Just as the temperatures are dropping and leaves are changing - Team O is in transition too. Life currently feels like it is moving at a crazy and hectic speed. We're holding on and trying to take it one day at a time.

I started a new job! After two years of looking and interviewing I finally have a school counseling job. I am working at the middle school level which is great. This middle school is 6th through 8th which is fascinating. A 6th grader is SO different than 8th grader! I see kids running around half my size, and kids taller than me with facial hair. Whoa!

I am a .6 counselor which means at this time I only work at the school 3 days a week. That definitely brings pros and cons. A pro is that this schedule is allowing me to transition well out of my position with the YWCA. I'll finish up there in about three weeks. I'm thankful that I can be of service, but I am also looking forward to having that time back. I will be able to use my Mondays/Fridays for research, refreshing myself on hot topics for middle school and putting time into planning the rest of this year at the school. I am thrilled! I'm also honestly overwhelmed. I've had some tough issues come through my door, and it is often scary that people think of me as a professional. But I'm in it and definitely pinch myself quite often to make sure this is still real!

Moving on to Paul. After nearly 14 years of being a professional software engineer as an individual contributor, Paul is taking a new position with his company. He will be moving into a management position where he oversees 8 people managing his companies cloud operations. His new official title is Manager Cloud Operations and Engineering. This is a major switch from what Paul has done in the past. I am so excited for him and though it will be a big challenge, I know he is up for it.

In addition to the position change, Paul is presenting next week at the Big Android BBQ. This is the first professional conference that Paul is presenting at. Much of his time the last couple of months has gone into developing his presentation.

And this is a taste of the exciting things going on with Team O.

Other fun things during September:

A visit from Paul's Aunt & Uncle.
Lots of fun dinners with friends old and new.
A trip to the State Fair with the Kaetzel Pretzels!

A Brazilian Cooking Class Date Night (thanks to my SIL)

Lots of snuggle time at the house.

My Meet Mrs. Oremland Poster that is now hanging outside my office door!

That's a wrap!

{Sister Visits}


I'm writing this a month late and while helping my mom learn how to create a blog! Talk about multi-tasking :)

In July my sister Destiny and brother-in-law Kevin came through Seattle for a few days on their way up to Alaska! It was so much fun playing tour guide for both of them. This happened to be the weekend Paul ran Ragnar so we got lots of quality time together.

They flew in late on a Wednesday evening and after a little late night chat, we all went to sleep. Thursday was our relax day. The three of us went for a run around Greenlake. This was the first time that Destiny and I had ever run together and it was a lot of fun. Kevin flew on by us so he missed out on some good girl time. Thursday evening we went to dinner at the Space Needle to celebrate Destiny's 29th birthday (one week early). It was a delicious meal and a beautiful evening to take in the city.

On Friday we picked up destiny's friend Melany who bussed it up to Seattle from Portland. From there our day was pretty epic: Pike Place Market, Kerry Park, Volunteer Park, Fremont Troll, and Gasworks. After dinner, a glass of wine and some R&R was needed!

Here are a few photo highlights!

 Sister's getting ready for dinner at the Needle

 Destiny & Kevin

Destiny & Kevin on the Needle

Kevin enjoying the seafood at the market

Kevin on the Troll
Trying to be cute!

Poor Man's Space Needle at Volunteer Park

 Destiny & Kevin from the Ferry - On our way to Bainbridge Island

Love this beautiful city!

{Camping Season}


Nothing says summer like camping! Paul likes to tell people that I didn’t start to like camping until we were married. Which as I have told him a million times isn’t true! Camping is practically in my blood. Every summer in Alaska consisted of camping and fishing. You can always count on me to be into something that allows me to sit around read, not have any chores to do, and puts me close to water!

When I moved to Seattle, I stopped camping. No one in my friend circle seemed to camp, no one had supplies; it just wasn’t part of the norm. In 2011 Paul and I went out for our first camping trip and it was a blast AND a learning experience. For instance, flashlights or headlamps are very important when it gets dark. Whoops!

This summer we’re trying to pack in as much time in the tent as possible in between house guests!  We’ve gone up to Larrabee State Park twice now, once with friends and once to celebrate our anniversary. In the next month and a half we’re heading to Lake Wenatchee and Deception Pass State Park to finish off camping season.

I love camping because we can sit around and be lazy, read, play games, throw the ball with Charlie, and just relax without feeling like we should be doing something around the house. It is a guilt free mini vacation! I still require that we camp near water, but that is really to oblige the dog!
Here are a few snap shots of our beautiful view at Larrabee State Park.
Beautiful view
Our buddy Charlie having a great time throwing the ball to Charlie

Watching the sun go down

Obligatory Family Photo

{Forever Friends}


I feel that I can safely say friendships ebb and flow throughout life. I think the older I get, the harder this lesson is. I want to find people to invest wholly in, be invested in and know these friendships will be forever friends. I realize though that there are so many barriers to making friendships last a lifetime.

I am blessed to have a lifetime friendship with my dear friend Raena. When we met in the 5th or 6th grade I think we were what you would call "frenemies" And then somewhere in Junior high we started becoming friends. In high school our friendship was solidified through our coming to Faith together in a local youth group. In fact, all those years ago, it was a phone call from Raena inviting me to church that started this faith Journey.

In college we visited one another and wrote each other often. I still keep my container of letters from Raena. Since our early 20's, life has taken us in different, time consuming directions: grad school programs, marriage, children and life in general. We don't pick up the phone often, we email only a few times a year, and letters... well do Christmas cards count?

The cool part is that Raena and I have such a shared history and years of friendship, that it feels that we just pick up where we left off. I can be open, honest, and authentic with her.

I was super blessed earlier this month that Raena took her first vacation out of Alaska in a long time to come to Seattle with her daughter Haven. My favorite highlights were our quality conversations, laughing together, reminiscing, and of course seeing how taken Haven was with Paul.

Here are some photos from our visit!

Enjoying Kerry Park

Enjoying the 4th of July at the Zoo! 

The easiest way to get a toddler from Point A to Point B

 Sometimes a little hand holding is needed!

Happy Haven at Molly Moon's

When Charlie had to sit, Haven felt like she had to sit too! 
This included when we stopped at street corners.

A little Monkey time before we head to the airport.

Our farewell photo! 
Thank you Raena for blessing me with so many years of friendship!

Paleo Strawberry Coconut Ice Cream {Dairy & Egg Free}


Seattle has been heating up these past few weeks. The warmer temperatures mean cold treats are a must! Ice Cream has been our favorite cool down treat lately. 

However, after some recent allergy testing for Paul we learned that dairy and eggs are a no-no for him. I've also been experimenting with dairy more and it turns out when I eat too much, my face breaks out. So we're back to 'no dairy' in the house. 

I was recently reading this blog post for homemade Strawberry Ice Cream from The Pioneer Woman and I knew I wanted to make it. The trick was figuring out what to do instead of dairy, eggs, and the white sugar! Coconut milk and honey to rescue!

This recipe is easy, quick and delicious!

A quick note about honey. Not all honey is created equal! I used clover honey for this recipe. However I've noticed different brands may have different sweetness factors. Yep, sweetness factors. Start off slow with your honey and taste test along the away.  I know, I know, taste test ice cream? You're welcome!

Without further ado:

Strawberry Coconut Ice Cream
Adapted from The Pioneer Woman

  • 3 Cans Coconut Milk (Full Fat)
  • 2/3 Cup Honey (more/less to taste)
  • 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Bean Paste (or Vanilla Extract)
Strawberry Puree:
  • 1 LB Strawberries (hulled)
  • 2 Tbs Honey
  • Freeze Ice Cream bowl per manufacturers directions
  • Chill coconut milk for at least 30 minutes
  • Mix coconut milk, honey, and vanilla in a large bowl to a smooth consistency.
  • Puree strawberries and honey in food processor and add to the coconut milk.
  • Now pour this mixture into your ice cream maker and freeze it according to your ice cream maker's instructions.

July What?


How is it already July and where did June go?

Team O (or 'te amo' as the customer service rep from Redbox pointed out to me last week) has been a little lame on blogging during the month of June, but that is because we've been running around, staying busy, and having fun!!

Here are a few highlights of June. We kicked June off in Portland celebrating the birthday of our little cousin!

We went to our buddy Max's first book reading and signing. It was pretty epic!
We finally found a new couch for our living room, then said couch would not fit up our stairs so we bribed a group of friend to make this happen:

Paul ran a half marathon! Charlie and I cheered from the sidelines.

My cousin Lisa and her little one drove up from Sacramento to visit!
And we topped off the month with a little rest
and a church BBQ, where the only photo I took was holding the baby! But how could you resist! Isn't she the cutest!

Not pictured for the month of June: Community Group Reunion, Graduation Party, Baby Dedication (yay Olivia!), and Birthday parties!

Now on to conquer July!

Weekend Shenanigans: Portland


It is not too often you have a regular weekend that is so fun and relaxing you feel like it is a long weekend, especially one that requires being in the car for at least 6 hours roundtrip. Paul and I headed down to Portland to celebrate our little cousin Jackson turning 1. 

Our Portland cousins Zack & Erin are the family we get to see the most often thanks to their proximity. It has been so much fun to see them transition to a family of three and hard to believe a year has already passed since Jackson was born. 

We hit the road on Friday evening after work. About an hour into the road trip I pulled up Google Maps (so handy) and searched for Fro-Yo places. Have I mentioned Paul and I are obsessed with Fro-Yo these days? Not just any Fro-Yo but the places where you can pick all of your flavors and toppings and then pay by the pound errr ounce. At Exit 102 we pulled off for a FroYo break. Then we were back on the road for the long haul. 

Once we arrived we all sat around talking for a bit, but with the reality of a waking baby in just a few hours, we parted ways to get some sleep. Saturday morning was leisurely. Paul got up and went for a long run and I sat around drinking coffee and talking with Erin. Eventually Erin and I went for a run with 2 dogs and a baby. We were practically a parade on the streets - definitely a sight to be seen. I needed to run 2.5 miles as part of my running training plan and because I have a 5K coming up. Erin drug me all through the neighborhood streets and at the end of the run turned to me and said "Surprise! You just ran a 5k" Boy was I relieved! Those "2.5 miles" seemed really long :) Also I was relieved knowing I had my upcoming 5k in the bag. 

Saturday afternoon we packed up and took the dogs to Kelly Point Park. This park is wonderful! There is a beach area for the pups to go swimming and once they were tired we moved to a grassy area to relax and throw and occasional tennis ball or Frisbee. Once sun fatigue started to set in we made our way home. Paul and I rounded up some evening provisions (BBQ Chicken & Wine - the necessities) we went back and enjoyed dinner and just hanging out. 

Sunday morning was spent getting everything together for the Party. Jackson had a great birthday at the park down the street! There was sun, kids, and bubbles. What more could you want? The time came where Paul and I had to pack up and head back home. It was a fun and relaxing weekend in Portland with family! I didn't take a ton of pictures but I did snap a few of the pups enjoying the park and of the birthday boy! Happy 1st Birthday to Jackson!

Here are a few photo highlights!
Pups in the sun

 Tuckered out after lots of swimming!
Jackson & Charlie

 The Birthday boy taking it all in!
Paul and the birthday boy!

In the midst of tension


My Friend Sarah recently wrote a great blog post about living in the tension of desiring to be a mother and not letting that desire consume you when dealing with issues of infertility. Some days I do feel consumed, mostly with confusion. Confusion as to why I have this strong desire but feel no closer to having a child then when we started trying nearly two years ago. 

Sarah's post was a great reminder to take time to dwell on the blessings I have been given and not take them for granted. Here are a few things big and small that I feel so incredibly blessed by and thankful for. I thought it would be fun to list them out as a rememberance of God's faithfulness in my life. 

This guy. 
He is amazing. He is my encourager. He reminds me to be faithful and hopeful. He is silly and fun and loving. I couldn't ask for a better husbuddy to take on lifes adventures, joys, and heartaches.

My sister-friend Destiny. 

I love that though we're 1,787 miles apart (I googled it) we continue to grow closer and strengthen our friendship. Being born to the same parents made us tolerate one another for so many years, but life has made us best friends. I'm thankful for our many back and forth emails in any given week and our phone calls. This girl gets me! 

This dog. 
I just love her. She is a ball of energy and always happy. What a mood lifter. 

For neighbors with green thumbs!

 For friends who travel the world and bring me giant chocolate bars.

For natural henna hair dyes and viewing the results in different lighting

 For book studies with women who are encouraging and real and challenge me.

Weekend Shenanigans: San Francisco


When Paul found out he would have the opportunity to attend the Google I/O conference in San Francisco, I immediately wanted to go. Paul's conference ended on a Friday, so I decided to make it a long weekend.

I have a soft spot for San Francisco. My first time visiting was in 2004. I was on a roadtrip with two friends from college. San Francisco was just one of those places I had dreamed about visiting and I had a blast making memories there. I was excited to make new memories with my best friend.

I arrived on Friday morning. It was an adventure flying solo and navigating the BART by myself. It has been a while since I had flown solo. I missed my travel buddy, but was quite proud of myself.

After I checked into the hotel I started exploring. I knew we were staying in the shopping district and if I had any desire to shop I needed to do it sans Paul. I first checked out a little cafe called Bio where I had read there was a selection of gluten free items. This place was cute and looked so European. You only had enough room to walk in choose your items from a case and walk back out. If you want to eat at Bio there were 4 little tables on the sidewalk that were situated precariously close together. I sat and ate lunch and read. Then I meandered to a coffee shop and did some more reading. After that I was in the stores for the next few hours while Paul finished his conference.

Once Paul was free errr I mean done, we were picked up by out Aunt and Uncle and enjoyed dinner with our cousin, his wife and little guy. It was a delightful time meeting the West Coast family I had yet to meet. We enjoyed a delicious Persian meal  at Maykadeh and sat around drinking chai and talking. Did I mention we ordered one of every dessert? Yes it was good! Aunt Arghavan and Uncle Mortezeh then took us on a driving tour of the city as the sun was setting. Including a drive down the crazy Lombard street!

Saturday morning Paul and I took a walk down to the waterfront. We saw the sea lions at Pier 39, meandered Fishermans Wharf, and enjoyed icecream at Ghiradelli Square. Then we got picked up by Paul's cousin Goulbou, her partner Kim and their two kiddos. We enjoyed a delicious picnic lunch at Golden Gate Park and from there took a drive to see the Golden Gate Bridge. It was a gorgeous sunny day to enjoy the city. Our little cousins took to Paul quickly and it was so cute to see him chasing after the kids in the park or playing in the dirt with them and eventually falling asleep in his arms.

Once we were dropped back at our hotel we took a few minutes to catch our breath and then we were off to the Castro District to have dinner with our friends John & Kim. They took us to a delicious Vietnamese place called Zadin that had lots of gluten free options for dinner AND dessert. Needless to say I was happy. After dinner we meandered to a local bar for a drink. And then that time came where we all looked at each other like a bunch of old people and had to call it a night!

Sunday morning called for sleeping in! Once we were up and going we walked down the street to wait in the always long line to ride the trolley. We rode it back over to the waterfront to enjoy lunch. After lunch we walked back to our hotel (with one quick fro-yo break), grabbed our bags, and headed to the airport.

San Francisco was almost as adventurous as Europe! It was great to have the time to explore the city and see our family and friends. Looking forward to getting back down there!

Here are a few photo highlights.
Aunt, Uncle, Cousins, and Lil Cousins

 Sunset. Golden Gate Bridge in the background
 Not my favorite chocolate ever, but a fun stop for an ice cream sundae (and free samples)
 Crazy Lombard Street
 Pier 39!
 The Sea Lions at Pier 39
 Paul at Fishermans Wharf
 Paul and the lil cousins
 Recognize that? Maybe you've heard of it?
Lil Cousin on the bridge
 View of the city from the bridge

Guess who!
Almost a family photo!

San Francisco Trolley
Riding the trolley. Paul is checking something out.