Stroller Hike: Trillium Lake

Have you ever noticed how challenging it is to figure out if a hike is kid or stroller friendly? When you have a toddler who is too heavy to carry in a pack or walks slowly, a jogging stroller is a great option, but locating stroller and kid friendly trails is tougher than it should be. I’ve been on countless “family friendly” trails where a few stairs or too big tree stumps have blocked my path, or I’ve wanted to put my toddler down only to have a dangerous cliff nearby.

With that said, I’ll be writing about good stroller friendly hikes when I come across them, and if you have any suggestions please send them my way!

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Trillium Lake is about a 90 minute drive from downtown Portland at the base of Mt. Hood, making it a great hike pre or post lunch at Timberline Lodge. Parking is $5 and is plentiful. The trail runs the perimeter of the lake, providing gorgeous views of the mountains, trees and water, and it’s an easy walk for children and most strollers as it’s flat and fairly wide.

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One of my favorite parts of the hike was seeing all of the fun activities people were up to on the lake, from fishing to canoeing and paddle boarding. I’ll definitely be back with my swimsuit!

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Thoughts: No Time to Think

Two years ago Tim Kreider wrote an article for the New York Times titled The ‘Busy’ Trap which talks about the issues within our modern-day culture of constantly busying ourselves–if only as a means of seeming productive, desirable and meaningful–and how it leaves us with little time to reflect, rest and live in the moment. He wrote:

“Idleness is not just a vacation, an indulgence or a vice; it is as indispensable to the brain as vitamin D is to the body, and deprived of it we suffer a mental affliction as disfiguring as rickets.”

Reading this article woke me up to the fact that I was, indeed, in my own self-inflicted busy trap, and I started to step back from all the tasks I had lined up for myself and quickly felt like a more focused, peaceful human being. Of course, between moving states, buying our first home, having our second child, raising a toddler, and everything else life throws at you, it’s been easy to fall back into that busy trap.

This last week Kate Murphy wrote an article for the New York Times Sunday Review titled No Time to Think which delves deeper into Kreider’s thoughts on the negative impact of busyness by looking at some recent studies in psychology and neuroscience. By studying people’s reactions to being left alone and their response to it (i.e. shocking themselves as a means to not just sit in boredom), it was made quite clear the lengths to which people will go to avoid their own personal thoughts by busying ourselves. Not surprisingly, the more we avoid our negative thoughts, the more power we give to them and the more we need to busy ourselves to avoid them. And the less time we spend resting our mind, the less creative, empathetic, and joyful we become.

Overall Murphy’s article is a great reminder of what Buddhists have said for ages–meditation  is important for our health, and not just spiritually. Especially in this day and age when our constant observation of each other affects our perception of reality and we suffer from relative deprivation and FOMO, it’s easy to get caught up in the negatives and not see the power our minds play in our happiness. I’ll end on one of my favorite quotes:

“Happiness lies in the mind, not in external circumstances”. – Geshe Kelsang Gyatso

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Beatrix!

Two months ago Beatrix Maia was born! It’s been both a challenging and wonderful summer so far and I love observing Beatrix’s personality emerge and develop.

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I’m also happy to report that Violet has been an incredible big sister and seems genuinely in love with Beatrix and excited to have her around. More to come!

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DIY: Homemade Live Edge Side Tables for $50

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For ages I’ve been admiring live edge tables with mid-century modern legs because I love the juxtaposition between organic and natural with modern and industrial. From independent boutiques to large retailers, I’ve seen a solid variety of these tables, but I was always hesitant to buy them because they’re expensive for something that looked so easy to make at home.

After a little research I found that the hardest part is finding the right wood slabs. If you have access to logs and woodworking equipment this is easy, but for city folks it means tracking down a vendor who sells pre-sliced cuts of wood. (As you would imagine, shipping blocks of wood can get quite expensive, so finding something locally is much more affordable.)

While visiting one of my favorite shops here in Portland, Beam and Anchor, I stumbled upon the shop ECOpdx, which sells salvaged and sustainable hardwood furniture. The friendly people at ECOpdx sell slabs of wood for as little as $10 and they will sand and refinish the pieces for $10 each. I opted to pay the extra bit to have them prepped for me, but this is something you could always do at home, especially if you have an electric sander. The most important thing is making sure that the surfaces are flat.

For the legs, I chose quintessential mid-century modern hairpin legs. These can be found all over the place–just google “hairpin legs” or visit Etsy. I found mine at a local Portland shop called The Reclaimory that sells vintage and modern furniture and décor at great prices.

Since the slabs I chose are round, I only needed three legs each. My hubby marked the wood, tested the location of the legs, drilled the screws in (making sure to pick the right length so not too short or too long–which could crack the wood) and we were done. Super easy side tables for about $50 each!

*Note: Another option is to take an old table/stool or a new cheap tabletop from IKEA and add your own legs on. Small changes like this can make something much more unique and personal. 

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Laser Engraved Wooden Skate Decks by Magnetic Kitchen

Have you ever tried skate boarding? I cruised around a bit in high school but never got close to being good at it, painting boards for friends and school art shows more than actually riding them. Twenty years later I still have a soft spot for skateboards so when I saw these laser engraved hardwood maple ones by Brooklyn’s Magnetic Kitchen I was blown away.

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Magnetic Kitchen is a small design company specializing in laser cutting and engraving, but skateboards are a fairly new medium for them. Through Kickstarter they managed to earn enough backers to get their boards into production and are now selling the decks for just $80. The company also invites people to design their own laser engraved decks.

I’m drawn to the Kanagawa board most. How about you?

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