Archive for the 'Relationships' Category

4th Anniversary


Us, four years ago today

Today marks our 4 year anniversary. David and I celebrated with a lovely 3-course dinner at Urban Fondue downtown, after he got off work. It felt like ages since we shared a nice dinner out together, and I was glad I had made the extra effort to dress up. He also surprised me with some delicious morsels from local Sahagun Chocolates and plans to order a gift certificate for prenatal massage, which I will certainly welcome. A lot of things have happened this past year, with even more to come, including a getaway this weekend for the two of us. I’ll try and remember to bring my camera this time. 🙂

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Maternity Shopping 101

The morning after we shared our Big News with David’s family, Sandy (David’s mom) took me for my first foray into the world of maternity clothes. I had just reached my first trimester, and because I was still under my pre-pregnancy weight, I could still fit a couple of my largest pants with a rubber band through the button loop. However, even I agreed that it might be time to see what was out there.

The shop we ended up in was called Motherhood Maternity. It wasn’t a big place, but it had the kind of packed in feel that usually overwhelms me when shopping. I remember initially feeling lost without David there to help me “see” through the compact racks of clothes (I rarely shop without him). I shouldn’t have worried though, because Sandy stepped right in. She claimed us a dressing room and immediately began to sort through the possibilities.

In many ways, I’m not very fun to shop with because I tend to wear simple basics, and mostly stay away from prints or too much color. Sandy was great though. She didn’t get offended on the pieces I declined, yet continued to find me nice items I would have missed, like a good-looking pair of khaki twill pants, and a feminine printed top that I normally wouldn’t have tried, but ended up loving.

Each dressing room contained a cushion attached to a velcro strap that you could fasten around your waist to show what you’d look like 3 months down the road. Whoa! Seeing that pillow stuffed into my waistband really put things into perspective. My little pooch is downright petite compared to where I’ll be at the end of summer, and I’ll be getting even bigger throughout the fall. Knowing this helped me to decide that maybe the “secret fit belly” waist panel was not such a bad idea (even though I originally thought they looked weird). Turns out comfort and fit really does makes all the difference.

By the end I was pretty tired, but was rewarded with two simple tees, two nice looking and comfortable pants, and the printed tank top. All mix-and-matchable, nice enough to wear out, but comfortable enough to wear in. I am surprised to find how happy I am with each item. Thank you Sandy, for making it such a good experience!

The Big Surprise + The Big News


Just a hint at the personalized service provided by The Capital Grille

Last Thursday we flew to Denver to surprise David’s mom for her 60th birthday. As far as Sandy knew, she was simply going to meet Alan after work for a very nice dinner at a restaurant called The Capital Grille. What she didn’t know was that Andrew and Aundrea (her youngest son and his fiancée, who live in Denver) and David and I were going to “crash” their little dinner party about 15 minutes after they arrived.

The restaurant did a magnificent job of playing along. The host apologized and said that their table for two wasn’t ready, and would they mind just waiting a bit at the bar? Not too long afterward, the four of us arrived and were ushered quickly into a cozy and elegant private room where we waited for Sandy and Alan to be alerted that their table was finally ready. SURPRISE! The host opened the door and there we were. Sandy was floored, practically glued to the doorway in stunned surprise. It was priceless. Utter disbelief mingled with tears of joy. So gratifying for all of us. I wish I had taken pictures, but at the same time I was really glad I could just enjoy the moment.

Eventually we all settled down long enough to place our orders and enjoy our delicious food – crispy pan-fried calamari, fresh basil mozzerella and mango salad, porcini rubbed Delmonico dry aged steak, lobster, grilled pork chop, lobster mac & cheese, creamy potatoes au gratin, fresh asparagus with hollandaise, heirloom tomatoes… I was lucky enough to try at least a bite of almost everything, and my taste buds were singing.

Right before dessert (crème brûlée and a taste of coconut cream pie), we shared our Big News. David handed his mom her “birthday” gift from us, a little photo album. We left it practically empty, except for the first page where we included a scan of our early ultrasound. I think it took about a heartbeat to register before she looked up, wide-eyed, at both of us for confirmation. Is it true? Yep. We’re pregnant!

Making Totes

David and I have been making totes lately. That’s right, David is sewing now, too! We were at New Seasons and saw a batch of simple, unlined totes for sale made from Ikea fabric and David asked me to teach him how to make them.

For his first two totes, he decided to recycle an old Pottery Barn curtain panel from our fabric stash. I walked him through cutting for size and inseam, and a few other basics like threading the bobbin, back-stitching, squaring the bottom and making french seams to keep the inside neat-looking and strong. Actually, David kind of knew how to sew long before me, because I remember him making large curtains for one of our first apartments back in the mid 1990s. However, this was a machine he hadn’t used before. He was a fast learner, and doesn’t get hung up and fussy about details like I do.

After making the bags, he then screen-printed one with an image of a bird. Didn’t it turn out great? I’m so proud!

And not to be completely outdone by my talented husband, here is a tote that I finished as well. I kind of made it up as I went along, which was not a good thing, in this case, because I think I would have made a couple different choices had I thought it through from the beginning. The outside is Ikea fabric (from the frederika collection) and the inside is Essex white linen cotton blend from Sew Mama Sew.

Handmade Valentine Cards (a personal swap)

This year for Valentine’s Day I asked David for just one thing, a handmade (by him) Valentine’s card. No chocolates, or flowers, or store-bought card. Just a little of his personal time and effort. And I promised not to judge him. That whatever he chose to make would be just fine. I really meant that. And in return, I would make him a handmade card, too.

Look at this beauty. I would never have expected this in a million years. It looks like a rolled up piece of paper in the photo, but it is actually a little cylindrical box made of heavy paper, secured by a red thread around two eyelets. About 4 inches across.

This is what it looks like inside – surprise! Filled with little strips of pink paper, each with a word on one side and the matching design from the container on the other. Words like love, forever, we, you, mine, desire, romantic, emily, david, always. I could re-arrange the little strips into many different combinations. Pretty and clever. I’m clearly blown away.

This is the card that I made for David. He really loves to flyfish. On our drive back from the coast on my birthday, we stopped at a tiny scrapbooking shop in the seaside town of Gearhart, where I picked up my first collection of brads. That’s right. Before making this card I was a Brad Virgin. I don’t know why I waited – they’re so fun! Such a variety of shapes, sizes and colors. I purchased these little fish, the dragonfly, and the heart paperclips, chosen individually out of tiny drawers. They worked perfectly for this card. The writing on top says “Fishin’ for your love.” The little fish hooks are made of staples I bent with needle-nosed pliers. The inside reads “…and now I’m hooked on you! Happy Valentine’s Day!” embellished with two red heart eyelets.

I’m so proud of us.

If that’s what motivates you

A couple days ago David announced during breakfast that he was “scheduling a meeting” at 11 o’clock for us to take care of some lingering tax documents and business paperwork. As I’ve mentioned before, these are things we procrastinate on every year. I reluctantly agreed, and then (typically) put it out of my mind. I was in the backyard when David stepped outside onto the deck at 11:05am to tell me that the meeting has already started and would I please join him? And get this… he was completely showered, shaved and fully dressed in his best suit and tie! A dramatic difference from our daily uniform of jeans and tee shirts. To see him make such an effort (for humor? or motivation?) really cracked me up. But, I did follow him into the office and we proceeded to take care of every related task on our list.

Weekend Retreat, Crescent Lake


A view of the cabin from the back, almost buried in the snow.

This past Friday Alex called about the four of us and the dogs spending the 3-day weekend away somewhere. We agreed it would be fun to go somewhere new, but not spend all day in the car. We settled on the Waldo/Crescent/Odell lake area east of Eugene, about a 3.5 hour drive southeast of Portland. A place where we’d find lots of snow for snowshoeing. Not surprisingly, most of the lodges and cabins in the area were already booked. Luckily Alex found a private home listed on craigslist that was still available. So that’s where we went.

The home was a charming A-frame cabin on a secluded 3.5 acre lot, not far from the national forest. Although poorly furnished (with not a shred of toilet paper to be found), it was comfortable and cheerily warmed with a sturdy wood stove. Actually, the place had loads of potential, and I couldn’t help wondering why the owners didn’t put any effort into making it a little better. A set of decent hooks for hanging wet coats or towels and a matching set of dining chairs could have made a big difference (but I’m just picky). When we arrived there wasn’t a track to be found, and in some spots the dogs would sink in up to their bodies. Part of the fun was just watching them bound in and out of the drifts.


Crescent Creek, right in the backyard.

A little snowshoeing adventure along the creek. We made those tracks ourselves.

Barkley taking a much needed break from all the excitement.

Overall, it was so nice to get away. And I’m again reminded how lucky we are to have such good friends. With Marcy and Alex’s baby boy on the way (see this pic), it likely won’t be so easy to just pick up and go, as we’ve done in the past. But it will be interesting, too, to see what kind of new adventures will come into play, and all that the future will bring.


A brief stop at Odell Lake, on our way back to Portland.

More pics from this weekend can be found here on my flickr page.