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.

Traveling Thoughts: Barcelona


{5 cities, 3 countries, 2 weeks. Our most recent adventure was nothing short of epic. We left the US with three goals: 1) See Europe 2) enjoy quality time together and 3) Have fun. Mission accomplished!}

Barcelona felt like home. Sure the language and culture wasn't ours, but if felt like it could be. In many ways Barcelona reminded us of Seattle. A good size city, picturesque surroundings, perched on a sea that looked like an Ocean. The food, the wine, the sights. We were mesmerized. Did I mention how clean the city was?

When we landed in Barcelona, we decided we would keep the tradition of picnicking at lunchtime. We found a department store that had a grocery store in the basement filled with gluten free items. We were set. This way we could pick a park or destination each day to visit and have lunch. One day it was Park Guell with its sweeping views of the city. The next day it was Parc De La Ciutadella to see Barcelona's Arc De Triomf. We ate Tapas, Tapas, and more Tapas. It was so easy to stay gluten free in a world full of Tapas and Paellas. Our world traveling friend Robyn introduced us to a restaurant that quickly became our favorite. We ate all around Barcelona, but had to go back to Onofre on our last night.

While in Barcelona we took in Gaudi's work including the marvelous Sagrada Familia. We explored Picasso's museum, rambled on La Rambla, put our feet in the sand, ascended to Montjuic to see a castle, and day dreamed about living in this great city. 

We've already started talking about our plans to return to Spain.

 The Sagrada Familia

Inside the Sagrada Familia

 Walking down the stairs in one of the towers.

The View of Barcelona from the Sagrada

The Columbus Monument at the Waterfront
Being silly on the waterfront

Sunset in Barcelona

Arc De Tromf

 View of Barcelona from Parc Guell

Playing at a castle

 View from Montjuic

Traveling Thoughts: Venice


{5 cities, 3 countries, 2 weeks. Our most recent adventure was nothing short of epic. We left the US with three goals: 1) See Europe 2) enjoy quality time together and 3) Have fun. Mission accomplished!}

From Rome, we hopped on a train to travel to the other side of Italy to Venice. The first steps out of the train station were breathtaking. You are greeted with water, boats, bridges and a picturesque city. Once we landed at our hotel we set out to get lost. We meandered down narrow alley ways, walked over little bridges that cross over quaint canals. This was our time to slow down and soak in the beauty of this romantic setting.  

Venice was a mixed bag for us. On one hand beautiful and dreamy. On the other hand, crowded with cruise ships that pull up and let people pour onto the island. When you walk far enough away from the tourist spots you begin to feel like you’re the only one on the island. My favorite activity (other than finding new bridges to walk over) was to pack a lunch and head to the park for a picnic. At the park we could people watch, ponder island life, or just stare at the water. It was peaceful and romantic.   

First Look at Venice
Traversing narrow walkways

 View from the Bell Tower

 St. Mark's 
 Scenic Venice
 Romantic Dinner View