Happy RAWR day

What? It’s not RAWR day! It’s Valentine’s Day silly!

I can see how you might think that but don’t be fooled!

Today is a day to celebrate love and by most accounts there’s a few types of love that we’re celebrating today. There’s friend-love- that “gosh-I-just-love-my-bff-how-did-she-know-I-needed-that-bitch-sesh?!?-How did I survive without her?” There’s hubby-love- that “ooh!-He-did-get-me-the-special-expensive-chocolate-today!” and of course, kiddo-love. “Aww-my-sweet-kiddo-look-at-what-they-made-for-me!” I won’t leave out family-love because “I-love-you-too-ma!” But beneath all that love, there’s more, much more.

the Portland RAWR

the bright RAWR behind love and passion

Beneath the chocolates and the pleasantries and extra texts and phone calls, there’s love. Beneath love is passion. Beneath passion is RAWR. “RAAAAWWWRRRRR” is where we find the strength to love so deeply, care so much and panic like crazy to express it. Real love, that passionate love that would compel you to leap before a bus for your loved one, comes from a most primal spot in our hearts and souls. From that same spot comes our RAWR. In my humble opinion, RAWR is what powers love.

Even when we don’t have love, we still got RAWR. So today, Happy RAWR day.

RAWR & LOVE <3 Marie

RAWR & LOVE, Marie

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Too many d*cks on the dancefloor…

A Reader: There’s the Testosterone Conundrum… Teenage boy + step father = constant conflict & disagreements so what do I do?

Father and Son

Boys boys boys. Growing up in a house full of two “little” brothers, a wrestling match or stinky hamper was never far away. Neither was a fight over our mom’s attention. Like two dueling dancers, they’d each try to out-do the other until she noticed. Even when you love the boys in your life they can be stinky, LOUD, rude, and messy all at once without realizing it themselves. Lots of testosterone can certainly strain a family relationship. It doesn’t even take a full grown boy to disrupt a family dynamic, even a Preggosaurus Rex growing a little boy can produce enough testosterone to kick the circus off-queue. So what is a mama rex to do when the going gets too RAWR?

The first step is to channel it. I like to think of testosterone as steam in a kettle. The more of it a guy has, the more forcefully he needs it to be turned into spent energy. You can’t just cap the steam and expect it to go away, it needs a healthy outlet. Finding some activity they can do together, maybe it’s race RC cars, or go to batting practice or work on a car, or whatever it may be for your boys, will go a long way in helping them bond in a healthy way. The more healthy outlets they have in common, the stronger a relationship they’ll be able to build.

There’s also some sticky family dynamics at play, underneath all the hormones and beating their chests with fists. There is a father-son dynamic that needs support. Right now, as a teenager, your son can’t see the big picture and long term because his pre-frontal cortex is just not quite there. It will take him a few years to realize your husbands’ actions aren’t putting restrictions on him or reigning him in just to be mean, but rather to give him guidance that typically comes from Dad. Finding ways to nurture this bond is tricky and often, a well-intentioned plan can backfire in your face. Some degree of Mama-Sneak is called for, but not too much. You can send them on errands together, find new activities that they both have to try (outdoor stuff is good because they burn much more energy and come home tired!), but be careful being too sneaky in setting activities up.

Something that seems to work well for the men I love in my life, but certainly is not appropriate for everyone, is being the rube for them in those crucial bonding situations. When they can be on the same ‘team’ because they’re both laughing with (and usually at) me, I don’t take it personal because I know they in the end, they’ll be more bonded, and it’s not like there’s any less love then.

The other consideration is to be an open listener for your son. This means to LISTEN and not judge or try to problem solve but just listen. He’s reaching an age where he wants to emotionally attach and if you and him have a good relationship, he’ll attach back to you. This is not attachment in some weird way but rather he’ll develop a deeper trust with you. He’ll be comfortable sharing more than the typical teenage boy shares with his mother about the happenings of his life. The goal is for you and his Step-father to be there for him as a solid support- through dumb decisions and good decisions.

And when all else fails, “RAWR” at them.

The only biscuits worth a RAWR

The Biscuit Showdown

SATURDAY

Mmmmaaaaauuuuggghhh… A Homer-style moan with drool pours from between my teeth as I dream of biscuits. No, not those biscuits, mind out of the gutter and into the flour please. A well-formed and perfectly baked biscuit is a surefire start to a great brunch. What’s that you say Marie? Biscuits for brunch? Why yes dear reader. Biscuits for brunch is my favorite weekend pastime in Portland, Oregon and is so RAWR-worthy. A few weekends ago Raul, his sister and I found ourselves on a Biscuit Showdown. Without showboating, let’s just say we were seeking some incredible biscuits and found them.

It began early Saturday, well, early enough. On a brisk, sunny morning, we left homebase and began the trek. A short walk brought us to the doorstep of the Grand Central Bakery. One step inside yields smells that will haunt you for a lifetime- that sweet bakery aroma. Tempting me with pastries, it takes all my strength to stay on task… biscuit! Needing a shot of protein I go for the Cheddar Egg biscuit sandwich.
Cheddar Egg Biscuit Sandwich

After an impatient wait spent pacing, I was handed a warm goodie wrapped in branded paper. Ruthlessly ripping open the paper as if I was going to find some Channing Tatum but instead it was even better… a light, fluffy and just ever-so-slightly crumbly biscuit cradling a soft and perfectly cooked and peppered egg and cheddary cheese center. I barely got a photo before it got devoured.

After inhaling the amazing biscuit combination, I didn’t need a nap afterwards (though I took one anyway).

SUNDAY

Awaking from a good sleep, Raul, his sister and I embarked on the next adventure to Pine State Biscuits. We chose the location with the most seats so the three of us would have the best shot at eating indoors, on location. All I remember about getting there was the rumble of my tummy and the anxious anticipation awaiting my taste buds. Raul has been there before but to me, this was all new. Arriving at the door, we’re greeted by a sign saying to wait outside if there isn’t room inside. Ok then, crowd control is usually a good sign. We barely squeak through the door with no real room to spare in line behind us. Thankfully the wait is enough time to study the menu posted above.

Deciding to keep it biscuits to biscuits, I forego the more famous combinations and order an Egg & Cheese biscuit sandwich. Not to disappoint my dear readers, Raul orders the Reggie, his sister orders the Reggie Deluxe. We luck out on seats just inside the main dining space (which seats about 20 people).

Eager waiting and watching for our order pays off as dish by dish gets called up. Anticipating a photo before the food came, once it arrived in front of me, I actually forgot to take a photo. It was that good. I don’t think I can fully describe it because I inhaled it. Literally i-n-h-a-l-e-d it.  We all forgot to take a photo so I am including one right from the source. Below is the Pine State Biscuits’ money shot of the Reggie Deluxe. Are you speechless yet?

Pine State Biscuits

So for a biscuit-to-biscuit comparison here’s

the breakdown:

Egg & Cheese Biscuit Sandwich: The RAWRS go to Grand Central Bakery. For a light, crisp biscuit paired perfectly with a just-done-enough egg and the tang of aged cheddar stacked against the denser, less flaky biscuit from Pine State makes the comparison clear.

Fried Chicken and Biscuits: Are you ready for the twist? When you throw a piece of crisply fried chicken in-between those dense biscuits, magic happens. The sandwich takes on a whole new dimension of goodness. The biscuits carefully cradle the chicken adding a saltiness that leaves you licking your fingers.

Tough guys don’t mess with dinosaurs

Many thanks to I Fucking Love Science for putting this cozy ensemble on our radar. Don’t get caught un-armed ever again!

little rexes_2

Give your RAWRS a a real punch of intensity with this comfy gear.

Even better, your little rexes and big rexes can find a size!

big rexes_1

Prefer Raptor? There’s one for you too!

Little Rex_1

  little rexes_3

Find your hoodie at www.nothingbutdinosaurs.com!

Dinos for dessert

Several of my friends have kiddos approaching or passing their first birthday. In the spirit of birthday RAWR, I thought it fitting to share a slideshow of Dinosaur Birthday cakes to get your creative juices flowing! Many thanks to iVillage for compiling the full list of cakes, images and RECIPES. For the full article, CLICK RAWR.

Of the 21 cakes shared, my favorite is this guy…

Dinosaur Cake

Doesn’t he just look tasty? For this Rex’s recipe, click RAWR.

Dino Yummies for Doggies

Dinosaur Nylabone

Maybe your dog isn’t motivated by ripping the guts out of simulated nature. Maybe, just maybe, your dog wants to just chew on bones. All day. Bone in paw, butt on sofa, ah, heaven. If that’s the case, check out this Nylabone shaped T Rex! Maybe your dog is a dino-snob and would rather spare the T-Rexes.

They’ve got you covered with the Stegosaurus and Brontosaurus. Nylabone Stegasaurus

Now, before you go rush out and buy a bunch of new chew toys, make sure you read the ingredients and watch for signs of allergies. Many dogs are allergic to certain foods, sometimes contained in chewable products like Nylabone. If you suspect your dog is having an allergic reaction, please seek veterinary support.

Dino Eggs for Doggies

Egg babiesWhen the wiggles in our lives need a new puzzle, I love turning to the Egg Babies collection. We’ve tried many non-food based toys but the one that brings the same joy to my dogs as ripping the “guts” out of a live animal (ew.) is none other than the Egg Babies Dog toys.

The experience gets better when, instead of picking up the pieces of a broken squishy, you can easily stuff all the eggs back in the toy and start again. We also like to mix it up with the occasional Kong or baby carrot.

Find your Dinosaur Egg Babies Dog toys on Amazon.

Our pack’s go-to favorite?

Clearly the Dinosaur! He still survives to be stuffed another day!Egg Baby dinosaur_belly view with eggs

Photo Jan 22, 7 15 09 PM

Ask me about my Rex

What a clever way to conceal your inner dinosaur, only to be revealed when asked…  The Rexes at All Things Rawr LOVE this T-shirt! Need a quick Halloween costume or just another outlet for your frustrations?

Find it on Amazon!

Convertible T-Rex Shirt

Convertible T-Rex Shirt

Grandma’s got a… beer?

ID-10032444A Reader:

Within my more somewhat liberal, Catholic, northern family, all gatherings include beer and wine for the adults (even children’s birthday parties, which are more family affairs than bunches of little kids). My husband’s family are Southern, conservative, and more generically Christian, some baptist, and anti-alcohol of any type.

We live 5+ hours from both of our immediate families, in opposite directions. My husband feels more at ease with my immediate family than his own, and our local group of friends, who have become our family, are much like my family. We gather for their kids’ birthdays, and the adults have a few beers while the kids eat cake and shoot nerf or water guns.

Our son is nearing his first birthday, and my husband wants his party to be like those of our friends and my family. He doesn’t even want his parents there, because he doesn’t want them to judge our friends (no one ever gets out of hand). We never drink around his parents out of courtesy, and it took many years of us being married before DH didn’t hide any beer we had in the house when his parents came to visit. He’s honestly too hard on his parents, as annoying as they can be at times, and really tries to cut them out. Not that I particularly enjoy hanging out with them, but I smile and exchange niceties, they are our son’s grandparents. Thoughts on handling this situation?

Kayce:

I actually come from a family just like this; my mom was raised strict Roman Catholic, even attended a Catholic school with nuns who hit the kids with rulers, while my dad was raised Southern Baptist and was forbidden to dance (including prom!), drink, or even have playing cards in the house (they lead to gambling you know). Thankfully they both rebelled, first by marrying each other (via secret elopement), and then by distancing themselves from both doctrines. They still read the Bible to us as kids, but allowed a dialogue about what the teachings meant to us, and encouraged us to seek out our own interests in spirituality.

Their gatherings always included some drinking and lots of card playing & dancing. To this day I’m surprised when I find that I know parts of the Bible more than most of my Christian friends, and I make it a point to connect with my Source (or God) every single day. I’ve never had a drinking problem, or a gambling problem for that matter, and I can’t say that dancing has ever lead to sex for me (I’m not that great of a dancer haha)!

I remember a happy, healthy childhood while my parents have struggled most of their lives to forgive their parents for the expectations that were placed on them at such an early age. So, I guess the bottom line is figuring out what’s more important to you- trying to live a life based on what your church has interpreted as being upright while judging those closest to you, or connecting with your friends and family in a real way that lasts generations and affects everyone they in turn meet. Its important to be honest as adults and to lead by example for your children; the family members can choose whether or not to attend! It’ll ultimately be their loss if they distance themselves, but they might surprise you and come around – rawr!

Marie:

As it’s your party, (since you planned and are hosting it!), if you want to cry, you can. But I doubt you will because you seem like a realistic gal with her head squarely on her shoulders. It’s obvious to me you want everyone to feel welcome, drinkers and abstainers alike. Keep that feeling in your heart and all the guests will feel it.

Coming from a family with a history of alcoholism and where many members of my family have bad memories associated with alcohol, I can understand the need for a ‘dry’ event, religious beliefs aside. Alcohol can bring out the bad side and more voracious comments at the wrong time. And after attending many dry family events, I can also attest to the great social lubricant that it is. Sitting awkwardly on the couch for a few hours is hardly fun for anyone.

So looking for a happy medium, let’s separate alcohol from the obvious. Set up two beverage centers, one with non-alcoholic punches, juices and spritzers (oh my!) by the food and festivities. Set up a “grown ups only” bar somewhere off to the side (maybe in the garage or laundry or back bedroom). Get a bunch of blue Solo cups and a couple packs of fun colored Sharpies or maybe something extra fun like differing Mustache stickers and have everyone personalize their cup to drink from. (I’m sure your cool friends will “get it” and cooperate.) Then it’s a little less obvious who’s drinking and who’s not.

Lastly, designate a “quiet room” for anyone (of ANY age) who’s having a fit. Fill it with some calming music, soft blankets and pillows and keep it pretty dark. Then, if someone does get unruly, grown up or grumpy munchkin, there is somewhere for them to retreat to without causing a scene and ruining the party. (Unless it’s you crying, and then, since it’s your party, you can cry if you want to.)

The return of the dinosaurs

T RexFeelin’ a little lonely or need a good burglar deterrent or maybe your brother needs a new girlfriend? Check out these blow up dinosaurs! There’s a dinosaur for everyone in the family! Which one is your favorite? Marie’s is, of course, the T-Rex!

 

Inflatable Dinosaurs

Keep calm and Rawr

Any little girls in a rawr mood should check out this t-shirt from (gulp) Walmart. I’m not usually a big Walmart fan, but with this T, who can resist? Now if only they made a grown up size…

Girls' Rawr shirt from Walmart

Girls’ Rawr shirt from Walmart

Mother’s Day Rawr…

I hope everyone had a wonderful Mother’s Day & were able to spend time with your Littles or your Mamas or BOTH.

I had a very nice day with my 3 Dudes.  We took the Boys to get their pictures taken for Mother’s Day & for Ryan’s 3 Month Birthday.  The pictures turned out way too cute & both of the Smalls did great!!!  We did a little shopping @ Target, had lunch @ home & the Boys took naps.  Hub’s mom came over in the evening & Hubs made us chicken, corn on the cob & roasted potatoes for us.  My 4 year old made the salad & he was so proud.  Dinner was great & then Hubs & I gorged ourselves on ice cream after James went to bed.  Although he did come out & caught us red-handed!!!  He goes “Heyyyy……. What’s THAT?!”  So busted.

I was in bed last night thinking about my nice day & thought about my most interesting Mother’s Day so far.  2 Years ago Hubs, James & I went to New Orleans for my Birthday (May 6th) & Mother’s Day (May 9th, 2010).  The day before Mother’s Day we spent all day running around New Orleans.  We walked down Bourbon Street (in the day time before it gets TOO weird), went to the Aquarium, walked around & shopped @ the RiverWalk, walked all around the French Quarter & ended up @ the Hard Rock for dinner.  Everything was going great; we were laughing & having a good time & James was just happy as could be.  Until the SECOND the food came & the poor Kid puked his little guts up!!!  Our Waiter was AMAZING though & totally didn’t even skip a beat & started cleaning up the table & asked if we wanted him to box up our food so we could get James home to rest & if he needed some water in a to-go cup.  We got all cleaned up, put the Dude in his stroller & hoofed it back to our hotel.  James still wasn’t feeling well & puked well into the wee hours of the morning on Mother’s Day.  There I sat @ midnight on Mother’s Day, on the bathroom floor of our hotel, propped up with the cushions & pillows from the couch with a pukey Kid.  Happy Mother’s Day to me.  LOL!!!  I guess that’s what I get for procreating.

*KODI*

rowing meditation

photography Aaron Ostrowsky (c)

You see your breath puff in clouds out in front of you with each surge in and out of your lungs as you feel the heavy weight of the boat resting on your right shoulder, your oars dangling from your left hand. Walking down to the dock in step with your boat-mate, all four footsteps echoing off the trees lining the path. Reaching the dock, it’s time to set the oars down with a short squat to reach the ground. In synchronicity you lift the boat off all shoulders and roll it over, upright and ready for the water. Stepping lightly to the edge of the dock, with a light plunk, the boat is in the water, ready to move. Gingerly climbing into the boat is done once, then twice. The oar locks click and wobble as oars are locked into them, the locks twisted and tightened down. Feet in place, oars in place, it’s time to shove off. A few half strokes to pull away from the dock and then it’s just the rower, the boat and the water.

    …

It is so early, the birds are just waking up. Just the early birds are chattering and tweeting their good mornings. Listening to the oars move through the water provides a symphony of synchronized sounds. First the oar raises from the water leaving behind a wet towel of dripping water to be wrung out as the oar moves forward. Simultaneously the seat glides and  creaks its way back, providing the pathway that moves the boat forward. With legs crouched, ready to pounce, the oar suddenly drops. Hold still for a moment and you can see the micro-ripples run from the oar like an atomic cloud overtaking area 51. Within an instant your legs rip into action, pushing your body back up the slide until there’s no more slide to go. Your arms lock into place on the oar, pulling it with you as your upper body leans back, eking out every last inch of length. Leaning back as far as you can, it’s time to end the stroke. Your arms go down, the oar goes up and as you drift forward, the ripples become wings to your ride. To keep moving forward, the rhythm must be repeated. Repeated into monotony. Repeated into meditation. Splash. Click. Slide. Splash. Pull!. Lift. Slide. Repeat. and repeat. Until you find serenity.

There is something magical about sitting just inches above the water, gliding across a glassy lake when most of the world is quiet. That anxious, rat race energy which invades your body and mind by the end of the day is still hovering over another economy. There is only your energy, and that of your boat-mates to contend with- still a fight on its own. It’s after the warm-up that you find the peace. Just like music, you need a good rhythm. A steady rhythm to keep the forward momentum without conscious effort. In those moments where your brain is off, your body is on and the water is glassy, that is where I find my serenity.

photography Aaron Ostrowsky (c)

In my serenity, I take comfort in the ripples. Those small waves that result from even just a drop of water hitting the early morning surface. The ripples resonate across the lake. They move farther than you thought they would or could, for being caused by such a small drop. Yet there is power in the subtlety. There is rawr in that potential. So much change effected in that little ripple from that little drop falling on the glassy water.

-Marie

May the Fourth be with you!

Eating Under the Stars

This afternoon Hubs, First Son, Small Man & I met up with a Friend & his Son (our Son’s Bestest Buddy) @ Sci-Port, our local science center.  We had a blast chasing the Boys around & checking out all the awesome science-y stuff.  Sciport Louisiana's Science CenterAfter a while everyone in Sci-Port knew it was time for Small Man to eat, because he RAWR’ed his little face off for a couple minutes.

I had been trying to think of a good nursing spot & figured that the Planetarium would be perfect & boy, was I right.  I told Hubs we were going to go have some Boob & we’d catch up to them as soon as we were done. We went into the darkness & were all by ourselves, which was quite a contrast to the hustle & bustle going on just on the other side of the walls.  It was wonderful.

I got to feed Small Man while listening to beautiful, relaxing piano music in the dark, quiet, star-filled Planetarium.  I wish we could have stayed forever.

*Ohhmm Raawwr*

*KODI*

To Pizza or French Fry

I have learned that I am afraid of heights. This is not some fear that I can talk myself down from. Nope. This is a shiver to my core at the realization that I am higher up than my conscious brain is comfortable with. Which is strange, because I’m not afraid of flying. I feel quite the opposite with flying. Although I despise being smushed into a tin can like a sardine, I can tolerate it because I want to get from Point A to Point B. But when Point A is on the top of a mountain, and Point B is at the bottom of the mountain, it is a whole ‘nother story.

How did I learn this fearful fact about myself? I learned how to ski this winter and by most accounts, to ski you need to go up. It’s not just the chairlift that scares me. (Each jerk and wobble sends a shiver down my spine.) It’s not just the height of the chairlift above the ground that scares me (uh no, I cannot jump and land that one.) It is the moment when we arrive at the top of the mountain and I glance down at what I’m about to ski (or controlled fall) past. It is a split second of that moment where my adrenaline starts pumping and my brain starts shaking and my gut says, “Are you freakin’ NUTS?!?! We could hit a tree or a person or fall or, or, or….” And the required response to the inner me is, “Yes. I am freaking nuts so let’s go.”

To satiate my inner scaredy-cat, I reserve the ‘right’ to go as slow as I want on my first run. I know my ski buddy, Raul, will get impatient with me and push me to go faster and faster, so I get one run to go slow and learn my way down. This usually means some hilariously sad combination of pizza-ing my way down and french-frying my way across the snowy faces. I get half way down, stop and puff that “I can’t make it. I can’t possibly do this!” Raul in his infinite patience stops and calls me out, reaffirming that I CAN do this, and have done it and will do it again. Finishing the run with a smidgen of confidence, I get back in line for the next lift up the hillside.


With each successive run, I go a bit faster. My ski’s move a bit surer. I get better at the good old-fashioned “Hi-Ya” driving my ski pole into the snow to trigger my feet to shift weight. I think in my head, “left, right, left, right” with the weight applied to each foot, sinking my ski into the snow scape and forcing my inertia left and right. I learn to feel my edges grip into the snow, and recall all the past information the snow has given back to me: how cold it is that day, if someone skied it already, how long it’s been since the last dusting or dumping, how fast I’m gliding past.

With each successive run, the hammer-nammer of life quiets. My focus steels. Movements are made out of love, with a smile. Then we hit the spot, it’s always a few stories above a plateau. Raul signals that it’s time to go 100% french fry and aim our ski’s straight down. I crouch down, letting my poles dangle behind me, acting like training wheels and keeping me grounded, and then just go. I ask for my angels to lift me on their wings and carry me safely down. Sometimes I can’t help but scream at the top of my lungs an “AYYYEEEEEEEEEE” as I zoom down the hillside faster than the speed limit in most towns. Digging my feet in and slowing down I marvel at the adrenaline and feat I just accomplished. Suddenly feeling more conservative, I slow down as we come back to the lift’s line.


Then it’s our turn to get swept off our feet, turbulently floated up the mountain to do it all again. Seriously, all of it. Even the literal shaking in my boots part. Yet I keep going down and getting back on the lift to do it again. I am afraid of heights, and yet this force inside me compels me to follow Raul and learn the ways of the ski bunny. For me, the best way to describe this pull towards scaring myself silly is my RAWR. My RAWR longs for those AYYYYEEEE runs. Longs to turn off the nattering brain and go fast. So, in spite of my fearful side, I ski to RAWR.

For a ski noob interested in finding their inner Ski RAWR here are some lessons I’ve learned:

-Don’t leave for the mountain during a snowstorm. It will be great skiing on the slopes, but cars won’t fare as well on the roads.

-Decent gear matters. Did you know you can rent skis, boots and poles for the whole season, and take them with you to any mountain? Then you’re committed for the season with no long term commitment! The more you go, the cheaper your investment becomes. We got ours here.

-Now that I know I like skiing, next year I may buy boots, and rent the rest. Ski’s come and go but what’s on your tootsie matters most. If you rent, get insoles specific to your feet to ensure a full day of skiing comfort. When I buy boots, they will be something like these. (the faux fur is so soft and yummy!)

-Ski Goggles are a must. You want them fairly free of scratches and smudges so your line of sight to safety is clear. These are on my wish-list for next year. I love the low profile edges, key to a noob staying out of other’s paths.

-Night skiing is a deal! We are lucky to live within an hour of our nearest ski slopes, so when winter is pouring down on Seattle, we book it up to Snoqualmie for some after-work slopes time. After playing hard in the snow, we come home exhausted and ready to work hard the next day.

-Find a tradition you can do after each trip. We like to drink hot chocolate after a good day of skiing and talk about the day’s highlights. If you need some mood music for the drive, check out the Head and the Heart. #7, Lost in My Mind is one of our favorites.

-and lastly…  don’t be afraid to go high or fast. It can be fun, just trust yourself.

-Marie

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