Tag Archives: alex

Alex’s Big Birthday Weekend

We had a lot of plans leading into Alex’s big birthday weekend. The first was to celebrate my birthday with the cooking class Alex got me.

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We ended up taking a Thai cooking class at Hipcooks on Friday night. The class was really neat and both of us agreed we probably wouldn’t have cooked much/anything on our own, so it was great to get us out of our comfort zone and trying new things.

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On our menu was:

  • Tom Yum soup
  • Tom Kha Gai soup
  • Chiang Mai meatballs (pork meatballs with fresh curry)
  • Glass noodle salad with stir fried pork (our favorite!)
  • Massaman curry
  • Thai sweet rice with mango and coconut for dessert
  • Tamarind whiskey sour (cocktail)
  • Thai me up (cocktail)

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The class was very hands-on and we got to play a role in a lot of different parts of the meal. I appreciated tasting the food frequently as we were cooking just to taste how things came together. We had a really nice time, though we had wished the other people in the class were a bit more fun. It’s such a shame that not everyone is as much fun as we are 😉

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Saturday was Alex’s birthday! We woke up and had a little relaxing time at home before we made the two hour drive up to Whidbey Island for a quick day trip. The weather was quite cloudy, so it wasn’t the most ideal day for this trip, but we still had fun!

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Our destination was Ebey’s Landing, which is a bluff overlooking a beach on Puget Sound. We stopped at a cute shop in Coupville, a little town nearby, and picked up the makings of a great picnic {two prosecco splits, some sandwiches, cornichons, chips and Mexican hot chocolate cookies} and headed down to the beach at Ebey’s Landing.

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Jackson was along for the ride and he was in paradise. He had never swam in the ocean before – just lakes and rivers, so it was a little different for him with the waves. He was running back and forth, up and down the beach, stopping to shake off next to us while we were eating {delightful part of having a dog}, and running in and out of the water. Safe to say he had the best day ever.

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We didn’t stay for too long because it was pretty chilly on the coast that day and we had evening plans we had to get back to! Thankfully we avoided traffic on our way home, which almost never happens.

{I can imagine this view is quite different when the sun is out!}

{I can imagine this view is quite different when the sun is out!}

Since about October last year I had been scheming up a big surprise party for Alex’s 29th birthday. His birthday was conveniently on a Saturday and I figured he wouldn’t suspect it as much on his 29th birthday as he would his 30th. So, last night about 20 of our friends gathered at Bottlehouse, our neighborhood wine bar, and royally surprised him! Alex didn’t suspect a thing.

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We had a great evening catching up with everyone and it was so fun to share our favorite spot with our friends. It was fun that most people had met before, even if they were in different “groups” – but our holiday party this past year provided a great merger of our different groups of friends, which was really nice. We are lucky to have so many wonderful friends out here!

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It was really hard for me to keep the secret of this surprise party, especially the last week or so as the party grew nearer, so I am glad to be done with that. I love hosting parties, but that’s the last surprise party I’m throwing!

{Alex's new high-tech watch... the Casio calculator!}

{Alex’s new high-tech watch… the Casio calculator!}

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In other less exciting news, I got a FitBit this weekend. I’ve been putting it to the test to keep track of my steps, fitness activity, water consumption, food and sleep. It’s pretty handy. So far I’m really liking it!

{screenshot of the FitBit app on my phone - this was clearly at the beginning of the day :)}

{screenshot of the FitBit app on my phone – this was clearly at the beginning of the day :)}

The farmers market in our neighborhood opened up for the summer season on Friday. I absolutely love going down to the farmers market on Friday afternoons and stocking up on farm-fresh produce and flowers, so it’s something I look forward to each week. This year there are several new vendors at our neighborhood market – there’s a brick oven pizza food truck, a beer stand, a few wineries, a jam vendor, as well as a mustard vendor, and then the usual produce, meat and dairy vendors.

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Between the farmers market and our CSA, I try to get as much food as I can as a way to support the local farmers and vendors. Plus, it’s fun to walk down to the market {about 6 or 8 blocks from our house} with Jackson and see the same vendors or neighbors down there each week.

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Today we are taking it easy at home. I’m exhausted. I think that keeping the secret of Alex’s surprise party took a mental toll on me this week, so it’s nice to have a restful day at home.

:D

:D

Mid-Week Ramblings

Happy hump day! This week has gone by so fast I was sure it was only Tuesday when I woke up this morning. I feel like a broken record continuously saying “it’s another busy week in the Allen household” but that is what it is!

{my newest fave!}

{my newest fave!}

I started my new barre class yesterday and have my second session tomorrow. I’ll be interested to see how I like it after a few more sessions. Mary would be happy to hear that so far I prefer Pilates to the barre, but I could be convinced otherwise. I had a 30-minute Pilates session last week and was about 10 times more sore after that class (for four days!) than I am after the barre class.

The barre class involves a lot of continuous repetitions with weights and mini-squats and other such motions and left me feeling sweaty, winded and quite literally a bit hunched over, whereas I leave Pilates feeling light, refreshed and taller. Pilates has been the only form of exercise that I have seen the definition in my arms and abs that I can see right now. I will say that I am really excited for the barre class to get me ready for ski season, though!

I have the goofiest dog ever.

I have the goofiest dog ever.

Alex spent last weekend in Chicago at his cousin Bryan’s bachelor party. It sounds like the boys had a great time! They stayed in a bachelor suite across the street from Wrigley Field. This place sounds absolutely perfect for a bachelor party. The apartment has a bar in it, plus a pool table, shuffleboard, darts, a urinal and a rooftop deck with commercial grills and bleachers! We can’t wait to celebrate Bryan and Sarah’s wedding this weekend!

My swimming buddy!

My swimming buddy!

While Alex was away I worked my little fingers to the bone around our house. I had a massive to-do list of random projects and I was able to complete many of them. My biggest accomplishment from the last week has been completely re-decorating our guest room. I can’t wait to share pictures once everything arrives and gets all set up. I will; however, share a picture of my cousin and his beautiful bride, with whom I was lucky enough to have dinner on Friday night.

Chris & Heidi

Chris & Heidi

I also had a great time taking Jackson for lots of swims and a run one day. He did a great job of keeping me company while Alex was gone. We got a visit on Saturday from Mary and Berkeley and ran up to Bottlehouse to enjoy a glass of wine in the sun, too!

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{hot dogs! … get it?… dogs on a sunny porch…}

It has been quite warm in Seattle the last few weeks. I love the heat but have been lacking motivation in the kitchen. When it’s 87 degrees in my house the last thing I want to do is stand over a hot stove. We’ve been eating a lot of pasta salad {prepared early in the day} and meals on the grill.

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Here are some of our recent favorites {strangely they’re almost all from The Pioneer Woman!}:

 

Alex’s Birthday Weekend in Vancouver

Alex and I took a little road trip to visit the Canucks up in Vancouver this past weekend. Before we hit the road we celebrated on his actual birthday with a trip to Bottlehouse. It was perfect. The weather held out so we could enjoy the evening on the patio. The icing on the cake, though, was when we were informed by the staff that my aunt Sarah called and picked out a very special bottle of Priorat wine for Alex. We can’t wait to drink it!

Saturday morning we woke up bright and early to drop Jackson off at the farm where he was to spend the weekend, then we continued on the drive up to Vancouver. It was a pretty easy drive, other than long waits at the border.

We got to take a ride over the new Port Mann Bridge.

 

We were pleasantly surprised when the weather turned out to be quite nice on the other side of the border. I believe the anticipated high was 58 and it was supposed to rain, so both of us were dressed for the forecast. Reality set in and it ended up being 72 and partly cloudy. Oops!

Gorgeous day for walking around Vancouver!

Gorgeous day for walking around Vancouver!

After we checked in to our amazing hotel {The St. Regis} we headed for ramen! We ate at Gyoza King. It was lovely :)

After we checked in to our amazing hotel {The St. Regis} we headed for ramen! We ate at Gyoza King. It was lovely 🙂

With full bellies we set out to do a stroll through Stanley Park, Vancouver's Central Park.

With full bellies we set out to take a stroll through Stanley Park, Vancouver’s Central Park.

Totem Poles

Totem Poles

Great views back towards the city from Stanley Park.

Great views back towards the city from Stanley Park.

After our stroll through Stanley Park Alex decided to pick up a few cigars...

After our walk through Stanley Park Alex decided to pick up a few cigars…

We then set out to explore Gas Town, a very trendy part of the city. This neighborhood reminded us a lot of two neighborhoods in Seattle. We had dinner at the Alibi Room before making our way to a wine bar for a nightcap.

We then set out to explore Gas Town, a very trendy part of the city. This neighborhood reminded us a lot of two neighborhoods in Seattle. We had dinner at the Alibi Room before making our way to a wine bar for a nightcap.

I just loved the Salt Tasting Room. It's a little hole in the wall wine bar that lets you pick and choose your cheese and meat boards, and of course has great wine.

I just loved the Salt Tasting Room. It’s a little hole in the wall wine bar that lets you pick and choose your cheese and meat boards, and of course has great wine.

We had a great trip in Vancouver! It was really awesome to do a precursor to our Europe trip this summer and work out some of the kinks and figure things out. Even though Vancouver is only a 3 hour drive, we felt like we were a world away from Seattle.

We had a great trip in Vancouver! It was really awesome to do a precursor to our Europe trip this summer and work out some of the kinks and figure things out. Even though Vancouver is only a 3 hour drive, we felt like we were a world away from Seattle.

Our Wounded Warrior

Last week Alex and the road had a brutal encounter. Alex was on his way to work via his bicycle when he ended up flying over the handlebars after his bike got stuck in a gap in the pavement. Thankfully no one hit him while he was in the road, and some people even stopped to make sure he’s okay {nice to have reminders that there are still good people out there looking out for the rest of us!}.

ERs are the worst!

ERs are the worst!

It could have been much worse, but Alex wound up in the ER with a broken wrist and quite a few bumps and bruises all over the rest of his body. Per his hand specialist, he does not have to have surgery and they expect his wrist to heal up just fine in the next 4-6 weeks. Alex has a splint to secure his wrist and instructions to take it easy.

Sporting his new sling, which he wore for less than an hour before ditching.

Sporting his new sling, which he wore for less than an hour before ditching.

Here’s to a speedy recovery!

Weekend Fun in the Sun!

It was another weekend that flew by and ended up being busier than I expected it to be. The weather on Saturday couldn’t have been more perfect if I wanted it to be. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky for much of the day and it was a glorious 77 degrees and perfectly sunny.

Gorgeous day for a run on the lake!

Gorgeous day for a run on the lake!

While Alex was on a 60 mile bike ride I went for a 5.3 mile run down by Lake Washington. By the end of the weekend I got convinced by my friend Mary to join her and do a half marathon at the end of the summer! We are tentatively planning on running our 13.1 miles on August 24th.

Alex and his pup

Alex and his pup

Alex got back from his bike ride early afternoon and I had mentioned that Jackson seemed to be very hot that day, so Alex went and bought Jackson his very own pool. Jack dipped his feet and his belly in the pool but still needs to get used to the idea of swimming. I think Jackson is going to need a bigger pool soon!

Alex filling up the pool for Henry and Jackson.

Alex filling up the pool for Henry and Jackson.

Jackson preferred sun bathing.

Jackson preferred sun bathing.

Once Jackson petered out, Alex and I walked up to our favorite spot, Bottlehouse, to help them celebrate their 3rd birthday. We sat on the patio and back in their garden spot and soaked up a LOT of sun and drank our fair share of vino as we enjoyed the afternoon together.

We love Bottlehouse!

We love Bottlehouse!

Loving the sunny patio.

Loving the sunny patio.

Alex BH

The sunset on Saturday night was stunning! We are so lucky to have a beautiful view of Madison Valley and our amazing Pacific Northwest sunsets out our back windows.

Amazing sunset from our backyard.

Amazing sunset from our backyard.

Apparently all of our activities on Saturday tuckered our little furball out, because come Sunday, he slept in until 6:30 and then went back to sleep until 10:00! That allowed us to Skype with Alex’s parents and Alina and Alberto, not to mention enjoy some time to ourselves and have a nice breakfast.

Jackson got a new toy from John!

Jackson got a new toy from John!

We did eventually wake Jackson up to take him on his first big adventure. We drove down to Seward Park to do some urban hiking. I love Seward Park and it is so fantastic that it’s so close to our house {4.9 miles to be exact}. We did a very short hike in the middle of the park to expose Jackson to the idea of the wilderness.

Jackson in the woods!

Jackson in the woods!

He did great!

He did great!

Jackson did so well on our little hike. We had him on his 30 foot leash so that he could sort of wander around and explore his surroundings. It was surprising to Alex and me that he stayed so close to us even though he could be 30 feet away.

Running around in an open field.

Running around in an open field.

We closed out our weekend by spending some time with Ryan and Mary, I baked a pig cake for work, and we picked up our first CSA box. Overall, it was an awesome weekend and I can’t wait to eat some of these yummy veggies for dinner tonight.

Our first CSA box arrived.

Our first CSA box arrived.

This Week in the Allen Household

It has been an unexpectedly busy week at the Allen household. My mom came for a spontaneous three day visit in the middle of the week, Alex has been riding his bike like a madman, Jackson started puppy class, I have been busy doing things around the house and planning trips and parties {rough life} and dealing with our little maniac.

Jack man's new favorite sleeping spot: the shower!

Jack man’s new favorite sleeping spot: the shower!

Jackson is doing great – he is now 11 weeks old and weighs over 18 pounds. He had his second round of shots on Wednesday, so mid-week next week he’ll be able to go to parks and engage with other dogs. Biting anything and everything continues to be Jackson’s favorite pastime – his new favorite thing to chew is our seagrass chair in the living room or the tile in the shower.

Riding in the back of the car like a good puppy!

Riding in the back of the car like a good puppy!

 

We are doing a puppy play group on Monday evenings so that Jackson can spend time with other puppies and work on his socialization. We started this last week and found out that our little man is extremely shy and timid around other groups of dogs. We will be introducing him to as many socialization opportunities as we can over the next few weeks so that he’ll be more comfortable in those settings. Next week we have four days of socialization activities planned for Jackson. I sure hope there are other people out there who care about their puppies as much as we care about ours, otherwise I might start feeling like a crazy person for all the time and energy we devote to our little guy.

The little stinker just didn't want to stay in the back of the car and climbed over the seats...

The little stinker just didn’t want to stay in the back of the car and climbed over the seats…

Jackson has recently been granted the privilege of an expanded boundary. He is now allowed to roam around the entire upstairs. I think he has been really enjoying his new territory. He loves to sleep in the shower or on the tile floor in the bathroom and now he’s got more room to chase the cats around.

Jack and Alex hanging out in the media room together.

Jack and Alex hanging out in the media room together.

A proud puppy parent note: we are on day 19 of no accidents! I think we can stop counting that now and can safely say that our little guy is house broken.

Little Jackson is on his way to being "Big Jackson"

Little Jackson is on his way to being “Big Jackson”

My mom’s visit was very short – she arrived on Tuesday morning and left on Thursday afternoon. Since I couldn’t leave Jackson alone for more than three hours at a time we hung out close to home. My mom enjoys gardening so I thought she would be interested in helping me do some planting in our backyard. I had been meaning to get to it for a while and it was a perfect opportunity to have a helper. Stay tuned for more photos of the work we did.

Our project in progress!

Our project in progress!

I think she really enjoyed meeting Jackson! It was fun for the little guy to have a new friend to play with. And I sure enjoyed the company mid-week. It’s always nice to have visitors, and I’m glad my mom could meet Jackson.

New friend!

New friend!

We had a fun night out on Wednesday – we had dinner at Restaurant Bea and then walked across the street and had a bottle of wine at Bottlehouse. It’s so nice to have such awesome spots that are so close to us.

This was AFTER a bottle of wine plus wine at dinner...

This was AFTER a bottle of wine plus wine at dinner…

Alex has been riding his bike at least 65 miles one weekend day for the last few weeks. Last weekend he rode in the Flying Wheels race which took him on a 65 mile loop through the Cascade foothills. He said it was the most beautiful bike ride he has ever taken and plans to do this ride again next year.

Flying Wheels bike ride

Flying Wheels bike ride

In other athletic news I have been really keeping up with running and increasing my distance. My friend Sara and I ran around Lake Union yesterday, which is a 6 mile run. There are some stoplights that we had to wait for, but with those included we were at a 10:30 pace per mile. The Lake Union loop was nice and flat, which I prefer, but my run on Monday was extremely hilly, so I didn’t run as far. I have been loving my time running each week and it has been really fun to watch my progress on my Runtastic app.

Check out how far I've been running!

Check out how far I’ve been running!

 

Weekend Recap

Going into the weekend we didn’t really have much on the radar but somehow it turned out to be a really fun weekend. We squeezed a lot in and had a great time!

Jackson and Alex playing in the backyard! The grass is finally starting to fill in and it looks like a fluid yard now.

Jackson and Alex playing in the backyard! The grass is finally starting to fill in and it looks like a fluid yard now.

We kicked things off on Friday. I started the day being tormented by the puppy and managed to break away to go for my first five mile run down along Lake Washington. My time was 54 minutes {stay tuned to see how many minutes I cut off of today’s 5 mile run!}. I felt great the whole time!

5 miles!

5 miles!

Once Alex got home from work on Friday we walked down to the Farmers Market and grabbed a few things. One of our favorite parts of the Farmers Market is the Mexican food stand. I usually get a pork quesadilla and man is it good!! We ate our Mexican food at the market then came back home and had some wine while we played outside with Jackson.

Jackson is getting so good at just hanging out on the front porch with us. We are so lucky!

Jackson is getting so good at just hanging out on the front porch with us. We are so lucky!

Saturday was a long, but great day. We woke up early {thanks Jackson!} and hung out with our furry friends. Alex and I had a great breakfast together, cleaned up and then he took off for a 65 mile bike ride around Lake Washington and Lake Sammamish. I was left to fend for myself and the little pup, but we had a great day together.

Photo op with Jackson.

Photo op with Jackson.

Date night was Saturday night where Alex and I had a fantastic dinner at Harvest Vine. The food and ambiance made me so nostalgic for Spain and we spent the whole time talking about our upcoming trip to Europe. We were able to narrow down the countries we’ll be visiting next year {Spain, Italy, England and Switzerland, and hopefully a long layover in Amsterdam} and some things we’d like to do and see while we’re there.

Jack decided he wanted to be involved in emptying the dishwasher.

Jack decided he wanted to be involved in emptying the dishwasher.

Sunday morning was kind of a hoot in our zoo. It started with Oliver presenting me with a bird that he had recently caught. He quickly moved on and I watch him catch a second bird – he is such a good hunter! After Alex and I grabbed a cup of coffee, all three of our four legged creatures decided to hang out together in the backyard. Oliver was doing sprints along the fence while Jackson was running alongside the fence on the ground. Meanwhile, Henry had climbed a tree in the backyard. By the time he had gotten down, Oliver decided he needed to climb higher than Henry had gone, so he ran up the tree, only to be followed moments later by Henry. They are so good at climbing!

Henry and Jackson playing together.

Henry and Jackson playing together.

We were hosting Jackson’s first puppy play date on Sunday afternoon so I ran out to the store to get some stuff to make guacamole. On my way to the store I was enticed by a garage sale sign, so I decided to stop. Good thing I did because I found a coffee maker with a grinder for $10 that retails for nearly $200. It’s in great shape and I can’t wait to use it.

New coffee maker with grinder!

New coffee maker with grinder!

The guacamole turned out great! I sure do love a good guac.

Yum.

Yum.

Jackson was in absolute heaven during his play date with Gram, who is a 15 week old Duck Tolling Retriever. Alex’s colleague, Nolan, and his wife Natalie are Gram’s owners. Gram and Jackson weighed the exact same amount and Gram looks smaller but that’s only because Jackson is so fluffy. Gram has Jackson beat in the coordination department, though!

Gram (L) and Jackson (R)

Gram (L) and Jackson (R)

The two puppies were a great match for each other. Neither one was dominant and they both had their moments of being more aggressive and then times where they’d submiss to just be bitten in the ear. It was so fun to watch Jackson run around the backyard having such a good time!

Puppy play time.

Puppy play time.

Roughhousing

Roughhousing

After Nolan and Natalie left with sleepy Gram, Jackson passed out and we decided to run up to the Bottlehouse to take advantage of a beautiful evening and we had a couple glasses of new wines. We are so lucky to have the Bottlehouse so close to us! We got there so late and stayed for more wine than we had intended on that we didn’t end up eating dinner at home until after 9:00 — preparing for our Europe trip, I guess!

Check out the great pictures of Alex I managed to get:

How handsome is he?!

How handsome is he?!

Loving his white wine, which he never drinks.

Loving his white wine, which he never drinks.

Great way to end the weekend.

Great way to end the weekend.

We’re always looking forward to the weekend – hopefully we’ll be able to take Jackson out and do something fun this weekend. Until then, we’ll just enjoy the beautiful weather!

Is this thing on?

Hello? Is that you internet? Is this thing working?

Oh, well yes… it seems to be. I guess this little tech experience worked out quite nicely. Now if only this site had some content instead of some ramblings. Wouldn’t that just be swell?

I’m sure Ali is on it, or at least I hope she is.