A Week in the Life

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I have been meaning to write this post for a while now. I have always been curious about how other people live, and now that we are expecting a baby, wanting to capture how WE live pre-baby. I am sure it will be fun to look back on when we are a family of three with a very different schedule!

A few facts to start on:

  • We purchased a house with just under an acre of land nearly 4 years ago. At the time, Matt and I were both working, but always had the intention of being on one income at some point.
  • In 2014, Matt moved his focus home full time. Remodeling, cooking, cleaning, growing food. It has been THE.BEST.DECISION.EVER for our family. He is far happier, we have more free space to do things (only one work schedule to accommodate!) and had planned for this so financially it was an adjustment, but manageable.
  • I work in the city, and commute 4-5 days per week. Most of this is on public transportation (bus, water taxi, bus) but once or twice per week I will drive for work meetings, and get reimbursed for mileage. On these days I also make time to run our off island errands and do the bulk of our grocery shopping. Matt keeps a dynamic list of what we need and I can pick it up when I am out.
  • We have one vehicle: our trusty but little mini cooper!

Now that there are a few basics in place, our story becomes pretty routine.

I am up at either 5 or 6 depending on my work schedule that day, shower and dress while Matt puts together my breakfast and lunch. By 7 or 8 I am at the office and Matt is home doing is morning routine (take care of chickens, cats, doing dishes for previous night, playing some guitar). While I work so does he. Right now, the focus is our house remodel…which is extensive and we have been cranking on for nearly 14 months.

I walk in the door around 5:05 which means the work day is over for Matt as well. We make it a priority to not work past 5 o’clock on any day (unless there is a real exception that we need to keep going on a project) and get cleaned up and dinner going. Most of the time we whip something up from scratch, but recently I have been making a larger meal on Sunday that can get us at least through two nights of leftovers.

During the week, I usually shower off the work day (being on the bus feels kinda gross when I am back home), and start cooking while Matt puts away the chickens, plays a bit more guitar and winds down. Eating by 6:30 is the goal, and these days are in front of 2-3 episodes of something on Netflix. It is a low key evening, and we leave the kitchen a mess. Ha! Around 8 or 8:15, we are off to bed.

Weekends are a little more flexible, and we give ourselves space to sleep in and have a slow breakfast. Often we will make pancakes or waffles one morning, and then smoothies and eggs the other. We eat and hang out and listen to a slew of radio shows. By noon, we are usually moving towards more “productive” things: Matt working on the remodel, I am cleaning the kitchen, bills/taxes/paperwork, cooking, making sea glass mobiles for my Etsy shop, or in the garden. If the weather and tides cooperate we will do a beach walk. A quick pause for a snack if we need it, but often times we will just work through lunch. Dinner is not much different than the weeknight routine, but we may stay up till 10 (!) or so watching a movie. Big night!

We also try to pack in weekend adventures (though those are on hold with remodel taking #1, #2, and #3 priority!!!) of surfing/camping at the coast, going to Matt’s parents lake property, hiking, visiting family etc.

So yea, that is how our life generally looks these days. As we prepare for a baby this summer it was important for us to consider many aspects of this lifestyle to help us figure out what we needed/wanted for a car/stroller/sleeping arrangements etc. It was a worthwhile exercise to really focus on! We are certain that things will change as a family of 3, but this is a solid baseline to adjust from.

 

The Good Season

As time passes, we find ourselves moving through seasons. Season with weather, seasons with the garden, and with family and friends. When we decided to move from the mainland out to Vashon Island friends and family were one of the hardest aspects of the change. We knew that there would be some relationships that would continue to grow even with a ferry separating us, but others we knew would fade and disappear. It was hard to predict which would be which, but we knew that they would not all last.

It has been a challenge these nearly three years to not have a community on the island. Now, we do have a great community that we feel a part of, but we did not have OUR tribe. Our little collection of friends that would stop by for dinner or just call on a whim. It has been lonely. I get a good dose of my girlfriends because we make a point to meet for lunch or coffee in the city during our working lives, but home was just me and Matt. Thank goodness we like that! But something was still missing.

This spring has been the start of a new season though. All of a sudden we are in the middle of three couples, making plans, hanging out, cooking, sharing and inspiring each other. All of us are young, no kids, passionate about the island, growing things and being real. It is so refreshing. No competition, no negativity, just honest to goodness enjoyment of life. Best part? We are all only 10 minutes apart at the most. Perk of island life!

On Saturday evening Dennis and Ali came over for a BBQ and backyard fire. We gave them bean seeds and they brought us soil. Matt and Dennis made plans to play Magic. Ali and I talked about living out of boxes. Sunday morning Justin and Hannah stopped by just to see how our projects were going, and invited us to the beach. We spent an hour laying in the sun, chatting about plants and gardens and went for a quick swim.

It feels so good. SO GOOD. This feeling of finding our tribe has been a long time coming.

We are riding this wave. It gives us more energy to work on the house and garden, both of which are coming along well. Hardwood floors are wrapping up. Next is finishing the cove ceiling. Then building cabinets and a tile entry mat. The garden is growing. 50+ tomatoes starts from seed, cabbage, kale, chard, beans, potatoes, flowers and a collection of new fruit trees are all starting to show signs of life. I am selling seaglass mobiles like crazy leading up to Mother’s Day.

Lots and lots of abundance, we are feeling so thankful.

Hooked on Sea Glass

Matt may say “hooked” does not even describe it.  I came back from Kauai with an art project in mind and have spun it up to a whole different level of obsession.

Last weekend, Matt and I collected for an hour in the chilly December rain. Before breakfast. My parents have been assigned the task of bringing back sea glass from their adventures in Curacao. Instagram, Facebook…both are turned into long scrolls of sea glass posts from around the world. I am hooked! (interested? #seaglass has a TON, #pnwseaglass (aka: us cold weather beach walkers, not so many)

In all seriousness, I needed something like this. A hobby that lets me reconnect with my artistic side and is free (well, almost. I did have to buy some storage boxes for my ballooning collection…) I am still trying to find the time (and clean surface) to get starting in making my projects, but the collection of the materials is well underway.

I am learning a lot about sea glass too. Turns out there is quite a community dedicated to it! Books and a newly released color/rarity guide (on my wish list) make this feel pretty “real”.

Can you tell I am a little bit excited about my new hobby? Looking forward to sharing see glass creations and findings!

Christmas Chickens & Fish

It was a whirlwind leading up to Christmas. A weekend with Matt’s parents, too many projects leading to late nights up working in the rain by headlamp (yes, we are that dedicated), hours of cleaning, cooking, baking and laughing. It was an awesome Christmas week.

This year we hosted in our sweet island house. That meant cleaning like a mad woman for two days before everyone arrived. I have to say the house has never looked better. The counters were piled with cookies and Matt and I prepared an epic feast for Christmas Eve. The Italian side of his family celebrates with the Feast of Seven Fishes, so we did our take on it for this party.

After many lists, coordinating with my mom to bring some of the food, thawing, marinating, chopping garlic, garlic and more garlic…we were ready. Want to know the line up? (prepare to get hungry)

  • Locally smoked black cod (with cheese and crackers)
  • Broiled clams on the half shell
  • Dungeness crab cakes from home caught crab
  • Grilled lemon garlic prawns
  • King crab legs
  • Baked salmon
  • Aglio e olio with anchovy
  • Plus bread, salad, and wine, wine, wine!

Halfway through crab cakes we realize how much food we had and ran next door to grab our neighbors, George and Linda at the Palouse Winery. Linda was busy, but George came over to eat…bringing with him three bottles of wine and then later going back for two more! What a fun night. Christmas music, laughter, stories, food, wine, food, wine, and more laughter and wine. It was a feast.

Christmas morning we opened stockings, ate breakfast, opened gifts and then took an island tour. The sun poked out just in time for a beach walk!

The best part of hosting Christmas Eve and morning? Leftovers, quiet and relaxing Christmas night. Matt and I enjoyed the hot tub, some cold salmon, and leftover wine selection from the night before. And then slept like rocks.

Boxing day is a work day for him, so I drove him in and we grabbed coffee on the way through town (to go with our leftover cake of course!) I picked up a Christmas gift for the chickens: a panel of clear roofing to make a skylight for their coop! We strapped it to the top of the mini, and 30 minutes later the girls had light in their coop! It looks awesome!

Oh, and they now have names! Cesar is our rooster, and his ladies are Mary (not in this pic), Belle (the yellow blonde), Holly (red/brown), Helen (silver grey) and Rita (blond and white one in front).

Happy Christmas! Happy Chickens! Happy Friday!

Homestead Project Update

Things are busy on the Vashon homestead! With our living room all put together and the door/wall project done you would think we would be taking a break for the holidays. Ha! That is what Matt thought too.

Nope, we are in full project mode even though we tried our best to take it easy. We really wanted to get the cat porch done before Christmas guest arrived so we started on that two weekends ago. I trimmed up bushes out front while Matt tackled the wall from the inside. We were way too optimistic on how long it would take to cut this whole correctly. 3 saws and 2 days later we have a hole, very well cut, but the cat door is not yet installed. With daylight so limited right now it is impossible to get work done during the week. So it waits again till next weekend.

To top that project off I found a free chicken coop and 5 hens that needed a new home! So onto the project board that went. Last weekend we prepped the coop site, clearing branches and liming up a tree. We also investigated and measured the coop to see how we needed to plan for transportation across the island.

On Sunday, the coop finally arrived at our house! It was a full day that included lots of supply shopping at Island Lumber, picking up a borrowed truck, calling some teenagers we know to help lift the coop…and finally FINALLY getting it back home. The coop is big, roughly 8 feet by 4 feet, and nearly 5 feet tall. Awkward to move to say the least. But four of us managed to load it into Mike’s truck and drive it across the island.

It fit through our gate by mere millimeters and now rests on some concrete blocks while we build a frame to set it on. We plan to put in a mini run under the coop, and a larger run attaching to that. Once we get the coop set next weekend (we hope!) we can pick up our 5 hens!

The Perfect Tree

This will be our second Christmas on Vashon. Snuggled down in our little house, enjoying the glow from our stove, and watching the sunset over the Olympic Mountains. Things look pretty different too. The living room has been refinished…complete with the new door! Friday was the second to final touch – paint! Molding will have to wait till after the holidays. The view is different too. With the big tree gone we see so much more sky. The sunsets have been incredible.

In preparation for the holidays we spent a good portion of the weekend cleaning, dusting, moving furniture to make room for a tree. Bonus: there was snow on the ground.

We woke up Saturday morning to a rare treat: fresh snow blanketing (ok, thin 1/4 blanket) the ground. The temperature was still dropping and so it was perfect conditions for a beautiful tree cutting day. We headed out to the car and …. nothing. The car would not open. The door handles were frozen shut. We managed to climb through the hatchback of our little mini cooper (wish I had gotten a photo!), warmed up the car and took it on a scenic snowy drive. Sure, we could have gone straight to the tree farm, but in all likelihood the car would not have been warmed up enough to let us out the doors!

We first stopped at Augie’s Tree Farm, a place we had been planning to go since we moved here. Unfortunately we did not find what we were looking for. After much debate and more driving, we ended up stopping at the fish stand along the highway, where this month they also sell trees. 5 minutes later we had found the perfect Noble Fir. Paid, loaded, done! Not our typical tree cutting adventure but fun none the less! And it was so cold that quick experience was all I really needed.

We got the tree home and immediately got to put our new 36″ door to the test: it was perfect! So much easier to bring in a tree than last year! We set up the tree, let it defrost and dry, then decked it out in lights and vintage ornaments inherited from Matt’s grandparents. It is perfect.

We curled up next to the tree for a feast: roast duck with mashed potatoes and balsamic figs. Yum. Yum. Yum.

Happy Holidays!