Spooky apps for Halloween Hounds, top local corn mazes and getting your family ready for “the big one.”

Take Five: Andrea Leoncavallo
Getaway: Tillamook, Ore.
TOP 5 … Mazes
Apps We Love: Trick or Click
Pay Attention: The Big One
Gear Guide: Later, Umbrellas
Bookmark This: Momsicle
Good Deeds: Parke Diem
Chalkboard: Exemption Song
Ask Dr. Katie: Brain Bruises

Take Five: Andrea Leoncavallo

Play_room_-_take_5-oct15Local photographer, documentary filmmaker and mom Andrea Leoncavallo set out to photograph one woman every single day for a whole year and post it to her blog. She asked each woman, “What inspires you?” Her project is now in the book form, She Inspires 365, and available at Powell’s Books.

Q: How did you find the subjects for your portraits?

A: At first I shared photos of my best friends and family members. I wrote about how they’ve inspired me. Then I photographed women I became friends with in Portland. After that I asked those women who they thought should be a part of the project. They introduced me to local business owners, chefs, artists, stand up comedians, scientists and yoga instructors. Then I ventured into street photography. I introduced myself to women I saw in the park, in grocery stores, on the bus and on the street.

Q: The quotes are so authentic. How did you elicit such raw, honest statements?

A: I felt like I was channeling something that wanted to be created. I also think that as a documentary filmmaker I’m used to meeting people and very quickly building trust.

Q: What was your favorite quote from the book?

A: On the second to last day of the project I saw a woman on the street who had the most mesmerizing eyes. When I asked her what inspires her, she immediately said her sister. This is her quote: “My sister, who is physically and mentally handicapped from birth, despite all her challenges, enjoys, appreciates, and loves life more than anyone I have ever met. She inspires me.”

Q: What did the chapter on mothers and children teach you?

A: … Learning and inspiration are circular — we learn from our parents and grandparents and are inspired by them, but we also learn from and are inspired by our children. I learned that love is expressed in so many different ways: through food, culture, stories, silence, laughter and deep intention. Throughout the whole year the inspiration of mothers and children was the most constant theme of the project.

Q: What inspires you?

A: … I’m inspired by the ability of people to change themselves … This project ended up being a way for me to change myself: I always wanted to be a “real” photographer with a mission and vision. I wanted to be someone who could do street photography. I wanted to be more outgoing and brave. I wanted to show that I could accomplish a great task. This project proved I could do all those things.

— Denise Castañon

Getaway: Tillamook, Ore.

You say this coastal Oregon town is super-cheesy? Why yes, yes it is – and proud of it. Families from around the globe have been making the pilgrimage to the Tillamook Cheese Factory for decades now. Take a free, interactive tour, see how the namesake cheddar is made and snag some free samples (or even some scoops of Tillamook ice cream). Work it off with a 4-mile roundtrip hike at nearby Cape Lookout State Park for gorgeous clifftop views of the Pacific Ocean. If you’re craving a more watery escape, rent a rowboat and a crab trap from the Wheeler Marina in Netarts and see if you can catch your dinner. (Pro tip: Dungeness crab are most often found off the Oregon Coast in months that contain an “r”).

Getting a closer look at nature, outside the Tillamook Forest Center.
Getting a closer look at nature, outside the Tillamook Forest Center.

If it’s raining, take shelter on the Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad, a restored steam locomotive that chugs along the Nehalem River every weekend in October, leaving from the depot in Wheeler. Rides are two hours, and kids under 3 are free. (For a small extra fee, your little train enthusiast can even ride in the cab with the engineer.) Back in town, try dinner at the kid-friendly Pelican Pub’s Tillamook Taproom, in a converted warehouse. After dinner, take a walk through the compact downtown and see how many of the 60-plus murals on the Tillamook Quilt Trail you can spot. Rent a yurt or a cabin at Cape Lookout, or try to snag the two-room family suite at the nearby Garibaldi House Inn & Suites. On your way home, don’t forget to stop at the Tillamook Forest Center, which breaks down just how closely Oregon’s history and its forests are intertwined. Our kids love clambering up the true-to-scale forest lookout and exploring the nooks and crannies of the Wilson River out back.

— Julia Silverman

TOP 5 … Mazes

Playroom-Top5-CornMazeBellaOrganic.-oct15Bella Organic Farm on Sauvie Island boasts two separate mazes, a Trail Blazers version that honors the much-missed Jerome Kersey and a seriously haunted one with an oh-so-Portlandia Voodoo Doughnuts theme.

➋ The maze at Baggenstos Farm in Sherwood has lots of dead-ends to thwart you; come armed with a flashlight to try it in the dark on Friday and Saturday nights this month.

➌ Hay maze or corn maze? Try them both at French Prairie Gardens in St. Paul.

➍ Follow along with the twisty, turny monster maize at Kruger’s Farm on Sauvie Island.

➎ If it’s rainy this month, the covered corn maze at Bi-Zi Farms in Vancouver may be just the ticket.

Apps We Love: Trick or Click

You don’t need us to tell you it’s Halloween. Your kids have been reminding you for months now. While they’re counting down the days until the 31st, distract them with these fun and spooky apps.

Playroom-AppsWeLove-CreateAMonster-oct15Create-A-Monster HD
A flipbook come to life for the preschool set. Let your kids mix-and-match heads, horns, torsos, eyeballs, accessories, clawed feet, fangs and more to their heart’s content. 99 cents, for iPad.

Playroom-AppsWeLove-ispy-spooky-mansion-oct15I Spy: Spooky Mansion
Aimed at early elementary kiddos, this app lets them swipe and search through a haunted house, deciphering riddles and locating mysterious floating candelabras and rattling skeleton bones. 99 cents for iPhone, iPad and Android.

Playroom-AppsWeLove-LeVamp-oct15Le Vamp
The gambit: A (frighteningly adorable) baby vampire has escaped from confinement and is on the move through the French countryside, pursued by villagers wielding baguettes and/or pitchforks. Older kids will love helping him stay safe and avoid obstacles. Free on Mac, Android and Kindle devices, but you’ll have to pay to avoid ads.

— J.S.

Pay Attention: The Big One

crackedhouse-oct15Residents of the Pacific Northwest have long heard rumblings about the potentially devastating earthquake that could be headed our way — rumblings that intensified this summer when The New Yorker published a thoroughly terrifying treatise on the subject. So what to do? First off, learn where your gas valve is, and how to shut it off. Next, figure out an earthquake-proof building in your neighborhood where you can go for shelter if need be (and don’t assume it’s a school — a depressing number of them aren’t seismically upgraded.) Then, assemble an earthquake survival kit. In addition to 2 weeks worth of storable food and water, emergency officials say you should include a battery-powered radio and extra batteries, a flashlight, a first aid kit, a water filter, copies of personal identification documents, rain gear and extra blankets. A seismic retrofit of your house will run $2,000 to $6,000, but if that’s not in your budget, buy a kit to bolt down heavy furniture so it won’t go flying. And don’t forget to talk to your kids about all this. It’s better if they get a matter-of-fact, reassuring explanation from you, instead of a sensationalized version from elsewhere. Want more info? Register for Oregon’s Great American Shakeout drill on October 15 at shakeout.org/oregon and practice your drop, cover and hold on technique with thousands of others in the metro area.

— J.S.

Gear Guide: Later, Umbrellas

October in Portland means rain — and time for rain gear. Because little Oregonians don’t stop playing outside when the water starts falling from the sky.

Play_Room_-_Gear_-_Columbi-oct15Columbia Bugababy Interchange Bunting

Performance gear to keep your baby snug and dry. The hooded shell is fully waterproof, breathable and can be worn alone or, when the temperature drops, with the super soft microfleece liner zipped in. The front opening zips down one leg for quick, stealthy diaper changes. Sleeves and pants fold over to keep fingers and toes dry, too. Sizes 3 months to 24 months. $75. At Columbia Sportswear, 911 SE Broadway.

Play_room_-_Gear_-_Carters-oct15Carter’s Fireman Raincoat

Feed that toddler fixation with first responders with this bright red rain coat. With its soft jersey lining and substantial hood, it’s a great value. In baby, toddler and kids sizes. $23. At Carter’s, 8960 Southeast Sunnyside Rd., Clackamas.

Play_Room_-_Gear_-_REI-oct15REI Rainwall Rain Jacket

Waterproof and windproof, this lightweight jacket is just right for all that wet stuff Portland skies throw at us. Layer up underneath to keep toasty or wear as is. The adjustable hood can be tucked into the collar when it’s not needed — you know, like next May. Toddler to kids sizes in a wide range of solid colors. $31.83-$64.50. rei.com.

— D.C.

Bookmark This: Momsicle

Play_Room_-_Bookmark_This-oct15If you want Instagram perfect pics of fantastically coiffed kids or kid-product reviews, look elsewhere. Momsicle: Something to Suck On is not that kind of blog. What you will find on Evelyn Shoop’s site is lots of great writing. This mom from the Northwest Hills is sometimes humorous, sometimes deep, and often a combination of the two. Posts touch on everything from how to hook up a “promance” (aka parent romance) to the magical conception of her third child dubbed the “fairy pig” to baking the ultimate rainbow/Voodoo Doughnut birthday cake.

“Momsicle is where I fight the cult of parenting perfection. This is where I connect with my tribe,” writes Shoop.

Momsicle, we get you and would totally sign up to be your parent BFF.

— D.C.

Good Deeds: Parke Diem

Playroom-GoodDeeds-WhalenFamily-oct15Once a year, the folks at the Portland Parks Foundation pull out all the stops and invite everyone to a giant clean-up party for the city’s beloved chain of green spaces. It’s called Parke Diem (h/t Dead Poets Society) and this year, the party sprawls over two days, October 9 and 10. The best part? Just about every project is family-friendly. Check parklandia.org/parkediem for the list of parks and community gardens hosting cleanups. Chances are, one of your favorites will be on the list, from Columbia Children’s Arboretum in North Portland to Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden in Southeast PDX. Shifts run about three hours, and you and the kids could be put to work mulching or planting, pulling invasive weeds or maintaining trails. They’ve got the tools you need, plus T shirts for every participant and free KIND bars to keep you energized while you work, too.

— J.S.

Chalkboard: Exemption Song

Chalkboard_Oct15_Exemptions-oct15
Sources: Oregon Health Authority, Centers for Disease Control.

Ever since last winter’s massive measles outbreak at Disneyland, childhood vaccines — or lack thereof — have been in the news. And Oregonians have taken notice. New data from the federal Centers for Disease Control shows that Oregon was one of only three states where vaccine exemption rates dropped by more than a percentage point in the 2014-2015 school year. (The others are Kansas and Maine.) One reason for the decline? A new state law, which took effect in March of 2014. Under the new law, families who aren’t allowing their children to be vaccinated for religious or philosophical reasons must now submit to their school or childcare signed paperwork that shows that they’ve spoken with their healthcare providers about the ins and outs of immunization. Otherwise, they’re required to watch an interactive online video on the topic. When similar laws were passed in neighboring California and Washington, exemption rates there dropped dramatically. Still, according to the CDC, Oregon remains among just 11 states nationwide where vaccine exemption rates are above 4 percent. Will the state’s exemption rate continue its freefall? We’ll know more after exclusion day on February 16, 2016 — that’s when kids without up-to-date vaccines are sent home from school, unless families can prove they’ve been granted an exemption. In the meantime, for more info and to find out the current exemption rate at your child’s school, visit healthoregon.org/imm.

— J.S.

Ask Dr. Katie: Brain Bruises

Q: I have a son who really wants to play youth football. I’d like to say yes, but I am worried about the possibility of concussions. What do you think?

A: The return of crisp fall days means not only back to school, but back to sports for so many of our kids. As a pediatrician and a parent, I wholly support kids taking part in organized sports. It’s great exercise and you can learn a lot by being part of a team. But kids also need to stay safe — and while there is no sure way to guarantee your superstar is not going to have a concussion, it’s good to know how to identify the symptoms and speed the healing.

First off, the basics: A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury that is caused by the brain moving rapidly back and forth within the skull. Think of it like a bruise on your brain, which in some instances can result in damage to brain cells and create transient chemical changes.

Your kids (or you) can get a concussion by falling off a bike or the monkey bars. And there are certainly sports that are known as being more “at risk.” Football has the highest incidence of sports-related concussion among youth, but volleyball, soccer and cheerleading are also associated with concussion risk. It’s important that helmets fit properly and that kids are wearing all protective gear recommended for each individual sport.

Playroom-AskDrKatie-oct15The signs/symptoms of a concussion include headache, dizziness/lightheadedness, visual symptoms (light sensitivity, double vision, blurry vision), noise sensitivity, difficulty concentrating or remembering, sleep disturbances and emotional outbursts.

It is important that your child be evaluated by a health care professional if you are concerned that he/she has a concussion. Unlike a bruise on the elbow or shin, which we can see heal itself, with the brain it is more difficult to determine when it has completely healed itself and your kiddo is ready to get back into the game and classroom. A child needs both physical AND cognitive rest to recover from a concussion, and may need alteration to their academic schedule in addition to rest from sports. A health care professional can make decisions about readiness to return to sports and school based on the number, type and severity of symptoms experienced. In addition, check with your sports and/or school organization to see if they offer neurocognitive testing programs to aid in concussion evaluation and management.

Happy fall! (not falling!)

Dr. Katie Oldread, a Harvard Medical School graduate, is a pediatrician at Kaiser Permanente’s Gateway Medical Office. Last winter, she spent a few months providing emergency medical care in Sierra Leone. When she’s not at work, she’s hanging out with her daughters and their two silly dogs, Goofer and Huck.

PDX Parent Staff
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