Monday, January 20, 2014

Surfin', pumpkin patchin', and dairy farmin'

Lena feels right at home on Daddy's surfboard

Note: Baby Levi is now 5 days old!  The three-part entry below was scheduled to auto-post last Monday, the day before a very pregnant Kathy's water broke (!) on Tuesday morning. For some reason, it never posted. And shortly after checking into St. Vincent's maternity ward with Kathy, I stopped blogging and checking Facebook/ emails completely to make time for family and baby bonding. The only cheating during my digital blackout:
  1. Giving Kathy permission to hack my Facebook on Wednesday for a few minutes to post a status update (as me) about baby Levi's birth
  2. Tweeting
  3. Posting a short birth announcement on Garth's Blog for our son Levi James Hamilton (link here)
Now that Kathy, Lena, and I are settling into life at home with our 5 day old newborn, I'll be blogging more about Baby Levi this week!

From last Monday: 
To quote one of my blog posts from September 2011 (link), our baby's due date is... yesterday? Our yet-to-be-named baby boy was actually due three days ago, on Friday. Kathy, Lena, and I can barely contain our excitement as we wait for our baby boy's arrival. We'll let the readers know when the Big Moment gets here.

In the meantime, here's a triple snack pack of bite-sized blog posts (including one written by Kathy!) based on some 2013 Hamilton outings with Lena: Two more surfing trips, a romp in a pumpkin patch, and a hands on tour of Alpenrose Dairy's Storybook Lane. First up...

 Part 1: Surfin'

After years of wasting money on surfboard rentals in Australia, Hawaii, and here in Oregon (link), I won Kathy over with the idea of buying my own board.

A lady near our neighborhood who was going through some heartbreakingly rough times offered me a screamin' deal on her husband's handmade Al Merrick. The board's length was longer than ideal, but for the price I just couldn't walk away.

Picking up my new toy with my other favorite toy, the Jeep Wrangler

Earlier last summer, our previous 2013 surfing trips were capped off with a final blue epoxy/ fiberglass rental at Aussie's Surf Shop in Newport.

Kathy's Facebook friends may recognize 2-3 of the pics below from our Newport surfing trip over the summer:

A quick stop at L.A. Fitness on the way to the Oregon Coast

Lena sharpens her new walking skills at the Yaquina Bay Lighthouse

More surfing at the disappointingly calm Agate Beach

White water rafting, wakeboarding, camping, and overseas trips in Fall 2013 prevented me from hopping onto my new (new to me, anyways) surfboard until October.  The wait seemed unbearable.

My Al Merrick surfboard finally had it's "maiden" ride in Seaside. The bar of Sex Wax was accidentally left at home, so the new board got a little slippery out on the waves. But there was no buyer's remorse in sight.


Part 2: Pumpkin Patchin'

It's a given in our circle of friends that parents will probably take their kids to at least one pumpkin patch each fall. Lena's first pumpkin patchin' experience was at Bauman Farms in Gervais, Oregon back in 2012.

In October 2013, we hit up the less impressive (by Kathy's standards) Walk on the Wild Side farm in Canby. The family-run farm did have a few pumpkins laying around, but "pumpkin patch" is a bit of a misnomer. More noteworthy attractions were the hay bale maze, petting zoo, train/tractor ride, and bouncy houses for the kiddos.

Somehow, the Walk on the Wild Side farm ALSO had a cage with exotic animals.

Lions? Random, but very cool.

For a more traditional pumpkin patch experience in 2013, Kathy preferred this farm near Smith Rock, Oregon:


Part 3: Dairy Farmin'

Note: Kathy wrote this final section and also pitched in the pics.  Like the first two parts, "Surfin'" and "Pumpkin Patchin,'" Part 3 was originally intended to be a standalone blog post.

Thanks, Kathy!

Ever since Lena’s first Christmas, we have been looking for inexpensive activities that will become tradition.  We all have our Christmas traditions that we fondly remember and we want the same for Lena and her soon-to-be-born brother.  One such tradition we found is Christmas in Dairyville and Storybook Lane at Alpenrose Dairy in SW Portland.  The best part is that it’s FREE!!

On the walk into Dairyville there are lights wrapped around the trees and Christmas music playing.  The old-time store fronts with their wooden walk-ways are decked out in Christmas.  There is an old-fashioned school and bank you can walk into and on cold days there’s a place to buy warm drinks.  We stumbled upon a duck pond and saw a few horses.

A highlight for Lena was watching the oversized model train (aka: choo-choo) track and village.

Storybook Lane is a walk-through story time.  The display for Mary Had a Little Lamb had lambs, 3 piglets for The Three Pigs…you get the point.  We have been very impressed with Alpenrose and the family-friendliness of it all.

Lena tries to make eye contact with a lighted deer.

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