Archive for May, 2012

The countdown to Amanda and Josh’s big wedding day has begun – in less than a week, they’ll be saying their “I do’s” and beginning their life as husband and wife.  But first things first – this lady has some livin’ it up to do before she gets hitched!  And so a group of fun-loving ladies convened in San Francisco on Friday evening for a weekend of dancing, shopping, and making sure that Amanda’s single-hood goes out with a bang.

Amanda loves to dance, so were were all eager to get her out on the floor where she could shake her booty while singing along to Gaga and Britney.  I am tragically unhip when it comes to the club circuit, but we’d heard about a place in SOMA known for it’s popular dance scene and decided to give it a go.  We rolled up to the DNA Lounge, walked in to find it full of 18 year-olds in cut-off shorts, bumping and grinding to techno music with no words.  No words!  How do you sing along with no words?  We ordered a round of drinks, had a few laughs and bounced around a little, but ultimately decided to cut our losses and head on out.

We checked out another club (another total fail) and ended up back at the room by midnight, where we stayed up into the wee hours of the morning eating chocolate and playing bachelorette trivia and trying to remember the words to those Dixie Chicks songs we used to belt out in high school.

We awoke on Saturday to crisp, clear skies and headed out to do a little shopping and see the city’s sights.  We walked through Chinatown and wandered the aisles of DSW before grabbing a quick afternoon cat nap back at the room.

We had reservations Saturday night for dinner and a show at Asia SF – we toasted to Amanda while ladies in costume strutted down the bar to the tunes of Shania Twain and Katy Perry.  Wow.  I’ll leave it at that.

After heading down the street and finding ourselves in yet another semi-creepy, techno-filled club, we walked back to Asia SF, where we’d heard the familiar sounds of Usher and Flo Rida coming from the basement club.  And finally, we danced.

We cabbed it back to the hotel and stopped for one last photo to commemorate the night.  I had stayed up way past my bedtime once again, but seeing the dance-induced grin on Amanda’s face (or was it that third cocktail?) made it totally worth it.

After a late breakfast on Sunday, it was time for us to part ways and head home.  What a weekend!  On Saturday we’ll watch the newly wed Mr. and Mrs. Mendes step onto the dance floor – I imagine Amanda’s grin will be even wider, her feet even lighter as Kelly Clarkson pipes through the sound system.  And I will be singing along with all I’ve got.

We’ve been working our way through Ecclesiastes in our c-group, and last week Jason asked each of us to talk about verses in the passage we were reading that felt especially meaningful – I was quick to pick out 11:5:

As you do not know the path of the wind, or how the body is formed in a mother’s womb, so you cannot understand the work of God, the Maker of all things.”

There have been several times over the past year when I’ve asked God “why”. Actually, it was more like, “WHYYYYYYYYY???!!!” Why did I have a miscarriage when I was so ready to be a mom? Why has the road to pregnancy been so difficult when I’m so healthy and young? Why is it so damn easy for so many other women? But when I read that Bible verse on that particular night, I felt all those questions melt away and breathed a sigh of relief as my heart filled with comfort and trust. I cannot understand the work of God, so I may as well stop trying. Just let Him do his thing – he’s got it covered and completely under control. He’s steering the ship, and that ship may or may not be bound for my particular dream destination, but the fact of the matter is, I don’t know the first thing about driving a boat, so I’m much better off in his hands. I was proud of myself for my faith-filled revelation. I was growing as a person, finally finding the beauty in “Let Go and Let God” (Geez, how I had hated when people said that). Looking back, I realize I was also in that window of my cycle when hope is most vividly present, when there’s the possibility that things actually “took” that time around. It’s the time of month when I see pregnant ladies on the street and photos of babies on Facebook and I feel joy and quiet anticipation. But that window closed this week as Day 30 became Day 1 again, and the cycles (biological and emotional) began again. My trust-filled heart sank. I reread Ecclesiastes 11:5, but rather than finding comfort in God’s plan, I was frustrated by my limited, short-sighted understanding. That nagging three-letter word crept back into my thoughts: Why? I said hello to my all-too-familiar amigos, disappointment and doubt, and then asked guilt to join the party, because shoot, if I was this bummed out, I hadn’t given up control after all… Thankfully, I do some of my best praying and soul-searching as I’m tumbling down my mountain of hope, and I found a foothold in the realization that sadness and trust can exist side-by-side. It’s ok to be disappointed – it doesn’t make me faithless, or selfish, or overly dramatic. And if I want to whine to God that I just don’t get it, I think he’s willing to hear me out. He may not answer me in the way that I want him to, with a perfect pink plus sign on a little plastic stick, but I know he’s still with me on this emotional roller-coaster, loving me, holding me close in a hug from a friend, or a day full of sunshine, or an especially grand weekend with Shane. That much I understand.

We awoke this morning to gray skies and a steady drizzle, which initially had me a bit bummed out, until I realized this was just the excuse we needed to go back to bed for a couple of hours.  No beach-front runs for us today – just plenty of snuggling up to the mister, exchanging mushy greeting cards and wishing each other a Happy Anniversary many times over.  We lingered at the house until check-out time, really not wanting to say goodbye to our little beach-front abode – I’m already checking future availability…  We had planned on an afternoon hike at Deception Pass, but the rain only fell harder as we drove north, so we stopped for a hot bowl of chowder in La Conner for lunch and decided to head on home.  We ended the day with 60 Minutes and a pot of oatmeal for dinner – how quickly the tides turned in our ultra-romantic weekend!

While the life we live is full of so many blessings, it’s also full of little stresses, daily to-do’s, and the general whir of busy-ness.  It felt so, so good to put all that stuff away for a couple of days and shift all of my focus to loving my husband better, taking joy in his humor and thoughtfulness and devotion.  It was refreshing to lavish affection upon one another, to talk about our hopes for the next year and the next fifty years, and to know that we’re really just beginning this grand adventure called marriage.  As hard as it is to come down off a such a perfect weekend, it’s encouraging to remember that we still have so much to look forward to – thousands more “I love you’s”, hundreds more kitchen dance parties, plenty of grand adventures, and a healthy smattering of island getaways.  Happy Anniversary, sweetheart.  Thanks for two days (plus six years) of bliss.

As much as I love to travel, I am a notoriously bad trip planner.  I put off the researching and reserving until Shane swoops in with that save-the-day manner of his, and promptly books us a room at someplace amazing and lines up a slew of activities and meals and cocktails on his giant clipboard o’ fun.  Such was the case with our anniversary trip – it was technically my turn to plan something this year, but after only 10 minutes of frustrated VRBO-surfing, I threw my hands up in exasperation.  Enter Shane, with a link to a charming little waterfront cottage on Whidbey Island and a list of nearby parks and restaurants.  I promptly booked it, and on Friday afternoon, we were island-bound.

We arrived at the house just in time to watch the sun set over the sound.  We took in the view from the deck, bouncing inside to warm ourselves by the fireplace when  the winds picked up.  We spent the rest of the night on the couch, eating ice cream and playing a round of 90’s “name that tune” via Spotify.  Nothing says happy anniversary like En Vogue and Goo Goo Dolls!

We rolled out of bed this morning only when we were good and ready, snacked on banana bread and fresh fruit while watching the sun glint off the water, and then went for a jog down the beach, stopping every so often for Shane to skip a rock or scout out the bald eagle we’ve seen criss-crossing the beach all day.

We left the house around lunchtime in search of hearty local cuisine, and found it at the Coupeville and Bayview Farmer’s Markets.  Mini-donuts as an appetizer followed by a salmon taco from a little stand at the Coupeville Market, and then a tri-tip sandwich at Bayview that rivaled SLO’s Firestone Grill (my Cal Poly peeps know the significance of this comparison), paired with a grilled artichoke and ice cold lemonade.  In the words of La Verne, “nom nom”.

After stuffing ourselves silly, we drove over to Ebey’s Landing for a beach-front hike.  The fields leading to the water were shining in vivid shades of green and yellow, and the lookouts over the sound were breathtaking.

We made it back to the car just as our legs were about to give out, and the deck at the house proved to be the perfect place to put our feet up and catch a breath of fresh, salty air.  We cracked open the special bottle of champagne we’d brought along, put together a plate of chevre-smeared crackers and squares of dark chocolate, and spent a couple of hours letting the sun warm our cheeks, listening to the tide come in while we talked and laughed and felt so…content.  It was the kind of day I desperately wanted to stretch on forever.

Tomorrow, we officially celebrate six years of marriage – I’ve been trying to wish Shane a happy anniversary all weekend, but before I can get the words out, he shushes me and says “not yet!” (in the same way that he believes Christmas music should only be played on Christmas Day, he believes anniversary wishes are only applicable one day out of the year).  So tomorrow, Mr. Schnell.  Tomorrow I’m laying it on thick.

I know people say that Summer doesn’t truly arrive in Seattle until the 4th of July, but after the weekend we had, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that my favorite season is coming early this year (gosh, I hope I didn’t just jinx it…).

We started our weekend with the Kate Lynn Logan and JJ Heller show at the Q Cafe. It was a great, chill night of music – JJ is lovely and adorable with a super-sweet voice and a husband that accompanies her perfectly on the guitar. And late night Happy Hour after the show with Jack and La Verne at Daniels’ Broiler wasn’t half-bad, either…

We were up early on Saturday to run in the “Free Them 5k”, a fundraiser organized by the life-changing folks at World Concern. It was inspiring to see so many people turn out for a such a good cause. And the run was a blast – not at all competitive, but just a bunch of friends out for a jog on a beautiful day.

We headed home after the race for a shower, and then grabbed our bikes and were back out the door to ride to Jack and La Verne’s for an afternoon barbecue. We made a quick stop at the ball fields down the street to watch some of the neighborhood kids take a whack at tee ball. And my goodness, they were so cute with their give-it-your-all swings and helmets bobbling as they rounded the bases.

After barbecue part one at Jack and La Verne’s, we rode back home for barbecue part two with Justin and Lindsey. Fresh salmon hot off the grill, good conversation with some of our favorite neighbors, and one incredibly adorable baby that made me giggle as she pushed her face up against the door for a game of peek-a-boo with Shane. I predict this is only the first of many backyard dinners to come over the next few months. Yessssssss…

5k’s are kind of like chump change for Shane these days – he was up at 6:00 this morning to head over to Kirkland for yet another half-marathon. Jack, La Verne and I staked out the finish line and cheered like crazy as he rounded the bend several minutes earlier than expected. My man is a total rockstar – 13.1 miles in 1 hour and 39 minutes. Insane! I’m so proud of him. He dedicated this run to his mom in honor of Mother’s Day and said he thought of her whenever he needed encouragement to push up a particularly tough hill – his super-fast time is proof that she has been so, so good to him.

Post-race, we headed to Capitol Hill to check out the Farmer’s Market, but finding that it wasn’t open yet, we settled on sandwiches and an outdoor table at Homegrown. News flash!: I believe I may have found the best breakfast sandwich in Seattle. A fluffy fried egg, perfectly crisp bacon, Beecher’s cheese, and a toasted potato bun. Wowsers, it was good.

We napped and watched baseball and sat out on the back porch this afternoon, soaking in the joy of a lazy, sunny Sabbath. I eventually worked up the energy to get out of the house for ice cream from Full Tilt – tell me this photo isn’t proof that Summer really is almost here!

We took our cones to-go and drove over to Genessee Park to lay on the grass and catch the last of the day’s rays next to the blue waters of Lake Washington.

Ahhhhh, the bliss of a Vitamin D high…

It was a pretty grand weekend.  Grand in a run-of-the-mill kind of way, but that’s exactly what I was craving after a long week at work.  Plenty of rest, good times with friends, and a healthy dose of sunshine.

I kicked off Saturday with the ladies at our book club meeting – good coffee, good book (Go read The Book Thief!  You’ll love it!), and some good catching up with each other.  All kinds of good happening at Espresso Vivace that morning…

We spent Saturday evening at Jack and La Verne’s, making use of their new patio furniture and feasting on the fruits of Jack’s stellar grill skills.

Shane took a break from the action to hang with baby Stella.  I raised my eyebrows when Nicole asked Shane to put Stella in her footy pajamas, wondering if he’d be up for the task, but he was a like an old pro as he snapped her up, wrapped her in her fuzzy blanket, and took her in his arms for a quieting stroll around the house.  This man is going to make one heck of dad some day.

We ended the night with Beard Papa’s cream puffs and hot tea – again, so good!

I was thrilled to wake up this morning and see sunshine glowing through our bedroom curtains.  We spent some time after church this morning poking around Ballard, walking across the Locks and enjoying the blue, sunshiny skies.

I had a long list of to-do’s I’d planned on tackling this afternoon, but ultimately decided those chores and errands could wait:  I needed an afternoon of guilt-free veggin’.  I read and dozed on the couch, pulling myself out of sleep just in time to watch the Giants beat the Brewers in the 11th inning.  Woot!

Once the game was over, Shane and I moved our laze-fest to the backyard, to read and sip cocktails and dote on our neighbors’ new Shiba Inu puppy.

And that’s a wrap on this pretty perfect weekend.  Productivity is sooooo over-rated.

And that’s how it’s done.  Easy as chocolate chip cookie pie (with ice cream on top).