Thursday, January 30, 2014

2014 Bucket List Update

For the last couple of years, I have updated my bucket list with things that I have checked off this past year. This year was a hectic one, to be sure. 2013 had a rough beginning, with new challenges, and injury that turned in to a chronic problem, job interviews, and we had to learn how to communicate and relate in a time of high stress. But Marty graduated, defended for his PhD, and got a new job. And the best part was moving on home to the northwest, just a couple of hours away from where we grew up and met, an hour away from where we went to college, and right in a new(ish) city. It seemed both like coming home and a new chapter all at once. 2013 held a lot of adventures, maybe not a lot of bucket list ones, (I don't think people have get through a tough year in one piece on their lists), but I am happy that it is behind us and feel stronger for it. We did have a few fun times though....

Give my sweetie a kiss under the Eiffel Tower
In April this year we went to Paris to visit Marty's brother. The trip was amazing, full of art and bicycle riding, and even a trip to the beach. And I am 98% sure that heaven smells like a French bakery, so, yeah, I was in heaven. 

Have monthly Sunday dinners with whoever wants to come
One of my favorite things in the whole world is to cook for people, and I dreamed about having a standing Sunday dinner for a long time. I hosted plenty of people in North Carolina, but moving back gave me the excuse to start a new tradition. (Oooh! Another thing I love!) So far, we have had four dinners with anywhere from 8-15 people and they have just been such a treat. 

Get Marty through school
Marty is one of those crazy kids that went straight through school without any breaks. Until just a few months ago, Marty didn't really know what it was like to be out of school. To be fair, he is still in a training position so he has a bit to go before he has a real life grown up jobs, but this position is slowly but surely headed that way. So proud of Husband, PhD.

See Chelsea play at Stamford Bridge
Chelsea is our favorite soccer team, and we have been dreaming of seeing them forever. And just for the record, Marty loved Chelsea FC before he ever really knew me. Seeing them play at their home stadium was unlike anything I have ever seen, and watching Marty watch them was so fun. He was just in heaven. Watching soccer in London is a totally different experience, the stadium was full of fathers and sons. Soccer in the UK (and, lets face it, everywhere that isn't America) is a way of life. 

Present at a conference
I know it sounds nerdy, but I always wanted to present at a conference. And this year I got to present some findings from an evaluation trip that I had led for my job. It got me fired up for global health and I got to hear all sorts of famous-in-my-field talk. I wore my suit, and strutted around DC, and had dinner with my new BFF Michelle Obama (okay, not the last one).  Here I am with a mural of a bunch of presidents.

Live somewhere that is not the northwest
We spent five years in the south. And let me tell you, the south is very different from the northwest. It was good for us to start our marriage somewhere so foreign - a bit of sink or swim if you will. We ended up finding all sorts of things we liked about the south, including the sunny, sandy beach just a few hours away. Here we are at the Cape Hatteras Light house on the outerbanks. 

Bucket list 2011 and 2012 updates

Monday, January 13, 2014

Seattle, So far

We have been here in Seattle for about four months now. In some ways it seems like our five years in North Carolina was just a dream, and in some ways I keep thinking about what I will do first when we get back there. Leaving North Carolina was bittersweet, but because it was during such a hectic time we didn't have much space to really think about it. Moving to Seattle was kinda like moving home, but we have never lived before here before. We lived in Tacoma, about 30 miles south, during undergrad, and we grew up about two hours north. So living in the big city is new to us.

So far we are doing well. It has been an adjustment to be in a kinda-sorta-new place, but we are soaking up all our favorite people who we haven't seen in forever, and taking advantage of just being a short drive away rather than a long plane flight. The PNW has drawn most of our hometown friends back to the area and we are throwing dinner parties and looking for excuses to hang. We are loving having an excuse to explore a new city, and working on convincing ourselves that it is now OUR city.

Marty is doing awesome in his new job and this should be a great few years for him. I have been looking for a job and trying to get us settled. There have been some long days of job searching, and I am trying to keep my head up. I am hopeful about 2014 and that it will bring some good opportunities.

It is great to be back in a state where there is a scale of how fancy your sweatpants are, where the green moss grows and droops and takes over in the winter, and where the Thai food is so good and so ubiquitous. I do miss the warm ocean in NC, some friendly faces, and the routine including a good job. But we are living the dream of being back closer to family and back in the great northwest.

And we are always welcome to having visitors!

Thursday, January 2, 2014


Wow, it's been a whole month since I have added anything to the blog. This past month has been super hectic. We have been up to visit our families every weekend since Thanksgiving and then there was the holidays. It was SO nice to already be here and not have to hop on a plane at Christmas, we didn't miss all the stress of dreading sudden winter storms in Chicago which would delay our flight, cramming in all our family time for the entire year with two families  into ten days, doing all the traditions and eating at our favorite places, and trying to see all our friends too.We always came back from our Christmas vacation feeling like we need a vacation.  It was much more relaxed this year. Even so, after this month, we are exhausted!

Here is the brief run down.....
Thanksgiving with my family and some friends

Picking out our Christmas tree and creatively getting it home in one piece

 Seeing Pearl Jam in Concert where they played over a three hour set

Nutcracker with my mom and sister on a very cold night

 Throwing a baby shower for my long time friend Meg

Christmas Cocktail and Cookie Party 

Saying goodbye to my sister, who moved back to Costa Rica the week before Christmas

 Missing our third elf (see above) on our annual Christmas Eve oyster run

Christmas Eve seafood fest - Oyster stew, pan-fried oysters, raw oysters, steamed mussels 

Christmas Morning at Marty's parents

 New Years with my favorite girls and some root beer floats

I hope you had a fun, happy, and relaxing holidays. Here is to 2014! 

(and I promise - more blogging soon!)