I’ll admit it.

I scouted a neighborhood before heading out to trick-or-treat. What’s a mom to do when she’s new in town, lives temporarily in an apartment complex and knows no one? My kids were so excited to trick-or-treat. I had to have somewhere good to take them.

I probably would have attempted trick-or-treating in the apartment complex, but when I left to do some last-minute Halloween errands at 12:30, more doors than not had this sign hanging on them:

The signs all looked the same, so I am not sure if the all the Halloween-haters banded together and shared their design or if the complex management offered fliers to folks. Quite different than the turn off the lights tactic in Philadelphia, but it did make it easy to know where to go and where not to. Clearly, we are considering extending our stay in this place because it’s so family friendly. (On the other hand, though, I totally get it.)

Not only did I personally scout the neighborhood…I suckered Kenny into a tour after picking him and the kids up from work and school. Yes, until our cars arrive hopefully at the end of this week, I have a Mom Taxi whereby I have been taking everyone to work and school and picking them up each day so I can run errands. Go ahead. You can laugh. It IS kind of hilarious. It’s Kenny’s favorite. Anyway, he didn’t really have a choice other than jumping out of the car when we drove past our complex…and let’s face it, there’s really not that much to go home to…yet.

On the family tour of the trick-or-treating route (I can barely type that with a straight face. It sounds so ridiculously dorky. Probably because it is!), Grace informed me that I missed the turn to our house. So helpful. BUT – we also spotted two houses for sale and grabbed the sell sheets for them.

We headed out at about 6:30. Four houses in, Kenny quipped, “Based on what I see so far, I want to live here.” Friendly, friendly families. Tons of kids of all ages. Nice couples handing out candy to the families. Pretty homes with decent front and back yards. Mostly all were decorated. It’s in the city limits, so we’d definitely be Portlanders. But the kids would go to Beaverton schools. Interesting.

We also discovered that we reaaaaaalllllly aren’t from around here. About halfway through trick-or-treating, there was all this animal screaming. Like a cat fight. But VERY loud. We just happened to be passing by a pack of those friendly, friendly families I mentioned earlier. My reaction was to halt the coach and say, “Kenny – stop walking.” Quite honestly, instinctively, I wanted to run the other way. Particularly when whatever was fighting popped out to the front lawn we were approaching for a quick, screaming tussle. The men in the friendly, friendly family pack, however, darted TOWARDS this screaming, bouncing pile of fur – I guess in an attempt to break it up. Nope. I wanted to run. Even our DOG would have wanted to run. He woulda been the first one outta there. I guess we’ll have to work on our breakin’ up animal fights skills.

Overall, though, it was a great night. And so good for us to see some young families like us!

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Halloween is a *tad* bit different in Portland…so far

We took the kids to the Oregon Zoo today for Howloween – and faced some fierce fog on the drive over.


It was so much fun. It is a gorgeous zoo – and has hiking trails built right in. Sure, they are manufactured hiking trails, but they count as brief bouts of hiking. (Look at me, ma! Hiking after only five days!)

The kids participated in a scavenger hunt to collect stamps from stations around the zoo. When their forms were filled in, they turned them in on the way out for a bag of “treats”. Portland-style treats. All-natural bites of deliciousness that included:

So far, I’ve been passed a Cherry Pie and Chocolate Chip Brownie Lärabar. At least they tried it. I found them both delicious. I would totally buy them.

It’s definitely hilarious though. A wild (Groan. I know. Pun. I can’t resist sometimes!) departure from the Reese’s cups and Snickers I am sure they were expecting. They are totally looking forward to Monday. I am, too. But mostly to see if anyone gives out real, bad-for-you-and-potentially-the-environment-too chocolate and candy treats.

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New School. New Food. Two Tired Kids.

This school thing is kickin’ it!

The school itself is, quite frankly, amazing…making the fact that it costs a whole ‘nother mortgage payment an easier pill to swallow. (Not easy. But easier.) Combine that with the fact that they both crash by about 7:30 p.m. now (and both are napping on a Saturday afternoon as I type this!), and we’ve got a good thing startin’.

Some pretty cool stuff:

They do sports rotations – so every five weeks, Gavin and Grace will be participating in different activities which include: swimming, field hockey, soccer, basketball, yoga. Hilarious! They have music every Friday. They take nature walks around campus. They have an awesome outdoor play area with all kinds of neat equipment like this and this and this and this. They offer services like hair cuts and eye exams and pictures and book fairs. And they go outside everyday – even in the rain. (The teachers joked they’d never go out if they didn’t go out in the rain. So far, it’s been sunny every day since we arrived. Woo hoo!)

But this is the part I find most hilarious – they feed them a hot lunch everyday. All organic, and with vegetables they grow themselves outside in their garden. Kenny and I are delighted by this. However, Gavin and Grace really like to eat the same things over and over and over. For lunch, this is usually natural peanut butter on a graham cracker (or on a spoon if you’re Grace some days.) So… I am absolutely tickled by the notion that they will sit down at a table, where organic foods will be put in front of them, that they will then spoon onto their own plates and eat. This may be one of the only times I hope peer pressure pays off and they dive right in!

No pay offs. They aren’t buying the whole lunch scene so far. Gavin squealed the whole ride home Wednesday that he was soooooooooo thirsty and sooooooooo hungry; although, his teacher said he ate a lot of noodles and meat sauce and melon (MEAT SAUCE! This is already a breakthrough!) at lunch. Grace just had noodles and melon.

Thursday, lunch was lentil curry over rice. Needless to say, they ate pretty much non-stop from the time they walked through the door until bedtime that day. (They did, however, eat the peas and mango that was served on the side; Grace had rice.)

Friday, they had spaghetti, meatballs, brussel sprouts and fruit. (Well, some kids had brussel sprouts. Mine did not.)

Snack time went from this to this.

And on Friday afternoon Gavin whispered to me ‘Mom, they only have water to drink here!’

Hahahaha. Oh, healthy eating. This is going to be a whole new world for them – taking them right back to their early days of table food. Hahahaha!

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