2013 Review

Happy New Year's Eve! Joshua and I have felt very blessed in 2013. God has given us so much and 2014 already has more of his blessings in view and we are very excited for them. Here's a look back at our 2013:

Skied on a mountain for the first time, we both celebrated our quarter century birthdays, and we celebrated my birthday in Canada, headed to Turkey and Italy for our first times out of North America, I biked in a 59 mile charity ride, Joshua travelled to Portugal for work, finally made it to the top of the Space Needle, celebrated our second anniversary with a day kayaking, took a camping trip to Mt. St. Helen's, I bake my first cake for a client, did an epic co-worker camping trip and hike, celebrated the twins 21st birthday in Cinci, continued exploring all our beautiful mountians, pit stopped at Las Vegas on our way to a Thanksgiving camping trip in Zion, and flew home to celebrate Christmas with family.
Thank you to all the visitors, family, and friends who made this year so wonderful!

2012 review
2011 review


Home for Christmas

We flew home to Cincinnati for Christmas again this year. It was very busy but also a very nice visit. We had brunch with someone different almost everyday and filled our stomachs with our Cincy favorites. Going back makes us miss it even more!

We were too involved to take many photos but here are a few :)

Dad made indian food for our family sleepover, we saw Christmas light dinosaurs, spent a night out with friends, had the first ever sibling bar night, and ate plenty of Skyline chili.


Christmas Cards

I started out the Christmas card making process with ambitious ideas of block prints and multiple colors but I actually love the simplicity of where it ended up. It is happy and a little goofy.

It of course has a story: So the reindeer were flying along and singing Christmas carols fairly, taking turns, but then Rudolph takes over and selfishly bolts out a solo finishing the song himself- cause sometimes he's like that.

Guess what Seattle has snow this morning! It's quite lovely it is floating down very daintily.

Christmas Card 2012 & 2011


Dressing Charlenne

We got around to decorating our Christmas tree late last week and she looks lovely. We danced around to some good ol folk music and sipped champagne and decorated her with everything from Big Mac, Disney character, cat, and handmade grade school clay ornaments. We wanted to try to fit every ornament on so she would look super festive. Plugging those lights in every night and sitting in front of them to chat and snuggle is currently my favorite time of day.

2012 and 2011 Christmas trees!



Our small group met up last week to do a white elephant gift exchange as well as cutting out a bunch of snowflakes together. I love these people! They don't ever just ask how you are but how the hard things in your life are. They are teaching us how to love better and go deeper and how to just be ourselves. They also taught us the proper way to cut out a snowflake- my mind was blown.

I love that we can all get together and eat cookies and cut out snowflakes and leave feeling closer to them and refreshed. They are all truly blessings in our lives and I love that in our busy lives they allow our times together to be thoughtful, slow, and a little (lot) silly.


a cookie time of the year

My family has always made Christmas cookies. We make a bunch of different kinds and then intricately decorate sugar cookies to give away and eat too many of. So since moving out to Seattle Joshua and I make our own set to give to neighbors and coworkers. But cookies, on top of cards, on top of gifts, on top of work deadlines has left me feeling deflated. Our poor tree still isn't decorated and friends want to get together for Christmas dinners and drinks and I don't even have a date to give them when we're available.

Last night at midnight decorating cookies together, a little sullen, the more I iced cookies the more peaceful I felt. I made some of the snowmen look the same and decorated all the trees with only sprinkles, but I felt okay about it. I'm hoping to move forward with that - a peace at not being able to do everything and it not all working out the way I had it all set up and planned.

To my happiness though the cookies did still get done and decorated.
My favorites were one a snowflake that Joshua turned into a frog, a hula girl angel, and a fancy lady angel, and an angel that Joshua may have accidentally made into a demon looking guy.

Last few years cookies Here & Here


Tree Shopping

We headed out to the same tree farm we went to last year and only had to wander around for about 10 minutes before we spotted her, Charlenne. (following our tradition of naming the trees in alphabetical order)

Now we still haven't gotten around to decorating her quite yet but she's tall and skinny and fits in our little apartment quite perfectly. Maybe she'll be dressed before Christmas :)

You can see:
 Bartholomew here
Anthony here

Josh's Dream Concert

I was perusing the internet for Seattle bands that would be in town just to make sure we didn't miss any we'd want to see when- I found out Jeff Tweedy from Wilco would be doing a solo show in Seattle!! You see this is a huge deal. Joshua loves Wilco and almost exclusively plays these songs on his guitar. He also has listened to his solo live album too many times to count (as have I) and he has always wanted to go to one.

I found tickets and tried to keep it a secret but one night I was to excited and spilled the beans. The show was all he wanted it to be, we had great seats, his voice and guitar skills were beyond words- simply amazing, he chatted through it all with jokes, played "Mountain Bed" and ended it with an acoustic song.

I let Joshua pick out my outfit- first he chose a short silk summer dress which I had to reject and so it ended up with a red dress and tall boot with no tights haha ( my knees were cold )

It was perfect. And hubs is super happy!!


Valley of Fire

We really wanted to go see  slot canyon but we weren't willing to wade through freezing water in Zion to do it. So we found an out and stopped by the Valley of Fire State Park outside Vegas on our drive back to the airport. They have a small 1/4 mile slot canyon (where the water that ran through it smoothed out the rock so you can see all the layers that make them up).
We weren't expecting the park to be one of our favorite spots though. We pulled into the park and these huge red rocks jut up from the ground instantly consuming the landscape. There were very few people in the park so we got to run amok and climb on the rocks and through the holes and run off into the desert. We also got to see big horn sheep while we were there which was really cool. It was a really relaxing and beautiful end to the trip, even if I was a little nervous we'd get lost in the desert.
(the first picture is called elephant rock, the middle rock)

Big horn sheep!


Zion Explorers : Part 2

The next day we hiked Observation point, an 8 mile hike with 2,400 foot elevation gain! This hike left our legs a little sore, but the lookout was amazing. From the top viewpoint we could also see the Angel's Landing Hike we had done the day before.

Then that night after 2 campfire dinners- 1 the Thanksgiving dinner and 1 a can of beans and pies we went into town to have hot pizza and beer and spread out our maps to decide upon our game plan for the next day. We decided upon Valley of Fire- up next :)


Zion Explorers : Part 1

After our Thanksgiving Feast we woke up the next day and took on the Angel's Landing hike. It is a 2.4 mile hike with a 1,200 foot elevation gain up to an overlook of the river running through the canyon. Simple enough. Until you get past the relentless switchbacks and realize the cliff drops are 1,000 feet below you on both sides, they had to fix chains into the rock so it was semi-safely crossable, & at the end you walk across a rock bridge less than 6 feet wide with nothing but a long fall on either side of you. But we made it! And we were both really glad we did it, the challenge and experience of it was really cool, plus it was a very quick way to bond with strangers over our fear :)

We went on a few smaller hikes after that including one that had some fun rock overhangs and formations. We'd never seen sandstone cliffs like this and the desert's plants and cloudless skies. It was a very different experience to hiking in Washington.

up next part 2!


A National Park Thanksgiving

After our short soiree in Vegas we took off on a 4 hour drive to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. The drive was beautiful, a desolate landscape with sun rays touching every surface and giant rocks puncturing the landscape.

We ran into some snow near and at the Rim which we hadn't expected. The North Rim is taller than the more popular and well known canyon views of the south rim. Sadly the sun was not in an ideal location and we quickly understood why the South Rim is the iconic view but it was still fun to see it and look deep into it's cavernous walls.

Then we jumped back into the car and headed for Zion. We drove into Zion as the sun was setting over the large sandstone formations and forcing them into a violent red contrasting the cloudless blue sky, it was quite the view. We also drove through a mile long tunnel under one of the rocks which was quite impressive. Finally landing in our campsite hubs set to work setting up the tent and such and I got to work on our Thanksgiving feast. It truly was a feast! We cooked the turkey over the fire and roasted a head of garlic to put in the potatoes while they softened in a ball of foil deep in the fire. This year though I also had concocted a plan to make stuffing over the fire, I love stuffing! And lo and behold and to our tummies great satisfaction it was delicious! We had a lovely Thanksgiving feast, we had leftover turkey for sandwiches the next day and we didn't even get to the fire-made pies until the next night. The intense and vast stars that hung over our campsite that night were the real showstoppers though.

Wood Fired Stuffing:
for two

5-6 pieces of bread; set out to get stale
1 red onion; diced
4-5 stalks celery; diced
2 eggs
1/2-2 cups chicken broth
1 tsp rosemary
1/2 tsp thyme
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
& a cast iron pie maker

1   make a fire with some great coals
2   in foil place a tbs or two of butter and the onion and celery, seal it
3   place in fire until veggies are tender
4   stick pie maker in fire to heat up for a minute or two
5   melt butter into both sides of the pie maker to avoid sticking
6   mix bread, sautéed veggies, spices, eggs, 1/2 cup chicken broth in a bowl
7   add more chicken broth as necessary to get the bread coated
8   fill one side of the pie maker full of stuffing mixture
9   close it and place over coals of fire for a few minutes
10  rotate pie maker
11  pull it out of the fire and dish it out

We're thinking of making cooking Thanksgiving dinner over the fire an tradition. We've had a lot of fun with it the last two years.

And NOW some Zion Hiking


Vegas Vaca

For our annual Thanksgiving trip this year we flew into Las Vegas, drove to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, then to Zion to camp and hike for a few days, to Valley of Fire State Park, & back to Vegas to fly home. Spending a large chunk of time alone together was definitely something we'd been craving and to do it in such a beautiful place was joyous.

First up Vegas. We wandered around the streets holding a beer in our hands, because well you can and wandered in and out of the casinos. Our plane had landed, we rented a car, checked into the MGM and finally headed out to the strip at the lovely time of 2am! I'd never been and I'd never ever gambled so Joshua, who had been there briefly on a road trip with friends, took me over to the Bellagio to play my first slot machine. It took us awhile to figure them out and we played $3 worth and came out with 4 cents. We were out until 4am.

Overall we weren't impressed by Vegas. It has a depressing feeling especially when most people are still out at 4am playing alone and then the amount of people playing alone again at 7am, but it was fun to see and we had a good time wandering around not knowing how to play anything.

Then we woke up early and started our 4 hour drive to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.

We also had a few hours left before our plane left on our way home to wander around Vegas in the daytime. We stopped at In N Out Burger, and watched the Bellagio Fountain many many times.

2012 Thanksgiving Trip
2011 Thanksgiving Trip