Tag Archives: seattle

weekend update | while we’re waiting

First off: nope, no baby yet. Yesterday was my due date but I’m not really in a big hurry. We haven’t had this much down time…ever, maybe? It’s been so nice to just spend time together, relax, and make plans at the spur of the moment. I’m not feeling horribly uncomfortable, though sleep is a little lacking. I’m walking a lot and keeping my food pretty clean in hopes of continuing to feel good until it’s go time.


The baby did not get the memo that Martins are punctual. Let’s hope s/he understands that our family motto is “efficiency” and makes this a quick labor once it’s time.

My last day of work was Friday and as I was heading home Greg mentioned that he and our friend, KII, would be staying later at work to finish a project. You might think this means a work project, but no, it was to update their lego station in the break area to include our company’s new logo.


We’ve been doing Friday night happy hour (though it’s turned out to be dinner every week) with KII and his wife Becca lately, so us ladies decided to go out on our own while they nerded out. The point of Friday night happy hour is to try new restaurants as we all felt like we’d been in a rut (adventure is happening, people!). Last week we had dinner at Brunswick & Hunt in Ballard. Great atmosphere, delicious food, big portions. Since I’m not imbibing all I can say is that the drinks looked pretty tasty as well. Try the Merguez sausage and take the half you can’t eat home to enjoy with eggs the next morning.

Back to this weekend. Becca and I tried mkt. in Tangletown. It is super tiny (28 seats) with an open kitchen. Greg and I are currently watching all the seasons of Top Chef from the beginning and I love open kitchens and watching chefs do their art. We showed up right when they opened at 5 and got the only non-reserved seats they had for the rest of the weekend. Let’s just say that it’s three days later and Becca and I are still texting each other about the food. I’ve never lusted over green beans before. Or a beet salad. Or quail. I have lusted over hamachi before, but there’s was delicious as well.

No different than other years, our Valentine’s Day was very low key. We started off with brunch at Liam’s in U-Village, another new-to-us restaurant. We are on a roll. There is nothing like the pending arrival of a newborn to make you get out of the house way more than you normally would! While cleaning out a coin purse last week, I found a gift card from our wedding in 2012. I looked up where it could be used and one of the places was Liam’s. Thanks, Smithskis, for our Valentine’s brunch!  The food was pretty good, but what we were really excited to see was a number of strollers and car seats. Another baby friendly place to add to our mental list.


We spent the rest of the day relaxing. We watched a lot of Top Chef season two, took the dog out to play fetch in the amazing weather and worked on our hobbies.IMG_7001_edited-1

I’m almost done with a giant blanket that I don’t particularly love but want to finish.


Greg continues to classify and rebuild all his childhood lego sets.


We had a very romantic dinner of burgers and fries (my request) from a restaurant a few blocks from us. I was enjoying the lazy downtime and didn’t want to bother actually going there for dinner so we ordered it instead. I don’t know when the last time I had french fries was. They were amazing. To make myself feel better about being good and skipping the bun and cheese, I added egg and bacon to my burger. We’re not total heathens and I did add a beet salad to our order. It might be because I was 39 weeks and 6 days pregnant at the time of consumption, but that meal was amazing. We watched the season two Top Chef finale while we dined and it was a lovely way to end the day. By 9pm I was pretty excited that the chances of having a holiday baby were getting close to zero. That was gift enough for me.


The weather continued to be amazing and yesterday we took the dog around Green Lake for a brisk walk. I consider keeping up with my 6″ tall husband at nine months pregnant to be brisk.

IMG_7012_edited-1Greg has gotten in the habit of making extreme statements every time we leave the house now, like “this might be the last time we ever go to brunch”. I did have to give him this one, though. This very well could have been the last time the three of us walk around Green Lake. I don’t really see a situation in which together we take the dog without the baby. Of course that means I had to commemorate it with a shadow picture. Turns out pregnancy isn’t great in shadows.

I’m writing myself a short to do list of the last few things I’d like to get done before baby, but otherwise plan to do a lot of reading, finish my blanket, and maybe even bust out the sewing machine. I’ve never not had a job since I was 16 so this feels a little strange, but definitely doable. And I will continue to walk briskly until the kid decides it wants to make an appearance. Have a great week!


spring in January

While the rest of the country is enjoying the great blizzard of 2015, we are having spring-like weather here in Seattle. It has been gorgeous this week and I’ve been making sure to get outside and enjoy it.

Sunset views on Alfred’s walk Monday evening.

IMG_6925_edited-1 IMG_6927_edited-1Sunrise views and morning light while I went for coffee and a mile walk waddle on Wednesday before work.

IMG_6931_edited-1 IMG_6934_edited-1 IMG_6936_edited-1Morning light in our dining room on Thursday. This is my favorite, but usually it only happens in the late spring and summer.IMG_6939_edited-1

And from our front yard on Thursday – the beginning signs of daffodils and a sky that looks more August than January.

IMG_6945_edited-1 IMG_6944_edited-1I know this won’t last so I’m trying to enjoy it as much as possible! Off to force the doodle on another morning walk while he’d rather be sleeping.



sabbatical days, part 1

My job is pretty great for many reasons, one of them being the four-week sabbatical that we earn every three years. I actually became eligible to take mine in the fall of 2012 but waited until this summer. The timing seemed perfect when I realized there were four weeks between my big school weekend/midterm and my brother’s wedding in Jamaica. I could easily fill the two weeks between events and I was definitely ready to step away from the laptop for a bit.

IMG_5613_edited-1Before I jumped into school mode for the first week, we celebrated Soccer Sunday. Our friends, the Kays, hosted a World Cup final party complete with a German brats bar and dolce de leche for dessert. I was rooting for Argentina, but well done Germany. I’m ready for 2018 already. We went home to take care of the dog and then it was time for our second match of the day: Sounders vs. Timbers on Sunday evening. I love a city where 65,000 fans come out to cheer and sunset isn’t until 9pm.

IMG_5624_edited-1My first week was a little more work than fun, but I’m really thankful I had three full days to study for my midterm before class started Thursday. In fact, it worked out so well I’m a little nervous about not having time off before the final in October. I spent my days getting very familiar with 103 color-coded index cards and a few coffee shops around our neighborhood.

IMG_5633_edited-1Class started on Thursday (my studying paid off, the written and practical midterms went very well!) and went through Sunday. My boys were good sports while I left every morning at 8 and returned home around 6:30, most nights too tired to even have a conversation. Who am I kidding, they do just fine without me. As far as Alfred’s concerned I’m a third wheel to his time with Dad.

IMG_5645_edited-1Luckily I gave myself a few down days post-school. I had plans to get a lot done around the house on Monday and Tuesday, but in reality I just recovered from the intense learning. I somehow managed to get myself packed and ready bright and early Wednesday for my next sabbatical adventure, a tri-city tour to visit all my “homes away from home”.

Next up: Three uber-relaxing day in LA with the Smithskis!


the 2014 winter bucket list: recap

winter bucket list 2014_edited-1Seeing that we’re more than two weeks into spring territory, it’s time to recap winter. I made my list of goals weeks before I decided to jump into the NTP program, so they definitely did not take into account that I’d be spending most of my free time learning and studying.

1. Attend Barre3 five times a week. I went five days a week up until we got a few weeks into class. Then I cut back to three or four. Then I realized that with all the studying I was doing, exercising indoors meant I was never getting outside. I ended my membership and started walking Alfred a lot more. It was a great decision – I just feel so much better when I get outside everyday for an extended period of time.

2. Bring breakfast to work every day, bring my lunch to work four days a week, and eat a homemade dinner five nights a week. I did really well with this. Over the course of ten weeks I think I bought my breakfast at work only three times. There was probably a week or two where I didn’t bring my lunch four days, but I really improved on not eating in the cafe everyday. As for dinners, for the most part we stuck to going out/take out no more than twice a week and some weeks I think we even did only one.


3. Redo our office. The major work is done, but I’m still finishing up some decorative aspects. Still loving our new set up and the additional light we are getting in our favorite room. I wrote about our overhaul here.

4. Create my craft closet. I got so far as to cleared out the closet and moved in a small desk. Between seeing what I was actually working with and knowing that the next year or more is dedicated to becoming an NTP and starting my own business (and if we’re lucky throwing a baby in the mix), crafting is probably not going to be high on my list for a while. I’ve decided to reorganize the closet (it’s about halfway done) to better store all my supplies. That alone is huge and with our larger work desk I have room to craft when I get a few minutes.

5. Finish closet and jewelry organization. Ha. Let’s just say it is not significantly worse than when winter started.


6. Organize the spice jars. The supplies were purchased and the work is mostly done. There’s probably an hour left, I just haven’t got to it yet. Maybe this weekend? I went with small jars to organize my every growing spice collection. More details to come in a post when I finally finish the project.


7.  See something new in Washington. We did! It wasn’t super exciting, but we had a fun family day down to Port Orchard.


8. Go on a winter getaway. Phoenix was not so good to us in 2014, but we got a few hours in the sun and we had a good time together. Maui 2015 is on the books (in my head), though Maui for Fall 2014 needs to get booked on the real books ASAP.

9. Replace two of our dog-chewed blankets with homemade ones. I made progress on two blankets but neither are near finished. I bought the fabric for a quilt and I’m about 30% done with a new knit blanket. I’m LOVING it and will happily admit I borrowed the idea from Elise (of course). You can see her finished product here and at some point I’ll be back to show you mine.

10. Send five cards. I did not start a snail-mail revolution. The only snail-mail I sent was monthly anniversary cards to my sister and brother-in-law (from her shower), which totally don’t count since I did not write them.

NYEE and a meatball bar

Last night was the tenth anniversary of New Years Eve Eve. It was also my fourth one to attend/host, which seems crazy. Perhaps it’s a sign you married the right person when it seems like there’s no way possible you’ve been together for four years already? We had a small crowd this year, just eight of us, but it was nice and low key for a Monday night when half the crowd had to work on Tuesday. For the first time ever, a baby attended NYEE. We also added a white elephant exchange this year and it was pretty hilarious. It was definitely a different party than previous years and I’m sure it will continue to evolve as the years go on.


This is a terribly fuzzy and dark photo, but the only proof I have that humans attended our party.IMG_7671_edited-1

I had a fun idea to make a meatball bar. Seemed perfect since they are bite-sized snack foods that are easy to make ahead of time and reheat for the party. I made then on Sunday then followed the reheating directions before the party; they tasted fine room temp as well. I picked four of the fifteen meatball recipes from Well Fed 2 (bringing my total to six so far); I did switch up some of the meat suggestions to ensure we had a good mix for people’s preferences.


I made beef Thai Curry balls with curry sauce; beef Cuban balls with Lizard Sauce; pork Japanese gyoza balls with an Asian dipping sauce; and turkey Greek balls with a kebab sauce. Just realized it’s kind of funny I make Greek balls with Turkey, not always known as a loving combination. Perhaps the way to world peace is through balls? Everything was tasty (minus the Cuban balls but that is because they had olives and we all know I think olives are the devil’s food).

The meatball recipes are all in the cookbook only as far as I can tell, but try out a few of Mel’s other meatball recipes that are available on her site.

I clearly went way overboard for just eight guests who mostly had already eaten dinner, but now we have a stash of meatballs in the freezer for next week. I also made sweet potato with bacon soup and have a ton leftover so my breakfasts will be something to look forward to the first week of January.

IMG_7666_edited-2Champagne corks + Project Life cards made for cute and free food labels.

Our hosting is done for 2013! Tonight it’s a quiet night on the couch with our yearly take-out of homemade chow mien noodles from Snappy Dragon with a fancy bottle of champagne my parents sent for our first anniversary. I’m sure it will involve (almost finishing) The West Wing, knitting, a sleepy doodle, and probably some coding. What more could you want from NYE? (answer: absolutely nothing)

Happy New Year’s Eve, friends!

playing catch-up with project life

Over the last two months I got very behind on my Project Life album. I was feeling overwhelmed on how to catch up. Once I decided to go really simple I actually knocked out several weeks in just a few hours. Currently I’m caught up with the exception of one week in November. Not bad since I was behind starting in mid-October.

I combined the last half of October into one spread. We both worked like crazy these 2+ weeks and there were so few pictures. Aside from work, we traveled to SF for a wedding, celebrated Halloween, and enjoyed the newly opened Maple Leaf park.

The long work hours paid off when we spent the first week of November in Hawaii, relaxing and not working.

Again, I fudged the dates a little. We were on Maui from Friday to Friday but it made no sense to divide the trip into multiple spreads to fit my usual Monday to Sunday work. I’m convinced Project Life is most enjoyable if you break your rules frequently. IMG_7313_edited-1

Because I made a Blurb book for this trip, I kept the documenting here very simple. Just two 12×12 pictures and a very succinct trip overview in some white space. IMG_7312_edited-1

We had some good times with friends and family recently, especially on Thanksgiving. We also experienced some challenges and while I wish we had not, I’m glad I had a place to document. IMG_7316_edited-1 IMG_7318_edited-1 IMG_7319_edited-1I’m so glad to be mostly caught up. I love this project but am looking forward to starting fresh in 2014 with a few new ideas to streamline and simplify the process. It’s hard to believe I am editing photos right now for week 49 of the year. It’s gone oh-so-fast, but looking back through two binders full of weekly stories and pictures reminds me of how much we’ve been lucky to do this year.

the dining room

Months ago I saw someone pin this drink cart from Target and I knew it would be a really fun addition to the dining room. Right now the room is lacking in everything aside from a table and chairs. There are two pretty stained glass windows (original to the house) but that is the only thing going on in the room.IMG_7153_edited-1

I waited a month or so to make sure the cart was still on my must have list. It’s a new requirement forced upon myself because I’ve bought too many house furnishings on a whim that I regret down the road. I’m talking to you, coffee + end tables.

I was still enamored with it last month, loving the lighter colors it would bring into our house of very dark furniture, but by then we were in No Spend October. But now we’re in November and I brought the cart home this weekend. I’m limiting myself to one house purchase per month, so I’m done for November. And probably the rest of the year because December is expensive. IMG_7154_edited-1The cart needs to be styled some. We just threw all the booze we had on the top shelf (mostly gifts from our house warming last year, so it just dawned on me that to keep this cart looking stocked I might actually have to buy liquor on occasion), but I’m thinking a vase with flowers and a few other fun touches will make it a cute little drink station. I’m finding lots of inspiration here. And here – I need that print. Actually, I want everything on that list, exactly as is.

Already I love that the bottles being under the window add a ton of color to the room during the day. Now I just need to invite friends over and put Greg to work on a signature cocktail. Too bad it’s only Monday.


We arrived home late Friday night from our Maui adventure. Having a weekend to ourselves post vacation turned out to be a huge win. Thinking it will be the plan going forward. IMG_7135_edited-1

+ Several storms came through Seattle while we were gone. There are not many trees left with leaves.

+ I got my bridesmaid dress for Becky’s wedding. Nordstrom didn’t have my size, so the actual dress is being shipped to me. I found it approximately five minutes after walking in to the store. That was 100% not how I expected the process to go. IMG_7144_edited-1

+ The doodle did a lot of napping. He is always very tired when he comes home from Grandma’s.

+ We tried a breakfast place near us that I’ve been wanting to go to for awhile. Service was less than mediocre and food was less great then the service. Bummer. IMG_7147_edited-1

+ My boys watched a robot movie while I crafted. We ate take-out pho in our giant plastic IKEA bowls. Later, Greg and I watched Bottle Shock, which should have been an awesome movie. It wasn’t.

+ Our fridge is a mess and we are both avoiding it. IMG_7149_edited-1


+ Target was having a one day iPad trade-in deal – $200 for any iPad, no matter how old. I rarely use mine, so I took gladly handed it over and brought this new toy home.

+ I made six cloth napkins with leftover fabric from my sewing class. IMG_7150_edited-1+ The library would make my list of top ten things I am thankful for. Where else could I get books on the most random topics for free? Or close to free, let’s face it – I usually owe them $5 at any given time.

+ Sunday is dedicated to cooking for the week and finishing the details of Becky’s shower. My little sister is getting married in less than two months!


Project Life: Weeks 40 & 41

Week 40 (Sept 30 – Oct 6) + Week 41 (Oct 7 – Oct 13)


So far October has been a whole lot of work during the week and a whole lot of nothing on the weekends. It’s a pretty big change from how we spent the summer, but we are really welcoming the down time. Downtime means fewer pictures though, so I decided to cut my weekly spreads down to just one sheet each. It worked really well and I’m contemplating doing this for my 2014 album. We’ll see, I still have ten weeks to figure that out!


The most exciting event of week forty is that we got our dryer back up and running and it cost us $16, not $500+ as we were quoted. I have never been so happy to do laundry as I have been lately.


For week forty-one, I tried a new design of the pages. I really like it and I’m thinking I might do these next year. This week my love affair with fall continued and I also started my sewing class! My head is spinning with ideas for what I can make when I get my own machine. Greg is watching my desk in the office slowly turn into a giant pile of crafts. I’d say at the moment he is amused but I probably need to get it under control before he’s less amused by it.

Supplies used: Seafoam project life kit; Kelly Purkey October + November Project kit.

The Mom Creative

Project Life: Week 38

Week 38 (Sept 16 – Sept 22)

When I look at these pictures I feel like I’m regressing in my photography skills. Sigh. Right now getting the album updated weekly and taking crappy pictures of it is about all I have the energy for, so I guess I should just be happy I’m getting it done.


On to the fun. Week 38, or the week of our first anniversary! How fun is that? The week seemed to have two themes: finishing a few projects around the house and a very low key anniversary celebration.IMG_6928_edited-1

We finally got a new rug for the office. Out with the old blue rug that was impossible to vacuum. The rug was one of my first purchases when I moved into my Marina apartment in 2008 and I love it fiercely. But after five years, a dog, and residing in a very high traffic area it was time to let go. Our nightstands finally went on sale at West Elm and I snapped them up after a four month wait. And in perfect timing, the headboard I ordered from Target several weeks ago was back in stock and shipped. Once we get a few items up on the wall our master bedroom will be complete. IMG_6929_edited-1On Saturday we drove up to Bellingham to use a wedding gift from Jon and Amanda. We stayed at the Chrysalis Inn, had a fun dinner with a gorgeous view at the Oyster House, and were super lazy on Sunday morning with mimosas and cable TV. We couldn’t freeze the pie from our wedding so we saved the bottle of champagne that was in our room post reception. We topped the trip off with Mexican food for lunch, of course. (We had sushi for dinner Friday and Indian for dinner Sunday, ensuring we got in all of our favorite food groups during the anniversary weekend.)


We decided not to do gifts and instead got each other cards. I cut out a 3×4 section of each card to add to the album. And then I mostly missed the 22nd when trying to stamp a heart on a calendar card. Perfection is overrated.

IMG_6923_edited-1I started a second album for 2013 because the first was full and very heavy (it weighs over 20 lbs!). I quickly created a title page for the album using pictures from our anniversary trip (enjoying a drink on the terrace while we waiting for our room to be ready) and a few cards I had from other kits. I still need to create a last page for the first album. We’ll see if that happens before the year is over.

Supplies used: Seafoam project life kit; Studio Calico Double Scoop & Steinbeck kits; Kelly Purkey August + September kit; stamps and free quote cards from EliseJoy.

The Mom Creative