#3: Ride the Burnt Bridge Creek Trail

This is part of our 100 Things in 2014 challenge. Here’s the full list.

We borrowed a tandem bike from some friends, and drove over the river to the Burnt Bridge Creek Trail. We needed one car for bikes, and another for people.


The kids loved going on an extended ride. We kept stopping to evaluate whether we should head back or not, and we made it six miles before we collectively decided we were halfway tired, which means we did a 12-mile ride that day!

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We had a lot of fun. Will and Lucy enjoyed riding fast and going places they’d never seen before. We hadn’t rode a tandem in a couple of years, and had a great time re-learning it.

#67: Participate in an Organized 5k Fun-Run

This is part of our 100 Things in 2014 challenge. Here’s the full list.

NOTE: This post is long, but you’re going to want to get to the end. Trust me.

For our fun run this year, we joined in the Color Run, which is a benefit for the Dream Factory of Oregon. We made sure to dress appropriately.


Here we are at the starting line – notice how everyone’s shirt is clean and white?


The race packet included bibs, shirts, and some temporary tattoos.


There isn’t much narrative value to the running of the race, but I’ll just drop a couple of details here:

  • We started the race together, until the first “burst”. After that we split up, letting the kids set the pace.
  • Will loves to sprint, but he learned his limitations pretty quickly. He’d run flat-out for a hundred yards, then have to walk for 50.
  • Lucy and Becky set a more measured, steady pace. Despite the 70-degrees-and-rising temperature (warmer than we nor’westerners prefer), she blissfully held Becky’s hand for the entire race.

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We met at the finish line, where a helpful stranger captured us in our filthy, colorful glory.


When you finish, you are handed extra packets of colored powder, which the kids promptly threw at each other. At least they waited until we were pointing a camera at them.

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There was a big stage with a DJ, who was spinning dance and techno tracks. A fairly large dance party was happening, and we all wanted to be right in the middle of it.


Lucy’s hair turned orange. It took her four showers to get it all out.


There were lots of sponsor booths at the end of the race too. We made sure to do everything that involved a camera.

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This was a super good time. Walking back to the car, the kids were asking when we could do another one, so look for this on the 2015 list.

#50: Take Care of the Backyard Dirt Pile

This is part of our 100 Things in 2014 challenge. Here’s the full list.

Ever since we had the giant holly tree removed from our backyard almost three years ago, we’ve had a giant pile of dirt just sitting there, getting muddier and weedier, and generally being an albatross. As of right now, it is no more:

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It may not seem like a big thing, but this was seriously impeding our usage of the backyard, and just made it seem janky and dumpy. This is a huge improvement. All the weeds and about half the dirt are gone, and a layer of mulch has been laid down, so it’s ready for new intentional plantings in the spring!

Apologies for not having a “before” picture. We could have sworn we had one, but it turns out you don’t just have photos of the ugly bits of your backyard sitting around.

August Misc Round-Up

Lucy was a stand-in for Sam, Grace, Sen, and Ashton.


Lucy likes “fancy” hair. Becky is willing to experiment.

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Lucy’s class went for a field day at the end of summer! It was super hot.

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They also enrolled in the Multnomah county library’s summer reading program, which meant a trip to the library.


They also visited the World Forestry Center!


While Will was with us at Oaks Park, Grandma Dorothy helped Lucy take all the tangles out of Rainbow Dash’s hair. She also sewed an entire skirt, all by herself!


The Swank grandparents helped the kids make cabbage hats at the Riverfront FamilyFest in Salem.

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The kids both went to swim lessons. 5 days a week. After school. For 4 weeks straight. Exhausting. But they’re sooooo much better swimmers now.


Here’s the skirt Lucy made! She made sure to wear it to Anne’s 96th birthday party.


Will made paper at school.

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His class took a trip to the zoo.

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They also visited the Lan Su Chinese Garden. It wasn’t covered with lilies when we visited.


We’re not sure what he’s using as his medium, but his architecture skills are clearly showing.


Will has officially graduated to the class that spends the entire time in the deep end of the pool!

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Becky helped Jenny celebrate her birthday, by watching Catching Fire in the park.

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We shot a wedding!


It was a pretty busy August. Stay tuned for September!

Salem Family

A large portion of the Swank/Clark clan met in Salem, to celebrate (among others) Great-Grandma Anne’s 96th birthday! We made sure to get photos of all the celebrants, as well as this rare gathering of cousins.

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NOTE: Lucy made the skirt she’s wearing in these photos. She’s very proud of it, and wanted you all to know.

#32: Grow Tomatoes in the Back Yard

This is part of our 100 Things in 2014 challenge. Here’s the full list.

We planted four tomato plants in a barrel in our backyard! Here’s our harvest:


Most of it, anyway. Here’s the rest:


I keed, I keed. There were like twice that many. Seriously, we don’t exactly have green thumbs around here, so we were lucky to get this many. The kids love these things just as much as we do, though, so they didn’t go to waste.

#98: Show the Kids Two Memorable Movies from our Childhood

This is part of our 100 Things in 2014 challenge. Here’s the full list.

Warning: You will judge us for our choice of movies. We fully expect this, and have no defense prepared.

We decided that we should subject the kids to stuff from our childhood while they’re young, and not yet embarrassed of us. We started with these two movies.


The first was Ernest Goes to Camp (1987). Becky was paralyzed with laughter about 60 seconds after the opening credits – her mom used to pull out the “eeeEEEEEeeewwww” at just the right moment, and send her and her brothers into hysterics. I don’t have a specific story about Mr. Worrell, but this kind of humor is deeply embedded in my childhood; our family watched everything Ernest and Vern that we could find. Our kids were literally ROTFLOLing.


Our second selection was Honey I Shrunk the Kids (1989). Becky had to stop herself from reciting all the lines while we watched, but this was more of a risk – there’s quite a bit of peril in this movie, and Lucy’s pretty sensitive to that kind of thing By the end she said she loved it, though, and we were never in doubt about Will, so I guess we did okay.

Our conclusion: watch these movies with your kids before they’re old enough to see the difference that 30 years of filmmaking has made.

At the Beach. Again.

Neskowin. We come here a lot. For good reason, though – we own a home here. Plus, it’s gorgeous. Becky and I were actually in the middle of a conversation when she said “hold that thought, I’ll be right back”, and walked out the door. She came back with this:


The humidity is a bit different from Portland. Lucy woke up the next morning looking like this:


Becky took the kids for a walk on the beach to look for a place for a sandcastle. At first, all they could do was complain about how cold it was, but wait to see what they ended up doing:

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Yup. Apparently, it was so cold, they had to go wading in the ocean.

The kids love board games, and we’re always looking for ways to level them up a bit. We brought along Ticket to Ride, and simplified the rules a bit for first-timers.

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We also took a day to visit some of the local natural wonders, and check out what Lucy found at the thrift store on the way back! Isn’t she bee-yootiful? Oh, honey.


We found this in the drawer in the beach house. Whomever donated it, we salute you.

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Another successful, playful, peaceful trip to Neskowin. We’ll be back for Christmas!