Weekend at the Coast | Out & About in JJ Cole Style

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Happy Be-lated Mother’s Day! We spent our Mother’s Day Weekend at the coast playing in the sun, sand and surf.

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We lucked out and the weather at the coast was just perfect. We rented a house in Arch Cape which is about half way between Manzanita and Cannon Beach. We actually spent Mother’s Day Weekend at Cannon Beach last year as well; I guess we are starting a new tradition. This year however we ventured a bit further south to Manzanita Beach after hearing so many recommendations from co-workers and friends. I have to say it lived up to the hype and the beach was beautiful. We didn’t spend much time in town but there seemed to be a good number of restaurants, cafes and little shops.

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We may have forgot to put Edith in more water appropriate clothes and a change of clothes. Oh well she had a blast but requested a warm cup of “coffee” (steamed non-dairy milk) post wading.

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After our morning visit to Manzanita Beach we headed back to the beach house for lunch and an attempted nap. Since napping just wasn’t going to happen we packed the kids up and headed into the downtown of Cannon Beach in search of chocolate and a spot to lay out and relax on our new JJ Cole® All-Purpose Outdoor Blanket.

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While we searched for chocolate Neil tried out the JJ Cole Agility Carrier.

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Once we finally got our hands on a box of chocolates we headed to the park across the street and unpacked our blanket to sit on. We shared our box of chocolates, read a few books, played a game of tag and then it was time to pack up. We walked around town a bit before finally heading back to the beach house for dinner.

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We ended our evening with a sunset visit to the beach. We seriously rented the best place that was just one block from the access to a super quiet beach. Our first night we went down to the beach as well and it was super windy so Alder hid in the carrier but the second night he was all about digging into the sand.

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For more photos check out my post on RWT and on our Instagram.

*Disclaimer: We were provided product for this review. As always all opinions are our own.

JJ Cole items featured in our post:

JJ Cole Heather Caprice

Heather Caprice (find it at Babies R Us): This has become our primary diaper bag because we just love the style, the color and the size. I knew we would love it because if you remember a few years back we had a JJ Cole bag that we used until we wore it out. This bag has two huge insulated pockets on the side, a great zippered pocket on the front where I store my keys, phone and mom things. On the other side there is an outside pocket that holds the changing pad. In the center is a big zippered section that has four pockets inside perfect for holding diapers, books, changes of clothes and snacks. The only pockets I don’t get are the two mini ones on the front; what are they for? I guess I could store lipgloss in them but not much else. P.S. If you want to see an updated ‘What’s In My Diaper Bag’ post let me know in the comments below.

JJ Cole Prairie Blossom Outdoor Blanket

Prairie Blossom Outdoor Blanket (find it at buybuyBABY): This blanket is my new favorite thing. The blanket is 100% Polyester with PVC Coating which means you don’t have to worry about a damp ground or even better taking the beach home with you. When we left the beach we just shook it off, folded it up and off we went. That’s another thing I love, how easy it is to fold up and carry. The cool thing is that it actually has a stiff square that you use as as guide when folding which allows you to get the blanket back into the same shape as when you took it out of the package. Now if only I could find tents and sleeping bags that do the same thing – tell me I’m not the only one that can’t see to get my tent back into the bag without a huge struggle.

JJ Cole Agility Carrier

Agility Carrier (find it at Babies R Us, buybuyBABY, Target, Amazon): I had no idea until recently that JJ Cole even had a babycarrier so I was excited to try it when the opportunity came along. So what did I think? Well I wanted to like the carrier but honestly it just didn’t work well for us. First I think that while the carrier can hold up to 35 pounds in my opinion as a certified babywearing educator I really think that for both the wearer and the positioning of the baby 15-20 or so pounds is the ideal max weight. I also had trouble with the fit of the carrier because it is sized and actually it fit Neil just a bit better than it fit me. I wonder if I went up a size (I tried a large) if it would work but I think that it might have been just a bit too big in an extra large. The thing I would say with this carrier is that it’s better for younger babies and it is something that you want to try on first for size before buying. That all being said it was well made, the fabric was soft, it was easy to put on because basically it was like putting on a shirt and the back panel is a nice feature that adds a bit more support.

Earth Day 2015 | Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge

Earth Day 2015 - Wildlife Refuge

Most Wednesday’s we drop Neil off at work in the morning and instead of heading home we head out on a nature adventure. This week we headed to Sherwood, Oregon to the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge. I had originally heard about this spot from a friend who came across their preschool program called puddle stompers. This past Wednesday just happened to be Earth Day which made it even more perfect for us to spend some time in nature. Scroll to the bottom to see a photo of our little adventure or just keep on reading.

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Edith had a blast walking the trail, running across the rickety bridge and she loved throwing grass in the river aka her new favorite thing. The path at the refuge is well maintained and is perfect for toddlers which makes my life easier when I am out with both kids. You are just surrounded my trees and greenery and there is the river and we saw lots of birds but no other wildlife – I guess we will have to return!

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We ended our adventure with snacks on the bench over looking the wildlife refuge. Before heading home we popped inside to check the space out and found a really discovery room. Edith and Alder loved exploring it. We were a bit crunched for time so we only spent a few minutes exploring but we will be back to check it out again and to do another nature walk soon.
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Portland Sites | Dawson Park

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With Spring and Summer come busy weekends so we have been making an effort to pack up meals to take along with us while we are out. As much as we enjoying the occasional dining out we don’t want to make it too much of a habit. Two weekends ago now we packed up lunch and headed out for the morning to run a few errands and eventually we found ourselves at Dawson Park to have a picnic lunch. We had been to this park last Spring but they have completely overhauled the park and it is really great! Edith loved running around and trying out all of the play structures, Alder didn’t know what to think of the faux turf but grew to like it and we all enjoyed the swings. Check out more details here or under the PDX With Kids page.

Portland (Area) Festivals | Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival

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This past weekend we spent Sunday morning soaking up the sun with friends at the Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival. This festival has been on our ‘to do’ list but the past two years we just haven’t made it down but finally we were able to this year and it was beautiful.

The tots had a great time running through the rows of tulips bending down to give them a sniff along with jumping in mud puddles and running their hands through the dirt. Everyone got in on the [rubber] duck races and of course who doesn’t love to try on giant wooden shoes? We ended the festival with a picnic lunch and some swing set time for the tots.

What are your favorite Spring & Summer festivals? If you live in Oregon any suggestions? 

Portland Sites | Westmoreland Park Nature Area

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Spring is officially here and we are back to visiting all the parks that the Portland area has to offer! I just finished up a feature on Westmoreland Park it’s the new Nature Play Area. If you haven’t been yet get down there and go because it is fantastic! Edith had a blast and we can’t wait to take her back. Click Here for the full feature or see above under the PDX Sites & Eats tab above.

PDX Events | Macy’s Holiday Parade & Giveaway

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Who else is thrilled for the week ahead? We don’t celebrate Thanksgiving for a variety of reasons but I do love that Neil will have both Thursday and Friday off from work and guess what they will be paid days off because he is now full-time! Along with this full-time position came a promotion – woot woot! Anyways I am so excited to have a four day weekend with my love and our babies. We will be laying low on Thursday but Friday we will be up bright and early to go to the My Macy’s Holiday Parade here in Portland.

The My Macy’s Holiday Parade will take place on Friday, November 28, 2014 in downtown Portland. The parade steps off promptly at 9 a.m. and lasts approximately one hour. We attended last year and it was freezing so make sure to check the weather forecast and dress warm! Oh and get there early because if there is anything that I have learned since moving to Portland is that Portlanders LOVE their parades.

I am so excited to attend the parade again this year and I’m excited to see what Edith thinks. She had fun last year but now she is so much more verbal and understands so much more I can only imagine that she is going to have a blast when she sees all the floats pass by. We are lucky enough to be sitting in the VIP section again this year (we won VIP tickets last year) and I am happy to announce that I am able to giveaway four passes this year!

So who wants to win?
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Here is some more info about the passes:
  • These passes allow you entry to the special seating area in front of the Macy’s store on Alder Street, between 5th and 6th Avenues starting at 8 AM on Parade Day.
  • The VIP pass will grant you access to coffee, cocoa and sweet treats at The Red Star Tavern across the street in their Club Room compliments of K103 FM.
  • The parade takes place on Friday, November 28th (the day after Thanksgiving) at 9:00 AM. The line-up includes local high school bands, equestrian units, special inflatable floats and more than 600 costumed characters.
  • Make sure you wear the “flashing” buttons for admission to this special reserved area! (The buttons are Macy‘s star pins that light up and are your VIP passes.)

Weekend Fun | Forest Park Hike

Happy Daylight Savings! Yeah I don’t know how happy you are about it but I’m less than thrilled. I’m also less than thrilled that Neil moved our clock in the bedroom forward instead of back so he and Edith were up at 5am while he was thinking it was 7am (can we say daylight savings fail?) Anyways we made the best of our extra early morning and after breakfast and coffee we headed out for a hike.

We decided to start our hike at the Audubon Society so that we could first check out the birds at the bird hospital there. It’s also a great place to start and end a hike because they have bathrooms, it’s the little things.

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>> We checked out the birds first and got to see this amazing huge raven. Edith had to snap a few photos of it was well. She has really taken to “taking photos” and even has to “take photos” while we cook and of her food. I think we might need to consider getting her a little inexpensive digital camera – any suggestions?

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>> Neil started our hike wearing Edith and here they are looking at the water (sorry it didn’t make it into the photo) but of course Edith had to take photos of the water as well.

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>> Alder fell asleep on our way to the Audubon Society and I easily transitioned him out of this carseat (seriously one of the best features of our carseat is that is rotates for easy in and out) and into the carrier where he peacefully slept for the first half of our hike.

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>> Half-way through the hike and we stopped to eat a huge honey crisp apple and of course Alder wanted to eat as well so we took a seat and had a snack.

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>> SWITCH! We switched babes and Edith wanted to ride on my back which I was thrilled about because it is so much easier to hike with a child on your back even if they weigh twice as much as the one previously on your front. I don’t get to wear Edith quite as much anymore so I was thrilled to have that time with her. I have to say she is a pretty supportive rider as well- when we hit a steep point and I slowed down a bit she would say “mama, make it?” and I’d say “Yes Edith, we’re going to make it” and then she would reply “mama gots this”.

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>> Once we made it back to the top I convinced Edith to give me a break and to walk back to the car. She agreed but she needed to have her own walking stick.

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>> After our hike we were all ready for lunch and so we headed to Harlow to refuel. Edith insisted on having a bowl of oatmeal (odd request for her) so luckily it was still brunch time and we ordered her a big bowl which she proceeded to eat almost all of it.

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>> While we are feeling pretty run down after the early wake-up we had a fun and successful day. Edith made it to bed at the new 7:30pm and was asleep quickly after so here’s hoping that she wakes up at 6am tomorrow and not 5am!

What did you do this weekend? How did Daylight Savings go for your and/or your little ones? 

The Pumpkin Patch & Babywearing With Umi Sling

I love, love, love Autumn. It’s my favorite time of the year. I love the smell of the crisp air, the changing leaves, squash, pumpkin beer, warm apple cider and all the seasonal activities. We had our first seasonal outting this weekend to The Pumpkin Patch on Portland’s Sauvie Island. We went with friends of ours who have a daughter a month younger than Edith and a son a month older than Alder; it’s so much more fun to do these things with friends.
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I decided to use my Umi Sling (more about this sling at the bottom) for this outing because the color and design went best with the pumpkin patch (yes I choose carriers based on my outfit and our destination).  I hadn’t worn this sling in a over a month and when I put it on I was instantly happy I had chosen this carrier because it just felt great on my body and Alder went right to sleep in it. I even had to take him out about 45 minutes into our visit to nurse him and I put him back in and he again snoozed for a bit. Anyways back to the pumpkin patch.

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We started of the morning checking out the huge pile of pumpkins and all the different varieties that The Pumpkin Patch had to offer. They had big orange ones, ones with “warts”, Cinderella ones, ghost ones and blue/grey ones (those were my favorite).  We arrived a little bit before our friends so after checking out the pumpkins we went into the market and looked at all of the veggies with Edith. We went down the line and named all the veggies and then went to check out the massive cabbage and before long our friends arrived.

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Of course the girls had to take advantage of the photo opportunities around the farm.

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We debated doing the corn maze but decided to do the cow train first and then see how things were after that. In the end we just did the cow train and the little hay bale maze and tower.

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We couldn’t leave without getting a snack and while we really wanted fried dough or a candy apple we went with fresh corn on the cob with a little salt and pepper instead.

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We ended our trip to The Pumpkin Patch with family photos because you never pass up the opportunity to have a family photo taken.

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What did you do this weekend? Have you taken a trip to a pumpkin patch or gone apple picking? What are your favorite Autumn/Fall activities? 

I wanted to share a little bit more about Umi Slings with you.  I first came across Umi Slings at MommyCon. A friend of someone working in the babywearing lounge with me was using one (the most beautiful one I have seen yet – black and white ikatish color).  She was telling me about it and I just fell in love but I knew I had no excuse to get one because Edith was getting older and I really couldn’t justify another carrier.

Fast forward to this past Spring.  I connected with Umi Slings founder Megan about receiving one for blog review purposes and she sent me the Gold Geo ring sling that was used for their latest photoshoot (see more photos here).  This ring sling is unlike my others and is made of organic cotton and is hand printed.  It is a really wonderful sturdy fabric that creates a nice sung hold making it perfect for both infants and toddlers.  I also find this to be one the more supportive slings that I have come across as it has great fabric coverage across the back which helps to provide more support for the wearer.

One other great thing (probably the greatest thing) is that for every sling purchased one will also be made and given to Project Baby Bilum, helping mothers improve the health of their babies by providing closeness and access to the life-giving breast milk they need to survive. Every purchase of an Umi Sling supports moms in need in rural Papua New Guinea- how great is that?

Also a huge congrats to Umi Slings founder Megan on the arrival of her third daughter who arrived just 1 week before Alder.

P.S> Portland friends Umi Slings is local and you can find them in some local shops along with the mini slings for your littles.