Monthly Archives: December 2012

A day out and in, in Seattle

This morning, we all woke up super late. It was amazing. Hubby had to wake up in the middle of the night to field some calls from Norway, and while the toddler with a cold slept through it, we were both awake for more than an hour. So when we woke up at 10am, we were feeling rested and happy.

We hemmed and hawed about what to do – go out for breakfast, go out to lunch, go directly to the zoo, find a café, blah blah blah and decided after a very long process to run in and get some takeout from a Caribbean sandwich place in Fremont on the way to the Woodland Park Zoo.

Paseo, the sandwich shop, had a line out the door. So running in didn’t really work. We got a couple of sandwiches and a green salad with pickled beets, red cabbage, and cilantro that was amazing! I had a Carribean Roast sandwich, which was sweet slow roasted pork and Hubby had a Grilled Pork sandwich, which is what it sounds like. All the sandwiches are served on toasty baguettes with mayo, pickled jalapenos, caramelized onions and romaine lettuce. They were a-MAZ-ing. Hubby said it was the best food he has had on our trip so far!

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Then we went to the zoo, coughed up some dough to park in an empty lot, coughed up some more dough for the tickets (but Kiddo was still free since she is under 2) and saw about 4 animals before she fell asleep.

But the gorillas. Wow. I was mesmerized. The Woodland Park Zoo has two groups of gorillas that we saw (or three, according to their website), who were fascinating to watch. We saw Vip beating his chest, and Jumoke eating lettuce, and others munching on some mush and making up a comfortable nap spot and walking around their enclosure. We saw Pete and Nina napping and were waving to Nina, who was semi interested, although the pull of her droopy eyelids proved to much. I felt in awe of nature and evolution while watching them.

After Kiddo fell asleep, we went by PCC Fremont again to pick up some Kombucha and snacks. When we tried to slide Kiddo out of her carseat back at the hotel, she woke up, even though she needed more sleep. Whoops.

Then both Hubby and I worked out in the hotel gym, and Kiddo and I went swimming for 45 minutes (ages for a two year old), before taking a long shower in the room. We planned to go out to dinner and then come back to Kiddo could crash, but she was soooo sleepy that she fell asleep in the car on the way.

The vegan restaurant that we had planned to try (yes, I managed to get Hubby on board to try crazy vegan concoctions!) was closed for their holiday party (mentioned on their website but we didn’t see it!!). We didn’t see this until we had paid New York prices to park in Capitol Hill, so we found The Oddfellows Café, where we pretended it was a tapas restaurant and ordered lots of vegetarian starters while watching lots of dates and girls nights happening all around us. Capitol Hill is so happening! Where is that part of town in Portland?

Kiddo woke up right when her face hit the chilly air outside the restaurant. We went to get some Bacon Crack for my mom and ate a cupcake each while we were at it (so much for the afternoon workout!).

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Back at the hotel, The Polar Express was just starting and we watched it as a family. It was Kiddo´s first movie! In the middle while they are having problems with the train, she picked up the phrase “stop the train!” and shouted it intermittently throughout the rest of the film. Cute!

It was a really good day. 

Uneeda Burger

In the car on the way to Seattle, Hubby was driving and I was trying to research what we should do and what we should eat when we got into town. It was so overwhelming that I tried to narrow my search. But how? I wanted something a bit hippie, I decided, but tasty. I googled Kombucha Seattle and found a guy who makes his own Kombucha that is sold across the city called Communi-Tea. On his website, he lists the places that sell his brew, including a few restaurants that have it on tap. OMG. I love that!

So that is how we found Uneeda Burger.

When we drove by, we barely saw it. It looked a bit like the taco shack we sought out in Portland – tarps and a light shining and some steam. But after we parked and got closer, it looked like a proper burger shack. And the smell when we came in…mmmm!

We tried some standard fare – a classic cheeseburger for me and a caramelized onion burger for Hubby. Kiddo ate an all beef hotdog. We tried their poutine, or fries covered in brown gravy and cheese sauce. Hubby liked it, but I thought it was just ok.

The best part was definitely the Kombucha on tap. And we found out when we were walking out that we could have gotten grass fed beef in our burgers. Whoops!

Ratings:

Food: 3/5 stars (Tasty burgers cooked properly, but would have been better if grass fed)

Atmosphere: 4/5 stars (Proper burger shack. Pre cut snowmen for kids to color at their tables. Big win for parents of small kids!)

Service: n/a – order at counter and bus your own tables

Price: $$ ($5 for a cheeseburger, $4.50 for a hotdog)

Getaway to Seattle

We decided to break up our time in Portland with a short trip to Seattle. My sister´s boyfriend is going to join us tomorrow to show us some antique shops where we maybe can get a good deal on a chair or two for new house.

Also, we were craving some time with just our little threesome again – Hubby, Kiddo and me.

So this morning, despite kiddo having a cold and me fighting a plugged duct, we hurled some stuff in a small suitcase and hit the road.

We have discovered that the best way to get around in a car is to have me drive and Hubby navigate from the backseat with the iPad tuned to google maps. If I navigate, I get confused and don’t tell him with confidence when to turn next, e.g. “I think you take a right up here…the next one, or wait, maybe it is the one after?” Also, if I sit in the back, kiddo wants to nurse while we are driving.  So I drive. But I hate driving in the rain, and I hate driving next to big trucks, and so it should come as no surprise that driving in the rain alongside huge trucks on I-5 is an uninspiring scenario for me. So after a little over an hour on the road when we got to Centralia, where we planned to stop at a shop and grab lunch, I was fried.

I tried to pretend that I was fine, but deep down I was annoyed, and the prospect of driving longer only aggravated my mood. Add to that we couldn’t get help in the shop we went to, and then we went to two closed eating establishments and one that was less than appetizing. The only thing that would have been fun was to drink some bad coffee and listen to the small town chatter. But…Kiddo fell asleep in the car while we were trying to find an open restaurant, so we decided to screw it, find a bathroom and then hit the road. Thankfully, Hubby offered to drive.

We arrived at our hotel in the afternoon and decided to head out to Pike Place market. It was not what we expected. We told Kiddo that she would get to see lots of fish, which is what I remember from when I went there over a decade ago. Its not like that anymore. Just lots of stalls selling lots of crap. Kiddo wanted to nurse nurse nurse, which made us realize that she hadn’t eaten enough yet. Hubby didn’t want me to nurse while walking along because of my plugged duct, while I was worried about waiting too long before nursing again, as to not worsen the plugged duct. Meanwhile, Kiddo stumbled upon the idea of a hot dog, and then proceeded to scream “Hot dog! Hot dog! Hot dog! Nummies! Nummies! Nummies!” while we ran around trying to find a hot dog, to no avail. We found some teriyaki meatball skewer that she deigned to try, finally, and then we had to catch the shuttle back to the hotel.

If that doesn’t sound stressful, just take my word for it. My blood pressure was off the charts.

Then, because we hadn’t learned our lesson that Kiddo wanted an uneventful day, we decided to go out to three additional places. First, to PCC Fremont, a natural foods market I have wanted to visit ever since I made their recipe for Spicy Tofu and Spelt salad. Hubby bought the wrong size of hippy diapers so we needed to pick up some more, plus, I sort of wanted to get something healthy for breakfast. Then, we went to dinner, and then to dessert. Dessert was a disaster. We went to an ice cream shop and got Kiddo a kid scoop of vanilla in a cone. We did this because we wanted to eat our cones in peace. This did not work. I don’t actually feel like reliving all the details right now, but there was screaming, whining, banged shins (mine), spilled water x 2, irritated customers, spilled ice cream, and basically 500 calories of dessert shoved down my throat before Hubby and I scooped up Kiddo and all the mess we had made and beelined for the car.

Ahh, out on the town with a toddler!

The Oregon Zoo

We finally went to the zoo!

Kiddo loved it. It was the first rain free day in about a week, and luckily for us it was a weekday, so it wasn’t very crowded. We loved the otters, the sea lions, the naked mole rats, and the penguins. In particular Vivo, who was swimming in front of Kiddo for about 10 minutes. (They are tagged with their names on their right ears.)

"PENGUINS! PENGUINS!"

“PENGUINS! PENGUINS!”

Because the zoo trip came at the end of two difficult sleep days, Kiddo was exhausted, and I think in her overtired state, something clicked in the brain and she decided the monkeys were scary. I hope it doesn’t last, because the monkeys used to be her favorite part of the zoo.

Usually, I love to get elephant ears or something else unhealthy at the zoo, but I held back. It was easy since on weekdays they don’t have all the kiosks open with the smells wafting under your nose.

Soon, we will have to go back and see the baby elephant, who should be out in the exhibit in about two and a half weeks.

We got a membership so that we can go for short stints. Drop in and see the sea lions for an hour and hit the road again. I think it will be fun!

Over-/under-stimulated toddler

Kiddo is used to a sort of quiet and kid-friendly life. I stay home with her, and usually each day we would have an activity. We did a music class on Thursdays, a playgroup on Wednesdays, a swimming class on Fridays, and then some sort of park visit or art project or something on the other days.

Then we started traveling. We will be out all day, not really doing kid friendly stuff, but when we get home, grandma and grandpa are home and they play with her. Grandpa plays the piano, she chases the dog, a new or forgotten toy is unearthed and suddenly its 10pm and everyone is exhausted but her.

Then, for two nights, she stayed up until 1:30am. I don’t know if she just “didn’t want the party to end” or didn’t get enough fresh air or rest between our errands and car naps, but the first night, I was convinced it was a fluke. Then it happened the next night and I wanted to scream.

So finally, that next day, we instituted a toddler-centric day. We went to the zoo. We didn’t eat lunch out. We didn’t eat dinner out. We just went to the zoo and came home and instead of searching for bathroom sinks and Hawaii airbnbs, I got down on the floor and played with her. And don’t you think she went to sleep at 9:30pm. Lesson learned!

Kiddo misses the dog

When we decided to take this trip, the one thing we really dreaded was leaving the dog (Poodle) for so long. Poodle is our sweet three-year-old standard poodle, who is staying with Hubby´s sister.

Last night we were out to dinner at a fancy Portland restaurant. We brought soft dough for Kiddo to play with, and she kept asking me to make her a dog, which she would then carry around gently, and hug. One time, I looked over and she was standing with her back to the table, stroking the dog and saying, “I miss you, Poodle. I miss you!”

My heart broke! It was so sweet, though, that she remembers our dog, and presumably loves her. It was also astounding, because it probably is the first time I have heard her use a sentence on her own volition that I didn’t consciously model for her to repeat. I never said, “Kiddo, do you miss Poodle? I miss Poodle!” We have talked about the dog, and what she is doing, and how we wish she could be with us. It is so fun to see how fast Kiddo´s development is going! I hope she remembers Poodle for the next 5 months, too. 🙂