Esmé’s Portland Favorites

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We went to Portland a few months back, and Esmé had the time of her life. We had been before about a year ago, but obviously she didn’t remember it, nor was she as mobile and communicative. This year with her being a year older, I think she was able to enjoy it so much more than last year. Here are her top three favorites from our trip:

The Water Fountainfullsizerender-2

Or ‘Water Countain,’ as she liked to call it.  The picture doesn’t do it justice, but it was absolutely massive. Similar to a waterfall, you could actually hear it before you see it. As Esmé told me when I got her out of the car, ‘I hear the countain mama! I hear the water countain!!’

There were steps on either side where you could climb all the way to the top and play in the part where the water is falling at the top. You could also climb down under some of those square platforms and swim around, which several kids were, while we were there.  I was trying to keep Esmé from doing exactly that, as she isn’t the best swimmer yet, and I was terrified she would get stuck under there and drown. In hindsight perhaps not the best water fountain for a toddler, but she LOVED it.

Farmsimg_0488

Going to the farm is seriously one of our favorite things to do. There is a ton of room to run around and explore. There’s animals that you can often feed, and there’s generally food (for people) if there’s a gift shop area.

She made fast friends with the goats at the first farm we visited, by picking as many dandelions as she could to feed them. The chickens, however, she was not such a big fan of, and required me to hold her if we got within 10 feet of them.

Something that went down as a huge plus for me was the fact that this place was also a Christmas tree farm! Anyone who knows me knows that I am crazy about Christmas. We spent a lot of time wandering around and smelling that heavenly aroma.

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The other farm that we went to was a pick-your-own farm, which I thought was super cool. They had apples, tomatoes, blackberries, raspberries, and strawberries while we were there. I think Esmé would have a tough time deciding which she enjoyed more, visiting the animals, or picking berries.

The best thing about all their berry bushes was that they didn’t have any thorns! We have a ton of blackberry bushes by our house that grow wild in the summer, but I dislike them for two reasons:  1) You are eaten alive by mosquitos and 2) you are then sliced to death by all the thorns on the bushes. So you can imagine how delighted I was to find these thorn-free bushes. I let Esmé run wild and pick to her hearts content.

Food

Esmé’s #1 favorite thing about Portland was the food. I am happy to say that we have, so far, raised a foodie. Home girl loves to eat just as much as her mama and papa. Actually, sometimes she will eat a bigger meal than we do, if you can believe it. Basically we ate our way through Portland. Here’s a sampling of what we ate…

Pretzel Fondue:fullsizerender-4

Just as glorious as it sounds. A fancified version of what you find at Auntie Anne’s at the mall.

Chocolate:img_0492

I don’t know if you guys have seen, or tried, those fancy Moonstruck chocolate bars that they sell in stores, but they actually had a shop near where we were staying. I never buy them because they’re expensive, but the reviews all said they had amazing hot chocolate.

I thought it would be the perfect rainy afternoon activity. Go in, share a cup of hot chocolate, not have to purchase super expensive chocolates, then head back to the hotel. I thought wrong.

I didn’t tell Esmé where we were going because as soon as you say the word ‘chocolate,’ she starts up with ‘I want some chocolate!!’ However, when I plugged the address into the gps in our rental, the wonderful navigation system announced ‘Routing to Moonstruck Chocolate Café.’ Esmé immediately responded with ‘Chocolate?? I want chocolate! Chocolate, Mama, Chocolate!!’ Now I had to buy her a piece of chocolate, thank you navigation lady.

When we got there, I ordered my hot chocolate, and let her pick something out (pink chocolate fish). We went to sit down to enjoy it, but as it turns out she didn’t like the hot chocolate. Then she only wanted more chocolate after finishing her piece. With all that sugar in her system, sitting with me while I sipped my drink was the last thing she wanted to do. She wanted to play with the door…opening and closing it, over and over again. She fell, and was then inconsolable, of course. I had to hurry and chug my very hot, hot chocolate, carry her out, and that was the end of that.

Not our best outing, but very good chocolates.

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You guys. This was the best chicken pot pie I have ever had in my entire life. I’m getting hungry just looking at this picture again. Esmé and I inhaled it, (she had to have the heart, of course), and then we also got a sweet mini pie for dessert. So so good.

Donuts:img_0494

I’m sure you’ve probably heard of Voodoo donuts before. This place is crazy busy, but it’s well worth the wait. I have to say these donuts are the closest thing I have found to my favorite ones in Barcelona. The inside is so soft and chewy, and not overly sweet. You can actually taste a little bit of the yeast that goes into the dough because they’re so fresh. The one that I got had a custard filling with chocolate on top, or basically a Boston creme, which is my favorite. The custard was also not too sweet, just perfectly cool and creamy. The chocolate was divine. Just a teeny bit of a shell and then soft, sweet, and rich underneath. While Esmé very much enjoyed this one as well, I think it’s pretty obvious it was a favorite of mine too.

There you have it! Esmé’s favorite things: food, farms, and a water fountain, in that order.

Best of October

fullsizerenderI thought last years’ October was fun, with our first trip to the pumpkin patch with Esmé, but this year was even better. In fact this past one was probably my favorite one ever.

This year we went to a pumpkin patch where you actually got to pick your pumpkins off the vine yourself. I was telling a friend that even though they didn’t have all the rides and attractions as the one we went to last year (it really was like a mini fair), we all liked it a lot better. It helped that we went during the week, but it was far less busy, and we really got to enjoy it much more.

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Esmé’s favorite thing was the corn playpen. When we first put her in it she kind of freaked out, and refused to walk around in it unless she was holding one of our hands. But after some time sitting and running her hands through it, and especially once Papa climbed in, she got used to it. Then she really started to have fun…rolling around in it, burrowing in it, and, as you can see in the picture above, stuffing allll the corn into her clothes!

They also had a corn maze that all three of us got to enjoy. My husband would run up ahead and hide, then pop out to scare Esmé as she tried to find him. She had so much fun that she didn’t want him to stop. Anytime he tried walking with us, she would tell him ‘Go hide Papa! Go hide!’ She’s very demanding these days.

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For our costumes this year, I decided to have Esmé be an angel because she has this crown of cherubic curls right now. Initially I was thinking that Emile and I could be a Christmas tree, so she would be the angel atop our tree, but Emile said he didn’t feel like dressing up. So I was like, I guess I’ll be her cloud then.

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Esmé had a blast trick-or-treating with her bestie Luigi (Carson), just like last year. Last year she didn’t know what people were putting into her bucket, but this year she figured out what candy was. She was SO excited about all the chocolate. She actually made it around the whole neighborhood without being carried, (quick run home for a potty break excluded), so I was very impressed.

As much fun as all of those things were, my personal favorite thing from the month was a conversation I had with Esmé about my cloud costume that I made. Once I finished making it, I set it on a chair downstairs in the basement. She could see it in the mirror whenever she walked down the steps, so this is what she said when she first saw it:

Esmé coming down the stairs seeing my ‘cloud’ on the chair: What you make Mama? What you have?!

Me: It’s Mama’s cloud costume for Halloween!

Esmé: You take it from the sky?

Me: No, I didn’t take it from the sky.

Esmé: You take it from the ground?

Me: No, lovey Mama made her costume.

Esmé, a little disappointed and confused: Oh.

–A few hours later—

Esmé coming down the stairs seeing my ‘cloud’ on the chair: Mama what you have? What’s on the chair?

Me: It’s Mama’s cloud costume.

Esmé: You take it from the sky??

Me, giving up on trying to explain: Yes. Mama took it from the sky.

Esmé: Mama tooked it from the sky!!

Me: Yes. Yes I did.

Esmé: I want to touch it!

Me: Ok. What does it feel like?

Esmé: ooOOOOOooo. It’s soft Mama.

Me:Is it fluffy?

Esmé: Yes. Soft and fluffy. I want to sit on it Mama. I sit in chair.

Me: No love, you’ll squish the cloud if you sit on it. Let’s go.

Esmé: Ok, I sit on it later.

She still thinks that we have a legit cloud in our house. Anytime I point out that we’re having a pretty sunset, or that the clouds look nice in the sky. She says ‘Mama has a cloud. Mama has a cloud at home from the sky.’

Best October ever.