Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Portland perks

Each day I think, "Gah! I need to blog about our Portland arrival!" But then I get distracted with our rental search, finalizing our condo sale (we accepted an offer and are in escrow! BOO YA!), trying to orient myself in this city, or losing my focus 'cuz I saw something shiny -- usually sharp and pointy and in the hand of our almost-3-year-old running through the expansive halls of our temporary living quarters.

Our flight up here was fairly smooth. Em fell asleep on the plane and would've probably stayed that way if the flight attendant hadn't loudly marveled at the CARES harness Em was wearing. "Oh! That's BRILLIANT! I haven't seen that before!!!"

Despite the madness since our Thursday arrival, it's safe to say that we're enjoying the city and all its offerings.

Some highlights
No sales tax. I'm so giddy each time I pay for something that doesn't cost me an extra 9.25%. (Santa Monica sales tax is one of the highest in the nation.) It makes me so happy when I receive a restaurant bill and see no tax that I find myself a little more generous in the tip department.

Trader Joe's tiny carts. When we first considered moving to Portland, I immediately looked to see if they had Targets and Trader Joe's. I can't imagine myself living somewhere without those! Silly, but true. We made our first visit to a Trader Joe's, and Em and I were both excited to see that they have the kid-sized carts that none of the LA stores seemed to have.

Tiny shopper


Powell's City of Books. This is a city-block sized book store, and the selection and prices are amazing. Brent and I visited when we were here during his recruitment weekend, and we were excited to take Em for her first visit.
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The air. It's so crisp. It's so clean. It's like a breath of fresh...air.

The view. We're staying in a swanky apartment building downtown for a few weeks. Shortly after our arrival, Em ran to her bedroom window and set up her toys.
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The amenities. Our building includes a small gym, and I've already worked out TWICE. This is particularly huge because I think the last time I was at a gym was my first trimester -- in 2008!
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Our building also features a private screening room. Em thought it was the coolest thing in the history of things.
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The people. There is a beautiful lack of population, and the people we have encountered are warm and welcoming. We visited Target on Sunday afternoon, and it wasn't nearly the madhouse I'm used to. Also? The shelves are fully stocked -- even with the elusive Missoni stuff!
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The hats.
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Just kidding. They have those hats at the LA Nordstrom Rack, too, I'm sure.

All in all, we approve of Portland so far!
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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Busy bees

Somehow between trying to sell our condo (no offers...yet) and get our ducks in a row for our Portland move (we leave THIS Thursday), we managed to throw together an early 3rd birthday for Em/going-away party for us.

I wasn't planning on a theme, but then I decided Em would wear this sweet Gymboree dress I bought not long ago.
A bee theme was born.

As most of our parties go, we hosted the gathering at my in-laws'.

The early-birthday girl was thrilled.

Mini guest of honor


In addition to cake, there was lots of food.

Food


I made some smores on a stick, using these flat marshmallows, and they turned out to be a big hit with the kiddos.
Smores on a stick


Em convinced the grandparents to let us rent a bounce house. My in-laws were firmly against it, fearing that someone would get hurt and sue them, until out of nowhere Em told them, "Grandma, I like to bounce!" They melted in a puddle of grandparentness and said, "Yes! Yes! You can have a bounce house! And here's your pony while we're at it!"

Bounce house

The bounce house arrived in the morning, and Em essentially bounced from 10:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., taking a break for lunch, nap and to blow out her candles.

My mom even helped Em test out the bounce house after its arrival.

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Em showed me how it's done.

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With her pals at the party

Bounce house



Em & her pals

More pals at the party
Raffy

Maya

Sweet boy

Parker

My friend Jami makes gorgeous, creative cakes in her spare time, so I recruited her to make the cake. I sent her a pic of a couple bee cakes for inspiration, decided on a lemon flavor and then left it up to her.


When she showed up with this final product, I almost cried. It was more than I could've hoped for.

Em loves parties and cakes, and we sing "Happy birthday" nearly every day and blow out "pretend" candles, just 'cuz. So I was surprised when we presented her with the candles on her cake, and she froze. Happy birthday stage fright, perhaps?

Bee cake



"Candles?"


I finally convinced her to join all her pals and blow out the three candles.

Hesistant to blow out candles

I'm glad we were able to celebrate with so many of our friends and family, some of whom drove hours just to be with us, before we head up north. I can't imagine a better way to send us off. 

Monday, September 05, 2011

Time warp

Last week Heather invited me to be her guest at a blogger event. Wednesday morning she texted me to let me know that she was stuck in traffic and would be about 20 minutes late to the event.

"Hm," I thought. "Isn't the event Thursday?"

Confusing both myself and Heather, I confirmed via the invite that she was indeed correct. Thankfully the event was up the road, in Malibu, so I was able to pull myself together, head out the door, and arrive just moments after she did.

Later that day, Hilary sent a note to a group of us who'd planned dinner next week, sadly bowing out because of a work conflict.

"Funny," I replied. "I thought we had planned it for Thursday, not Wednesday."

I admonished myself for screwing up the days for both of these events, but shrugged it off.

This weekend I got Em all excited to celebrate her friend's 3rd birthday on Saturday. I knew the party overlapped with Em's usual 1-3 p.m. nap, and for whatever reason, I assumed it started at 2.

You know what they say about people who assume.

After brunch, I checked the invite and saw that the party was, in fact, from 11 a.m. - 2 p.m.

It was 11:30 a.m.

I hurried Em and myself into my car, made the 15-mile drive to Torrance, and then wondered why there were so few cars at a party that started an hour ago.

I looked at the invitation and saw that the party was THE NEXT DAY.

I sped away, fast as lightning.

Em was pissed, pouty lip and everything. I had talked up a party with one of her best toddler friends, and in her eyes, I wasn't letting her celebrate. She didn't understand nor probably care that her mommy, who's usually the queen of our social calendar and prides herself on punctuality, has had a hard time getting it together lately because she's so preoccupied with getting ready for our move.

Brent and I have been literally neck-high in moving boxes as we prepped our condo for open houses and showings. We filled a 10-foot U-haul truck with bookshelves, chairs and boxes to keep at my in-laws' in the name of showing our condo at its best.

I'm a night owl who hasn't been able to keep my eyes open past 11, napping 1-2 hours when I can, too.

The fog in my brain is finally starting to lift, thankfully.

Despite being so out of it, my friends and I had a hearty laugh at the actual party on SUNDAY. And I'm considering tattooing upcoming events to my forearm a la Guy Pierce in Memento. It may be the only way I'll get there on time.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Sunscream

I spent last weekend at a bachelorette party, winetasting on the Central Cali coast in Tori's honor.


Tori's bachelorette weekend


Em kept Brent on his toes while I was gone. He stepped out of the room for just a couple of minutes, but it was just long enough for this to happen.

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Brent hadn't even scolded her. She just knew, on her own, that she was into something she shouldn't have been.
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I suppose we don't have to worry about her left arm or right leg getting sunburnt for a while.