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.

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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?


May 07, 2014

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.

Free Mother's Day Stroller Strides Class & Celebration at #MPFamFaves Jamison Square. Join FIT4MOM Cedar Mill for their annual Mother's Day Celebration at Jamison Square. There will be a free Stroller Strides class, swag bags, raffles prizes, refreshments and fun for all. Friday 9am-noon. Free!

Story Time with Olive and Dingo at Pie Spot. Full of comedy, songs, stories, balloons and laughter, sure to get the jumpers jumping, the dancers dancing, wigglers wiggling and the noise makers cooing. Balloons twisting and fellowship is at the end of the show. Friday 3-4pm. $5 per child for balloons & entertainment

Día del Niño/Día del Libro (Day of Children/Day of the Book) at Clark College. Families are invited to this free, public event that celebrates children, reading and the Latino culture with a bilingual puppet show, Mexican folk dances, crafts and refreshments. Friday 5-8pm. Free!

Kids' Craft Night: Shrinky Dink Monsters at collage in Sellwood. Make a miniature monster family from shrink plastic and pipe cleaners. Not into monsters? They'll have options for other creatures available too. Ages 6+. Advance registration required. Friday 6:30-8:30pm. $20. 

Continue reading "WEEKEND WARRIORS - MAY 9-11, 2014" »

"He has trouble with transitions"

May 06, 2014

When I rang the doorbell at my son's friend's house, I immediately heard his screeching from the other side of the door.  The 2-hour playdate was culminating in fits of "I don't want to go!" and "Can't I just borrow this toy?", clutching at a light saber.  Apologetically, I said to the friend's mom: "He has trouble with transitions."

Again it happens when this same friend came to our house for a playdate.  The mom rang our doorbell, and my boy's response was identical: "No, I want him to stay forever!" and "I want to go home with him."

I apologized through the squirming and I talked through the screaming: "Thank you for coming over!"  The other mom understood.  And, most other parents do.  My child is not the only one who has "trouble with transitions".  Mostly, it's leaving friends' homes or having to watch a friend leave.  Often times, to ease the transition, there is some compromise bribe: "We have to leave now, but you can have extra lights-on time in bed tonight" or "He has to leave now, but you can have a little treat."  Transitions like leaving school are never very bad, although drop-offs tend to be clingy and sensitive.

Does your child have "trouble with transitions" and what does that mean for you?  What are the ways you deal with the transitions?  I don't feel wonderful about offering the "compromises" but maybe you have other great ideas for me?

I said this to my daughter: "I feel fat"

May 05, 2014

I was having a water-retention day, just an unconfident and unenergetic day.  My 13-year old daughter was watching me get ready, waiting for me.  I put on a pants and a shirt, and the words just slipped out of my mouth: "I feel fat".

The moment I felt the words slip away, I regreted it.  I wished I never said it.

I am physically able and fit.  I have the privilege to be strong and the privilege to have time to dedicate to running, biking, and yoga.  I am not fat.

I never want my girls to feel like we are judged by our shapes.  It was the wrong statement for me to make; it is a class of statement I often try to refrain from making.  It gives my girls the wrong message.

This is my mama regret of the moment.

Elitism & Parent Volunteers: It happens to all of us

May 01, 2014

A few times now, I have read "When Elite Parents Dominate Volunteers, Children Lose".  A few of my circles of friends on Facebook have been reading, thinking, and commenting on how this article opens our eyes to the diversity of our circles and the importance of living inclusively.

In my first world, at this moment, I am living this.  I am stuck in the middle.  My daughter is in an elective class at school that culminates in an end-of-year competition and trip.  The whole year is littered with performances, extra fees for transportation or uniforms, required after-school practices.  This has consumed my daughter's free time as well as our discretionary income.

All along, parent volunteers of this class have oozed accolades for this trip: "It's so worth it.  The kids have a fabulous time and they learn so much."  Also: "The first payment of the $550 trip fee is due in two weeks."

Uh, OK.  When I talk to other parents, they tell me how much this is a priority for their student to participate in the competition and trip.  So, "we make sacrifices in other areas so they are able to attend".  

What if even just putting food on the table is a sacrifice?  What if the student's bus pass is a sacrifice?  What if a new pair of shoes to replace the ones with holes is a sacrifice?  That means there is nothing left for $32 uniform shoes or $15 bus fees (called "optional") or - definitely not - the $550 competition and class trip.

When I ask what a student should do if they cannot commit to this intensive course, I am told: "Students can opt to take the 'intermediate' class if they feel that the time and financial commitment of the 'advanced' class is too much for their families."  Really?  So, if I cannot afford the Algebra textbook, I should just take Pre-Algebra, even if the Algebra course is the appropriate level for me?

This whole discourse makes my blood boil, and perhaps we do it to ourselves by affording to rent in the "good" neighborhood and attending its privileged public school.   I wonder how these discussions would be on the other end of town?

The good news is that we do have the privilege to make some sacrifices and our student went on the trip.  The bad news is that our student has friends in the same class whose families couldn't send their students on the trip.

Giveaway: 2 Tickets to "Night to Nurture"

April 30, 2014

We have a new giveaway up! Win 2 tickets to Mother and Child's "Night to Nurture" event. It would be a faubulous Mother's Day evening out! Click here to enter to win.


"What will you be when you grow up?"

April 28, 2014

They say hindsight is 20/20 vision.  When I reflect upon my childhood hopes and dreams, I feel like I can see how early on I exhibited signs of what I would "be", although "what I will be when I grow up" is an ever-refining answer.  I knew, always, that I would be a working mama that attempted to juggle career and family at the same time.  This I learned from my own mama, who - to this day - impresses me with her commitment to career, community, and family.  I knew I wanted to be like her, a career woman that was also a leader in my community.  

I was flipping through a magazine recently and noticed the line "Eames knew from an early age he would be an architect and designer" and there was mention of sketches from as early as 8 years old.  Granted, not everyone has such a strong calling at such an early age, but don't we have inklings?

I have a 13-year old daughter and I constantly wonder: "what will she be when she grows up?"  I don't want to pressure her to choose, but I want to help her dig deeper into her interests.  If she loves art, I want to help her find outlets to explore art more.  If she likes math or science, I want to help her find ways to express that interest (there is the math club at school).  If she likes fashion, maybe there is a sewing lounge?

When she was younger, we tried it all.  Some of it she liked (sports & music), some she didn't (dance & theater).  How do you listen to your youth for cues on how to help them explore more into their likes and loves?  Do you sometimes envision what your young one will "be when s/he grows up?"


April 23, 2014

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.

Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival in Woodburn. Enjoy the lovely colorful fields. Daily activities include Children's play area with duck races, slides, swings and more. Cow train $2 person. Weekends (weather permitting) include pony rides ($5), steam tractors, jump tents, rock wall zip line ($3-$7), archery tag ($5) and paint ball ($7). Daily 9am-6pm through May 4. $10 per car, $30 vehicle season pass

All You Can Make Art at Art ala Carte. Drop in - pay one low price - create as much art as you would like using supplies from their restaurant salad bars into art bars. Kids fill up trays with seemingly endless supplies. No time limits, no supply limits and the best part - they help with clean up! Beads, glue, modge podge, collage, feathers, paper, paints, playdough and more. There is something for everyone - every age, ability and skill level. Friday 10am-5pm, Saturday 10am-2pm. $9 for ages 0-4 and $11 for ages 5+

Penny's Puppets: Ants in Your Pants at Central Lutheran Church. Join Antsy as she makes you want to Dancy in this musical fun filled variety show. Singing, laughing and joking are all part of the fun. Let’s see if we can get everyone on their feet and shaking it out by the end of the show. Audience participation unavoidable. Friday 10:30am. $5, 4 for $17

Continue reading "WEEKEND WARRIORS - APRIL 25-27, 2014" »

Reality for a Saturday night: a dislocated arm

April 17, 2014

Last Saturday night, we were gathered with several families for a potluck and merriment.  There were 5 kids under the age of 5.  There were 5 kids over the age of 5.  The younger kids were playing pretend fighting.  There was also a dad giving 'superman' rides to the little kids, then there was a dad hanging kids upside down.  My 4.5 year old boy was dangling upside down from a dad, when the dad's own boy said, "Dad, do that to me, do that to me!"  and he yanked my boy's arm.

The boy was crying wanting to have the same upside down ride from his dad.  My boy was crying because his arm hurt.  Other kids continued to play.  It was generally chaotic.  There was crying, and there was screaming from playing.  We did not respond immediately.  

My boy's cries were rather shrill.   His cries were ongoing, whereas he would have usually stopped fussing by now under normal circumstances.  We went to go see what was wrong.

Our boy was crying on the couch where everyone was getting situated for a movie.   He was holding his arm.  When we went in to look at him, he said, "My arm hurts" and he was tearing as he held up his injured left arm with his right.  We offered him an ice pack.  He reached for it with the uninjured right arm.

We sat with him for a while, observing.  He had stopped crying.  His arm looked like it was turned inward.  He would not let anyone touch.  We held out my phone (a treat!) and asked him to play a game on it.  He reached with his right hand.  We held down his right arm and asked him to play a game on it.  He wouldn't.

The family gathering was attended by a good representation of medical staff: two nurses and a pediatric neuroscience physician's assistant.  We cleared the room of kids and sat down to focus on our boy.

With his arm turned inward, one of the dad-nurses palpated and felt the forearm bone indeed dislocated from the elbow.  Not dealing with children often, neither nurse felt equipped to replace the dislocated forearm.  The pediatric neuro PA, also, dealing mostly with brains and not with limbs, did not feel equipped to do the job.

Another dad, non-medical in background, entered the room.  "OH!  Yes, this has happened 6 times to our 3 year old son," and he offered to fix it the same way his doctor showed him.  In two quick and confident moves, he repositioned the forearm into the elbow socket and motioned the hand up to reach the shoulder to confirm proper placement.

PHEW!  Wow, what excitement on a Saturday night!  What a scare it was for us for a minute there.  Have you had experiences with dislocations?  Perhaps emergency situations?

Friends of Tryon Creek Nature Day Camps Giveaway

Win 1 free week of Nature Discovery (children ages 4 and 5) or Explorers (K-1) half-day Camps or 1 free week of Wildlife Rangers full-day camps (grades 1-5).  Friends of Tryon Creek (FOTC) camps are a fun way for kids to actively challenge their minds and bodies and use their creativity and imaginations in a natural setting. Each camp offers unique, age-appropriate activities that expose children to new and exciting outdoor adventures in a safe and friendly environment.  

Continue reading and enter to win here!


April 16, 2014

Here’s the scoop for the weekend -- including some fun events to celebrate Easter. 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 Walks at Kenton Park. Ladybug Walks are perfect for preschoolers and parents who want to explore nature in Portland's parks with trained preschool naturalists. Children are guided along the trails of various parks in all corners of the city by an Environmental Educator. Walks go at just the right pace and introduce children to forests, water, insects, plants and animals. Friday 10am. $4 per preschooler, no charge for adults.

Aaron Nigel Smith and One World Chorus in Lake Oswego. Wonderful family-friendly music. Friday 7-8pm. $5 suggested donation.

Urbanmamas & Popina Swimwear Fashion Show and Mama's Night Out>! Come grab a glass, watch a fashion show and find that perfect suit for the summer! Popina is offering 25% off all suits purchased at the event. Friday 7pm. $5 at the door.

Continue reading "WEEKEND & EASTER WARRIORS - APRIL 18-20, 2014" »

Giveaway: The Little Rascals Save the Day Blu-Ray/ DVD

April 10, 2014

LRSTDEnter to win 1 of 2 copies of a Blu-Ray/ DVD combo pack of the movie The Little Rascals Save the Day! Click over to our giveaway tab to enter!


April 09, 2014

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.

Portland Canstruction® Event at Pioneer Place benefiting the Oregon Food Bank. An annual art show, design competition, and food drive all rolled into one, Canstruction® raises hunger awareness by challenging teams of architects, engineers, and construction personnel to create larger-than-life pop art masterpieces made entirely out of unopened cans of food. The structures will be on display and open to the public on both sides of Pioneer Place, April 7-13, M-F, 10am-8pm, Sun 11am-6pm.

Weekly Storytime + Craft Activity at The Craft Factory. Listen to picture books while crafting the morning away at The Craft Factory's weekly Friday morning storytime. Friday 10:30am. The storytime is free for all ages, though geared toward toddlers and pre-schoolers.

Continue reading "WEEKEND WARRIORS - APRIL 11-13, 2014" »

uM & Popina Swimwear Fashion Show


Grab your girlfriends & RSVP on our FB event page!

"Mama: Why can't I go to the petting zoo?"

April 08, 2014

Some schools or daycares just don't let up on the endless "optional" offerings: the pizza party for $7, the school tee for $10 or the petting zoo for $5.  Then, there are larger requests: yearbooks for elemtary kids for $30 or a mid-week family camping trip for $100 per adult (so, wait: I'm going to pay for daycare, then I will take days off from work, and then I will pay still for my kid to go camping then for me to camp with him? Holy wow).  I cannot keep up; these costs add up across multiple kidlets.

While this is the reality, it can be sad.  Tonight, my boy said: "Mama, why can't I go to the petting zoo?"  Well, we just don't have another $5 for you to pet the goats that they are bringing into the school yard tomorrow.  

Sad face.

What else are you going to do? 

Happy No Housework Day?

April 07, 2014

Denise on BlogHer's Facebook page announced, "Happy No Housework Day!" Not that she is celebrating the day properly. Not that I am any one to judge.

I've had my own very (very very very) tortured relationship with housework. On one hand I love housework; I said once that every essay I write could begin, "I am washing the dishes. I am washing the dishes again." And in this daily task is often a kind of meditative calm that I desperately long for when I'm too busy to wash the dishes (or too busy to wash the dishes contemplatively).

Today is such a day. Too busy for housework, though indeed I will do some, I suppose, thank goodness I have people in life who take so much of the load from me. I can never decide, do I love to do housework? Do I value creating more; writing and painting colors on walls and growing things in the garden?

Continue reading "Happy No Housework Day?" »

Seeking Science Project Tips & Tricks

April 04, 2014

It's that time of year at many schools: science project season.  We are trying to start early in this household, so we don't get into the proctrastination situation.  My 10-year old and her project partner are getting together soon to "brainstorm" ideas.  

Last year: we had done "which bubble gum brand blows the biggest bubble?"  A fun and silly question pursued in the scientific method.


What projects have you done in the past?  We are collecting ideas!

Giveaway: VillaSport Athletic Club and Spa

VillaSport Athletic Club and Spa is giving away a $100 giftcard to a lucky uM reader! Head over to the giveaway tab to read the details and enter to win. Good luck!

WEEKEND WARRIORS - April 4-6, 2014

April 02, 2014

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 Walks at Gabriel Park. For preschoolers and parents who want to explore nature in Portland's parks. Children are guided along the trails at just the right pace and introduce children to forests, water, insects, plants and animals. Friday 10am. $4/child.

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.

Opening weekend of Raven Stories from Tears of Joy Theatre at Imago Theatre. An all new production based on that trickster of Native American lore, Raven. Like his cousin Coyote, Raven uses his wits and cunning to get what he wants. He may be sneaky but his tricks have given us the sun, fire, and more! Raven Stories is written by Shoshone-Bannock poet and storyteller Ed Edmo and features original music. Friday 7:30pm, Saturday 11am and 1pm, Sunday 1pm and 3pm. $18, adults, $15 students, $13 ages 0-13. Performances through April 13.

Continue reading "WEEKEND WARRIORS - April 4-6, 2014" »

Full Belly Fare for Everyone!

April 01, 2014

A fabulous offer from Lyla at Full Belly Fare:

"If you don't win the giveaway but still want to give my services a try, here's a great deal for urbanMama readers! Order for up to four weeks in advance, for a total of $200 or more worth food and get $30 or more OFF (total of 15% off your first order)!  The more you order the more you save.  Use the code 'urbanmama' at checkout for this limited time offer (expires April 30th)."

Eat well, friends!

Giveaway: Full Belly Fare

March 27, 2014

Full bellyHead over to the giveaway tab to enter to win a weeks worth of meals from Full Belly Fare


March 26, 2014

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.

Spring Break with Snoopy, Charlie Brown and the rest of the gang at World Forestry Center. The Peanuts...Naturally exhibit takes a light-hearted look at Charles Schulz's exploration of the natural world through Peanuts comic strips, videos, objects, and interactive stations. Throughout the week, explore the wonders of the natural world with hands-on interactive activities, focusing on a different element each day. Through Friday 10am-5pm (activities until about 2pm).

Celebrate Spring Break at Mimosa Studios. Enjoy tasty treats, a daily drawing for cool art supplies, and 10% off all week. Everyone is welcome, no matter what skill level, Walk-ins are welcome, although it might be a good idea to call ahead to assure your spot. Through Friday 11am-6pm. Prices starting at $5.

Continue reading "WEEKEND WARRIORS - MARCH 28-30, 2014" »

Spring break in the rain

Oh! The "opening weekend" of spring break for PPS was gorgeous. Epic. We have put tables and chairs outside and are eating meals there when the weather is good enough, and this weather took "good enough" to extreme. We were planning the summer in all its beauty, the kids were all asking, could we go to the pool? How about tomorrow? No one jumps to the logical extreme like a child with a taste of warm spring sun. Monday, I took a bunch of kids with me to the nursery, and we picked out plants with the glorious excitement that can only come in that sort of beautiful weather. I went for a run with my oldest through the Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden and it just seemed like the most beautiful spring break ever devised.

And then came the rain. I went running yesterday at lunch and the wind had begun to lift all the blossoms off the cherry trees on the waterfront and they were blowing everywhere like, I said, snow or ash or confetti. When we went out with kids it was for errands and we got so wet.

Later I went to the thrift store on bikes with kids and we dodged the rain on the way home and we laughed and brought home our finds to show off with relish but I got back and saw the just-begun garden and was hit with the wow realization that the rest of the break would be like this: little if any opportunities for digging or planting or outside adventure or sipping coffee in the little "cafe."

If you have your children at home for the rest of the break, what are your plans to cope with the downpour that looks pretty constant from here on out? Or if you have them in camps, how are they liking the wet weather? How about this weekend: a rainy visit to the beach or just holing up at home?

Injury & Athletics: dealing with disappointment

March 24, 2014

To be involved with "competitive sports" is a luxury in and of itself.  We pay a premium for more practices, then we pay for matching outfits, and then we pay again for our children to compete in their matching outfits.  What a racket!  But: that's another story.

Our 10-year old came home one day last year stating she wanted to compete in gymnastics, and she said the coaches thought she might be good at it.  The cost would be twice as much, the practice time would be almost three times as much.  She wanted to do it, so we supported her.

She had a great competitive season this spring, bringing home second and third place overall in her two meets this spring.  She loved going to practice and never complained that it ran too late or that she was too tired to go.  We could tell she loved the sport, and - even if her parents knew little about it - we wanted to support her if we could.

Last week, when her dad picked her up from practice, she was sitting on the side-line with her leg iced and elevated.  Her coach carried her out to her dad and reported that she twisted her ankle while practicing vault.  Her dad reports that he felt his heart sink.  As athletes ourselves (albeit recreational ones, at this point), we hate to miss out any training time or games due to injury.  We hate to feel mortal.

In the following days, we confirmed she had an "incomplete fracture" in her foot, and she was on crutches.  The doctor advised no weight on the foot for 3 weeks.  Already, we were going through the calendar in our head: she would miss the state gymnastics meet, and she would miss a few other events.  Several times we asked the doctor: "So, when do you think she'll be on it again?"  We didn't want to hear it.

Knowing our daughter, it is taking everything out of her to stay still.  She is one who can barely get through her homework without doing a front walkover or going to dribble a basketball.  After homework, she always asks to go outside to shoot hoops or rollerblade.  She is an active girl, and - yet - she is keeping her disappointment quiet.  She admits she is so sad to miss the state championship, but she knows there will be next year and the year after and then the year after that.  I admire her for her patience, for her positive spirit, for quietly listening to her body (I keep urging her to try to bear some weight, "Maybe it's already almost healed?", and she shakes her head "no"), for keeping her eyes bright and wide as she waits for the right time to resume.  Little does she know that I'm taking a cue from her, too, learning that we need to accept our own mortality and slow down when our body says to.

On school choice: any decision is the right one

March 21, 2014

For years and years, we have had to make school choices, even from a young age.  Which childcare and why?  Which kinder?  Which middle school?

Our oldest is entering high school in the fall, and we have had to make choices.  What is the right environment, the right size, the right academic mix?

We have asked these questions of ourselves before.  Ten years ago, I stayed up worrying about what decision to make.  We have faced these choices several times since.  At the end of the night, at the end of the day, my co-parent and I have agreed on one thing: whichever school we choose, it will be the right one.

To have a choice is a luxury.  To research our choices as fully as we do is so much more than other families are able to do.  To have communities - like our playgroups, neighborhood families, our local yahoo groups, or urbanMamas - where we can discuss every angle and pro/con for every option is a treasure.

As we enter this decision-making season as acceptance and wait-list notices are being issued, rest assured that the school you choose is the right one.


March 19, 2014

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.

Special Down Syndrome Day at Dizzy Castle. World Down Syndrome day is this Friday March 21st. Dizzy Castle is offering free admission for children with down syndrome from 9am- 12pm.  Members from NWDSA will be attending in hopes everyone will have the opportunity to meet new friends! Siblings will receive discounted admission of $7 for children 3 and over and $3 for children under 3yrs old.

Cut Arts Silhouette Portraits at area locations. Karl Johnson's silhouettes are all hand cut, original works of art. Each one created live by simply looking at his subject matter and cutting out an exact likeness freehand with scissors.
Thurs. 3/20: 10am-6pm (Child's Play)
Fri. 3/21: 11 to 5pm (Mamababy Boutique)
Sat. 3/22: 10am-6pm (Village Toys)
Sun. 3/23: 10am-6pm (Coffee Kids)
Mon. 3/24: 10am-1pm (PDX Posh Baby) 2:30-6pm (Beaverton)
Tues. 3/25: 10am-5:30pm (Spielwerk Toys)
To make an appointment, please contact the store of your choice for a 5 minute appointment. All ages are welcome, even the squirmy ones. Original portraits $25.

Continue reading "WEEKEND WARRIORS - MARCH 21-23, 2014" »

Happy St. Patrick's Day, but: How do kids celebrate?

March 17, 2014

"What IS St. Patrick's Day?" questions have been coming fast and loose from the kids around me today. My best answer is "a celebration of Irish culture," but when I looked up the Wikipedia page on St. Paddy's Day I don't think I realized that the religious feast day in Ireland to celebrate the isle's patron saint includes a Lenten loophole -- restrictions on lush behavior are lifted. (Don't tell those people in kilts -- kilts? -- I saw already drunk on Friday night.) So I started describing how and why people drink like crazy on St. Patrick's Day.

"All people do is EAT and GET DRUNK?" came the angry rejoinder. I got a demand to "do something fun outside!" -- but other than hunt for four-leaf clovers or gold pots at the ends of rainbows, I can't think of a thing.

What do you do with the kids for St. Patrick's Day, other than wearing green and making (my favorite part) Irish food? Anything we can fit in before the end of the day?

Reorganizing your dreams through a divorce

March 16, 2014

I've been quiet here, because for the past six months I've been in the throes of divorce. I think I knew even in the months leading up to the decision what I would eventually do, so for a long time beforehand I was afraid to say anything because everyone who knows me knows I wear my heart on my sleeve and everything I write.

There has been a lot of hard in this process, and it's far from done. But I think one of the worst parts has been to reorganize my dreams; for myself, for my family unit, for my boys. I've done such expansive and heedless things as write a piece on how I don't plan for divorce with my finances (I still stand behind that post); I've written extensively about what some people call "radical domesticity" and been one of the subjects of a book about it. I know I've said a dozen or a thousand times that I've chosen in the past several years to let my husband take the primary breadwinner role -- his work was intense, too, serving in the Army in Kuwait for three years -- and lead a life that's low on luxuries so I could spend time with the kids, at home, with my writing. (Really, the ultimate luxury.) I've loved how much I could shape the environment for my kids, especially my oldest, who I've unschooled for much of the past three years to help find him a place he can truly belong.

Now I have to find a way to navigate the life I want with a distinctly different set of resources.

Continue reading "Reorganizing your dreams through a divorce" »


March 12, 2014

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.

Impulse! in NE PDX. OCT's hilarious student improvisational troupe, take the stage to deliver fast-paced comedic scenes and games - all based on audience suggestions. No scripts, no costumes, and no idea what's about to happen! Recommended for ages 7 and up. Thursday, Friday & Saturday 7pm. Tickets $10 in advance / $12 at the door.

Friday Storytime + Craft Activity at The Craft Factory. Now you can listen to picture books while crafting the morning away. Friday 10:30am. Storytime craft special: $5 for any two ornamental crafts.

Red Yarn at Warehouse Cafe. Weaving together energetic live music, puppetry and storytelling, Red Yarn teaches positive values while reviving American folklore for a younger generation. Audiences will sing, dance, act, and experience the joy of community during this interactive show. Friday 10-10:45am. $5 donation.

Continue reading "WEEKEND WARRIORS - MARCH 14-16, 2014" »

WEEKEND WARRIORS - March 7-9, 2014

March 05, 2014

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 with Mr. Hoo at Village Ballroom. Mr. Hoo (one half of The Alphabeticians), plays fun music for kids and their grown-ups. He plays guitar and kazoo, and sings songs that get the audience clapping and moving and singing along. Friday 11am-noon. $5/family.

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.

Continue reading "WEEKEND WARRIORS - March 7-9, 2014" »


February 26, 2014

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 Walks at Ventura Park. Explore nature in Portland parks with trained naturalists! For ages 2-5 with grown-up. Stroller friendly. Friday 10am. $4/preschooler, no charge for adults.

Story Time with Olive and Dingo at Pie Spot. Not your average Story Time!! Full of comedy, songs, stories, balloons and laughter. Sure to get the jumpers jumping, the dancers dancing, wigglers wiggling and the noise makers cooing. Friday 3-4pm. $5 per child for balloons and entertainment.

Continue reading "WEEKEND WARRIORS - FEBRUARY 28-March 2, 2014" »

Throwback Thursday: Family Management

February 20, 2014

This is what we do day-to-day.  On the brain of late:

"Mama, you never keep promises"

February 19, 2014

"Mama, you never keep promises," she says.

You know what hurts most about being a working-poor single mama of three remarkable girls who deserve to receive everything life has to offer? It's not necessarily the political or policy issues that work against me. Or even the need to defend myself while simultaneously doubting myself. It's those words.

I do keep the promise of good food, a comfy bed, a trip to the doctor when they need it. But those are non-negotiable items in the contract of motherhood: I meet their basic needs no matter what it takes. And as oft I can I give them an ice cream cone, a day at the beach, a guinea pig, even. Those are childhood entitlements, so I consider them basic needs, as well, though they have no idea how challenging it is to provide them.

But the day at an amusement park, the weekend camping, the lessons in whatever interests them or the big gift they really really want, well, those are un-kept promises, it's true. Actually, I don't promise them, I typically tell them "Someday I will make this happen for you when I can." So they want them. From me. Because I'm mama. This is the part I think is hard to understand for anyone else outside this fishbowl. It means that even the most simple things for me are left undone - a yoga class, an hour walk, a doctor visit - because they all have a concrete cost that's just too hard to justify. To me they are not fixed expenses or basic needs. Yes, I would love to focus on my art, take care of my body, take care of my heart.  Of course that makes sense to me.  But in the balancing sheet of the life and sacrifice of single motherhood, it just doesn't make sense to move dollars into your children's 'expense' column, even though they go into your 'income' column.  It just doesn't feel right.

I'm left with little emotional bandwidth to do much else as my own dreams quickly diminish in the rear-view mirror on our journey.  I make compromises to my heart that anyone looking inside might find unimaginable, but they don't see the internal accounting in my head. Yet even still, I'm left with those words, so innocently spoken as mere fact from her perspective.  I'm meeting the basics, yes, yet there's still more because you teach your kids to dream, and childhood is magic; they deserve *that* childhood entitlement even more than anything else.  Yet, it's also true too that I have been home teaching my youngest girl (and one more though he recently moved away) for months now because I just couldn't fathom sacrificing the gift of time and focus that my prior professional life stole from me with my first two.  And she just sat down and read her first book to me, at age 4, with a look on her face of having conquered the tallest mountain and an air of confidence that displayed to me *of course* she conquered the tallest mountain.  I gave her hope and knowledge.

That's how it balances out and I pray that someday all three of my girls will have the graceful gift of perspective to see this.  Someday, with any luck, my girls will know this struggle to be present for them right now is the greatest gift of all.  It sure is hard when you're raising your kids alone.  I want to be someone who keeps promises.


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 Walks at Kelley Point Park. Perfect for preschoolers and parents who want to explore nature in Portland's parks with trained preschool naturalists! Children are guided along the trails of various parks in all corners of the city by an Environmental Educator. Walks go at just the right pace and introduce children to forests, water, insects, plants and animals. Ages 2-5 with grown-up. Stroller friendly. Friday 10am. $4/child.

Lori Henriques in Concert in Lake Oswego. Award winning musician Lori Henriques performs jazz music for the whole family. Friday 7pm. $5 suggested donation.

Continue reading "WEEKEND WARRIORS - FEBRUARY 21-23, 2014" »


February 12, 2014

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.

Valentine's Day for the Animals at the Zoo. Watch zoo animals enjoy Valentine's Day enrichment treats and toys. Friday 10:30am-2:45pm. Free with Zoo admission.

Great Backyard Birdcount. The Great Backyard Bird Count, Feb. 14-17 is an annual four-day event that engages bird watchers of all ages in counting birds to create a real-time snapshot of where the birds are. Everyone is welcome--from beginning bird watchers to experts.

Preteen POP Night- BFF Fun at Art Ala Carte. A chance for creative kiddos (9-13 yr olds) to make new friends, create art and learn from local artists. Pop night features POP music, POP corn, soda POP and POP art. Friday is a special Vday edition giving parents a chance to enjoy a romantic night out. Parents can stay in the studio and hang out- or they can make it a date night at one of the many delicious restaurants on Alberta. Friday 6-9pm. $15 use promocode PDXKIDS for 15% off your tickets - purchase here.

Valentine's Night at Out of this World. Includes pizza & salad buffet, drink, dessert & a $5 game card. Dance and play with your kids with their DJ-hosted Stellar Play and Valentine's dance starting at 7pm. Try your luck with Bingo and hourly giveaways and light up your kids with glowstick bracelets. Friday 6-9pm. $12 age 5-Adult, $10 age 2-4 yrs, Under 2 free.

Find more Valentine's Events on the PDX Kids Calendar Family-friendly Valentine's Events Guide.

Spring Community Day at Oregon History Museum. Take a look at a temporary exhibit created by Roosevelt High School students about local "Freedom Fighters," community leaders who have fought for social justice. Meet the students and some of the Freedom Fighters themselves. Also, take one last look at the Windows on America exhibit before it closes. Free admission all day from 10 AM to 7 PM, activities for all ages between 11 AM and 3 PM.

Final weekend to see Oregon Children's Theatre's Charlotte's Web. Intelligent, funny, and heartfelt, the book by E.B. White has captivated young readers for generations. When an affectionate pig named Wilbur is saved from slaughter and sent to live on a nearby farm, he finds a barnyard full of animals who quickly become family. But it's the most unlikely of friends that prove to be his best - a spider named Charlotte who uses her skills to save Wilbur's life once more, even as her own is slipping away. Saturday 2pm and 5pm, Sunday 11am (show added) and 2pm. $15-30.

Johnny & Jason Mini-Concert at Green Bean Books. Welcome the talented musical duo Johnny & Jason. They'll be singing songs from their latest album, "Be Alive!" It's music for kids... and their adults! Saturday 1-1:30pm. Free!

Let the Wild Rumpus Start at Cascade Park Community Library. Craft program based on Maurice Sendak's "Where The Wild Things Are." Saturday 3-4:30pm. Free!

Wildlife Care Center Open House at Audubon Society. Once a year, Portland Audubon's Wildlife Care Center opens its doors to the public and gives visitors a peek at what goes on behind the scenes in Oregon's oldest and busiest wildlife rehabilitation facility. Also meet and greet the education birds, raptor education station, Q&A with vets, kids can make raptor art and get their faces painted. Sunday 11am-5pm. Free!

African Flower Dance at Troutdale Library. Join the Mathias Galley African Dance Ensemble in learning the ceremonial African flower dance that is performed during weddings, births and holidays. Mathias will do a short performance before teaching these moves to the audience. In this fun and energetic workshop, Mathias will use native instruments, including African drums and bells, to get the audience up and moving to the beat. Sunday 2-3pm. 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.

ND on OHP?

February 11, 2014

Devon needs recommendations for a Naturopath that accepts the Oregon Health Plan. She asks: Both my little girls (5 and 1) are on the new Care Oregon/Health Share Medicaid program. So far in their protected lives, they've only been treated by my acupuncturist (a pediatric specialist from out of town) and our midwife/ND here in town (Catherine at A Gentle Beginning). We love both of them, and we pay for them. For financial and practical reasons, I really want to get my ladies set up with a PCP within our provider directory (these terms! infuriating!). Are there even MD/NDs in the Kaiser/Providence/CareOregon network? Does anyone have any advice - either a beloved family doc who might be within our network (and then actually accepting new OHP patients...) or experience with the Health Share network itself (which is so overwhelmed by calls right now they just tell you to hang up)?

The Intangible Reward: A Novelty

Yesterday morning, I received a call from the math teacher: "This is Mrs. Williams calling about your daughter."  I wasn't certain what would come next.  She went on to explain that the students participated in an intense math competition all last week, with team groups solving multi-step problems.  Our daughter's team won.  The prize: calls to the teammates' parents to recognize their efforts, accomplishments, and abilities in collaboration.

A sweet gesture.

I have been recently immersed with promoting carpooling, walking, taking transit to school.  To do so, our school has employed heavy incentive tactics.  Smoothies for kids that walk to school.  Coffee for parents who carpool (i.e., drop off 2 or more students in the school lot).  Pencils, stickers, iTunes gift cards, small toys, tokens for the arcade: the whole lot.

In our object-heavy lives, it is a breath of fresh air to receive that intangible reward.  So: Thank you, Mrs. Williams, for that reminder and for the recognition.

My son: always the bad guy

February 08, 2014

Granted, I'm a little biased.  I like to think that my boy isn't always the culprit, the instigator, the initiator, the bad guy.  I know he's no angel, but I don't think he's always the bad guy, like his friend's mom likes to make out.

My boy's BFF is a like-aged boy.  They have similar interests (cars, planes, trains).  Sometimes they like to play "fight" or "karate".  They punch in the air near each other, play fighting.  They wrestle to the ground.  Sometimes, someone gets hurt.

My boy's BFF is sensitive, and my boy errs on the less sensitive side.  Any scratch can cause tears for a sensitive child.  When there is conflict, my boy's BFF is quick to raise the issue: "why did you push me?"  My boy, now hyper-sensitive about being accused, will often run from the scene, guilty-like behavior.

Once home, I will ask: "What happened today?  Why did you push?"  My boy will say: "Because he hit me first."

The scenario has played out several occassions in the same way: My boy, wrongfully accused, runs from the scene.  His BFF, potentially the instigator, cries out and points a finger.

I'm not one to intervene, but - at some point - I would like to set the story straight with the BFF's mama, who believes her son is always the victim.

Throwback Thursday: Valentines Up Next

February 06, 2014

Ideas from the archives on celebrating the patron saint of love:

What does your Valentine's Day hold for you & loved ones this year?

WEEKEND WARRIORS - February 7-9, 2014

February 05, 2014

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.

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!

Portland Opera To Go Presents: La Bohème in SE PDX. Do you like stories? Music? Comedy? Theater? Then you like opera! If you have never been to an opera, Portland Opera To Go's 50-minute, English language adaptation of Giacomo Puccini's La Bohème is just the way to get acquainted. Friday 7pm, Saturday 1pm. $5 under 12 years, $10 for adults, $20 for a family of four.

Free Family Day at Washington County Museum. Join Museum staff and volunteers for free hands-on history and art activities for the whole family. Bring the kids and create a project to take home, enjoy stories, see and touch artifacts, learn about local history and more. Saturday 10am-1pm. Free!

Continue reading "WEEKEND WARRIORS - February 7-9, 2014" »

When we fight: Kids say the darndest things

February 04, 2014

This morning, my boy woke up on the wrong side of the bed.  He didn't want breakfast, he didn't want to get dressed, he didn't want to go to school.  He was sour, through and through.  He was wearing on his dad's patience with every "no" and refusal.  Negativity rose further to physical manifestations.  Our boy threw a dish rag at his dad.  And, to climax: "I don't want you to be my dad anymore!"

I wanted to give our boy & his dad some time to cool off.  I said to our boy, "That isn't loving or kind," which is sometimes my auto-response to negative comments or behavior.  

Kids say the darndest things, even things like "I hate you, Mama".  Many times, these statements are made in the heat of a moment; they are things they might not really mean.

Before long, and before we were heading to school, our boy went to his dad to apologize.  "I'm sorry, Dad".  And, his dad to him, "I'm sorry, too.  I was just frustrated."

No doubt these moments happen in your household, too.  How do you diffuse the situation and close the loop?  How do you make amends?

Throwback Thursday: Kinder Questions

January 30, 2014

With the new school year soon down the road, many mamas & papas are starting to talk about starting school, which school to visit, getting on the Round-Up circuit.  To help further this process, we thought we'd offer up some topics from years past in this week's Throwback Thursday:

Here are the upcoming dates for Connect to Kindergarten dates at PPS schools.

Your strategy or thoughts on upcoming round-ups and school searches?

Screen Time and Family Screen Policy

I just watched a New York Times mini-documentary on China's Web Junkies, and it simply shocked me.

I don't spend much time fearing things, but internet addiction in kids/teens really scares me. Ever since I read a research-based article connecting the Thurston High School shooter to heavy usage of violent video games, I've made a commitment to never allowing violent games in our home. "Using" the internet has all the makings for a serious addiction: easy access, mindless pleasure and a way to fill the void inside. As the video clearly shows, loneliness is both the root and the outcome of craving connection through the internet. If we're honest, many of us parents are already addicted. I know I am on some level. Email and the worldwide web were emerging as I began my career, and I've never worked without the company of a computer. Now I can/need to view my three email accounts from my phone and research anything that pops into my mind. Facebook can be all too tempting, as it does serve as a social medium for staying connected with my friends in town and across the globe. There can be pure joy found in heartwarming messages that come at just the right moment. But, in my opinion, connecting socially online shouldn't happen while your kids are craving your attention.

As busy parents, I don't expect anyone to go offline, but its important to become aware of our usage in the presence of our kids. We are settling the cultural norm by demonstrating our values. If we don't give our kids the deep and genuine attention they crave now, it's all too likely that they will turn to the internet or other addictions when they grow up. If you're following my new blog, you'll know that my family recently drafted our first Family Screen Policy.

Despite his friends getting vastly more screen time, our does son seem very satisfied with earning a limited amount through reading. Our kids are still way more interested in sports, making art and getting outside, but at least now we both have some guidance about when it's allowed. I've also found that I'm walking my talk more now and fighting the impulse to check-in online when the kids are around. Does your family have a screen policy? Have you witnessed or felt addicted to the internet? How important (or challenging) is it for you to unplug?

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

WEEKEND WARRIORS - January 31 - February 2, 2014

January 29, 2014

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.

Chinese New Year at Lan Su Chinese Garden. Gung Hay Fat Choy (Happy New Year)! It's time to celebate The Year of the Horse at Lan Su Chinese Garden. People born in the Year of the Horse are generally popular, smart, and strong. Activities include lion dancers, a visit from the Portland Police Mounted Patrol Unit, a martial arts demonstration, arts and crafts, and much more. Learn more about this most colorful and joyous of all Chinese festivals during the two-week celebration at Lan Su, January 31-February 14, 2014. 

Here in the Portland-Vancouver metro area, we have many opportunities experience the culture of Chinese New Year, from dances and performances to crafts and stories. Click here for a great guide to events for you to celebrate with your family - from PDX Kids Calendar.

Weekly Storytime + Craft at Craft Factory. Friday morning storytimes are free, with a storytime craft special: $5 for any two ornamental crafts. If your child would like to do something other than the ornamental craft, they are welcome to choose a regularly-priced ($12) base. Friday 10:30-11am.    

Continue reading "WEEKEND WARRIORS - January 31 - February 2, 2014" »

The Pressure of Production: how far does it go?

A text was followed by an email, with basically the same message.  Short, sweet, urgent: "What are tips for increasing production?"  Sent by my sister-in-law, first-time mom to a four-month old, now back at work as an elemtary teacher, she wanted to know every trick in the book to keep supply ample, abundant.

We have an archive chock full of advice for pumping, so look there for discussion on the classic working mamas nursing conundrum or for the mama who pumps a lot.

Does production wane as the babies age?  But, even more importantly, how we navigate and negotiate this constant pressure to produce, the constant burden to make more milk to nourish our young, the everyday need to make sure our babies continue to mark progress tracked by ounces and pounds.  It is a worry and a stressor, and it can certainly mess with supply.

At what point do we introduce supplements?  At what point to we throw up hands and say: "I just cannot make enough for you, baby girl, as much as I love you and as much as I want to make more."  It's not for want that many of us cannot supply.  Have you experienced this pressure to produce?  Have you accepted other non-nursing avenues to nourishment for our littlest ones?

Breakfast Time: what do you do?

January 24, 2014

In households across America, weekday mornings are frenzied rushes of breakfast making/eating, lunch preparing, signature collecting, and homwork finishing.  Many mornings, I will find my teen with her headphones in, listening to music, while my ten-year old sits on a stool staring at a blank wall, and the 4-year old might be begging for help putting on his shirt.  Indeed, it is a mad rush to get breakfast prepared, but - once seated - then what?  Sometimes we make morning conversation, sometimes we compare dreams, sometimes we listen to NPR, sometimes we listen to pop radio.

Once you make your breakfast - eggs, oats, cereal, smoothies or something entirely else (sometimes we eat cake!)- and once your kids do the same, do you sit down and chat?  Do you each have an independent activity like reading separately?  Do you watch TV or listen to the radio?

Weekend Warriors - January 24-26, 2014

January 22, 2014

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.

Story Time with Olive and Dingo at Pie Spot. Not your average Story Time - full of comedy, songs, stories, balloons and laughter. Sure to get the jumpers jumping, the dancers dancing, wigglers wiggling and the noise makers cooing. Friday 3-5pm. $5/child for balloons and entertainment.

Dizzy Castle Cosmic Nights. Dizzy Castle Cosmic night. Come party at the castle every Friday from 5pm-9pm! Dizzy the Dragon's dance party is an unforgettable experience with lasers, mirror lights, black lights, fog machines, strobe lights and much more! Plus each child recieves a free light saber or LED glow ring. Click here for a coupon for a free light saber or LED glow ring. Friday 5-9pm. $10.

Continue reading "Weekend Warriors - January 24-26, 2014" »

"Mama, Jack said I was small": When size matters

January 16, 2014

"Mama, Jack said I was a small boy," said my four-year old, a little forlorn.  "He said I couldn't play basketball.  Aren't I a big boy?"  Many children pride themselves in being independent, being "big", being capable, and - yes - being athletic and coordinated.

Growing up, I was often on the smaller side.  I was an autumn baby, always a bit younger than all the rest.  I think I was pretty fit and active, and I had a good shot at being chosen early on teams for games like capture the flag.

A friend commented the other day that her son was feeling less confident on his basketball team, being one of the shorter members.  He, a fifth grader, was about the same height as his 2nd grade sister.

Does size matter?  A few years back, we talked about being vertically challenged and some medical interventions.  But for those that let height run its natural course, how has size played out on the playground, on sports teams, in friendships and beyond?  Is it a big deal when they are younger?  Is it a bigger deal when they are older?  Is it not a big deal at all?


January 15, 2014

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.

14,267 Used Books Book Sale in Vancouver. Thousands of books of all kinds for sale. Children's books, young adult, fiction, non-fiction, you name it - they've got it! Proceeds benefit the Fort Vancouver Regional Library Summer Reading Program and the Fort Vancouver Regional Library Foundation. Friday & Saturday 9am-6pm, Sunday 11am-3pm. Free!

Preschool Play at Children's Gym. A program where parents of 3-5 year olds can drop their children off at the gym from 9:30am-1:00pm. It is a great time to run errands, make a lunch date, or just have a few hours of relaxation time. Let the kids play in the gym and do arts and crafts. There's time set aside for a snack and lunch. Weekdays 9:30am-1pm. $25-40.

Mountain Park Rec Center Family Concert Series Debut: The Portland Opera. Event features a 50-minute, kid-friendly performance of "La Boheme" by members of the Portland Opera. With Portland Opera-to-Go, English adaptations of famous operas are fully staged, with sets, costumes and piano accompaniment. Friday 7-8pm. $5.

Grandparents Day at the Craft Factory. Special craft time for  grandparents/grandparent-like-people and littles. Saturday 10am-2pm. $12 - two-for-one.

Continue reading "WEEKEND WARRIORS - JANUARY 17-19, 2014" »

Mamas: Finding your BFF

January 13, 2014

Moving to Portland was scary and exciting all at the same time.  We heard rave reviews of the city, we were thrilled at the opportunity to try it out for a spin.  We arrived, 7 months pregnant with 3-year old in tow, and we knew just one or two other people, my partners' colleagues.

The rest is almost history.  That was over ten years ago, and I met my mama BFF within months of moving to Portland.  When we first moved, I was eager to hit the mama-dating circuit, to meet other like-minded families, to share fun & adventures with new-found friends.  We gave birth to urbanMamas.com where countless other mamas & papas have made connections - found life-long friends, care providers, jobs, support through transitions like moves or divorce - all through the urbanMamas community.  Needless to say, I found my mama BFF plus so many other dear, close friends.  

And, then: we moved.  

Two years after the move, I have to say: I am still seeking a new partner-in-crime, a new best mama pal.  I am still seeking that special someone(s) who will make me laugh so hard I pee, who will talk to me about peeing when I run and how to deal with it, who will talk through career issues like working part-time or trailblazing mamahood in the workplace.

Maybe when you find your mama BFF, it's one and only.  Maybe it just takes a bit more time.  Maybe it requires being even more outgoing than ever.

When you move to a new place or start at a new school and start afresh: how do you make friends?  What are you looking for?  Candlelit dinners & walks on the beach?  Similar-aged kids, similar lifestyles, similar family structures or values?  What have you found was the absolute thing that draws you to another mama?