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Molalla River

We haven’t gone fishing with David since way before Leo was born. It just got too difficult – being pregnant, dealing with Chloe on the long car rides (usually 2.5+ hours each way), keeping her from getting hurt, or falling in, dealing with the consequences of an absent nap, packing everything we might need and then un-packing/washing/putting it away… it just got to be too much. These aren’t friendly, easy to manage areas with picnic tables or park-like settings either. They are out-there, and miles and miles from “civilization,” not that I ever minded before. And now there are two little ones with very different needs to consider.

Anyway, we tried it on Sunday. Both kids were asleep in their car seats at the first spot, so I stayed in the car with them. It was a lovely, picturesque spot, too. I think I was the one who accidentally woke them up, trying to get my camera and things I’d want to have if we stayed there. David came back up the path right as we were all about to emerge and we decided to try another spot. The next one was bad. We should never have stopped there. It was down an extremely steep embankment and into a large but shallow section of running water with lots of rocks, but no place to actually stand, or sit without getting wet. Chloe fell several times and got her shoes and pants wet almost instantly. Did I mention the weather was cold and rainy? It turned particularly miserable while we were there. I was also worried. If something happened, I would only be able to take one kid up the steep embankment back to the car at a time, which means one would have to wait by himself/herself while I locked the other in the car, neither a good choice to be alone next to a rushing river.

We finally moved to a third spot. By this time I knew what we needed to look for, and I got out first to give the place a looking over before agreeing. Still not ideal, but less water flow with a dirt/rock section to pitch our pop-up shelter. While here, I wrote down the two things I felt I needed for safety and sanity:

1. To be close enough to the car that I could take both kids back to it at the same time, by myself, if we needed something. That means leaving the keys with me, too. (I didn’t have them at the previous spot, and David was beyond yelling distance and couldn’t hear me, so we couldn’t have gone back to the car anyway).

2. A spot near the river that gently slopes into it so Chloe can splash (there would be no keeping her out of it), and possibly fall in (which she did, of course), but far enough from the fast water that I could fish her out with plenty of time to spare. Plus a place for me to sit and safetley put Leo down.

The other thing would be to have more time to pack. By the time I realized David was serious about going and taking us with him I was rushing around trying to get everything I thought we’d need. The two things I had forgotten were a good pair of trail shoes for me and Leo’s bouncy seat (it was too muddy to just put him down on a blanket). That meant leaving him in his car seat when I wasn’t holding him, and what baby wants to spend that much time in his car seat?

So anyway, the trip wasn’t the perfect family outting we had all hoped for, but it was a very good learning experience. I really miss photographing nature like I used to, but I realized it was not easy while being responsible for my children. All in its time, I guess. One day they’ll be big enough to know the dangers, and by then be joining their father fishing, like I’d be doing. Then maybe I can spend more time with my camera. I did get this photo though… priceless.


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The neglected toddler

These photos were taken at Rainbow Trout Farm a few weeks ago where Chloe got her first “real” fishing experience. David insists that Chloe will be a champion fly-fisher one day, so he is starting her down the path to success. Leo was only 2 weeks old then. He mostly slept through the whole experience.

***

In the case of a toddler versus newborn scenario, it is almost certain to be the toddler who gets shafted. I feel like I’m always asking Chloe to “hold on” while I see to Leo’s needs first (feeding, diaper changing, whatever) before I can get Chloe what she wants (anything from setting her up with a project, getting her a snack or putting on a video). Very rarely do I let Leo really cry while I see to Chloe’s needs, although sometimes there has been no choice in the matter.

One of the reasons I am grateful for David’s paternity leave is the time he’s been able to devote to Chloe. Yes, I’ve needed a little help with the newborn, but at this point I have the skills to take care of him on my own. Knowing Chloe is getting attention from Daddy (and grandma while she was here) really helps assuage the guilt I feel for not spending more quality time with her. It also leaves me more free time to focus on Leo. This newborn period flies by, and I am trying to savor it the best I can, knowing it will be gone all too soon.


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July weekend

We had a really nice weekend – gardening and friends for dinner on Saturday and then fishing with Daddy on Sunday. We don’t go fishing with Daddy very often anymore. I might have said this before, but it is just too exhausting keeping a toddler safe on the riversides where David likes to fish. It is mostly exposed, so it is hot and we have to watch for sunburn, and the water is painfully cold, so you can only step in it for a handful of seconds. Chloe kept forgetting and I’d have to hold her back from just charging in.

Toward the end of the afternoon we left the grassy area and found a nice shady spot amidst a lot of mud and rocks. Here is Chloe examining the mud on her fingers and saying “Dirty!” over and over.

But, of course, she got over it quickly and just sat down to play. By the end she was dumping dirty water on her head over and over. She was a mess!

This was the only photo I took of Barkley. He LOVES coming to the river. We used to be able to throw a stick for him to swim and fetch, but he doesn’t do that anymore. I don’t know if it is his leg, or the temperature is too cold for him now that he’s older. We just found out that our next door neighbor’s dog was put down because of cancer. Makes me wonder how long we’ll have Barkley. I hope a long time, so that Chloe can grow up with a dog around.

And lastly, here is a photo of a little visitor who landed on me. We saw several butterflies that day, and I remember thinking how neat it would be if I could get a shot of one. However, none of them were still long enough, they just fluttered by. This one however, decided to give me my opportunity. It wasn’t ideal, since focusing an SLR one-handed is a challenge, plus I had to keep stopping to pull Chloe back out of the water. I couldn’t believe how long that butterfly stayed, too. You can see in the photo that it’s proboscis is fully unfurled and it’s rooting around for some nectar. You’d think it might be attracted to my sunscreen, except Chloe was wearing the same kind. Plus, it was the only one that stopped to say hello. I feel quite blessed by that experience.


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Rocks and Water

On Saturday we drove down to Eugene to see my photograph hanging at the Jacobs Gallery. There were some beautiful works of art presented, and if we had that kind of money I’m sure we would have bought one or two of our favorites. Afterwards we got  lunch at the Saturday Market and then headed up river to one of David’s favorite fishing spots.

We ended up at one of the resevoirs not far from the waterfalls. The water was so cold and the gravel prickly, but that didn’t stop Chloe from wanting to play. Rather than fight it, I took off her shoes and socks, rolled up her pants, and let her go. We were high in the mountains, so the water was fairly calm and clean (not like the dirty lakes and rivers of the city). I like how she looks so serious in these photos – having fun is hard work sometimes!


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A Strange Halloween


David fishing with Chloe, loved the reflection and the misty clouds

David in action on the water and me experimenting with exposure

David took this last photo, but I really liked it

We had a very out-of-the-ordinary day yesterday, beyond the fact that it was Halloween. It included:

• a long drive to go fishing
• wading in to retrieve a kicked off baby shoe, followed by a sock
• feeding my daughter lunch with a Wheat Thin because I forgot a spoon
• hiking in the woods
• finding a surprise batch of gorgeous mushrooms
• eating dinner at a restaurant
• having the power go out halfway through our meal
• gathering our things, including the baby, in the dark
• remembering I had a headlamp in the diaper bag
• having to wait over an hour because of a car accident that downed powerlines and closed the road (see aforementioned power outtage)

We finally arrived home at 11pm, very tired and too late for tricker-treaters, but  VERY glad to be home!


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My husband is a genius!


A shameless shout out for my husband’s fly fishing blog

After searching around the Paperseed database, David was able to somehow repair the comments file, so at least that’s resolved. It doesn’t explain the missing blog posts, though, and my email problems. One thing at a time, I guess. Luckily, I was able to go back and find the missing posts (via this method), and have re-posted them (with fingers crossed that they won’t disappear for a second time!)


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Sahalie Falls & Fishing


Sahalie Falls, McKenzie River, Oregon

This is one of two breathtaking waterfalls we saw this weekend. I only got a couple shots before my camera died, and I didn’t have a spare battery with me. The other falls, not far down, was called Koosah Falls. We were in the area so David could do some fly fishing on the McKenzie, which is 2+ hours south of Portland. If my camera had been working, I would have taken some great shots of David reeling in his catch. I’ve been trying to convince him lately that we should start keeping the big ones for dinner (instead of always releasing). He came so close this time, but in the end the beauty of the fish overwhelmed him and he had to let it go. That’s okay, honey, maybe next time.

Postscript: David just showed me this video on how to clean and cook river side trout “McKenzie Style.”


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One Hot Weekend


A kid on the pier holding a crab

Holy cow it has been SO HOT these past few days. I have never liked really hot weather, and that goes double for pregnant me. Thank goodness it is finally cooling off.

On Friday, David and I drove to Hood River for a summer party with the company he’s working for. We were SO excited because we’d be getting our choice of windsurfing or kiteboarding lessons, which we’ve always wanted to do. Turns out it was so freakin’ hot that there was zero wind (which is what Hood River and the Columbia Gorge are famous for), so we couldn’t have lessons. Very disappointing. Otherwise, it was a nice time, although in the thick of the day I had to leave the riverside to spend a couple hours in the nearby air-conditioned library.

On Saturday, to beat the heat, we headed for the coast (along with a mass exodus of other Portlanders). After a short stop along the Wilson River for David and Alex to do some fly fishing, we continued on to the pier at Garibaldi to throw in crab rings. It was so blissfully cool there on the ocean. We caught some good sized crabs, but none quite big enough to keep. It was fun though. We saw sea lions and pelicans, and David and Alex caught little ocean fish off the pier while I did some reading.

In baby news, I went in last week for a regular check-up with the mid-wife. She listened to baby’s heart for a while before suggesting that I come back later in the day for a fetal non-stress test. Turns out baby has fetal heart arrhythmia. I’ve read that 1%-2% of all pregnant women have babies with this problem, and that it can often resolve itself, although it may also indicate health complications. Tomorrow we’re scheduled to see a perinatologist, who will hopefully be able to tell us more about our particular situation. Of course I’m hoping that it is really nothing to worry about, although I’d appreciate any prayers and health-giving thoughts our way.


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This thing called Sun

Yesterday I woke up to honest-to-goodness sunlight streaming through the house. What a miracle! There has hardly been even a partial day of sun since our return from the holidays, mostly just cold, rain, grey, rain, freezing, grey, overcast, rain, cloudy, dreary, rain. I’m sure it has been affecting my mood. The sun makes me happy. I like a few days of rain, okay, but weeks of it? No can do. So why do I suffer through this lousy weather here in Portland? Because the summers are phenomenal. As is autumn, and spring, too.

I ran out of the house almost immediately to snap photos of the frosty ice crystals that formed overnight on the plants and then later the three of us dressed warm and spent the afternoon along the Wilson River. David fished, Barkley explored and marked his territory, and I took photographs and read (fingers were too cold to knit, although I did bring it along). It was so good to go for a drive in the country and get out of the house.


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A little down time

I haven’t really posted in a couple days, which is unfortunate, because I was on a roll there for a while. I guess I’m feeling a little down right now. Things are still good, though. David and I are healthy. We’re both picking up a little more freelance work. I recently sold 3 of our recycled birdhouses on Etsy (2 were custom orders!) and painted a couple more replacements (1,2,3). I picked up some fun new fabric at Ikea this weekend to continue my “learn to sew” projects and yesterday David and I spent the day fishing with two other guys on a boat on the beautiful Columbia River (check out the catch). Pretty hard life, eh?

I know that making the adjustment from full-time to freelance is not an easy one, but I can’t quite shake the remnants of doubt, even after this long. I think it is affecting our relationship, too. In some ways I expected more from us. So its hard. Plus, we made a questionable purchase recently, which will probably turn out fine, as long as we get past the second-thoughts we’re having.

Anyway, I’m almost back to normal. I’m one of those people who likes a certain amount of balance regarding work, being social, physical exercise, mental time, and quiet “me” time. The past week has been unusually heavy on the social and almost nil on the exercise and quiet “me” time. I rectified some of that tonight with a nice long run/walk with Barkley, which helped (tempered with a little comfort food – a slice of toasted Oatnut bread minus the crust, spread with Nutella, plus a glass of milk).

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