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!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

An End of Summer Trip

In celebration if our 8th wedding anniversary, Todd and I had an end-of-summer trip planned for the family. It was originally going to be a few days long, and we had a couple of destinations in mind, but when it came time for the trip, we were only able to sneak away for one night and 2 days. So, we decided to head down to Bend, OR, which is a lovely town that reminds me a lot of Boulder.
On the way down we spent a few hours at Smith Rock State Park. It was my first time there and it is just amazing. It is like being in Utah, but a whole lot closer. It was hot, and the kids were not able to hike in too far, but what we did see was absolutely gorgeous.
Afterwards, we headed to our hotel in Bend to swim, and then out for Mexican food (and a pitcher of margaritas!). The next morning (after breakfast and another swim, of course) we headed to the Bend High Dessert Museum. It was fascinating. We learned about porcupines, reptiles, and other organisms, as well as the native history of the area. It made me feel good about pulling Finn out of school to be there.
On the way home, inspired by my friend Heidi's photo (check her photos out, they are much better than mine!), we stopped at a place called Little Crater Lake on Mt. Hood. The hike was short and easy (good for tired kiddos) and we ended up at an amazing little spring-fed lake. The water is so clear that you can see all the way down-- my pictures don't show this because of the strong reflections, but trust me, it was beautiful.
Then, back home to real life. The trip was short, but fun. I am glad we managed one more quick getaway before settling in to our school-year routines.








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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Just Checking In


I have been a bit missing from the world of blogging lately. Real life has swept me off my feet, and I think my brain is still a few days behind my body. I have so many things I want to share with you all, I just need to find the time to sit down and write.
What have I been doing, you ask? Well, I have just finished painting the entire inside of my house (I love it, thanks for asking!)-- I will probably share some pictures soon, well, just as soon as I get the pictures hung back on the walls and tidy the place up. The kids have started school and Finn now has daily homework. We now have soccer practices and games. Phoebe has hip hop class. I am running an after school program at Finn's school. I start teaching next week and still have lots to do. We have had several different friends in town who we had to make time for. We just got back from a quick end-of-the-summer trip. Plus our regular schedule. Phew. I just got tired even writing that.
But, I promise to be back here soon, with pictures to show and stories to share. I hope you all are well, and once I finally find my rhythm again, I hope to be back in the blogging groove. Pin It Now!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Yarn Along


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

Guess what?!? I have finally finished my  sweater. Well, I have finished the knitting part anyways. I still have to weave in the ends (bleh), add buttons, and block. And I really need this blocking to work out. Despite the fact that I knit the sweater a size larger than I am, it is skin tight.... almost too small. I am hoping a good blocking will help stretch it out. I think trying it on and realizing how tight it was has somewhat zapped my motivation for finishing up, but I should have some time this week, so I hope to get it done. Pictures to come soon!

I have also been working on a plain vest for a friend's little girl. And even though Phoebe already has two of these sweet little vests, she keeps asking if this one is for her. And when I say that it's not, she begs me to make her another one.  So, somehow I feel like I may have another plain vest in my near future.

I  am currently reading Requiem, the last in Lauren Oliver's trilogy as well as a book called Childhood and Nature: Design Principles for Educators. A friend and I are starting an after school program at Finn's school that will focus on environmental education and conflict resolution, and I am hoping this book may spark some ideas.

What are you reading? What are you knitting?

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Sunday, September 7, 2014

Gratitude Sunday


This week I have felt so grateful for Finn's smooth transition into first grade. He went in like a pro, and made the week easy for us. I am so proud of him.
I am also thankful for the little signs that fall is right around the corner: chilly mornings, the warm quality of the late summer sunlight, changes happening in the garden. I love the changing of the seasons, and the switch to autumn is one of my very favorite.
Lastly, I have been filled with gratitude for my time as a mother. I have had a few reminders this week that life is often fleeting, and can end unexpectedly. Although I don't like to meditate on that thought, it is a good reminder to enjoy our time here while we have it. I am so thankful that I am on this journey with these two amazing little beings. There is no one I would rather spend my time with.
What have you felt grateful for this week?


Joining in with the other Taryn of Wooly Moss Roots for a Gratitude Sunday post. Pin It Now!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Oh Colorado

For labor day weekend, the family and I spent 5 days in lovely Colorado. My husband and I both went to college there, and I lived there for about 9 years total. We have a lot of friends who are still there and let's just say that Colorado will always have a very special place in my heart.
The weather was unusual for summer.... we got rained and/or hailed on every day that we were there (but of course, the skies were sunny in between storms!).
We did a little bit of hiking (although a very little bit, as we got rained out of our planned hike two days in a row!). We had an evening of Mexican food and mini golf with our nephew. Meals at my old haunts with friends. Live music. Rainbows.
We also took a trip up to Jamestown, which made the news last year when the entire town was flooded and folks (including quite a few of my friends) were stranded for several days before they were helicoptered out. It is amazing to see how much the flood changed the town-- essentially, large parts of the town are still in dire need of help. The city is filling cisterns so that folks have drinking water, the temporary roads are washing away in places, and there are still houses that are only half standing. Lots of folks still can't even get to their homes as roads and bridges across the river have been washed away and there is no access. Our dear friends, who own the Merc, the only restaurant in town, made us a wonderful breakfast with the best green chile ever.
It was wonderful to go back, and, as always, I will miss Colorado until the next time I return.









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Tuesday, September 2, 2014

FIRST day of FIRST grade


Summer break is officially over. Today is Finn's first day of first grade. For those of you that know me, you are aware of some of the struggles that we have faced with Finn and school. Two years ago when he started an all day preschool program, it was a disaster. He would cry every morning, wouldn't use the bathroom at school, and was having almost daily metldowns in the classroom. This is when we figured out that he had sensory issues and anxiety. And even though the year got better,
it was pretty rough all the way until the end. In hindsight, I just think he wasn't ready for school yet.
When he started kindergarten last year, things went much better. There was still a lot of crying before school, but a huge improvement from pre-k.
My husband and I were curious (and a little nervous) about how the start of this year would go. Finn already knew his teacher, and several of the kids in his class, so we had our fingers crossed that it would go smoothly. And he jumped out of bed this morning at 6 am, got himself dressed and had a great morning with zero complaints and no crying. When we got to his classroom, he ran in without even saying goodbye. And although I was a little sad to not get a first day of school hug, I was so happy to see him being so independent.
Finn has come so far these past two years, I can't even tell you how proud I am of him. Hoping this school year goes as smooth as day 1! Pin It Now!

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Our August Garden

Considering that August is nearly over, I am a little late in my August garden post. This year I was a bit too busy during August to give it the love and attention it deserved, and so it is not thriving as much as it should be. That said, it is still providing for us and it is magnificent habitat for all sorts of creatures. In fact, it is an (almost) daily ritual of mine to sit in the garden and watch the bees hard at work... I think this is probably pretty evident in my photos too....
Despite the fact that our garden is not providing copious amounts of food, we are still harvesting on a daily basis. We have heirloom tomatoes (plenty for eating and sharing, just not enough to can), herbs like dill, parsley and basil, kale, blackberries, grapes that are just turning red, and beets. After not producing for most of August, our hot pepper and zucchini plants are now starting on a second round.. and for that, I cannot wait! We also have about an armload of winter squash that should be ready in the next couple of weeks.
I have a lot of work to get our fall garden all put in the ground, and I hope to find some time after the kiddos start school.









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