Tag Archives: wine

Trip to Europe: Arqua’ Petrarca, Italy

The second stop on our recent trip to Europe was Arqua’ Petrarca, the site of Alina and Alberto’s wedding, and one of the primary reasons for our trip to Italy. There were around 25 of Alina’s friends and family traveling to the wedding, mostly from the US, but also from England and Chile. All of the out of town guests stayed together at Villa del Poeta, a magnificent hotel in the heart of the small town.

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The hotel is situated mid-way up a horizon of rolling hills and boasts a stunning view scattered with ancient stone-built homes and rows of vineyards. There is a veranda off the back of the hotel that makes you never want to leave.

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Throughout our stay at Villa del Poeta we received some of the best service we had ever experienced. David {pronounced “dah-vee-day”}, one of the owners, was extremely genuine and you could tell how proud and appreciative he was to have us there. Karla, the manager, had her hands in everything. I have never seen a hotel owner or manager be so involved with the day-to-day operations of a hotel.

{Karla assembled trays with espresso filled tea cups and served steamed milk in its own carafe for us to add as desired to make a cafe latte}

{Every time I absentmindedly walked off after ordering a coffee, Karla would bring me a tray assembled with espresso filled tea cups and a carafe of steamed milk for us to add as desired to make a caffe latte}

The food and coffee at Villa del Poeta was wonderful. We enjoyed the inclusive breakfast and espresso, and Karla was constantly keeping our glasses full. Truly the service was one of the highlights of our stay.

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We arrived in Arqua Petrarca on Friday, the day before the wedding. Once we got settled we spent much of the afternoon catching up with Alex’s family. Alex’s parents, his Uncle Dave and Aunt Katie, Aunt Chris and Uncle Mike and cousin Emily, as well as his maternal grandmother {Nana} made the trip from Illinois, along with a good family friend, Barb, and her friend Donna. Additionally, Nana’s brother Larry and his wife Jayne traveled from their home in England to attend Alina and Alberto’s wedding.

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Separately, Donna and Stan, Alex’s parents, took Nana to England on their way to the wedding. They spent three days with Nana’s brothers and their families, whom Nana rarely sees. Nana was born in Farneta, Italy and moved to England with her parents and three brothers when she was a child. Shortly after meeting her husband Larry and having their first child, Christina, they moved to Illinois were they raised their family, while Nana’s brothers remained in England. The Yori descendants had an incredible time catching up and getting to know one another. It was wonderful that Larry and Jayne were able to travel to Italy for the wedding.

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Our first evening in Arqua Petrarca was spent drinking wine and eating pizza. Alina arranged a tour of a local winery for us to attend.

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We all took a shuttle out to the winery together and were offered a tour of the cellar, as well as a tasting. My favorite was the champagne, and I also enjoyed the dry moscato.

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Later that evening, Alina’s friends and family were joined by Alberto’s immediate family and a few close friends for a dinner at a local pizzeria. We were all seated together at a very long picnic table and enjoyed conversations with new friends.

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The dinner, being Italian, lasted several hours and consisted of a few different courses. Everyone ordered their own pizza and was served the same appetizer and dessert. We had a wonderful time getting to know Alina and Alberto’s friends and family before the wedding the next day.

First Stop on our Europe Trip: Cinque Terre

After 22 hours of travel we finally reached Cinque Terre, Italy, the first destination in our 26 day trip to Europe.

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We arrived by train from the Milan airport to the village of Monterosso. When we made it through the train station we were greeted by the sparkling blue Mediterranean Sea just in front of us. The sun was shining, there was warm breeze coming off the sea and we both felt a sense of relief to have made it there.

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Both of us had passed the point of exhaustion but wanted to make the most of our first evening in Cirque Terre. After getting settled in our AirBnB apartment rental, we walked down to the town center and found a local pizzeria to dine at.

{the view from our apartment}

{the view from our apartment}

 

We waited in line for about an hour, fighting the locals for a table, then we were finally seated. Our first meal began with a ¼ liter of vino de la casa, prosciutto de melone and fried pizza dough {not sure how to say that in Italian}. We each ordered our own pizza, which ended up being way too much food. Neither of us cared much, though, because it was fantastic and it provided a free lunch for the next day.

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After our meal we decided to take a walk and get some fresh air and treat ourselves to some gelato. We shared a bowl of stracciatella as we walked through the village of Monterosso toward the city center.

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The World Cup was on while we were in Europe and this particular evening Spain was playing. It really made us feel like we were in Europe to see so many people in the streets watching the soccer game together.

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After our jaunt through town we headed back to the apartment. One big hill and 221 stairs later we were moments from laying down in a bed and falling asleep. The instant our heads hit the pillow we were both down for the count.

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Having only one full day to spend in Cinque Terre, we wanted to squeeze in as much as possible. The sun was shining brightly from the light-filled apartment and we knew it was going to be a great day. Our first stop that morning was for cappuccino.

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I accidentally ordered a doughnut instead of a croissant, the first of many mis-orders in a foreign country, but once I tasted it I didn’t regret that mistake. We ate our pastries and sipped our coffee al fresco, just feet away from the sea. It was the perfect way to start our first full day in Europe.

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With full bellies we set out to do the hike from Monterosso to Vernazza. In my mind it was going to be a nice walk along the beach. Not so in reality. The hike truly was a hike. We climbed stairs and hills and wound our way across the mountainside, clinging to the cliffs as we moved towards the next village.

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Vernazza looked more like what I had expected Monterosso to look like. When we approached it you could see the village dotted with brightly colored buildings, just like in the pictures I had seen.

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Monterosso never seemed to look like that to me. While there were bright buildings it just didn’t look like what I had expected to. Monterosso is more spread out than Vernazza and the buildings didn’t seem as tall. The beach was what did it for me.

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We spent some time strolling through the sidewalks of Vernazza and admiring the ancient architecture, pink and peach colored facades, the laundry hanging from the windows and the cute boats lined up along the seawall before settling in for a drink and some bruschetta.

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Eventually we made our way back to Monterosso by way of a boat. The rest of the afternoon was to be spent lounging on the beach.

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Our final evening was spent at a restaurant right on the beach where we ordered a liter of sangria {because why not?}, caprese salad, focacce e salami e formaggio {I expected this to be some focaccia with salami and cheese on the side but it ended up being basically a salami and cheese sandwich on focaccia bread}, then trofie pesto (trofie is a pasta that is short and skinny and has the bite of gnocchi, it was covered in delicious pesto, which originated in Cinque Terre). Of course we capped our evening off with some more gelato.

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We were very glad to have gotten a relaxing start to our month-long excursion. Both of us enjoyed touring Cirque Terre but ultimately felt like it was over-hyped. It is a beautiful area but whenever we spoke with someone who had been there before it seemed like they made it out to be the most incredible place in the whole world, which in our opinion it is not. I know I am going to get a lot of hate for that, but it just is our perception.

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Next stop… Arqua Petrarca for Alina and Alberto’s wedding.

Powder, Wine and New Slippers

It’s been a slightly quieter week here in the Allen household. We have been busy planning and preparing for my dad and brother to come visit us this weekend and somehow it is Wednesday evening now. The snow forecast is shaping up quite nicely for their ski trip so we’re really looking forward to their arrival on Friday.

We're hoping for a snowy week at Crystal

We’re hoping for a snowy week at Crystal

Friday night we had our Valentine’s Day celebration a week early. We had a lovely evening out at Harvest Vine near our house.

We loved this wine from the Priorat region in Spain

We loved this wine from the Priorat region in Spain

Because of the forecast and our plans on Friday and Saturday nights we opted to stay home on Saturday and go skiing on Sunday instead. We carried our Valentine’s Day celebration into Saturday morning by starting the day with coffee and watching the opening ceremony of the Olympics. We had memosas and a wonderful breakfast, then took Jackson out for a long walk.

Saturday Brunch!

Saturday Brunch!

We had a pretty relaxing remainder of the day at home on Saturday and then hosted Italian Wine Club at our house that night. We were pleasantly surprised when it started to snow on Saturday evening! It rarely snows in Seattle but it seems like everyone in the city turns into a kid again when the ground turns white.

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We expected that Sunday would bring us some fresh snow to ski so we got up earlier than we had ever gotten up for a ski day and headed to Crystal. The reason we got up so early was so that we could get to Crystal and walk Jackson and be at he lift line when the chair lift opens. Lately we have been arriving around 30 minutes prior to the lifts opening, so we have been having more leisurely days.

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Our expectations were fulfilled and we were greeted with about 8-10 inches of light and fluffy powder! A normal “powder day” for us is a day with a lot of fresh, heavy, wet snow. We in Washington call it Cascade Concrete because it’s like skiing concrete instead of nice fluffy powder.

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While we had a great day with Jackson on Sunday, his behavior for the rest of the weekend wasn’t necessarily pleasant the whole time. He decided that my slippers would become his newest chew toy. Unfortunately for me he finally destroyed them to the point of being unwearable. We have been working on new strategies for keeping him off the couch and our bed and while we were using Alex’s strategy of ignoring him he destroyed one of the pillows on our sofa. We are taking applications for puppy trainers and looking for jobs for Jackson so he can earn his keep and buy me new slippers.

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Our week has been pretty low-key, yet busy during the day for me. We have been enjoying watching the Olympics, which has been great, but I am really excited to not be sitting on the sofa all evening when they’re over. It has been fun and life is good 🙂

Low-Key Weekly Recap

It has been a pretty low-key week here in the Allen household. We are finally easing our way into a pretty consistent routine and finding that we have some extra time on our hands. Here are some highlights from the week:

Lunch date at Kukai Ramen in Bellevue

Lunch date at Kukai Ramen in Bellevue on Thursday

Puppy play date with Berkeley at Marymoor - 3 weekends in a row!

Puppy play date with Berkeley at Marymoor – 3 weekends in a row!

Henry got a new bed but was more interested in the box it came in

Henry got a new bed but was more interested in the box it came in

Finally got him in the bed! Henry went to the vet for a check-up after the gouge in his leg. It's healing very well but he needs to remain indoors for ten more days to allow his wound to heal.

Finally got him in the bed! Henry went to the vet for a check-up after the gouge in his leg. It’s healing very well but he needs to remain indoors for ten more days to allow his wound to heal.

We took Jackson for a great walk and swim in Lake Washington on Saturday morning, followed by a delicious breakfast of bacon, egg and cheese biscuits at home.

We took Jackson for a great walk and swim in Lake Washington on Saturday morning, followed by a delicious breakfast of bacon, egg and cheese biscuits at home.

Our first fire of the season! We had a perfectly relaxing evening in front of the fire while enjoying a wonderful bottle of wine {Hidden Horse by Two Mountains}

Our first fire of the season! We had a perfectly relaxing evening in front of the fire while enjoying a wonderful bottle of wine {Hidden Horse by Two Mountains}

On Sunday evening we took a Wine 101 class at the Bottlehouse.

On Sunday evening we took a Wine 101 class at the Bottlehouse.

We got to sample 5 wines and learn a lot about identifying wines, as well as tasting and describing wine

We got to sample 5 wines and learn a lot about identifying wines, as well as tasting and describing wine

Jackson started a new tradition of jumping on our bed to get Alex up on the weekends

Jackson started a new tradition of jumping on our bed to get Alex up on the weekends

Jackson is getting pumped for ski season! He gets to experience snow for the first time in 2 weeks... he has no idea what he's in for!

Jackson is getting pumped for ski season! He gets to experience snow for the first time in 2 weeks… he has no idea what he’s in for!

We ended the weekend with a relaxing night on the couch watching a ski movie.

We ended the weekend with a relaxing night on the couch watching a ski movie.

Cammy’s Trip To Seattle

My wonderful friend Cammy came to visit Seattle last weekend. While the purpose of her trip was primarily to attend a conference for work, she was able to extend her trip and spend the weekend with me and Alex. Back when Alex and I lived in our condo downtown Seattle, Cammy had come to visit us, so she had the opportunity to do a lot of tourist attractions then. We were able to relax and enjoy some different things that the Seattle area had to offer this time around.

Wine tasting with Cammy

Wine tasting with Cammy

Friday we met up at my house in the afternoon and went for a run before heading back downtown for the evening. We bellied up to the bar at Purple, a wine bar, for quite a few hours and enjoyed an array of different wines, cheeses and a delicious pizza before calling it a night.

On Saturday we decided to treat ourselves to a pedicure and more wine! Big surprise 🙂 We savored in the luxurious Pro Club Spa’s fantastic service and then our chauffeur {my lovely husband} whisked us off to wine country {aka Woodinville}.

We ended up just going to one winery, Mark Ryan Winery, because the other winery we had planned on stopping at was unexpectedly closed. We all really enjoyed Mark Ryan but felt it was a bit expensive for what it was. Even so, we took home a bottle and still have that to look forward to.

Japanese Gardens

Japanese Gardens

Saturday evening we decided to stay in our neighborhood and settle in at Naam Thai and Bottlehouse. We loved our Thai food and then enjoyed a bottle of one of Alex’s and my current favorite wines, a cabernet Franc, at Bottlehouse, along with a decadent pumpkin cheesecake and a chocolate pot de creme.

It was a beautiful day on Sunday, which ended up working out perfectly for our stroll through the Japanese Garden and arboretum. The fall colors were gorgeous and there was even a maple leaf ceremony at the Japanese Gardens.

Beautiful colors!

Beautiful colors!

Cam and I have been friends since middle school but rarely get to spend time just the two of us. It was such a treat to have so much quality time together. I really enjoyed our time and getting the opportunity to learn more about her upcoming wedding, her job and recounting silly stories from our past. Until next time…

Washington Wine Tour

We are so lucky to live in Washington. Not only is it the most beautiful place in the world but we’ve got some darn good wines. Wine country is only 2 hours away from Seattle and last weekend we took advantage of that and took Alex’s parents over to Yakima Valley to do a wine tour.

The Allens at Bottlehouse, gathering suggestions for our wine tour.

The Allens at Bottlehouse, gathering suggestions for our wine tour.

Our wine tour included stops at five tasting rooms in the Yakima Valley area. The first four were outside of Yakima where we went to the actual vineyards where the grapes are grown and the wine is produced, then the fifth was just a tasting room in downtown Yakima. The night before our trip we stopped at the Bottlehouse, our neighborhood wine bar, and asked for some recommendations. Thank goodness we did because the places Henri suggested were absolutely fantastic and have become our new favorites.

First stop: Bonair

First stop: Bonair

We started the trip at Bonair, a winery that Alex and I went to several years ago. We loved Bonair on our first visit but none of us were impressed this time. I guess they got a new winemaker and things seem to have gone downhill, unfortunately. The Bonair estate is gorgeous and they have tapas, so we did get to enjoy sitting outside with some lunch to fill us up before we continued.

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The second stop was our absolute favorite. We had never heard of Two Mountain Winery before, but we quickly fell in love. We tried 7 wines and they were all wonderful {and wonderfully priced, I might add!} – I would have gotten a bottle of every one of them. Alex and I may even join their wine club…..

Two Mountain tasting room

Two Mountain tasting room

Two Mountain

Two Mountain

Our third winery was the most beautiful. We pulled up to Dineen Cellars and were amazed not only at the expansive views their estate offered, but the houses on the property were just adorable. The visit was topped off by incredible wines and great conversations with the owners.

Checking out the view at Dineen.

Checking out the view at Dineen.

After Dineen, we drove back towards Yakima and stopped at Treveri Cellars. Treveri only produces sparkling wines. Alex and I had Treveri before and we love their sparkling syrah – so tasty! Their tasting room was really fun and we had a great time.

Gorgeous views!

Gorgeous views!

Once we got back into Yakima we decided to head out for dinner and stop at a tasting room in downtown Yakima beforehand. Gilbert Cellars is a pretty large wine producer in Washington so we stopped in for a flight to finish off our day.

Such a fun trip.

Such a fun trip.

We all had such a fun day exploring new areas in Washington and drinking some amazing wine. I can’t wait to go back to wine country again soon!

Wine, wilderness and work

It’s been really, really, really busy around here, hence it has taken me until Wednesday evening to post some notes from our weekend of “w’s” – wine, working and wilderness adventures. The last few weeks have made me unbelievably thankful that I’m able to work part-time so that I can manage our house, keep tabs on the pets and successfully plan our adventures all while Alex is working double-time at his job.

Jackson has been such a terror this week! Learning how to jump on the couch was only the beginning....

Jackson has been such a terror this week! Learning how to jump on the couch was only the beginning….

Even though Alex had to work part of Saturday we managed to have a pretty fantastic weekend! After Alex got back from work on Friday evening we headed up to the Bottlehouse and had a wonderful bottle of rose on the patio. We always have such a fun time up there.

Jack-o is getting so long! He weighs over 35 pounds now.

Jack-o is getting so long! He weighs over 35 pounds now.

Saturday was pretty laid back – Alex went in to his office for a few hours and then Jackson and I joined him for a family barbecue that his company was sponsoring, perhaps to make up for the fact that their employees have been working so much lately. Afterwards we brought Jackson to University Village, a dog-friendly outdoor shopping center, and did a little shopping. We were shopping for shorts for Alex but I ended up finding some awesome stuff on super sale at Banana Republic, so I was the only one who purchased anything.

I think Henry wants to go for a bike ride :)

I think Henry wants to go for a bike ride 🙂

Since it had been a whole day since we had been to the Bottlehouse we decided to run up there and grab a couple of bottles of rose to take back and drink on our patio. It was a wonderful way to spend the evening.

So much to be thankful for.

So much to be thankful for.

We found a very family-friendly hike just off of I-90 near Snoqualmie Pass at Denny Creek to take Jackson to on Sunday. This was his first “mountain hike” – we wanted to see what his limit was and wanted to give him more of a real picture of hiking since we have a big camping trip coming up.

Hiking at Denny Creek

Hiking at Denny Creek

Jackson did really well! The hike was an easy 4 miles with little elevation gain. He was so happy and got an unbelievable amount of attention from other hikers who passed by.

Taking a pit stop for a snack.

Taking a pit stop for a snack.

The mid-point of the hike was a rocky part of Denny Creek, so we let Jackson take a little dip in the water. Needless to say, he was filthy by the time we got back to the car.

Hiking.

Hiking.

Once we got home and got Jackson hosed off he was plum tuckered and passed out in the shower, so we got ready to meet Ali, Tyler and baby Vivian at Chateau Ste. Michelle’s member appreciation concert that they graciously invited us to attend with them again this year. The band was an Abba cover band, so they played a great variety of old Abba tunes – it was really fun!

Ali and Viv at our spot at Chateau Ste Michelle.

Ali and Viv at our spot at Chateau Ste Michelle.

We have been to a few concerts at the winery before and have built up quite a spread – we’ve got the wine glass stakes to hold the glasses in the ground, and thanks to Alex’s cousin Jenny’s generous wedding gift, we have an awesome picnic basket set. We failed to find a low table before the concert, but now know that we need to look on Amazon. There’s always next year, I guess!

Our amazing spread! LOVED the food :)

Our amazing spread! LOVED the food 🙂

The Furtwanglers!

The Furtwanglers!

Enjoying the music.

Enjoying the music.

This week has been off to a surprisingly busy start – I am frantically putting the finishing touches on planning Sarah’s bachelorette party next weekend, trying to get organized for this weekend, coordinating our amazing new dog walker and both Alex and I have a busy work week. Maybe by this time next year things will calm down???

Cuddles!

Cuddles!

.....quickly turned into biting of the arm.... story of the week!

…..quickly turned into biting of the arm…. story of the week!

Cooling off from the warm week.

Hard to stay mad at this face for too long 😉

Fun Fourth Weekend

The perfect weather combined with amazing friends resulted in a fabulously fun fourth of July weekend for Alex and me. We spent most of the weekend with the Millers and “the Buffs” (Carrie and Patrick) and an evening with Sara and Carsten, as well as some other friends and acquaintances.

Sporting some sort-of patriotic shirts

Sporting some sort-of patriotic shirts

I didn’t take any photos on the fourth for some reason, but we spent the afternoon and evening at Mary and Ryan’s house. They were gracious enough to invite Jackson to come hang out and break in their backyard and house, as they are getting a puppy in a few weeks. We grilled brats and had quite a few sides, salads and desserts to choose from. It was great to meet a few new people and spend time with the Millers and the Buffs.

Love these guys!

Love these guys!

Alex and I were rather surprised when Oliver woke us up at 8:30 on Friday morning because usually our alarm clock named Jackson goes off at about 5:30. I guess he was too tired from running around at Mary and Ryan’s the day before. We both had planned to spend the morning doing our respective athletic activities, Alex had a 50 mile bike ride and I had a 6 mile run, so we were a bit frazzled to not have the whole morning that we expected. It worked out fine, though, and we still got our activities in.

Such a great weekend with these girls!

Such a great weekend with these girls!

Carrie invited us to spend the evening on her parents new boat on Friday night. We joyfully agreed and had a fantastic time. Their new boat is beautiful and the 12 of us had plenty of space to sit and chat and move around. We grilled chicken and brats and had some potato salad and a few other sides, but I have to say the highlight was dessert. Mary and Sara tag teamed dessert and Mary made a peach/blueberry crumble and Sara made homemade caramel ice cream. It was to die for!

The ferry in the sunset

The ferry in the sunset

We did a little cruse around Elliott Bay in the Puget Sound and had a wonderful time enjoying the sunset and the views of the city. It was such a fun evening!

Seattle skyline

Seattle skyline

Saturday started with me dropping Jackson off at Fetch for the day so Alex and I could take a bike ride with the Millers and the Buffs to Woodinville. Patrick ended up hurting his foot on the boat the night before, so he and Carrie met us at Red Hook. We met the Millers at Matthews Beach and then rode 13 miles on the Burke Gilman and Sammamish River Trails until we reached Red Hook Brewery.

Hanging out at Patterson Cellars.

Hanging out at Patterson Cellars.

Red Hook has an awesome patio and by some miracle there was a 6-top table that opened up right after we arrived so we didn’t have to wait for a table at all. It was glorious to sit outside and soak up some sun. From there, we walked up the road and did some wine tasting at Patterson Cellars, J Bookwalter and then Alexandria Nicole, which is where Carrie and Patrick are having their upcoming wedding catered from. J Bookwalter continues to impress me – I think Alex and I will make another trip there during the week and have dinner and wine out on their patio – they allow dogs, so we’ll have to bring Jackson next time!

Love J Bookwalter.

Love J Bookwalter.

By the time we got back to our bikes to make the trek home we realized that my back tire had literally exploded! Ugh! I was very disappointed to not get to ride my bike home, but was thankful that we had a ride home, though of course not that Patrick had hurt his foot. I’ll get some new tires and take my wheels in for a tune up and hopefully after Alex’s big 200-mile ride next weekend he’ll calm down on the biking and we’ll get to take some low-key rides together.

Tire explosion!

Tire explosion!

The rest of the weekend has been uneventful compared to our fun times with friends. Today we’ll just stay home and get some stuff done around the house and in the yard. We might venture down to Seward Park this afternoon with Jackson, though. Maybe we’ll even bring a picnic?

Here are some more photos from our boat cruise:

Amazing sunset over the Olympic Mountains.

Amazing sunset over the Olympic Mountains.

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Weekend Fun in the Sun!

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

Gorgeous day for a run on the lake!

Gorgeous day for a run on the lake!

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

Alex and his pup

Alex and his pup

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

Alex filling up the pool for Henry and Jackson.

Alex filling up the pool for Henry and Jackson.

Jackson preferred sun bathing.

Jackson preferred sun bathing.

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

We love Bottlehouse!

We love Bottlehouse!

Loving the sunny patio.

Loving the sunny patio.

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

Amazing sunset from our backyard.

Amazing sunset from our backyard.

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

Jackson got a new toy from John!

Jackson got a new toy from John!

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

Jackson in the woods!

Jackson in the woods!

He did great!

He did great!

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

Running around in an open field.

Running around in an open field.

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

Our first CSA box arrived.

Our first CSA box arrived.

This Week in the Allen Household

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

Jack and Alex hanging out in the media room together.

Jack and Alex hanging out in the media room together.

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

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

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

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

Our project in progress!

Our project in progress!

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

New friend!

New friend!

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

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

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

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

Flying Wheels bike ride

Flying Wheels bike ride

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

Check out how far I've been running!

Check out how far I’ve been running!