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Family, Farm

Snow Days

February 11, 2019

We have some unexpected snow days with work cancelled (for me), so I thought I’d sit down and write a bit about what’s been happening in our lives these past few weeks. Thanks for all the kind thoughts you’ve sent our way since the last post about the fourth break-in at the farm! We’ve been getting updates from the victim advocate who was assigned to our case: the main guy who admitted he’d broken in before took a plea bargain and got a one-year prison sentence, and his accomplice skipped town and now has a warrant out for her arrest. We have mixed feelings about the whole thing – wondering if that’s long enough to make a difference, and knowing that there are often lots of factors that contribute to people doing bad things. I guess what we hope most is that he/they get the support they need to do things differently going forward.

Progress is happening slowly but surely at the farm. About a month ago, we finalized our plans for what seemed like the 500th time with the designer we’ve been working with. We’ve had so many changes, with adjusting the size (downsizing) to fit our budget, and then all the little final changes of making sure this window is the right size and that door opens the right way. I think part of what’s taken us so long with this is that we’re working within a lot of constraints – as opposed to just picking a house plan you like and plopping it down in a big field somewhere. We’ve always needed to stay within the original footprint of the house (and were originally going to remodel the house, until that became more expensive than starting over), which is on this little triangle of land near the edge of the property. If we were to move out into another area of the six-acre farm, we would have to turn that land from farm and forest zoning into residential, and pay the tens of thousands of dollars in back taxes to do so! So with each step, we’ve been trying to find ways to make it work within 1) budget, and 2) space constraints.

Our plans are now with the engineer for stamped approval (this is another thing – each person says they’ll take “x” many weeks to get something done – plan on doubling that); and we are working on getting the required landslide and mine hazard assessments for permitting process before we can install the septic and well. The nearby town of Carbonado was a mining town, and you can look on county maps to see a spider web of underground mines that are really close to our property! The well company came out to make sure they could get their 60,000 lb equipment in to drill, and said that our driveway wasn’t flat enough out by the barn – so we had two days worth of dumping gravel to flatten out that area. It’s been discouraging to have so many delays and setbacks, but we keep trying to take things one day at a time and be thankful we are able to do a project like this.

My Auntie Joanne came down from Bainbridge a few weeks ago when my parents were visiting and she and my mom spent a whole day out with me looking at finishings and fixtures for the farm. It was so fun to have a day out together! We found some great cabinets that I like (the actual ones will be a little different than the ones in the picture, but very close) and a beautiful walnut countertop for the island. On a different day when Aaron and I were out looking, he found this beautiful Silestone countertop that looks like dark, veiny soapstone. I’ve always liked the look of soapstone for counters, but this will be more durable.

It’s been a rough month for our chickens. We are down to 11 now – we lost four just in the last month or two. Months ago (maybe 3), we tried integrating the younger chickens with the older ones. We did one night of that in the big pen, and came in to find one of the younger ones pecked to death that morning. So we separated them again, but the older ones refused to go back into their pen after that. Every night, they were attempting to roost on top of a pile of old cabinetry under the car port area and we had to go collect them and then put them back in their pen. Weeks went by and we thought it was so strange that they hadn’t gotten over the trauma of that one night with the younger chickens! Well, the other morning we went in and found Lady Bird, the biggest and oldest of them, dead in her pen. It looked like a possum or raccoon had gotten in and killed her during the night. Now we wonder if that’s what happened to the little one earlier too, and that’s why they didn’t want to return back to that area.

On warmer days, we’ve been letting them roam around the farm and have been putting them back into their pen at night. Two days in a row, one of the younger chickens didn’t come back to their pen at night. We walked all around the property, calling and looking under bushes, but were never able to find them. The guys who were laying down gravel in the driveway said they saw a big coyote out in the field, and we are sure that’s probably what snagged the younger two who never came home. We are leaving them in their pens now and just checking their food and water every day until we can get an outside pen built that will protect them while they forage.

I’m rounding the corner from 30 to 31 weeks pregnant now! It’s been so fun to feel baby move – she’s been so active lately. Last week we moved into a bigger apartment in the same complex – we were in a one-bedroom and now we’re in a three-bedroom that allows us to have a guest room for when family comes to visit, as well as an office/baby room. Aaron and I have moved so many times, both separately and together, and will be so glad when we finally land at our permanent home.

Speaking of Aaron, his birthday was last week, and I continue to be so thankful for his 34 years of life! A – you are the best husband. I genuinely love being around you – these snow days at home together are the best! I love all the ways you show me daily how much you love me – telling me (often!), showing interest in me and what’s important to me, talking to our baby, making us good meals, getting out of the car to lock up the gate when it’s cold, etc. I’m so glad we chose to do life together. Let’s keep celebrating your special day! xoxo

Family, Farm

Happy New Year!

January 6, 2019

It’s been a busy last couple of weeks for us, as I’m sure it’s been for everyone! It seems like the holidays came and went so quickly this year. 

Farm Updates:

We had some pretty stressful events unfold at the farm before we left for Christmas. One morning, we drove out to let the chickens out (we do that at least every other day), and immediately saw that someone had turned around in the driveway as there were muddy tracks off the path. Aaron quickly went and looked in the outbuildings and saw that a door had been kicked down and quite a few of our tools stolen. We were so frustrated, because we’d unhooked our security cameras a week or two earlier when taking out the flooring and siding from the farmhouse, and had moved some things out of the more-secure house to the outbuildings as we are getting ready for demo. This was the third break-in we’d had since buying the property, which was disheartening. We filed a police report, but knew there wasn’t much they could do without video or other evidence, even though we had a few serial numbers from the items stolen. 

Later, we went to Costco and picked up some wireless security cameras and set those up in different spots around the property, and then ordered a shipping container that we will rent month-by-month until the house is redone. We decided to go ahead and leave the gate unlocked just in case they decided to come back. And then two days later, they did! The new cams picked up a truck driving into the property at 9:00 AM on Monday – I immediately called 911 and Aaron and I were able to give a good description of the thieves to the operator. We went ahead and set off the remote alarm, which scared them, and they left quickly (they were only on the property for four minutes, but were still able to grab more things). We quickly rushed out to the property and met the police there – we reviewed our video footage with them, and they were able to get a number of very specific details about the truck, even though the license plate was fuzzy. We went home, thinking they probably wouldn’t be able to find them, but were so surprised an hour later when the police called back and said they’d located the truck and wanted us to come down and ID the suspects. We met the detective at a gas station and he put us in the back of his car with the shaded windows so no one could see us and then drove us over to the truck a mile or so away. They had three suspects get out – the first two, we couldn’t ID for sure, but the third was the one we’d seen on the tapes and had described in detail to the 911 operator (we later ID’d the second one after watching the videotapes again, in which their faces were more clear). They also asked Aaron to come over to the back of the truck to visually ID our stolen items. After that, they dropped us off at our car again and we went home to fill out the statements and stolen inventory list they’d given us. We got another call later that day letting us know that they’d been able to recover quite a few of our stolen items, which we were very thankful for. 

It’s been so interesting to see this side of the justice system. We thought that would be the end of everything, but received notice by phone and mail that we have a court appointed victims advocate, with information on the defendants, their pleas (both pleading not guilty, which I’m confused about since we have clear video evidence that we’ve given to the police department), and their trial date. I hope we don’t have to testify, since this has been scary for us. The trial is set for February, so I suppose we’ll know more in the weeks between now and then. 

In better news, the chicks are growing so quickly and are almost as big as Lady & Tweet Tweet now. The older birds are so funny – since the one night, months ago, that we tried to integrate them into the same coop, L & TT won’t return back to their home to roost at night. Instead, they are trying to roost on top of some old cabinets stacked under the carport, so we always have to go find and collect them and carry them to bed. Silly birds. 

Aaron “wrapped” the bees for the winter as they were getting pretty lethargic in the cold. We bungeed a sleeping bag and tarp around them and they are doing better! Aaron also made some homemade sugar “cakes” for them and put those in for them to enjoy – they didn’t make as much honey as they needed this first year. 

We had fun visiting our home designer’s farm in Puyallup recently – she has a miniature horse named Chance who has the cutest bangs. It will be fun when we are settled at the farm and can take care of more animals! 

Poulsbo Update: 

Before Christmas, Aaron and I took a quick trip over to Poulsbo for just one night. We’d had a super stressful week, and wanted to get away for a little bit. We stayed at a sweet farmhouse AirBnB, walked around downtown Poulsbo during their Christmas festival, and read and went to bed early. The farm there had the cutest little miniature goats (why is everything cuter in miniature?) – adding those to the wish list for our farm someday. 

Christmas Update:

We spent about 10 days with my parents on the Oregon coast for Christmas, and had a great time. Casey and Jenn came up from Fresno with their two dogs, Hobie and Yuma, so along with Sadie and Fenn, we had a full house! We did lots of relaxing, playing Balderdash and Hugger Mugger, watched the first season of Making a Murderer, ate loads of good food, did a six-mile hike (challenging at almost 6 months pregnant!) down Cummins Creek Trail (helps that it was all downhill), played music together, and enjoyed being at the beach. The sunset last night was so stunning – wild, beautiful colors. And after that, dozens of boats lined up across the horizon, lights bobbing across the water – this morning at 8:00 was the start of crabbing season in Newport, so everyone was out to stake out their spots. 

We also found a great new baby store in Florence that had tons of beautiful, clean, barely used baby gear/clothing for $1-3/item. I bought $46 worth of things and left with a huge sack-full of things I loved (for example, we found a sweet pair of grey, cashmere leggings from Neiman Marcus with the tags still on for $1.99!). The store is called “Jawsome Kids Resale” in case anyone is driving through and needs good baby/kid clothing! We’re also super thankful for family members who’ve given us gently used baby gear from their own kiddos! We love hand-me-downs. Makes us feel very cared for – thank you!

Baby Update:

I am just two weeks from being six months pregnant now! I’m feeling the baby move regularly, which is fun. Aaron had his hand on my tummy the other night and she kicked so hard it startled both of us! He talks to her regularly and it could be in my mind, but I feel like she’s more active when he’s around and connecting with her. I’m so excited to see who she is when she arrives. I hope for so many good things for her, and have felt kind of sentimental lately thinking about all the things I hope she has in life. I am almost through making her a broadcloth baby quilt that I hand quilted (my first time!). I love how it’s turning out, and I hope it will be something special she can keep for a long time. 

Wishing all of you lots of peace and happiness in the year ahead!  

 

Family

2018 Christmas Letter

December 7, 2018

To our Friends and Family,

As I’m writing this, the fog is gently rolling in and the sky is turning dark as Lindsey and I sit next to a little gas fireplace listening to Christmas music in a farmhouse B&B in Poulsbo, Washington. A last-minute weekend get-away to escape a somewhat stressful week and recharge before the busy holidays. In many ways this trip mimics the path our year has taken, busy with some unexpected twists and turns but in the end drawing us closer together. After a year and a half of marriage, we have discovered that we are more in love than ever and provide much needed support to each other. We always find that spending time together recharges our batteries, clears our mind, and gives us hope for the future!

We have tried to update our blog (fettigfarm.com) as often as we remember with our various adventures and news about our farm, house, and life, but here is a recap of all the happenings in 2018 for the Nice family.

In January we took an amazing trip with Lindsey’s parents, brother, and sister-in-law to Iceland. While it may seem a little counterintuitive to visit someplace like Iceland in the dead of winter, it was actually very pleasant and only snowed on our final day in the country. Outside of the capital of Reykjavik, Iceland was rather rural with rolling hills dotted with sheep and horses rising to snowcapped peaks and massive glaciers. While exploring the historic shops and tourist stops in Reykjavik was fun, some of our most memorable days were our exploring the countryside, visiting waterfalls and glaciers, and spending time together watching movies or doing puzzles. Restaurants are expensive in Iceland so we tried to cook our own meals wherever we were stopped for the night. This sometimes proved equally as challenging as the island food supply in winter doesn’t lend itself well to fresh homemade vegetarian meals. The night before we came home, we had a very neat opportunity to visit the famous Blue Lagoon geothermal pool, spending several hours in the warm mineral water, visiting the in-pool bar stocked with smoothies and soft drinks, and trying some fun mineral mud face masks. Overall it was an amazing experience, and a country that would be fun to visit again.

We barely had time to recover from our January vacation, and Lindsey was whisking me off again, this time on a surprise birthday weekend to Whidbey Island. Our journey began, sipping hot chocolate on the ferry to the island, watching the birds and seals as we cut through the water. We spent a couple days exploring the area, watched a movie at a drive-in theater, found a great place for dinner called “Christopher’s”, and finished our trip by driving north over Deception Pass taking the scenic route home. I share a birthday month with Lindsey’s great-aunt Evelynn, whom we visited in Woodland, California for her 90thbirthday party. A lot of travel for one month but it was great to see so many friends and family.

February also marked a big change in our living situation. We finished the sale of our house in Tacoma and moved to a small apartment in Bonney Lake, closer to the farm we are working to restore. We had attempted to live in an RV at the farm for a while, but between problems with water, septic, and heat, we felt that an apartment would be better for living and working while still allowing us to be closer to the property than our house in Tacoma.

The farm restoration has continued to drag on and has certainly been one of the biggest sources of stress this year. After going back and forth with several contractors and engineers last year, we finally felt like we were getting somewhere when we found a company that would reinforce and level the existing foundation. While we waited to move forward with the foundation, we had a home designer work on some final plans, had the property surveyed, had a septic engineer design a new septic system, and we spent many, many days continuing to clear out trash and brush. We also hired a local company to clear all the blackberries from our overgrown pasture and finally managed to find a towing company that would remove an abandoned car left on our property. In April we added bees to our farm to go with the three chickens we acquired the previous fall from my sister and nephew. We also acquired thirteen new baby chicks this year to add to our flock. Every day we were seeing the fruits of our labor as flowers began to bloom, the yard began to fill in, and it looked like the farm was finally coming to life. Our excitement was stifled as we entered summer when a new group of contractors felt like our decision to repair the foundation was the wrong one and stated that it would be faster and less expensive to build a new house from scratch. We went back to our home designer to come up with a new plan that now included an expanded house footprint and a garage with an apartment above it. We felt that if we were going to build new, we might as well build everything we ever wanted in a home and future proof it as much as possible. Unfortunately, we found out that our original plan was going to be more than we’d budgeted for, so we re-worked it to be just slightly bigger than the existing house. We have room on the property to expand in the future, but for now we want to get this project done as soon as possible and within budget.

Summer was a whirlwind that came and went far too fast. Lindsey added some new classes to her workload for the Nursing Department in addition to her classes with the Marriage and Family Therapy Department and organization of school’s teaching clinic. In addition, she was busy writing and editing a book with a PLU colleague, and somehow found time to travel to California to help her brother and sister-in-law on some house projects before they put their house on the market. We did find time to take three trips together during the summer. Our first trip was to Washington DC, which was a work trip for Lindsey, meeting with Washington representatives on behalf of the Washington Association of Marriage and Family Therapy. But we did have several days after her meetings to explore Washington DC in one of the most beautiful times of the year. Two of our favorite stops were the Museum of American History and the Museum of African-American History. Our second trip of the summer was for our one-year anniversary. We planned a fun excursion around the Olympic Peninsula, ending in the tiny town of Seabeck. We stayed in a beautiful studio that sat right on the sound. It was so relaxing to just curl up on the couch sipping coffee and watching the sunset across the water. In a post about our anniversary on our blog, I commented that in our first year of marriage we purchased a house, started a remodel, sold a house, bought a bus and RV, moved multiple times, acquired new farm animals, and most recently discovered that we are having a baby. And yet somehow through all that craziness Lindsey and I feel stronger and closer than ever. Our last trip was to Austin, Texas for an American Family Therapy Academy conference and then to Waco for Lindsey’s birthday. Both of us are fans of the show Fixer Upper and it was so fun to see the Magnolia silos, travel around to some of the homes featured on the show, and explore a surprisingly beautiful part of Texas. We attempted to eat at the Magnolia restaurant, but the wait time was several hours. We settled for some cupcakes at the Magnolia bakery and then ended our trip with a visit to In-N-Out for some grilled cheese animal style burgers.

We had one last trip of the summer in August to Colorado with Lindsey’s family. We visited Lindsey’s grandparents old house in Cortez, stayed at a mountain ranch cabin without electricity for several days, took a dip in the hot springs pool in Ouray, walked around Telluride, took several Jeeping trips up into the mountains, had a fun evening at the “Bar-D” chuckwagon in Durango, and took the old restored train from Durango to Silverton. It was a jam-packed trip full of fun memories and beautiful scenery. We saw tons of wildlife including a mama moose with her baby.

When we returned from our trip to Colorado, we found out that we were having a baby of our own! This was by far the highlight of the year and has consumed the past few months. We were so excited to share the news right away but also nervous because the risk of miscarriage increases in your 30s. It was so incredibly exciting to see our healthy baby on the ultrasound for the first time and start preparing to meet our new little one in April 2019. We recently found out that we are having a girl, which is what Lindsey has always wanted. The first trimester wasn’t easy on Lindsey, with bad morning sickness and constant nausea around the clock. Heading into the second trimester, the nausea has gotten better although certain foods and smells are still triggering. It has been so much fun heading into the holidays to start looking at clothes, toys, and baby gear to add to our wishlist. Lindsey and my mom found some cute clothes the other day at Goodwill and Lindsey is hoping to work on some sewing projects with her mom over the holidays making baby clothes, blankets, and accessories. Despite the nausea, the extra added stress of trying to finish the farm renovation before baby, and the many doctor visits, we are so thankful and so excited to expand our family. The love and support we have received so far from friends and family has been incredible and we know our daughter will have a whole community lifting her up. We have already started thinking about baby’s first Christmas next year and all the exciting updates we will be able to include in next year’s Christmas letter.

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving with my parents in Husum, Washington at our Bed and Breakfast and are headed to Seal Rock, Oregon to spend time with Lindsey’s family for Christmas. We are also excited to see my sister and her family in a couple weeks and see my nephew’s first ever ballet performance in the Nutcracker. We are so blessed to have so many friends and family close by and are excited to be able to spend the holidays with loved ones. Our hearts also go out to the many lives that were impacted by the recent devastating fires in California including Lindsey’s Aunt and Uncle who lost their home in Paradise, California. If you know someone that was affected by the fire, in addition to your thoughts and prayers, please find ways to support them and help rebuild as we enter the season of love and giving. God bless, and we hope everyone has a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Love,

Aaron, Lindsey, and Baby (coming April 2019)

+ Fen, 15 chickens, and about 30,000 honey bees

Family

Quad Screen

November 28, 2018

The last few weeks have been kind of a whirlwind for us. Because of my age, our midwife suggested we do some noninvasive prenatal testing, which they can do now by drawing a few vials of blood. One of the tests is called a “quad screen,” which gives a ratio analysis of your likelihood of having a baby with Down syndrome, spina bifida, and a few other things. Our test came back positive for Down, which meant that our baby doesn’t necessarily have it, but that I have a higher than average likelihood – instead of 1/300 for my age, it was 1/76. We did some follow up testing that took two weeks to return, and found out yesterday that the baby is healthy – we are relieved and thankful.

Some of the highlights from the last month:

I asked Aaron what we should put for this section, and he said “Your husband thinks you are getting more beautiful every day.” 🙂 He’s pretty much the best.

Our baby chicks out at the farm are getting bigger each day – we are hoping to integrate them in with the two big chickens, Lady and Tweet Tweet, but Lady is pretty hostile to them still, so we’ll see when that happens!

Fall has been beautiful this season – so many orange, yellow, and red trees. Last Sabbath, we spent a few hours just driving around back roads.

I had a fun girls weekend in Portland with friends from Milo – we talked, had dinner, and made clay ornaments. The picture for this post is of a sample one from Pinterest, since I’ll be giving out some of the ones I made for Christmas!

We spent Thanksgiving in White Salmon with Aaron’s family and had fun playing a new game called Hugger Mugger. On Sunday, on the way back, we stopped in Portland to see my parents as my mom was dropping my dad off at the airport to go to Malawi for a month. My mom brought us some yummy persimmon cookies she’d just made.

And our best news, of course, is that our baby is healthy. At our last ultrasound, she was moving all around and wiggling her little arms and legs. They measured her height and weight and said she is “long and lean” (how did that happen?!) with a weight in the 54th percentile and a height in the 78th.

Some of the lowlights from the last month:

Everyone says you’ll get lots of advice when pregnant or parenting – so I knew that was coming, but it’s been hard. Just in the last week, I’ve had people say “I don’t know why any woman would have pain control measures during childbirth” to me, and “You know that there’s tons of research showing that an epidural hurts both you and the baby, and that you won’t attach as well if you do that.” I’ve been so inspired by a book I’m reading, called “nurture” by Erica Chidi Cohen. She’s a doula in Southern California, and I don’t know how to describe her writing except to say it feels like a big, warm hug of kindness. She says things like, “When you’re pregnant for the first time, you may feel vulnerable, and so many people will give you advice. Sometimes that advice isn’t right for you. So, trust to your intuition,” and “We need to stop using the term “natural birth.” The concept of natural birth is divisive and inherently competitive. All birth is natural. It’s as simple as that. If you want to have the intense sensations of labor and you’re coping well, go for it! If you have a hard time with pain or you have bad associations from trauma, that’s totally okay. You have the inherent right to choose how you want to navigate your birth experience, and those choices should be free of judgment.”  Comforting, right?

Hope all of you are finding moments of peace and joy during the busy-ness of the season.

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.