Snow Day

It is not often that we get snow on our little Pacific Northwest island. In the past few weeks, Matt has been quite vocal about that fact, beamoaning that we will NEVER get the snow that he always hoped to have in the place he grew up to live. Then, Sunday morning, we got a winter storm advisory. It promised 3-6 inches of glorious snow. Skeptical, but optimistic, I went to the grocery store to stock up on staples.

About 30 minutes after getting home the snow started. First very wet and more rain than snow. Then around 6pm the flakes started. They did not stop until nearly noon the next day! We woke up to 6 inches covering our little island world!

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The silence is my favorite part of snowfall. No cars on the road. It was magical. Matt and I walked around the property then retreated indoors for hot oatmeal and cocoa. I worked from home for the day, and he played in the snow. All was pretty great, and then the power went out. Typically we have backup heat with our natural gas fireplace…but it is still disconnected due to the remodel. Thankfully we had cranked out heat pump that AM and things coasted pretty well for most of the day.

By noon we had over 7 inches, and we could tell it was going to start warming up. Every branch was coated and drooping. It was stunning outside! Limbs were snapping all across the island, and we were lucky that the big on that broke in our yard missed the chicken coop by a few feet. Took out some of the fence but that is easily fixable.

By evening it was pretty chilly. We layered up and lit some candles. Played a few games. Watched the daylight fade from the sky. I cooked up a romantic dinner for two: salads and tuna mac&cheese with sweet pickles (one of our weird favorites). Comfort food at it’s best, eaten in a 46 degree house.

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The snow was such a treat!

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Madison: Mid-Winter

I am sitting in a coffee shop in Madison, WI waiting for an email chain to close up for work. There is a fresh layer of snow and the sun is shining gloriously. Oh, yea, and it is 1 degree out there. Brr! Good thing I found a great latte.

This thin skinned Washington girl got quite the shock with the temperature drop when landing here last night. It was 55 or so when I left Seattle yesterday mid-morning, and things are blooming everywhere in an early Spring. Madison is still in the dead of winter. And it is a treat!

What prompted a mid-winter trip in freezing temps? My best girlfriend Jenny! We were LONG overdue for a reunion and decided to just make it happen. Today we are both working, but tomorrow starts a long weekend of catching up, cooking, eating out, adventuring and more catching up. Jenny and I lived together for two years in college and have already seamlessly fallen back into routine. We have the exact same bath towels, the same basket for our hair dryers, and keep comparing notes on how similar our husband’s quirks are. I sure have missed this girl!

A Snowy Weekend

Our evening ritual of writing the “top 5” best things about our day has been a challenge…there are just too many good things happening to squeeze it into 5!

Thursday and Friday brought memorable evenings out with good friends…one couple is practically a brand new friendship and that makes it even better! We are finding our groove for fitting in socialization both on and off the island.

Saturday we woke up and Matt was sick. Like stay-in-bed-all-day sick. I was excited to take advantage of the quiet house and crank through some school work. Well that did not happen.

I glanced out the back window and noticed a geyser of a broken water pipe. Awesome. Luckily it was out near the garden shed and not causing any damage…but I still needed to figure out how to turn it off. I called the water district and they sent someone out to turn off the meter (joy, no water) and he walked me through some options for fixing it. We boiled it down to two: a DIY cap or call a plumber. I decided to try my hand at plumbing and drove down to the hardware store, bought some supplies and headed home to work. Two hours later and after another trip to the hardware store the pipe was capped and curing.

I headed inside to get some work done, and take care of my sweet sick husband. I took a break in the afternoon to try on my Stitch Fix box (review here!) and Matt documented the outfits as my personal photographer.

After creamy tomato soup for dinner we watched some Olympics and then around 8:00 the snow started to fall. We don’t get a lot of snow here and so it is pretty exciting when it does come. It piled up to just over 3 inches and we went on a late night trek through the yard before bed.

Thankfully the snow was still there in the morning! It was silent and oh so peaceful outside as I walked around with the cats. They were not happy to be out but I dragged them with me anyway. Isn’t our house adorable in the snow?!

The peaceful morning was interrupted by me falling down the stairs while carrying a case of wine. Bruised tailbone, some tears, but amazingly no broken bottles of wine! It was pretty loud and scary though.

Matt made an amazing breakfast (if you eat it at 1:00 it still counts right?) of carrot cake pancakes and eggs with prosciutto. So good! Topped off with fresh lattes it is a great snow day breakfast.

Our little family is now curled up near the fire as the snow starts to melt outside. I am plugging away at homework while Matt continues to recover from his weekend sickness. It feels good to be safe, warm and cozy on our little snowy island.

My 12 Days of Christmas: Five

Today will be a reflection on just exactly this title: our five days of Christmas. Matt and I coordinated our final few days off this year so that we could have a whole FIVE DAY BREAK to surround our first holiday on the island. We kick it off tonight with dinner and a show…a fun night starting at Radiator Whiskey (a new whiskey bar in Pike’s Market) and then a holiday treat: the Land of the Sweets – a burlesque Nutcracker at the Triple Door! The rest of our weekend plan involves lots of down time, cookie baking, and most importantly…not leaving the island! We want to take full advantage of the built in quiet that comes with Vashon.

On this 5th day of Christmas we awoke to a wonderful (anticipated) surprise: SNOW! We had about ¾” as we headed down to the ferry for our commute in to work. It was peaceful and cold…but that new coat was perfect! (I went with the teal for those who were wondering). Snug and warm and commuting with my love before five days off…things are pretty dang good!

Turkey, Christmas Trees, & Snowshoeing

Looking back I am not sure how we crammed so much into 4 days. Maybe it was the fact that I had a “break” from school so that pressure was off, maybe it was because we were in so many different locations, maybe it was just because it was so dang fun that we managed to fill every moment and make the weekend stretch to much more than 4 days.

Thursday was real Thanksgiving, and we did it up right. Matt’s parent’s hosted 21 people, including my parents and grandma, at their house for hours of eating and laughing and holding Matt’s cousin’s new baby. I brought a sticky date pudding (best one I have made yet!) and Matt brought two huge pans of stuffing. Between bites, we visited with aunts and uncles, and talked about what has been going on in everyone’s busy lives. I love how holidays are events designed to visit with people.

After three helpings of dessert we finally were motivated enough to waddle out to the car to drive home. My parents had carpooled with us, so they dropped us at our car before heading home to Ferndale.

Matt worked on Friday, so I did too. We had a team meeting for school in the morning, and I cranked through a few hours of systems modeling to prep for it. Then cleaned the house so that Brian and Jenny, our newlywed friends, could crash at our house that night on their way home from their Puerto Rican honeymoon. I took the bus downtown in the torrential down pouring rain so that Matt and I could hit the road as soon as he was off. 1:30, we were on the road. We stopped in Edmonds to pick up my Christmas gift from Matt: an antique typesetter’s drawer to make a jewelry cabinet out of! We made one more stop at REI before the final stretch home, where we were celebrating the WSU Apple Cup victory!

We came home to another feast, this time prime rib with all sorts of wonderful trimmings. Mom sure can cook! We watched baby movies and ate and drank wine from Troy’s recent shipment. His business in CA really seems to be taking off. I sure am proud of that brother of mine.

Saturday was Thanksgiving round 2! Turkey, two kinds of stuffing, pies, beans, sweet potatoes, salad, fresh cranberry sauce, rolls…and more people. So you think we spent all day in the kitchen? Hardly! We spent the morning picking Christmas trees in the back 40, then stacking wood outside. The house smelled wonderful by the time we finally came in…and amazingly, we had worked up an appetite! (after eating so much the previous 36 hours I was surprised!).

By 3:00 guests started to arrive, including my parent’s dance teachers, and my middle school science teacher and his wife. We shared stories of recent adventures and drank a bunch more wine. Dinner was epic, and looked stunning served on my great grandmother’s gold rimmed china.

Finally Sunday rolled around. I was ready to sleep in, but of course we had other plans…snowshoeing at Mt. Baker! Our local mountain has been getting tons of snow, and with the promise of sunshine in the forecast we had to get up there. We loaded up the car and drove through 45 minutes of fog before the blue sky hit. Boy was it a perfect day! Cold and clear and the snow was perfect for snowshoeing! We wandered around Bagley Lakes and had a grand time with my parents. Everything sparkled and was so bright and clean feeling. Exactly what we needed…a break into the wilderness. Matt even got a chance to break in his new bright green snow pants that we picked up at REI!

On the way home we stopped at Nooksack Falls, and then for pizza and beer at the Beer Shrine. Great place. It was my first time there but my parents seem to be making their way there with new work recruits quite often. It lived up to the hype!

Matt and I were headed back to Seattle by 5. Tree on top of the car, and getting sleepy. We stopped at Winco for groceries, which turned into a massive stock-up shopping trip, but got home by 7 and unpacked in the dark.

It was a great weekend! Only a month till Christmas!

A Wedding & A Birthday

BUSY does not even begin to describe this week. Schoolwork piled up (and was covering things that I did not understand), a big project hit at work, and we were going to be out of town for the weekend. My best friend, Jenny, was getting married! I flew across the state to Spokane early Thursday morning (and managed to catch a flight and hour earlier than scheduled so that was a bonus!), worked in the Spokane office for the day, and met up with a BGI classmate to work some homework problems. He introduced me to the best little coffee shop ever! I checked in to my hotel, drove through the snow to buy a scarf (that I am totally in love with) then went out with Jenny and her friends for a girls semi-bachelorette party out. It was so much fun to get to know other important women in her life!

Friday was catch up on work and schoolwork day. I was staying at the Davenport Tower (excellent hotel!) right in the middle of downtown, so in the morning I headed out to find breakfast and ended up at the safe café from the day before with a bowl of fresh granola and yogurt and a very excellent mocha.

I meant to only stay for breakfast, but was so cozy that I ended up camping out and working till lunch when I met up with my good friend Ellie! Ellie and I were math buddies in high school, then rekindled our friendship in college. She and her husband live in Idaho and commute to Coeur d’ Alene so we decided to meet up and grab lunch in Spokane. We had a great time talking about our plans for our future farms. We wish we lived closer to make bartering easier! They are getting cows this summer and I am dying to go out and learn with them! I cannot wait to see their farm again. It has grown a lot since their wedding there in 2010.

After lunch I worked from the hotel to avoid walking it he cold or driving in the snow until rehearsal. It was hard to convince myself to change from my cozy sweater and jeans into heels and a short sleeved dress (it was FREEZING cold!) but I did, and drove over to Gonzaga for rehearsal. Boy am I glad there was a rehearsal for this wedding! It was my first Catholic wedding with Mass, and it was nice to know all the cues to stand and sit ahead of time.

After rehearsal we had good food and wine at dinner, and at 8:00 I finally got to pick up Matt at the airport! It was so great to see that sweet husband of mine walk out with his goofy pompom hat on.

We were both exhausted, so went back to the hotel and crashed.

Next morning – WEDDING DAY!!! I had a hair appointment at 9 with the other girls, but we had an early morning mission first: birthday doughnut run for Matt. Sunday was Matt’s 30th, and doughnuts are his thing. Unfortunately, all the independent doughnut places in Spokane are closed on Sundays. Go figure. So Saturday it was. We drove out to the Valley to track down treats at Mike Old Fashioned Doughnuts. Of course, we were short on time, and then had to find an ATM since it was cash only, but we were finally successful and had some awesome good doughnuts. I highly recommend their cake crumb doughnut.

 We ate and ran so that I could get to my hair appointment on time. The gal doing my hair did a great job, and it was fun to see everyone get glammed up. I sampled some of their skin products while I was there and am still thinking about buying the amazing coconut moisturizer that they carried. From the salon we went to Glover Mansion to get dressed and do photos. I cannot wait to see them! The photographer was a great gal, and we had fun doing photos even through it was below freezing. Jenny looked stunning.

3:30 – wedding time! It was a nice ceremony, with a very happy looking bride and groom. Then we were all off to the reception at Glover. Time to break out the wine and dance floor! The wine to people ratio was really high (something like a bottle per person) and since we were not driving Matt and I took full advantage of that. We were both sitting with fun people and dinner was good…but the real highlight was dancing! Boy was there dancing! Brian had a great selection of music that kept everyone going for hours. I had blisters from my shoes, so took them off, and danced till I was getting blisters on the bottom of my feet!

 At 11 a towncar from the Davenport picked us up. We felt very fancy going back in such high style. We thought about going to the Peacock Lounge, but decided after wandering through the lobby that we really did not need anything else to drink (except maybe a whole lot of water!) and so we made our way back to our room…and crashed. Here are some of the blurry but awesome photos documenting the night.

What a great night. We woke up hung over but cured that with a great massive birthday breakfast at Molly’s before flying back to Seattle.

 It was a wonderful weekend getaway. Seeing Brian and Jenny so happy AND getting to celebrate by Moose’s birthday…it was perfect. Too bad I did not take more photos. I guess I will just have to wait for Jenny’s photographer to get finished with hers!

Ice Storm

Snow, wind and now: ice. Yup, our streets and sidewalks are covered in a thick glistening sheet of frozen slipperyness. It started raining with below freezing temps last night (aka freezing rain) and everything just seized up. Luckily, my parents were able to make it down to Seattle before the major ice storm hit. They are on their way to Tucson and fingers crossed their new flight makes it out. The Seatac airport was shut down when we woke up at 5:30. All three runways closed for the first time in 10 years. Wow.

I am still working from home while Matt took the bus in. We sure are ready to get back to the normal agenda. Getting up a half hour early, me worrying about him on the icy roads, then worrying more about him making it home while freezing in our house is getting old. Yep, we could use some warmer temps; especially since this snow is no longer soft and fun to play in. Speaking of warm, or the opposite actually, it was 8 degrees at my parents’ house when they left. 8 DEGREES! COLD!

I can still hear the wind and ice hitting our windows outside. It makes me cold. Time for some tea and then back to work.

Oh, and PS ~ I ordered the blue dress for the honeymoon!