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Portland with Amanda | A kid-free weekend

It was Amanda's idea and I'm so glad she had it.

This is Amanda:

You may remember her and her starring role as my doula for Lyra's birth in Mexico.

If you don't know that story, it is worth a read here.

"We should go on a getaway without our husbands or are kids. What do you think?" she asked.

I pulled up a tab on Travelocity and asked her when we were leaving.

We had three months from the time we purchased tickets until we finally met up. Amanda said we should challenge ourselves to be able to do 100 push ups a day by the time we met each other in Portland.


While we can't do 100 push ups in one go, we are able to do 100 in a day. In fact we both got so good at push ups that we bumped the challenge to 200 a day. Now that was something we really had to work at.

Amanda took a train from Vancouver (and a ferry from Pender Island). I took a non-stop from San Diego.

During the day we walked and walked and walked.

Those dildos in the sky are actually a thing in Portland. More on this "free expression of joy" here.

Amanda is not only a doula, she is a child-birth educator, AND a beekeeper. Naturally then, we followed the huge sign we saw on the sidewalk one day that pointed us toward ------------> MEAD.

Fun fact: Mead does not come from a winery or a brewery. It comes form a meadery, people. It just makes sense.

The thirty minute chocolate tasting at Missionary RX Chocolates finally made me realize how accurate Portlandia is to real life in that city.

Phrases we heard while tasting chocolate heaven:

"The mint comes from a third-generation mint farm just outside the city."

"This is from a local. She extracts the passion fruit flavor from actual plants versus using essential oils."

"If you buy Jacobsen Sea Salts [hand-harvested in Portland] at a retail store though, don't expect the salt to be this spicy. We add a little extra oomph." 

Our host was Jessica of Jessica J Consulting and ladies, if you are looking for a life coach, she comes highly recommended. Jessica lives smack-dab in the city and has a stunning guest room to boot. Amanda and I were so grateful for this kid-free, man-free (no offense to awesome husbands), zenned out zone. 

In the evenings the three of us danced, drank, ate carbs, and reveled in being able to finish whole thoughts and speak in uninterrupted sentences. Sometimes moms need a break. This was a GREAT break.

When three clear-eyed, square-shouldered, gorgeous women walk into a bar or restaurant together you will inevitably get asked what the hell is going down that evening. I liked to smile demurely and respond that we all owned Subarus, but Jessica and Amanda were quick to explain further.

What does give certain women that twinkle in their eye? 

Is it the push ups?

Minimal living?


(Because all of these things, including the Subaru-ownership is true for all of us.)

You can see the glitter in Bethany's eyes. This is Bethany from s/v Lilo. You may remember her from my Mexico posts, like this one.

And while you can't see their faces directly here, the sparkle is intense in Bethany's daughters' eyes too. That's Hannah on the sax, and Meira holding the music. Meira also plays the cajón, or any convenient Harry Potter book can work as percussion in a pinch too. (Don't believe me? Watch her playing a book in the video below).

Perhaps it is music? We all love music.

I give you our impromptu choral singing on the streets of Portland after brunch one day:

If you haven't guessed my theory yet, the unifying aspect for me is that we are all sailors.

We are female sailors and female sailors are something else. They are women who sing, and dance, and have children. AND they are women that know the sea. They adventure. They are incredibly competent and perceptive. And happy.

Sailing women are a happy, giving bunch. 

If you are a sailing woman, or aspire to be one, join Women Who Sail. It's a fantastic group of supportive female sailors. You'll like it. 

I'd be remiss to not give a shout out to Bryan, Bethany's husband. He was one of the only two gentlemen who hung out with us this weekend and like the ladies present, Bryan's got it too. There is an alertness in sailors' eyes that I see in very few others. He also recorded our singing session, and snapped photos when Amanda and I met Jessica's neighbors and asked them if they'd like to do a bunch of push ups with random strangers (us) right in that very moment.

The neighbors obliged and Bryan documented it. Hey, I've got to get those 200 push ups in any way I can.

Just doing our part to Keep Portland Weird.

Oh, and the other guy we hung out with? He was a hilarious Marine Corps helicopter pilot named Jesse, but don't worry, we weren't being untrue to our men, the handsome pilot was there with his ultra-marathoner date, Alyssa. She was training to run a race that is 8 MARATHONS BACK-TO-BACK.

Yeah, its not just sailors with sparkles in their eyes; it is anyone who is really squeezing the fuck out of life every chance they get.

Okay, maybe a Wonka gif is a bit much, though I'm feeling robust lately, so let's just roll with it.


Our exploration of the city lasted for several colorful days.

The most rejuvenating part of this trip was Amanda's exuberance about life and the exhilaration of traveling sans family ties. It was just me, my thoughts, my friend, and her wondrousness. And we both could do and explore as we liked. It made me feel nostalgic for the abundant adventures of my twenties  in Europe, Mexico, and Nicaragua.

Amanda and I WILL be doing this again, though it'll be another city to conquer when we are ready.

Thanks to Amanda and Jessica. To Bethany, Bryan, Hannah, and Meira. To Yoni at Victory Bar and to that incredible ultra-marathoner, Alyssa, and the Marine Corps pilot, Jesse, for making our trip one for the record books.

We're gonna keep doing push ups every day and now we're adding pull ups to the repertoire. We shall bring our buffness to the next city soon.

PS - if you are in Portland anytime until the 28th of August, I encourage you to go see Claire Willet's play, Dear Galileo. It opened the night we left and has been met with wonderful reviews. I know Claire from an online writer's group and I have to tell you, I'd jump at the chance to see her work, though I hear that her shows are selling out, so go-go-go if you can!


1 Second Everyday | Kaufmans in July 2015

Via the 1 Second Everyday App. (Everyday is spelled that way purposefully, as explained by the app here. Check it out!

This is also the last 1SE that will include Cora's videos. I have a blog post coming soon on her official social media retirement.


Every Six Months ~ Cora and Lyra, July 2015

Lyra, 2.5 years old. Cora, 5 years old. 

San Diego, California. July, 2015.


Every Six Months: A Photo Project

The girls are 2.5 years apart and their birthdays fall almost exactly six months apart in a calendar year. My goal is to document the two of them together every six months. You can view all the photos in the series here.


And this GIF because it is just perfect.

I love you, girls!


Cora's Fifth Birthday at the Beach ~ 2015

Cora at Moonlight Beach, Encinitas. July 26, 2015.

This sweet girl is five today. Five years ago she joined our family and we have all been having the most fabulous adventures ever since.

Renée gave her a boogie board for her birthday and the kid was smitten. Combine the boogie board with the weekly swim lessons we are taking, and even without a sailboat right now, we'll keep her a water kid as much as we can.

It is bittersweet to write this post today because it is the last birthday post I'll be sharing about Cora. In a few more days I'll be officially retiring Cora from this blog and from social media. I've written about my plan to do this when she turned five for several years now and alas, the time has arrived.

We were lucky to have some wonderful friends join us today.

Estella and Melvin.

Kristine, Alex, and Jack.

Sacha, Monique, Steve, and Ronen.

Ryan and Spencer.

Leo and Renée.

Gray, Miles, and Ella.

This photo below is the only family photo that has Cora looking forward.

Here she is looking back to check the waves.

And here she is riding the wave.

I love seeing in these family photos how clearly Cora has Eric's legs and Lyra has mine.

You can see it here too with Lyra's little legs. We each have our own Mini-me's.

Cora wanted a strawberry cake with pink strawberry frosting in the shape of a heart with sprinkles.

I only had a small heart pan so I made a heart and a star. She loved them.

"We are so lucky. We have TWO cakes!"

Happy birthday, Cora!!

I love these photos below of Cora holding court. First she talks to Sacha.

Then she talks to Xavier.

You're a loveable, and loved, kid, Cora.

After the party we started working on thank you cards. She came up and gave me the first one. 

"This one is for you, mom, because you got me everything I wanted for my cake. You get the best stuff."

I'm enjoying so much the simple joy that comes from five year olds.

To the grown ups and kids who came to Cora's party today, thank you.

Cora, it's gonna be a great year.


My Workout Buddies

If you have followed mine or Eric's blogs for even a short time, you'll have noticed that we both like to work out. We also include our kids in our workouts as much as possible. 

All chalked up.

I've been working out in our car port area and when I head out the girls do too.

That's my girl. Fierce!

Lyra loves the ab wheel.

She also loves the toy garbage truck.

Sometimes I have one of the girls try to take pictures. Lyra tried in this one. Hey, at least you can see me and Cora in the shot.

Mostly the girls just play.

A little post workout snack is lovely outside too.

Cora asked me what these posters said when I hung them up.

She listened intently as I read.

"That's a great poem, mom. Yeah. Good idea to work out."

Hey thanks, buddy. 

Lyra did the most adorable videobomb yesterday when I was trying to check my form. 


Cora and Lyra, when you read this one day, thanks for being such kick ass little workout buddies.