Persistence Pays Off!

It pays to check back!

Last spring we decided to do a surf/road/camping trip to the Oregon cost. On recommendations from some local surfing friends (thanks Anna and Heather!) we selected Manzanita, OR as our destination with the intent of trying out our cold water surf skills at Short Sands. Dates were picked, vacation applied for at work, and….well, there were no camp spots available. NONE. Zero. Apparently this place is in demand.

I decided to sit on it and see if we can up with a good backup. Hotels are great but add up quickly and we really wanted to camp.

Well today, on a whim, I rechecked the reservation website. ONE. SITE. AVAILABLE! Woohoo!! I snatched it up and am happy to report that we are camping at Nehalem Bay State Park in September!

It pays to be persistent! And after scouting out photos from Todos Santos last night to frame and hang up, I am really itching for some surf!

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The Island Life

It has been a gorgeous spring. Seriously…80 degree days already! My tomatoes are already BLOOMING! A good sign for actually harvesting some this year.

Our pace of life is shifting right now. Longer, sun filled evenings make us both more and less productive. We have projects to make progress on but laying in the back yard feels pretty good too! Fewer evening classes for me and less homework also makes the time feel different. Only 16 days till graduation!

Thursday brought a spectacular sunrise.

Our living room trim is painted so all that is left is the walls…and replacing all the switches and outlets. It is still beyond me who puts almond colored outlets in with white plates. White on white will help so much!

The garden is growing. Well, it is growing something. It is hard to tell if they are all just weeds or actually spouting seeds. Something keeps eating my baby peas.

Lets see, what else is new? We are actively planning life post-grad school. Summer currently has 9 weekends UNPLANNED and we are determined to keep them that way. Painting the house, building a chicken coop and gardening should be plenty to keep us occupied.

Travel is getting organized too! We have a surf trip to Oregon scheduled for September, and then we are off to Belize in January with my parents! 12 days of ruins, beaches and snorkeling! And bonus: we found tickets for less than $350 each round-trip! Score! The next plan: Todos Santos May 2015 with all the parents!

But for now, a long Memorial Day weekend at home. A new bakery is opening and we plan to finish the living room and put it back together. Life feels really good on the island. 

One Month

Today is May 8. On June 8 I walk across the stage in cap and gown to receive my MBA diploma. One month. The end of two years of work.

I cannot wait!

To be fair, this quarter has been very manageable. I took one fewer class so the work load is MUCH lighter, and my final project is in final reviews (aka: mostly down time and waiting). This afternoon I will be on campus for my second to last intensive weekend.

We are excited about being on the other side of graduation. We have two large summer trips in the hopper, and a laundry list of other hikes, adventures and projects to tackle. First up: a San Juan islands kayak trip. Currently slated for the end of July. August will bring a weekend of camping and hiking in the North Cascades, and then September rounds out the summer with a camping surf trip to Oregon. It’s going to be a good summer!

Mixed in with all that is our plethora of house projects, seeing family, and oh yea, working.

We are already getting a taste of school freedom. This week I had no classes, and each night we would take a walk to the beach. We have two beaches within walking distance from our house. Matt likes to say we have a sunrise beach (east facing) and a sunset beach (west facing). We love being no more than 20 minutes from the water by foot!

Tradition

A new year is a great place to start fresh. We started some new traditions this year, and brought back some 2013 fun that may evolve into an annual event. Let’s start with that fun event: Mexico! In 2013 we took a spur-of-the-moment trip to Todos Santos, Mexico and learned to surf. After a week of relaxation, fresh food, tortillas, sunsets and surf we were hooked. We have been talking about going back since before we even left. So last week we booked our second trip…this time for 10 days. It is the same week near the end of March (my spring break) and so the countdown has begun! Booking this, and knowing that we need to have our surfing muscles ready to go, commitment/tradition #2 became even more important: getting back in shape!

We literally stopped working out the day we moved. A combination of house projects, a new commute, no gym (so sad, no more kickboxing!), and our workout space full of boxes made our active evenings drastically slow down. Holiday goodies combined with no working out left both of us with a few extra pounds and strength pretty zapped. Not good for catching waves! So we are back to the workouts! We cleaned out a room in the basement and have been doing daily workouts. We are both already feeling better! Bathing suits in less than three months sure are a good motivator…

2014 brought another new tradition to our family: a family journal. Every night we are each writing 5 things that were good about our day or something we are thankful for in our life. A bulleted journal of nothing but the good stuff. The intent is to go to bed on a positive note even on rough days, and is something we can continue with our kids many years into the future.

And I guess this is a good place for an update on the cats and their 2013 potty training adventure. Well, things are going slowly. We were having great success with transitioning them to using the full toilet litter box stage (1 of 6), but as soon as we removed the first small hole, the cats were NOT happy. They were holding it and having accidents. It all came to a head this weekend when Alki peed on Matt’s hiking boots. The cats are quarantined to the bathroom, and getting lots of encouragement and support until a) they get it or b) we give up. Alki in particular seems to be ok if you are there coaching her through the apparently scary process so we will see how it goes. Patience.

Final commitment: stay focused and motivated for school. Only 5 months to go!

Frugéggs

Catchy name, huh?! Our summer 2013 plans for chickens were put on hold when we found the house. Looking back, I am SO glad we waiting until AFTER settling in on the island to start our flock of birds, especially now that we know more about the egg-o-nomics of the island. In the city, we had planned to get 6 birds: enough to give us eggs and have some to sell. My research showed that fresh eggs were selling for $4-$5 a dozen. Not too shabby.

Then we moved to Vashon Island. This rural and beautiful small town island is abundant in farm stands, but boasts a surprising egg shortage. Eggs selling at $7.50 a dozen (!!!!) are sold out as soon as they are put out by the road. Amazing! This analysis from the Vashon Island Growers Association was pretty convincing in telling us that it would be worth it to add a few more birds to our flock. So here is to planning for next year’s egg enterprise. And if you are visiting, be sure to swing by our to-be farmstand on your way to town. Rainbow colored Frugéggs are primiering next summer!

Bring On the Summer!

Friday was a big day:

1)      Final presentation of my 1st year of grad school

2)      Our house appraisal came back and so financing is off to the bank for underwriting! One step closer to keys…

3)      Matt discovered a whole case of wine left over from our wedding

4)      It was warm and sunny!

I am thrilled to report that school is out, and we are quickly approaching a glorious summer in Seattle. With weddings to attend, a new house, a break from school, and no wedding to plan, 1year anniversary, and a trip to Grand Cayman…we have so much to look forward to! Things appear to be on track with the house (keep your fingers crossed for us!) and we should be getting keys July 3, and then moving a week later. Between getting keys and moving will be a whirlwind: camping for the 4th, Seattle International Beer Festival (a family tradition), getting drywall fixed in the house, painting, cleaning our rental, and finally….MOVING! July is going to fly by, and I hope I remember to step back and enjoy this exciting transition.

A smiling moment with a friend from school on our final ferry ride back from Island Wood…our first year of grad school is complete!

Cake Stress

Why do I do this to myself? All week I have been losing sleep over cake.

CAKE.

Seriously!?

For months now I have been planning a surprise 30th-and-a-half birthday gathering for my sweet husband. As his 30th birthday was the same day as my best friend’s wedding, it was epic fun, but lost some of the glory that you deserve on such a milestone. So this has been my plan since last year.

I carefully stalked from-scratch yellow cake recipes and the perfect chocolate frosting (even finding his Mom’s recipe that he grew up with). Then I realized my fatal flaw: I have no time to bake a cake…let alone a SURPRISE cake! The party is Friday, also known as his day off. I can’t even go into work late and make it since he is home!

Yellow Cake

So, I have been losing sleep. Planning the party is challenging enough. How do I pull this off? I managed to get everyone invited…then Matt proposed the grand idea of having a BBQ this weekend! Ok, so he thinks we are having a small get together with a few of my friends. Little does he know that ALL his buddies will be there too, and a cake!

Yes, back to the cake. After finally sending a plea to my support posse (aka: Mom & Jenny) for help, both of them came back with a solution: just buy him a Safeway cake. It is his favorite kind anyway, and would save me SO much time. Thank you both from reeling in this overcommitted DIYer, I needed that.

I am happy to report that the cake is ordered. White on white with a massive beach scene on the front…and it was even on sale!

So here is to the party! I am going to need a glass of wine with my cake.