Tag Archives: Jackson

The Happenings

This last week flew by! I’m not sure where the time really went, to be perfectly honest. Here are some of the highlights from our last week of January…

The weather goes in both the highlight and lowlight category – we had several days of complete and utter downpours but then we had just as many days of gorgeous blue skies and sunshine. I don’t think I’ve ever used my big golf umbrella while walking the dog as much as I have the last few weeks. With all the rain, though, it’s been rather warm. Little buds are starting to pop up around our neighborhood and I’ve seen signs of cherry blossoms around, too. Spring is definitely on its way to Seattle!

{This guy has practically been living outside during the nice weather!}

{This guy has practically been living outside during the nice weather!}

Our pets also go in the highlight and lowlight category. Henry has been so sweet to Jackson lately, which makes up for the fact that he’s been waking us up at 5:00 almost daily meowing like mad to get us to let him outside.

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This week Jackson had some digestion issues and for a few consecutive days woke us up several times in the middle of the night to go outside. Thankfully switching his diet to chicken and rice solved that problem.

We are going to work on getting Jackson certified as a Canine Good Citizen so that we can take him to hospitals and nursing homes eventually. Plus, it’ll be good practice to get him whipped back into shape. He’s really a fantastic dog, but we’ve been reminded lately that we need to work on a few things still, particularly before this little babe arrives.

{Trying to catch up from lack of sleep....}

{Trying to catch up from lack of sleep….}

Alex spent a good part of the weekend with his buddies to celebrate his friend Jon’s birthday. Jon lived in Seattle for a few years but has since moved away and is currently living in San Francisco, so his wife decided to surprise him with a trip up to Seattle to visit his friends. The guys organized {loosely ;)} a weekend out on the town, sea and slopes for Jon, plus Justin came up from Mexico to partake in the shenanigans too! These guys met either at college or as newbies at work and have stayed great friends ever since, even though about half of the group has now left Seattle.

{Enjoying the view from the rooftop deck of one of the guys' apartments.}

{Enjoying the view from the rooftop deck of one of the guys’ apartments.}

While Alex was out, honestly I was mostly sleeping due to the late night nature of their planned activities. But yesterday while he was skiing I baked some cookies, took Jackson for a long walk and did some relaxing. He ended up being home a lot more than I expected this weekend, which was obviously nice, but it also meant I didn’t get as much done as I had planned!

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Last week I started my prenatal Pilates class and my prenatal yoga class! I’m taking the classes at two separate studios and so far I think they’re both great and am glad I’m taking both of them. The Pilates class is very much strength-building and the yoga class offers some seemingly great positions for managing labor pain and getting ready for that whole business, plus it offers a better opportunity to connect with other pregnant women. At this point I will keep up with Pilates on Mondays and yoga on Saturdays and continue with our daily dog walks the rest of the days. I’d love to add in a run once a week too.

{little bump starting to show a bit more these days!}

{Little bump starting to show a bit more these days!}

Alex has been stepping it up in the exercise game, too! He and our friend Patrick have a big ski trip planned for late-February/early-March where they will be chauffeured up the mountain by a snow cat and ideally get to ski tons of long lines of fresh British Columbia powder. Alex is working quite hard to get his legs ready! Luckily we’ve got a ski trip to Utah coming up quite quickly, so that’ll give both of us a leg workout.

{I got a big body pillow to help me sleep more comfortably on my side now and Alex has taken it over...}

{I got a big body pillow to help me sleep more comfortably on my side now and Alex has taken it over…}

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{And at this point he can keep it because I hate it!}

Winter Break!

For the first year ever, Alex took off the two weeks surrounding Christmas and New Years and we stayed home with no plans or agenda. It was wonderful and so perfect.

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One of the biggest highlights was sleeping in, popping some cinnamon rolls in the oven, lighting a fire and hanging out in the living room all day for most of the first week off. Our living room is an underused room in our house, but it’s probably our favorite because of our fireplace, and now our leather chairs. It was so nice to spend so much time in front of the fire these last two weeks.

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Another major highlight was skiing. The whole west coast got a really big Christmas present in the form of a gigantic snowstorm. It snowed so much here that one of the ski resorts couldn’t keep up with it and couldn’t open {they got 96 inches of snow in 3 days!!}. We skied four days during the two-week break.

{After the snow storm the temps dropped and the sun came out! It made for a couple of chilly days with sensational views.}

{After the snow storm the temps dropped and the sun came out! It made for a couple of chilly days with sensational views.}

 

{Jackson had the best day ever when he got to come with us to the mountains and play in the snow.}

{Jackson had the best day ever when he got to come with us to the mountains and play in the snow.}

{Yesterday we braved the chilly weather {12 degrees with -2 windchill}  and embarked on our first backcountry ski tour together. The avalanche danger was very low and our trek was super mild. It was really fun to get out and explore and get some exercise together.}

{Yesterday we braved the chilly weather {12 degrees with -2 windchill, which is about as cold as it gets here} and embarked on our first backcountry ski tour together. The avalanche danger was very low and our trek was super mild. It was really fun to get out and explore and get some exercise together.}

{Skinning up through the trees on a very well-traveled trail...}

{Skinning up through the trees on a very well-traveled trail…}

{Didn't do too much skiing down, but we made a few turns.}

{Didn’t do too much skiing down, but we managed to find a spot to make a few turns.}

We spent some quality time with lots of our friends, too. Alex’s friend Brian was here visiting for a few days, so Alex got to catch up with him. We also spent a day skiing with Nigel, and another day skiing with Patrick. We spent a rainy morning at the dog park with Ali, Tyler and their two kiddos {and then warmed up with some hot chocolate and grilled cheese for lunch!}. Ryan and Mary brought their babies over to our house one day, and we met them up at Carrie and Patrick’s new house another day. It has been so nice to be able to spend this much time with friends, too!

{Oliver and August at 4 weeks old!}

{Oliver and August at 4 weeks old!}

Henry seemed to love having both of us home during the days – probably because he got to bug us both to let him outside all the time!

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Jackson on the other hand was completely thrown off his kilter with Alex being home and our change of schedule. Towards the end of our break he seemed to be adjusting a little bit to the temporary normal, but I’m sure once we go back to work tomorrow he’ll be happy to have some consistency.

{Hopefully giving Jackson a cheeseburger as a treat on our way home from skiing made up for him being off his schedule. And no, this is not a normal occurrence for Jackson!}

{Hopefully giving Jackson a cheeseburger as a treat on our way home from skiing made up for him being off his schedule. And no, this is not a normal occurrence for Jackson!}

Our vacation was so relaxing and on the one hand I feel like we did absolutely nothing, but then when I look back at what we did do and realize that’s not quite the case. I am so thankful for this break and for the time we spent together. Who knows when the next time we’ll have two weeks off at home by ourselves will be!

Merry Christmas!

It’s our first Christmas at home. Ever. Just the two of us. And we are so enjoying each other’s company, the beautiful fire in our fireplace and simply being home together.

{Earlier in the week we prepped a bunch of cinnamon and orange rolls to enjoy throughout the holidays.}

{Earlier in the week we prepped a bunch of cinnamon and orange rolls to enjoy throughout the holidays.}

{Alex was in charge of the cinnamon rolls and I was in charge of the orange ones.}

{Alex was in charge of the cinnamon rolls and I was in charge of the orange ones.}

{Mmmmm!}

{Mmmmm!}

I’m fairly certain we’ve seen our extended family more this year than any other year since moving to Seattle, which we are both very thankful for. That made it easier for us to stay here this holiday season. We’ve also got a big year ahead of us and we are so grateful to have had the time together at home.

{This was our first Christmas with Henry cat! I think the best gift for him was getting to go outside today.}

{This was our first Christmas with Henry cat! I think the best gift for him was getting to go outside today. We’ve been spoiling him with treats, cuddles and catnip toys all day 🙂 }

{Jackson got a new toy and a special treat today, but his best gift was a very solid ball playing session at the park and getting to help us unwrap our Christmas gifts.}

{Jackson got a new toy and a special treat today, but his best gift was a very solid ball playing session at the park and getting to help us unwrap our Christmas gifts.}

We have both taken some time off work for the holidays and are enjoying the best Christmas present ever… seemingly bottomless snow in the mountains!

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{I couldn’t get over the view of the snowy trees under the unexpected sunny sky. Yesterday at Crystal Mountain was by far the most beautiful ski day of the season.}

{Powder day at Stevens Pass! 12.21.15}

{Powder day at Stevens Pass! 12.21.15}

Merry Christmas. Love, the Allens 🙂

Ski Season is Here!

Alex and I packed up our car and headed for Crystal Mountain yesterday to take advantage of the ski season getting started! Last year our ski season was very short-lived in Washington – there was only one day where we woke up at our house and drove to the mountain and skied in Washington last year. Usually we have at least 12 if not many more of those days each ski season.

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The projections for this ski season aren’t great, but the last thing I heard was it’s supposed to be a good early season so we wanted to take advantage of the snow while it lasts…

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Jackson loves the snow, so knowing it would be a short day for us, we decided to bring him along to partake in the fun, too!

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When we arrived at the mountain it was snowing like crazy and it was really windy. Unfortunately the wind was so strong they had the upper mountain closed, so the operations were very limited – just the beginner areas were open.

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I think the beginner areas are the most dangerous spots on the mountain so I avoid them at all costs. We took a few runs before getting hungry and calling it a day with lunch up in the Bullwheel Restaurant. We had a short day skiing but it was so, so, so nice to get out in the snow and play in the mountains!

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It turned out that Crystal received 17″ of snow from Saturday morning to Sunday morning and ended up opening almost the entire mountain this morning, so I guess we picked the wrong day! Oh well – I’m pretty content hanging out by the fire at home today! 🙂

This Week’s Happenings

It has been a busy week back since we returned from our trip to Mexico! Our pets were very happy to have us back home – they’ve both been extra cuddly and sweet this week. We’ve got to be getting closer to the moment of walking into our bedroom and finding Henry snuggled up with Jackson on the bed. I swear it’s going to happen!

{These two have been pallin' around all week. It's super sweet!}

{These two have been pallin’ around all week. It’s super sweet!}

{Who knew Henry would be the one to love the new bathroom floor the most!?}

{Who knew Henry would be the one to love the new bathroom floor the most!?}

While we were in Mexico we received the very surprising news that our very good friends Mary and Ryan had their twin boys! They arrived six weeks early, which isn’t too uncommon for twins, of course, but we hadn’t quite mentally prepared for them to come so soon.

{This was really the first time Mary and Ryan got to look at their boys side-by-side and compare how similar their features are.}

{This was really the first time Mary and Ryan got to look at their boys side-by-side and compare how similar their features are.}

Both boys, Oliver and August, are doing fantastic and they even got to go home today, after only a week in the hospital. They weighed 4 pounds 8 ounces and 4 pounds 2 ounces {I think!}, respectively, when they were born. We got the pleasure of meeting the boys on Wednesday evening and we had the bigger pleasure of seeing them be reunited for the first time since their birth! We are so excited for our friends and can’t wait to watch these two boys grow up.

{I believe Oliver is on the left and August is on the right.}

{The sweet peanuts! August is on the left and Oliver is on the right.}

I’ve been feeling rather festive this week so I pulled out the holiday decorations and got our house looking a little more Christmasy. We’ve still got to get a few things for the outside and hang some lights, but we’re pretty close. Now if someone would hand me a plate Christmas cookies, we’d be all good! {Or maybe I’ll just go make some…}

{Henry was being a helper as I decorated.}

{Henry was being a helper as I decorated.}

{One of my favorites - my friend Carrie made the wreath for me last Christmas!}

{One of my favorites – my friend Carrie made the wreath for me last Christmas!}

{Our Christmas card wall is looking pretty pathetic... here's some motivation to send your holiday cards, friends! And yes, ours will be in the mail very shortly!}

{Our Christmas card wall is looking pretty pathetic… here’s some motivation to send your holiday cards, friends! And yes, ours will be in the mail very shortly!}

The weather in Seattle has been pretty dismal this week, but, our silver lining during the dreary winter days is that when it rains here it snows in the mountains! We’re planning on trekking up to Crystal Mountain this weekend to take advantage of the snow and get a few runs in. I think we’ll bring Jackson with us so he can run around in the snow too!

Willamette Valley Wine Trip

The Willamette Valley wine region in Oregon has been on our list of places to visit for quite some time now. From Seattle, it’s only a 3 1/2 hour drive down to the famous pinot noir wine region in Oregon, so we finally booked a trip and made it happen.

{Alex and me with Mike and Sarah at one of the wineries we went to on our trip to Oregon!}

{Alex and me with Mike and Sarah at one of the wineries we went to on our trip to Oregon!}

My friend from Minnesota, Sarah, and her husband, Mike, flew out to Portland and we spent the weekend together in McMinnville, Oregon, right in the heart of the Willamette Valley. We rented an adorable house for the weekend – this house is one of my favorite vacation rentals to date. It was really roomy, had a ton of charm and a fantastic backyard for us to lounge in and for Jackson to run around. The location was just a block off the main drag, or shall I say “the gut” of the town. During our stay in McMinnville, the locals had an event called “Cruise the Gut” where they drove their vintage, sporty, loud or just regular cars down the “gut” of the town.

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The town was really cute and had several restaurants, wine tasting rooms and a few little shops. We spent our Friday evening checking out the tasting rooms before settling in at La Rambla, a Spanish restaurant, for dinner.

{Our first tasting of the weekend at Willamette Vineyards tasting room in McMinnville!}

{Our first tasting of the weekend at Willamette Vineyards tasting room in McMinnville!}

As a way to break up the wine drinking, we headed to Cannon Beach on Saturday for a full-day excursion. Cannon Beach is on the Oregon Coast and was about a 2 hour drive away from where we were staying. We weren’t aware of this initially, but similar to the fires in Washington, Oregon was experiencing several wildfires during our stay. The skies were extremely hazy on Saturday and Sunday.

{The famous Haystack Rock that juts out of the beach.}

{The famous Haystack Rock that juts out of the beach.}

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{Jackson was having the time of his life!}

{Jackson was having the time of his life!}

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{I can't even describe how frigid the water was!}

{I can’t even describe how frigid the water was!}

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{Looking back on the beach from the water - cute little Cape Cod-style houses line the shores in a very underwhelming manor - it's not crazy overpopulated, which was really refreshing.}

{Looking back on the beach from the water – cute little Cape Cod-style houses line the shores in a very underwhelming manor – it’s not crazy overpopulated, which was really refreshing.}

{You can rent these little bikes that people were riding all around the beach}

{You can rent these little bikes that people were riding all around the beach}

{Family photo!}

{Family photo!}

Cannon Beach was different than I expected. Haystack Rock, the infamous rock jutting out from the beach, was at least three times as large as I imagined. The beach itself was super sandy and the sand was so soft! Most/all of the beaches on the Washington coast are completely covered in rocks. While I knew the beach was enormous, the town was a bit bigger than I realized it would be. There were tons of shops, restaurants, cafes and beach houses. It was really Cape Cod-esque but with a little Pacific Northwest flare.

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Our next big adventure was Sunday’s excursion to Dundee Hills, one of the AVAs {American Viticulture Area} in the Willamette Valley. The Willamette Valley looks a lot different than the Washington wine country areas we’ve been to previously {Yakima and Walla Walla areas}. It’s much less deserty-feeling in Oregon, there are more trees, both coniferous and deciduous, and more rolling hills. The haze from the wildfires really prohibited our view – a few of the wineries boast views out to Mount Hood, which we didn’t get to enjoy on our trip.

{First stop... Purple Hands - this was the only winery that was familiar to Alex and me before we took this trip}

{First stop… Purple Hands – this was the only winery that was familiar to Alex and me before we took this trip}

{This guy is secretly a winery dog...}

{This guy is secretly a winery dog…}

{Enjoying our picnic at Stoller!}

{Enjoying our picnic at Stoller!}

{Stoller had a really cool LEED building for their tasting room. They also had an extraordinary property.}

{Stoller had a really cool LEED building for their tasting room. They also had an extraordinary property.}

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Each of the four wineries we stopped at on Sunday offered a different experience. We all shared similar sentiments and seemed to favor Purple Hands for wine and service, Stoller for view, Sokol Blosser for space and ambiance and White Rose for overall wine quality.

{Hazy view from White Rose winery}

{Hazy view from White Rose winery}

{Jackson ended up getting stung by a bee at White Rose, so we relocated to an area with fewer bees and fewer small children...}

{Jackson ended up getting stung by a bee at White Rose, so we relocated to an area with fewer bees and fewer small children…}

Another thing I was surprised about with our Willamette Valley wine tour was just how much pinot noir we would drink. I guess I had it in my mind that our experience would be very similar to our previous experiences in Washington, where there is quite a variety of wine varietals, but honestly, the only red wine we drank was pinot noir! I like pinots, but they’re not a wine I tend to favor when presented a choice. And similarly, the white grape varietal of choice was a chardonnay, which tends to be my least favorite. We did have a couple chardonnays that I enjoyed; however.

{Mike and Sarah have been together for almost five years if my memory serves me well. That being said, Alex and I have spent a lot of time with him, but we all found out just how much in common these two gents have with each other! That was a really fun highlight of the trip was just seeing how similar they are and how many shared interests they have. Both guys are really easy-going and easy to talk to, so it's not surprising.}

{Mike and Sarah have been together for almost five years if my memory serves me well. That being said, Alex and I have spent a lot of time with him, but we all found out just how much in common these two gents have with each other! That was a really fun highlight of the trip was just seeing how similar they are and how many shared interests they have. Both guys are really easy-going and easy to talk to, so it’s not surprising.}

{Cheers! We loved hanging out on the patio at Sokol Blosser}

{Cheers! We loved hanging out on the patio at Sokol Blosser}

{This guy was an all-star winery dog! He got so many compliments and random head scratches from strangers. He loves hanging out with us and going on outings!}

{This guy was an all-star winery dog! He got so many compliments and random head scratches from strangers. He loves hanging out with us and going on outings!}

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We had one more winery on our list for Monday, our last day in Oregon. This was a winery I was particularly excited about because it was a more private, intimate tasting, and I had read reviews on Trip Advisor that people agreed it was the best wine tasting experience they had ever had. We pulled up to Soter Vineyards just before our reservation time and were already blown away by how beautiful the tasting room and the grounds were. That was even before we were greeted by our host with a glass of amazing rose – our group favorite of the trip.

{Walking into Soter Vineyards was gorgeous - it was so open and natural. They host a wine tasting only as well as a wine and food tasting where they serve food straight from the farm they have on their property}

{Walking into Soter Vineyards was gorgeous – it was so open and natural. They host a wine tasting only as well as a wine and food tasting where they serve food straight from the farm they have on their property}

{This quaint cabin, also known as the home of the winemakers, was where we did our private tasting}

{This quaint cabin, also known as the home of the winemakers, was where we did our private tasting}

{The view from the porch of the cabin at Soter Vineyards}

{The view from the porch of the cabin at Soter Vineyards}

{Our tasting set-up}

{Our tasting set-up}

{Here is what we got to drink!}

{Here is what we got to drink!}

{The gang!}

{The gang! After this experience, we all changed our “favorite everything” to Soter. It was a fantastic, personalized experience, the wine was unparalleled and the service and knowledge that our host provided was top notch.}

Being a big wine lover, I really enjoyed our wine tour and getting to explore this new region we had never been to before. That said, though, one of my favorite parts of our trip was the time we spent in the backyard of the home we stayed at. The backyard was fantastic and the temperatures were so mild that we stayed warm late into the evening. We used that time to catch up and just chat about life. It was really nice to have several days to spend with Sarah and Mike. I think those are the best get-togethers – the ones where you take a vacation and get to spend that much quality time together.

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Sarah and I, who have been best friends since high school and served the role of each others’ maid of honor, typically talk several times each day, whether by text, email or phone, and we always know what’s going on with each other even though we only see each other a couple times a year. Technology has been so instrumental in our long-distance friendship. With those visits to Minnesota, I typically only get a few hours with her, so I really enjoyed the duration of time we got to have together. Hopefully we can take another trip soon 🙂

{Miss you Sali!}

{Miss you Sali!}

Weekend Trip to Lake Chelan

Lake Chelan has been on our “to visit” list for several years and now that we’ve been, I can’t believe it took us this long to make it happen. At 55 miles long, Lake Chelan is the largest lake in Washington and is located in the middle of the state, about 3 hours east of Seattle. The lake is extremely deep {apparently “chelan” means deep lake or something like that and is pronounced “shuh-lan” – with the “a” being like “apple”} and is surrounded on both sides by beautiful deserty mountains. The lake is pretty populated in certain areas and is also known for its cute, charming towns and abundance of wineries – it is in Washington wine country, after all.

{the resort we stayed at}

{the resort we stayed at}

This trip was extremely impromptu and planned entirely by Alex. He and his friend Nigel signed up for the Lake Chelan Rotary Century bike ride, a very challenging 100 mile bike ride around the area. Since Alex was planning the trip he was in charge of figuring out our lodging arrangements and boy did he deliver.

{we stayed in "the pavilion" cabin, which was amazingly awesome}

{we stayed in “the pavilion” cabin, which was amazingly awesome}

 

I was especially impressed given the last minute nature of our trip, but he found an adorable place called Kelly’s Resort, which is a waterfront resort that has a bunch of stand-alone cabins, a beach, walking trails through the woods and it just oozes charm and character. It really reminded me of my family’s lake home in Minnesota. We really lucked out, too, because this was the last weekend of their “off” season rates, so we got a great price for the cabin.

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We made the 3 hour trip over to Chelan on Friday afternoon and miraculously didn’t hit any traffic at all. Once we got settled into our cabin we headed down to the bottom side of the lake to pick up Alex’s biking packet and meet Nigel and Jolene for dinner. We settled on a cute pizza place called Local Myth and really enjoyed our dinner, though were disappointed to have been seated in the only “non-alcoholic” table {the table was on the outside of their fenced in patio area} so we couldn’t order any wine or beer. By that point it was 8:30 and we were ready for dinner so we didn’t put up too much of a fight, plus it was the only outdoor table that would have accommodated the four of us.

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Bright and early Saturday morning, I dropped Alex off at the start of the bike race and he and Nigel met up and got started. The ride was very challenging – it was 85 degrees by mid-ride and being in the desert, there was virtually no shade. The ride was broken out into three loops that all started and ended in the same spot, so in theory you could do one, two or all three of the loops.

{ready to go!}

{ready to go!}

Alex’s goal for the day was to make it to the top of a massive 3,000 vertical foot climb, which was over the course of 6 miles {a very short distance for that much climbing} and averaged around 10-12% grade {very steep!}. He said the hardest part was how hot it was and how limited the shade was, but he and Nigel both made it to the top. Mission accomplished! Alex achieved his goal and that was good enough for him, while Nigel’s goal was to complete the 100 mile ride. Alex decided to call it after 70 miles, so I ran over and picked him up.

{pit stop for a victory photo!}

{pit stop for a victory photo!}

The bike ride lasted from about 7:00-2:30, so while Alex was biking I was back at our cabin with Jackson. I took him for a 40 minute swim right off the bat – he is such a water dog, so I figured that would be a good place to start!

{we've got a dock jumper on our hands!}

{we’ve got a dock jumper on our hands!}

I was just enjoying being down on the water – the view across the lake was gorgeous. And the water itself is so clear and clean and just looks different because of that.

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After Jackson tired himself out I grabbed a cup of coffee from the little coffee shop and sat out on the deck of the main lodge with Jackson and just relaxed for a bit. Then we headed back to the cabin and went for a walk on the hiking trails up the hill. I got in my 10,000 steps pretty early that day!

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The rest of the day was mainly spent on the deck of our cabin, which overlooked a lot of mature evergreens, as well as the lake. I caught up on some reading and just did some relaxing until I picked Alex up.

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Of course Alex was beat when he got back to the cabin, so we just hung out for a while and then got cleaned up and headed out to meet Nigel and Jolene at a winery called Tsillan {pronounced like Chelan}, which was conveniently located adjacent to Sorrento’s, the restaurant we had dinner reservations at. The wine tasting was great and we lucked out in getting the best seat in the restaurant for dinner. This restaurant was voted to have one of the top 100 restaurant views in the country and it didn’t disappoint! We all really enjoyed the food, too.

{view from Sorrento's and Tsillan Cellars - too bad the parking lot is right there!}

{view from Sorrento’s and Tsillan Cellars – too bad the parking lot is right there!}

On our way out of the restaurant our car had an unfortunate mishap with a decorative pillar, conveniently located in our blind spot, so hurrah, we get to get a new front bumper. The car just turned too sharply getting out of the parking space and Alex couldn’t see the pillar in the mirrors or the backup camera. Oops!

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Our last day in Chelan was a short one – we took Jackson swimming one last time, packed up and hit the road. We stopped at Twin Pines, a cute little townie hamburger joint just off the highway, which was surprisingly awesome {so much for eating light…}, and then spent the rest of the afternoon unpacking and relaxing in the sunshine.

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….until next time, Lake Chelan! I have a feeling this will become an annual summer trip for us.

Summer is Here!

Summer has arrived in Seattle! The transition from our beautiful, amazing spring to summer took place over the last week or so and it seems like the new season is here to stay. The highs all weekend were in the mid-80s, which is considered very warm {and a little unusual} for Seattle. I have a feeling we are in store for a long, hot summer here! I’m certainly ok with that but need to be better about planning no-cook dinners and preparing lighter evening meals, as we don’t have air conditioning {what happened to our mild, wet climate!?}. Oh, and I need to stock up on ice cream ingredients!

Alex and I had a nice week followed by a restful, but productive, weekend.

{I kicked off the weekend on Friday afternoon with a run around Green Lake with my friend Ali, followed by a pit stop at Mary's house to pick up this gorgeous bouquet of the last of her peonies}

{I kicked off the weekend on Friday afternoon with a run around Green Lake with my friend Ali, followed by a pit stop at Mary’s house to pick up this gorgeous bouquet of the last of her peonies}

{thank goodness I changed out our bedding last week and exchanged it with our lighter summer quilt - the timing couldn't have been better! we have been roasting this week.}

{thank goodness I changed out our bedding last week and exchanged it with our lighter summer quilt – the timing couldn’t have been better! we have been roasting this week.}

{this is Jackson's "come on, let me sleep, mom" look}

{this is Jackson’s “come on, let me sleep, mom” look}

{and this is him not caring that he's not allowed on the bed...}

{and this is him not caring that he’s not allowed on the bed…}

{Henry cat loves the change in bedding, but mostly, he loves the addition of the fan in our room!}

{Henry cat loves the change in bedding, but mostly, he loves the addition of the fan in our room!}

{summer is DEFINITELY here - it ended up being 84 on Saturday and 88 on Sunday and it's 84 right now on Monday}

{summer is DEFINITELY here – it ended up being 84 on Saturday and 88 on Sunday and it’s 84 right now on Monday}

{our Saturday afternoon plans of going paddle boarding were shut down by the wind, so we went with Ryan and Mary to Westward, an absolutely adorable water-side restaurant on Lake Union for a drink}

{our Saturday afternoon plans of going paddle boarding were shut down by the wind, so we went with Ryan and Mary to Westward, an absolutely adorable water-side restaurant on Lake Union for a drink}

{we enjoyed an evening out at a fundraiser on Friday night, followed by an unexpected stop at a restaurant for dinner, then Saturday we spent the evening grilling out at Mary and Ryan's}

{we enjoyed an evening out at a fundraiser on Friday night, followed by an unexpected stop at a restaurant for dinner, then Saturday we spent the evening grilling out at Mary and Ryan’s}

{We had a very active weekend. Our pilates instructor, Diane, came over for our pilates lesson on Saturday morning. I am loving my FitBit - I walked more than 24,000 steps (!) on Sunday, which included a nice run along Lake Washington. Alex went for an awesome 20 or 30 mile bike ride on his new bike.}

{We had a very active weekend. Our pilates instructor, Diane, came over for our pilates lesson on Saturday morning. I am loving my FitBit – I walked more than 24,000 steps (!) on Sunday, which included a nice run along Lake Washington. Alex went for an awesome 20 or 30 mile bike ride on his new bike.}

{as a "thank you for putting up with us" gift, my dad got Alex and me three glassybabies. a glassy baby is a glass votive holder that is hand blown in our neighborhood. they are really iconic in Seattle, but particularly around my neighborhood. it was fun to pick out three colors and now proudly display them, along with the original one I already had. thanks dad!}

{as a “thank you for putting up with us” gift, my dad got Alex and me three glassybabies. a glassybaby is a glass votive holder that is hand blown in our neighborhood. they are really iconic in Seattle, but particularly around my neighborhood. they make great gifts! it was fun to pick out three colors and now proudly display them, along with the original one I already had. thanks dad!}

{the big project for sunday was staining the back patio table and the fence. it's our first time staining the table and it looks brand new! alex sanded it down and applied some stain and voila!}

{the big project for sunday was staining the back patio table and the fence. it’s our first time staining the table and it looks brand new! alex sanded it down and applied some stain and voila!}

{aside from the lack of grass, I'd still say our backyard looks pretty okay!}

{aside from the lack of grass, I’d still say our backyard looks pretty okay!}

{this crazy pants is loving his kiddie pool!}

{this crazy pants is loving his kiddie pool!}

{trying to stay cool!}

{trying to stay cool!}

{that's all for now!}

{that’s all for now!}

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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