But this time, my family was coming with me! For some reason, Isaiah and I both look happy to be at the airport at such an early hour.
JoanMarie, Isaiah, and I were flying to Portland. I had two school events lined up, but we also have family there, so we arrived a few days early. We grabbed our rental car and made it to my nephew Ellory's marimba concert with mere minutes to spare.
Ellory is closest to the camera in the white shirt.
The video below is the end of a song Ellory wrote. (Yes, he's talented like that.) This time, he's playing the most elevated instrument on the right.
The weather in Portland was beautiful. Actually, for the first time, their weather was a bit warm for my ideal Portland experience. I like my Portland rainy! But it allowed us to experience more of their natural offerings.
Isaiah now likes to lead our hikes rather than be carried on them. And he's just getting the hang of blowing bubbles, so he adapted that new talent to blow dandelion seeds into the wind. We told him to make a wish each time he did that, but also told him he's not getting a full-size tractor for his upcoming half-birthday. (I tried reasoning with Mommy on that, but she's pretty set against it.)
Then it was time for the school visits. First stop was Ulysses S. Grant High School. What made this one of my all-time favorite presentations is that my niece Genevieve, a sophomore at Grant, introduced me! It was my first time speaking at a relative's school, and a wonderful experience for both of us. Especially me! You should've heard her very sweet introduction.
Here I am with Genevieve and Ms. Battle, the school librarian.
And here's the audience, made up mostly of the Class of 2015.
The stage remained partially decorated with scenery from their recent production of Hairspray. It was a bit odd seeing the following image whenever I turned to my right.
Then we took a break back at our hotel, McMenamin's Kennedy School. If you visit Portland, you need to stay there! It's a renovated elementary school, originally built in 1915. The rooms (once classrooms) even have the original chalkboards.
Then we ate dinner with our Portland family, where Isaiah played pool. (He's been into bowling lately, so he hopped up on the table and crossed the games together.)
Then it was off to Cleveland High School, where Ms. Quinn used Thirteen Reasons Why for their Community Reads program.
It was a great turnout.
They even had to set up overflow seating!
Back at the hotel, I opened the two goodie bags I received from the schools. The edible stuff, sadly, is almost gone.
But we'll be returning to Portland soon, I'm sure.