Playroom August 2017

Take Five: Sarah Bowen Shea

Sarah Bowen Shea, a writer, runner and mother of three in Northeast Portland, is the co-founder of Another Mother Runner (AMR). The multi-media company ( started with books on running specifically for moms and has grown to include training programs, a podcast, gear and running retreats. Shea chatted with us about making time for exercise and TMI moments that will be all too familiar to mom runners.


Q: With online clubs, a podcast, and in-person training sessions, community seems to be a big part of your company. Was this planned or did it happen organically?

A: You’re spot on: If AMR was distilled down to one word, it would be community. Our first book, Run Like a Mother, (2010) was born out of a feature we [Shea and co-founder Dimity McDowell] wrote for Runner’s World in 2007, and us writing a Marathon Moms blog on the magazine’s website. The blog helped us discover an amazing community of women runners, and we wanted to write a non-traditional book about running that spoke to that community. We’ve fostered the AMR community ever since.

Q: What advice would you give a new mom who is struggling to find time to work out?

A: You’re never going to “find” time to work out — you’ve got to make time. That might mean waking up 45 minutes earlier than you’d like or foregoing Facebook in the evening. Also, set yourself up for success: Instead of vowing to exercise (come on, who has time for that!?!), set a realistic goal, such as run-walking for 20 minutes three times a week or going to a Zumba class twice a week. While it might seem that exercise wears you out, it’s actually energizing. Once you feel the benefits of exercise (bolstered mood, increased energy, maybe a few pounds lighter on the scale), you’ll find it easier to extend the amount of time you’re working out or
the frequency.

Q: Tell us about TMI Tuesday. Sounds like something a lot of moms can relate to.


A: TMI Tuesday is one of the hallmarks of the Another Mother Runner Facebook page — and it never fails to amaze (and sometimes startle!) me. Every Tuesday morning, we post an actual question or comment from a mother runner that deals with a topic few, if any, other outlets will talk about, like peeing in our capris, getting your period on race day, needing to poop mid-run, and other been-there, done-that scenarios. Then we ask our followers to chime in with advice or insight. It’s spectacular what gals will admit on Facebook — and how much women appreciate the candor.

Q: What are your favorites running routes in Portland?

A: Like so many folks, I adore Leif Erikson, Wildwood, and the single-track trails that connect the two. But I live in inner NE, and I value out-the-door convenience. For long runs, I love heading west and north to run along Willamette Boulevard and across on the Peninsula Crossing Trail to paved trails near the Portland Speedway. A great, roughly 8-mile route from my house involves heading 2 miles toward the Steel Bridge, crossing over to the westside, then heading south to traverse Tilikum Crossing before heading northward toward home. I adore the grand beauty of that bridge!

Q: Will AMR be at any nearby races in the upcoming months?

A: I just came off a big race-expo season: AMR is always part of the expos at Hippie Chick and Happy Girls Bend. AMR will be tabling at Happy Girls Spokane, September 23, and Happy Girls Sisters, November 4 — and I’m the emcee at both of those great races! — Denise Castañon

Playlist: Golden Hour

My kiddos are native Oregonians, but their Mama grew up in the land of endless sun, movie stars and the lyrical sounds of Armenian, Spanish, English, Tagalog, Japanese … you name it … being spoken everywhere. So Lucky Diaz & the Family Jam Band’s new album, Made in LA is a little slice of the Golden State that can cure (or maybe cause) homesickness for CA transplants. The effortlessly bilingual tunes skip through musical genres from classic LA surf music to pop to rap. Like all good kid musicians, Lucky Diaz and his wife Alisha Gaddis wisely know to keep the tunes suitably bouncy for the kids, and the lyrics funny enough for parents to snortle at. My husband and I cracked up at the song Pato Loco and its obvious reference to the common Spanish/SoCal phrase vato loco, basically a crazy tough dude. However the song described a salsa-loving, Japanese-speaking duck causing all kinds of mayhem — and my 2-year-old son requested it seven times in a row. And with his hyperkinetic energy, fellow LA kindie muscian, Mista Cookie Jar, steals the scene when he picks up the mic on tracks The Magic Believers and Jelly. The album ends with the raucous Fiesta de la Brea, a lively imaginary romp that details how various prehistoric creatures got trapped in the tar pits — and turned into a party.
Catch Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band in Portland this month on August 16 and 17 at various Multnomah County Libraries (visit for times) and August 18 at Portland Children’s Museum at 11 am and at Thinker Toys at 3 pm. — D.C.

TOP 5 … Outlets for Back-to-School Shopping

➊ With a Carter’s, Gymboree and Osh Kosh B’Gosh you can gather all your preschooler’s fall and winter outfits in one fell swoop at the Columbia Gorge Outlets. 450 NW 257th Way, Troutdale.

➋ The dog days of summer are the perfect time to score killer deals on rain gear at the Columbia Sportswear outlet store. 1323 SE Tacoma St. or 3 Monroe Pkwy #H, Lake Oswego.

➌ Get clothes to cover your whole family at Woodburn Premium Outlets. They’ve got little kids’ retailers like Gap Kids and Janie and Jack, as well as stores like American Eagle Outfitters and Forever 21 for teen fashionistas. They’ve even got a Motherhood Maternity outlet for mamas-to-be. 1001 Arney Rd, Woodburn.

➍ How durable are Hanna Andersson’s organic cotton duds? I purchased a Hanna Andersson flannel shirt at a consignment shop, it was worn by both my kids and it still looks great. You’ll find some steals at the outlet in Lake O. 7 Monroe Parkway, Lake Oswego.

➎ Have a new neighbor who works for Nike? Be extra welcoming to them, as passes to the Nike Employee Store are hard to come by, but could save you hundreds on the latest kicks and athletic gear. 3485 SW Knowlton Rd., Beaverton (but you must have a pass to enter the store). — D.C.

Good Deeds: Supply and Demand

School starts up in a few short weeks,so give Portland’s hard-working teachers a helping hand by volunteering with your kids for Schoolhouse Supplies, a nonprofit that runs a free store where teachers from Portland and David Douglas public schools can stock up on the pencils, glue sticks and erasers they need for their students. The organization recently started up School Supply Spectacular events, open to the entire community, no orientation necessary, for ages 11 and up. They’re held on the third Saturday of every month at the nonprofit’s store, at 2735 NE 82nd Avenue. You and your kids can help sort and stock donated supplies to keep the shelves looking tidy for teachers. Or join the PDX Parent crew on August 7, from 10:30 am-noon, to test out pens and markers and bundle them by color, work suitable for kids ages 5-10. Email for more info. — Julia Silverman

Kid to Know: The Rising Star

Recent Roosevelt High School grad Alexis Cannard recently put the Portland youth drama scene on the map after taking third place and $1,000 at the national August Wilson Monologue Competition in New York City last May. Cannard, who will be starting at Drexel University in Philadelphia this fall as an honor student majoring in music industry and minoring in theater, wowed the judges with her interpretation of Ruby from Wilson’s King Hedley II. Cannard caught the acting bug as an 8th grader at da Vinci Middle School and has performed in eight productions. The monologue competition strives to encourage discussion about Wilson’s themes of race, gender and class and gives the finalists mentorships with theater professionals. “Not only did finalists received professional training, but we watched each other grow, and became family because of it,” Cannard said. The monologue competition is a branch of the August Wilson
Red Door Project, which also brings in-school education about the African-American playwright to
11 Portland-area high schools, including Jefferson, Metropolitan Learning Center, Parkrose and
Fort Vancouver in Washington. — D.C.

Bookshelf: Beach Books

Look no further for your kid’s late-summer reading list. Kim Tano and Richard Corbett, the children’s book-buyers at Portland’s iconic Powell’s Books, have it covered.

Colors of the Pacific Northwest by Amy Mullen
Thanks to all the rain, the prevalent color in our beautiful corner of the world is green, but there are plenty of other colors to be found, if you know where to look. Find blue in the camas flower, red on the belly of a sapsucker and black on the belly of a bear. $8.95.

Beach Baby by Laurie Elmquist, Illustrated by Elly MacKay
Remember that perfect day you spent at the beach, the one where you found purple starfish and pink moon snails, found an unbroken sand dollar and spied a seal playing in the waves? It’s all here, with MacKay’s lovely paper-theater illustrations to boot. $9.95.

All the World by Liz Garton Scanlon, Illustrated by Marla Frazee
This one is about noticing the moments great and small on a summer’s day, from the smoothness of a shell found on the beach to the hum of the bees on a lazy summer afternoon. $17.99.

Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey
First published in 1948, there’s a reason that this classic tale of a little girl (and her doppelganger little bear) who follow the wrong mamas on Blueberry Hill continues to have strong sales. Kuplink, kuplank, kuplunk! $7.99.

Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson
Local author and real-life roller derby aficionado Victoria Jamieson presents this fantastic graphic novel about 12-year-old Astrid, who has fallen in love with roller derby and enrolled in junior derby camp at Portland’s own Oaks Park. $12.99.

Where’s Waldo: The Totally Essential Travel Collection by Martin Handford
Waldo seekers on their own voyages will be raring to
go with this compact compilation, featuring all seven of his renowned excursions. Great for the whole family on summer road trips! $14.99.

Did You Know …
The world’s biggest living organism is in Oregon? It’s the honey mushroom (Armillaria ostoyae) in the Blue Mountains of Eastern Oregon. It covers 2,200 acres and is thought to be 2,400 years old. That’s one humongous fungus!

Pay Attention:And The Kicker Is …

Normally, an economic revenue forecast in an airless conference room in Salem doesn’t draw too many news cameras. But expect state economists to make the headlines when they meet on August 23. That’s when Oregonians will find out if they’ll receive a “kicker” tax rebate. If you’re new to the state in the last few years, this might come as a surprise. It’s an only-in-Oregon thing: Every two years, state economists predict how much tax revenue there will be to pay for schools, social services, public safety and other priorities. Lawmakers take that prediction, and base their budget on it. If it turns out that tax collections exceed those predictions by more than 2 percent, any excess goes back to taxpayers. The kicker hasn’t been triggered in a while, but with the state economy humming along, it’s looking like a distinct possibility this year. So, what’s the bottom line for your family? It depends on how much you pay in state taxes, but most likely, it’s somewhere between $85 and $200. And it’s not a check from the state — instead, it’s credited to your 2017 tax bill. The kicker has plenty of fans, who say it boosts Oregon’s economy, and just as many detractors, who say the money should be saved for a rainy day, and could be better spent on shoring up schools and other public priorities. Stay tuned. — J.S.

Bookmark This: The Mom Coach

Childbirth coach, mom of four and Portlander Barb Buckner Suárez knows babies and bellies, but her wheelhouse is poignant essays on motherhood that just might make you tear up. (Not me, I’ve just got a speck of dust in my eye.)

“It is a blessing for us all that selective memory exists when it comes to parents — and children. This selective memory allows us to decide what we choose to focus on. I really cannot remember my Mom raising her voice at us. … But this imperfect recording of my childhood gives me hope! Maybe the same will be true for my own children. Maybe they’ll also have a selective memory of their childhood and focus mostly on just how much I loved them, not on how often I failed to show it because my temper or my impatience got the better of me — and I lost it once or twice. Or more.” Read more at — D.C.

Ask Dr. Corey: Let’s Get Physical

Q: My 6-year-old son broke his leg recently, and just got out of his cast. I’m getting conflicting information on whether physical therapy is a good idea for kids of his age. Any advice?

A: First, a disclaimer: I happen to be married to a wonderful physical therapist, so naturally I am a big believer in its benefits.

Despite this admittedly biased opinion, the benefits of physical therapy in a variety of injuries is well established. When it comes to its role after a broken bone in kids, though, things become less clear. That’s because there’s a lack of high quality medical studies that assess the benefit for children after these types of injuries.

Medical literature does tell us that there may be some limitations in terms of strength and flexibility for many months after a broken bone, dependent on type and location of the break.

Treatment for a broken bone inevitably involves keeping the affected area of the body still for some period of time, usually weeks. During this time, the body compensates by relying on other muscles so that kids can still be functional. Meanwhile, all the muscles and ligaments and tendons that are forced to stay still shrink and get tighter.

Therefore, when the cast or splint comes off, the range of motion of the previously broken limb will be decreased and the muscles will be weaker. This puts stress on other, surrounding structures that weren’t necessarily built for the kind of work they are now being asked to do.

The role of a physical therapist would be to get that range of motion back to normal, help retrain the shrunken muscles to do the jobs they were meant to do, and to retrain the body to stop using the “work around” muscles that were making up for the ones in the cast.

My suggestion would be to discuss physical therapy with your child’s physician or even with a trusted physical therapist directly. Most insurance plans have what is called “direct access” to physical therapists, meaning that often a doctor’s referral isn’t necessary. The therapist can do a skilled assessment and provide insight into what they notice and whether they think therapy would be helpful or not. Further, the likelihood that anything will be made worse by physical therapy is pretty much nonexistent, particularly with a highly skilled therapist.

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