when family from hawaii calls and says, “coming soon to a city near you!” you rearrange your schedule and jump in the car. we took a completely spontaneous trip down to Portland last week and holy moly, did we need to get out of town for a minute. i was totally in road trip mode, planning coolers, car games, all the good snacks, when jake clued me in that the trip south to Portland is the same time/distance as our very regular trips north to Anacortes. which we make all the time. cooler-less. we’ve been making that 2.5 hour drive at least every other month for the past few years, zoey is and always has been a car champ. she’ll make it at least the first 2 hours just singing her heart out before she needs any form of entertainment to keep her going strong. there’s no trick i can share with you, i think we just lucked out! i’ll just leave this out there – – baby girl on the way better take good notes because we might be a little spoiled. what i’m really trying to say here is, why the heck is this the first time we’ve made a trip to Portland?! definitely not the last, that’s for dang sure.
we didn’t make it 59 minutes in the car before we made a pitstop to Tumwater Falls. sweetest little park literally directly off the side of the freeway. if only all potty break stops were this pretty! zoey’s was completely mesmerized by the falls and only covered her ears maybe half the time from the noise. we were all a little bummed we couldn’t take the full trail to see the lower falls but no fear. we’ll be back.
you know you’re in western washington when playgrounds and parks consist of totem poles and watercraft. most kids would probably call a boat a boat, right? normal. pnw kids will spot and call out sailboats from a ferry boat, battle ships from yachts, you name it, like it a’int no thang. so with the chance to captain her own tiny ship, this girl was far from easily coaxed back into her carseat. well played, Tumwater.
this guy! the whole reason we made the trip! we don’t get to see him nearly as often as we would take him, but that makes no difference on the impact he has on this girl. she knows she’s loved + cherished, that’s for sure! she’ll tell you straight up, “grandpa michael calls me cutie-patootie, doesn’t he?” only about every other second, baby girl. and he’s right on the money.
what’s with these roadside-wonders-of-the-world?! we pulled into the parking lot for Multnomah Falls, directly to the side of the freeway, and i asked jake, where the heck are these massive falls that we’ve all seen in gorgeous photos? surely it must be quite the hike if we’re practically using the freeway as a parking lot. he just points. and sure enough, on the other side of the freeway you can see natures gigantic water faucet pouring down the side of this mountain. what?! through a little pedestrian tunnel under the freeway we went and met with this wonder face to face. it doesn’t get much prettier than this. 620 feet of water falling down two drops, if it isn’t on your bucket list, add it! so much bang for zero buck.
we hiked up a short trail to the cement arch bridge, quick and painless. and then, i completely chickened out. i’ve always been a decent amount terrified of heights. thanks dad! but i’ve always been able to push through it. and then, becoming a mom happened to me. does this get to you? all i could see was an old cement bridge, wedged in the side of a cliff, overlooking a plunging rock waterfall. comforting, right? i instantly didn’t want any of us to walk out on it. totally paralyzed. totally giving in to fear. jake empathized with me, but asked me if he could take zoey across because she was so excited to see. i didn’t breathe the entire time they were on it. i watched from the safety of the side, gripping my 33 week belly like it was going to fall off. guys, how am I ever going to let this girl drive out of the driveway alone when she’s 16?! i took a deep breath, prayed my guts out, and stared at her face. so happy, so safe, so oblivious to any possible harm. i think it could very well be one of my biggest mama battles to face, giving my girls the world while letting go and holding on with the right balance all along the way.
Portland! we finally made it downtown with an hour to spare before hitting the road home. zoey hadn’t napped in 2 days, the hotel bed hadn’t been so kind to my baby making back, and our phones were dead. winning! but we made our way into the heart of the city, which looks surprisingly exactly like Seattle. just with better food trucks. we hunted down Heart Coffee, which is ridiculously hard to do without iPhone maps. grump face. but the iced americanos + chocolate milk outside were so worth it. i love taking zo into cities. i love watching her do all the watching and see all the pointing and hear alllllll the questions. it’s a big world, girlfriend. made even bigger for this mama when jake and i were laughing at the idea of finding somewhere to buy a car phone charger, turned a corner, and ran smack into a City Target on the corner of 10th and Morrison. what the heck?! these exist? i kid you not, i couldn’t stop laughing. i laughed as we walked through the doors into an empty lobby with a giant red Target logo on the wall. i laughed as we rode the elevator that advertised to open up into women’s loungewear and home goods, and then did. and i laughed as we strolled the aisles of a TARGET while staring out the windows into downtown Portland. i thought i rode a pretty mean line down the middle of city + country but apparently not hard enough. it was amazing. i laughed my way out the door and again at the guy in rolled up slacks + penny loafers attaching his newly purchased package of toilet paper to the back of his bike and riding to what i can only imagine is some chic downtown loft. the greatest.
we made it back to the car, discovered that it wasn’t our charger but in fact the cigarette lighter itself had been short circuited thanks to one small girl’s storage of an aluminum candy wrapper shoved inside. *insert shocked face emoji here* so we hit the road home with nothing but each other’s company for entertainment and hit just enough traffic to remind us why we visit the city and live in the country. Portland, you’re way too cool for us, but we’ll be back soon to try to hang a little longer. and for the donuts, because, leaving without one was a crime.