Family

Nice Nesting News

October 12, 2018

I love fall. It’s my favorite season – I love the cooler weather, the trees turning color, and looking forward to the holidays ahead. We have something extra special to celebrate this year – we are expecting a baby girl in April! Here are some of the highlights (and lowlights!) of the last three months:

We’d been trying for a baby for over a year without any success, so made an appointment with an OB this summer. We did one round of a medication that caused me to ovulate, and planned on checking the results of that when we got back from our Colorado trip. I had one pregnancy test on hand, and my heart stopped when it showed the pregnancy line but not the “comparative” line! I thought it must mean that I was pregnant, but I couldn’t be sure since the other line wasn’t there. So we ran to the store at 6:00 AM and bought another test, and within a few seconds, both lines were clear.

We had so much fun calling family and letting them know. I was talking with my friend Elisabeth and we were saying how the rule of waiting three months to tell anyone can be hard in that you want to share this wonderful news, AND if you were to miscarry, hopefully you’d have all the support of people who knew with you. So we chose to share the news a little earlier than 3 months with our closest. We were so glad to pass the 12-week mark where the risk of miscarriage goes down significantly, and are just excited now to see the baby grow in this second trimester.

I’ve had terrible morning sickness, which has been the lowlight of the experience. It’s funny how my body has responded to this, almost as if it knows that on the days I have to teach that it needs to pull itself together! I’ve managed to get through those each week, and then come home and just crash on the other days. I haven’t thrown up too much, but I’ve had constant nausea around the clock. I am finally starting to feel a little more like myself, although I had several days this week that I was sick. Aaron has been so amazing through this whole process – he’s done all of the cooking and housework, and has taken such good care of me while I’m sick. He’s given me lots of back and footrubs, cleaned up after I’ve thrown up, made whatever food sounds good to me, etc., all while working at his own job! I think the thing that’s been most helpful is how much he cares when I’m sick – it would be easy to sort of tune it out week after week, but even now, months into this, when I’m not feeling well, he’s constantly asking how I’m doing, telling me he’s sorry I’m nauseous, etc. I couldn’t have a better husband.

Some of the things we’re hoping this sweet baby brings:

  • I hope she has Aaron’s beautiful, thick, curly hair
  • Aaron has these plump, pouty lips that I hope she inherits
  • I hope she gets his kind and steady personality
  • Aaron says he hopes she gets my hazel eyes and my “delicate Scottish skin” (ha!)
  • Aaron says he hopes she has my loving and compassionate personality (I didn’t actually pay him to say that! Ha!)
  • We know she’s destined to have very chubby, dangly earlobes, since we both have those 🙂

Looking forward to keeping our loved ones updated as things progress!

 

Family

Jeeping in Colorado

August 27, 2018

We’ve had more than our fair share of traveling over the last few months, and I promise we do more than just flit about the country! 🙂 I taught an overload class earlier in the summer, so June and July were swamped – it was so nice to have some time off in August.

We had one last trip of the summer a few weeks ago when we visited Colorado with my family. Now that Grandpa’s passed away and Grandma has late-stage Alzheimer’s, it was really special to go back and remember the places we went growing up when we visited them.

Some of our highlights:

  • Seeing Grandpa and Grandma’s old house in Cortez.
  • Staying for four days at Olio Ranch with no electricity! Lots of fishing, napping, reading, gaming, etc.
  • Visiting the Ouray natural hot springs. They’d completely re-done this pool since the last time we were there – it used to be very rustic, with what I remember as a stone or rock bottom. Now it looks more like a pool-pool, with different levels, temperatures, etc. The evening we were there, the sun set and we kept seeing small bats fly down and dip across the water, taking little drinks! Everything there is kind of in a basin with mountains all around, so it was a really beautiful site.
  • Jeeping through the mountains – we went on a lot of the old paths we did when we were little, including Corkscrew Gulch, Red Mountain Pass, Cinnamon Pass, Hurricane Ridge, and others.
  • Walking around Telluride and seeing this little pup watching guard in his shop.
  • Taking the free tram rides from Mountain Village to Telluride and back.
  • Visiting the “Bar-D” chuckwagon in Durango where you get a cafeteria-style meal of baked potato, beans, roll, applesauce, and spice cake (same menu for 50 years) with lemonade or coffee, followed by a show where the wranglers do Americana/folk songs.
  • Taking the train from Silverton to Durango – we saw some beautiful views along the way.
  • The third picture of the fence is along side Ralph Lauren’s 16,000 acre ranch in CO. It’s absolutely gorgeous property (even with as little as we saw from the outside). Here’s an article with more info and pictures.
  • The picture of the white house on the cliff is at the top of the Telluride waterfall where ice climbers come to do international competitions each year. The house is for sale now, but the previous owners who built the property supposedly had a bunch of kids! Which would be scary for me, having a house literally on a cliff, with a waterfall right next to it!

School starts for me later this week, so it’s back to the grind! Excited for a new year.

Hope all of you have a great week ahead!

Family

Miles to Magnolia

August 27, 2018

Hope all of you are having a good start to the week – I have been so thankful for cooler weather here, even though WA has been blanketed with heavy smoke from Canadian fires. It actually rained for a little bit last night, and it was nice to pull a blanket around my lap in the evening as we watched some TV together.

This is a catch-up post, but every year during the last week in June is the American Family Therapy Academy’s conference. It’s one of my favorites, so I try to go whenever I can. This year, it was in Austin and we planned a few days over the weekend to drive down to Waco (it’s less than two hours away from Austin) to see Magnolia. I’m not sure the trade-off was totally fair – I made sure we went to a good BBQ joint in Austin for Aaron, and then he spent two days driving around looking at flipped houses in Waco with me! 🙂 He’s a good man.

Some of the highlights of the trip:

  • I was surprised at how small the silos were! On TV, they seem huge, but they are relatively tiny, and nothing is in them; just next to them (I thought the Magnolia store would be IN the silos).
  • The “shotgun” house is just two blocks from the silos.
  • It was really fun to walk through the store – we bought some gifts for family and friends, but I mostly enjoyed the decorations!
  • We waited in line for over an hour for cupcakes at the bakery – but they were worth it! We got a fresh peach one with cream cheese frosting and a graham cracker crust (my favorite), and a dark chocolate with a vanilla buttercream frosting.
  • I took pictures of a lot of the houses we drove around seeing (you can get addresses for a lot of them online, except for the newer ones – those seem to be more under wraps) but narrowed them down to three of my favorites: the shotgun house, the “barndominium” (you have to look hard to see that one in the picture, it was down a gated country road), and the bed and breakfast, which is actually a town over in sleepy McGregor, 30 minutes away from Waco.
  • We tried to go to the Magnolia restaurant, but when we got there at about 2:00 in the afternoon, they said their reservation line was already several hours past closing. Yikes! So we went to In-N-Out instead and it was just as good – grilled cheese animal style.

We had the best time, and our only recommendation to others would be to go in winter when it’s cooler and the crowds aren’t so thick!

Family

Anniversary Trip

August 6, 2018

We have had a whirlwind summer. Lindsey has had extra classes to teach this summer, a book project with a colleague, and most recently a trip to visit her brother and sister-in-law in California. The farm has also kept us very busy, but more on that in another post. We did manage to get away for our one year anniversary on a fun road trip around the Olympic Peninsula.

Our first stops were the towns of Hoquiam and Aberdeen. We had seen some cute (and inexpensive) properties for sale on Zillow and were interested in the area. It is a part of Washington that neither of us had visited, and only occasionally driven through, so it was fun to drive around and see the sights. If you have followed this blog at all, you know that the last thing we need is another project, but it would be really fun to some day fix up a beach cottage or even a duplex and then rent or sell down the road.

We then headed North to Forks. The best way to get brownie points on your anniversary is visit the spot of a certain book and movie series your wife enjoys. The highlight of the northern part of the road trip was Lake Crescent. We rolled through right before sunset and the light bouncing off the water was beautiful. Definitely on the list for a future camping trip. After a stop for dinner in Port Angeles, we continued around the peninsula and south to a little town called Seabeck. Yes, we drove the entire peninsula in a day, which made for a very long day, but we were pressed to get to our Airbnb for the night.

The room we rented was a beautiful studio with a murphy bed, a small kitchen, and a huge bathroom (seriously, the bathroom was almost as big as the rest of the studio). It was incredibly well laid out and it got us thinking about how to utilize such a small space. This studio would make the folks at IKEA jealous! We also had a great note from our host wishing us a happy anniversary, along with a coffee coupon and a yummy muffin. We crawled into bed for the night… and let’s just keep it PG for our friends and family and move forward to the rest of our trip. The next morning we headed to Poulsbo and walked around all of the cute shops and stores. If you haven’t had a chance to visit, the neat Viking vibe and mix of antique shops, coastal stores, and food outlets make for a fun experience. For lunch we found a little Mexican restaurant in a tiny back alley. We were a few minutes early before they opened for lunch, but they let us come in and order and we had the whole place to ourselves. Not many things more romantic than having a private lunch in a sleepy little hidden restaurant in a cozy coastal town on a warm May day. The evening in Seabeck was peaceful and beautiful with the water right out our front door. There were several bird houses nearby and the sights and sounds of this place helped rejuvenate us for the busy summer ahead.

The next morning we headed home. We decided to get breakfast on the road but quickly discovered that several places were closed for Memorial Day and the places that were open were packed. We drove around Gig Harbor for awhile and then went to a late breakfast/early lunch at one of our favorite places, Moctezuma’s Mexican Restaurant. We drove past our old house in Tacoma on the way home and then headed back to our busy life. A short but relaxing and wonderful anniversary trip.

Lindsey wrote a Year One post awhile back and I having been thinking about what I could write in response. It is such a weird but wonderful feeling to have someone in your life that you feel is an extension of yourself. I have always been more of an introvert and typically need to recharge after spending any amount of time with people, but with Lindsey, she recharges me. I don’t feel tired of being around her or feeling like a need a break. I’m sure we will have our ups and downs as every married couple does, but after one year I can genuinely say that I am more in love with her than when we got married. She constantly makes me want to be a better person and yet is completely accepting of the person I am right now. In our first year of marriage we purchased a house, started a remodel, sold a house, bought a bus and RV, and moved multiple times; all things that could be crushing for many couples, but we made it to year one. As crazy as it has been, I wouldn’t change anything because I get wake up every morning with the love of my life. Happy Anniversary Sweetie!

 

Family

Year One

May 11, 2018

We are coming up on our first anniversary at the end of this month. Here’s a little love letter for you, hubby.

I picked right.

The best things about you aren’t the things I used to care about. It doesn’t matter that you leave your little mustache trimmings in the sink without rinsing them down, or that you wear your shoes in the apartment sometimes. All the little things that I used to think mattered in relationships are just that – little, irrelevant things. The big things are the stuff I always needed but never knew I’d have. You’re so steady and kind. You’re such a good conflict resolver. You’re tuned in to my heart – saying things like “What do you need to feel more loved today?” You put me first. You love my family. You work hard at things without giving up. You’re hopeful. You respect my opinion and ask what I think about things. You give me a backrub each night before we go to sleep. You consistently work to make my days better. Three years after our first date, and I love you even more now than when we got married.

I picked right, and I’m so lucky to be with you.

Happy Year One, my love.

 

Farm

Junk Car

May 11, 2018

We were finally able to get the old car off of the farm. After many, many attempts at getting the junk slip we needed notarized, the person we called in Bonney Lake was actually in Buckley at the time and said he could stop by and get it in 20 minutes. It was good to see that drive away! Aaron and I were talking on the way home about how crazy it is that the process for having this junk car removed was more difficult (by a long shot) than purchasing a gun. We’ve talked about having a hunting rifle or pistol at the farm as we’ve had several bear break-ins, etc. and it would be easy for us to get one – just walk into a store and pay (there are no restrictions in WA for gun purchase, with a few exceptions for handguns and concealed weapons) Pretty different than the process we’ve gone through with the car – having the police come out to the property to do an assessment, getting a junk slip notarized, having a two-week wait period, and then having someone come haul it away.

I’m attaching a few pictures of the rest of the farm. I should’ve taken some better “before’s,” but so much of the farm was absolutely covered in a decade worth of blackberry bushes, weeds, trash, etc. Aaron’s been mowing and trimming several times a week, and it’s really making a difference.

I am so glad it’s Friday. This week has felt really draining. Work has been more stressful than usual, and I just feel like curling up on the couch and Netflixing a whole season of something. There’s an antique fair in nearby Enumclaw this weekend, and Aaron said he’d go with me so I’m looking forward to that.

Farm

May Flowers

May 4, 2018

The weather is starting to turn here, and it’s feeling like spring. We’ve had several days of 75+ weather, followed by rainy days, which is making everything grow like crazy. I especially love the periwinkle bluebells that’ve been sprouting up around the big trees. Aaron’s been working hard at the farm, putting in a couple hours each day before or after work. It’s amazing how much better things look around the yard with the grass mowed and trees getting trimmed. The farm had been vacant for 10 years before we bought it, so everything was in pretty run down condition. We’ve been able to chip away at it, bit by bit, and have probably taken 50+ tractor loads to the dump. One of the most frustrating things has been an old car that was abandoned and left on the property. It has all the windows punched out, mold inside, etc., and is worthless. We saw a number posted that said they take junk cars, so we called the number. They said we had to have a police person come out and sign a junk slip and then they would come remove it. So we called the non-emergency police line, and they said they’d have someone come out. That never happened, so we called again and finally were able to schedule someone to visit. They signed the slip, and we found out it had to be notarized. So we went to a UPS store that was listed online as having a notary; they said they didn’t have one but to go to any bank and they would do it for us. We went to a bank in Bonney Lake, but they said they only do that for their customers. They referred us to a nearby auto center. The auto center said they had a notary, but that because this was related to a vehicle, it was a conflict of interest (what?). So finally we had to drive all the way up to Auburn, where our nearest bank is, and then they said we had to bring an original copy of our marriage license – the photocopied one we had wasn’t enough. This is the kind of runaround that’s driving us nuts! It seems like nothing is simple in this process.

In other news, we had a fun recent trip to Washington DC for a work event. I volunteer with the Washington Association of Marriage & Family Therapy, and they asked me to go DC to help lobby for inclusion of MFTs on several bills expanding Medicare providers. They had a lobbyist that accompanied me to visit Patty Murray and Dave Reichert’s offices. It wasn’t as stressful as I thought it might be – the lobbyist helped with the details, and I shared more of the “on the ground” knowledge of how not being covered by Medicare impacts our community here. We spent several days after the lobbying touring DC. My favorite museums were the Museum of American History and the Museum of African-American History.

Museum of American History Favorites:

  • A centuries-old house that they transplanted into the museum and told detailed stories of the families who lived there.
  • The women’s rights movement memerobilia
  • Julia Child’s cooking school certificate
  • Mr. Roger’s sweater
  • Mary Todd Lincoln’s dress
  • Michelle Obama’s inauguration gown
  • Abraham Lincoln’s hat

Museum of African American History Favorites:

  • Harriet Tubman’s shawl
  • Emmett Till memorial
  • Rosa Park’s dress
  • Rucksack poem
  • Nat Turner’s Bible
  • Point of Pines cabin

I’m so glad it’s the weekend, and am looking forward to relaxing some with Aaron. We made a rhubarb-strawberry crisp yesterday with some fresh rhubarb we bought at a new farmer’s market near the farm. Can’t wait until we get our own produce up and going! Also, I had to include a picture of the most amazing omelette Aaron made – he makes these regularly from our chickens’ eggs and includes fresh spinach, tomatoes, quinoa, and a bunch of other good stuff!

We are coming up on our one-year wedding anniversary later this month, and I have a list going of some of the fun things I’d like to do together in the area:

  • Visit my favorite brunch restaurant, Portage Bay Cafe in Seattle for their migas and French toast.
  • Visit the new Nordic Heritage Museum in Seattle.
  • Drive up to see the flowers at Floret, a family farm specializing in unique and heirloom flowers.

Happy May to you all!

Farm

April Homestead Update

April 21, 2018

Spring is finally here and we are moving full steam ahead on several homestead projects. We also had the opportunity to spend time with my nephew during spring break. He spent a week with us during the first part of the month and he loved spending time with his favorite feathered friends and exploring the farm. We also spent a nice afternoon at a great park in Auburn and spent the evening watching ‘A Wrinkle in Time’. One of the highlights of spring break was visiting the Northwest Trek Wildlife Safari. We saw all sorts of amazing animals including lynx, beaver, otter, moose, big horn sheep, deer, elk, mountain goats, caribou, and the highlight of the trip, bison!

Our big homestead project this month was having the field cleared of all the blackberries and brush by a local company. They also cleared some of the dead and fallen trees and dug up some more tires and trash from the field. Although wet and muddy at the moment it feels great to have the field cleared. We can finally start to explore our whole property and start turning the field into a beautiful pasture. We seeded the field with a mix of Triticale, Ryegrass, and a mix of Clovers and Wildflowers for our bees this year.

Speaking of bees, on April 21st we picked up a package of bees for the hive my dad built for Christmas. With the new bee suit given by Lindsey’s parents for Christmas, we loaded the bees into the new hive, checked on the queen, added some sugar water, and buttoned up the hive to let the busy bees start building comb and gathering honey. More details on the hive setup in an upcoming blog. The next step is to add an electric fence around the existing fence into the apiary. We had another break-in with the black bear and we don’t want it getting a taste for honey!

After a busy day with the bees and at the farm, Lindsey has been relaxing doing some quilting and sewing. I can’t wait to see the end result when she is done with the project. It is so fun to have time to work on some old homestead crafts.

Family, Farm

Modern Farmhouse

March 29, 2018

It’s been a much-needed catch-up week on my release from jury duty! Aaron and I have spent a bunch of time out at the farm doing miscellaneous projects. It’s so cute to see the three chickens scratching and pecking around the farm. I’ve been telling Aaron I want some chickens that lay different colored eggs – blue, green, speckled, brown, etc. Today he ordered some baby chicks to arrive in July – 15 of them! They are mostly Ameraucanas, which lay the blue and green eggs. There are also some Welsummer, who will lay dark brown speckled eggs. He’s still looking to find us some Olive Eggers, which lay beautiful olive-colored eggs, and some Marans, which lay dark chocolate colored eggs. Because we ordered so many, we get a free “mystery” chicken with them! Ha!

Today we drove out to Auburn, which is only 15 minutes or so away now that we are in Bonney Lake. We needed to run to the bank and do some other errands, and I convinced Aaron to swing by Nordstrom Rack for a quick stop. 🙂 I found a beautiful periwinkle colored Eileen Fisher sweater that used to be $249 (gasp!) and was marked down to $30. Fun! Aaron waited patient for me to try things on, and when I came out, he greeted me with a happy “hi sweetie!” A few minutes later as we were getting ready to check out, a lady walked up to us and said “I just had to tell you – the way he greeted you coming out of the dressing room was so sweet. He’s a keeper.” 🙂 I thought, yep. He is!

On the way back home, we passed by a house that I hadn’t noticed before, but was done in a beautiful modern farmhouse style. I loved it so much I asked Aaron to pull over and I went up to knock on the door to see if anyone was home – I wanted to ask them who their builder was, as we are still trying to get that nailed down for the farm. No one was home, so I left a note telling them who we were and that we loved the style of their home and wondered if they would share the name of their contractor with us. We’ll see if they get back to us! Here’s a photo of the house. I love the white, vertical siding, the black gooseneck lamp above the garage door, and the black framed windows.

Family, Farm

Burn Piles

March 26, 2018

There was a small window of sunshine yesterday in the last week of rain, and Aaron and I put it to good use! We spent all day burning four huge piles of brush/brambles/wood from the trees we had to trim to get temporary construction power out to the farm. It felt really good to get rid of all that, and the drive in to the house now looks so much better. I tried to find a photo of the piles from before, but wasn’t able to – so just imagine four piles of yard waste at about six feet tall each! All of the brown, patchy areas in the picture are where the piles were – all the way up to the branches of the trees! The chickens loved scratching around in the newly-unearthed dirt and found lots of grubs and things to eat. There’s also a picture of us at the end of the day – unshowered and haggard! But happy. As you can see, Aaron’s mission to grow his hair out into a man-bun is coming along nicely. 🙂

Other recent happenings:

  • Rachel, Gavin, and kiddos surprised us a few weekends ago with a visit! They hadn’t seen our farm yet, so it was fun to show them around. We have little Aaron coming up to stay with us for a week during his spring break, and are looking forward to going to NW Trek, visiting the Tacoma vintage car museum, and taking a trip to Seattle if we have time.
  • This week is my spring break. Several months ago, I was summoned to federal jury duty and tried to get out of it – no one else is available to teach my classes in our program. They said that wasn’t sufficient, and all they could do was postpone it. So I scheduled it for the week of this break, BUT got the best surprise when I was dismissed before even having to show up. So I am using this unexpected week off to get a lot of other things done!
  • I’m teaching a new class this summer for the DNP – doctorate in nursing practice – program at PLU. It’s been so fun to collaborate with the nursing department on this. Students in the program have to take one class on family therapy for the psychiatric component of their degree, and that’s the one I’ll be teaching! I just finished up the syllabus for it, and am excited to see how it goes. It will only be four students this first round, so I’ll get plenty of time with each of them.
  • Aaron and I are going to Washington DC in a few weeks for a work event – I am going for the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapist’s to lobby for MFTs to be included under Medicare coverage. MFTs are one of five federally recognized mental health disciplines, and the other four are already included – so we hope to be on it soon too. After the event on Friday, we are taking the weekend to explore. High on our list is the new Museum of African-American History. Happy to hear other recommendations too!