164 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" »


June 26, 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.

Art with you Body at AC Gilbert in Salem. Discover tips for face painting and use your hands and feet to create your own 'body' art. Friday 11am-pm. Free with admission.
Music with Mr. Hoo at Village Ballroom. Mr. Hoo (one half of The Alphabeticians), plays fun music for kids and their grown-ups. Friday 11am-12pm. $5/family.

Hop on your bike and head to the Portland Art Museum for Free Fourth Friday. 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. Free!

Kids Day at Hollywood Farmers Market. Come with the whole family to enjoy free face painting, kid's activities, music by Tallulah's Daddy and Steve Cooper & Friends. Saturday 8am-1pm. Free!

Recycled Arts Festival in Vancouver's Esther Short Park. With over 120 artists, great onstage entertainment, stilt walkers, jugglers and clowns, and more! Saturday 9am-5pm and Sunday 10am-4pm. Free!

World Beat Festival in Salem. Food, music and discussion from around the world. Children can explore the kids' activity tents and collect passport stamps from every continent. Saturday 10am-11pm and Sunday 10am-6pm. $5 donation

Johnny & Jason at Musicalu Summer Concert -- Gresham Arts Plaza. The best of the Northwest's "kindie" music scene performs at Gresham's Arts Plaza this summer for Musicalu, a free, family-friendly music series. Saturday 11am-noon. Free!

Tunde's Trumpet at Interstate Firehouse Cultural Center. A puppet musical for kids and families about making music & keeping your eye on the prize. Saturday 1pm and 4pm. Family admission (up to 2 adults and 4 children) $20, individual tickets $10.

Tears of Joy's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea at Hollywood Theatre. The TOJT hit returns for one special showing. Hold your breath and submerge yourself in Tears of Joy Theatre's underwater adventure. Saturday 4pm. $10.

Astronomy Day at OMSI. A festival of all things celestial, with opportunities for starry-eyed guests to learn little-known facts about the universe, constellations, stars and planets. Sunday 10am-4pm. Free (does not include museum admission).

Kid's Concert at The Old Church. Two of Portland favorite children's groups "Johnny and Jason" and Mo Phillips team up for an afternoon of fun and music. Wine/beer available for adults. Sunday 2:30pm. $10/family.

Hope this gives you some ideas. Have fun out there! And don't forget to double-check event details by calling or checking the website of the venue, performer, or host organization.

Weekend Warriors 5/31-6/2/13

May 29, 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.


Final Milagros performance for Mr. Hoo of the Alphabeticians - Milagros will no longer be hosting children's entertainment starting in June - which means that Mr. Hoo will have the final performance in this amazing community space. Come and enjoy some great kids music - he'll play his guitar, sing some songs, and Hoo knows what else? Friday 11am-noon. $3 suggested donation per walker.

May Parent's Night Out at the Playground Gym. Head out for some quality adult time while your children have a blast in a safe and super fun environment. Pre-registration is required and spaces are limited. Friday 6:30-10pm. $20-26.

Oregon State Parks Day. Celebrate our state's spectacular parks with special activities. Free camping and day use. Ranger tours and activities at various parks. Check out the web site for the special activities at your favorite Oregon State Park. Saturday all day. Free!

National Trails Day. Featuring a series of outdoor activities, designed to promote and celebrate the importance of trails in the United States. Individuals, clubs and organizations from around the country host National Trails Day® events to share their love of trails with friends, family, and their communities. Check the web page for all the local events. Saturday all day. Free (some parking fees).


Calico Critter Fun Day at Child's Play. Bring a camera and meet Mrs. Fisher Cat, do a coloring activity and collect some free stickers (while supplies last). Plus you can enter to win a Calico Critter prize pack. Saturday 10am-noon. Free!

Family Field Trip Day at Columbia Springs. Twice a year Columbia Springs opens their beautiful site to the community with fun, hands-on learning stations, craft projects, and nature hikes for the whole family. Preregistration encouraged. Saturday 10am-2pm. There is a $5 registration fee for each child, adults free.

Open House at Sunnyside Swap Shop & Family Play Space. Play inside or go outdoors to enjoy the fenced backyard area while your family learns more about the space and membership. Saturday 11am-2pm. Free!


Village Toys in Tigard's Bridgeport Village (across from Peet's Coffee) is having a Grand Opening Party and you're invited! Join the fun, including giveaways (3 BIG prizes), face painting, toy demos, discounts, a photo booth and FUN! Village Toys Grand Opening Party. Saturday June 1 - 12-3pm. All ages welcome. FREE

Summer Reading Kick-Off Carnival at Tualatin Library. This is the first day to sign up for the Summer Reading Program and the library will be celebrating with carnival games, face painting, magic, prizes, and more. Games and activities for kids, teens, and adults. Bring the whole family. Saturday 1-4pm. Free!

$2 days at OMSI. Enjoy discounted $2 admission to OMSI the first Sunday of every month. Sunday 9:30am-5:30pm. $2.


Woodstock Farmers Market Opening Day. Bring the whole family - Green Zebra will be hosting a cooking demonstration with samples, and El Cuadro Gallo will be playing traditional Flamenco music from 11am - 1pm. Kids area fun includes balloon twisting with Olive Rootbeer and a photo opp with Metro-Parent/PDX Kids Calendar. Red Yarn will also be onsite for crazy critter puppet making. Teaching artist Andy Furgeson of Red Yarn Productions will lead this exciting craft, taking the old paper-bag puppet to a whole new level. With paper, fabric, and all sorts of cool recycled materials, kids will create their own crazy critters and will be puppeteering in no time! Of course, your favorite vendors will be there to fill up your market baskets. Woodstock Farmers Market Opening Day. Sunday June 2 - 10am-2pm. Key Bank Parking Lot - 4600 SE Woodstock Blvd

Alpenrose's Dairyville - A Western-themed "town" located right on the 52-acre dairy farm. Visitors can peek into Grandma's Bakery, the Great Western Bank, the Dairyville School, and the post office. Sunday 1-4pm. Free!

Dino Play Lab at Portland Children's Museum. Stop by the East Studio for a special dinosaur play lab. A Museum Educator will share Jurassic facts and present prehistoric activities. Sunday 2-4pm. Free with admission.


Hope this gives you some ideas. Have fun out there! And don't forget to double-check event details by calling or checking the website of the venue, performer, or host organization.

Weekend Warriors 5/24-5/26-13

May 22, 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.

Ladybug Nature Walk: Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge. Walk through parks, gardens and natural areas with your youngster (2 - 5 years old)  and a nature guide. All walks begin at 10am rain or shine, $3 per child*, no charge for adults. Friday 10am.

Rose Festival CityFair at Governor Tom McCall Waterfront Park. The metropolitan fair features live exotic animals, a wide variety of shopping, carnival rides, special attractions and a customized fireworks show choreographed to your favorite classic rock hits on May 24 at 10 pm. Weekends May 24-27, May 30-June 2 and June 6-9. $7 ages 7 and up.

Nature Classroom Discovery Day at Tryon Creek. Bones, animal pelts, live animals (including new corn snake Pockets), and all sorts of other cool stuff. Saturday 10am-1pm. Free!

Sofia the First Extravaganza at Clackamas Town Center.
Join Radio Disney AM1640 for a royal extravaganza! Listen to the story of Sofia, learn some royal manners, and do some royal arts and crafts. Kids 16 and younger can enter to win a Sofia the First Prize Pack. Dress up for the royal occasion and be crowned by the royal Radio Disney Road Crew. Saturday 10-11:30am. Free!  

Dino Party at the Children's Museum. Opening weekend of the Museum's newest traveling exhibit, Dinosaurs: Land fo Fire and Ice. Activities include storytime, puppets and clay. Saturday 11am-2pm. Free with museum admission.

Steve's Creature Feature at St. Johns Library. Explore the amazing world of reptiles with Steve Lattanzi. Kids will be able to safely see, hear and touch some of the most amazing creatures on earth. Saturday 11am-noon. Free!

Multnomah County Fair at Oaks Park. Snowcap food drive, mutton bustin', barnyard fun, walk on the wildside, alpaca pavilion, petting zoo, pony rides, thrill rides, miniature golf, roller skating and more! Saturday, Sunday & Monday 12-7pm. Free admission, activity costs vary. 

Read to the Dogs at the Belmont Library. Improve your reading skills and make a new friend by reading aloud to a therapy dog. Sign up for a 30-minute session.  Registration is required.  Please call 503 988 5382. Saturday 1-3pm. Free!

Creature Cabins at Tillamook Forest Center. The animals of the Tillamook State Forest have made themselves at home. They occupy nests, holes, dens and more. Come and learn about the special places where animals live. Saturday 1:30pm and Sunday 11:30am. Free!

The Alphabeticians at Mississippi Pizza. Where else are you going to find a kid's mosh pit? Saturday 4-5pm. $10/family.

Mo Phillips Rocks Out for Kids at Flying Cat. Fun, rockin' music for your little ones. Sunday 10-11am. $5 suggested donation. 

Take a family tour of the Portland Art Museum. Enjoy a tour with a docent skilled at engaging visitors of all ages.  Tour is free with admission. Sunday 12:30-1:30pm. $15 adults, free under 18. 

Hope this gives you some ideas. Have fun out there! And don't forget to double-check event details by calling or checking the website of the venue, performer, or host organization.

Weekend Warriors 5/17-5/19/13

May 15, 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.

Kid's Nature Night Out: Volcanology at Cooper Mountain.

Volcanoes are explosive and large and have produced some of the rocks in the nature park. Come learn about them and find your own special rock on a geology night hike. Suitable for ages 6-12 years. Advanced registration required. Friday 6-9PM. $25/child.

Family Friday Concert at Community Music Center. The Oregon Renaissance Band is a 10 to 12 member ensemble dedicated to performing and recording music of the Renaissance, played on faithful reproductions of historical instruments. Friday 7:15pm. Suggested $5 donation.

Kids Cook at the Portland Farmers Market. A deliciously fun cooking program for young chefs-in-training. At these classes, kids learn about the seasonality of food, meet local farmers and gain first-hand experience preparing ingredients purchased fresh at the market. Pre-registration is strongly recommended, as class size is limited. For kids ages 7-11. Saturday 8:30-10am. Free preview class.

Children's Nature Fair at Leach Botanical Gardens. A variety of children's arts and crafts, along with Mad Science's Fire & Ice show, slug races, music, ladybug walks, worm activities, 25 cent mini ice cream, and fun geology and volcano adventures! Saturday 10am-2pm. Suggested donation.

Tualatin River Bird Festival in Sherwood. Bird and nature walks, environmental education, storytelling, a live bird show, and opportunities for children to build bat and bird houses, and bee boards. Saturday 10am-4pm. Free!

Cyclops- A Free Play for all ages at Capitol Hill Library.
A short comedy for children of all ages. With audience participation, volunteer sheep, a 10 foot puppet, rhyming pirates, silly shepherds, a reluctant hero  and a last minute understudy with a few missing cues, this fun-fest is not to be missed.  Saturday 11-11:45am. Free!  
Builders Bonanza at Art ala Carte. Over 3,000 unique pieces (Legos, duplos, tracks and more) for builders to create with. Spread out on floors and tables to create anything and everything.  Bring home all of your awesome creations! Saturday 3-6pm. $10/child.

Kenton Street Fair. 80+ vendors (crafts, nonprofits, artists), a coaster car race at 11 am, 4 stages with over 40 bands, and a large children's area with pony rides (small charge), a skate ramp, a kids craft area and kids stage and much more! Sunday 10am-6pm. Free!

Montavillage Fair. A free afternoon event includes food, local vendors, yard games, live music, social services, arts and crafts, sustainability events, and a free raffle (for gift certificates generously donated by local businesses). Sunday 1-4pm. Free!

Mo Phillips and The Spaghetti Pants Dance Band at Kennedy School. Mo and the band are back together for another supa dupa freak out. Sunday 6-8pm. $7.

Hope this gives you some ideas. Have fun out there! And don't forget to double-check event details by calling or checking the website of the venue, performer, or host organization.


May 01, 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.

Cinco de Mayo at Waterfront Park. Plaza de Niños children's area open daily: Families can create crafts, get their face painted and participate in the piñata breaking game. Open Daily. Friday, Saturday & Sunday. $8 adults, $4 ages 6-12, Free under 6.

Free First Friday at the Children's Museum. Enjoy free admission the first Friday of every month, with special crafts, activities,and musical guests. Friday 4-8pm. FREE!

Al's Kids Clubs at Al's Garden Centers. Every mother loves flowers, especially when they are planted with love from her child. Learn more about annuals and plant a colorful pot of flowers in celebration of Mother's Day! Advance registration required. Saturday 9:30am. $5.

Incredible Edibles Plant Sale and Fun in SE PDX. This is your opportunity to buy organic veggie starts and herbs for your home garden so you can harvest nutritious, fresh-picked goodness for your table. Saturday 10am-3pm. Free to attend.

Bugs! Bugs! Bugs! at Capitol Hill Library. Join artist Judith Hankin in building real or imaginary 3D insects using colorful papers and special art materials. Saturday 10:30-11:30am. Free!

Free Comic Book Day. Free Comic Book Day is a single day when participating comic book specialty shops across North America and around the world give away comic books absolutely free to anyone who comes into their shops. Saturday all day!

May Day is Lei Day in Vancouver. A full day of fun for the entire family, with hula, music, food, vendors, and arts and crafts, with  a "keiki" (kids) corner to entertain your youngsters with traditional Hawaiian games of skill and chance. Saturday 11am-6pm. $5.

Good for You, Kid! at New Seasons Happy Valley. Shopping with kids can be fun and a great learning experience, too. To help parents and young children feel welcome and at home when they shop, New Seasons Market is hosting an action-packed afternoon of fun. Saturday noon-4pm. Free!

Steve's Creature Feature at Northwest Library. Explore the amazing world of reptiles with Steve Lattanzi. Kids will be able to safely see, hear and touch some of the most amazing creatures on earth. Nature doesn't get any more real and fun than this! Saturday 3-4pm. Free!

Roller Coaster Sculpture at Sellwood-Moreland Library. Embark on a journey of discovery as you twist and twirl strips of paper to create architectural designs. Puppetkabob will show you how to transform everyday construction paper into what you dream as an ultimate roller coaster! Sunday 11am. Free!

Multicultural Day at AC Gilbert's Discovery Village. Enjoy performances, music and activities featuring cultures represented within the Salem community. Sunday noon-5pm. Admission $7 ages 3 and up.

Come rock out with your kids! Mr. Ben and Friends Benefit for The Oregon Public House at The Village Ballroom. Be a part of opening Portland's first non-profit brewpub. Sunday 4-5pm. Free (donations welcome, beer and wine $5).

Hope this gives you some ideas. Have fun out there! And don't forget to double-check event details by calling or checking the website of the venue, performer, or host organization.

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.










Weekend Warriors 3/8-3/10/13

March 06, 2013

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

Generations~ Ecstatic Dance for the Whole Family at Quaking Grass. Bring the kids, grandparents, parents, and everyone in between! Potluck at 5-5:3, followed by an intention and then Dancing!!! Friday 5-7pm. $3/person

Messy March Madness at the Sellwood Community Center. Join for crafts and active games.  Friday 6:30-8:30pm. $10/family of 4 or less, or $3/person.

Bricks Cascade 2013 - a Lego Convention in Portland! This is the perfect activity for families with kids who love Lego and want to see what amazing creations people have done with simple plastic bricks. Saturday 10am-4pm. $8 per ticket, or $28 per family of 4-5

Junior Gardener's Club at The Oregon Garden. A hands-on opportunity to learn about gardening, the outdoors, health and fitness, arts and crafts, community awareness and more. Saturday 10-11:30am. $3 for 1 child and 1 adult (admission not incl.)

Stories With Alton Chung at Portland Children's Museum. Get comfy in the Play It Agin Theater as you hear Hawaiian Folk Tales told by local storyteller, Alton Chung. Saturday at 11am and noon. Free with admission ($9).

Dinolandia at the NW Library. Join Penny's Puppet Productions to find out how the Dinosaurs makes time for their family in this modern day dino-rockin' puppet show. Saturday 3-3:45pm. Free!

Curious Garden at the Curious Comedy Theater. Come see our old friends Razzie the Fairy, Daisy the Flower and Jojo the Lawnjockey - and meet our new garden friends Ribbit the Frog, Dottie the Ladybug and Flappy the Chicken! Sunday 10:30am-11:30am. $5 suggested donation.

Girl Power Day at Green Bean Books. Let's celebrate some of the smartest, bravest, most creative, and kindest girls in the storybook world! Great for kids ages 4-10! Boys warmly welcomed too! Sunday 1:00pm. FREE!

Hope this gives you some ideas. Have fun out there! And don't forget to double-check event details by calling or checking the website of the venue, performer, or host organization.


February 27, 2013

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

Waggle n Flap Family Dance Party at The Village Ballroom. Bring your family, kick off your shoes and dance to music of all genres--funk, hip hop, reggae, bhangra, electro-boogie, afrobeat, and much more. Friday 10-11:30 a.m. at The Village Ballroom--700 NE Dekum st. Portland, OR 97211. $5 per family and free for members of the Woodlawn Swap n Play.

Free First Friday at the Children's Museum! Enjoy free admission, special crafts, activities,and musical guests. Friday 4:00-8:00pm. FREE!

Get your family's weekend rolling at Kids Morning Skate at Oaks Park.  This session is specifically designed for kids 10 and under and features music chosen by kids for kids, a 15 minute group lesson taught by a USA Roller Sports certified instructor, and cool skating games.  Saturday 10:30am-noon. $6/child. Adults free with child's paid admission.

Chinese New Year Celebration with Chinese American International School Students at the Lake Oswego Library. Saturday 11:00am. FREE!

Dance the afternoon away with the Portland Lindy Society with live band The Midnight Serenaders! Director Park. Saturday 1:00-4:00pm. FREE!

LEGO My Library at the Hillsboro Library. Drop-in and use your creativity to build whatever your imagination dreams up! There are Duplo blocks for kids ages 3-5 and Legos for kids ages 6+. Saturday 2:30-4:00pm. FREE!  
Portland Youth Philharmonic Winter Concert at the Schnitz. Tchaikovsky's final Symphony is a towering challenge for the musicians of PYP. You won't want to miss their performance, only the second in the history of the orchestra. Saturday 7:30pm. $11-$40.

$2 days at OMSI. Enjoy discounted $2 admission to OMSI all day! Sunday 9:30am-5:30pm.

Story and Stroll - Owl Moon at Tryon Creek. Program integrates nature exploration, art, literature, music, movement, and outdoor play.  It is geared toward families with young children (preferably ages 2-6 but all are welcome.) Sunday 10:30-11:15am. Registration required. FREE!

Kids Karaoke at Pink Feather hosted by Emma Rose - a nine year old  extraordinarily talented singer who emcees the event. Kids Menu, as well as Happy Hour appetizer prices for parents, available for the full three hours. Sunday 1:00-4:00 pm. FREE!

March Fourth Marching Band's 10th Anniversary Extravaganza - Matinee at Crystal Ballroom! With a rallying cry of "JOY NOW!" MarchFourth Marching Band (known as M4 by its growing legion of fans) throws itself and the audience into a swirling volcano of high-energy music and spectacle. Sunday 4:00 pm. Tickets $8-$14.

Hope this gives you some ideas. Have fun out there! And don't forget to double-check event details by calling or checking the website of the venue, performer, or host organization.

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!)

Weekend Warriors: 3/16-3/18

March 14, 2012

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

Ready to introduce your child to new languages? Come expose your little ones from 0 months to 5 years old to Español by singing, reading out loud, nursery rhymes and play. Baby-Time at TaborSpace Friday from 10:30 - 11:30 am. Cost is $3. 

If you're looking to get your kindie groove on - check out Ms. Tyleena at Mississippi Treehouse or Mr. Hoo of the Alphabeticians every Friday from 11 to 12 at Milagros Boutique. All ages (up to 5) welcome. $3-$5 suggested donation.

St. Patrick's Day celebrations start on Friday and run through Saturday. Here are just a few of the family friendly events happening in and around PDX.

Continue reading "Weekend Warriors: 3/16-3/18" »

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