Singing with Sylvia for Christmas

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 Singing with Sylvia for Christmas

Portland Old Town-Chinatown

Portland Old Town-Chinatown
Day 8 of our family road trip we woke up in lovely Portland, Oregon. We were most excited to check out the historic Old Town-Chinatown neighbourhood.

Our first stop was to the Portland Saturday Market, the largest open-air arts and crafts market in the country. There was so much to experience there: live music, fun buskers, interesting people-watching, food, and a lot of great art and handmade goods.

My find of the day was a cute handmade skirt featuring my signature butterfly from Do Over Designs. This one-of-a-kind skirt, which is made from recycled material, seemed even more special to me after my butterfly sighting from day 6! {I will wear it later this week and will post a picture then.}

Our walk extended down and back a nice stretch of the Willamette River waterfront. Like Saskatoon, Portland is known as "Bridge City," and the infrastructure was quite interesting to see. For example Steel Bridge, which carries the light rail and Amtrak lines into Old Town-Chinatown, is evidently the only double-decker bridge with independent lifts in the world. The waterfront is another great place to see colourful characters and unique biking contraptions {that my kids seemed to keep getting in the way of as we walked}.

It was blazing hot out, so we were so ready to wander in to the Thirsty Lion Pub & Grill, just steps away from the Saturday Market area. After guzzling a nice, cool glass of water, my husband and I decided to split a sampling board of six craft beers for $10. Ahhhh, refreshing!

The Thirsty Lion, which has six {soon to be eight} locations nationwide, served up the best Smoked Turkey Club I have ever eaten. It was perfected with maple bacon, pepper jack cheese, avocado and chipolte aioli on rustic grilled bread. Yummo!

They also had a great children's menu, brought out crayons and activity sheets and made our kids feel right at home.

After lunch, we walked down Northwest Everett street to the exquisite Lan Su Chinese Garden. This beautifully designed botanical garden is supposed to be one of the most authentic Chinese gardens outside of China. I had seen pictures in the guidebooks I had checked out from the library, and I really was eager to see it for myself.

It is a quiet, peaceful oasis spanning one block in the middle of a bustling city. Quiet and peaceful, that is, until we arrived with our two kids. Then it became an elaborate maze for playing a squealing game of chase.

No amount of shushing, hand-holding or time-outing was working at this particular time and place. This beautiful garden, with its winding paths, darling little pavilions and lush plants, just lured my kids into a frenzy of hide-and-seek and make-believe. This would normally be wonderful, but I couldn't help but feel they were tromping on all kinds of Chinese etiquette rules and disrupting the tranquility that others had paid $9.50 to enjoy.

When my husband's glance that says, "This was your bright idea!" turned into a wide-eyed glare, I gave up and announced it was time to go. On our way out, my daughter ran into a pavilion {that I now know to be the "Painted Boat in Misty Rain"}. As I chased in to get her, I found her with a basket of children's books about Chinese culture.

Silly, but I almost felt like crying. That single basket of books communicated to me that my children and their curiosity were most welcome there.

I sat with them and read a couple of the books. Then we each took our turn choosing Chinese fortune sticks.

I was so thankful that we all had that opportunity to calm down and end the visit to this special place on a very pleasant note.

Such is the "yin and yang" of our lives as parents, isn't it?

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