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Whidbey Island

February 4, 2018

Aaron is turning 33 on Tuesday! I love these months while we are the same age. πŸ™‚ I’m a tiny bit older than he.

We took a fun surprise trip to Whidbey Island this weekend. I didn’t tell Aaron where we were going – I just told him to pack for two days on Friday and we were gettin’ out of dodge! It was a beautiful drive up – we took the ferry and had hot chocolate and saw seals in the water next to the ferry.

Some of our favorite things about the trip:

  • We had dinner (twice!) at a little place called “Christopher’s” that was so good! Really amazing, local, fresh food.
  • We went to a drive-in movie theater and watched “Ferdinand” and “Jumanji.” It was so fun to relax in the car with the seat heaters on and listen to the movie through the radio!
  • Cinnamon rolls and coffee at “Knead and Feed” in Coupeville.
  • Greenbank Farm – they have a bunch of little art galleries, gardens, etc. and an on-site cafe with tasty soups and sandwiches.
  • Deception Pass – we drive home by going north instead of south across the ferry. It was grey and cloudy so I didn’t get a good picture, but it was such a pretty drive. We want to go back in summer when we can see more of the sights across the pass.
  • We stopped by a new Restoration Hardware Outlet on the way home – Aaron likes shopping as much as my dad does (he would rather sit in the car than shop), so I always appreciate it when he takes these little detours with me! πŸ™‚
Farm

RV Troubles…

February 4, 2018

I feel like Aaron and I have been trying so hard to make things work getting out to the farm, and it seems like we keep making mistakes! We joke that at least we picked the right partner, even if we’re making lots of other mistakes along the way. πŸ™‚

I had this sort-of-romanticized idea about living in an RV. I thought it would be fun to downsize, have a mobile home that we could take with us wherever, etc. And this might be the case if we were in a new, expensive RV! But we are in Honey, our lil’ 1987 oldie. It seems like every which way we go, there are new problems, each one that takes a day or two to fix! Among the issues we are currently dealing with:

  • The water pump in the RV is not working, so we don’t currently have water.
  • There is a little leak that we became aware of in the living area, which dripped water down onto a duvet while we were out.
  • The battery died from being parked too long and it took us several hours to get it going again.

Ugh.

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Iceland

February 4, 2018

Every January, I have a chunk of time off during PLU’s “J-term” schedule where I’m not teaching any classes. For years, my parents have been talking about wanting to go to Iceland, so we planned a trip together with Jenn and Casey! We had a really wonderful time during our 10 days there.

Some of the things we learned:

  • Travel in January isn’t bad (it could’ve been – but it wasn’t this time). My Southern-California friend Juliana laughed when I told her this, but the weather was “good” at mid-30’s to 40 F without snow or rain most of the time we were there! Traveling at this time had other perks, like no/few lines at touristy spots, plenty of places to stay, and cheap flights!
  • There are many, many hot springs in Iceland. We visited the famous Blue Lagoon and had a great time there; we also visited another more rural natural spa further north and had an equally great time for a lot less money!

Some of the highlights (I’ll try to organize these in line with the photos):

  • Beautiful paper village displays in Reykjavik airport.
  • Hofoi House:Β built in 1909 and one of the most beautiful and historic buildings in Iceland. It was originally a French embassy, and also the site of the meeting between Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev that marked the end of the Cold War.
  • Grotta Island Lighthouse.
  • Listvinafelag Hallgrimskirkju: uniquely architectural church.
  • Christmas decor: Christmas is a huge deal in Iceland! There are decorations up for months beforehand and weeks afterwards! Beautiful paper lanterns, string lights, Advent candles, etc. up in every window, and Christmas trees strung up on the sides of buildings. They also have fireworks celebrating the 12th night of Christmas.
  • Seljalandsfoss waterfall.
  • Little details you see popping up again and again – horseshoes above doors for good luck, and black ravens, also for good luck.
  • Rutshellir: one of 200 little man-made caves used to store produce (this one was for hay) throughout Iceland.
  • Skogafoss waterfall (Iceland is the land of waterfalls!).
  • Mom’s tacos. Food is VERY expensive in Iceland. It’s common place for people to pay $40/person at an average restaurant, not including appetizers/desserts/etc. We bought all of our food at the public market there called “Bonus” and made our own!
  • The little coastal town of Vik with the often-photographed red-roofed church.
  • Skaftafell glacier – this was so stunning. We got there just as the sun was rising and it was breathtaking.
  • Fjallsarlon glacier – the largest glacier in Europe. Can you see Casey in this picture?
  • Skalholt Cathedral – a pretty Lutheran church in Selfoss.
  • Kerid – a volcanic crater along the Golden Circle. We wouldn’t recommend seeing this one in winter – it was $30 to get in, and wasn’t too exciting frozen over.
  • Geysers in Geysir – we learned this is where that word originated!
  • I love Icelandic fashion! Lots of cool, muted colors in wools, linens, etc. So cozy.
  • Gulfoss waterfall – also part of the Golden Circle.
  • We had fun sampling and purchasing some goodies at OmNom chocolate factory. We tried different raw cocoa beans from different areas – Aaron’s favorite treat was a chocolate/licorice malt ball which we learned is one of the most popular flavors in Iceland.
  • Beautiful storefronts.
  • Translations – Icelandic is definitely the first language there!
  • Perlan glacier museum – this had all kinds of fun, interactive displays and information sessions.
  • I didn’t get any pictures of this, but the Icelandic horses were pretty much the cutest. Very furry, and with such a funny prance as they walk.

We weren’t able to see the Northern Lights, which was the only big disappointment of our trip. We stayed up several nights and were checking the hourly predictor-map – it has a cool numbering system that tells you how likely you are to see the lights from different places in the country, but with no luck!

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House Sale

February 4, 2018

Lots of friends have been asking how things are going on the farmhouse! The answer is:

SLOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOW… !

We continue to encounter all kinds of hiccups along the way. But the good news is we finally got the Tacoma house listed for sale, and it SOLD! We are so glad. We weren’t sure how things would go, trying to sell in rainy January without a realtor. But it turns out that the lack of inventory worked in our favor and we had a busy open house with several offers to follow. We close at the end of this month and will then be able to use the proceeds towards making more progress on the farm.

This is a picture from summer of our little house – we will miss this tiny 1906 cutie!

Family

Highlander

February 4, 2018

After wrecking the Avalon on I-84 during Christmas, we’ve been on the lookout for a new car. We wanted something used with low mileage that would have a little more trunk space and AWD for being out at the farm. We found this 2006 Toyota Highlander with a clean title and only 16,000 miles on it for sale on Craigslist and drove up and bought it! We love it and can’t wait to get some good use out of it.

Family

Fen in Reedsport

February 4, 2018

We continue to be super appreciative of my parents for watching Fen for us while we get our life together! πŸ™‚ She has so much fun with Sadie. I snapped this picture of the two of them last time we were in the car together.

My dad has both of them down in Reedsport right now. He sends us funny videos of them together. The last one that made me laugh was of Fen chuffing at a new calendar my dad put up that had a dog on it. She’s weirdly perceptive about things that are “out of place.” She will bark and bark at a stray plastic bag in the middle of the street on our evening walk – she knows our route, and if something isn’t where it’s supposed to be, her hackles go up and she gets ferocious! πŸ™‚

On another note, my mom met me in Portland to swap some things a few weeks ago and brought us a bunch of food – some homemade soup, potato salad, and a casserole. I never realized how helpful something like that could be when you are in the middle of a move and/or don’t have much space! With each meal, we’ve appreciated her thoughtfulness. I will remember that for my friends who are in the middle of moving/grieving/birthing/etc.!

Family

Antique Shopping

December 31, 2017

We’ve had a great few days in Reedsport visiting my parents. My dad has been working here for the last month or so, and my mom and I have had fun driving over to Coos Bay and Florence to go antique shopping while he’s busy.

I found this twin-sized blue and white antique quilt at a little shop in Coos Bay for $45 a few days ago. It’s in great condition, and I love the colors and pattern. Perfect for cozying up under while watching “The Crown” with my mom. We are almost through with Season 1 and hoping to get to Season 2 today.

Happy New Year’s Eve!

Family

So Long, Avalon

December 29, 2017

On the way through the Gorge on I-84, I hit a patch of ice and spun out, hitting both the front and back of the car on the guard rail and wrecking the Avalon. Aaron was in the truck a few miles behind me, and was able to come help, so that was good. I have a bruise on my knee, but that’s it! The airbags didn’t deploy, and no one was behind me – I was afraid that as I was spinning, someone behind me would hit me. The car was drivable to get down to my parent’s house, but we are now in the market for a new car!

This is the second accident I’ve been in in six months (my mom and I were rear ended in Yachats a few months ago). I sometimes tease Aaron about how cautious of a driver he is – he often rolls along I-5 behind semi trucks at 55 MPH. πŸ™‚ Now he says I have no leg to stand on. I reminded him that I hadn’t ever been in an accident before he came along, and he said it’s like The Force from Star Wars – I’m balancing out his cautiousness. πŸ™‚

Family

Merry Christmas!

December 29, 2017

I hope everyone is having a wonderful Christmas season! We spent a week with Aaron’s family at the B&B in White Salmon. It was so fun that it started to snow on Christmas Eve and turned everything into a winter wonderland by morning. Some of the highlights of that week included:

  • We carried on a special tradition with our nephews and niece that my Auntie Joanne began with Casey and me when we were born. Each year, she gives us an ornament: a rocking horse for “precious Lindsey,” and a lion for “courageous Casey.” We now have Christmas trees full of rocking horse and lion ornaments! We thought about what we wanted Little Aaron, Maz, and Ava, and picked the Wise Owl (Little Aaron), the Tenderhearted Turtle (Maz), and the Mischievous Mouse (Ava). It was so fun to tell them the story of how that tradition began, and to give them their first ornaments.
  • Aaron spent weeks making beautiful cutting boards for Christmas presents. He thought carefully about what he wanted to include for each person. For my parents, he used purple heart (my mom’s favorite color) and myrtlewood, which only grows on the PNW coast. He made a “wave” pattern for the ocean through middle! For Casey and Jenn, he made a more modern looking board with walnut and maple, and for mine he used a dark African wood called “wenge” and maple and purple heart. I don’t have a picture yet of mine (I was busy unwrapping it!) but am including photos of the other two.
  • Reading with Ava – she loves story time by the fire!
  • Aaron’s Christmas tradition breakfast of coffee cake and strawberries.
  • Connie and Oma completed several puzzles together.
  • Connie and Aaron made a yule cake and hope to keep that tradition going each year.

Other not-so-fun updates:

  • Papa (Aaron’s grandpa) went to the hospital as he was short of breath and sick with bronchitis.
  • Aaron passed his cold on to me! So I was sick for most of Christmas.

Last but not least – a family member told us they’d tried to contact us using the “contact me” button at the top of the blog. We realized that that’s not working correctly! Sorry, Janine! πŸ™‚ We will try to get that fixed. Until then, feel free to email us at:

workhardandbenice@protonmail.com

Are you setting any resolutions for 2018? My resolution is to continue to be more kind to people. It’s so easy to be short when I’m feeling stressed – I’m working on trying to be more patient and thoughtful about how I respond.Β Wishing everyone a Happy New Year!

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Spanaway Lake Lights

December 17, 2017

Aaron is sick with a cold this weekend, so we’ve had a lazy time with lots of naps and hot drinks. I drove up to Seattle this afternoon for a friend’s holiday party and stopped at Nordstrom Rack on the way – I found several great deals, including a pair of pants for $4.99 down from $65 and a white tunic for $4.99 down from $108! It’s so fun to find things on sale.

We are spending Christmas with Aaron’s family in White Salmon, and I’ve been wanting to visit the Spanaway Lake Lights before we go, so I bundled Aaron up and we drove over this evening after dark. There was about 2 miles of beautiful light fixtures – my favorites were the lanterns hanging from the trees and the little clouds with rain coming down on the tulips.