Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Pumpkin Picking 2013

Here are a few photos from our pumpkin gathering outing to Mosby Farms in Auburn, Washington. It's great to sneak out for an adventure every now and then. While it is out of the way (and it was like pulling teeth to get S along for the ride) a good time was had by all.  We arrived just before closing, so we weren't able to do the massive corn maze, but maybe next year. 

 Capped off our trip with a visit to their farm stand for a few fresh, local preserves! Yum....

Friday, October 18, 2013

Adoption Update! A Step in the Right Direction!

We officially finished our PRIDE training classes! This is a big step since we've been attempting to get into these classes for over a year, but S's schedule has never lined up just right. Well, it FINALLY did! We still have a long way to go, but it's a huge step in the right direction!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Lucky Girl

It's days like these that I feel pretty lucky. With a combined totally of 8 hours of sleep between the two of us over the last 24 hrs, I woke up to S surprising me with a mostly Paleo friendly coffee, and a pair of shoes. Throwing them on, still in his old Navy sweat pants and a tank top, I followed him out to his car because he had something to show me. We drove the mile down the road to the marina. This unaltered photo is what we saw through the trees. He had seen it in his way in and wanted to share it with me. Just one of the many reasons I love my life.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Staying Healthy Together

S and I got to go on a really fun 5k this weekend. I was planning on doing it alone, but having him around has been a great surprise! Our team, Eradiction H, performed admirably, even though we didn't survive.

Eradication H! Andy, J, S, Mini, and Melissa

J and the boys

Our time - a new Personal Record for J!


Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Spring Vacation Day 2 - Exploring on a Down Day

It's not uncommon for me to be so excited on a Disney trip that I can't sleep.

Though Disney World wasn't our first destination, I was still up at the crack of dawn. While S slept in, I ducked out of the room to explore the hotel.

The Fitness room was busy, which was encouraging! On my way out, I spotted a flock of wild turkeys in the courtyard! Apparently a morning jogger was also surprised to see them. We both stood there, taking photos from opposite ends and giggling at the surprise.

The hotel only had a few choices of places for breakfast. I found the busiest place was a small coffee stand, which sold yogurt, muffins, and other assorted pastries.

 I picked up a Chai Soy Latte for S, a mocha for myself, and a blueberry muffin to split. I took my time strolling back to the room, but S was still out cold. Leaving breakfast on a table for him, I took my Acer outside and worked on getting it up and running. It had been problematic before the trip but I was hopeful that we could get it working - at least for the time being. For now, some getaway time was far more valuable than a piece of technological equipment.

 It was a beautiful morning, as I ate my breakfast on the porch and watched the world wake up. The  I encountered several of our neighbors getting a last minute cell phone chat in before beginning their day. It was an incredibly peaceful way to start the trip - which isn't actually my usual Florida speed.  By this point any other trip, I'd be on my way to an amazing character breakfast somewhere in the parks. Instead, I was out on the porch, sipping my mocha and praying my computer would boot up and cooperate. Since it wasn't, I had brought my back up method - the same travel journal I've been keeping since S and I first met face-to-face. I jotted a few notes to calm the restlessness desperately trying to keep the 5-year-old in me from bouncing up and down on the bed and waking up S while chanting, "We're here! We're on Vacation!"

By the time he awoke, he had no interest in the chia tea, so I finished that off as we headed off of Shades of Green property and over to the Polynesian resort. I'd gotten a tip before we left that it's better to catch resort transportation there than from Shades of Green, as busses run more frequently.  I don't know why, but I was surprised to find that the resort theming was even all over the trash cans! Obviously we'd entered Disney's version of Polynesia...

After a slight mix up in transportation (which resulted in an unexpected round trip on the monorail - oops!) we arrived at Downtown Disney, still a bit travel weary and by now, starving.

So our Downtown Disney visit started in a way every single one of our Disney World visits has started - a meal at the T Rex Café!

We snacked on some salads and appetizers and enjoyed some adult beverages before we headed into the shopping mecca to browse, and hit up one of S's requests - the Ghiradelli Chocolate Store. We got a mint and chip dark chocolate sundae to split and sat down to watch some high school choirs finish their performances.

After a long day getting some miles in by strolling from one end of Downtown Disney to the other and back again, we settled back into the hotel for some R&R.

This is a MUCH slower pace than I'm used to taking on trips. I'm used to going all out, full force, suck the marrow out of each moment, but ya know what?  There is something to be said for stopping to smell the roses... or in my case, the whipped cream...

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Day 3 - Universal!


We raced through a quick breakfast of yogurt and mochas from a coffee stand and made it just in the nick of time to our shuttle. Shades of Green has a small shuttle, requiring reservations 1 day in advance, that costs about $10/person. It's the cheapest way of getting from here to there, and it was nice to not have to drive during any part of our vacation.  (I'm notorious for losing my rental car in parking lots!)

We raced through their downtown area, lined with shops, eateries, and concert venues, and straight to the front gate where we activated our tickets. S was free (thanks to a generous military promotion going on) and I got a discount. Our first destination was mapped out - Islands of Adventure and Harry Potter! I was really interested in the 'Sinbad' style entry way, with its towering lighthouse, tropical themed shops, and small carts for food and drinks. I was later disappointed to discover that the themeing didn't carry over into the food and drink offered. We rushed through and followed the crowd to the highly anticipated Harry Potter area.

The 'on vacation' beard'
Sadly, I got motion sick on the first attraction we rode (the ride inside Hogwart's), so that really put a damper on my day. Rides that S enjoyed, just about made me hurl, but we did have a few rides in common that we really enjoyed. Read on!

As for the Harry Potter area, the ride itself felt as if it was unfinished or already out of date. While there were a few genuinely creepy moments, I can easily say the best part of the ride was the entertainment in while you were in line. On the upside, as curvy as I am, I was concerned I wouldn't be able to ride. They have pretty strict dimensions for riders and bottom heavy riders like me don't fit in well. I'm happy to report, I fit in just fine.

Yeah... you never get to get this close to the dragon. Boo hiss.
Hopefully they'll update The attraction for the California version! The atmosphere of the town and school were pretty cool, though it was odd to see snow on the rooftops in the middle of an 80+ degree day. One of the cool little attractions in the area was a small choir (complete with puppet toads, just like in the movies). It was great fun to listen to them while S rode the roller coaster. (I opted not to ride since, we were nearing the front of the line before someone told us we had to go all the way back to the entrance to stow our backpack...)  Here are some of our photos from Hogwarts!


The one really annoying thing about Universal is that you can't take your bag on any ride. Actually, that's not the annoying part. The annoying part is that it's rarely posted that you need to check your bag at a locker before entering the line and most employees don't bother to tell you when you enter...So there we were, nearly at the front of the line, when an employee says, "Oh, you'll have to go back through the line to the begining and check your bag at the locker and get back in line to ride." Ugh. By this time I was a little motion sick anyway, and supremely annoyed, so I opted to explore the town of Hogsmead rather than make S get BACK in line and start over...Yes, the lockers are free for about the duration of the line, which is nice, but the hassle of waiting in line and then waiting again with the mass of people that just exited the ride to gain access to your locker... it's just a pain and a waste of valuable vacation time.

Anyway, in my exploration, I stumbled across a drink called Pumpkin Juice! Sounds delicious, right? I snatch up a bottle of it right away. It was already a hot and humid Florida day, so it sounded like just the right treat to share when S got off the roller coaster.


 It was so sweet, we only had about 2 sips each and then had to throw it away. I was pretty disappointed. It sounded so refreshing! If anything, I expected it to be watery! Not Sweet! Pumpkin and apple juice... but it might as well have been concentrate from both juices. It was sickly sweet (which didn't help my stomach issues at all). After that experience, we skipped on the infamous ButterBeer all together. The line was REALLY long and the drinks were expensive. I'd already heard rumors that it was incredibly sweet - and already wasted  $7 on a drink that we threw away - so we moved on to explore other areas of the park instead.

 On to...

This was probably the best themed area of Islands of Adventure, next to Harry Potter. It reminded me a bit of pieces of Disney Animal Kingdom. We were both really looking forward to this ride. This time, we figured we should check our bag first, just because we knew you got really wet on this one!

 It turned out to be great fun, and we got on it in the nick of time! One common complaint about Universal is that the rides break down on a regular basis. Upon riding the shuttle home, we heard from our fellow passengers that nearly every attraction we enjoyed broke down as soon as we go off of it! Crazy!

Second Row - 2 seats on the right
We got wet and had a really fun time. At night time, this ride would be genuinely spooky, I'm sure!

After a great ride, we sought out some healthy food!  We found it fairly easily, which was a nice surprise! Eating in a room that was themed after the Visitor's Center in Jurassic Park. We shared a ribs and chicken patter, with baked plantain chips. The chips were incredibly bland, but the rest of the meal was good.

The view from the Visitor's Center is of the observation platform for the big drop on the Jurassic Park ride. Check out that splash!

The Hulk

We hopped in a (long) line to ride The Hulk next. It was a great ride, and, though the line say 45 minutes, it was well over an hour and a half. What made the line more annoying was that the 15 screens placed around the attractions que area all played the same, 5 minute cartoon loop over and over and over.... you get the picture. I suspect THIS is why they sell beer in the park - because it keeps the general population sedate in the Florida heat. The ride was fun, but not worth the line, and the hassle of getting our bag from the locker afterwards...
In strolling through the "comic book" themed area of Islands of Adventure, we were able to run into a few costumed characters. The Green Goblin was the most memorable. Unlike Disney's costumed characters, this fellow was allowed to talk (and spook) little kids. It must have made being in a mask and slim fitting costume more fun.

At that point we walked over into the other park (Universal Studios - the park which rushed Disney MGM Studios into opening earlier than expected). We were already dragging a little bit. This park was lovely to walk around. I think I could have had fun just strolling around and soaking in the hollywood-that-we-all-hope-wished-actually-existed atmosphere. We got to check out Terminator 3D (which was fun, but dated), The Simpsons (fun, but I was so nauseated, and the motion simulator was in a stifflingly muggy room that smelled like baby burps - so not helpful to the nausea thing...) and Men in Black.
Men in Black Attraction
The easy hands-down favorite attraction of the day was The Amazing Spiderman. They really took some notes from Disney and did everything right on this one. The que area was immersive. It felt like we'd just walked into the offices of the Daily Bugle! Instead of going for a 'realism' effect (like Harry Potter's area and Jurassic Park), designers fully embraced the comic book feel. We're pretty lucky we got on it! We heard later that it broke down for the rest of the day.

In line for The Amazing Spider Man
On the way out of the park, we ended up getting a drink from a cart that was about to close. Turned out, he had some hot dogs he was going to throw away too, so we ended up getting a free bite on the way out to share as well.  (After all, they were just going to throw it away anyway.)

We returned to meet our shuttle and headed back to Shades of Green before the sun had set. The shuttle ride proved very enlightening. Our fellow passengers complained of closed attractions, long lines, and the inconsistent bag checking policies as well. Oddly enough, our of the seven other passengers, only one was planning on returning.

We spent the evening at arcade area in Shades of Green playing some air hockey and getting some R&R. S caught up with a few friends about the latest and greatest Playstation strides (PS4 was announced on this day) and I got in a quick work out.

With that day behind us, the next day lead to a new hotel and a very wet adventure!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Spring Vacation 2013 - Day 1, travel day!

S and I started off the day by driving to Gig Harbor to work out with TrainerGuy bright and early. Running off of very little sleep (and LOTS of excitement), we surprised TrainerGuy at the energy we brought! S needed more weights for his squats (the Y doesn't carry bar bells over 100lbs), and we really worked hard in our Metabolic Trainer for the day with a little friendly competition spurring us on.

This was the 2nd day of training back to back and we knew we were testing our metal by doing it on the way to the airport, but I was determined not to let a little thing like a cross-country vacation set us back!

S picked us up a protein shake to split since we were running a tad behind, and we headed off to find where we were supposed to park our car. Using a great deal we found on Groupon, we parked the car for less than shuttle fare for 2 people! It gave us much more flexibility and avoided the nightmare that was our last trip (where I had scheduled the shuttle for the wrong day... oops). We found it with very little difficulty and within an hour, we were checked in and through security. Taking turns sitting with the bags, we took turns getting hot drinks and breakfasty munchies before boarding the plane.

We boarded our US Airways flight and that is when the trip took a serious turn for the slow...

We were delayed at the gate and in our seats for nearly 2 hours.

If we hadn't opted to hit a hard core work out in the morning, this wouldn't have been too much of a problem, aside from making us overdue for our connecting flight.

But sitting still for an extra 2 hours isn't pleasant when you're muscles are trying to recover. It's a great recipe for tight muscles and pain. While the workout was worth it, this was not helpful...

Needless to say, we are not a fan of US Airways. Not because of the delay. Delays happen. But it's because the airline and their staff made no effort at all to make people more comfortable. Also, the airline was aware there would be a delay, but opted to board the plane anyway, instead of taking care of the problem before trapping people in their seats, in a hot, crowded plane that was going nowhere.

Lucky for us, about 10 other people on our plane were trying to make the same connection. Instead of an hour and 40 minutes of layover, they did end up holding the plane for 15 minutes so those of us with connections could make it. Thank God for small miracles!

After a very long day, we finally touched down in Orlando right about on time.

But the delays didn't end there. We had reserved a shuttle online through Mears... well, the ticket counter we were supposed to check in at was closed for the night (despite quite a few people with reservations for late night transport). After another 40 minutes of waiting around (and working with a very confused driver who was called in last minute), we ended up arriving to our hotel, Shades of Green, well after midnight.

The hotel staff couldn't have been more sweet and receptive. It was the best part of our evening in Orlando. Having skipped several meals, we dug into our park snack supply. Cliff bars and Star Wars fruit snacks saw us through as we boarded the shuttle. Since it was well into the wee hours of the morning, we ended up stopping for granola bars and cookies from a vending machine on the way to the room.

The rooms at Shades of Green are LARGE. We had a standard sized room, and it was larger than any of our rooms during our Disney World stay - even at the deluxe Animal Kingdom Lodge! While there was no real Disney theming to be found, it was a really nice hotel and we just couldn't beat the price. I would equate it to a really nice Sheraton.

It didn't take long for us to pass out. We had ambitiously planned our next day to be a day at Universal Studios, but S made a very good case for taking a down-day the next day. I gave in without much of a fight.

He's taught me to slow down a bit, which is probably healthy for me.

On to Day 2! Relaxing and exploring...

Thursday, March 14, 2013

VACATION 101 - Floridia - a Coming Attraction!

Hey family and friends!
Vacation faces! (Note S's Beard!)

Well, as most of you know, things are kinda crazy in our household lately. If you don't know, go back to my personal blog and get filled in. I won't leave too much of that here. Let's just say, we could already use another one. (Vacation, not blog.)

HOWEVER, most of the photos from our trip have been uploaded and edited, so I'll be throwing them up here with the low-down as I have some time over the next month or so. These are just to give ya'll a 'taste' of thing to come!

Gotta love a hotel that greets you with margaritas in the lobby!


Wednesday, February 6, 2013

A Quick Update on the Status Quo

Greetings readers!
  Now, if you're a friend of family member of S, you're probably DYING to hear from him. So here's the skinny - Yes, he's back on land. (Yeah!)
 No, you can't call him and say hi (unless you like talking to voicemail).
 Yes, he will do his best to touch base with ya'll this weekend.
 I am not one for making excuses. In fact, I believe that you if you don't want someone you have to make excuses for - never start! But after living through this side of his schedule,  I'll never complain about my work hours again!

  Let's just take this week as an example -  Monday's shift started around 5:30am and didn't end until about 8pm on Tuesday.
 Wednesday's shift started around 6am and doesn't end until around 10pm on Thursday.
 Friday he'll also be working and maybe Saturday as well.

This is why a vacation has become so pivitol, and we're really glad to be able to take one in a couple weeks! This one won't be touring the country to visit family and friends (sorry!). This one is all about us. Yes, I'm probably a bit selfish, but in honesty, we haven't had more than 1 day together without an obligation or work since August probably. We both work weekends and with his deployments, we're learning to take our time and reconnect. It helps that we have a comfortable tax return this year and are able to put some money towards bills, the trip, and savings.

So your best chance to catch S (awake) will be SUNDAY.
Good luck!  - J.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

2012 Recap - Part 2/2

June of 2012 held in store a trip to California for J and lots of work for S.

But luckily, July 4th was a different story. Though the month was still very busy, we did get to spend the special day together, watching both Seattle and Bainbridge Island's fireworks from our spot on the beach. We made a picnic of some sandwiches and dried fruit from a local market and wrapped up in blankets to enjoy the holiday.

July 4th, 2012
August was a BIG deal! The highlight of which was finally getting to do the wedding weekend we've been needing to do. We made some amazing memories that we'll always treasure with friends and family.

Pre wedding park time

Stag night

Wedding Awesomeness
Road Trip Honeymoon  

S and Odin Playing
September flew by pretty quickly, with lots of work filling most of the time. But the highlight of October was probably the Mud Run we did with S's shipmates and the addition of Odin to our little family.
Poulsbo Mud Run
    November flew by as well, but we did get to spend Thanksgiving together, which was fun, very low key, and relaxing, even if we didn't do the feast most are accustomed to when you think of Thanksgiving.

December was packed! S was out "Finding Nemo" for most of the month, but we were able to spend Christmas Eve and Christmas Day together with J's family. After that, it was back to the sea for S and back to the work-a-day world for J.

And thus it brings us to 2013. What we're looking forward to? Well, our first meal together in 2013 would be a great start.

2012 - A Recap part 1/2

Wow - 2012.. What a year it was! So what did 2012 bring? I'll try to sum up!

S making calls to family when he finally was back on land.
Our first HOMECOMING! It was a cold, rainy, night when we finally met up again after skipping every major holiday from October to January. But it snowed on J's birthday (her first real time living in snow) and Clydas got to check it out for the first time too.

J's 32nd birthday dinner - Hot Pot in Tukwilla

February didn't bring any major holidays or outings for us. S went to work on the night shift for a few weeks upon his return, so we saved up for our own "spring break" instead. 

In March, we went to Michigan to visit S's family, hometown, and some friends. A few days just wasn't long enough.
Michigan 2012

And after Michigan came a few days in Disney World (a place where a few days REALLY aren't enough time) with more family -
Disney World Spring 2012

The weekend after we came back from here, we found our house and started the process of buying it. But Easter brought one more little get-away to the Salish Lodge beside the Snoqualmie Falls. It was a great get away. Cashing in a Christmas gift certificate, we had a couples massage by the fire, and enjoyed one night away talking and breathing through the challenges coming our way.
Salish Lodge- Easter 2012
This was also when we learned that J's dad had cancer and we immediately starting making plans for the wedding celebration in California. In May, we moved into our first house!

In June, J took a quick weekend trip to California to solidify arrangements for the wedding. But we were very excited to spend July 4th together two years straight! In 2011, we spent it watching from the deck of a barge. S had to work that night, but the Navy was kind enough to sponsor a little get together for the families of the working guys and let us spend some quality time watching movies and fireworks together. This year, we spent our July 4th on Bainbridge Island, watching the fireworks of Bainbridge and Seattle from our beachy vantage point. I think this beach might just turned into a tradition for us.

To be continued...