Mama Gone Green is a blog dedicated to raising happy children and reducing our impact on the Earth. My name is Taryn Oakley and I am the mother of 2 young kids and an environmental studies instructor at a community college in Portland, Oregon. Please join me as I journey through life as a mama, teacher, knitter, photographer, gardener, and environmentalist!

Friday, August 22, 2014

This Moment

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo- no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. Inspired by Soulemama.

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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Yarn Along

Joining with Ginny at Small Thing's for this week's Yarn Along.

I have finally found a bit of time to knit lately. Not much, but a bit. I finished a plain vest for a friend's new baby while we were on out road trip (see below). I found some sweet little wooden heart buttons and I love how it turned out. And, I am happy to note that I have made a little progress on my  sweater. I have finished one sleeve and have started the second, so I am in the home stretch now. Hopefully by next week, I will have a finished sweater...however, I tried it on after finishing the first sleeve and it is a bit tight- even though I knit it a size larger than I am-- so I am hoping a little bit of blocking will stretch things out.

I  just finished reading Delirium, the first in Lauren Oliver's trilogy. It was a good, quick read, which was exactly what I needed. It took me a while to really get sucked into the story, but now I am eager to read book #2.

What are you reading? What are you knitting?

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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

We Heart Rocks

Ever since I was in my teens I have been a lover of rocks. I took some geology classes in college (heck, I even taught a few geology labs), but I never seemed to absorb the rock identification or rules of formation that I learned again and again. I did, however, maintain a love for rocks and I have always collected rocks from wherever I go. Sometimes I find agates or jasper or other more "worthwhile" rocks that many folks collect. But oftentimes I come home with pockets of river rocks that attracted me by their color, shape or texture.
And, apparently I have passed this behavior down to my children as well, which is awesome.. except for when they try to take rocks out of other people's yards.....
For Christmas, my family got a rock tumbler, and finally, this summer, we had gathered enough rocks to fill it and make the process worth it (it took almost 4 weeks from start to finish, so we decided it only made sense to do a large batch once or twice a year). Rock tumblers are like magic. Although some rocks are beautiful just the way they are (and sometimes that is what makes them so delightful), so many of them look amazing once polished. Our batch of rocks went from this:

To this:

Anyways, I have been trying to learn more about rocks, and how to identify them. I got a new guide book from a local writer and even managed to attend his talk at the bookstore. I still think I will be a non-discriminatory rock collector, picking up things of value or not, just because I find them interesting in some way, but hopefully I can become more knowledgeable about what I am finding.

The kids and I headed to Rice Northwest Museum of Rocks last week. It's the second time I have been there and I could spend hours staring at the thundereggs, gypsums, petrified wood, glow in the dark rocks, and other gorgeous specimens. But, as much as my kids enjoy finding rocks (and buying them from the gift shop!), their patience in staring at them is limited to about an hour. However, Finn was pretty darn interested in the rocks and the process of how they formed and were mined, and we found a whole bunch of great books to borrow from the library.

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Monday, August 18, 2014

Looking Forward

Summer time in Portland is wonderful. And hectic. When you live somewhere where rain is the norm 9 months out of the year, you have to soak up the sunny summer while you can. And we do.  Summer weekends start to get booked up in March. The calendar has plans scribbled all over it. And we are more social in the 3 months of summer than the whole rest of the year. It is super fun and it always seems to fly by.
But, it is tiring too.
And honestly, although I am not yet looking forward to going back to work in September, I am starting to feel ready for the transition to summer's end. My body is starting to crave more routine, and I am looking forward to a day when there is nothing on the calendar.
As much as I love to be spontaneous, deep down inside, I feel best when I have a rhythm.

So- here is to enjoying these last weeks of summer to the very fullest!

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Thursday, August 14, 2014

A Family Road Trip

I love road trips. I love going places and exploring. I feel like I am often planning excursions, and dragging my family along with me.... but I know that they have fun.
On Sunday, we drove up to Mt. Rainier in Washington. Even though it is only a few hours away, we had never been, so I was so excited. The park is beautiful-- huge trees, wildflowers, glaciers... everything a girl needs. Unfortunately, it was super crowded, and one of the prettiest areas of the park, Paradise, where we had planned on doing a high meadow wildflower hike, was so crowded that after 30 minutes we still couldn't get a parking spot! So, we skipped Paradise-- great excuse to go back another time though.
We spent a night camping in the park and two full days exploring. We went on three (small) hikes, and found some solitude despite the crowds. It was gorgeous.
The last day of our road trip was spent in Seattle. Although we have been to Seattle quite a few times, we have always had friends living there, and we always did non-touristy adult things. This time was all about the family, and being tourists for a day. We saw the Fremont troll, went up in the space needle (which, by the way, made me feel quite dizzy!), visited the Chihuly museum of glass (which is amazing!), took a hike in Discovery Park, relaxed at Gasworks Park, and had dinner on the sound.
It was a perfect little getaway.

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Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Decreasing my Expectations

Well, that title sounds depressing, doesn't it? But it's not meant to be negative, and in most ways I think it's even a positive. Here, let me explain.
I am a list maker, a go-getter. On days when I am productive and busy, I tend to feel happy. On days when I don't get much done, well, these are the days that I lean towards feeling sad/lonely/guilty/etc. So, what have I learned from this? My body has learned that to stay happy, I should be busy. I should take on projects, be productive, and meet my expectations. And these things are good. In moderation.
However, in reality, I often over-extend myself setting unrealistic goals of what I "should" accomplish in a day. Goals of cleaning my house, working out, baking, discovering, reading, sewing, knitting, blah, blah, blah.
All of these things are great and fine. But- I don't have time to do all of them every day. Or even every week. I have young kids that need their mama. Young kids that are only going to be young once. And the cleaning, baking, sewing, knitting, etc. can wait. At least sometimes. I am not planning on giving up any of my hobbies. (And unfortunately I don't think I can give up cleaning or laundry either). But, I can lower my expectations and be OK with less.
It's OK for my house to be messy sometimes. It's OK to take a few weeks off of knitting. It's OK if I only work out a few days a week. It's OK if I don't get everything crossed off my to-do list. In a few years, when my kids are older, and don't need me as much, I will have much more time for me.
So, for now, I am learning to lower my expectations of myself. To go easy on me and how much I commit myself to. But, I am not going to kid myself. I will still make a to-do list every day, however, I am working on making my lists shorter. I am trying to find time every day to not do anything except just be with the kids and involve myself in their play. I am trying to force myself to slow down, to breathe, and to relax.
How do you balance your needs and expectations with those of your family? Pin It Now!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Right Now...

* Finn is making decorations for his birthday party. His birthday is November 7th.

* I am feeling thankful for this wonderful place in which we live and that we are able to immerse ourselves in nature frequently.

* I can hear the soft running of my old dog's paws as he dreams during his afternoon nap.

* I am watching the hummingbirds and sparrows take turns at our feeders. There is something so soothing about sitting quietly and watching birds.

* I am pondering about my garden and what needs to be accomplished over the next week or so.

*I am trying to soak up these last few weeks of summer, not wanting it to end, yet, simultaneously also looking forward to autumn.

What are you doing right now?

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