Return to the Children’s Museum

Dear Liza,

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Kestrel, the Alligator’s Dentist

As I had promised, the cousins and I went back up the hill to Washington Park yesterday to visit the Children’s Museum. Since Grandpa Nelson had to work and I hate driving, we took the number 4 bus and Red Line MAX train to get there.

The Children’s Museum is less of a museum and more of a giant, well designed play environment for kids. There are rooms with set-ups for water play, a farm to table grocery room, a pet hospital, engineering, toy cars, and a theater with costumes, lights and puppets.

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Running the Shop

Jasper loves the water room and Kestrel, the theater, and the rooms are close enough together that I can sort of wander between them and keep and eye on both kids. Jasper actually came and found us in the theater, making me very proud of his responsibility and navigation skills.

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Jasper the Hydraulics Engineer

After a few hours inside, we stepped out to the Zany Maze to eat the food I had brought. The Museum sells hot dogs and such, but I preferred a day with healthier snacks. Blueberries (from our Sauvie Island trip) and some of Grandpa Nelson’s peanuts and a big jug of water gave us energy for the afternoon.

Instead of going back inside the Museum, we explored the outside area, which has just been re-opened after a long period of development. It is wonderful!

The Outdoor Adventure, starts with The Spring, which has water play combined with sand, water management, buckets, and activities that encourage teamwork. Jasper and Kestrel played with several other kids, two of whom did not speak English at all, but they all understood and helped each other. It was wonderful to see.

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Teamwork!

We wandered down the trail past the creek, all the way down to The Amphitheater. There was a young lady helping the kids ‘fish’ in a small pool, and a mom teaching her little one about jumping rope. Jasper joined in and did 11 consecutive jumps! He was justifiably proud.

In our last 20 minutes, as energy was waning, we went back inside to see what The Treehouse Adventure room was. Turns out, it is designed for just the sort of activity we needed, a quiet winding down…. there is a tree house to go into and read, or just sit.

We got some going-home snacks, caught the Red Line train, then the Orange Line train, and were home by 3. We started reading Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher by Bruce Coville, and were on chapter 7 by the time Auntie Katie got home. It’s a great read!

Auntie Katie got home and Kestrel wanted some acrobatics time. Mother and daughter did some pretty nifty balance poses! These poses are ab workouts, mother-daughter time, and cooperation training, all at once. Real Ph.D level parenting, if you ask me.

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Acro pose

Grandpa Nelson and Auntie Bridgett came a brought me home, and we had dinner. What a lovely day!

Love,

Grandma Judy

 

 

Rose Garden and More

Dear Liza,

This week I got to spend two whole days with cousins Jasper and Kestrel. I will tell you about each day separately.

Monday, we walked from their house to Division Street, where we caught the number 4 bus to downtown, and caught the Blue line train to Washington Park. This is the same bus and train we used to go to the zoo, but once we got to the top of the elevator, we took a shuttle bus around to the other side of the mountain, past the Hoyt Arboretum, which is a huge forest,  the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, and the Holocaust Memorial. But we stayed on until the Rose Garden stop.

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The Rose Garden and forest

The International Rose Test Garden, to use its proper name, is four and a half acres of roses planted on the side of a hill overlooking the city of Portland. There are over 7,000 roses in all! Compared to my 12 rose bushes in Salinas,  this is a BIG garden.

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Cousin Kestrel and an arch

The garden is on several levels, with lovely stairs and rose-covered arches in between. There are fountains, benches, and shady trees. On a clear day, you can see Mount Hood. But it was smoky the day we were there, from wildfires in Washington to the north.

There is even an amphitheater, where there are sometimes plays or concerts. The day we were there, it was a big open space for kids to run and play in. We found a pathway behind the stage to a quiet spot where we ate lunch and built a fairy house out of sticks, flower petals, and leaves.

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Amphitheater

We were very warm after lunch, so decided to take the bus around the mountain to the Children’s Museum, a wonderful building with big rooms for playing. There is a room with a stage and costumes for pretending to be in a show. There is another room for playing with cars and building roads. The Water room is all about faucets and pipes. This museum is a big, happy playhouse! I will take you there when you come to visit.

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The Cow on the porch of the Children’s Museum

We walked back to the elevator. It felt like a long way, because we were tired and the afternoon was very warm. But the train and bus were cool, and when I left the cousins at Auntie Katie’s shop, they curled up with books and read, and I came home to rest.

Being a grandma can be hard work!

Love,

Grandma Judy