Tag Archives: Birthdays

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

😀

Happy Birthday Alex!

Today is Alex’s 29th birthday! We’ve got a really fun day planned and I’m excited to celebrate Alex being born.

{the birthday boy!}

{the birthday boy!}

We’ve got a big year ahead of us now that we are both in the last year of our 20s. We have a lot to look forward to and I’m really excited to see what our 30s are like! For now, happy birthday, Alex!!

Twenty Nine

29 is an age I keep hearing people say they experienced for around three to five years or until they come to terms with embracing their 30s. I can’t say I’m particularly excited to leave my 20s as they have been such fantastic years, but the same people who told me that they were 29 for a few years also say that their 30s and 40s were some of the best years of their lives.

I see this next year as a year to spend wrapping up this phase of my life and I expect when I hit my 30s that a lot of things may start to change. But for now, just my hair is changing as a result of last weekend’s haircut!

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From 20 to 29 I have changed and grown up quite a bit! Though I would have never admitted it then, I was so young and naive in my early 20s, and probably still am – I was a college student living in a $350/month apartment with three girlfriends, driving my cute little Alero and traveling back and forth from Minnesota and Iowa between Student Union Board meetings, journalism classes and babysitting obligations.

{at 20 I met one of my lifelong best friends, Julie, and am so honored to be standing up with her as she gets married this fall!}

{at 20 I met one of my lifelong best friends, Julie, and am so honored to be standing up with her as she gets married this fall! I only wish we could see each other more often.}

 

Now at 29 I am a married homeowner who runs a non-profit organization while taking as much time to travel the world as much as I can while I can. That sounds a lot more glamorous than it really is. While I have been exceptionally fortunate, I have also suffered from my fair share of challenges, including lay-offs, foot-in-the-mouth syndrome, rejection, financial limitations, loss and a whole lot of life lessons. It goes without saying that I have grown up an enormous amount in the last 9 years, but still have some growing up to do.

{me at 25 and freshly engaged!}

{me at 25 and freshly engaged!}

When I hit my 30s I am expecting a new set of life lessons to learn, challenges and experiences to face, and with any hope, an overwhelming amount of joy. As I wrap up my 20s I would like to do so with as much grace and as few gray hairs as possible. I hope to continue to have a good sense of humor, challenge myself mentally and physically, not take myself too seriously, donate some of my time to doing great things for others, write my personal mission statement {per the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People} and work towards being the best me I can be.

{so grateful to have been turned onto Pilates by my friend Mary!}

{so grateful to have been turned onto Pilates by my friend Mary!}

I’d like to savor my free time, maintain being in the best shape I’ve ever been in, take at least one impromptu trip to somewhere we’ve never been, have an enviable ski season next year {as opposed to one no one would envy like this year was!} and finally, celebrate the end of my 20s and my 5th anniversary with a big trip just the two of us next spring.

If your 30s are better than your 20s, as people say, I can hardly imagine what I am in store for once I hit my next decade… Stay tuned!

Weekend Parties & Projects

As the saying goes “work hard, play hard” – we definitely can succeed at both! This weekend was a nice mix of getting stuff done and having a good time. It was a gorgeous day on Friday {goodbye productivity during the workday… hello spring!} so we kicked off the weekend with burgers on the grill and an amazing wine, followed by a movie night.

{Henry cat enjoying the nice weather outside}

{Henry cat enjoying the nice weather outside}

Saturday was our big project day of the weekend. Alex tackled the backyard and I spent the day scouring the kitchen.

{our lovely backyard complete with some new topsoil, tons of grass seed, a fair amount of weeds and some new plants up in the retaining wall}

{our lovely backyard complete with some new topsoil, tons of grass seed, a fair amount of weeds and some new plants up in the retaining wall}

Alex’s main project is re-seeding the backyard. He and the weeds are united in the fight against mud right now. I really hope the new grass is the winner of this battle.

{the heavily trafficked area right off the patio needs the most love... check out the fancy sprinkler!}

{the heavily trafficked area right off the patio needs the most love… check out the fancy sprinkler!}

Last spring The last three springs you may recall we did basically the exact same thing we’re doing right now. I can only hope the outcome is more successful and long-term this time around. One thing that we are doing differently has to do with watering, which was our achilles heel last year. We get a bit lazy with watering and for some reason last spring it didn’t rain at all, so our grass seed didn’t come in strong. This year we’ve got a fancy sprinkler set up on a timer, so it automatically turns on and off twice a day. Hopefully that does the trick!

{sprinkler timer!}

{sprinkler timer!}

I was able to squeeze in a little time in the yard on Friday and did some weeding and also planted some new fun stuff in the containers we have on our front porch.

{loving the new plants!}

{loving the new plants!}

After Alex got the backyard squared away and I finished deep cleaning the kitchen we took an impromptu trip to Marymoor dog park since it was Jackson’s birthday. I think it’s safe to say he enjoyed the swim, walk and ball playing he got to do! We are extremely lucky to have such a magnificent dog park nearby.

{Jackson enjoying his birthday steak}

{Jackson enjoying his birthday steak}

The birthday celebrations continued on Sunday when we went out to Salty’s for brunch to celebrate my birthday and my friend Mary’s, as well. We had a great time and thoroughly stuffed ourselves.

{such great friends!}

{such great friends!}

 

Happy Birthday Jackson!

The birthday week continues as we celebrated Jackson’s second birthday yesterday! He enjoyed a day at the dog park, swimming and playing ball, along with extra special treats, then he finished off the day with his own steak. Henry made sure to give him extra head bumps and stole some of his treats when he wasn’t looking!

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{no, he is NOT allowed on the sofa!}

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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.

Fashion, Rain, Soccer and a Birthday

Not any different than the last month, our week has been very busy. We had a lot of time catching up on things at home and getting mentally ready for spring. Last weekend was kicked off by a clothing overload.

I love donating my clothes and was so happy to find Fashion Project, a non-profit that serves basically as a consignment shop and pays in Nordstrom gift cards. I sent them a handful of things I had been meaning to get rid of, especially to make room for new clothes!

I love donating my clothes and was so happy to find Fashion Project, a non-profit that serves basically as a consignment shop and pays in Nordstrom gift cards. I sent them a handful of things I had been meaning to get rid of, especially to make room for new clothes!

I ordered my first Stitch Fix last week! I was giddy with excitement to receive my first shipment...

I ordered my first Stitch Fix last week! I was giddy with excitement to receive my first shipment… Stitch Fix is an online personal shopper, basically, that sends you a box of five things they think you’ll like. I filled out a style profile and shared my Pinterest clothing board for them to get an idea of my style. You only pay for what you keep and then you send back anything you don’t want.

LOVE this dress - too bad it didn't come to me before Carrie's wedding last summer because I have basically the same dress. I love the necklace too, but it was really cheap looking, yet $50.

LOVE this dress – too bad it didn’t come to me before Carrie’s wedding last summer because I have basically the same dress. I love the necklace too, but it was really cheap looking, yet $50.

I really liked this outfit but the top was too big and the bottoms were too small. Dangit!

I really liked this outfit but the top was too big and the bottoms were too small. Dangit!

This was a fun top but it was HUGE! And it was a little boring in the front.

This was a fun top but it was HUGE! And it was a little boring in the front.

In all the excitement with my Stitch Fix, I also got an awesome birthday gift from my mom! She sent this fantastic dress for me {along with a different necklace}. I can't wait to wear it.

In all the excitement with my Stitch Fix, I also got an awesome birthday gift from my mom! She sent this fantastic dress for me {along with a different necklace}. I can’t wait to wear it.

In case it hasn’t been clear so far, I have been trying to expand my wardrobe and build up an adult-like collection of garments. Alex has been really helpful with encouraging me to branch out and be a bit more exciting with what I wear, so as another way to support that he took me on a shopping spree for my birthday! We spent much of the day on Saturday in downtown Seattle at Pacific Place Mall, Nordstrom and Banana Republic. Most of my closet is from Banana Republic and I was trying to get some different pieces elsewhere, but it ended up that everything I got was from BR anyway!

Walking from the bus to the stadium for Saturday's Sounders game

Walking from the bus to the stadium for Saturday’s Sounders game

In between trying on clothes Alex and I took some time out for sports. We cheered on the Iowa State Cyclones at Bravehorse Tavern on Friday night as they played in the Sweet Sixteen basketball tournament. On Saturday we braved the rain and attended the Seattle Sounders soccer game at Century Link Field in Seattle. Thankfully we had club seats so we were in one of the only covered areas in the stadium, otherwise we would have been drenched by the end of the game. Unfortunately for us, we were cheering for two losing teams this weekend. Oh well, it was fun for us either way!

Here we are!

Here we are!

Monday was my birthday – I felt like I had a 4-day birthday this year, which was awesome! On my actual birthday Alex took me out for dinner at our new neighborhood joint, Red Cow, and we had an amazing cheeseburger {seriously}, then last night we met Ali, Tyler and Vivian at Cactus for dinner to catch up and celebrate my birthday again. We always have such a great time with them and it was so fun to see little miss Vivian – she is at the age where she is really starting to get a personality and man does she have a great one! She is just too much fun.

Club seats mean it's okay to drink wine :)

Club seats mean it’s okay to drink wine 🙂

Of course Alex will always drink beer at an MLS game.

Of course Alex will always drink beer at an MLS game.

This week we are focusing our efforts on getting things checked off our to-do list and whipping Jackson into shape. More on both soon!

Jackson’s First Birthday!

Happy birthday to our mischievous and cuddly dog Jackson! Today our pup is one!

Such a happy dog!

Such a happy dog!

It’s hard to believe the day is finally here. This day has been a big milestone that we have been looking forward to for a long time and we’re happy to have made it through the first 12 months. It has been an amazing time so far and I trust that it will only get better. Jackson has been such a welcome addition to our family and has improved our lives dramatically, while also testing our patience, making me learn to speak with a low and firm voice and driving us crazy. We just adore our puppy and are so happy that he is here with us celebrating his birthday today.

Snuggly boy!

Snuggly boy!

Such a cuddle bug from day one!

Such a cuddle bug from day one!

Jackson went from being a two pound potsticker to a 75 pound ham in what seems like a month. This year has gone by incredibly fast and it has been so fun to watch Jackson grow up into a {sometimes} mature dog.

Jack and Alex hanging out in the media room together.

Jack and Alex hanging out in the media room together.

Jackson has always preferred sleeping on tile. Since we got him at the beginning of the summer we allowed him to sleep in the bathroom instead of a crate as a way to keep cool.

Jackson has always preferred sleeping on tile. Since we got him at the beginning of the summer we allowed him to sleep in the bathroom instead of a crate as a way to keep cool.

Alex and his pup

Alex and his pup

He is a ball of furry, uncontrollable energy, a sweet little baby who just wants to lay on the floor and cuddle and he is an excellent ball player. He is independent, yet extremely loyal. No matter what he’s doing if the dishwasher door gets opened, you can count on Jackson to be there to lick whatever he can reach within a matter of seconds. Jackson loves to be the center of attention and make sure everyone knows he is there.

Jackson at 14.5 weeks

Jackson at 14.5 weeks – getting bigger but still a fluffy baby

High five!

High five!

Handsome man!

Handsome man – Jackson at 4.5 months

We have spent many great days at Marymoor Dog Park

We have spent many great days at Marymoor Dog Park

Jackson loves to swim!

Jackson loves to swim!

An ideal day for Jackson would be spent running around in the snow. Or running around anywhere. Swimming would be included for sure. So would playing with other dogs. Definitely eating cheese and hot dogs. And spending time with his puppy parents. Jackson is a relatively easy-going dog – he loves to go on adventures, whether it’s going for a hike, playing in the snow, running around at the dog park or just going to a new place he has never been, Jackson loves to be outside exploring.

So big at 7 months!

So big at 7 months!

Jackson is always at my feet... no matter where I am or what I am doing, there's about a 90% guarantee that Jackson is on or within 3 inches of my feet.

Jackson is always at my feet… no matter where I am or what I am doing, there’s about a 90% guarantee that Jackson is on or within 3 inches of my feet.

Jackson's first trip to the snowy mountains at age 8 months.

Jackson’s first trip to the snowy mountains at age 8 months.

Jackson LOVES the snow.

Jackson LOVES the snow.

We have certainly had our challenges with Jackson since he came into our lives but we are so happy with the dog he has become. It is so exciting to think about him growing old with us and what role he will play in our future. I am really looking forward to having a running companion and maybe even a guard dog someday. I think we’re in for a great summer and a wonderful future with our pup!

He loves just hanging out on the front porch.

He loves just hanging out on the front porch.

My favorite.

My favorite… Sleepy Jackson!

Happy Birthday, Jackson!

Nancy’s Birthday Weekend in Seattle

My mom came out to Seattle to celebrate her birthday this past weekend. It was a big birthday for her so I thought it would be fun to let her escape the chilly Minnesota weather and come hang out in Seattle.

She arrived on Friday evening, which was her actual birthday. We went up to Bottlehouse, our neighborhood wine bar, and celebrated accordingly. My mom had some pink champagne and Alex and I shared a bottle of wine. It was great to catch up and start her visit off right.

An evening out at Bottlehouse.

An evening out at Bottlehouse.

When we got back home it was time for cake! I had made a chocolate angel food cake, which is what my grandparents used to make for my mom. It seemed like the cake was a big hit!

Saturday morning we woke up before the sun. Alex had planned a back country ski trip with Patrick and Carrie that day, so I got up with him and dropped him off at their house. When I got back, my mom and I took Jackson for a walk before getting ready to head to the spa.

I made appointments for my mom and me to get pedicures at my favorite spa out in Redmond. It’s such a luxurious pampering experience and I thought it would be a great birthday treat for my mom. We started off on the wrong food {heehee} because the spa had booked us in two separate rooms, so we began our pedis apart. Thankfully we were able to get moved into the same room eventually and finished off the appointment together. While we were in different rooms we chose our nail color, and lo and behold, we ended up selecting the exact same color!

Birthday cake for the birthday girl!

Birthday cake for the birthday girl!

Not long after we got back home, Alex returned from his ski excursion. We said our hellos and he quickly let me know that he had fallen ill while he was out for the day. I put him to bed and ran out to the pharmacy to pick up some stuff to hopefully keep whatever he was getting at bay or at least lessen the illness. Having just been quite ill myself I did not want him to have what I had!

It’s amazing my mom didn’t hop back on a flight on Saturday and hit the road with two sick-os under a very small roof that she was sharing with us! I still have a pretty bad cough {16 days and counting! Yes I have been do the doctor.} and Alex’s new illness kept him in bed for the rest of the weekend.

We had reservations for dinner on Saturday night at Daniel’s Broiler, a fabulous steakhouse just down the road from my house. Alex ended up skipping out on dinner so he could try to sleep off his bug, while I coughed my way through the meal. Despite the circumstances, we had a great dinner. Daniel’s is such a treat – fantastic food, great service and a really nice ambiance.

Sunday didn’t bring a whole lot of excitement. We took Jackson for a walk and sat around my house chatting for most of the rest of the time. My mom played the “mom” role of taking care of both of us and making us rest, which was probably a good thing, so we had a really laid back day before taking her to the airport mid-afternoon.

It is always so nice to have family and friends come to visit and get the chance to spend some quality time with them. I’m glad my mom was able to come spend her birthday with us in Seattle!

Seattle’s “Heat Wave”

We are under an “excessive heat advisory” here in Seattle. What that means is that it’s over 80 degrees and the city freaks out because no one has air conditioning. I make fun of it a lot, but in reality, it really doesn’t get above 80 degrees here very often so people just aren’t used to the “extreme heat.” I am loving it, except for the fact that we too do not have air conditioning, so our house is presently 87 degrees and I’m sweating profusely.

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Here are some fun pictures from the past week.

Embracing Independence Day at our house this year.

Embracing Independence Day at our house this year.

Thanks to my mother in-law for keeping our holiday decor accessories well-stocked.

Thanks to my mother in-law for keeping our holiday decor accessories well-stocked.

Henry cat on the hunt for something.

Henry cat on the hunt for something.

Oliver

Oliver yawning

Oliver

Oliver

Oliver close up

Oliver close up

Mariners vs Cubs

Mariners vs Cubs

Safeco Field

Safeco Field

Watching the game

Watching the game

Mariners vs Cubs game

Mariners vs Cubs game

Miller time! We had such a fun day with Mary and Ryan - we went garage sale-ing, drank a lot of wine, grilled out and just enjoyed the gorgeous day.

Miller time! We had such a fun day with Mary and Ryan – we went garage sale-ing, drank a lot of wine, grilled out and just enjoyed the gorgeous day.

We celebrated Emma's first birthday, my friend Sara's Collie dog. Emma got her own special birthday cake!

We celebrated Emma’s first birthday, my friend Sara’s Collie dog. Emma got her own special birthday cake!

I made dog treats for all of the dogs who came over to celebrate Emma's special day.

I made dog treats for all of the dogs who came over to celebrate Emma’s special day.

Emma's birthday party guests.

Emma’s birthday party guests.

Jackson escaping the heat in the shower.

Jackson escaping the heat in the shower.

Our 3 month old pup weighs 25 pounds now!

Our 3 month old pup weighs 25 pounds now!

Made the mistake of setting the pillows on the ground while making the bed...

Made the mistake of setting the pillows on the ground while making the bed…

We are spending a LOT of time outside! Jackson loves to run around in the backyard.

We are spending a LOT of time outside! Jackson loves to run around in the backyard.

I took a ferry ride to Bainbridge Island today for work. Here's a shot of the city from the ferry deck.

I took a ferry ride to Bainbridge Island today for work. Here’s a shot of the city from the ferry deck.