Category Archives: Travel

2 Years!

Dear Silvie,
You are two! Two! Which you signal by holding your index finger up on both hands and wiggling them alongside your chubby cheeks.

I am so in love with this stage of you. You are learning words at exponential speed and generating original sentences all the time. You still have lots of articulation errors so it’s sometimes a bit of a guessing game to figure out what you’re saying, but you are daily sounding a little less “Nell” (Chicka, chicka, chickabee) and more little girl.

Given how rain is the bane of our existence here in Portland (and also your middle name), we had a rain themed birthday party for you.  It was great fun especially the coloring wall and the play dough.  Your favorite gifts included a stroller for your baby dolls and a wooden barn with farm animals.   Actually you were delighted by all of your gifts except for the scooter bike that your Papa and I bought you.  It’s still a little big for you and are scared of it.  Maybe you’ll warm up to it later this summer.

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One of our favorite things about your right now is how you are  using polite language.  When you are given something you now say, “Thank you, mama” with no prompting.  You’re still trying to figure out when it’s ok to say “no thank you” and when you are really just supposed to do what you are asked to do.  And you’re working on saying, “May I have ___ please?” when asking for something.  You know how to do it but it takes some thought and each word comes out a bit labored and short.  Thank you, Miss Naomi, for teaching you to be so polite.

Things that make you cry:  loud noises of any kind, clowns at the library, and wind in your face.  Things that make you laugh your deep down belly laugh:  playing chase around the house with Papa and Mae and going down the big slide “all by myse’f on my belly button”.

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For part of spring break we went to Manzanita on the Oregon coast.  We rented a house a couple of blocks for the beach and had a relaxing time.  Our friend Amy (your “Aunt ‘Mi’Mi”) stayed one night and had a great time playing on the beach with you.  Your Papa had been working a lot of extra hours and it was good to see him relaxed and in a playful mood with you.  You spent a lot of time gathering up sticks and pine cones.

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Like most toddlers you really like sticks.  This week we walked the three blocks down to the library and back to return some books.  It took 45 minutes.  Not because you walk slowly, but because we had to stop frequently to pick up sticks, “draw” with the sticks on the sidewalk, climb up into the neighbors’ yards, look at every single flower and enjoy the sunshine.  It’s good for me to slow down to toddler time and enjoy the sunshine with you.

Love,

Your Mama

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July

It’s hard to believe it’s July already. School didn’t let out until June 18 this year and summer weather didn’t come until about then either. After school let out I had one week to wrap a few things up and pack for our trip to Indiana. We had planned this trip for quite a while so we would be there at the same time as Nate’s brother Jim and his family who live in Arizona. We knew it would be a busy week with both of our immediate families converging on Goshen at the same time. It became even more busy when Nate’s grandfather unexpectedly passed away and we added on time for the viewing and funeral.

Silvie traveled reasonably well and seemed to really enjoy her grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. We took a lot of pictures and I’m working to get some of them up on Flickr but it might take a couple of days.

Here’s one of my favorites of her snuggling with her Miller cousin, Sharayah. Sweet things.
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Florence and Newport

Last week I had an education conference to attend in Eugene. Since Nate is not working at the moment, he and Silvie came along. While I attended tedious session after tedious session, the two of them went hiking and explored Eugene (it didn’t take long). After the conference we intended to head east into the mountains. We’ve been wanting to visit Crater Lake ever since we moved here, and we thought this might be the time. However, a quick glance at the weather forecast for Crater–rain and snow–sent us scurrying west to the coast instead.

We spent the weekend meandering up the coast from Florence to Newport. We ate good seafood, drove up secluded forest roads to spy on mosses and mushrooms, saw seals and seal lions, poked around tourist towns, and visited the Newport Aquarium.

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Nate and Silvie on Spencer’s Butte, Eugene

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The port at Florence

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The misty, moisty woods

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A random stranger took this picture for us.

As always there are more pictures on Flickr including some videos of Silvie “army crawling” and snorting for the enjoyment of the grandparents.

Silvie Goes to the Coast

I generally try to avoid commenting on the weather.  We humans have such a small range of temperature in which we’re comfortable in.  Too often we end up complaining about the weather which is a complete waste of time since there is nothing you can do about it.  But the weather we’ve been having the last couple of days deserves commenting upon.  Tuesday it was 106.  Wednesday it was 105.  We have had 13 days of 90 degree + weather this July.  It is not unusual to have a week or two of hot weather in July or August here in Portland.  We do have a Mediterranean climate, after all, with a rainy season and a dry season (even though Portlanders actively perpetuate the myth that all it does is rain here so you wouldn’t want to live here).  But it is not this hot for this long.  We are shattering weather records daily.

Hot weather is tough for me to deal with but in the past I’ve hunkered down in an air conditioned coffee shop with a good book or taken myself to a matinee.  Not so easy with a four-month-old.  One day we went to the mall.  Another day we hung out in a friend’s air conditioned living room.   We’ve been sleeping on the hide-a-bed in the basement at night and we’ve been surviving.  But by Wednesday Silvie and I both needed to get out town to the coast.  So we talked our friends Stacey and Stephanie into going with us (it didn’t take much), threw the Chariot in the car, and headed west.

I checked the weather before we headed out.  It was predicted to be 106 in Portland for the day and 89 on the coast.  It was right about Portland, but dead wrong about the coast.  We stepped out of the car in Manzanita, shook out our legs, and promptly got goosebumps.  In our shorts and t-shirts, we were sorely underdressed for the 66 degree, misty, socked-in coast.  All Silvie was wearing was a onesie.  We considered buying some sweatshirts but we just didn’t want to spend the money.  I did buy Silvie some pants and Smartwool socks though so she wouldn’t be too chilly.  It was really a shock to the system to drop 40 degrees that quickly!

After clam chowder and fish and chips for lunch, we took Silvie down for her first view of the ocean.  Because it was so socked-in we couldn’t see more than about 300 feet out.  Silvie was unimpressed by the ocean but quite enthralled with sand.  She ran it through her fingers, smooshed her feet around in it and tasted it.  She played quite happily in the sand for about 20 minutes before she rubbed her eyes with her sandy little hands.  That was the end of it for her.  She was not thrilled to get sand in her eyes!

We returned to Portland much cooler.  Today it was 96 and I am not complaining!  It felt so much better.  What a difference ten degrees makes!

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Weekend at the Coast

At the Inn at Manzanita

At the Inn at Manzanita

Over Martin Luther King weekend, we scooted off to the coast for one last weekend away while baby is still in utero.  It was one of those breathtakingly beautiful weekends with sunny skies and shirt sleeve weather that you know you don’t deserve so you just breathe “thank you, thank you, thank you” over and over again.

On our favorite hidden beach near Oceanside

On our favorite "hidden" beach near Oceanside

Catching some rays and a read

Catching some rays and a read

P.S. For the very observant: note the grey hair.  I can’t seem to bring myself to color my hair while pregnant….even with the “all-natural” product.

Quick Trip to Ohio


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Originally uploaded by ndmiller

For my birthday this year, I decided to take a quick trip to Ohio for the weekend to see my sister. My mom drove out from Indiana and we had a great weekend together. Mostly we played a lot with Kalvary, Glory and Malachi, but we also got to do a little shopping, go out for dinner, and catch up on each others’ lives. I posted a bunch of photos on Flickr, mostly because my mom and sister wanted to see them, but you can go look at them too if you want to.

An added bonus of any trip to Ohio is that I can fly in and out through the Columbus airport. This gives me a wonderful reason to spend a day with my very best friend from childhood, Amy Eversole Fox. And now a trip to spend the day with Amy means I also get to see Mr. Fox and Baby Fox.

Even though it was a quick trip, it was very rich and full. I can not say the same about the travel days on each end—interminable hours waiting in the airport due to mechanical delays, a non-stop 6 hour flight from Philly to PDX with no food or drinks since I didn’t have enough cash for those stupid airport boxed snacks. Oh well. It was worth it.

Because…

We haven’t been blogging much because…

We’ve been riding the Livestrong Challenge…

We’ve been hanging out with family…

We’ve been at the coast…

We’ve been hiking in the Gorge…. (view from Larch Mountain)

We’ve been enjoying the beauty of the Olympic Peninsula…

Really awe-inspiring beauty…

And we went to Seattle (twice)….

So that’s why we haven’t been blogging.   Hope you’re having an adventurous summer too!

P.S. As always, more pictures exist for the curious over on Flickr.