moving back to close in SE, but I'm wondering if I'm having a case of the "grass is always greener syndrome..."  I can give up the big house, I'd LOVE to give up the car a little bit more, but I'm wondering, do those of you that live in urban neighborhoods feel like you have a strong sense of community?  Do you know most of your neighbors, do you see your friends and neighbors at the grocery store, park, coffee shop etc?  Are there kids your kids' ages on your street?  Do most of the neighborhood kids go to the local public school or will you send them off to Central Catholic (or private school of choice) when they're older?  Those are the things I'm worried about leaving behind and would love to hear other mamas experiences with raising their families in the city.

It's Seussical!

February 28, 2007

Everyone loves Dr. Susss. The first week of March will be celebrated by many as Dr. Susss Celebration week, part of the Seussentennial fun. Theodor Geisel's birthday is March 2. In his honor, the National Educational Association has instituted a day to Read Across America. Also to celebrate, our daughter's classroom will "read away the day", coming to school in jammies, bringing loads and loads of books, and read, read, read.

Multnomah County Library has a bunch of stuff planned to celebrate Dr. Seuss. The fun starts tomorrow at a library near you. See this flyer (*pdf) for all Seussical events.

Seuss Storytime: Celebrate Dr. Seuss' birthday with stories!

For preschoolers:
Thursday, March 1, 10:15–11 a.m. @ Midland Library
Thursday, March 1, 11–11:30 a.m. @ Central Library
Tuesday, March 6, 10:15–10:45 a.m. @ Hillsdale Library

For toddlers:
Wednesday, March 7, 10:15–10:45 a.m. @ Hillsdale Library

It's a Seuss-a-thon!: In honor of Dr. Seuss' birthday, drop by the Belmont Library and be read to by volunteers from neighborhood schools and the community.
Friday, March 2, 10 a.m.–6 p.m. @ Belmont Library

Celebrate Seuss!: National award-winning storyteller Christopher Leebrick shares Dr. Seuss stories as well as delightful multicultural tales. Suitable for ages 5-105!
Friday, March 2, 3–3:45 p.m.@ Northwest Library
Saturday, March 10, 2–2:45 p.m. @Rockwood Library
Thursday, March 29, 2–2:45 p.m.@ Midland Library
Free tickets for seating will be available 30 minutes prior to the program.

Seussational! Crafts! Games! Seussical snacks! Become a Daisy-Head Maisy! Play with your Green Eggs and Ham! Create your own zoo animal!
Saturday, March 3, noon–3 p.m. @ Capitol Hill Library

Discover the Lorax: Celebrate Dr. Seuss' birthday with a reading of The Lorax, and create your own three-dimensional Truffula tree with artist and storyteller Kathy Karbo.
Saturday, March 3, 1–3 p.m. @ Capitol Hill Library
Sunday, March 4, 2–4 p.m. @ Gregory Heights Library
Saturday, April 7, 1–3 p.m. @ St. Johns Library

Registration required; call 503.988.5397.

Dr. Seuss Birthday Party Celebrate Dr. Seuss' birthday with stories, games and more!
Sunday, March 4, 2–4 p.m. @ Fairview-Columbia Library

urbanMamas Childcare Referral Forum

February 04, 2007

If you've sent us an email recently regarding seeking childcare resources in Portland, we just want to let you know that it has not been lost.  We just get many, many requests and have been trying to figure out a way to spread the word and get you in touch with someone that can help you out.  In response to the frequent and recurring requests, we have dedicated a portion of the urbanMamas site to posting the various childcare requests we recieve from our readers.  We call it the urbanMamas Childcare Forum.

For childcare seekers: send an email to urbanmamas@gmail.com and include the following in your email: geographic area, type of childcare, frequency needed, ages of children, and contact email.

For childcare providers:   send an email to urbanmamas@gmail.com with details of your opening, event, or open house along with contact information.

We strive to respond to all emails we recieve in a timely manner.  However, please note that if there is a backlog of emails which there is often, we may not be able to immediately post your request! Childcare questions of general nature will still be posted on the main site.

Keep Unhealthy Drinks out of PPS!

February 02, 2007

Before this school year started, all soft drinks, non-100% juices and sports drinks were removed from Portland Public Schools (PPS) vending machines.  Due to increasing concern about the epidemic of childhood obesity, PPS enacted a number of healthy changes to make the nutrition environment better in all schools.  Coke employees were kept informed of this process.

Now Coke is pressuring Portland Public Schools for making these healthy changes, even though PPS now has a policy dictating healthy vending machine options. Portland Public Schools should not be fined for doing the right thing for the health of our students!  We cannot allow Coke to dictate the sale of unhealthy beverages to our kids in our schools! Tell Coca-Cola Enterprises to leave Portland Public Schools alone! Coke should support PPS’ efforts to improve children’s health and respect PPS’ autonomy in deciding how to do that.

Call Matt Wilson, Coca-Cola Market Unit VP, 503-682-5107.  Join PPS Citizen Wellness Advisory Committee this Saturday to support PPS to keep kids healthy!

Portland Exposition Center
2060 North Marine Drive, Portland, OR 97217
February 3, 2007 10:00 am - 3:00 pm

The PPS Citizen Wellness Advisory Committee (WAC) invites you to join us in saying “Keep our vending machines healthy!”  At the Celebrate! PPS event, visit the WAC booth # 134 to call Coke or sign a petition to voice your support of PPS’ beverage changes. Let’s keep liquid candy out of our students’ hands. For more information, please contact Sara Leverette, Chair of the PPS Citizen Wellness Advisory Committee at 503-381-0821 or saraleverette@gmail.com.

Montessori Schools in Portland

January 14, 2007

Even though the new year is still so new, it's time to start thinking about the options for the fall. Lydia is gettiing a head start and researching Montessori preschools:

I'd like to ask other urbanMamas about the Montessori schools in Portland. My daughter will turn three during the 07/08 school year, so I'm researching now and getting ready to apply by the end of next month. We live in the Mt Tabor area - so far we've visited the Franciscan Earth School and Harmony Montessori and had good impressions of them both. I'm particularly interested to hear from any mamas who are NOT happy with the schools their children attend, and why.

Another eastside Montessori School is Providence Montessori.

On the westside, there is Childpeace Montessori, Odyssey Montessori, West Hills School, Two Rivers, Child's View.

We welcome your feedback, if you'd had experiences with these schools.


January 10, 2007

The phones go live today for reservations to ride the Aerial Tram on opening weekend, January 27 & 28. If you would like a free ride on the tram over that weekend, you need to call 503-418-TRAM (8726) to reserve a day and time. Rides will be given from 10 a.m.to 5:00 p.m. in 30-min. increments. There is a limit of 5 riders for each reservation and approximately 50 people will be riding in each "pod." The ride times are necessary to avoid huge lines at the opening. (OHSU is aiming for organized chaos!)

Up at the OHSU docking area, the hospital will offer punch and cookies and time for a quick look at the view before it's time to head back down. The docking area is above the Kohler Pavillion and it will be open and physicians will be seeing patients so OHSU would prefer to not have people wanding around the hospital grounds. Opening weekend includes food, information booths and music too. All activites take place in or near OHSU's Center for Health and Healing at the lower tram terminal.

Sounds like a fabulous outing for the whole family!

Help a Mama help her Mama

January 09, 2007

People in Portland love their neighborhoods, and there are many reasons why. Dana's mom is considering moving to Portland from Ashland:

My question is regarding what areas of Portland people have found a sense of community, with a progressive attitude, and decent price range for real estate. What neighborhoods have people experienced that they know and maybe even like their neighbors?

If she were to move up here it would be really important for her to find a neighborhood that could still give her some of those things that Ashland did. Of course Portland is a big city and Ashland is not, but Portland has nice little pockets of cool spots. Although one usually follows the other its not just about the shopping and good restaurants for her. I think she wants to be able to get involved in the community some. Join some local groups, walk to the coffee shop and see people she knows, and of course support for local libraries. One thing I find you run into w/ bigger cities is life gets faster and everyone goes about their busy lives. She wouldn't like that.

I live in Piedmont so I'm not sure what other neighborhoods are like to live in. I know she likes Alameda, and Irvington, and Grant Park areas. Maybe Mt. Tabor but not sure if that will be in her price range or not (400-500K) or in SE some place. She would love to find a little place w/ a separate apartment or a duplex or something to rent out as well.

Indoor Climbing with Kids

December 29, 2006

Milaatthecircuit Over the past few weeks, I have taken Mila to the  Portland Rock Gym  and The Circuit Bouldering Gym for her first indoor climbing experiences. I worked as a climbing guide for Outward Bound and managed my own guiding service but I was never teaching 4-year olds until now. As a way-out-of-practice crag rat, my main challenge was ensuring that I didn't pile too many expectations on the experience. Letting Mila find her comfort zone was my mantra.

Here is a summary of both Portland indoor climbing gyms based on my experience with Mila:

Portland Rock Gym: This gym is primarily wall climbing.  The routes are mostly top-roped. There is a bouldering area but children 7 years old or younger are not allowed in that area.

Cost?  Mila’s before 3 pm day pass was $7. You don’t need to purchase an adult day pass at The Circuit or Portland Rock Gym unless you will be climbing as well.

Equipment? Wall climbing requires a harness. Until age ten (or they out grow it), I recommend a full-body harness - rather than a seat harness - for young climbers.  A seat harness may not keep a very young climber secure if he or she falls upside down, which can happen more often than you think. We rented a full-body harness for the day ($3).

You have the option to rent climbing shoes but in my opinion there is no point for a child younger than 7. Mila used an old pair of Robeez.

Safety? You need to belay your child, so you must pass a belay test and know how to keep a climber safe on belay. If you don't know what that sentence means, stick with The Circuit.

Extras? The Portland Rock Gym has camps and classes for kids as well as options for birthday parties.

Overall experience? Mila scrambled up some of the bouldering walls (against the rules, I know) and really took to the whole experience EXCEPT for being on the rope. For whatever reason she would gladly scamper the the top of the wall in the bouldering area but once a rope was on her she just didn’t feel comfortable.

The Circuit Bouldering Gym: The Circuit is bouldering only. The goal of bouldering is to work on climbing technique on a boulder or small outcropping rather than on a cliff face. The point is not so much getting to the top of something but instead linking a series of moves through a “problem” - in effect you are solving the problem of how to climb a section of rock.

The Circuit is basically an artificial, indoor boulder field. Since the moves are typically on an area close to the ground, there are no ropes or harnesses involved.

Cost?  A child day pass at The Circuit is $6 and will increase to $8 on 1/1/2007 (so go there NOW!). If your child is a fan, you can cut future costs by getting a 10-punch card. Again, you don’t need to purchase an adult day pass at The Circuit or the Portland Rock Gym unless you will be climbing as well.

Equipment? Like at Portland Rock Gym you have the option to rent climbing shoes but kids can boulder in their socks or shoes. I let Mila use an old chalk bag of mine (with a Bison Ball) but this was more of cool extra for her, not at all a necessity.

Safety? You don't need to know what belay means but, although bouldering is close to the ground, don’t get lulled into thinking it is completely safe. Supervision of your little climber is still a must. It is especially important that your little one does not climb directly above or below any other climbers. Why? Because it will not be pretty if a child (or adult!) falls on your kid from any height.

Extras? Among the many features is a boulder with especially kid friendly climbs where Mila could “top-out” and then come down a slide. The Circuit also has classes, camps, and birthday party packages for kids.

Overall experience? Mila LOVED The Circuit. The best part of the day for me was that Mila did not want to leave (yes, I will endure tantrums from kids who don’t want to quit climbing!) We will be back and picked up a 10-punch card for Mila and Papa just to make sure.

The Final Word: Overall I think Portland Rock Gym is better for children with some experience/comfort with a rope system and/or older children. The Circuit is a better choice for kid's first indoor climbing experience and I could see a child graduating to wall climbing at Portland Rock Gym from there. Happy climbing!

Portland Rock Gym, 21 NE 12th Ave., Portland

The Circuit Bouldering Gym, 6050 SW Macadam Ave, Portland

Seeking Infant Care in SW

December 13, 2006

Help a mama out! Writes Melissa:

I'm starting my search for child care for infants in the SW region of Portland (Hillsdale, Multnomah Village). I would be so delighted and appreciative for any advice you could offer. Thank you so much!

You should live WHERE?

December 07, 2006

You should live HERE. Yeah, you. Yeah, HERE. We've received email from the producers of a new show for HGTV:

We're currently producing a show for Home and Garden Television (HGTV) called "You Should Live Here," which is a "live life to the fullest" breakdown of where it's great to live in the US. Portland was recently named the Best City to Have a Baby, so we're looking to feature expecting parents who have really taken advantage of all that Portland has to offer. We're very interested in finding people to feature on the show. We'd love to see what couples are doing to get their homes ready, the funky shops they find their kids clothing and any other unique groups or activities they are apart of.

“You Should Live Here,” a brand new one-hour special airing on Home and Garden Television (HGTV), explores some of the best cities to live in the U.S. and the people who know best – you! This spring, this exciting new special kicks off with a fresh look at where Americans are choosing to live and play and a fun interactive poll for viewers at home to make their own decisions.

So, what’s the best city to live in? It all depends on what you’re looking for! Whether you’re looking for the best city to start your own business or the best city for extreme sports, we’ve got you covered with answers that just might surprise you. We’ve got over 20 cities to see and dozens of locals who would love to show you around. Along the way, we’ll be revealing HGTV’s viewers choices for their favorite city attributes, building to our Most Livable City!

urbanMamas represent! We know y'all know what's up. What are the top things to share with HGTV to show 'em what makes our fair Portland the Best City to Have a Baby?

Dad's Groups?

November 29, 2006

We mamas know we have a great thing going here with urbanMamas.  While we aren't an exclusive all-mama community, we are admittedly biased toward all things mama.  (Shout-outs go to our most regular urbanPapa participant, Tony at Milagros!).  How does an urbanPapa find his support and community?  Anyone know of ongoing groups or websites?  Kate asks:

I have posted a couple times on the site and find it to be a really wonderful tool.  I am in my second trimester of pregnancy and it has now started to feel real.  My husband is excited and nervous and would love to find a dad's group to meet with soon-to-be dad's to talk about his upcoming role.  He is coming up empty on the web, as am I.  Any suggestions about where he might look for support?

Pediatrician in SW Portland

November 14, 2006

Recommendations sought!  Allison writes:

I am an urbanMama-to-be (due March 30th) and my ob has set me the task of finding a pediatrician in the next few weeks.  Does anyone have any suggestions of a great pediatrician in Southwest Portland or Downtown?

Family Portraits: Who Do You Recommend?

November 06, 2006

Aaah, the family portrait.  Certainly something my husband and I barely think about and usually scramble last minute for a portrait worthy of sending out as holiday cards.  But if you're a bit more prepared, there are so many wonderful photographers in town...The Sidewalk Studio, Sarah Gilbert, Sherri Diteman, and Lisa Warninger to name a few.  Is it timely that Chari wrote in this request?  Have at it mamas, inquiring minds want to know!

I'm looking for recommendations from Portland mamas on great photographers for family portraits. I'd love to hear from Urban Mamas experiences with local photographers!

Vegetarian Meals Ready To Go

October 30, 2006

Lisa recently emailed us a question regarding vegetarian-friendly meals ready to go.  If it doesn't exist, seems like a great mama-praneur opportunity?!?

Does anyone know of an all vegetarian or very vegetarian friendly meal prep business in Portland? The ones I have come across (Dream Dinners and Dinner Voila) are meat oriented and, while some say you can substitute and make entrees vegetarian, I am looking for something more intentionally for vegetarians (preferably with organize, local produce, etc...). If you're not familiar with the concept, though I'm sure you are, someone else plans the entrees, buys the food and preps it, and you get all the glory of putting it together in a group kitchen that someone else cleans - all for a price, of course. Thought urbanMamas would be a good forum to ask this question.

The Independent Child: How Much? When?

October 12, 2006

Morning and bed-time routines, nothing's more frustrating than when you're responsible for herding the whole family out of the house on limited time.  Heather's looking to other urbanMamas to see how to get her kids to help ready themselves in the morning:

I have a question for moms with school-aged kids. I have a 5 year old kindergartner and an almost 8 year old second grader. Getting them up and dressed and ready for school every day is the most time-consuming part of my morning, and at bedtime, it's the same. I also feel like so much more could get done if I didn't have to be helping so much; my kids rarely brush their teeth before they go to school, and I often leave the house with eating my own breakfast because I spend the whole morning getting them ready (and they spend it fooling around). How much independence should I look for from them at these ages? It's like they either want me to do everything (get me dressed, pick out my outfit, you brush my teeth, etc.) or I feel like I have to constantly remind them what to do and when, even though we do the same routine every day. I've got kid #3 on the way in Feb and I can't imagine a universe in which my older kids need me to do every little thing for them. Help!

Portland Public Schools Local Option Levy 26-84

October 11, 2006

Pdxschools You've probably seen the yard signs around Portland, but what does it really mean?  Mama Picture This sent us some factoids so we can spread the word on this measure for the upcoming election.  For more information, visit:  http://www.hope4schools.org/ .

Why do Portland Schools need a local option levy?  The Portland Public Schools Local Option Levy will pay for 380 teaching positions (including some in every school) and for updated curriculum and materials. These teaching positions will help to prevent overcrowded classrooms and will allow teachers to spend more time with students who need individual assistance. The levy will also provide up-to-date textbooks, workbooks, and teaching materials as well as vocational and technical classes that provide skills that prepare students for the workplace.

What happened to the previously approved local option levy? Portland voters approved a local option levy for schools in 2000 but it expired last year.

Continue reading "Portland Public Schools Local Option Levy 26-84" »

Calling All Bargain Shoppers

September 25, 2006

Pass It On is a way for parents to pass on the things their kids no longer need, while shopping for things they do need in the same place. Sellers round up their gently used items, tag them for sale, drop them off at our site, and we do the rest. We advertise and bring hundreds of shoppers to see those items. Sellers wait for their checks in the mail! Buyers shop the amazing deals of gently used clothes for children, babies, and maternity, plus all sorts of toys, furniture, and so much more, all under one 7500 sq ft roof.

If you are a parent or grandparent (or are about to become one), this event is for you!

When: October 6-8, 2006
Times: Fri 9am-7pm, Sat 9am-5pm, Sun 9am-2pm
Where: PSM Portland Building, 1600 NE 25th Ave, Hillsboro, OR
More Info: http://www.passitonsales.com

Crafty Sundays at Contemporary Crafts Museum

September 20, 2006

Yet another great suggestion from an urbanMama, Sharai:

Hi Urbanmamas! I was searching online for arts & crafts experiences for my 6 year old son, and discovered the Contemporary Crafts Museum, which I've always meant to visit. Looks like they have a cool (and free) Family Discovery Sundays program once a month (next one is THIS Sunday), and also kids day camps on school holidays (camps are fee-based).  Admission to the Museum is always free.

Free Screening of Barnyard (in SW)

August 24, 2006

urbanMamas love a good deal.  It can't get any better than free:

On August 31st, Clorox is treating mothers and children to a free screening of Barnyard at Regal Tigard 11 Cinemas. This is a great way for members of your group to enjoy a new movie while getting together with other area mothers.

The movie will entertain you and in a pre-movie presentation Dr. Kelly Reynolds, a mother of three with a PhD in microbiology, will make you smarter about germs. Dr. Reynolds will share great information on how busy moms can help keep a healthy home - with tips on managing the spread of the surface germs that can cause children and parents to get sick, and how to help limit exposure to home allergens. You'll also get snacks and a Clorox goody bag full of our latest products.

August 31 | 12pm - 3pm
Regal Tigard 11 Cinemas
11626 SW Pacific Highway
Tigard, Oregon 97223
To RSVP, call 1.866.342.3115

Beaverton Eye Doctor

August 17, 2006

My whole family just had their eyes checked (yay for vision insurance.) I just picked the closest optician from our PPO's list, but lucked out completely with the doctor. Over at Murray Scholls near the Starbucks is Murray Scholls Optique. The doctor there was not only really nice, but she was great with my 2 year old and 5 year old. Even when the 2 year old through a tantrum at the very thought of sitting in the chair, the doctor came up with creative ways to check her eyes anyway. 

I actually went the first time just for my own contacts prescription. Who knew little 2 year olds should get their eyes checked?

Ava's Roasteria, a Beaverton Cafe at Last!

July 25, 2006

I am so jealous of everybody who lives nearby Urban Grind or Sydney's. Being in South Beaverton makes those kid-friendly cafes a bit of a trek for me and my two girls. However, at last weekend's Beaverton's Farmer's Market, I noticed a new cafe was opening at the corner of SW Hall and SW 2nd Street in old town Beaverton (walking distance from the fountain library park).

It is called Ava's Roasteria. It has all the yummy coffee drinks plus pannini. While there is no children's toy section, there are comfortable couches inside. What made it nice for the girls was the outside patio, however. There's a small fake creek running down two sides of the patio. Although I prevented them from actually getting in the creek, they had a good time picking up rocks and throwing them in as they sipped their kids' iced chocolate.

I'm just so happy to have a cool alternative to Starbuck's within ten minutes drive!

Mamas Seeking Other Mamas

June 13, 2006

We receive many questions regarding finding out more information about play dates and meeting other mamas, especially from those new to the area.  Diane writes:

I am new to the Portland area, and I have a 7-month old daughter.  I am interested in learning about new moms' groups/playgroups so that I can meet other new moms and my daughter can interact with other children.  I live in NW Portland and while I can definitely travel to other parts of the city, I would be most interested in learning about groups near me.  Thoughts or suggestions?

Catherine writes:

I very much want to meet other moms and arrange some play dates for my 1 1/2 yr old son Dylan. I'm not sure how to post a note on your site to see when moms are meeting at Urban Grind or whether there are other moms groups around Lloyd Center.

Then there is the case of new-found mamahood, and the need to connect with other mamas.  This was my situation a few years ago.  I was in desparate need of companionship and support.  I spent time searching for on-line groups to join being that I was a "work-outside-of-the-home-mama".  I joined a couple of Yahoo groups, an MSN group, and even Moms Meetup in my quest for some friends.  I talked to just about every parent at the local parks and Book Babies.  I would exchange numbers with new mamas, but mostly never followed up.  I felt like I was dating again, having a hard time connecting.  Maybe I was trying too hard.  I know it sounds like complete overkill! But eventually it did happen.  On one of the Yahoo groups, Sarah shared her link to their family Web site, and then another, and the rest is history.  Some of us urbanMamas do post about gatherings, but these are not standing play dates.  There are others that have sent us notices about their groups and regular gatherings.  We want to continuing being a conduit to help other mamas meet up. Can you share your success stories?  Do you have a playgroup that you'd like to post about?  Can you offer any of your experiences?

Take 'em out to the ballgame (even babies & toddlers)

June 06, 2006

A great summer activity that I have yet to partake in is a ball game at PGE Park. There's a part of me waiting for the kiddies to get a little bigger, but with this new find, I think all of us with the littler tykes and tots will feel less daunted by taking the little ones to the ball park. Take 'em ALL out to the ballgame - infants and toddlers too! Thank you Anita for this heads up.

I want to share a baby-friendly find I was delighted to discover last weekend. PGE Park has an Infant and Toddler Suite that you can hang out in with your baby for no extra charge when you go to games (we went to a soccer game). They have toys, art supplies, dvds, play mats and a changing station so you can experience the event as well as let your baby have a safe and quieter place to be once the excitement of the stadium wears off. They ask for a 20 minute limit when demand for the suite is high, but it was half full when we were there. I was so happy that my family-friendly evening activities could expand beyond cafes and brewpubs.

Also, I'm wondering if others know of accommodations like this besides the cafes, pubs & theaters that have been discussed here...

ISO Beaverton Mamas

May 25, 2006

Beaverton in the house?  Writes Robin:

I am a working mom and do not have a lot of time on my hands.  I work in the evenings and on Saturdays so I do not have my daughter in any daycare.  I feel disconnected from other moms and am not sure where to go.  I have a 16 month old who is very active and would love to find people to connect with in the Beaverton area.  I am interested in the west side if you know of any playgroups.  It would be so wonderful to find a playgroup as I love to be social but have yet to find a group of mothers to talk with.

Any tips, mamas?  Feel free to post comments here or email Robin directly!

Getting Your Just Desserts

April 17, 2006

Monique Hayward recently emailed us about Dessert Noir, a 14 month-old restaurant in the Cedar Hills neighborhood in Beaverton.  It won the Best Dessert 2005 in the "Best of Citysearch".  From the looks of the menu, it appears to be French-inspired offering a handful of cleverly-named desserts with descriptions that would trigger a Pavlovian response.  Anyway, Monique has offered to send you some "gift certificates towards your purchase".  You can email her, and let her know that your an urbanMama.  Perhaps we should convene there at the next mama's w[h]ine night?  We're due for a gathering in the Westside.

Save the Date - OGA Event

April 06, 2006

Mark your calendar for this upcoming event at the Oregon Gymnastics Academy.  The best part?  It's free:

Seattle Seahawks' kicker Josh Brown will visit Oregon Gymnastics Academy on Saturday, April 22 from 1:00-3:00 p.m. Josh spent 8 years doing gymnastics before playing football. He will highlight the gym's "Healthy Kids Day at OGA" event. Come help OGA celebrate 27 years of building strong kids. It'll be a blast for boys and girls of all ages-including a visit with Josh, fun in the gym and make & take art! Kids On The Block will stage a "Healthy Choices" Puppet Show and Haggen Stores will give away healthy snacks. We will also have a drawing for Josh's NFL jersey and prizes from USA Gymnastics! All activities are open to the public and FREE of charge. Please call (503) 531-3409 to R.S.V.P. or visit http://www.ogagym.org for updated information.

Pass it On - This Weekend

April 04, 2006

Thanks, Suzame, for the heads up on Pass it On, West Side Portland's Consignment Event. From the website, it looks like it'll be a huge event, and you can even sign up to consign your items. Check it out this weekend, Saturday 9am to 7pm and Sunday 10am to 3pm (when everything is 50% off). It'll be held at the Washington County Fair Complex in Hillsboro.

Our schools

March 30, 2006

Yet another family moving to Portland! Here's what Nora is wondering about:

We are relocating from San Francisco to Portland for my husband's job, and we are in the process of looking for a house. I am so confused about which elementary schools are good, even though I've looked at the Oregon Department of Education website. I also am confused about whether the public schools in Portland are in the midst of a crisis. Any advice about which elementary schools are the best? And will they stay strong for the long haul through our three children's education?

Why Portland Rocks

A recent comment made on the We are Family post made me think not only about the fact that most of the mamas and papas reading this have probably moved here within the past 10 years, but it also started me questioning why I came back to this great hometown of mine.  As a former reporter in both southern Oregon and the Portland area, I got a unique perspective on why people keep moving here, and why so many Oregonians choose to stay. Since there are quite a few families I know who are thinking about moving here and reading this blog, I thought I'd share my top five reasons to raise my family in Portland:

1. The most abundant variety of great beer and wine anywhere on earth. This is the main reason we haven't yet packed up and moved to Paris.

2. The beach is only an hour away, the mountain is 45 minutes away, and the desert is just about three hours away - whatever we're in the mood for, it's close.

3.  Sydney's, Laurelwood and Peanut Butter & Ellie's. Places like this don't exist in most cities, and my pals across the globe are envious. Not to mention, we can take our son to almost any restaurant here (even Olea) and it's ok.

4. Here, everyone is family. We're here for you, always, and we know that you will be there for us when the time comes. It's the Portland way.

5. We get our Christmas tree from our nearby neighbor's tree farm, our organic fruits and veggies from different neighbors' farms down the street, our flowers from the local nursery down the street, and fresh seafood from local fisherman (aka, my dad and his buddies). It's not hard to go local here - it's just a way of life.

The list could stretch for miles, including public transportation, the amount of parks per capita, etc. but that's my top five. Let's help encourage other families thinking about moving here to join our big happy family! What's your top five for being here?

Portland Farmer's Market Opens Apr 1

... inspired by Rookie Moms Activity #131: Go to a farmer's market ...

A sign that spring has indeed sprung: everyone's beloved Portland's Farmer's Market opens at PSU this Saturday, April 1.  I definitely love going to the Portland FM early in the season before it gets way too crowded.  It's hard to navigate the crowd with the wagon, stroller, backpack, etc, so we usually end up at our neighborhood farmer's market when the season picks up.  But, this Saturday, I think the Farmer's Market would be a great activity for the family!

How would you save $57 million?

March 15, 2006

We all know that the Portland Public School system is short some cash for next year, roughly $57 million give or take a buck.  PPS is now taking your thoughts:  How would you balance the budget for Portland Public Schools?  Cut administrative spending, cut programs like athletics or Outdoor school, close 4, 6, 10, or 13 schools, reduce staff at schools and increase the student/teacher ratio anywhere from 24.5 to 27.5, limit wage increases, limit contributions toward employees' health care, tap into a one-time funding source, cut a week of school or shorten the school year, spend toward longer-term investments.  There are choices, but many of them look bleak.  PPS is collecting your thoughts via the web-based worksheets.  The website states: "Your ideas will help inform the discussion as the Superintendent and School Board make their budget decisions."

Where to Donate Toys and Clothes

March 13, 2006

Reuse, recycle, reduce. It's the Portland way.  So, what if you have some gear and clothes that you'd like to donate rather than sell or exchange?  Here are Kim's kind words about urbanMamas (thanks!) and question:

I would like to start off by saying I love your website! I stumbled upon it looking into Childcare/Pre School info for my 2 1/2 year old son.

I had one question do you or any of the "urbanMamas" know of a place I can donate his toys etc.? When he was younger we went to the Children's Exchange to trade things (which is a great place) I would really like to know if there was a way to find families in need to help with toys and clothes.

Eating out with Kids in SW/Beaverton

March 12, 2006

A friend called me last night from the parking lot of Shari's  to tell me that on weekends (sat & sun) children eat free.

(from the website:Every Saturday and Sunday evening from 4pm to 9pm, each child can choose an entrée from Shari’s Kids Menu for   Free with a kids beverage purchase. This money-saving offer is valid for up to two children for each adult in the party.)

This is the same friend who let me know about a similar deal at Denny's on Tuesdays and Saturdays (kids 10 and under eat free from the kids menu with purchase of adult entree from 4pm).

I love this friend because she's a real penny pincher, something I'm not, but aspire to be. The two restaurants in Beaverton where we usually go for a family night out are a little pricier, Pasta Veloce on Scholls Ferry near 125th avenue and Beaches at the Murray Scholls Shopping area.

I like Pasta Veloce because it's an adult menu, with awesome grilled bread and a nice drink selection. You go up and order and pay at the same time, so in the event of an emergency, there's no waiting for a waitress to bring the bill. The other great thing about Pasta Veloce is that the drinks refill, napkins, to go boxes, and silverware are all out there for customers to help themselves to. If you've got a toddler who thinks silverware throwing is an Olympic sport like my youngest, having access to fresh silverware is great. Finally, Pasta Veloce has a few boxes of giant legos you can take to your table on a first-come, first-serve basis.

My second favorite place is Beaches. If you go during their happy hour, from 4-6, the appetizer menu is half price. You can get a full-sized burger for $2.50, or an individual pizza for about $2.00. The seating is adjacent to the bar and limited, however, when we went there last time, the waitstaff was very helpful in encouraging families leaving to give their tables to other waiting families. They bring out a big plastic bucket of toys and crayons for the kids while you're waiting. Also, with the purchase of just one children's meal (about $5.50) both my kids got special drinks, a trip to the treasure chest for a free toy, and two little chocolate sundaes that the waitress made right in front of them at a special station. My 4 year old went home singing "we love Beaches" and keeps asking me when we can go again.

We may not be close to the awesome restaurants in Portland, but Beaverton does have some great places to go with kids.

Summer is right around the corner, Part 1

March 09, 2006

So, I know we just had snow today, but I'm still thinking about the summer, which is just three months away! Our biggest girl is 5-1/2 this summer, and I am hoping that she'll have more summer options than before. Here's our list with some highlights (she's not going to all, but these are just a 'few' of the things we're thinking about):

Ethos Music Camp: For five (non-consecutive) weeks through the summer, from late June to the end of August, Ethos offers a variety of music camps focusing on guitar, percussion, piano, strings, and even hip-hop and rock band ensembles. Cost is $195 per week, from 9-5 daily, grades K-12. Ethos is a well-respected music school with several community programs for school-aged children. Each child can enroll for a maximum of 2 sessions per summer.

Grace Art Institute Camps: Last year, it was India. This year, it's Greece. This summer Grace Art Institute summer camp will explore the fascinating and historical Greek culture. Cultural folktales are the heart of each week's curriculum and campers choose to immerse themselves in a variety of performing and visual arts, including dance & music, drama, glass art, ceramics & sculpture, fibre arts, visual arts, book arts. Cost is $205 per session, from 9-3 daily with a Friday art celebration, ages 4-12. (Before & After care can be arranged.)

smARTworks / PNCA: for 1st graders to middle school, this year's focus is storytelling. Cost is $235 per week and camp runs 8-5pm.

Children's Museum summer camps: These are among the pricier ones, but I thought I'd still put it out there. Camp runs 8:30 to 2:30 ($200) with aftercare available ($90). Still, there is art, drama, activities, games, crafts.

Audobon Society: "Audubon Summer Camps inspire children to love and protect nature, in the very best way, by exploring, learning, and having fun." Camps run for ten weeks throughout the summer. Half-day (9-1) sessions for first graders, and full-day sessions for 2nd graders and older. I can't find the cost in an obvious place online, so let me know if you find it!

Oregon Zoo Summer Camps: Use interactive activities, crafts, zoo exploration to learn more about the animals. All camps include guided zoo tours, animal visits in the classrooms, Discover Birds show, visits to the family farm and pygmy goat kraal, lorikeet feeding, songs, games, stories, a train ride (except Penguin Camp), snacks and a ZooCamp t-shirt. 3rd – 8th grade camps include a visit to the Washington Park play structure and Elephant Barn picnic shelter. Half-day camps for kindergarteners ($85 for members/$100 for non-member); full-day camps for 1st graders and up ($190 for members/$220 for non-members). Before and after care available.

YMCA - Camp Collins: Day camp for children in grades 1-6. "Campers will participate in archery, arts and crafts, hiking, nature activities, climbing tower, field games, and believe it or not, much more!" Camp runs for 9 sessions; fees are a sliding scale ranging from $165 to $215 per week. Daily bus service to camps run from Alameda school (NE), Gresham and the North Clackamas Aquatic Center.

Camp Ky-O-Wa: "Explore a trail in the woods, enjoy the cool waters of a lake, try your luck at fishing, bounce on a trampoline, sing camp songs, and discover other fun summer activities. Camp Ky-O-Wa is an integrated day camp for children ages 5-11, with and without disabilities." Sponsored by Portland Parks & Recreation.

Summer Nature Camp: Also by Portland Parks & Recreation, for children ages 5-12, week-long sessions "provide youngsters with a firsthand experience with nature through hiking, storytelling, scientific observations, and forest crafts."

OMSI Summer Science Camps: Junior Naturalist camp, Naturalist camp, Adventure camps. These camps are serious all-week camps at various locations throughout the state. Without a doubt, our kids could get an invaluable experience (camps run $385 for the week). But, our biggest girl is still eons away from spending the whole day and night away from us! Programs run for youth ages 7-18. Camps run from 1 to 3 weeks long! We are SO not there yet. Someday!

Mad Science: For some reason, I had it in my head that Mad Science camp would be so fun for our biggest girl once she became of age. Now, I see that they've only got one location in the inner eastside, and it's isn't even a full-day (it's only 9-3pm). So, it won't work for us, but maybe the locations and times will work for you! It's about $129 per week for ages 4 and up.

And, actually, this listing of summer camps is pretty good.

Quiet Off-Leash Dog Parks

March 04, 2006

A question from one of our readers:

I have two children - a baby and a canine- so I'm wondering if anyone can tell me their favourite off-leash dog park. In my experience, some off-leash dog areas can be scary, if there are out of control dogs fighting in the vicinity. I'm looking for an off-leash dog park that isn't frequented by too many dogs during the day. One that I can feel safe in. Hope to bump into those mamas with pooches some time. I'll be the crazy one yelling and running after my dog, baby in tow.

Parents Night Out - Oregon Gymnastics Academy

February 25, 2006

The Oregon Gymnastics Academy offers Parents Night Out every second and fourth Saturday from 6:30-10:00 p.m.  We also have Mommy kickboxing and Starbabies classes for kids 1 years old and up.  Please visit www.ogagym.org for a schedule of classes and special events. 

Upcoming Events at OGA

Fri-Sunday, March 17-19 State Championships presented by Regence at Tualatin Hills
Saturday, April 1 OGA gymnasts featured in Portland Monthly Magazine

NOTE: It looks like they also offer summer and day camps for kids age 3 yrs and older.

Japanese Preschool Playground Fundraiser

February 21, 2006

I would just like to let other urbanMamas know that the Japanese preschool my 4 year old daughter Mia attends is holding a fundraiser in two weeks (Saturday, March 4th) from 11-2 in order to raise money for a new playground. There will be an obstacle course-a-thon, a silent auction including area restaurants and Bonneville Hots Springs certificates, and SUSHI and Japanese-style baked goods.

Kohitsuji Preschool is located at the Japanese International Baptist Church in Tigard on SW Spruce street off of Hall between 217 and 99W (8500 SW Spruce St., Tigard, OR  Tel: 503.246.4680) . The playground will be used by the church kids, the Kohitsuji kids, and kids from Sakura-kai (thursday evening Japanese language classes).

Please come and buy a cookie or macha tiramisu or some rolled sushi if you have the time.



If you would like more information on Japanese language opportunities in the Portland area, check out the JASO website on the subject here, or feel free to email me.

Metzger Community Preschool

February 20, 2006

Metzger Community Prescool in SW PDX/Tigard. Non-profit co-op preschool with the philosophy of creating a nurturing environment by united efforts in a "family of families". This is a very User-Friendly preschool that promotes Friendships(for you & your child), Familiar Surroundings, Freedom, Fairness, Feelings, Fellowship, and FUN! Please share with us your personal experiences below:


February 13, 2006

Maybe it's not that big a deal, but here goes... 

Jack, Ella and I went to the children's park at Washington Park yesterday (my heart is actually beating faster right now thinking about it) for a little morning play in the SUN.  This dad and his 4 kids ranging from about 2yo to 12 yo or so where there.  The dad is running around the play structure, playing hide and go seek with his kids... so, he knocked over one kid in his quest to hide quickly and almost knocked Ella over, I figured - well, he's having fun and made a mistake I just need to be heads up if I he approaches again. 

Then, he gets out a football, not a real leather one, but not a Nerf, either - it was hard plastic.  He proceeds to have his kids "go long" into/on the play structure (packed with mostly kids under 4yo and their parents) and chastises them when they drop the ball.  As one would expect, balls are dropped/overthrown, one kid is hit and fellow parents are looking at each other like what's up with this guy.  One of the kids proceeded to throw the ball back to dad and missed, dropping the ball into the sand box where Ella was playing.  The ball did not hit her, but narrowly missed her.

I had had it at this point, I told the guy he needed to stop throwing the ball into the play structure and that he should go down to the soccer field where he could run drills with his kids all day long.  He was fine with this - didn't act pissy at all - pleasant surprise.  Then, and this kind of broke my heart... Ella wanted to slide, so we go over to the metal slide where there is room for two kids to go down at once.  The dad's youngest (around 2yo) was on one side of the slide and Ella was on the other side, the kid asked if she wanted to race.  She's didn't really get it and just slid down, the kid slid first and at the bottom of the slide, looked at her and said, "I won!"  The dad declared "good job son, good job."  I was just like, what, huh??  A competitive 2 yo??  It broke my heart because, this boy was sweet, I could tell and I just pray that mommy balances out dad, or excels in sports or has the cajones to tell dad he wants to be in the drama club. 

I know I am making alot assumptions/generalizations, and I actually believe that a competitive spirit is useful in life.  I played sports all through HS and part of college - it's motivating, collaborative, but having a 2yo get congratulated for beating another 2yo seems extreme - no 2 yo should be the "loser" in any scenario, life will teach them about winning and losing soon enough.  Anyway, there is not really a message, question or lesson learned here - just a venting and well, I guess a reminder as to how much our kids model our behavior good or bad.