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You know you’re a mom when…

You know you’re a mom when… you’re rushing two kids out the door, arms full, carrying a backpack in your teeth and your coffee in a sippy cup.


On the way to preschool for child #1 you spy a nice wood twin bed frame with a “FREE” sign on it. Perfect for child #2, so you load that sucker in the vehicle (by yourself!) while child #2 complains from the backseat. Then you drive home to unload it (alone) before leaving again to run errands at Target.

Yep, I’m a mom.

For the record, the coffee was in a sippy cup because it was one of those mornings when it was easier to find a matching lid for a sippy than one that belonged on a to go container. And you can see from the photo, the bed frame is the top half of a bunk bed, complete with built-in rails on all sides – perfect for when Leo is ready to transition to a “big boy” bed. It’s in excellent condition. Lucky me!


Found objects and other excitement

Found objects are so interesting. You can’t help but imagine how they got to where they are. What the circumstances were. Who they belonged to. Their prior lives. Kind of like I wonder about Barkley. Who loved him first? Who was with him when his baby teeth fell out? Was his one floppy ear broken by accident or was he just born like that? These things I’ll never know, but it stirs the imagination in several different directions.

Found object: blue toy soldier.

Found object: flashing dog tag. It still works!

Found objects: Maple leaves with galls.

Another exciting event this weekend occurred while we were at Rood Bridge Park in Hillsboro today. The park is currently severely flooded by the adjoining Tualatin River. Paved trails abruptly end and are completely uncrossable. You can see the halves of trees sticking up out of the deep, milky opaque water. At one point after a trail stopped, David, Barkley and I walked out onto a huge fallen tree over the river to take a better look. In this situation, Barkley was pulling on the leash too hard for my balance and comfort so I bent down to unleash him. When I gave the release command, and pointed back down the tree toward David, he must have misunderstood me. Instead, he immediately leapt off the tree and into the moving water, shocking us both, only to find that his passage back to land was blocked by large tree branches and crisscrossing vegetation. The tree was too high above the water-line for him to get back on and he was desperately trying to find purchase somewhere, but couldn’t get a grip on anything, clawing wildly at the bottom bark of the trunk. Luckily he was wearing a body harness. David rushed over, knelt down and eventually was able to drag him out. David is my hero. It was over pretty quickly, but I know we were all a little shaken by the experience. The thing is, Barkley always enters water gingerly and with caution. I’ve never known him to just jump in like that. Was he just so trusting of me to blindly follow what he thought was a command into the water? I just don’t know what he was thinking or why he did that. I guess I’ll never know. I just hope that all doesn’t happen again.

Hard to believe but there is a parking lot under all that water.

One of the paved trails flooded by the Tualatin River.

Barkley safe and unharmed after the incident.

Getting his confidence back. He decided he prefers running on top of the water.

Just to be sure this experience wouldn’t frighten Barkley out of the water forever, David rolled the ball into a much safer and shallower area, barely inches of water. It took him a few moments, but after very cautiously peering in and taking it one step at a time, he quickly got over his initial reservation and retrieved the ball. Whew!

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Surfing & Tide pools

David and I went surfing on Sunday. It started out a little grey, but gradually the clouds began to part and the sun to shine. Before surfing we usually take a look at Oregon Surf Check, wavewatch.com and these live surf cams of the Oregon Coast. Turns out it wasn’t a good wave day, but we didn’t really care. I think we just wanted to get out of the house and take advantage of the few beautiful days left of summer. We didn’t even bother trying to get past the break and instead just rode whitewater. I wish I could have taken out my camera and snapped a few shots from the ocean.

After surfing I spent a little time inspecting the tide pools. I don’t know why I don’t do this every time we go. There always seems to be something new to see. Here are a few pictures of my finds, with some names that David helped me look up in our handy National Audubon Society Field Guide to the Pacific Northwest.

The North edge of the tide pools, with a sea stack in the background

Not sure what this was, but it looked cool

A Black Turban Snail

An Ochre Sea Star, about 8″

Possibly a Purple Shore Crab, about 1.5″

The amazing texture on the side of a tide pool rock

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Found: One Little Crow


This afternoon we were alerted by an extraordinarily loud racket of CAAW! CAAW! CAAW! When I opened the front door to see what all the commotion was about I was amazed to find the largest population of crows I have ever seen. Something big was going down in the top of the large pine across the street. Mostly, there were birds sitting and flapping around up there, but some were circling directly over head while others dive bombed at something else in that same tree. After a while we started to hear a frightened and desperate PEEP! It was so high up that it was hard to see exactly what was going on. David thought he could see a hawk up in there, that likely got on the bad side of the neighborhood crows and so they called to all their buddies in the neighboring “hoods” to come and teach that hawk a lesson. It was a remarkable sight, and did I mention that how incredibly loud it all was? People were stepping out from all over to see just what the hell was going on.

crows circling

Eventually the crows must have completed their task because their numbers started petering out. Neighbors started returning to their respective houses after commenting on what a wild show it had been. And so we thought, well, that was that.

But not so fast. About an hour later, while we were outside enjoying the nice weather, David found a surprise hiding between the house and the bench on the deck. Turns out it was a young crow, sitting very still and obviously very scared. I know the scared part for a fact because when David approached it to get a better look, he literally scared the shit right out of it. This was made even more obvious because David had just re-stained the deck this week. Poor little bird. Sometimes I wonder if our property might be sitting on some sort of alternate plane, because this same thing happened last year. Not the diving/circling crow fest but finding a baby crow. I’m sad to say that last year’s crow didn’t last very long, and it was obviously very sick. I guess its just natural selection taking its course. But we’ve also found a huge dead crow in the past, along with dead squirrels two different times (although, I have a feeling those were Barkley incidents). We’ve only lived in this house 3 years.

hiding crow

walking crow

close crow

This time, we didn’t touch the crow. We just left it be, even though this neighborhood is overrun with cats. Crows are very smart, and this one was no exception. We figured we’d again just let nature take its course. For a while we kept Barkley inside, just in case, but then I let him out with me. He proceeded to completely ignore it. He has never been interested in birds, but I wanted to be sure. At least he would keep the cats out.

Eventually, the bird made its way to the front yard and we heard cawing from other crows trying to find it. I think they must have, because there was no trace of it later on. If I’ve learned anything, its that crows can pretty much take care of themselves, and each other, even if they have to call on their neighborhood posse to do it.

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Found: One Huge Snail!

Common Garden Snail

Look at this HUGE snail I found among the lily leaves in our backyard! How strange! I have never seen one of these around the house before (unlike the massive numbers of other pests we have ravaging our gardens – like slugs!). After a quick internet search it turn out that what I found was just a common garden snail.

Three interesting facts about the common garden snail:

  1. Latin Name: Helix aspersa. They are closely related to Helix pomiata, the edible snail often eaten in France.
  2. The tongues of common snails are covered in horny teeth called a radula, and they eat by scraping it over their food (decaying vegetation, algae, fungi, lichen, and plant leaves).
  3. Common snails (like all land snails) are hermaphrodites, meaning they have both female and male reproductive organs, although they still need another snail in order to mate.

Anyway, David said I should have killed it, but I just can’t do that kind of thing, even if they terrorize my plants, and especially after it sat so prettily for me to photograph like a million times – you’d have though I’d found a rare specimen worthy of once-in-a-lifetime documentation the way I was snapping photo after photo. In the end I just left it alone to carry on eating in my lilies and was amazed to again realize how small things can bring such wonder.

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