Every year I buy Alfred a Christmas outfit. He absolutely hates wearing them, so usually this means I get five minutes to take a few cute photos and then it is added to the Goodwill bin. Totally worth the $10 (in my opinion, probably not so if you ask the two males in our family). I guess I’ve been on a hat kick the last two years; I think he hated the antlers a little less than his lumberjack hat in 2013.
The next week of my sabbatical was spent visiting family. From San Francisco I flew to Denver to spend a few days with my family. I spent a lot of time hanging out with this guy and his two aunts (of whom I did not get a single picture).
On Tuesday, we went for a hike just twenty minutes from my parents’ house. To say Colorado is beautiful is simply an understatement. That night we had dinner with my dad then headed out for a girls night of wine + painting.
It was really fun and much easier than I thought it would be. Here’s proof that I actually painted something (that promptly was left at my parents’ for goodwill).
We spent the second half of the class giggling like preteen boys. I happened to turn around and see something interesting on the lady’s painting behind me. I was able to grab a quick photo when she went to refill her wine. I’ll let you interpret for yourself (top left of the painting).
I flew home late Wednesday night and Friday we loaded up for Eastern WA. We like to spend 4th of July with my in-laws but we had a last minute change of plans this year to attend my Grandma’s funeral in Los Angeles. Luckily we were able to fit in a trip before we headed to Jamaica.
Alfred is in dog-heaven on the orchard. He played with that sprinkle for hours. Greg got A to follow him on the four-wheeler (pretty sure that is the first time ever this city girl has typed “four-wheeler”), but of course when I went to try and get some video of it he wouldn’t do it again.
On Tuesday we headed out to Redmond to drop off the doodle for a vacation at Club Grandma while we head to Beaches Ochos Rios in Jamaica. It’s a rare week we make the rounds through ALL sets of parents!
I mentioned before that I went easy with my March spread. It was kind of a crazy month, mostly because it seemed to be the most intense month for my NTP coursework. I also had two study groups and the annual NTA conference that I attended for the first time, all on weekends. The month felt very unbalanced with how much time I spent studying. I was fully expecting that when I signed up and I love everything about becoming an NTP, it just meant we didn’t do a whole lot in March that was picture worthy.
Alfred turned two on March 30th, which was really the only big event of the month. I made him a paper crown that he shockingly wasn’t interested in wearing. To celebrate, he got a new bone from the farmer’s market. Greg and I brought him home Memorial Day weekend 2012, so we haven’t had him quite two years yet but it feels like the three of us have always been a little family. I had so few photos from the month I used the “top ten” idea from Elise’s February project life. Actually, a few of the top ten events I didn’t even have a picture of, so I just made do with what I had. You know you are stretching for big doin’s in a month when you include making airline status.
Supplies: The majority of this spread is from the Studio Calico Office Hours PL kit. I also include a few cards from the Sunshine PL Core kit. I used Design C and Design F pocket pages (for the Design F I sew the 4×6 opening to create a full page of 4×3 pockets).
Per my arbitrary declaration, it’s time for the spring bucket list!
On to the goals. I have a little notebook that is mostly always with me (currently its orange with gold circles from Target; highly recommend). The front part is my to do list and the back is random lists, plans, tracking sheets, etc. Usually once I post a bucket list for a season, I start a new list in my notebook for the next season. This way I can capture things throughout the months that I’d like to work on, rather than sitting down and coming up with ten random goals at one time.
I noticed a flaw in my system when I looked through what I had for spring. It was several hefty craft/house projects and some fitness goals. They are all fun and I’d love to spend my time doing them, but they don’t really reflect my priorities right now and through the next ten weeks. I decided to take another approach and first recognize what my priorities are, then make goals against those. Here’s what I came up with for priorities:
1. Family Time
2. Eating Real Food
Having an actual list for how I want/need to spend my time was really helpful for coming up with a bucket list that will be realistic and not add stress. The point is to be intentional with my time and have fun, so adding goals that add stress is just silly.
1. Start on fixing up the backyard. This might sound like it falls under priority seven, crafting/house, but it’s actually a project that Greg and I will work on together through nice weekends this spring. We’re both really excited about it and looking forward to doing it. It will definitely be good quality time together. There’s more we want to do to the backyard eventually, but for spring we hope to: plant grass on half the yard, clean up the plants around the sitting area, spruce up our small table and chairs, create veggie boxes for the unused planter, and lay down a ground cover (small white rocks?) around the veggie boxes.
2. Deal with Alfred’s doorbell and stranger barking. This may not be the most fun way to spend family time but it’s seriously going to increase all of our quality of life.
3. Plan and have a fun Memorial Day weekend with my parents and the girls. We are loving all the visitors we have this year and my parents will be in town for Memorial Day weekend. Since we don’t typically have a five and three year old with us, I want to plan a few things that will be fun for everyone.
4. Render pork fat into lard. A new cooking challenge, a new item to use for cooking when it’s done, and creating freezer space! Win, win, win.
5. Buy amber glasses and regular alarm clocks. Sleep improvements! Since I’m usually on my computer until 9 and Greg sometimes later, we’re getting amber tinted glasses. (Yes, I’m aware I get weirder every day.) These glasses help block the blue light that comes from electronics, which throw off your body’s natural cycle of producing melatonin in the evening. Yes, getting off electronics in the evening would be better but right now that’s not going to happen. I’m also looking for some alarm clocks to use in our room instead of our phones.
6. Keep on top of NTP work. I’ve been both on top of my school work and a little behind (post Phoenix) and life is much less stressful during the on top if it phases. So I hope to keep it that way.
7. Get started on my community outreach project. It’s not due until October, but I don’t want to spend September scrambling to finish. My goal for spring is to outline the project.
8. Walk 50 miles with the doodle. I had so much fun doing this last summer and I don’t have any other form of exercise going on right now, so why not go for it a second time. This will get us both outside and checking out new parks while we rack up the miles.
9. Script class. I signed up for this class, bought the supplies, then promptly started my NTP class. Haven’t done much else but the class is available to me still as it’s online so I hope to get to it soon.
10. Finish the office and craft closet. After careful consideration, the craft closet is going to remain a closet and not a room. It’s been reorganized partially and already that’s made a huge difference. With our new desk I have plenty of room to craft. With the cleaned out closet, I have a place to neatly store everything. It’s working. Virtually no progress has been made on the office since I shared our update, so I need to complete the finishing touches and also clean out the last few shelves in the closet. Totally doable.
Next week I’ll recap my winter bucket list. Which turned out to be not quite as big of a miss as I thought it might be.
Sunday was supposed to be in the low 50s and partly sunny. I had grand plans for a fun family day to take advantage of the weather and everyone else in Seattle staying home to watch the Seahawks game. I did some research looking for a day trip to a new spot in Washington and came up with Port Orchard.
We drove into Kitsap County (a little over an hour) and our first stop was the Howe Farms dog park. It was huge – 4 acres of fields and trails. I typically hate the dog park but this one was fun. The scenery was really beautiful as well. It was only about 40 and super foggy – so much for the good weather. We were underdressed for the elements and stayed for only 45 minutes.
Next up we went into downtown Port Orchard. I thought we’d stroll along the main street, find a cute place to eat, and enjoy the afternoon along the marina. Besides the weather not being on our side, Port Orchard was a little sad. Most of the stores on the main street were boarded up. Definitely not what I had pictured.
We found a cute place to stop and eat though, the Home Made Cafe. It was a little breakfast and lunch spot in the basement of an old church. All the tables were dining room tables with matching chairs, very country kitsch. The food was good and they had hot coffee. We ate and headed back to the car. Trying to make the most of our adventure, we took the ferry home. I’m still somewhat in awe of driving onto a ferry even though this is probably my fifth or so time.
The day wasn’t really what I had imagined, but we still had a lot of fun and spent quality time together. And one winter bucket list goal is complete.
I thought it would be fun to go through my photos and try to find a picture from January from each year in the past. My digital photos start with 2005 and I really had no idea what I would find. I just skipped the year if I didn’t have any pictures from January.
This was so much fun, I’m going to try to remember to do it again next month.
This weekend we headed out to Wenatchee for the first of the family Christmas celebrations. We had a nice but quick stay with Ken and Cathy and a delicious prime rib dinner.
I didn’t take any pictures myself, but my FIL decided he wanted a family picture and he wanted it to be on the farm. So off we went to the orchard, trying to beat what little daylight was left.
After we captured the photo we sat around the fireplace and reminisced about Greg and Mike’s late grandpa. I never got to meet him, which makes me sad, but I did get to take home a Grandpa Jerry treasure this weekend. Meet my new brass reindeer. He’s going to be a fantastic holiday decoration when I clean him up.
Since I’ve been confined to the house this weekend to not spread my germs, I’ve been finding ways to occupy my time that won’t interfere with me getting well. I decided to capture some pictures of Alfred going about his day. He leads a VERY rough life, and Sunday, 12/8 was particularly difficult for him.
He loves to play tug with his rope toy. He doesn’t like to hold on to the ball end and he’s recently discovered he can use his paw to help win. However, he actually doesn’t like to win because that means the game is over.
He is super obedient if treats are in the picture.
The park across the street is a lifesaver.
He prefers that we don’t watch TV and brings toys out to play with instead.
He does not like the kitchen (I think because it’s long and narrow with only one opening?). He will only go in when he needs to eat. Otherwise, he sits in the doorway and watches the action.
1. I ordered our holiday cards last weekend and they should arrive shortly. I’m happy they are ordered and can be ready to go out after Thanksgiving.
2. It’s been over a month since I deactivated my Facebook account. I one hundred percent stand by the decision, but I do miss my few close girlfriends that I don’t text with constantly. Two are on Instagram and I am working on the others. The lack of online communication is making me reach out more via email/text to friends, which I like.
3. Becky’s wedding shower is this weekend! I can’t wait to stuff my face with dessert at the Melting Pot. And see family and friends and celebrate my (original) little sister.
4. Alfred seems less puppy-like every day. When we got to doggie day care Tuesday he was half asleep in the back of the car, not with his nose pressed up against the window, ready to jump out like usual. I think we’ve entered the teen years.