Tag Archives: family

New England Trip: Boston

Over the last few months it feels like I’ve gone from over-documenting to not documenting anything at all. Since I’ve totally failed on the paper documentation, I am going to try to be better at posting our adventures on the blog.

Last week we went to New England and enjoyed time with friends and family. We started Wednesday morning with a long flight to Boston. It ended up being SUPER easy. We had a full row to ourselves and Paige was so good.
IMG_2036Hanging out with dad in the Boardroom.
IMG_2039Sitting in her own seat on the plane.

We landed in Boston around 5pm and took an Uber to our hotel. We went looking for a dinner spot, but there was a Boston Bruins game right across the street from our hotel later that night and a 45 minute wait everywhere. We decided to be like our old, spontaneous kid-less selves and jumped on the T. 
IMG_2043Dads who baby wear are sexy. 

IMG_2044We’re downtown! With a baby! After dark! 

IMG_2045We found a Legal Seafood and P had her first bites of broccoli. She loved it and it kept her entertained while we ate our dinner, not at warp speed for once. Love that she is old enough now for us to order her something off the menu that keeps her entertained for a bit.

IMG_2046Thursday morning started with Paige giving herself a pep talk in the mirror. Dad went to work in the Boston office and we were off to spend the day with our good friends, Amanda and Ruby. We took the T (I didn’t realize how much I miss living in middle of a city until we had all these public transit options available to us) and met them near their apartment.

IMG_2112First stop, the park. The girls got a kick out of swinging together. (PC: Amanda)

IMG_2055While Ruby took her nap, I walked around the South End with P and managed to get her to sleep.IMG_2065

IMG_2061Loved checking out all the old homes and streets.

Aftern nap time, we went and visited the dads at work. The office happens to be right near the Boston Public Library main branch. The children’s area nearly the size of a grocery store!

IMG_2070Once the girls were tired of the library we went walking. Amanda took Ruby to another little park and I walked Paige around the Boston Public Garden (I think) to try and get another nap in.


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We finished the day with dinner with Jon and Amanda then took the T back to our hotel. While waiting for the train I noticed I had walked 29,000 steps that day. New record!

Friday morning we headed over to Cambridge to walk around Harvard.

IMG_2084Paige is embarrassed to be seen with us in family selfies already.
IMG_2085The campus and Cambridge are both beautiful. If Paige doesn’t get into UCLA we’ll consider Harvard as a back up.
IMG_2088Greg introduced me to Shake Shack. Totally worth it. After lunch we were off on the second part of our trip – a wedding in Rhode Island.

paige’s first trip

We took Paige on her first trip last weekend when we visited my family in Denver. She did awesome on the plane both ways. We’re so happy we have a happy traveler. She didn’t sleep great while we were there, but otherwise the trip went really well. We hung out with the family and did a lot of relaxing. The guys golfed, the ladies hosted a little baby shower for my sister, and we celebrated Greg’s birthday with homemade vanilla ice cream.

The schedules worked out kind of funny this month and we’ll be back again in a few weeks. Next trip my brother’s family will be there as well and we’ll have the following in one house: eight adults, a six year old, a four year old, a three year old, a two year old, a one year old, a three month old, a one month old, and a 15 week old puppy. Complete chaos and awesomeness.


my baby shower

My mom threw me a baby shower in Los Angeles last weekend for family, with the help of my sister and my best friend. It was at the Alcove restaurant in Los Feliz, my favorite little area of LA and where I would want to live if we ever moved back to southern California. We had a private back house to ourselves which was the perfect set up. I took no pictures, but my sister and mom took a few and I’m stealing them for this post.

IMG_1325_edited-1Almost all of my local aunts and cousins were able to make it. Nice to see everyone, since I have no idea when we’ll manage to get back down to the area. The food was really good. I had french toast, after my mom pointed out making sure that she had several paleo options on the menu for me. Thanks mom, but my own baby shower is a once in a lifetime event and I went with dessert for brunch. (And to be honest, then regretted it because the Cobb salad looked amazing.)

IMG_1344_edited-1We played two games and had some great conversations. It’s always fun to hear about my aunts’ experiences and how things have changed over the years. Everyone very generously showered the baby with gifts, including this little toddler USMNT uniform. He or she will be styling for many of the 2018 World Cup qualifying games.

IMG_1350_edited-1Somehow my mom found a place that would host a strawberry shortcake bar for dessert (my absolute favorite, followed closely by carrot cake). Even though I felt a little weird and shaky after my french toast (I do not do well with sugar), I took down a delicious piece of strawberry shortcake. A big thank you to my mom for making it a fun and special morning for me and the martian. Untitled-2

For one of the games, in which everyone wrote down advice, my mom had my sister take a picture of me with each guest. Here are just a few (SIL, sister, mom, aunt, aunt, bestie). I am cracking up because when I looked through all 20 or so of them, the only one in which I have “sorority arm” is with Lauren. It must just be engrained in me that when I pose with her I need to pop the elbow. I’d also like to thank everyone for coordinating well with my outfit. IMG_8754_edited-1

My sister and I shared a hotel room on Saturday night and I got to spend the afternoon and evening with this little guy. Is he not adorable? He is talking like crazy (even says “Aunt Beth”!) and is obsessed with trucks and cars. We took him for frozen yogurt for dinner (because when your nutritionist aunt comes to town, what else would you eat for dinner?) then hung out in our hotel. He made a game of surprising us from the closet while I failed miserably at teaching my sister how to knit. Apparently right handed knitting does not translate easily to left handed, or I’m a terrible instructor. Or both.

IMG_8756_edited-1We turned the light out at 9 to get Maks to bed, thinking we’d turn on the TV once he was out. Next thing I knew it was 6:30am. Two preggos and a toddler really know how to party. Though Maks did ask for a beer at one point after my sister said no to milk. One of us was trying for some fun.

a ‘welcome to the family’ quilt


Over the summer I gained my fourth sister when Joey married Brittany. I had grand plans of making her a quilt as a shower gift. I bought material, came up with a design, and started on the project. Back in May. Then I put it on the shelf and during the first trimester and while finishing school, that’s where it stayed. Over the past few weeks I dusted it off and finished it, just in time to deliver it in person over Thanksgiving.


Brittany loves purple and I wanted to do something in all solids, without any busy patterns. Most of the local craft stores don’t carry a large selection of solid colors, so I tried fabric.com for the first time. Overall I’ve been really happy with buying from them. You can create a design wall (above) to see how your various fabrics look together. I added all the purples I could find and mixed them around until I came up with 7 or 8 I liked together.


In person they were pretty true to the color on the screen. By this time I’d decided to go with a square patchwork quilt. This is the first time that I can think of when I made up my own design for a craft.

IMG_8065_edited-1I picked six of the colors for the top of the quilt and cut them into 3.5″ squares. In retrospect this was pretty small and meant a lot of cutting and sewing. But I love how it turned out so it was worth it.


The seventh color I saved for the binding and cut it into long strips until I had about 220 inches, or a little more than the perimeter of my total quilt.

IMG_8092_edited-1Then I started sewing squares together. I definitely should have planned this better. Instead, I just keep adding on, making really big squares and rectangles. I think if I had been more methodical, the corners would match up better in the finished product.

IMG_8094_edited-1When I left off in May, I had about half a quilt top sewn together and the rest of the squares just cut. I picked it up this month and finished the top first. Then I went to the fabric store to pick out a backing. I had originally bought a polk dot fabric, but it seemed a little juvenile. Instead I found a geometric black and white pattern that was still basic and not too loud, but seemed like a better fit for the look I wanted.


Note the difference between lovely May light and less than lovely November light here in the PNW. Next up was deciding how to quilt the top, the batting, and the backing together. I decided to go down both sides of every row and column. It looks great, but I had no idea what I was getting myself into. The only other quilt I’ve made had 15 lines of quilting on it. This one had 68. I underestimated just a little how long that would take.

I also underestimated how hard it would be to quilt at six months pregnant. I forgot just how much arranging, lining up, and pinning fabric happens on the floor. I’m not super mobile these days, but made it work.


I used white thread after having a hard time deciding on a color. I thought about silver or gold, but in the end just went with white. On the front, it really brightens things up a bit. IMG_8488_edited-1And on the back, it doesn’t take away from the pattern itself at all. I wasn’t sure about it at the time, but after the fact I think it was a good choice.




One of these days I need to make a quilt that is going to remain on our couch! I have one more in the queue before I start on Martian’s quilt. Hopefully it will be done before s/he arrives. IMG_8492_edited-1I added ribbon and an ‘I made this for you’ tag that came in the first Happy Mail box.

Project: 9/35
Time: not sure; somewhere around 15 hours in the last few weeks plus five hours in May
Tutorial: n/a
Cost: $50 ($20 – top and binding fabrics; $6 – thread; $14 – backing fabric; $9 – batting)

giving thanks

Last year, I wrote a very brief post on Thanksgiving. Little did anyone but Greg and I know, our “little family” was growing. We had known for about ten days that we were pregnant and it certainly kicked off the holidays with an extra bit of cheer. We strategized how we’d hide my not drinking at his mom’s house that day and were super excited that we’d see all three of our families in the same week (besides at our wedding, that has never happened) just after our first appointment. Thanksgiving and Christmas were looking good.

However, as I’ve mentioned (and you can probably gather that I’m not actually 12 months pregnant at this point), that didn’t work out so well. The day after Thanksgiving things started to look bad and by Saturday night we were in the ER, spending an easy $1500 only to learn that we wouldn’t actually be parents quite yet. The only part I’m still bitter about is the $1500 out of pocket we paid (of the nearly $4000 bill) for two hours in the ER.

It was rough. Trying to be happy all during the Christmas season was a marathon. Looking back a year later though, I can see the silver lining. I honestly don’t know how true that would be if I wasn’t sitting here trying to type over my big belly. It would certainly be harder to accept, but I hope that I would be able to see how 2014 has been transformative.

I made it through Christmas and went in to the new year determined to be happy. And I’m pretty good at doing what I set my mind to. One thing that hugely helped was Ali Edward’s One Little Word project. I picked “cheer”. I just wanted to be cheerful again. Focusing on that word somehow helped me find my way back. But I not only found my way back, I found my way forward, too.

I got an email in mid January, just as I was starting to feel normal again, from NTA (the Nutritional Therapy Association). I had signed up for their mailing list at least a year before but deleted the messages when they came through. Usually with the thought of “I can’t actually make a career in nutrition, I’m a consultant” or something similar.

This time though, I checked it out a little more. A Seattle session for Nutritional Therapy Practitioner training was starting the following week. And I thought, why not? Why can’t I do this? The thing I thought I could control is out of my hands, so maybe I’m looking at it all wrong. Somehow, the devastation of a situation I had no control over combined with my determination to not let it bring me down anymore (and a husband who backed the idea 100% with about two text messages worth of information), gave me the courage to step way out of my comfort zone.


It would be amazing to be sitting here writing some sort of Thanksgiving post with our five month old napping next to the doodle. But that’s not my story.


My story is anticipation for the little member of our family who will be joining us in three months.IMG_6519

It’s excitement for the business that is now official(!) that I’m going to build.


It’s knowing that even if these were the only two family members ever to join me in this little family, I’m a very lucky girl.

This year I’m going to be thankful for all the usuals, like my husband and my doodle and my family and my friends and my freedom and my scrambled eggs. But also for all the things I can’t control. For the unknowns. For the possibilities that I haven’t even thought of yet. And even for the crappy times that might be required to find those possibilities.

I hope you all have a wonderful day with whomever you are spending it with. If this is a tough year, I hope that you find the grace and perseverance you need to make it through. And maybe just a bit of your dad’s expensive pinot (go ahead and ask any family member about my amazing performance on Christmas Eve last year…).

one more photo

I shared pictures from our trip to Jamaica yesterday, but there was one I left out. Today I’m very excited to share it with you. IMG_5789_edited-1We were battling waves and trying to make it to dinner on time, so it’s not quite as perfect of a picture as I had in my mind (perhaps preparing us for the future?). In case it’s not clear, our exciting news is that Baby Martin (a.k.a. #ourlittlemartian on Instagram) will be arriving mid-February!

I’m hoping to do a recap post of the first trimester soon since I’m well into the second at this point and don’t want to forget it all. But for now, the important details: We are due 2/15, which puts me in my 16th week and baby at the size of an avocado. Our appointments so far have been great and I am feeling really good (so thankful).

Right now my goal is simply to keep up with life and make it through school (seven weeks to go!). Once I finish on 10/19 it will be full steam ahead with baby prep. I’m pretty sure the next 24 weeks will fly by given the holidays. I’m really excited that my least favorite season of the year will now have an awesome annual event!


sabbatical days, part 5

I’m finishing up documenting my sabbatical with our trip to my brother and Brittany’s destination wedding.

IMG_5778_edited-1Despite how we look here (at 7am in the Atlanta airport after a redeye) we were very excited to be half way to our final destination, Beaches Ochos Rios in Jamaica.

IMG_5783_edited-1We spent the first few days relaxing at the beach and pool. The resort had a water park with some of the only poolside shade to be found. We camped out here for most of the day and then tried the different resort restaurants each night. IMG_5796_edited-1 IMG_5787_edited-1IMG_5890_edited-1 IMG_5815_edited-1

I’m so happy we were able to be a part of the wedding. There were about 25 people that made it to Jamaica to celebrate with Joey and Britt on Friday night. Maks easily won the award for best dressed.
IMG_5824_edited-1 IMG_5832_edited-1 IMG_5833_edited-1 IMG_5839_edited-1 Love, love, love that my brother had custom Vans made for his wedding. I don’t think I’ve seen him wear shoes other than Vans since he was about five, so it was completely fitting that he wear a pair on this big day. Love that Brittany let his style shine through as well. IMG_5842_edited-1 IMG_5849_edited-1

Daddy and the flower girl walking down the aisle. And below, the basket Avery promptly threw overboard when she finished tossing the petals.

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I’m pretty sure all four of them shed tears during the ceremony. Joey and Britt shared sweet vows that they wrote to each other. Here they are, the official Collins family of four.
IMG_5867_edited-1 IMG_5863_edited-1 IMG_5870_edited-1IMG_5874_edited-1I’ll end my sabbatical memories on this adorable note: cousins kicking off the dancing.


sabbatical days, part 4

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. IMG_5730_edited-1 IMG_5733_edited-1 IMG_5735_edited-1That night we had dinner with my dad then headed out for a girls night of wine + painting. IMG_5741_edited-1

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).

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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. IMG_5768_edited-1 IMG_5776_edited-1 IMG_5762_edited-1

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!


quiet around here


It’s been a little quiet around here. I’m trying to study for my midterm coming up at the same time as I prepare at work to be gone for four weeks starting on the 14th. Which means I spend approximately 16 hours a day sitting in a chair. But mostly it’s just been a little somber and busy making last minute plans for the weekend.

My Grandma Janet passed away last weekend, losing her battle with cancer. She was 71 years young and, as you can in this picture from our wedding less than two years ago, she was so full of life. I’m not sure I’ve ever met anyone with more energy.  My hobby collecting gene most certainly came from Grandma Janet (through my mom, of course).

Greg and I are heading to southern California today to celebrate her life. I’m incredibly grateful to my MIL who canceled her 4th of July camping trip to keep Alfred so we can both go. It’s always great to be able to spend time with my family but it really sucks (let’s just call it like it is) that this is the reason why. She will be missed immensely by 5 kids (and their significant others), 16 grandkids, and 5 great-grandkids. Quite the legacy.

{72 hours} waikiki

Two weekends ago we had the opportunity to spend a few days on Oahu. Greg was there for work during the week and we found a good deal with miles for me to fly out Thursday night. Greg had some work to do Friday morning so I enjoyed my coffee and the view from our room. hotelviewsOnce Greg finished work around 8am (gotta love working west coast hours while in Hawaii – can’t believe it’s been five years since I did that full time), we were off to climb Diamond Head. While waiting for the bus we saw our first rainbow and I started my palm tree photography obsession. prettyday

A quick bus ride and we were at Diamond Head.
IMG_5334_edited-1The entire hike is not more than two miles, but it’s pretty much straight uphill.


The views from the top are well worth the short hike.
view from top

Obligatory selfie followed by obligatory trade with another couple. usattop

Per the sign, it should take 60 – 90 minutes to complete the walk. We kicked ass and did it in 50. IMG_5347_edited-1It was nice to start the weekend with a little active adventure before we spent a pretty lazy day relaxing at the pool and napping. We happened to pick a restaurant for dinner that was right next to the condos Greg used to stay in as a kid.


We had plans to take a surfing lesson on Saturday morning. Greg had rented us a cabana for the day and as we settled in we decided surfing lessons could wait until our next trip. The Honolulu Pride parade went right past our cabana and Greg managed to get the Sounders game on his laptop. There really was no reason to leave our shady paradise the entire day. cabanaI was feeling a little guilty running off to Hawaii with how much schoolwork had piled up. I ended up coming home with so much work complete. Four and a half hours each way with no wifi does wonders for studying. I am actually feeling better with where I am now than I was before I went. I also got some studying in over the weekend. Studying in paradise is not too shabby.


Saturday night we tried an outdoor restaurant with Greg’s boss and his family. They have an adorable two year old, Maya, and it was fun to get to know Ian and Amanda more. Sunday morning we woke up and enjoyed breakfast at Hula Grill and one last gaze at palm trees. I heart palm trees.

IMG_5409_edited-1 I also heart TimerCam to get pictures of me and this guy. Great weekend and a great break from reality for a few days.IMG_5417_edited-1