Monday, September 22, 2014

hello fall

I love fall. 
The crispness in the air. 
The warmth blazing through the formerly green leaves. 
Fires in our little stove. 
The smell of woodsmoke.
The blueness in the sky like an overturned blue bowl.
Pumpkin spiced everythings. 
Slowing down from summer. 
Soups simmering & bread baking & stew'n'biscuits.
Thick, cable-knit sweaters.
Mornings with a friendly nip.
More time with the man I love. 
 My sparkly leaf garland from last year got brought back out--this was very surreal, to be bringing something out for a second season. I don't feel like I've hardly been here a year, but I'm experiencing everything for the second time now!

 I bought mums. Weeks ago. Oh, well. 
 I gussied up my spring wreath with some burlap & mustard yellow for fall. I'm going to put some Japanese maple branches in my urn as soon as I can get a certain strong, burly man to wack some off for me. 
 The chalkboard got a new quote (finally). Work's been fulfilling all my chalk art desires: I don't switch mine up at home nearly as often. 
my thankful tree. I'm going to get some little white pumpkins to put in the terracotta pots. I know they're springy, but they're the right color, & honestly, I don't feel like putting them away. 

Other news: 
Hmm, up to 15 weeks along & starting to look more than just overfed, maybe. 
Working on an old T-shirt rug. Maybe I'll do a post on that later. It's very therapeutic, lots of imprecise cutting of old shirts & braiding strips of fabric together. No planning, just progress. My kind of project.
Getting ready for Harvest Festival at work. Lots of hay bales, pumpkins, & field trippers. 

"In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you." - trying to live by this in my favorite fall season!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Mom & Dan, Alex & Carmen visit

 The last visitors of the season have come & gone already. Mom & Dan, Alex & Carmen made it out for a week. It was a warm week, & the weather cooperated for us beautifully. We went to Multnomah Falls, Bonneville Dam, Seattle, & little jaunts around here.
Carmen & I are due 2 months apart, which is pretty awesome. We talked babies, shortness of breath, & names. It was great to reconnect & be in the same phase of life again.
We went up to the Abbey, which is always nice on a clear day: you can see Hood, Mt. St. Helen, & Mt...Adam's? Washington? Can't remember which one, & I have to be accurate now because I've had Oregonians reprimand me in the past for my woeful lack of Oregon know how! All in good fun, of course. 
I also took them into Willammette Valley Pie because every visitor's trip is made richer from a slice of peach raspberry pie or Marionberry turnover. And my coworkers wanted to meet them.
We took off on Friday for highlights in the Columbia Gorge. Multnomah Falls is one of the most impressive falls I've been to. It was a little smaller this time of year, but no less impressive for its hundreds of feet drop. Carmen, Alex, & I hiked to the top. It's a short (it's a little more than 1 mile, despite the misleading signs) hike, but it's all switchbacks & steep. If you ever go, don't get discouraged at the 1 mile mark: you are almost there, & it's all downhill the rest of the switchbacks to the head of the falls.
 See those tiny people in the upper right in the grayish area? Or maybe they're cars...Cause enough for a little vertigo. It's a beautiful view though-you can see the Columbia River & mountains across.

 We went to Bonneville Dam down the road. We saw salmon swimming up the fish ladders & then got to view them underneath, swimming heroically upstream, against all odds. Quick nerdy PNW fact: Of one batch of 5,000 salmon eggs, 5 will make it back to their spawning grounds to lay/fertilize their own. Pretty amazing fish, huh? A nice Segway into our next activity: Dar took the men out on Saturday & they caught 7 of their own to take back to the Midwest.

 While the men were fishing, we women were searching for a sunny beach nearby. First, we went to Cannon Beach, my favorite Oregon beach so far, but it was so foggy we couldn't even see the ocean. So we settled for a crepe & a little shopping, then headed to Seaside to chase down the sun.

 We found some sun, but despite how the photo looks, it was miserably windy & chilly. We parked our chairs in a little cove (the same one the Sinn family was at a few weeks ago for our quick coastal vacation, in fact) & enjoyed it the best we could.
 We headed up to Seattle after Mom & Dan finished their hot air balloon ride.  We met up with Lyle & Angelina after walking around the Space Needle. We chilled at his 23rd (21st? Can't remember-pregnancy brain!) floor apartment, admiring the view & helping him make dinner. He's a wonderful host, don't let him tell you any different. We ate on their apartment building's "party" floor, which has a kitchen, pool table, media room, & deck with grills, all with a view of the Sound & Space Needle. What a different way of life, to have to have a communal space for hosting guests since your apartment's too small! And I think our apartment is limited on space.
We enjoyed Pike's Place Market, only a few minute's walk from Lyle's. I love the flower stands there! So bright & fresh. To be honest, the other shops in the belly of the market kind of creep me out. Dark stairwells, a curious smoky smell, dampish...I'll just take the sunlit outer area full of fish being thrown & flowers & spice arrays & produce of all kinds. Sadly, my appetite has been lacking, & all the different food vendors failed to excite me. Dar was feeling a little under the weather too & didn't get giddy at the sight of a street of ethnic food. I think Al & Carm made up for us though. Ironically, Mom & Alex & Carmen all bought the same French baguette from the same bakery while we were off doing our own things. I find it humorous.

 the view from Lyle's apartment
my first pumpkin spice latte of the season in the city where Starbucks began. Just seemed fitting somehow. 

 The next day we went to the Boeing factory, the largest building on earth by volume, (look at the facts I soak up!) & watched them build jets. It was interesting, but I couldn't take my camera in on the tour so you'll just have to trust me on that. 

We headed home then, stopping for artisan cheese & European sausage to go with the abundance of French baguette we now had. 
The next day they were off, I was back to work, & fall has since arrived! I'll expound on my clich├ęd love for fall in a future post.

Monday, September 8, 2014

more guests (yay!) & a quick coastal vacation

**I thought this one had posted last week. Sorry for the delay! (Make sure you check out my other recent post...contains some very exciting news...)
First off, I just want to express how grateful I am that we have friends & family willing to travel the miles & spend the money to come see us. Sometimes I get a little overwhelmed thinking how many visitors we've been having backtobacktoback, how they'll see my dirty kitchen floor & unorganized fridge, never mind the dust on the window sills & my long-dead flower arrangement. And then I mentally slap myself & say, "Jenna, you are so blessed! There are so many people out there that have no idea of the concept of friends & family. Forget the kitchen floor & enjoy your people." I don't always remember that, but I try to. And so it was with excitement that we had an old friend & her husband stay with us while they were out visiting other relatives. Most of their week we were just ships passing in the night with work & birthday parties (Dar turned 27 August 20th!) & general summer mayhem. We did get to spend Sunday evening together, which was lovely. We went up to Silver Falls & did a little hike, then came back to our place for some golf & catching up. It wasn't like old times (nothing ever will be again), but it was still my friends & time spent together. These new memories will replace the old! 

Sinn family vacation: coastal style

We spent three nights out at the coast with Dar's family. It was mostly a fishing trip, but those of us not unfortunate enough to be stuck on a boat for 10 hours a day got to spend the surprisingly sunny days on the beach & carousing around town. Or lounging in your airy room's deep cushioned window seat, reading more books than you've read in the prior year combined. It was a great vacation. Just what I needed, after putting in some long hours at work & being constantly on the go for a while. 
 Little Livy is smiley & sweet, a great vacationer. 
 Seafood was the menu nearly every night: if it wasn't salmon, Riley was catching crabs in the bay steps from our rental home. One night he caught 27!

 We built a sandcastle, tooks naps in the sand, hunted for sand dollars (which we found!), & ate lots & lots.

 We did go for a short hike & museum trip across the river in Washington state at the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center. (Ahem, Alex & Wes, remember this place? Because I do. I have terrifying memories of being lost in the woods here...) It was a perfect PNW day, i.e. a little drippy, ferny, & very green. A good day for a museum.

 The lighthouse at Cape Disappointment, near the Lewis & Clark center.
 Livy, napping on the beach. I'm a little awed that this peanut's been to the beach 3 or 4 times already in her short life. How different my children's growing up will be than mine!
Crabbing at the bay near our house. 

It was a lovely time. And just one more reminder how blest I am, & how wonderful of a family I've married into. 

guess what...?!

Yup, it's true. As of March 2015 (Lord willing), we will no longer just be the two of us. 
It is very exciting & terrifying & feels right. 
It will change everything. 
I will be responsible for another human life in a way I've never been before.
That's scary. 
It means Illinois is more permanently not home than ever before, & Oregon is home, will be my children's home. 
That's bittersweet. 
My family will have to be long-distance aunts & uncles. 
He won't have the last name I grew up with. 
She won't know what I mean when I say "Fugate Woods", "Dave's", "humidity", "thunderstorms".
But he will have a view of the mountains;
a close family that adores them; 
a far family that adores them just as much;
cousins within months;
a growing-up-on-a-farm experience;
And we are happy & wouldn't want it any other way.