I know we are almost 10 days into May but I am working hard on making May My Month! I am on a quest to get my house organized before my kids get out of school, so I can spend my summer enjoying the sunny days, not dreading my crazy, chaotic house. I am starting in my home office. I have been clearing out files, finding new homes for items that found their way in here, getting rid of paper that I no longer need and working on a plan to get it streamlined and relaxed and making it a space that I ENJOY spending time in each day. When I have some impressive before and after shots I will post them, for now, that will have to wait. One of the ideas for the office is to build cabinets and built in desks, when I get my ideas together for that and the project comes together, I will make sure to post more photos. I am not quite done with all the work yet, but I am getting there and next week will be the kitchen and laundry area. It is a work in progress which is why I am giving myself a month, at least to get started and stay motivated on the tasks. So, until next time, I will keep you posted on the progress!
Now that we have the camper we have been making a point to use it. A lot of people say they know people that have campers or RVs but they never get used. Well, we are not going to be those people, yes it does get me a little exhausted getting ready to head out for the trip, but once we are on the road, I never really want to go back to our stable home, I really prefer our mobile home!
For Spring Break this year we decided that since we have spent the majority of the winter in the snow, it was time to play in water and try some surfing, so we headed down the Oregon Coast. This was going to be our first chance to explore the state beaches and see what they had to offer so we can decide where to go back.
Our first stop was Cape Look Out State Park. It is a just South of Tillamook, Oregon. It is a really big area with lots of hiking trails, plenty of hook ups, and a lovely beach. One of the (small) drawbacks was that you had to cross the main road (where traffic comes to the different camping areas) to get to the beach. Which made me a tiny bit nervous so I wouldn’t let the girls head to the beach alone. But again, it was only about a minute walk to the beach, we had hook ups and were very close to the bathroom.
We did not surf at this beach but we did take a long walk in the misty rain. We had the beach to ourselves and found a number of treasures, including shells, sand dollars, kelp jump ropes and a swing made out rope and driftwood. The lovely thing about the camper is that after this long walk in the rain, we have a nice, warm place to change clothes, eat lunch and regroup, so that when the sun came out we were all ready for more beach time and sand castle building. We also love being able to bring our own food and make our own fresh dinners.
After two nights it was time to head south for our next destination, Beachside State Park – just South of Newport, Oregon. One thing I loved during this trip was my morning walk on the beach, just a short outing, a little me time to say hello to the beach and the waves. When I got back from my walk, we started out mornings like we do at home: a little coffee, breakfast and reading the news, etc. Since it was Monday, we knew we might have some work emails to tend to, this Monday, Tax Day, Boston Marathon Day, I was checking the news/Facebook and was excited to hear about the US runners that had finished in record time. But sadly, shortly after hearing that news, the tragic news of two bombs exploding at the finish also came in. My feelings for this could go on and on – my shock and confusion of why someone would do something like this to such a strong willed, amazing community still gives me chills. My thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and the families. But this is about our trip, so I will continue. After Andrew and I tried to comprehend the news, we squeezed and hugged our girls a little tighter and we got ready to enjoy our beautiful day with our family. We had lovely weather and took our time heading down the coast, stopping at multiple waysides/rest stops to take in the views. We arrived in the afternoon at Beachside State Park, a camping spot right on the beach! Our spot was literally next to the beach access walkway, which for some might be a draw back, in the height of the summer I imagine there would be a lot of foot traffic but for us in April it was not a problem. The highlight for me was again the proximity of the beach. We could hear the waves when we went to sleep, we could see the beach from our bed and the girls could happily run to the beach to build castles while we made lunch or got dinner ready. The first night we had an amazing dinner, fresh caught salmon, veggies and rice. Not too fancy, but delicious. A lot of times I get ideas in my head and it’s hard for me to get them out until I act on it. One of my fantasies for the trip was to find a local fish market where we could get fresh caught fish to bring back to camp and grill. It’s not a lot to ask, but what we found was so great, a little fish market in Newport, right off the docks on the Bayfront, called Local Ocean Seafoods. It was a fresh fish market and restaurant. The first night we picked up salmon and the next day we headed back for lunch for more fresh caught fish.
Since Beachside had such a great proximity to the beach, this is where we did most our surfing/playing in the water. Once we were all suited up in our wet suits we headed out! The sun was shining and it was warm, we played in the waves and in the surf and wore ourselves out. None of us really stood up on the board and the waves were not very big, but we were playing in the water and we were warm and it was April!
After two nights here we had to say good-bye, for this trip we decided two nights at each spot would be enough. I could have stayed at Beachside longer, but there was more to see and of course, we don’t have unlimited time. The next destination was Nehalem State Park, just outside of Manzanita, OR. This park is also amazing and gigantic. It wasn’t packed in April, but you can imagine the place filling up throughout the summer. There was a playground next to our site and we were just steps away from the beach access, again a little too far for the girls to go alone, but the park wasn’t and they enjoyed playing there, even in the rain! The first night we got there we took a nice long walk on the beach into Manzanita for dinner and a few groceries and then the next day we took the camper to Seaside where we did a little surfing at The Cove. Thanks to our friend and surf coach Lexie, we knew when and where the waves would be best for the family. Another perk of the camper was when we parked for surfing – we had ALL our stuff with us, we could have lunch, change, etc and then just step out the door and surf. I’m telling you, taking your house everywhere you go is really convenient! Although it was a bit cloudy, we were still able to catch some fun waves and play in the water.
After a couple nights in Nehalem we pack up and headed north for the trip back to Washington. On our way home, we planned some crazy fun for the girls, gave ourselves a little extra space and clean showers by booking one night at the Great Wolf Lodge. We had a great day and night playing at GWL, we had friends meet us there and that was especially fun and a great change of pace after being just the four of us for the week. It was also a bit of a culture shock after 6 days of quiet beach time, we jumped into pretend waves and tons of people, but it was still fun. The Howling Tornado got us screaming and the girls loved playing in the arcade. And the next day we were all ready to get home, which was perfect, we had a short drive back to Seattle and had the rest of the day and weekend to clean up and get ready to transition into reality.
Although the camper is going to stay parked for a few weeks now, we are always thinking about our next trip and when we can get back on the road. It’s too bad that work and school thing gets in the way of all our fun plans! Until Next Time! – kg
It has been awhile since I have had a chance to write a recap of our last ski/camping weekend. I have been busy with some other exciting projects. As I had reported in a previous post, we have had our share of challenges when camping at the ski area. Luckily, our past camping weekend has been redeemed! When we headed up for our last weekend of ski lessons, my husband and I gave our girls plenty of advance notice of what the weekend would entail and we made sure that we all had the same expectations. We found out that by talking about what we wanted to get out of the weekend ahead of time and what we wanted to avoid, we all knew what to expect and we all ended up happy. Not to mention, there was a great festival going on at the ski area the day we were there, the sun was shining and we had friends and family enjoying the day with us.
The weekend was fun and relaxing and we even had some fun conversations about our next camping adventure, which will be a trip down the Oregon Coast over Spring Break. More to come on that… until next time!
Yes, I admit, having it all is a little extreme – but I don’t think wanting to have a balance between your work life and your real life is too much to ask. This conversation comes up in the midst of Yahoo!’s CEO, Marissa Mayer, announcing to the company that employees will no longer be able to work from home. I, like many others, find this news upsetting and honestly very surprising. This 2013, we have an amazing amount of technology in the world that allows us to communicate and do business with people on the other side of the planet, yet, we need to have butts in seats at the office. I have worked in many offices that were also passionate about “face-time” which is one of the main reasons I am now working for myself, from the comfort of my own home. What this sounds like to me, if I was a Yahoo! employee, is that Yahoo! really does not trust their employees anymore. Or maybe one or two bad apples spoiled it for the rest of them. It would seem to me that if employees are getting their work done and being proactive in their jobs, why change a good thing? I have another question for Mrs. Mayer: Now that employees will be full-time in the office, will they now be providing compensations for their employees child care costs or other expenses that will be incurred when they are back in the office full-time? Maybe they will be opening a Yahoo! daycare on site so that everyone can bring their children into the office, like Mayer does.
The problem that upsets me most about this story is the fact that Mayer obviously understands the importance of the bond between mother and baby, raising children yourself and having quality time with them, yet she doesn’t want to pass on that flexibility the rest of the company? I am only focusing on one area of why people work from home, which is childcare, obviously this is an issue for me. But I am certain there are plenty of other reasons people work from home, caring for elderly parents, saving time and money on the commute and gas prices. Working from home also allows some the ability to focus without distractions. In an office of hundreds of people, you may get pulled into meeting after meeting, and have no time to get that one project done (especially if you have to leave at certain time for other responsibilities), being able to work remotely will allow you the ability to focus and get it done. I also wonder if this new announcement will work the other way too, since no one is going to be able to work from home, does that mean no emails, calls or work will be done after work hours? Once that bell rings 5pm, everyone will punch their time cards, put their smart phones away and not have another thought about work until 8am the next morning. Is that really what they want? Don’t those folks in Silicon Valley work with people overseas and on other time zones… sorry can’t get back to you until the morning, we don’t work from home!
Clearly, my blog post on the issue will not change anything over at Yahoo! but it does validate my position on being a part-time, work from home, mom. Although I have days and weeks that I feel frustrated and doubtful that this was the right choice. Maybe starting my own consulting business and trying to become a writer are lofty goals, but the main reason I chose this path is because I wanted to call my own shots. I want to do the work that I am passionate about and I also want to go on my kids field trips without having to ask permission. Right now I am learning to balance it all out, I may have to get up at 5:30am so I can write, but that also means that I am able to walk my girls to school and pick them up and I will fit in my work in between, before and after, because that is what has to work for me. I think it is sad that a lot of companies today can’t understand that giving employees a bit of freedom and flexibility will help both the company and the employees in the long run. By trusting your employees to do their job, no matter how they get it done, will keep them around longer and become more loyal to a company that is also loyal to them.
Here is some perspective from Dilbert on the subject:
Today I did my second, Lord Hill 10 Mile Trail Run, it was organized by the local running group, Evergreen Trail Runs. Andrew and I ran this race last year, he actually did the 50k (31 miles) and I did the 10 miler, I took my time last year and it took me about 2 hours and 20 minutes. This year, Andrew and I both did the 10 miler, and we brought Andrew’s brother Alex & his wife Anna along to experience the joy of Lord Hill. I must say this run was tons of fun, trail runs are nice change of pace from regular street runs or city runs (although those have their own appeal too, like chocolate! I get to do the Seattle Hot Chocolate 15k next weekend), this race you get to run through mossy green trees and narrow woody paths. Maybe part of the fun for me this year was that I shaved off 14 minutes off last years time, coming in at 2 hours and 6 minutes, or possibly it was the nice compliment from the woman running behind me; when I realized there were about 4 people behind me I figured I was holding up the group, I told her to go ahead and pass and she said, no thanks, you are setting a really great pace. Who me?
So, although I have some sore muscles (nothing a little yoga can’t fix) and some purple toe nails (nothing some dark polish can’t fix), I feel happy and content that I was able to get out into nature and run around like kid in the forest!
It’s actually pretty fun to get dirty on the trail, here are my shoes, before and after. Thank you to Dirty Girl Gaiters for keeping all the crap out of my socks and my shoes, only the outside got wet and messy!
And of course the post race meal and beverage is always a highlight of any race, this time we stopped by the Redhook Brewery for lunch. On a side note, this was my first race since I stopped eating gluten, and I have to say I really missed the post race beer. I also missed out on some of the snacks, for these smaller runs the aid station has real food, like pretzels, sandwiches with pb & nutella, and Cliff Bars. I was a little bummed to miss out on those snacks this year, but I did get fresh fruit at the aid sation & hot vegetable soup at the end of the race!
I do reccomend trying a trail run for any runners out there, as I said before, it is a wonderful change of scenery and the community feeling of these races is a lot of fun!
So, we will see where the next race takes us, until next time! kg
In years past, Andrew and I have agreed with his brother Alex & his wife Anna that we really don’t need to buy gifts for Christmas and instead we should give experiences. Last year we took a trip to Victoria, and we had a lovely time exploring the city. This year we decided to extend the gift giving to Andrew & Alex’s parents. Instead of buying a book on history or something for the kitchen we decided we would plan a train trip for the WHOLE FAMILY! This past weekend, all 10 of us loaded the Amtrak Train and headed north to Vancouver. I am really bummed we didn’t get one photo of the whole crew, considering we were all taking photos, but this is us at a holiday brunch this past Christmas, so it all ties together.
On Friday morning, we took advantage of the mid-winter break for Seattle schools and loaded the train around 7:45am. The train ride is a great way to travel with family and kids, you can spread out and explore the train, the girls were able to run back and forth to the lounge car, I got to have some uninterupted reading time with my nephew Ollie, I watched over him while he napped, while the grown ups got to enjoy a beverage in the lounge car with the girls.
Once we got to Vancouver, we had a tasty lunch and explored Robson Street and did a little shopping. The girls also loved the hotel pool – swimming is one of their favorite activities, so while some of the others napped we did some swimming before dinner.
The second day our adventures took us to Grandville Island, this little island has an amazing public market and a super cool kids market. And when I say kids market, I really mean: crazy, insane building with tons of stuff for kids. After walking to the ferry dock (about one mile), walking around the island, these girls still had energy to burn in the crazy ball pit and tube mazes. We made sure to fully sanitize and, of course, swim and shower after this little outing.
We had dinner at two different Joe restaurants that probably couldn’t be more different from each other. The first night was Joey – which was in the bottom of a building what seemed like the financial district. This was a recommendation from the cocierge at the Sutton Place Hotel, it was nice because we got to eat early, but it was not the best atmosphere for chatting with each other. The dinner was tasty and the service was fairly quick, which is a nice perk with kids. The second night dinner was at a restaurant called Joe Fortes, also a recommendation from the cocierge but a different style all together, still loud so our kids didn’t stand out, but this was a bit more of an upscale seafood and chop house, dinner was fabulous, but not as speedy as the night before and for some diners its hard to sit still for too long. But our waiter took great care of us and we all had a great dinner.
Sunday morning it was time to head home, and in order to have a day to regroup, we opted to take the earlier train home, which meant leaving our cozy hotel at 5:30am. Needless to say we tried to rest and sleep on the train, but that’s easier said then done with 2 little girls looking for attention. In the end we were very happy to be on the early train home, considering the train that left later that afternoon was cancelled due to mudslides, passengers on the second train between Everett to Seattle had to be bussed to their location. Overall, it was great trip, there was quite a bit of planning, coralling and coordinating to get everyone in the same place at the same time, but it is fun to have these types of family adventures to look back on.
So, until next time, who knows were next year’s Christmas presents will take us!
Yes, its an iconic image, the fun little kitty, frolicing with a ball of yarn for hours of fun, right? NO! We recently found out the hard way that any type of yarn play needs to be supervised. Especially when your cat is pushing 14 years old. Our little Lola had an emergency vet visit last weekend when my daughter asked the strange question: “Mom, why does Lola have a string coming out of her butt???”. Well, dear that is a perfectly legitimate question. Ugh! Yuk! Oh God, WTF?? We have some crafty little girls in our house and there is quite a bit of yarn lying around on the floor and spread all about, and I will admit, I did give Lola a ball of yarn as she was lying on the bed, thinking maybe that would get her to play a little (in her old age she needs some activity). Well, I didn’t expect her to EAT IT! And there in lies the problem, Lola ate the green yarn and in turn, it needed to come out. Although, she did get sick a few times we thought it was just a hairball, and then it came out the other end (sorry for the gorey details – but sometimes this stuff needs to be documented). When the yarn didn’t come out with a simple tug (GROSS!), we headed to the emergency vet – 7pm on a Friday, must have been a fun way for the vet to start her weekend too! After about an hour of so of “tests”,
xrays and other exams Lola got to come home. Now we have the fun task of giving her a pill 2x per day and as any cat or pet owner knows giving pills to animals is not a fun task.
Hopefully Lola will be just fine, we didn’t kill her with our yarn (although I certainly thought we did as I was driving her to the vet). But now we know, for next time, no more yarn for our kitty cat! And hopefully, this post will help other cat owners out there, so they never have to experience this themselves.