Thursday, April 18, 2013

Diets, here we go again

So you know how I had this great idea that people shouldn't go on diets, but rather, eat food for their specific, individual needs?  Well, while I was at the park a couple of weeks ago, I made friends with a woman who told me about DNA testing, where you swab the inside of you mouth and send it into a laboratory to get tested.  Not only are the results supposed to tell you the perfect foods to eat according to your genetic makeup, but they will tell you the perfect exercise for your body type as well.  She mentioned that a friend of hers was a long distance runner for many years, but never seemed to shed the weight he wanted to, despite "eating well".  He did the DNA test and it told him he needed short, powerful bursts of exercise instead of consistent running.  Hmmmmm, this got me really curious.  Then just a few days ago I saw a commercial for one of the many (yes, there are a few out there, and I didn't even realize it!) DNA testing kits you can get mailed to your house.  You swab the inside of your cheek and then mail it back in the confidential envelope and the company will send you your own unique guide to eating and exercising.  
It seems to be more about weight management rather than just being healthy.  I guess being skinny is what most people are after, hence the reasoning behind why it's marketed the way that it is.  Just another scam to get my money, right?  Skinny versus healthy.  That's a post for another day.  Anyway, I do feel like they're on the right track in realizing there isn't a one size fits all diet out there.  

Here are some links I found:


     I have been dreaming about our future house for months now.  I've kept myself awake at nights and have been so absorbed in thought during the day just fantasizing about what this place will be like.  Mike and I really love Oregon, and I am ready to permanently settle down in a house we will raise our family in and stay for the rest of our lives.  I'm still trying to convince Mike to settle down for good, since he likes the prospect of moving around and experiencing new places.  But we both agree that this is the best place we've lived so far, and personally, I can see us here long-term.
     I can't believe we've been here for over a year now.  At the present time, we are renting a house and our lease recently ended so now we have a month-to-month contract.  This is nice because, when we do find the perfect house, we'll be able to make the transition right away.  But at the same time, we don't feel like we are in a huge rush to make a decision.  Our next move is something we definitely need to take time to consider, particularly if it will be the place we end up forever.

     Mike and I have been seriously looking at properties for the past few months.  There is so much to think about.  Obviously, price is a factor.  But we also don't want a place that requires a lot of "fixing up."  Mike's work hours don't accommodate for a house that needs a ton of remodeling.  Probably one of the most important thing for us right now is land.  I have been envisioning a place with big trees for the kids to climb, and Mike has been romancing the idea of a pond or creek. We would love a place with plenty of space for growing a garden and raising animals.  Aside from a regular garden, I also want to build a greenhouse and have fruit trees and berries.  We want to have room for a chicken coop, and housing for various other animals.  We especially need enough open space for the kids to play and explore and for our future dog to run around.  I can't wait to get a dog!
     It's important for us to teach our kids how to grow food and take care of animals and be self-sufficient.  We want them to learn how to work.  We can't invest our lives in running a big farm, because that would be completely unmanageable for us at the moment.  But I can imagine us undertaking a small scale farming project to start and then someday building up to more grandiose ideas as we gain further experience and know-how.  I grew up in a small town surrounded by farms, but never actually worked on a farm myself.  However, I have family members who have shared bits of wisdom from their own farming background, and so I think it's a feasible ambition.
      There are other things to consider besides land.  For instance, we can't be too far out in the country that Mike has an insane commute to his office and back.  We also don't want to be a ridiculous distance from our beloved downtown Portland, where all the excitement, fun shops and delicious restaurants reside.  Right now we live in the suburbs.  Nothing great about that except for the location.  You see, we are only an hour away from the beach and an hour away from the mountains and the gorge and I don't want to sacrifice being further away from those things that I have grown to love so much since moving here.  So the question is, does the perfect house for us exist?  Does it meet all of our  requirements?  Probably not.  So now we have to brainstorm and figure out what things we're willing to give up, if we have to, and what things are an absolute priority.  Not easy to do for the girl who wants EVERYTHING.  :)

Monday, April 15, 2013

In Bloom

  Spring is my most favorite time of year!  Everything is in bloom and smells fresh and alive.  Here are some flower photos from the last two months.

Outside our side window.

On the side of our house.  
photo courtesy of Janet Bates

3-31-13 Easter
At Rivendale Camp
photo courtesy of Janet Bates

On the hike to Punchbowl Falls

Cool looking plant in someone's yard in downtown Portland

Flower petals covering a neighbor's yard. They have to rake petals in the spring and leaves in the fall.  Tough luck, eh? 

Beautiful flowers we found around our neighborhood during our morning walk.  

The smell of lilacs is one of the best scents in the world to me. 

Can you see the baby spider on the flower petal?

Monday, April 1, 2013

Adventures with Gramma and Grampa

The Columbia River Gorge is one of our all time favorite spots.  So we took Mike's parents to the Bonneville Dam and then on a hike to one of our best loved places.  

Here is Gramma with Vessel and Jacob inside some kind of military defense shelter at the dam.  

 At Eagle Creek, we had a fun time locating several mossy things.  Here is a mossy drinking fountain/water spout. 

Mossy fire-pit

 The mossiest picnic table in Oregon.  Maybe even the United States!

Photo courtesy of Janet Bates

A really mossy boulder. 

 We took Mike's parents on a hike to Punchbowl Falls, one of the most beautiful hikes in the gorge.   

Photo courtesy of Janet Bates

Me, Vessel, and Haven
Photo courtesy of Janet Bates

How would it be to get toted around in a back pack and fall asleep from the lull of Daddy's constant movement?

After our hike we stopped off in Portland and got some grub at a food cart called Fiji Indian Curry.  I just love the food carts in Portland.  And check out these cute little monsters.  Haven is mad because he doesn't want to share a bench with Jacob (they are arch nemesis, after all) and the other two are all smiles at least.  Vessel's face cracks me up.