Dreaming Part 2

Remember that house I posted in the previous post?  Well, yeah, we put an offer in and it was accepted.

That's all.



I haven't purchased a home since Los Angeles.  We sold our cute little 1928 Spanish cottage in 2009 and left the state.  Since then we've rented, contemplating all that we learned from home ownership and what we would do or not do differently.  We've also had time to grow our family, grow ourselves and really figure out the needs and wants that is best for us.  

We've talked about our ideal home.  What we'd one day like to purchase to build for ourselves.  Our dream home, so to speak.  As most dream home scenarios go you realize you will never find exactly what you want.  You'll likely have to make compromises somewhere and just accept what you've found.  Building something brings you closer to that reality.  We priced out pre-fabs, we could get really close to what we'd want in the house but would still need to find the perfect location.  So we'd dream, always dreaming, adjusting the dream, day dreaming the dream.  Always.

With all that day dreaming, and with no intention of really doing any serious house hunting, I troll Redfin and/or Zillow, which ever tickles my pickle that particular day.  You know, in case that dream home were to ever pop up.  Year after year it never does.  Maybe I'll come across a house that would be perfect but its in the middle of the city, with no privacy and an outrageous price tag!  Nope.  

That is until 10 days ago.  I actually found our dream home, which we actually refer to as our retirement home.  It's meets 100% of our parameters, and includes more then we even wanted.  But not more in bad way but rather in a "OMG that is totally awesome and we could totally use that/need that...."  We talked about the house over and over and finally made an appointment to see it in person.  Wow!  Exceeded our expectation.  We may actually move forward.  We have questions in with our realtor, yes our realtor.  Crazytown.  My head is spinning.  My heart is anxious.  We are currently selling a house in Hawaii so until that closes, in a week or less, we have to wait.  

I cross my fingers that this house doesn't sell in the next few days, if it does I suppose it wasn't meant to be.  

But really, finding a home that met all our ridiculous dream list items is crazy.  We'll see what happens with all of this.  Wanna see the house?  Sure you do..... And there is so much more (swoon).



I'm officially in planning mode.  We have some traveling we'd like to do soon.  Both locally, with mini staycations in the PNW, to nationally, oh like visiting family in HI and on the East Coast, and internationally for real vacation time.  So yeah, planning mode. 

Planning can be frustrating especially when there is no real destination in mind but rather several areas of interest and all of them ranking in similar priority.  We are super easy going when it comes to international travel, we want to explore the world so picking a destination really only ever comes down to a couple of things:

Economic & political turmoil in the area

Really that's it.  See we're pretty easy, not a lot of restraints.  We all hold passports that are ready to go.  Actually, I may be the only hold up as my passport does not look anything like me.  When we recently returned from Canada US Customs had a hard time believing it was me in that photograph.  When asked for a 2nd form of picture ID he still didn't think it really looked like me.  I guess it was a good thing I didn't joke that the girl in the photo was my overweight twin! Anyway, I had some friends look at that 2nd form of ID, because I agree my passport does not resemble me in the least, and they thought it didn't look much like me.  Maybe a relative, like a sister, but not me.  Well, I guess when I renew/update my passport I should probably update my drivers license photo as well.  Anyway, as I was saying we all hold passports, we have no problem taking our kids out of school to experience the world, and we do good with spontaneity.  So deciding to go to, say, Denmark in 6-weeks is no big deal for us.

Really our only vacation don't is pro-actively choosing a tropical spot.  We go to Hawaii so often that the lure of sandy beaches, ocean waters, palm trees and constant sun doesn't entice us as it could entice others.  We will always have that perfection that if we are going gung ho for a family vacation we aren't going somewhere like jamaica, or tahiti.  not for us, not yet anyway. You know, never say never.

Vacations for us is not about seeing all we can see, in terms of things like tourist attractions.  Of course if we went to Paris we'd take the kids to see, at the very least, the Eiffel Tour.  That is iconic and I know they would want to see it.  But the Louvre?  I've been there, I'd love to spend more time there but my kids maybe would find it interesting, definitely my oldest, maybe my middle the little would be able to deal with 30-min tops before she started to run amuck or make off with another family.  We like relaxing, enjoying ourselves with good food, family time together in a park or on a hike, finding a local pool to splash around in and just wondering the town with no constraints in the least.  We do pretty well at traveling with 3 kids and have no worries doing so.  We have some friends that can barely pull their shit together with less but having to have taken the bull by the horns with even only the boys as preschoolers have made us strong when hustling the brood through the airport, customs, crowds what have you.  

So here I am.  Trying to plan a vacation.  I may have better luck throwing a dart at a map and saying "that's the spot.  our vacation locale!"  We have a couple of spots we're honing in on: the mid to northern coast of Portugal and up along the Bay of Biscay with maybe a train ride to France. On the flip side we're also looking at Scandinavia with maybe a little side trip to Berlin.  Ultimately we want our dollar to stretch, we want to live like a local in a smallish village and just enjoy ourselves .  Not to much to ask right?



T and I have always had very similar interests.  Our lives have moved in parallel since we were teenagers.  The days our lives intersected all those years back would have never braced me for all the years we would spend together creating this life, creating 3 humans and riding this wonderful rollercoaster.  

It's funny, somedays we get dressed and realize we are wearing nearly identical outfits.  Sometimes its just matching shit like black jeans and gray shirts.  Sometimes its flipped with one of us in black bottoms and gray tops while the other has it opposite.  Then there are days we are both in jeans and flannels, different colors but still same feel.  Most times we don't even catch that we're doing this until we are out of the house and there is no turning back.  It's funny.  It's because we're our own person but we're not.  We are two souls that are so intwined with each other that we just can't help it.  We are a couple a couple since our teen years, this was bound to happen, right?

We laugh about this.  We don't try to change this we just go with it.  We can't help it.  


Another year of life behind me.  As I ring in another year for myself I've had the time to reflect on the past year.  I feel I have really come into my own in ways I hadn't yet learned about myself.  

I never knew I could be so strong, I come into my new age feeling stronger then I ever have in my entire life.  Strong both physically, mentally and emotionally.

I never knew I could be so dedicated & determined.  I have found an interest that I love, lifting, and have stuck with it.  Challenging myself daily.  Lifting longer, lifting heavier - physically challenging myself.  

I never knew I could love so much.  Everyday I feel my heart full not able to love more but with each new day and now new year my heart swells making room for more love.  The love for my family expands and with each child little snippits of things they do gets filed away in my heart for me to reflect on later allowing my love to swell even more.  The love for my husband has no boundaries and I feel like i'm entering my new year with my eyes, heart and body falling in love with him all over again.

I never felt love for myself until this past year.  Now I enter this new year of my life with a love and respect for myself that I didn't know possible.  I credit much of this on the weight loss I've experienced recently.  I shed a small person and have sculpted myself into a woman I am proud of.  Proud of the work I did.  All that exercise and good nutrition, that I controlled, that I made a conscious choice to make a priority that I turned into a lifestyle has given me the self confidence that I never had before.  I love myself for what I have done.  I am the same me but a much more clear headed, assertive and stronger person.  I love the woman I have become.  

I have always felt a little bit lost in this city.  Not quite understanding why.  But over the last year I have gained some new friends whom we've become fast friends and the feeling of being lost is gone.  I get to share my new year with this friends.  Creating new memories with these new people that put a smile on my face.  I also get to reminisce on old time and all the new shenanigans we can get into with my old friends, both near and far.  With age I learn how valuable these friendships can be and am thankful for the people who have stood by me all these years and continue to stand by me.  If I could I would give each of them a great big hug right now.

I'm no longer afraid of getting older, although a woman never shares her age.  With age I have grown into my own, as I mentioned.  It only took this long to figure that shit out.  I love who I am, who I've become.  I've fine tuned my likes and dislikes only keeping things in my life that I truly love.  I've learned to embrace who I am and no longer find it necessary to please others.  Much of this I already understand and have valued in my life but now I just know that it must be in the forefront.  I care about doing what makes me happy and understanding that doing what doesn't make me happy is just a waste of my time.

Happy Birthday to a wiser, stronger and much more "together" Amber.  I look forward to storming this new year of my life!


Finality of Her Days PART 1

My Mother-In-Law passed away on October 5th.  It was not unexpected just much quicker then we thought.  Much, much quicker then we all thought.  The woman that raised my husband and his brother and has lived quite the amazing life will be missed.

In August we spent 2 weeks in Hawaii to wrap up our summer.  It's a rare occasion when we leave the beautiful summers of the Pacific Northwest for Hawaii.  We'd much rather visit in the winter and have some reprieve, even if just for a week, of gray skies.  T had been working A LOT and was super stressed out and really needed a change of scenery so tickets were bought and we stayed as long as we could, which was 15-days.  

As always we were excited for sun, family and the beach.  

About a week prior to leaving my mother-in-law called us and delivered some terrible news.  She had recently gone to the doctor due to recurring pains and illness she had been suffering with for months.  She learned she had stage 4 cancer, in her bones. My MIL had been diagnosed with breast cancer in 2006 and 2013 which resulted in a double mastectomy;  both times it went away.  This time it was bad and it was shocking.  To say the timing was terrible would sound selfish but I know T was feeling it because Hawaii, this time around, would be filled with numerous doctor visits.  But you do what you need to do for family.  T's brother also flew to Hawaii so they could both go through these beginning appointments with their mom.  

Again we got the news in mid-August and were able to spend a lot of time during our visit to Hawaii with her.  T and C spent a lot of time "getting her affairs" in order should they be faced with the inevitable.  My MIL did most of this years ago, because she was super smart that way, so much of what the boys did was ensuring that their names were added to accounts and all the t's were crossed and i's were dotted.  We left Hawaii on September 5th.

3-weeks later my MIL was hospitalized and it wasn't looking great, at the end of September T & C both flew back to Hawaii to care for their mother who had requested home hospice care as all treatments for cancer had ceased due to her deteriorating health.  
3-days after T arrived in Hawaii his mother passed away, at home, in bed with her son at her side.  

My heart swelled for him so badly and I was so thankful he was able to spend his mothers last few days with her.
There was no funeral, no wake.  My MIL had donated her body to the University's medical school, this was done years prior at her choosing.  Her son's instead, took a group of her best gals to a lavish dinner where they could celebrate her life and swap loving, funny, kooky stories.  It was what she would have loved to have happen.  Her loved ones together celebrating and sharing their love for her.  

Although I remained in Washington I know that this was something my husband wanted to do alone, with his brother.  With no worries of other loved ones he had to cater to.  I have yet to really see him grieve.  He's been swamped in dealing with all the "paperwork" that comes with closing the book on someone's final days.  He has now lost both parents, I've seen how strong he really is, much more then I ever imagined.  Just like his mother.  

Since her passing I have learned so much of the woman that is, was, my mother-in-law.  My knowledge of her was what she had shared with me via stories and photos, which honestly was not a lot.  Or what my husband and brother had shared with me which was just a sliver more then what she shared.  She lived a very colorful, privileged life and my thoughts of her have changed so much as a result.  Now there is the woman I knew and the woman I wish I had known.

To be continued.


Weight Loss Journey - Sept 2015

It's been a long while.  I have not fallen off the wagon or anything but just been, good old fashioned, busy.  With 3-kids, summer vacation, activities, traveling and then a teacher's strike that delayed the start of school it's been busy.  

I've been super diligent about my nutrition and fitness. I've changed up my fitness routine and thus changed up my nutrition a bit.

I've been working out 6-days a week and, finally, alternating arm and leg work out days.  Since I've essentially doubled my workout I had to start eating a bit more then I was.  I can tell that my strength has increased and my body feels good.  I feel so much muscle tone throughout my legs and I can see it in my arms.  Slowly but surely my arms are shaping out nicely, i'm really digging it!  I've been logging all my workouts, meticulously keeping track of reps and weight i've been lifting and looking back at my progress i've been so proud of what I've accomplished.  Over the past 2 weeks or so there has been little movement on the scale but my clothes are fitting different so I know all this lifting is starting to reshape my body.  The scare says i'm 2lbs heavier then I was before I went to Hawaii in August but the size 4 jeans are a little big in the waist so stuff's a shaping up!!!

I calculated my macros and have been eating according to my goals.  It's been super weird eating more carbs, like a lot more carbs, but I also secretly love it.  I stick to much more "safe" carbs like brown rice and sweet potato but occasionally I'll have some bread because you know, avocado toast!

I'm down 50 lbs and I am a mere 5-7lbs (depending on the day) away from my ultimate, bottom out, goal weight.  I'm actually at my initial goal weight but sometimes its hard to just say i'm done when I feel like I can squeeze out another 5 lbs.  I'm totally happy where I am now.  I feel so good and have so much more energy.  All of this radiates in all that I do.  I honestly can't remember when I last felt this healthy.  Some of the things I no longer deal with are heartburn, fatigue after walking just a mile or so, in the past year I've rarely gotten sick minus a mild cold.  The best part is feeling strong and having my husband being able to carry me.  Not that he has ever had the need to have to carry me but if he had to he totally can.  

I still see my trainer she is a constant motivation and inspiration in my life.  Knowing I'll see her every week keeps me focused on my ultimate goal.  Other then hitting the studio with her I still do all my exercises at home.  I have a great weight set, I use the elliptical every eve and I start my day with a 20-min round of tabata.  I have my eye on the prize and I'm not looking back!


Summer Update

Can't believe we are midway through July!  This has been our mellowest summer to date.  This year I decided not to over schedule the children and I feel like it is working out well.  The boys are getting older and do not need hour by hour structure.  They are being pretty flexible in terms of our activities we do together and it helps that they are really enjoying their summer camps.

This week Crash is in a pre-engineering Lego camp.  Her brothers were enrolled in this camp when they were her age and LOVED it so I hoped she would as well.  And guess what, she is loving it so much.  She's been sharing her days with me and is so thrilled and excited by everything she's been building.  The boys are in good old fashion summer day camp through the Boys & Girls Club.  They are spending lots of time playing, going to parks, pools, basketball games and more.  Many of their school friends are at camp so that is fun for them.  Big Red attended a RPG programming camp at UW; he was enrolled in the overnight camp which he really enjoyed.  It was his first time "dorming" and I think it changed him for the better.  He came back slightly more matured and independent.  We weren't even out of the computer lab when he asked if he could attend next year!

Our weekends have been crazy!  Lots of BBQs and fairs and its been great.  This past sunday we got in a nice walk through the Mercer Slough.  Here are some photos from our summer so far.