EtW: Bollywood Theater (Mumbai, India)

Holy cow, Indian people eat well. We’ve both eaten Indian food before, but this was something truly special.

This is part of our Eat The World challenge. Check out the whole thing.

Everything we ordered was just amazing. There was plenty of heat (which Becky has a well-documented love-hate relationship with), but so much flavor. It’s interesting how even the small touches make the experience more thematic – the plates and cups are all metal, for instance.

If you’ve never eaten at this restaurant, you’re not a truly complete person. Go there as soon as you can (they have two locations!), and make sure to order lots of things. It’d be a shame if you didn’t.

#1: Kidd’s Toy Museum

This one’s been on our radar for a while. Who can resist the siren song of a museum full of toys, right in our backyard?

This is part of our 100 Things in 2016 challenge. Here’s the full list.

Kidd’s Toy Museum is someone’s treasure trove of lovingly-preserved vintage toys. Outside it’s just a red door with a plain sign. Inside, it’s a warren of rooms and curio cabinets, containing an enormous hoard of carefully-organized items from all different eras.

We spent two hours here, and probably could have spent two more, just looking at what was there. If you know anything about old toys (and even if you don’t), you’ll probably find something amazing here. Recommended.

#46: Afternoon Tea

It’s important to always keep your eyes open for opportunities for adventure. And tea. If you only open your eyes, there’s tea everywhere.

This is part of our 100 Things in 2016 challenge. Here’s the full list.

We were staying in downtown Florence for a few days, and discovered this little gem of a tea room while strolling around downtown. Lovejoy’s Tearoom is a delightfully fussy British/Australian establishment, with all the accouterments you’d expect: doilies, deep armchairs, cloth napkins, and billions of teapots and cups, spilling off the walls and onto your table.

The tea was great, the service friendly, and the tower of treats delicious. They even sang Becky a song for her birthday! Highly recommended.

#6: Explore a New Beach Town

One of our favorite things about living near the coast is the endless variety of beach towns. This year we explored Florence, which was somewhat mystifyingly ranked #1 most beautiful town in America by Expedia.

This is part of our 100 Things in 2016 challenge. Here’s the full list.

Don’t get us wrong, it’s a great little town. I used to live nearby, in Coos Bay, and only thought of Florence as a drive-through, but when we made a brief stopover during the big hike a few years ago, we discovered there was a lot to see, so we made special plans to come back this year.

It should be mentioned that the weekend we were here included both Valentine’s day and Becky’s 40th birthday. Some of the photos might make more sense with these facts in mind.

There’s lots to walk through and see in the area. The little downtown is a nice stroll, and the Heceta Head Lighthouse is just up the road, and there’s a lovely little nature preserve with lots of pitcher plants. The Siuslaw Pioneer Museum stands out, with its many rooms of artifacts; fascinating if you’re into this kind of history, and still kind of interesting even if you aren’t. Also, there are more knickknack and junk shoppes than you can shake a stick at, and some pretty serious art galleries.

Florence is also a great place to eat. We can’t recommend the Waterfront Depot highly enough for dinner, and Siuslaw River Coffee Roasters is serious business. The Zebra BarMaple Street Grille, and Lovejoy’s Tea Room all warrant special mention, and there’s a great little ice cream parlor. There are at least three other eateries on our list that we didn’t even have time to visit!

We should mention our lodgings, which exceeded all our expectations. We found it through Vacasa, and it was right on the river, and a half a block from the cool little historic downtown area. Nothing in it screamed “rental,” it was like staying at a friend’s place.

We had a great little retreat weekend, and highly enjoyed this town. It’s a bit remote for most of you, but well worth a stop if you’re in the area.

January Misc Roundup

Hank turned 1! Also, “home” life: mosaic books and Tinker Crates at our rental house, a couple of field trips, Lucy at school, and our first cobbled-together movie night at the new house.

A long weekend at the Aldridges’, including a day on the tubes:

Here’s what all-new floors and doors looks like while it’s happening. Notice Lucy’s “bedroom” in the living room.

C U T E  P U P P Y  T I M E

December Misc Roundup

Every year, while we have entire families gathered, we make sure to set up a tripod and snap a photo. Here’s the Swank gathering:


And the Jensons:


And some fun images at Liz & Jeff’s house:

School and activities keep the kids pretty busy. Here you can see the results of the project-based learning (PBL) program at Summa, a lucky shot of Will doing screen printing, some Trackers action, and a couple images from our bus commute (Hi, Uncle Sam!).

Some images from closer to home: cousin Ashton turned 2, Lucy got her first tie shoes, and they both love their Pley subscriptions.

Christmas day at the Jensons in Washougal.


The first photo here is the last one we have from our Portland house. The rest are from one of the Airbnbs we stayed in after our old house was sold, but before the new one was ready.

Winter Break

While us grownups were in Orcas Island, the kids spent a lovely week down in Salem with their Swank grandparents:

My mom flew out for a visit, and the kids and I took her straight from the airport to the beach. Becky was supposed to meet us out there, but a snowstorm stranded her in our construction zone of a house:

I eventually rescued her with the Jeep, and we all got some lovely winter beach time together.


November Kid/Parent Retreats

Ben and Lucy

Lucy wanted to practice her tattooing on me, so I told her I had one arm left. The next morning we ate breakfast and got dressed to go to Crossfit, we had a bit of time left over, so she worked on making her own (cardboard) laptop from the Hello Ruby book we funded on Kickstarter. We made sure to fit in some pony time, and a bike trip to Salt & Straw, and a showing of Minions at Kennedy School over dinner. During a trip to the grocery store, she weighed very carefully the relative merits of a stuffed raccoon and a plush octopus, finally settling on the one with more pink and spots.

Becky and Will

We drove two hours to our lodgings in Klickitat, which is a tiny little town up the gorge, listening to How to Eat Fried Worms on the way. We spent the whole next day at the Columbia Gorge Discovery Center, which has a ton of great exhibits, and hikes with stunning views all around. We even had a fox as a companion for about half a mile.

That night we hit Burgerville for dinner, followed by a surprise showing of Goosebumps, which Will claims is the “scariest movie of [his] entire life.” He was so scared he was holding his ears.

The next morning we spent some time in our backyard, on the Klickitat River, and took a tour of the Bonneville Dam on the way home, including the locks and the fish ladder.

EtW: Sen Yai (Thailand)

We ate in Thailand, and our faces almost melted off. Also, Andy Ricker is a god among men.

This is part of our Eat The World challenge. Check out the whole thing.

Sen Yai is an offshoot of Pok Pok that specializes in authentic northern Thai noodle dishes. The decor, the beverages, the utensils, the extra sauces you can pile on your lunch – you realize right away that this isn’t like the “Thai food” you’ve ever had before.

It’s better, is what it is. It’s spicier, sure, and that posed a problem for Becky, who can’t handle too much capsaicin, but it’s also just… better. The crispy chicken is crispier, the greens greener. We loved it, and would recommend it to just about anyone.