Tag Archives: weekend

Day in the Mountains

Alex’s dad has been out here for the long holiday weekend and was itching to go cross country skiing. We headed to our trusty spot at Hyak out at Snoqualmie Pass and showed him where we’ve been going this winter.



The weather was pretty good – it was rather warm. Mother Nature was having a hard time deciding whether it should snow or rain, and thankfully for us she primarily opted for the former.


We had a great day getting some fresh mountain air and stretching our legs. Now if only we had a hot tub to come back and soak in…



Ben’s First Hike

I’ve been wanting to get out on a hike all summer and for some reason we never made it happen until this past weekend. It was SO nice to be out in the mountains and in nature. We hadn’t taken Ben on a hike yet but this weekend afforded us the perfect opportunity. We opted for a quick, short, easy hike and it worked out really well!


We’ve got an Ergo Baby carrier for Ben, so that made it super easy to carry him on the trails. He was such a trooper and so curious about his surroundings. He seems like quite an inquisitive little guy.


It is so fun now that Ben is getting older and being awake more and so much more alert. We are so looking forward to more weekends exploring the Pacific Northwest with him!


It’s our hope to get out at least once a week/end to do a hike or go on an adventure together as a family. Washington state is so unbelievably gorgeous and diverse and we can’t wait to show Ben around, not to mention explore ourselves! We’ve got a lot to learn about the landscape here and it’s such a perfect opportunity to do so while teaching Ben.


Fifth Annual Leavenworth Trip

One of Alex and my favorite weekends all year is our annual trip to Leavenworth with some of our friends. Each year our trip looks a little different – typically we perfect something we learned the year before. This year’s trip wins for the most changes from last year — babies and a new house to stay in. Before I start, holy cow, it took me 5 hours to pack up the car by myself. It is a whole new life trying to leave town with an infant. Especially one who was adamant that he be carried around all day {and yes, I did put him in the carrier, but that only made it slightly easier to load the car…}.



This year’s house was the best one yet! The property was fabulous – it had two acres of fenced in yard — perfect for the dogs to run around in. There was a hot tub, several sitting areas and a great fire pit, which we enjoyed making s’mores in.



Our group of adults was a little smaller this year, but we nearly doubled our group with the addition of four babies – Mary and Ryan and their 10-month old twin boys, August and Oliver, along with Carrie and Patrick and their 5-month old girl, Roslyn, joined us for our trip. Sadly we didn’t get any group photos with all of us!

{The Buffs!}

{The Buffs!}

{The Millers!}

{The Millers!}

This year we also added another day onto the trip – we opted to head back to Seattle on Monday. It has always felt a little rushed to get up there Friday afternoon or evening and then pack up and leave early Sunday morning. It was so much more relaxing to have an extra day.



The babies all did really well. Oliver and August are on the move now and Roslyn and Ben hung out on the mat together a little bit. It was so fun to see the boys eating real food and be able to entertain themselves. It’s not too long before Ben starts doing that!


{Me with Roslyn}

{Me with Roslyn}

{Could I pass for a twin mom!? Definitely not one with as much grace as these boys' mama!}

{Could I pass for a twin mom!? Definitely not one with as much grace as these boys’ mama!}

{Ryan is a pro!}

{Ryan is a pro!}

{Ben and Roslyn hanging out on the mat together.}

{Ben and Roslyn hanging out on the mat together.}

Our weekend was really low-key. We hung out at the house on Friday night and then attempted to head to town on Saturday. Once we entered downtown Leavenworth we realized there was a parade and it turned out to be even busier than the Octoberfest weekends. We planned our trip for September to try and avoid the Octoberfest crowds throughout the month of October. Oops!


No worries, though – Patrick came up with a backup plan to go to the Sleeping Lady, which is a little resort that Alex and I have stayed at a couple times. We had a wonderful lunch there and took a little tour of the grounds.

{A bottle for mama and a bottle for Ben!}

{A bottle for mama and a bottle for Ben!}


Mary made Sauerbraten, our staple Octoberfest meal, for dinner on Saturday night. We were able to enjoy our evenings relatively kid-free, which was great. All of the babies cooperated pretty well and allowed us to have some adult time.


Because of Carrie’s new job {she’s a nurse now!!}, the Buff’s couldn’t stay on Sunday night and had to head back home that morning. Her new schedule is actually really great and allows for her to have weekends free, she just needs to be back on Sunday night. Later that day, the Millers headed into Leavenworth with us, as we figured the crowds would have gone home after the big parade the day before. We had some sausages, pretzels and did a little shopping and wine tasting before retreating back to our little mountain home.






Our plan for Sunday night was a pizza, PJs and movie party night but only the pizza and PJs ended up happening. We opted for a fire and s’mores plus a dip in the hot tub instead!


The last day of our weekends is always a sad and chaotic one. It was SO nice to have had the extra day added onto our trip. It made that 5 hour packing session on Friday that much more worthwhile. We are already counting down until our next Leavenworth trip!


Holiday Weekend at Home

It is so nice that Alex’s employer has added President’s Day to the list of company holidays. Those extra days off make such a difference. We had a thoroughly relaxing long weekend at home and enjoyed taking Monday off.


Friday night we went out for dinner at none other than Bottlehouse. Prior to dinner, though I spent some time in the kitchen whipping up some salted caramel brownies. Alex is a MAJOR chocolate lover, whereas if I have chocolate it’s got to have something with it, like caramel or almonds or cherries… I am more into the fruity sweet desserts, so I thought this would be a nice Valentine-ish dessert we could both enjoy. The brownies sure were tasty, especially alongside the divine sea salt caramel gelato we happen to have in our freezer!


Saturday morning started quite early. I woke up before the sun and enjoyed my one cup of coffee in Alex’s leather chair while he snoozed away. After a while he rolled out of bed and decided to take Jackson on a “stairs” run – there are all sorts of staircases in our neighborhood that are basically vertical {our part of the city is quite hilly!}, which provides the perfect ski training exercise. The run completely wore Jackson out for the remainder of the weekend and he was nearly a perfect dog!


That, unfortunately, is where the good news stopped. Just after Alex got out of the shower after said run, he came downstairs and realized there was an enormous leak in the ceiling directly below our brand new bathroom. After hours of deliberation, counsel from my father, investigation and waiting it out, we found the leak and were able to make it stop, then today, a plumber came and fixed it for good. Now we have some ceiling repair to do, but I’m happy to have the full use of our bathroom again! {In the above photo, you can see the ceiling is sagging from the water build-up.}


{Excuse the dark photo – I didn’t want to use a flash when the babies were being put down for bed!}

We got to spend the evening with these two babies and their parents, along with our friends Carrie and Patrick. It was a great to catch up with everyone!


One of the elements of pregnancy that has been the most fun for me has been scouring the internet looking at all the adorably cute nursery furniture and furnishings and imagining what our baby’s nursery will look like. Sunday marked the day when we headed to Pottery Barn Kids and made some final decisions on things we wanted to see in person, like a crib, dresser and rocker. We made some great choices and I am excited to get started on our nursery in the coming weeks! {And no, we are not registered at PBK, despite the best efforts of the sales ladies at the store.}


A big precursor to the nursery is doing a major closet overhaul in our house. Starting that process was on the docket for the weekend, so we spent some quality time cleaning out unnecessary stuff that had accumulated over time. After we were done de-cluttering we took some measurements and put together plans on how we will re-organize the closets. We’ll need to get new shelving for the closets in the guest room and office and make some minor changes in the shelving in our bedroom. Hopefully next weekend, if everything goes according to plan, our master closet and guest room closet will be finished!

20160215_193538244_iOSThe weather on Monday provided a perfect opportunity to get cozy in the living room and catch up on some reading. Until this weekend I was feeling like Alex and I hadn’t really done much to prepare for this little one’s arrival, but we both started reading our first parenting books {I’m reading “Bringing up Bebe” and he’s reading “The Happiest Baby on the Block”}. I’m looking forward to comparing the theories discussed in both books and figuring out what we think might work for us.


{I absolutely adore my Glassybaby collection… the red one I got for myself, the white one is from my dad, and the pink one is my first Glassybaby and is from my friend Carrie. These are so fun to mix and match and change for the seasons, and I love that the glass is blown 3 blocks from our house!}

It wasn’t a hard transition back into the work week today, but boy was it nice to enjoy some time at home together and celebrate Valentine’s Day!

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.


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!


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…}


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

Mid-Winter Slump

I think it’s safe to say no matter where you are in the country that January is typically a boring month with crummy weather. Everyone is recovering from the holiday craze and mother nature is taking it out on us all… Here in Seattle has been no exception.

{Our poor pets have been going stir crazy because it is so nasty outside!}

{Our poor pets have been going stir crazy because it is so nasty outside!}

The last two weeks have been wet and warm! It’s not unusual for it to be damp here, but it is rather odd for it to be pouring for days on end, and that is what the weather has been doing for about the last two weeks. It’s been so warm that instead of snow in the mountains, it’s been raining. Speaking from experience, skiing in the rain is not enjoyable. Needless to say, we’ve taken a little hiatus from our favorite winter sport the last two weeks.

We really enjoyed the long three-day weekend last weekend. Alex had never gotten MLK Day off before, so it was extra nice to have the bonus day at home together. We got some projects done around the house, visited the Millers, enjoyed a fabulous night out at Agrodolce, took a long walk around Seward Park, watched a few movies and relaxed at home.

{We picked a good, clear morning for our walk around Seward Park last weekend.}

{We picked a good, clear morning for our walk around Seward Park last weekend.}

As far as I can tell, Baby Allen is doing well. I had a doctor’s appointment on Thursday and got to hear the heartbeat for the first time. I haven’t been very excited about food lately so I haven’t been doing much cooking. I did; however, make some soups {pureed only!} and muffins last weekend. I eat about eight snacks throughout the day, but toward the end of last week I got on the omelet-for-breakfast bandwagon and that helped keep me more full throughout the day.

{15 weeks last week! I had a doctor's appointment on Thursday and got to hear the baby's heartbeat for the first time - 160 beats per minute.}

{15 weeks last week!}

We had a really nice night out on Friday of this weekend – we went to Red Cow for dinner {I was craving a cheeseburger!} and then went for a nightcap at Bottlehouse across the street. Of course I was half asleep by 9:00, so it wasn’t a late night by any means! I woke up on Saturday quite under the weather, so we were hunkered down at home all day while I slept it off {thankfully after dinner I was almost back to normal}.


Today we got out of the house and met the Millers for an impromptu morning at the dog park. The boys took the dogs in the dog park while Mary and I walked with the twins around the park for a while. It was a beautiful morning and it was really nice to get out of the house! The rest of the day was spent cleaning and getting ready for the week ahead… Thankfully we have a few more exciting weeks coming up!

Relaxing Weekend in Leavenworth

For a lot of occasions like birthdays, anniversaries and Christmases Alex and I opt to get each other “experiences” rather than something tangible. For us, the time together is more meaningful. This year my Christmas gift to Alex was a weekend away in Leavenworth, Washington at the Sleeping Lady Resort.

{This is the rock pool at the resort! Really neat concept. It was really foggy and overcast for our stay, so I didn't get any good pictures, due to the lighting.}

{This is the rock pool at the resort! Really neat concept. It was really foggy and overcast for our stay, so I didn’t get any good pictures, due to the lighting.}

We cashed in on Alex’s gift as soon as we could after Christmas and headed out there this past weekend. Both of us had been to the Sleeping Lady Resort before, which is why it was so appealing to go back. The resort is really unique – the owner turned it from a camp into a high-class resort in the mountains.

Each “room” is essentially its own cabin and there are different clusters of cabins strewn across the property. They all have very modern amenities and are very, very comfortable with nice linens and robes and the like. We were once again very pleased with the accommodations. One of the special perks is that the resort has a huge dining lodge where they offer a gourmet breakfast and dinner buffet that is included with your stay. We felt like we were eating like kings all weekend!

{This is the style of the buildings/cabins on the property.}

{This is the style of the buildings/cabins on the property.}

So – about the trip now… we arrived around dinner time on Friday night, got checked into our room and then headed straight for the dining lodge. Because it’s a buffet, we were able to pace ourselves how we wanted and ended up having a wonderfully slow and leisurely dinner.

When we awoke the next morning it was snowing! After our relaxing breakfast we took a nice stroll around the resort property. Neither one of us had been to the Sleeping Lady when it was particularly light out, so we hadn’t gotten the chance to do much exploring.


The rest of our morning and early afternoon was spent in downtown Leavenworth where we popped into some shops and had a delicious sausage at our favorite place, Munchen Haus. We needed to fuel up for our afternoon of cross country skiing!


Alex had never been cross country skiing and I had only been once, but not since I was in 5th grade – so about 20 years ago! We rented our gear from the Mercantile shop at our resort and walked across the street to the public cross country ski trail {couldn’t have been more convenient!} and after watching a quick YouTube video titled “How to Cross Country Ski” we set out for our excursion.


Our afternoon of cross country skiing turned out to be the highlight of our trip. We had been talking for a couple years about getting into nordic skiing but just never bit the bullet. Now with our little babe on the way we figure that once s/he arrives, it will be much easier for us to strap the kid into a backpack and go cross country skiing, rather than having to trade off who stays in the lodge with the baby while the other one of us downhill skis by him/herself. Plus, it is absolutely fantastic exercise! Both of us are sore in places we’ve never been sore before. We’re hoping to convince one of my cousins to come out with us and give us a few pointers so we can master the skating part of nordic skiing, rather than just the scooting part 😉


The rest of our Saturday was spent sitting in front of a great outdoor fire at O’Grady’s Pantry {a little restaurant on the Sleeping Lady property}, napping and enjoying another slow-paced dinner at the resort. Both of us were ready to tuck into bed early that night!

{The hot tub was built into the rocks!}

{The hot tub was built into the rocks!}

Our stay at the Sleeping Lady included ski passes at Stevens Pass, so on our way back home to Seattle on Sunday we stopped at the ski resort to get some downhill turns in. With the Seahawks/Vikings playoff game on Sunday both of us expected the resort to be completely empty – we were grossly mistaken! It was an absolute zoo! This was the starting weekend of the ski lesson program, so we’re guessing that was the culprit. In addition to the crowds, it was really foggy and there was almost no visibility and the conditions were less than ideal. Needless to say, we took a few runs and continued home… It was a little disappointing, but it wasn’t the best day to be skiing.

All in all, we had a fabulous weekend away! Alex and I have been so enjoying the quality time we’ve been spending together lately. I hope we’re able to take a few more little trips before our little one arrives soon!

The Late October Happenings

Other than being in the midst of our bathroom renovation, plus our living room, dining room and bedroom redecorating we don’t have a whole lot going on! Since our trip for Julie and Ryan’s wedding in mid-October we haven’t had too many plans, so we’ve been enjoying time at home. It’s really nice to feel settled and mostly on top of things, though I don’t feel that way about the state of my house right now. There are boxes of tile all over our living room and the contents of my bathroom are spread between four rooms, so other than that I’m doing okay 🙂

{New floor tiles!}

{New floor tiles!}

We’ve reached crunch time in our Spanish tutoring. Our trip to Mexico is coming up quickly, so we’ve been practicing our travel and food vocabulary along with the various verb tenses spoken in Spanish. Alex’s Spanish has way, way, way surpassed mine. He is like a little sponge and he can soak up and retain new information so well. He’s doing really well at learning and mastering Spanish! It’s been fun to see how fast he progressed.

After weeks of delays we finally received our new chairs for the living room. I’ll give you a sneak peak but once we get the room pulled together {and the boxes of tile out!} I’ll post more photos.


{The lighting is not so great in this room – part of why it’s still under construction! Alex is loving his new leather chairs, and of course, his dog!}



One thing I’ve been most enjoying lately has been cooking. I’ve made a lot of soups this fall. A month or so ago I bought a little 2 cup thermos for Alex to take hot soups with him for lunch and that’s been a big hit! Last weekend I made one of my favorites: Swedish meatballs. And this weekend I am going to try my hand at brown butter rice krispie treats. Yes, you read that right, and they’re going to be the best damn rice krispie treats ever.

Here are a few of my favorite new soup recipes:


Jackson and Henry are doing well. They are both surviving but not enjoying the renovation. Lately they’ve been playing together, which of course consists of one of them chasing the other one around the house. Sometimes we’ll catch them snoozing on the floor together. We knew these moments were bound to happen but it’s heartwarming to see them. Today Jackson is out at a farm at a “doggie daycare” place. We decided we’re going to start sending him to daycare once a week or once every other week so he can get some dog socialization time in.


Both Alex and I have rejuvinated our exercise routines lately. Alex has been riding his bike a lot more over the last couple weeks, as well as lifting weights. We’ve started running together two mornings a week – super fun in the dark, as you can imagine. In addition to our morning runs, I have been doing a longer run by myself on the weekends and I found a new pilates and yoga studio that I’ve been going to for about a month. I really like the new studio and I love that they have both pilates and yoga. For my first three weeks I splurged and did private lessons, but now I’ll continue with group classes.

{Selfie with Henry Cat :)}

{Selfie with Henry Cat :)}

Between the bathroom and furniture changes and the holidays sneaking up rather quickly on me, I am looking forward to the “plan-free” weekends we have coming up to stay on top of things and get ahead of the holidays. We’re looking forward to having our second annual holiday party in December and I just love the holiday season!

Illinois Trip + Julie & Ryan’s Wedding

Alex and I flew back to Illinois one last time this past weekend to celebrate the nuptials of my wonderful college friend and roommate, Julie, and her now husband, Ryan. Conveniently, Julie grew up in Geneva, Illinois, which is the town right next to Batavia, where Alex’s parents currently live. It works out quite well when I can squeeze in a visit with Julie when I am staying in Batavia with Alex’s parents, and for this trip, it was extra nice since the wedding was so close!

{me with Julie on her wedding day!}

{me with Julie on her wedding day!}

We arrived really, really late on Thursday night/Friday morning. To kick off the wedding events I met Julie, the other bridesmaids and the MOB {mother of the bride!} for coffee in St. Charles, one block away from where the wedding was to be held. I was exhausted to say the least. I’m sure I didn’t make the best company, but it was really nice to see the bride and her entourage while enjoying a delicious cup of coffee.

{the lovely bridesmaids with the bride}

{the lovely bridesmaids with the bride}

The weather while we were in Illinois was so nice! It was crisp and cool and I don’t think I saw a cloud the whole time. I was fortunate enough to get two long walks along the Fox River while I was there, one happened to be on Friday afternoon while Alex and Stan were off on their own adventure.

As a member of the bridal party I had rehearsal duty to tend to. The rehearsal and dinner went off without a hitch!

{my handsome date for the rehearsal}

{my handsome date for the rehearsal}

{the bridesmaids coincidentally all dressed alike for the rehearsal}

{the bridesmaids coincidentally all dressed alike for the rehearsal}

{Julie with her brother, Joe}

{Julie with her brother, Joe}

After the rehearsal we made a pit-stop over at the Bailey’s home. The Baileys are family friends of Alex’s parents and recently moved into a new home just seven minutes from Alex’s parents and are almost done with a major renovation. We got to see the house over the summer when it was amidst construction, so it was fun to see all of the progress, particularly Nora’s dream kitchen. Just like my in-laws, I simply adore the Bailey family and always enjoy seeing them when we’re back in Batavia.

{hanging out in the Bailey's kitchen... the island is big enough to fit a couple of beds on it and the entire wall on the right side of the photo is a refrigerator... absolutely amazing!}

{hanging out in the Bailey’s kitchen… the island is big enough to fit a couple of beds on it and the entire wall on the right side of the photo is a refrigerator… absolutely amazing!}

Saturday came bright and early and I ventured off to be a bridesmaid for the day while Alex spent some time with his family. His nana, sister and brother in-law all came over to his parents house, so they got to catch up all afternoon while I was gone doing wedding stuff.

{Julie's stylist nailed her braid and twisty bun!}

{Julie’s stylist nailed her braid and twisty bun!}

{gettin' our hair did...}

{gettin’ our hair did…}


{all she needs is her white dress now!}

{all she needs is her white dress now!}

{sharing a sweet moment with her dad to help ease the pre-wedding jitters}

{sharing a sweet moment with her dad to help ease the pre-wedding jitters}

{on our way to the church we stopped at a favorite spot of Julie's so she could snap a few pictures}

{on our way to the church we stopped at a favorite spot of Julie’s so she could snap a few pictures}

{the new Mr. & Mrs. Johnson!}

{the new Mr. & Mrs. Johnson!}

{the weather and setting couldn't have been more perfect for Julie and Ryan's photos! the bridal party walked around the grounds of the reception venue for a while, posing in front of barns, on and next to fences and in front of the gorgeous trees lining the property. I can't wait to see how the professional photos turn out!}

{the weather and setting couldn’t have been more perfect for Julie and Ryan’s photos! the bridal party walked around the grounds of the reception venue for a while, posing in front of barns, on and next to fences and in front of the gorgeous trees lining the property. I can’t wait to see how the professional photos turn out!}

{their creative guestbook... canoe paddles!}

{as an ode to their passion for the outdoors, they used canoe paddles as their creative interpretation of a guestbook}

{sadly I don't have any photos of the ceremony since I was standing up with Julie and Ryan}


{the reception was at the Dunham Riding Club in St. Charles, Illinois}

{the reception was at the Dunham Riding Club in St. Charles, Illinois}



Julie and Ryan’s wedding was really nice and I so enjoyed being a part of their celebration!

The final full day of our trip was a big and busy one, too! Donna invited her whole family to come watch the Bears game at their house so we could have the opportunity to see people. Thankfully we had a “small” group of only 18 family members who could make it. It was a really nice size group because we were able to spend time with everyone and not feel overwhelmed. Alex has a truly wonderful and loving family and it is such a blessing to be a part of it.

{catching up with Nana while sneaking tastes of the great food that Donna prepared for the big game}

{catching up with Nana while sneaking tastes of the great food that Donna prepared for the big game}

{so great to catch up with these guys!}

{so great to catch up with these guys!}

{go bears!}

{go bears!}

Our last hurrah in Batavia was enjoying Pizza Villa pizza and beer nuggets for dinner while watching Mrs. Doubtfire on Sunday night. Pizza Villa is a restaurant in Alex’s hometown of Dekalb and he has fond memories of eating beer nuggets {basically little pieces of pizza dough that have been fried with Italian spices and you dip them in marinara} and wanted a bit of nostalgia.


And just like that, our last planned trip to the Midwest of 2015 is behind us! Thanks to our friends and family for being so accommodating and we hope to see you soon 🙂

Fourth Annual Leavenworth Octoberfest Weekend

We’ve got another Leavenworth Octoberfest weekend in the books! This marks our fourth consecutive year making the pilgrimage to Leavenworth, Washington with three other couples to enjoy a relaxing getaway in the mountains.

{the drive through the Cascade mountains at this time of year is spectacular!}

{the drive through the Cascade mountains at this time of year is spectacular!}

We all arrived late afternoon/early evening on Friday and spent the evening playing games, chatting and eating! Our trip this year was with the same group as last year. This was also our third year in a row staying at the same vacation rental home – it’s a great setup for us with four bedrooms and a great fenced in backyard for the dogs.

{the girls... Mary, Ali, Carrie and Trish! all 3 other girls are pregnant right now, so our group is majorly growing!}

{the girls… Mary, Ali, Carrie and Trish! all 3 other girls are pregnant right now, so our group is majorly growing!}

Friday was my day to prepare a meal – in keeping in line with the German/Octoberfest theme, I made beer and brown sugar brats with sauerkraut, German potato salad, a regular salad a beer cheese spread. Our group is full of excellent cooks, so it goes without saying that we ate very well all weekend!

{enjoying some time together at our rental house}

{enjoying some time together at our rental house}

Saturday was our full day together and it also happened to be Ryan’s 35th birthday! We had a really nice time celebrating his birthday in Leavenworth and then at the house as well. The weather was great, too, so we were able to be outside the whole afternoon.

{the birthday boy with his bride}

{the birthday boy with his bride}

One of my favorite parts of our weekend is when we actually go into the town of Leavenworth. Leavenworth is a small town in the Cascade mountains that was built with Bavarian style architecture. Each October they host a huge month-long Octoberfest. We learned the first year not to go to the organized event, but instead to simply come into the town and hang out. We typically post up in one of the outdoor beer/sausage gardens and the boys order a stein of beer and we all get sausages for lunch. Typically we split up and the boys keep drinking beer while the girls shop, do wine tasting or visit the art fair. We’ve gotten to know the town quite well and have a good system down.



{we did some fun photo shoots - the scenery was too gorgeous not to!}

{we did some fun photo shoots – the scenery was too gorgeous not to!}

{dave with trish who is rocking her baby bump! :) }

{dave with trish who is rocking her baby bump! 🙂 }

{photo op in Leavenworth!}

{photo op in Leavenworth!}

Upon arriving back at our vacation home we realized there had been a power outage! We were less than prepared to deal with that. With our fingers crossed for a quick fix, we dug around and found some candles and then realized that the house’s well was powered by an electric pump, so not only were we without electricity, we were without water, too. That ended up being a much bigger bummer than the electricity. There had been a big windstorm up in the mountains and power and cell service to AT&T was knocked out through the entire valley.

The quick fix to the power that we had hoped for did not happen – that it made it really tricky to cook the sauerbraten for dinner. This is a finicky meal that Mary and Ryan began preparing three or four days earlier. It needed to cook on Saturday night for four hours, but we were sans oven. Eventually we fired up the grill and stuck the dutch oven in there and it did the trick! The power stayed out for the entire night and didn’t come back on until the next morning, so it was a little interesting, but we survived just fine.

{thank goodness for the built-in flashlight feature in the iPhone! this came in SO handy}

{thank goodness for the built-in flashlight feature in the iPhone! this came in SO handy}

It was actually kind of fun to not have power. We huddled around the “candle” table in the living room and Mary kicked off a game of “Table Topics” where she went around in a circle and asked each person a different question from a deck of prescribed cards. While we all know each other really well, it absolutely made us learn more about everyone – like that Patrick had a rat tail when he was a kid! We made some great memories during this trip!

When we woke up on Sunday morning it was an absolutely spectacular day. Since the power came back on we were able to do dishes and clean up from dinner the night before. We all congregated in the kitchen and hung out before breakfast. While some folks watched the Seahawks game, Alex and I took the opportunity to enjoy the hot tub and gorgeous view of the mountains.



And just like that, our fourth annual Leavenworth Octoberfest trip is over. I have to say I’m already looking forward to seeing how dramatically different next year’s will be with a bunch of babies!