150 posts categorized "Events"

A balancing act: A guest post from a performing artist parent

May 10, 2014

Guest post from Camellia Nieh, who will be performing with TEMPOS Tuesday and Wednesday.

Inline image 5

photo © Dan Kim

A year ago, my husband I joined a performance group called TEMPOS, blending acrobatics, dance, and physical theater with live music. My husband writes and performs music for the group, and I perform acrobatics. Acrobatics is my passion…it makes me feel strong and alive. Music is my husband’s. We feel so lucky to have found an outlet that enables us both to work creatively together.

Our six-year-old son, Uzi, is less thrilled about our artistic projects. TEMPOS takes up a lot of our time. Friends and family support us a lot with childcare, and we have a fantastic babysitter whom he loves. But Uzi still wishes we would just stay home with him every night. Sometimes he cries when I have to leave for a rehearsal.

Inline image 6

photo © Ty Chance

I feel conflicted about the time I invest in creative pursuits. My husband is less conflicted. He assures me that it’s better for Uzi to see us dedicating ourselves to what we love. That it makes us happier, more balanced parents, and that it sets a good example, too. Fundamentally, I think he’s right. My hope is that when Uzi is older, he’ll look back and be proud of us for being performers. He’ll feel enriched by the evenings he spent hanging out backstage, tumbling with a crew of playful acrobats, or in the music studio in our basement, learning drumbeats and experimenting with the mixing board. Also, my mother sacrificed her personal aspirations to raise our family, and while we’re deeply grateful to her for devoting so much of herself to us, it was also hard always knowing that she felt so unfulfilled.

How do you balance what you love to do with the needs of your children? Do you feel conflicted about the time and resources you invest in doing things you love? Do you wish your own parents had invested more in their own passions, or less?

UM on OMamas - Simplicity Parenting 101

December 11, 2013

In case you didn't catch the interview with The Oregonian's OMama, Amy Wang - check out her online article: 

Simplicity Parenting coach offers Portland course

While Amy and I bonded over pho, she took copious notes to learn the basics of Simplicity Parenting. We both had to laugh when she admitted that her week had been too hectic to really check out the new blog before we met. I know when I first read and reviewed Simplicity Parenting  I was far too busy with summer camping trips to even think about decluttering or setting a screen policy.

Face it, in this busy age, there's never really an easy time to begin to simplify. That's why the movement has encouraged three things above all else:

  1. Create "Small Doable Changes"
  2. Celebrate incremental success 
  3. Build a support network

If you are ready for more than a five-minute article based on a one hour lunch, then I hope you'll come to my free intro workshop and/or join the growing movement by signing up for my January workshops.

In anticipation of  the holidays, here is a fresh post from my new blog on Christmas Countdown vs. Simplicity Slowdown

May this season bring your family true fun and festivities!

Darcy Cronin is a mother of three, blogger, and small business adventurer. Darcy became certified as a Simplicity Parenting Coach to help families create paths toward meaningful values and more sustainable lifestyles. Follow her blog and sign up for workshops at Darcy's Utopia.

Simplicity Santa - FREE Simplicity Parenting Intro

December 03, 2013

Do you get overwhelmed by the stress of the holidays? Are you tired of adding more stuff to your already cluttered home? Do you want to start the New Year with less stress and more family joy?
Come to a FREE Simplicity Parenting Introduction:
Where: Milagros Boutique - 5433 NE 30th Ave (NE Killingsworth)
When: Thursday, December 12th, 6:30 - 8:30 p.m.
RSVP: darcysutopiapdx@gmail.com or just post a comment below
Learn about the growing parenting movement that helps you simplify your schedule, declutter and destress your life. Based on the book, Simplicity Parenting; Using the Extraordinary Power of Less to Raise Calmer, Happier, and More Secure Kids, this free holiday-inspired workshop will be led by certified Simplicity Parenting Coach, Darcy Cronin. 
urbanMamas is partnering to host this essential holiday event, and will be providing yummy snacks and wine. uM is also excited to announce that Darcy will be a guest blogger @UM. Darcy has been blogging at Sustainable Family Finances for almost five years, and will add a new perspective to our community. Learn more at her new blog, Darcy's Utopia.
So, whether simplifying has been on your perpetual to-do list for a while now or you're just curious, this free intro session is your way to find out about this alternative parenting movement. 
Darcy Cronin is a mother of three, blogger, and small business adventurer. Darcy became certified as a Simplicity Parenting Coach to help families create paths toward meaningful values and more sustainable lifestyles. Follow her blog and sign up for workshops at Darcy's Utopia.


September 11, 2013

Here’s the scoop for the weekend. For more ideas on what to do this weekend, check the Events Calendar on Metro Parent's PDX Kids Calendar and the urbanMamas calendar page.

Mt. Angel Oktoberfest. Four days of fun-filled activities, including live music on four stages, free Kindergarten with rides and shows, arts and crafts show, and more! Thursday - Sunday. Most events are free. 

Tallulah's Daddy at Cafe Au Play. Come sing and dance while Tallulah's Daddy sings and plays his guitar, bass and cajon. Friday 10-11am. Suggested donation.

Continue reading "WEEKEND WARRIORS - SEPTEMBER 13-15, 2013" »


August 28, 2013

Here’s the scoop for the weekend. For more ideas on what to do this weekend, check the Events Calendar on Metro Parent's PDX Kids Calendar and the urbanMamas calendar page.

Music Class with Mo Phillips at The Treehouse. Mo has devised a fine, distiller music blend of americana! Soul and blues In his secret ninja laboratory and is not afraid of a poppy hook, or straight rocking' out! Friday 10am. $5/child.

Build-A-Terrarium Workshop at Floare. Participants are guided to choose a container,select the type of plant, then design and install a lovely little world. Floare has soil, rocks, sand, moss,shells, dinosaurs, ladybugs, and many other decorative accents from which to choose. Saturday 10am-noon. $15/participant. No registration necessary, first-come, first-served.

Mama & Baby Yoga at Pod + Kin. Bring your new little one for this playful, interactive postpartum yoga class. Class is tailored to suit your postpartum recovery needs, so come as soon as you feel ready. Ages newborn until your busy mover "graduates" to the YogaTots class. Saturday 11:30-12:30pm. $14 drop-in.



August 14, 2013

Here’s the scoop for the weekend. For more ideas on what to do this weekend, check the Events Calendar on Metro Parent's PDX Kids Calendar and the urbanMamas calendar page.

Clackamas County Fair in Canby. A classic county fair filled with amazing BBQ, a rodeo, rides, and entertainment for the whole family. Runs through August 18th.

Ladybug Nature Walk: Irving Park. Naturalist led stroll. Ages 2-5, with grown-up. Stroller-accessible. Friday 10-11am. $4/child.

Once on This Island at Broadway Rose Theater. The Broadway Rose summer teen workshop participants present an enchanting, calypso-flavored musical fable that tells the story of forbidden love between people from two different worlds. Thursday - Saturday performances. $8.

Continue reading "WEEKEND WARRIORS - AUGUST 16-18, 2013" »

Weekend Warriors - July 26-28, 2013

July 24, 2013

Here’s the scoop for the weekend. For more ideas on what to do this weekend, check the Events Calendar on Metro Parent's PDX Kids Calendar and the urbanMamas calendar page.

Enjoy free admission to the Portland Art Museum. Enjoy free and easy bike parking, free Museum admission, and snacks from some of Portland's finest pedal-powered food carts, including Taco Pedalers, Salt & Straw Ice Cream, Moberi-Bike Smoothies, Masala Popcorn, and more. Friday 5-8pm.

Flicks on the Bricks at Pioneer Courthouse Square. The Square will be transformed into Portland's largest outdoor movie theater for the entire community to enjoy. This Friday Finding Nemo. Friday at dusk. Free!

Kids' Discovery Hike. Enjoy the breathtaking beauty of this Northwest forest while learning about native plants, wildlife, and the inspiring history of Portland's Forest Park. Designed for kids ages 4-10 with parent accompaniment, hike is free but space is limited, so reserve your spot now! Saturday 9:30-11:30am.

Continue reading "Weekend Warriors - July 26-28, 2013" »

The Aftermath of the Boston Marathon

April 24, 2013

On Monday, April 15th, I woke up in a tizzy.  First, I was late for a meeting for which I had to commute an hour.  Second, we hadn't finished up our taxes.  Third, the funnest thing of the morning, it was the Boston Marathon, and the last Facebook status I saw was from a former PDX urbanMama, suited up in compression socks and bib number, ready to race.

I thought about our friend all morning wondering how she was feeling and how she was doing (undoubetdly strong, she always runs strong!).  After a busy day of meetings, I settled into another hour commute home and was horrified to hear the news.

"Late breaking news from the Boston Marathon finish line...."  and "....reports of two deaths, one of whom was a child of eight years old..." - the audio was unbearable.  As a "survivor" of sorts of what happened on September 11, 2001, I felt pangs of trauma resurfacing.  My heart beat mimicked how it behaved back then.  Every other moment, I let out tears.  And, as I drove, my hand covered my mouth in disbelief.

Our urbanMama friend was safe, though she was just picking up her warming blanket as the first impact set off.  Luck would also have it that her spouse and three children were running a little late to greet her, still a few blocks away from finish.  After hearing the comotion, the family re-routed to meet at another pre-determined location.

We have stories of friends who were there, stories of friends of friends.  Many of us, runners ourselves, can only imagine the confusion of feelings: the high of completing such a huge feat like a marathon and the low of realizing that something so awful had happened.

How is your family dealing with this current event, this tragedy?  Does it feel close?  Does it feel far?  For another former PDX urbanMama, it hits close to home.  Her 9-year old has nightmares, feeling so disempowered and depressed.  So, this mama has decided to organize an event, a worldwide run, on May 15, 2013, to honor those that ran the Boston Marathon and to honor the goodness in our world.  "MILES to teach GOODNESS" encourages us all to organize a run in our neighborhood, at the same time, to run 26.2 minutes to celebrate our communities and support one another.

Care to join?  Read more about the EmPOWERed Kids Run here or join the Facebook event here.

In our household, it still feels a little unreal.  We talk about it, we watch the news.  The event dampens our spirit.  We think we will join in on the EmPOWERed Kids Run to help us join in with the rest of the community to lift our spirits.

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. 

Minimalist Parenting

March 20, 2013

We are happy to announce that friend of urbanMamas and local mama Asha Dornfest of Parent Hacks is a published author. Her book Minimalist Parenting written with Christine Koh of BostonMamas is at your local book store right now. Or you can order from Amazon.

Not only did they publish a book, but they also lead a free fourteen day Minimalist Parenting Camp with tasks and activities to start implementing the ideas and concepts from the book. I signed up and give myself five badges. I still need to do some of the tasks, but they set it up so well that I can go back and do them when I have time.  

My mother and mother in-law were unclear about my badges (which I posted on FaceBook) and the ideas in general. Was it let your child do everything? So you do a minimal amount; therefore a ‘minimal parent’? Where were the ‘hands on’ parenting tasks? How did Self Care, Decluttering, and 20 Minutes of Style fit into parenting? I explained that the idea is to give parents more space (physical, mental, emotional) and more confidence (in our appearance, abilities, and knowledge) in order to give more to parenting, not less. I think they got it. And after they read the book, they will really get it. I know I got a lot out of my camp tasks and look forward to finishing them over spring break.  

So let’s celebrate. We are proud to be a sponsor of the Minimalist Parenting Portland Book Launch Party on Saturday, April 20. Just click and register. Hope to see you then.










Finishing up the year, marking time, making plans

December 31, 2012

The year 2012 was truly a landmark for me; though I hadn't set out to start a literary magazine for parents on January 1, I'd accomplished that, and even more awesomely, I'd gotten all my three boys to school successfully. On many occasions, I went a whole six hours without having to worry about any of them a whit.  My husband started what will (we hope) be his final deployment overseas. I came up with some crazy ideas and made them happen! I won an honor for my writing! I wrote lots and lots.

When it came to marking the year, though, I felt a little lost. I've made lists and long essay-like wrap-ups in other years; I've made calendars and year-in-review letters to send to friends. But this year I've been feeling overwhelmed with all I have to do (something about this wild 2012 has been: overcommitment exploded); I've felt the regular holiday excitement, even, was more than I could manage. As usual, I had so many ideas I ended up standing in my dining room, spinning around, not knowing where to begin.

Then I saw a post from Mara on Facebook. She was doing interviews with each of her boys; audio interviews, requiring nothing but the voice memo app on her iDevice. She gave me a list of her questions, things like, "What was the best thing about 2012?" and "What are your favorite things?" and "What scares you?" I set about recording immediately.

Continue reading "Finishing up the year, marking time, making plans" »

A party! Sweet Kickstarter Kickup Wednesday, June 27

June 26, 2012

You're all invited. Think of it as a salon for writers and readers-to-be, a celebration of mothers with ideas and the fathers too, a little sweet stop in the midst of a week, a chance to catch our breath and catch up. With the help of Two Tarts Bakery in NW Portland and some great friends-and-urbanMamas, I'm throwing a little party to help launch our literary magazine and to thank the helpers who've already backed us. There will be goodie bags including treats from Alma Chocolate and the canvolution and more to come.

Wednesday, June 27
6:30 to 9 p.m.
Two Tarts Bakery, 2309 NW Kearney St.
Things to eat. Things to drink! A raffle! Kids are up to you.

After the jump: my description of the party. I had fun with this.

Continue reading "A party! Sweet Kickstarter Kickup Wednesday, June 27" »

Summer Street Fairs: sometimes just a pain?

June 04, 2012

A sign of the summer approaching is when you start to see event listings of street fairs or other al fresca fetes occuring on a more regular basis.  Among my favorites in Portland include the Mississippi Street Fair and the Hawthorne Street Fair.  With the advent of Portland's Sunday Parkways, now in its fifth year (wahoo!), some street fairs coincide with the neighborhood's street closure to corroborate the energy and excitement of a street fair coupled with a Sunday Parkway route.

In our new neighborhoods in the East Bay Area, one way we've been started to get to know our new environs is to spend some time at some of our local street fairs.  In the past month, we've gone to the East Bay Bike Coalition's Happy Hour (a street party in Old Oakland celebrating Bike to Work Day), the 12th Annual Park Street Spring Festival (right in our own Alameda's downtown), and First Friday at Jack London Square (a collection of performances, food vendors, artisans, pop-up boutiques on the waterfront, an event that coincides with Oakland's First Friday Art Murmur).

What I love about street fairs is seeing the people in my neighborhood, other families, shop owners, performers, food purveyors.  I love to support craft producers; I love to mingle with others in a dense, closed-off area, let the kids do a little exploring on their own.  The energy is real: other people in the crowd welcome meeting and making a new friend; there is an air of community spirit and comaraderie.  

There are, however, some trends in our street fair experiences that I do not enjoy.  Perhaps it takes us a while to mobilize, leave the house, and make it out to said street fair.  Once there, kids and adults alike might be irritatingly hungry.  Perhaps I haven't packed enough snack food to hold us over to find a proper meal or to wait the long lines at the food vendors.  The food vendor selection might not offer something everyone might want, and there might be complaints as a result.  There may or may not be easily accessible restrooms for our toddler who - when he has to pee - HAS TO GO right then and there.  Perhaps there are just too many people, that results in taking forever to make decisions on what to eat, what booth to visit, or where to situate.  There might be no water fountain in plain sight to refill the water bottles we emptied on the hot bike ride over.  The sun might be going down and suddenly our tank tops leave us shivering with goosebumps on our arms.

Street fairs are a summer right of passage, they are a beacon of the warm days to come, they are a sign of the long days of sunlight that are here.  We all love them.  But: do some of us hate them, too?

Supermoon! Where is the best place to moongaze?

May 05, 2012

Tonight is the Supermoon! Evidently, every once in a while, the moon comes extra close to the earth in its elliptical orbit, and that closest point coincides with a full moon -- it will be closest within a few minutes of the "official moon phase" of its fullness. This makes the moon appear 16% bigger and 30% brighter (or thereabouts) than usual.

(Or, according to National Geographic, "Due to the moon's egg-shaped orbit, there are times when our natural satellite is at perigee—its closest to Earth—and at apogee, its farthest." Hand that off to your high school-aged kids for SAT study.)

Our immediate neighborhood is terrible for moongazing; we're at a flat part west of a very steep hill, so that by the time the moon appears over the apartment building roof to the east of us, it's lost much of its enormity. Also: apartment building roofs do not make for lovely backdrops.

My favorite views of the moon have all been serendipitous; there is an amazing vantage point at the intersection of 39th/Cesar E. Chavez Blvd and Hawthorne, where you can often see the moon slink up behind Mt. Tabor, hanging low and spectacular over the bank (I know. Such romance!).  I've also seen a stunner at the intersection of SE Market and 77th, getting ready to come down the hill to Bridger school. I'm sure the southeast approach to Mt. Tabor, from 73rd Ave, would also be a great place.

Any favorites? Have you watched the moon somewhere stunning? (and if you see it tonight, post pictures! Please!)

The Lorax & Earthy-Day Activities at School

March 06, 2012

We have always loved the Lorax, the wonderful tale of Truffula Trees and Bar-ba-loots, the tale of how we all live in an interconnected ecosystem, and the tale of how we all have an important part of protecting all parts of our web of life.  The Lorax Movie  comes at an interesting time, when were are kicking off efforts at school to start thinking about how we can celebrate Earth Day at our school.

When I asked the kids at assembly: "what can we do?!" Lots of kids suggested picking up trash.  One kid suggested that we have a No-Waste Lunch Challenge.  Others suggested planting trees.

The Lorax, who speaks for the trees, could live in all of us.  How will you harness your inner Lorax to celebrate Earth Day upcoming in April this year?  Please share, I am looking for ideas!

Eastside W[h]ine night Friday, December 9

November 30, 2011

After a very long hiatus, we're planning another Eastside w[h]ine night for Friday, December 9th. Update: We chose Bar Avignon, 2138 SE Division! We are choosing between an overwhelming number of fantastic wine bars in the Central Eastside -- think somewhere between the Morrison Bridge and 28th and Burnside. While we juggle all the options, we wanted to get this on your calendars (and we'll also base our selection on the probable number of guests).

So, here are the details:

   ~~ Friday, December 9
   ~~ 6:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.
   ~~ Bar Avignon, 2138 SE Division
   ~~ urbanMamas will provide event support (i.e. pay for some goodies & wine!)

We like to find a place that allows minors for those who might bring a nursing infant, so please let us know if this is a make-it-or-break-it for you. We also picked a long time frame that will hopefully allow both pre-bedtime and post-bedtime mamas to come along; we don't expect most of you to be there the whole time!

Please let us know if you're coming in the comments. Dads are welcome, although they should know that these events tend toward the girl talk. Also, if you wish to lobby for a particular spot (our list is already long!), let us know why we should hold our event there!

An uM guide to holiday events for family: What are your favorites?

November 27, 2011

I woke up Friday morning with something of a mama hangover. I'd let the boys stay up too late with our impulsive Thanksgiving meal, and the winter really slows me down in the morning department. I got up, though, bound and determined to get the previous night's dishes washed before my all-important paper organizing date with a family friend.

I checked in on Instagram and Twitter and saw a bunch of friends posting about how they were getting good seats or hot chocolate with their kids to warm up before the Macy's Holiday Parade, held the day after Thanksgiving in downtown Portland every year since the landmark Meier & Frank was converted to Macy's. I kicked myself for not having remembered, and made time in my weekend for the event, one of the new Portland holiday traditions for many families. The annual Pioneer Square tree lighting ceremony that evening is another I've loved in the past but failed to make time for this year.

So this post that I'd been meaning to write became ever more pressing. There are a few events that I try to partake in every year, including the Oregon Zoolights, one or several crafty holiday bazaars, and a stroll or bike ride down Peacock Lane. There are some that I've always meant to, but never did, like the Santaland at Macy's or one of several amazing-sounding winter solstice events. There are some that I've attended and didn't particularly inspire my holiday fervor -- like the Christmas boats that parade down the Willamette (once was enough -- or even, for that matter, seeing someone else's photos of it is enough).

I'd like to make a list of the best things to do in the holiday season so I can organize my holiday around it -- and so our readers, new and loyal, can have a great place to turn to find the hidden jewels and don't-miss big events of the holiday season. What are your favorites -- and what do you think is over-hyped? Is there anything you must do for it to seem like the season to you? Is there anything you'll never do again? I really hope, too, that someone will post great solstice events, as a reader on a previous post had requested that specially.

I'll sort through your comments and post a list later this week.

Wordstock 2011: A Parent's Guide

October 06, 2011

On Wednesday's Think Out Loud, Wordstock Executive Director Greg Netzer commented on just how many writers targeted toward the young reader would be at the annual festival of books this Saturday and Sunday: not only will there be a stage dedicated to children's writers, as well as a children's activity area sponsored by Knowledge Universe, but also some middle reader and young adult authors will present on other stages as well -- so that, at some points in the festival, you might have two or three different simultaneous kid-focused authors speaking at once. Oh, the bedevilment!

The thing is: Wordstock, for writers and book lovers and pretty much any parent who likes to adventure with the kids on a weekend, is one of the best deals anywhere. The ticket prices are super cheap ($10 for an adult for both days, or $7 for one), and kids under 13 are free. There are giveaways galore; Kindercare is giving away 1,000 free books at Wordstock. Last year we came home with a stack of great titles. And I get all shivery with the chance to rub elbows with authors I love; hopefully, some of that can rub off on the kids.

After two hours with the Wordstock guide and lots more time delving into new favorite books, I've come up with some recommendations for book-loving kids and parents -- and see the end of the post for a grid describing the kids' stage authors.

Saturday, 5 p.m., McMeniman's Stage. Colin Meloy & Carson Ellis. Wildwood. If I had to give one recommendation for kids this year, it would be this amazing, artful, magical book. Colin Meloy is famous as the Decemberists' lead singer and songwriter, but here he becomes famous for something entirely other. Follow 12-year-old Prue through an alternate reality Portland through the Industrial Wastes into the Impassable Wilderness -- Forest Park re-imagined. It's magical and practical and funny and filled with the kind of prose lyricism and nods to the cerebral you'd expect from Meloy. And best of all, even my nine-year-old loves it.

Sunday, 2 p.m., Knowledge Universe Stage. Doreen Cronin, Mom Operating Manual. Also: Marla Frazee and Kathryn Thurman. Remember Click, Clack, Moo, Cows that Type? Just about every mom who's read aloud to her kids has fallen in love with this ridiculous and hilarious barnyard tale. Cronin has a knack for the sort of books that entertain children and keep adults from eye-rolling with a nod toward more mature humor. I'm looking forward to seeing her new title, a "troubleshooting guide [which] provides step-by-step instructions for addressing moms who don't get enough of the daily basics, 'Sleep, Nutrition, Exercise, and Water, or SNEW for short.'"

Saturday, 2 p.m., Knowledge Universe Stage. Maile Meloy, The Apothecary. Also, Adam Jay Epstein, The Familiars, and Andrew Jacobson. Maile Meloy led just about every best-book list in 2009 with Both Ways is the Only Way I Want It, an adult collection of short stories that's probably not at all appropriate for young kids. But her new book is getting all kinds of attention, and is on my to-read list. "It's 1952 and the Scott family has just moved from Los Angeles to London. Here, fourteen-year-old Janie meets a mysterious apothecary and his son, Benjamin Burrows - a fascinating boy who's not afraid to stand up to authority and dreams of becoming a spy. When Benjamin's father is kidnapped, Janie and Benjamin must uncover the secrets of the apothecary's sacred book, the Pharmacopoeia, in order to find him, all while keeping it out of the hands of their enemies - Russian spies in possession of nuclear weapons."

Continue reading "Wordstock 2011: A Parent's Guide" »

Inspiration From Mama Feats at Fiets of Parenthood

August 22, 2011

I thought I was speedy and skilled on my mamabikeorama. Two of my boys and I careened around the course Shetha designed for this summer's Fiets of Parenthood PDX yesterday at Clever Cycles, sure with Everett's jousting skills (which earned him first place in the Kindercross race) and my well-honed riding ability, I'd be at least in the top three.

While my time wasn't that bad, my skill level was nothing near the top of the Portland heap. I had earlier been watching a mom test out a huge platform-style box bike. She had her husband and a bunch of kids in it; Monroe hopped in, too, and she gleefully steered the passel of kids around the blocked-off street. "Is there a weight limit on this?" she asked, peddling in her dress, one hand on the handlebars.

Other inspirational biking parents were there, like Katie, who biked to the birthing center to deliver her infant daughter Kestrel -- she and her husband were pedaled home with the baby in a Pedicab. Kestrel, tiny still, was there after a jaunt with big brother Jasper and her parents to and from North Portland. A mom who had just picked up her longtail mama bike on Saturday stopped by with her two children. Travis and his family -- three boys, mom in stripey knee socks -- had made themselves matching tees, because you know, they were bringing it, their all to the competition.

I went first in the competition, and was quickly knocked out in both speed and overall skill. With a 10-second bonus for each child aboard, Emily -- with six kids of her own aboard one bicycling contraption (for the record: Bakfiets with four littles in the box, one in a rear-mounted bike seat behind that looked like it was vintage or European, and one attached via a Follow-Me tandem coupling -- a neat import that allows a parent to hook the child's bike to the parent's rear wheel) -- had most of us beat. Here's how this looks:

It's proof that my competitive spirit can be easily quelled by the wow-factor of an inspirational mama feat or two. I'm so inspired that I want to tell everyone -- did you see the mom with the six kids bike jousting? -- but it's not a one-time sight. She's bicycling Southeast Portland every day with her family, and she's not the only inspiration on the streets. Keep an eye out, and prepare to find wow-factor every day. Smile and wave when you see them, and tell everyone about the ordinary, extraordinary, Fiets of Parenthood around us.

(For the record, Travis was one of those who tied for first thanks to his three boys and four rings jousted -- and blazing speed! And next year, I think we should give extra bonuses for parents who pedal their co-parent around -- I think our winning lineup may have been different if we did.)

Fiets of Parenthood - For biking families (and bike-curious families!)

August 17, 2011

We would like to invite you all to join us for a family biking extravaganza! This Sunday, August 21 from noon to 4 pm we will be hosting fiets (and feats!!) of family biking like you've never seen before! There will be kiddie and parent races, great prizes, and lots of friends of family biking. All this fun will be happening at Clever Cycles at SE Hawthorne and SE 9th. This year the event will be benefitting Kidical Mass PDX. For more information about the event you can read the event pagefollow parent_fiets on twitter, and read a little more about last year's event. If you feel like you'd like a little company on the way to the event, perhaps you'd like to join in the Kidical Mass Caravan. We hope to see you there!!!

Back-to-School Clothing Swaps: 08.21.2010

August 09, 2010

I hate to say it: our first days of school are right around the corner. The weather will turn, and we'll go from afternoon air of warmth to air with a cooler bite. And, we'll have to dig through our bins to rotate weather appropriate garb, from the flimsy to the more substantive. Do you have your coats, socks, jackets, rain ponchos, pants, long-sleeve shirts in order? Sneakers, boots, galoshes? Lunch boxes, thermoses, reusable lunch containers? Start purging!

urbanMamas is teaming up with folks to hold Back-to-School Clothing swaps on Saturday, August 21, 2010. We have locations lined up in each of the five quadrants, so hopefully you can find a time and place that works for you. Emphasis will be on school-aged kid gear, but there will be a section for preschoolers as well. Some snacks and drink will probably be available at each location. Swap school clothes and gear, and maybe make a few new friends, too. Thank you muchly to all of our co-hosts! Let us know if you have questions & we will try to get them answered.

N PDX: St. Johns Swap 'n' Play, 7535 N Chicago Ave, 9-11am

NE PDX: Milagros Boutique, 5433 NE 30th Ave (near Killingsworth), 10am-12n

NW PDX: Isobel's Clubhouse, 300 block of NW 10th Ave, between Hanna Andersen & Cupcake Jones, 11am-1pm

SE PDX: Know thy Food, 3434 SE Milwaukie (entrance on Haig Street), 1-3pm

SW PDX: Westside Academy of Kung Fu, 1509 SW Sunset Blvd Suite B1, 3-5pm.

Breastfeeding setting records at the Big Latch On August 6

July 26, 2010

Oregon is already leading the country in its rates of breastfeeding, and length of breastfeeding; for children born in 2006, 91.4% of babies were breastfed at some point, and 37.0% were breastfed still at 12 months, significantly higher than the U.S. average and a little higher than other progressive, breastfeeding-friendly states like Washington and California. In order to promote breastfeeding and "show everyone just how great Portland is and how much we all value breastfeeding," a group in Portland is organizing the Big Latch On the morning of Friday, August 6.

With a goal of setting the world record for 'most women breastfeeding at once,' mothers will be asked to latch their breastfeeding child on and, evidently, on-site monitors will make sure there is a firm latch. The Big Latch On has already registered a few dozen venues in every part of town, and there will be prizes and treats and, hopefully, lots of other nursing mamas. (I'm a little unclear as to whether everyone is supposed to latch on at 10:30, or at 11, but you're being asked to arrive at 10 a.m.) Even WIC offices are registered, demonstrating the wide community support for breastfeeding in Portland.

I'll admit that, when I considered how hard to push the weaning of my now-three-year-old son, I had this in the back of my mind. Right after the Big Latch On, maybe?

The revolution will be put into glass jars

July 05, 2010

Last year, I was invited to join a group of amazing women, mostly food writers or bloggers, but a few simply passionate about preservation, in Seattle, Philadelphia and a few other locales to help promote the Canvolution -- a celebration of Canning Across America all year long that culminated in a weekend Can-a-rama. In cities across the country, canners were invited to host events in which beginning and experienced putter-uppers would join together in something like the harvest parties of old.

The inaugural event was scheduled for the weekend of Hood-to-Coast; much though I wanted to host something, it was a little more than I could juggle. I canned alone on Sunday when I returned home from a lot of mostly-sleepless running. I was lucky enough, though, to be invited to a tomato canning party in September, giving me the community canning fix to get me through the winter (and, for the record, I canned enough tomatoes! -- with my solo jars and the product of our canning party, 70 pints were more than my family needed). I've been inviting a few friends over for strawberry jam-making on Wednesdays, and though it's been a bit chaotic, it's been lovely, too. And the jam has been delicious!

This year I was thrilled to see the Can-a-rama scheduled for the weekend of July 24 and 25. Immediately, I knew I'd host a canning party; every time I've mentioned food preservation here, I've had at least one commenter wonder, how can I learn to can food? This will be just a bit of a lesson, and it will be hands-on and messy and probably hot, but it should be fun.

I'm planning to book a solid day of harvesting and preserving on Saturday, July 24; we'll begin by harvesting some plums from a neighbor's tree, then make a number of preserves based on those plums (including jam, a savory sauce and perhaps plum pickles), and probably some other preserves -- blueberry, apricot, zucchini? -- based on what's bountiful and cheap that week. I'll demonstrate both water-bath canning and lacto-fermentation; but no pressure canning. I think my Southeast Portland home can fit about a dozen mamas and papas; I'd love to see parties clustered around neighborhoods so that you all could use this as a community-building as well as a teaching/learning/food-securing opportunity. (If you want to host but aren't into the coordination, leave a comment and I'll help.)

Fiets of Parenthood on a !sunny! Saturday

June 10, 2010


When we planned the date for Fiets of Parenthood, the family bikextravaganza, I didn't realize that we conflicted with a number of things, such as the Rose Festival Grand Floral Parade (it's been on the first weekend in June for several years and... I assumed), and a family bike ride in conjunction with Cirque du Cycling. But I also didn't ever really believe that it would be... beautiful! Gorgeous! Sunny!

You're going to want to be outside Saturday after all this wet, wet, oh my goodnesslord, wetness. We hope you can fit in a bunch of extraordinarily fun things, and we hope Fiets of Parenthood will be one of them. It's possible! It's possible for us to plan an event in Portland, in June, with popsicles, and have it be 80 degrees and sunny -- so anything is possible!

Saturday, June 12th, 11-2. We have a Facebook event page if you want to connect there; a Twitter stream; and we have news: both Morrison Child & Family Services and Community Cycling Center will be in attendance, and benefit from sales of t-shirts, stickers, buttons and raffle tickets on the day of the event. Even if you don't think you're up for a friendly competition, there should be plenty to see & connect with. Hope you can come!

presenting fiets of parenthood, saturday, june 12

May 16, 2010


This event-to-be has had many names: "Mamabikeorama Xtracyclextravaganza" was one, but that was quite a mouthful and before we firmly decided to make it parent- and brand-neutral. We've been delightedly coming up with possible contests of skill and style, community builders and likely Youtube moments for years; but when Julian at Totcycle posted this fall that he was thinking about a very similar concept -- and with a great name, too (we love the fiets/feats wordplay)-- that we decided it was high time to start our planning engines.

So, working together with Julian, the fine folks at Clever Cycles, and Patrick and Holly of vélocouture and McGuire Barber Design, we're proud to announce that the inaugural Fiets of Parenthood event will be Saturday, June 12th, part of Pedalpalooza 2010. Full details (as they currently stand) are here at the event site; events will include a family biking obstacle course (on each team, at least one parent and child must be in some way connected via integrated bike or trailer hookup, etc.) with winners for both style and speed; a "kindercross" kids' cyclocross race which will award four- to 12-year-olds for fancy riding and lightning fastness; and a parent-child "figure cycling" event in which teams perform a two-to-three minute trick routine. Proceeds from sale of stickers, buttons and such will benefit the Community Cycling Center; donations will also be accepted; food carts like SolPops, Trailhead Coffee Roasters, and other more substantial fare will be on hand.

Saturday, June 12th
11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
908 SE Hawthorne
bring your bikes, your kids, your fanciest duds and your skills

Let us know if you plan to come in the comments; and if you have any idea for events, skills or other agenda items that aren't already mentioned, please pass those along!

1st Thursday, Last Thursday, 3rd Thursday, 1st Friday - what about the kids?

April 29, 2010

When we moved to Portland, we heard a lot about the First Thirsday gallery walk, where studios open late, pour wine, host live music, and welcome people flowing from one spot to the next in the Pearl District.  Sounded cool.  Later, we also found out about Last Thursday art walk on Alberta.  In fact, I think we had an urbanMamas gathering once, way back when, meeting up at Vita Cafe for some eats before meandering out along NE Alberta.  Second Thursday Music walk on N. Mississippi Ave has come and gone, but sometimes I see faves like Black Wagon opening up their doors late for art installations, snacks, music, and fun on some Second Thursdays.  Well, now, there's a Third Thursday in downtown Kenton, also featuring food, wine, specials, neighbors and fun.  And, a First Friday in the Central Eastside?

What I have always wanted to know: how kid-friendly is all of this?  Have you done one of these art/music walks with the kids?  Did they love it?  Didn't love it?  Perhaps you've made it a date night to enjoy without the kids?  Share thoughts and experiences - we've been wondering this for a while!

Heart-to-heart Valentine-making event, Saturday February 6

February 03, 2010

Is there any annual holiday whose crafts I more enjoy than Valentine's Day? It's definitely on my top three. But many years, I find myself cutting out hearts as the sun sets on the 13th, watching the missed opportunities for Valentine delight setting along with them.

Determined to not let this year be a missed opportunity, a few of us urbanMamas are gathering Saturday at 3 p.m. at CHAP (the Children's Healing Art Project), a nonprofit that provides in-hospital art experiences for sick children and a space in the Pearl District -- the Art Factory -- to host open art "play" during weekends and daily throughout the holiday season. We'll be making Valentines with our kids and hope you can come too!

1030 NW Marshall
Saturday, February 6
3 - 5 p.m.

Please let us know if you plan to come in the comments; we'll be picking up the $5/child tab for those urbanMama families who join in.

Car-free Peacock Lane tonight

December 14, 2009


The Peacock Lane lights display is a favorite from as far back in my childhood as I can remember. It's only the second year, however, that the event has had an official car-free night; the evening before "opening day" is reserved for pedestrians and bicyclists (and rollerbladers, skateboarders, or other modes of transport without engines).

This year, it won't be nearly as frigid as last year and I'm hoping I'll convince my boyfolk to go. It starts at 6 p.m. tonight and goes through 11 (as if any parents stay up that late on a school night! ;)... will you be there? My advice, if you go: bring a thermos of hot cocoa and perhaps a few home-baked cookies. And if you're not on bikes, Trimet is very convenient; one year we got off at one end, walked the length of the lane, and got back on the bus at the other end. Like a limo, but cheaper...

12.16.2009 - urbanMamas coffee playdate & Sydney's closing

December 02, 2009

Is it true that all good things must come to an end?  We recall one particularly robust urbanMamas coffee playdate at Sydney's that must have brought together 30 or 40 mamas, papas, and little ones to meet, have coffee, and play.  Sydney's has been a home, gathering place, play space, and work area to many of us for over three years now, but the time has come for them to shut their doors due to the loss of their lease.  Their last day open will be December 18, 2009.

UM coffee playdate sydneys 
Let's gather one last time to show some love at Sydney's, shall we?  It is bound to be busy on their last day Friday, so let's do a mid-week get together, which I can finagle right now while I'm on maternity leave.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009
uM coffee playdate
Sydney's Cafe
NW 15th and NW Thurman
9-11:30 AM

Back to school W(h)ine night!

November 02, 2009

*** This event has been rescheduled***

Whinenight_sg Call in the spouses and the babysitters, mama needs a night out!  We're getting in the groove of waking up on time, packing lunches, and doing homework.  Now let's all come together and W(h)ine about it a bit, shall we?  Please RSVP in the comments so we can tell our lovely hosts how many mamas to expect!  See you there!!!  (photo by Sarah Gilbert)

Date:  Wednesday, November 4th
Time:  7:30 PM
Location:  Alu Wine Bar, 2831 NE MLK Jr Blvd

meditations on a family biking life

October 25, 2009

I pulled up to the alley behind Olivia's house around 8:15 last Wednesday night, my mamabikeorama loaded down with 15 pounds of pears and quinces (I couldn't help stopping at the People's Co-op farmer's market) and an armful or two of clothes for the spontaneous clothing swap she'd planned. I had to laugh as I clumsily maneuvered my bike among the half-dozen mama bikes + Xtracycle and a trailer or two. Only a few of the dozen or so mamas who'd come had driven; and this despite the fact we were all loaded down with the bounty of new clothing and whatever else we were carting around the city. At the end of the night, around 10 p.m., we all pulled out of the narrow spot on the side of the house, laughing as we counted the BoBike seats. Someone said: 'it's like a clown car!' It was a moment of unusual tired joy.

We've all come to this for different reasons and at different speeds. But we're all equally in love with biking (even most of the mamas who drove have family bike setups at home) and committed to spreading the family biking love. We have different levels of comfort with putting our kids on the road; differing budgets for new biking gear; different commutes, different neighborhoods, different alternatives to biking. I think of us as co-inspirators; we're all the inspiration for one another. And we all see the future of transportation as far, far different than it is today. Will we reach the goal of 25% of Portlanders commuting by bike by 2030? It's hard to say, but it won't happen unless mamas like us -- like you -- hop on their bikes and quietly inspire other mamas, papas and kids to shift to the two-wheel (or three) lifestyle, too.

Today, I'm leading another meditation about riding bikes with families (no, there's no yoga or spirituality: all you have to do is listen and breathe) to help kick off the Family Biking Solutions Workshop, part of Oregon Manifest's Family Bicycle Transportation Day. While the workshop itself isn't really kid-friendly due to the limitations of the facility (a "museum environment," someone said), we hope what comes out of it, really will expand the boundaries.

I've made a poster to go with my meditation [pdf link]. Consider it one more co-inspiration. I look forward to expanding my concept of what makes a more family-friendly transportation future --  more options, more unique bikes that work in tiny budgets, more infrastructure, more community, more joy.

Wordstock: a gift for Portland's bookish families

October 11, 2009

I ran into Sarah Hart, a friend whose husband is the director of the annual Wordstock festival, yesterday. She was brimming with enthusiasm, and it was all for her son: 'I have to get him to Laini Taylor!' she said, checking the guide I had open to Saturday's schedule. I made a note of it; soon, my children will be reading young adult fiction, and Sarah's son -- and other teenagers like him -- at Wordstock this weekend are key to discovering the next great kidlit gems.

The Wordstock festival, a fairly new entrant into the Portland fair-festival-convention-happenin' scene, is a gift for bookish families like mine. This year's focus on young adult fiction is particularly great; the Target Children's Stage is packed with talented authors that will surely be the devotion of our kids in years to come. A day's ticket for an adult is only $5, and children 13 and under are free. Here are a few highlights you may want to check out today:

11 a.m. -- Eric Kimmel and Amy Costales
. Eric has written 100 books, and his mythology-focused children's books like Anansi and the Magic Stick are 'funny' and silly' and beautifully illustrated. Amy is the author of Abuelita Full of Life, a bilingual and multicultural author whose book is described as 'sweet' and 'gentle.

Noon -- Nicole Rubel and Chris Dudley.
Chris is a former NBA star who wrote Chris Dreams Big, about his childhood struggle with diabetes. But I'm more excited about Nicole, whose Rotten Ralph series about a naughty kitty is very popular among young children.

1 p.m. Jennifer Holm, Matthew Holm and Addie Boswell. Jennifer and Matthew, a brother-and-sister writing team, write the Babymouse series, of a "a sassy young mouse who dreams of glamour, excitement, adventure, straight whiskers, being queen of the world," targeted at grade school-aged girls. Addie Boswell is a Portland author and artist who has written Rain Stomper, a book that looks a little like an updated version of Ramona Quimby.

2 p.m. April Henry and Sundee T. Frazier.
April is a local celebrity: a best-selling author of mysteries for teens and adults. Sundee has written Brendan Buckley's Universe and Everything in It, an award-winning book about a biracial boy who loves science.

5 p.m. Heather Vogel Frederick. Heather's Mother-Daughter Book Club series is very popular and Heather says it "fills her need for a daughter -- I've got two boys!"

'Brain, Child' salon pdx: Summer 2009

July 02, 2009

Several months ago, a Brain, Child discussion group was hastily thrown together and ended up a (small) series of one-on-one conversations. But as soon as I picked up this season's issue, I was longing to talk to someone about it. So this time, we're doing it right, with two weeks advance notice (ish) and a proper location selected ahead of time!

Date: Tuesday, July 14, 7:30 p.m.
Place: Rimsky-Korsakoffee House, 707 SE 12th (the red house -- there is no sign)
Do I have to read Brain, Child cover-to-cover? No, but the more you read, the more we can talk. If we get enough "yes" responses, I'll order several copies from the publisher.

Respond, s'il vous plait, in the comments, and I look forward to getting all salon with a couple of other urbanMamas. Some of the articles are on the web site; you can purchase the magazine at several local bookstores and grocery stores.

The Big Bang: Celebrating the 4th with Fireworks

July 01, 2009

Growing up, our backyard featured a great view of our neighborhood's fireworks extravaganza.  We'd have a bbq every year and set out lawn chairs.  Everyone would 'ooooh' and 'aaaahhh' over every bang.  Nowadays, with our kids, I feel a bit less enthusiastic about watching firework shows on the 4th of July.  In fact, fireworks give me great anxiety, but that's a whole other story.

Do you, as a family, do the fireworks thing on the 4th?  If you do, where do you go?  An urbanMama recently facebooked us:

Where do you go to watch fireworks?  We have a 5-year old, and 2 year old twins. We were wanting to go downtown and thinking of taking the MAX, but really don't want to have to go into the large group with all the kiddies.  Any other ideas?

Down 'n' Dirty Summer 2009

June 09, 2009

As we inch toward the last days of school, everyone in the household is buzzing about the fun in store for us here in Portland.  This year, Portland Parks & Rec has outdone itself with by providing a simplified "Summer Free For All" guide to all the fun.  The highlight on the PP&R site this year: the Free This Week calendar featuring an glimpse of activities at parks and pools citywide.  There are summer concerts, generally running every day in parks citywide from July through mid-August.  Every day!  There is free open swim throughout the summer (check the calendar for locations and times), movies in the park, and drop-in playground programs, including a traveling climbing wall and free lunch programs.

Portland Parks & Rec gives us plenty to keep us busy, but there are so many other fun activities to check out:

  • Pioneer Courthouse Square hosts Noon Tunes (free music and entertainment at noon every Tuesday & Thursday from 7/7 through 8/20) and Flicks on the Bricks (free movies at dusk on select Friday nights from 7/10 to 8/14)
  • Free Films by Regal shows free movies at 10am on Tuesdays (rated G) and Wednesdays (rated PG) from 6/23 to 8/26.  Participating area theaters include Lloyd Mall 8, Bridgeport Village Stadium 18, Sherwood Stadium 10, Tigard Cinemas, Wilsonville Stadium, Movies on TV Stadium in Hillsboro.
  • $1 Movies on Wednesdays - along the same vein - the Century Theater at Clackamas Town Center is showing $1 movies on Wednesdays from 6/10 through 812
  • Then there are street fairs - a great time to get out in the neighborhood, see neighbors and other community members, hear music, visit with local vendors, and eat snow cones.  There are always snow cones.  Schedules aren't out yet, but - in previous years - we've looked forward to the Mississippi Street Fair (Saturday 7/11), Alberta Street Fair, Fremont Fest, Division/Clinton Street Fair (Saturday 7/25), Belmont Street Fair (Saturday after Labor Day), Hawthorne Street Fair (Sunday 8/16), Montavilla Street Fair.

Do you have other summer events that you look forward to that we should add?  Please share!  There is no shortage of fun to be had.

We're working to get all the summer fun activities onto the urbanMamas calendar  Welcome, summer!  Now get on out there & have some fun.


May 04, 2009

Wanted to let you know about a Mother's Day event of sorts in case you were interested in joining in the fun.  For the past several years, a group of urbanMama friends have been participating in the Hippie Chick, a half marathon just for women at Champoeg State Park.  So this year, when we didn't get in, we were pretty disapointed.  That's when we realized that Portland really needed to have a women only walking/running event on Mother's Day!   The 10k loop we've planned (or 5k if you're walking) passes the park playground several times where the kids can cheer us on--go Mama go!   We're spreading the word to all our friends and family:
When: Sunday, May 10, 2009
Time: 5k walk or 10k run begins at 9:00
Where: Mt. Tabor picnic shelter (across from the parking lot and playground)
Bring: something brunchy to share afterwards
We'll have coffee and hot chocolate on hand. We're hoping this might
become an annual event, a little something we can do for ourselves on
Mother's Day, together with our friends and families. Donations accepted
on behalf of Adoption Mosaic.

Hope you'll join us!

Kids love trucks: 'Pet' some today at NW library event

April 23, 2009

Trucks_trucks_trucks My boys, having many conventional boy passions, love trucks. But I am weary of reading the often very dull books about how excavators and booms and buckets and crawler treads work. In fact, I've been collecting photos to make my own book with language that's more fun to read (I'm thinking excerpts from my college poetry anthologies, but we'll see how it goes.) So I was excited when Larissa sent us info about the Truck Town Party. What better opportunity to combine my boys, trucks and books than at today's Multnomah County Library event?

Where: Con-Way Parking Lot, corner of NW 23rd & Savier St.  Entrance is on Savier, closer to 22nd. (One block south of the library.)

When: Thursday, April 23rd, from 2-5.


  • "Pet" the big trucks including a county Dump Truck with snowplow, Garbage Dump Box (from 2-3), Ambulance, Police Bomb Squad & robots, Police Cruiser, Fire Truck (from 3-4), and the "biggest, baddest" Tow Truck in Speed's fleet. 
  • Storytime - 2:30  & 4:00.
  • Crafts you can do there or take home to do later.
  • Raffling off some cute truck board books.
  • Toy Truck Race Track - kids who bring their toy trucks can race the track.
  • Special gifts to the first 200 children.

REMINDER: Working mamas lunch April 16th

April 13, 2009

Update: We have reservations at Mothers @ 12:00 on Thursday 4/16 for 20 (!) mamas. Since it is in the middle of lunch rush, we will be at two tables and they would really apprecate it if we would bring CASH. The reservation is under Courtney/urbanMamas.

How was spring break? Did you get one or just your kid(s)? Summer plans underway? Economy impacting your job? Let’s talk at a working mamas lunch. (Remember, everyone's invited to a working mamas' lunch whether or not you have a full-time office job; and babies-in-arms are welcome!)

when: Thursday, April 16 @ Noon

where: Mother’s Bistro and Bar; 212 SW Stark; http://www.mothersbistro.com/


RSVP in the comments by 4:00 pm Monday, April 13

Activistas Holiday Playdate @ Airplay Cafe

December 27, 2008


Ready to socialize again?  So are we.  Grab some dipes, wipes and/or formula for the Children's Relief Nursery and meet us at Airplay Cafe this Monday, 12.29 from 10 to noon.  There's a free storytime right at 10, too.  Details over on Activistas.  See you there!

Reminder: Kid-friendly election night party 11.4

November 02, 2008

Join Activistas, MOMocrats and Poliglots for a kid-friendly election night party on November 4th from 5 to 8ish! The party will be at the BackSpace Cafe (renamed Barackspace till the big day), which is huge, with lots of room for kids to run around and a full menu of vegetarian/ vegan food for sale. It also has a big parking lot across the street.  And remember those red & blue crayons, mamas!  Details on Activistas.


October 14, 2008

In case your eyes don't always wander down to the urbanMama Events list, there are a few things coming up - hope to see you at one or all of them! 

Got an idea for a gathering of the uMs?  Send us an email

Kidical Mass: coming to a neighborhood near you

August 01, 2008


** updated with new ride locations ** check back for full route details **

photo credit: Jonathan Maus of bikeportland.org

Critial Mass started with a group of 45 people in San Francisco in 1992. Now, the ride is a monthly event in cities all around the world to celebrate cycling and to assert cyclists’ right to the road.

Of course, We here at urbanMamas believe that kids and families are cyclists too! A very new effort to this end has started in Eugene, OR in August 2008.  Kidical Mass is a ride to help kids and families feel comfortable riding on our streets, especially as a larger group. Here in Portland, we’ve already had two successful Kidical Mass rides, both starting in the North Park Blocks in downtown Portland.  Rides are being organized in Tulsa, OK, Ashland, OR, Bend, OR, and Toronto, Canada.

We want to bring Kidical Mass to our neighborhoods.  urbanMamas is organizing Kidical Mass rides in N/NE Portland, SE Portland, and NW Portland (the original Portland Kidical Mass ride). 

What will you expect at Kidical Mass?

  • A safety talk before we start riding
  • A 3-4 mile guided ride on our neighborhood streets
  • No child left behind!  We will make sure we have a sweeper biker to bring up the rear
  • Tons of families and children riding with trailers, Xtracycles, tag-alongs/trail-a-bikes, bike seats, and kids riding on their own bikes
  • Maps, brochures, information, bike decor for the kids
  • A post-ride potluck picnic at the park where we can meet other urbanFamilies and chat about our summers, bike rides, and other Portland family fun

What should you bring?

  • Tricked out and decorated bikes.  Bring your bike bling!
  • Your helmets
  • A picnic for your family post-ride
  • Bring something to share, if you wish!

Mark your calendars now:

Kidical Mass in Portland's neighborhoods
Friday, August 15th

N/NE: Peninsula Park (meet at the NE corner of the park at N. Rosa Parks and N. Kerby).  The ride will run South on N. Kerby, west on N. Ainsworth, north on Delaware to Arbor Lodge Park, then loop back to Peninsula Park for potluck picnicking.

SE: Sunnyside School (meet at the playground near 35th and Taylor; here is the route map)

SE: Sellwood Park by the pool.  The ride will head north up the Springwater Corridor then back into North Sellwood. Perfect for those pulling trailers or bringing little ones on their micro bikes. Maps will be available for folks.

NW: North Park Blocks (meet by the playground)

SW: Meeting at Capitol Hill Elemenetary and ride a total of 1.4 miles to Gabriel Park.  At Gabriel Park there will be watermelon (and possibly a watermelon drop?) and a potluck.  Bring your bikes.  Bring some food and drink.  Oh, and bring your kids to KIDICAL MASS!

6:00PM gather
6:15PM Safety Talk & Ride!
7:00PM Post-Ride Potluck Picnic

Can't make it for the ride?  Bring out your family and feel free to join us for the post-ride potluck picnic.  It's open to all!  Planning to come?  RSVP in the comments for any of the rides.  We want to know how many bikey treats & swag to bring.  Want to help guide, plan, or organize a ride?  Shoot us an email at urbanMamas@gmail.com 

Activistas Summer Playdate ~ Friday 8.8.08

July 17, 2008

Acta_facebook It's been too long since we've talked activism, hasn't it?  If you, too, are ready to talk about workplace (in)flexibility, the lack of pad family leave, or the plethora of toxic products on the shelves, join us to rant and figure out how to change it all.  'Cause over at Activstas, we actually think we can.  We might be crazy, but at least we're optimists.  Hope to see you  - and the kids - there.

Summer, Parks, Sun, Fun - 2008

June 11, 2008

It is so hard to think that school is out and summer fun is set to begin.  Nothing but grey, but - come July - all that grey will be worth it, right?  Portland summers are gorgeous. 

Beyond clear blue skies, sunshine, and temps in the sweet spot of the 70s, Portland has free entertainment and activities throughout the summer months - fun for all ages and in all parts of the city.

  • Pools throughout the city will host Fun Days, Itty Bitty Beach Parties, Teen Swim Parties, Parent Appreciation Day (July 19th at All Pools), and Dive-In Movies (featuring the "Bee Movie").  The full schedule here.
  • Summer Movies at the Park start mid-July and run into September.  Movies start at dusk and happen in parks all throughout the city.
  • Traveling Rock Walls - we haven't found too much info about the traveling rock wall, but if it's anything like it sounds, it's bound to be fun for the climb-lovers among us.  Looks like the rock wall will make appearances at community centers and parks throughout the city.
  • Summer Playgrounds start on June 19th, offering daily drop-in recreation for kids aged 5-12 including games, sports, and arts & crafts at 23 parks throughout the city.  Free lunches for kids will be available daily midday at 17 parks.
  • Mobile Playgrounds come to a neighborhood near you!  Four fun vehicles will circulate throughout town every day of the week.  Print out the schedule and keep it handy.
  • And, of course, the summer concert schedule 2008 is out.  The line up is full with talented performers representing a breath of styles, including the Portland Festival Symphony.  We love seeing friends and neighbors at the park, some of whom it seems we only see at the summer concerts.
  • Oregon Symphony hosts concerts in the neighborhood, this year in late August at Mt. Scott Park and Tom McCall Waterfront park
  • Regal Films offers free movies (rated G and PG) on Tuesday and Wednesdays from July through mid-August.  Showtimes are 10am.  A movie theater is a great respite from the heat on hot summer days.  A complete schedule here: http://www.regmovies.com/nowshowing/familyfilmfestivalschedule.aspx?state=OR

We have other summer favorites, which are not FREE, but still worth the honorable mention:

  • Oregon Zoo Concerts - featuring Wednesday night Zoo Tunes (free for Zoo members level "plus" and higher or $10 admission) and "Premium" concerts (running $17-24 admission)
  • Kruger's Farm Concerts - happen on Thursdays in July and August from 6:30-9:30pm.  Admission is $10 per car and new this year is a $50 season pass.

With all this activity, you wonder: how will I ever keep track?  Not to fret our beleoved mamas.  The *entire* Summer Concert Series is already on the urbanMamas calendar, and we'll be sure to get up all the aforementioned fun stuffs onto the calendar lickity split.  Have some summer fun to add?  Email us at urbanMamas@gmail.com and tell us: "Put this on the urbanMamas calendar!"

Sustainable living on a budget: Am I inspired yet?

May 22, 2008

Yogurt_in_crock Monique Dupre was, as everyone seems to agree, not what we expected. She's too lovely, too pulled-together, too funny, too American. (For the record, she is married to a Frenchman, grew up near Astoria, and now lives in Vancouver, Wash.) I half-expect her to start her insanely popular 'Sustainable Living on a Budget' workshop with a little ledger for us to add up our errant spending and lots of judgment, but that's entirely not what she does.

She starts by saying that she just wants to inspire us, reminds us that inspire means "in the spirit," and that we don't have to do everything, just start where we are. And begins to talk about where she is.

It's at once devilishly inspiring (I will admit to having called Comcast to cut off my cable the next day, and removed the TV from the living room, although it was only minorly influenced by Monique) and crushingly overwhelming. Monique, through lots of hard work, much ability to be present and inquisitive, and the oh-so-useful French husband questioning all that is America, has created a life that is truly my dream. She gets all her food locally and organically, creating healthy and whole-foods-y meals for each and every bite her family eats. She leaves her home each morning with a clean kitchen and a small pile of laundry. Her children want nothing for Christmas because they have everything they need. Her eldest daughter can recognize fennel plants when they're an inch tall. She loves fennel!

Continue reading "Sustainable living on a budget: Am I inspired yet?" »

Sunday Parkways: Ciclovia Portland-Style

April 11, 2008

Rebsbike_2The city of Bogota ciclovia is inspiring. Every Sunday over 70 miles of city streets are opened up to promote and encourage biking, walking, skating and physical activity.  On June 22, 2008, Portland is hosting on it's own mini-ciclovia with 6 mile circuit in North Portland closed to traffic.  We'd love to try to organize some type of urbanMamas event in conjunction with Sunday Parkways.  Should it be a urbanFamily ride and parade?  Should we help to organize a demonstration of family-bike set ups?  What should we do?  What would help you to ride more as a family? We'd love to hear your ideas. And if you want to help us coordinate, that would be lovely as well!

[Photo Jonathan Maus, published under Creative Commons license]

Mayoral Candidate Forum: LOCATION UPDATE

March 12, 2008

Thanks to all who weighed in on the time and place for mayoral candidates (Sam 'n' Sho) to talk family.  Majority of responses suggested Close-in Eastside as the preferred geography for the event, scheduled for Saturday, April 19, at 1PM.

Now: we're scouring for ideas for an easily accessible close-in eastside location that can hold up to 100 of us mamas & papas & our kids of all ages.  Some suggestions have included Milagros, Kennedy School, Kaiser Town Hall, Multnomah Building.  We're looking for more suggestions.  Ideas, ideas?  Anyone, anyone?

urbanMamas Toy Swap and Lead Testing Event

March 10, 2008

Legos_2 I can't tell you how many times one of my son's friends has been over and started playing intently with something my son has ignored for the past year. And while the frequent use of my down coat reminds me that spring is certainly not around the corner, it's never too early to start some spring cleaning, right? So what better place to start than the toy box?  Yes, urban mamas, now you officially have an excuse to clear out all those toys and games gathering dust under couches and beds, all those puzzles that have been done a million times and join us for an urbanMamas toy swap.

Bring your gently used toys, games and puzzles and swap them for something "new." Nothing like a little infusion of new toys to bring peace and harmony to the household, my friends. And if you, like me, have a few toys that have been taken out of circulation pending that trip to the lead testing clinic that never happened, bring 'em along as our friends at the PDC will be on hand to test toys for lead paint. That said, please do peruse the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission web site to be sure you're not bringing anything that has already been recalled. All the leftover toys will be donated. We look forward to seeing you there! Please RSVP in the comments to let us know you will be coming!

urbanMamas Toy Swap and Lead Testing
Sunday, March 16
3 - 5 p.m.
Urban Grind
2214 NE Oregon St.

Book group update

December 28, 2007

As expected, we had a very (very) small get-together at our first book group meeting last Thursday. At our next two meetings, this Sunday, December 30, and Sunday, January 13, we'll continue to discuss Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. Between conversation here on the blog and our meetings, we'll decide upon a book for the next month.

Meeting places and times:

Support one, support all: Mama groups

November 25, 2007

I've written a lot on my personal blog about mamas' groups, and how much I love them. How they've been my lifeline many a time. It's hard, you know? Being a mama. It's simultaneously isolating and stifling; it brings all your hiddenmost issues to the surface, changing your skin from calloused to transparent in an instant.


Though I have all you, and we get together a lot, and I have my friends to hang out with on holidays and birthdays and knitting days, I don't really have a group right now. And I feel like I need one -- and I know lots of you need one too.

While you all might be organizing groups offline, it's  likely many of you haven't the time or energy to coordinate. And putting together a bunch of groups individually (while it's certainly a goal) seems daunting. So what about just setting a time and a place and having those who can come, come, and separate into little groups? As I see it we need:

Continue reading "Support one, support all: Mama groups" »