Summer Postcard: Sand in The City

A few weeks ago (oh gosh, it was probably months ago now), I took the kids downtown to check out the annual Sand in the City contest. I love our city and will pretty much look for any opportunity to catch the train downtown (or drive if we’re lazy) to visit Powells or check out a photo gallery or just to see what’s going on. There’s an energetic vibe in the city during the Summer time that’s only beaten by the vibe at Christmas (I LOVE Christmas in Portland).

Although I have lived here for more than 10 years, this was my first visit to Sand in the City.

At first the kids weren’t overly impressed but then they started to spot some of their favorite characters from the Lego movie…

and Star Wars…

…and, of course, once they started they couldn’t stop pointing out their favorite sand sculptures. I wonder what drew them to this one?

You can’t beat a little family-friendly fun in Portland.

Camp Westwind: That’s a Wrap

The last couple of weeks have been a blur of travel and summer camps so posting on here has been a sporadic. The boys are in a different camp every week this summer to keep things interesting. Last week was Japanese camp, the week before was about Ranch animals and this week they’re spending a few days brushing up on their soccer skills with the timbers.  It’s a great test of my Mummy brain to remember where to take them and at what time.

But before all of the summer camps, there was camp Westwind – I’ve shared photos in previous posts here and here. Today’s multitude of photos tell the story of a kid with some acting skills, beach treasures, a hike through bear and cougar country, a view to die for, some friendly competition and a deep beach hole. Because a trip to the beach is just not the same unless you dig a really deep hole.

Wonderful memories that we plan to build on next year at this magical place.

A Magical Place: Camp Westwind Day 1

A few weeks ago we spent Memorial day weekend at Camp Westwind. We had a wonderful time exploring, hiking, playing games and making new friends. Sadly it ended in the worst way imaginable but, with a couple of weeks behind me, I feel as though I am now ready to share the happier parts of our weekend.

Camp Westwind is located just outside Lincoln City on the Oregon Coast. The camp is accessible only by barge (or canoe) over the Salmon River at high tide or a 2 mile walk in from highway 101. We arrived with the main group early on a Friday morning to catch the barge across the river. It was raining and a little miserable and I found myself wondering if our choice for a 3 day weekend at camp with relative strangers was a good one. The boys kept themselves busy skipping rocks and finding friends while we waited for the barge.

After a short wait the boys and I found ourselves on the very first ride across the river while Kei stayed behind to help load the luggage on the barge.

After we reached the other side of the river, our small group started walking up to camp. It was on this walk that I met some new friends who told me they had been coming to Westwind for years and that it’s a magical place. I remained skeptical while my legs grew weary of the walk along the dirt road. I’ve never been fully comfortable in new environments, especially those that include shared bathrooms and cabins and the prospect of meeting about 50 new people. But these new friends with their warm welcome gave me hope that it would be less scary than I imagined.

And, you know what? It wasn’t scary at all and it was even more than a little bit magical. We made new friends, enjoyed long walks along the beach, explored tide pools and hiked up (what felt like) mountains. Our little family enjoyed three days of feeling disconnected from the real world, figuratively and literally (I couldn’t get a phone signal). It was like being stranded on a deserted island, but with three good meals a day and a keg at night.

Here are some photos from day 1, including a a baby seal sighting that made me grateful for my new zoom lens.

No need to check your eyesight – that’s Thomas running with a friend, not Samuel.

This boat came all the way from Japan.

Back soon with photos from Day 2 when the sun made a rare appearance on the Oregon coast.

Another Week, Another Tragedy

I hate having to be a broken record. Another school shooting today, on the outskirts of Portland. Another family who has to plan a funeral for their child. Only this time it wasn’t a terrible accident, it was something that shouldn’t have happened. Something completely avoidable.

I have strong views about gun laws in my adopted country and, quite frankly, I’m tired. How many more times does this have to happen before we see some real change?  I know there are crazy people out there and I know that some of those crazy people (or depressed people or people with a vendetta or people just having a bad day) would hurt someone with or without a gun, but why are we making it easier for them? And to those who say we need good guys with guns to stop bad guys with guns –  I don’t want to rely on that good guy with a gun. I would rather the bad guy have a harder time getting one in the first place. We don’t need more heroes – we need fewer avoidable tragedies.

I’ve been caught up in a Facebook discussion today that went back and forth between people on opposing sides. For the most part it was a civil conversation with everyone respecting each others point of view, but then there were the people who asked how we dare debate this topic when someone has to say goodbye to their child today. In my mind, is there a better time? This country has a very short memory when it comes to gun control and next week Reynolds High School will be another dot on the school shooting map.

I’ve said it before and I’m sure I’ll say it again – your right to own a gun is not more important than my child’s right to go to school without fear of being shot.  Not changing anything with regard to gun laws is not working. In fact it’s getting worse.

Life trumps guns. It’s that simple.