Wednesday, July 27, 2011

A Whole New World...

Disney's Aladdin is one of my absolute favorite movies from my childhood. My princess of a cat is even named Jasmine after my favorite character. So I was shocked and thrilled yesterday when Stewart showed up at my office with surprise tickets to Aladdin: The New Stage Musical at the 5th Avenue Theatre. I was super excited to combine several things I adore into one fantastic evening: suprises, theater, Disney, and (of course) Stewart!

The 5th Avenue Theatre’s highly anticipated premiere of Aladdin was adapted from Disney’s hugely popular Academy Award-winning animated feature film. It still tells the well-loved story of a street-smart commoner whose whole life changes with one rub of a magic lamp – but with a few new twists. It incorporated all of the beloved songs from the film’s Oscar-winning score, plus some brand new numbers. And yes, I still sang along under my breath to all the songs I memorized as a kid.

Replacing one of my favorite movie characters, Abu (Aladdin’s monkey companion), the stage production introduced a trio of characters who played the part of Aladdin’s best buddies: Omar, Babkak, and Kassim – who provided a ton of comic relief. The show also featured Jonathan Freeman as the Royal Vizier Jafar, the role he originally voiced for the film. The rest of the casting was absolutely spot-on with Adam Jacobs and Courtney Reed as Aladdin and Jasmine, and James Monroe Iglehart as the Genie who was particularly hilarious. The actors, scenes and musical numbers were all amazing, and the entire experience was magical – just as I remember it was when I first saw the movie when I was only 11.

If you’re looking for a night out on the town I highly recommend discovering a whole new world at this amazing show!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Congratulations, Brett!

We'd like to take a moment to give a big shout out to one of Stew's best friends from college, Brett. On Friday, he graduated from the Kirkland Fire Department's Recruit Academy, which obviously called for a whole weekend of celebrating! Following the graduation ceremony on Friday we spent the evening with Brett and his family enjoying dinner at Anthony's... very delicious and fun for us since we basically never go out to fancy dinners. Then on Saturday the weather cooperated for a gorgeous backyard barbeque at Brett's house with all of his family and friends.

Stewart and I understand completely how much hard work and dedication becoming a firefighter requires, so we're so happy for Brett that he has achieved his goal and will soon begin his new career.

CONGRATULATIONS BRETT!
The boys in their Class A uniforms - my favorite!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Sucia Island Adventure

My childhood memories are filled with memories of jagged, rock strewn beaches filled with shells, seaweed, barnacles, and muck. As kids we used our imagination to turn the coastline at our family cabin on the Hood Canal into a tropical paradise. Sporting bathing suits and aqua socks in 65 degree weather, we floated on inner tubes in the freezing salt water amid sea grass and jellyfish until we began to turn blue and then attempted to sunbathe while avoiding sand fleas and scuttle crabs. We fished from the dock and took turns in the rowboat, and walked the beach for miles filling buckets of sea glass and driftwood.

But the best part of these summers was boating with Grandpa. Waiting at the dock for your turn to go out on the small fishing boat was simply agony! We would gear up in puffy orange life jackets, metal clips securely fastened, and lay with eyes pressed to holes in the dock looking for jellyfish to pass the time. Eventually we would hear the boat’s motor in the distance, heading in to trade siblings and cousins for the next trip out. And when I was finally hefted aboard and the boat pulled away, with the salty wind in my hair and a smile plastered on my face, I remember feeling happy, lucky and free.

The anticipation of dropping and pulling crab and shrimp pots never lost its appeal for me. The canal was an abundance of wildlife and entertainment, and every day was a new adventure. Back at our cabin, the deck was always covered with buckets full of clams, oysters, shrimp, crab and fish. The adults would sit around the table eating pounds of fresh seafood, while at the time I refused to taste it… I simply enjoyed the thrill of the catch! Gosh, what was I thinking?! I still can’t believe that I passed up all that amazing food.

When Stewart’s friend Chad invited us for a weekend of camping, boating and fishing at Sucia Island in the San Juans, I was incredibly excited. As soon as we pulled away from the dock in Stew's home town of Ferndale and I smelled the sea air, my head was flooded with memories of childhood summers.

Sucia Island is less than one square mile and it is only accessible by boat. Stewart, Chad, Cory and I pulled up to shore and unloaded our camping gear in a chilly drizzle. But because of my summers on the beaches of Hood Canal in similar conditions, what the heck did I care? Adventure! We camped in a gorgeous shallow cove right on the beach, and had to gather driftwood for the fire we hoped the weather would allow us to have later. The rain did finally stop later in the evening and we were able to build a camp fire before bed. Eight hours later we awoke… to a torrential downpour. When it hadn’t let up a few hours later, we decided to brave the elements and headed out in the boat to drop crab pots and let the boys fish.

Stewart claims that he is a very unlucky fisherman, and unfortunately this trip he seemed to be correct... after several hours we only managed to hook a single dogfish. But I still had a fantastic time just being out on the water enjoying the gorgeous views and even just a few peeks of sunshine in the afternoon. Setting and pulling crab pots was also just as fun as I remember it being as a kid. Our first couple pots only had some small female crabs but by the end of the weekend we had snagged several worthy enough to take home. And the boys laughed at me for thinking that an absolutely giant starfish was the most exciting catch of the day. (It was seriously HUGE!) 
The waters surrounding the islands are so gorgeous, even on a dull day. Living and working in the city, I often forget how lucky we are to live in the Pacific Northwest. We saw tons of wildlife including dolphins, seals, otters, and bald eagles, and of course CRABS! Despite all our experience watching Deadliest Catch, we didn’t have a huge haul, but did head home with delicious crabs that we enjoyed Sunday night with our friends Matt and Alissa. It was by far the most delicious seafood I have ever tasted. I’m still kicking myself for all those years at our cabin I spent being a bratty, picky eater.

The trip was really fun and it’s one that Stewart has been doing almost every summer since college. I’m so glad I was finally able to join him! And although I’m a fan of tropical paradise as much as the next person, the weekend really reminded me how much I love the Puget Sound and the adventures (and cuisine!) it has to offer.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Boot Camp Recap

This morning I completed my second month of Boot Camp through Kirchoff Fitness and I feel great! At the beginning and the end of each session we do a timed mile to measure progress. And for the second time this summer, today I was able to jog the whole mile! I know to many of you this might not seem like much of an accomplishment, but for me it is HUGE. I've never been a natural runner and it's always been such a struggle for me both mentally and physically, so to finally start improving, even if it's slight, is a really good feeling.

Boot Camp and I have a love/hate relationship. I HATE getting up before 5 a.m. to exercise, but I LOVE going home from work every night knowing that I don't have to hit the gym... because my workout is already done! I HATE not being able to breathe, sweating and turning beet red, climbing up and down stairs over and over again, doing push ups and sit ups in the sand, lifting weights, and of course running, but I LOVE how much stronger I feel. I HATE having to turn down delicious foods like Big Macs and Pizza, but I LOVE how much better my body performs when I give it healthy fuel.

Even though I did feel really burnt out at times (and didn't necessarily always bring my PMA = Positive Mental Attitude), I completed both boot camps with exemplary attendance and I managed to drink water and eat healthy throughout the entire experience. Well, most of the time...

Now I have two weeks off before another camp starts, and I'm on the fence about whether to sign up again. On the one hand, it's expensive and I'm still paying for a gym membership on top of it. On the other, I only have a couple months left of "summer" Seattle weather during which exercising outside is even a possibility. And it also means that my evenings will be free for lovely patio happy hours!

So right now I am thinking that since my motivation level is up, I'd really like to keep going while I have the energy (and daylight) available. Would anyone care to join me?

Monday, July 11, 2011

Bachelorette Party in Leavenworth

Our friends Crystal and Hans are getting married at the end of the month, and as Maid of Honor I had the distinguished duty of planning a fabulous bachelorette party weekend for Crystal. She's not much of a club rat, so I had to think of something slightly out of the ordinary as far as these bashes generally go. Crystal loves the outdoors, so when a Living Social deal for whitewater rafting popped up a few months ago, we were instantly sold: a weekend in Leavenworth! We arrived at our adorable cottage on Friday afternoon, enjoyed a delicious home cooked meal, and headed out for "just a couple drinks," with plans to get home early in order to depart by 8am for our rafting adventure. Unfortunately, by the time we dragged our silly selves home in the wee hours, the Bachelorette wasn't feeling so hot. She was still feeling so under the weather the next morning that she wasn't even able to go on the rafting trip, tragic!

It was my first time river rafting and I had an absolutely fantastic time! If you're at all interested I highly recommend checking out River Recreation and planning a trip. So far I think it was the most fun thing I've done all summer.
We also took some old west photos to tie in with the Western-themed wedding, ate amazing food, and soaked up many glorious sun rays while we were there. Overall I'd say it was a super successful trip and I can only hope the bride-to-be had fun even though all didn't go exactly as planned. Just three weeks until the wedding, I can't wait!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

4th of July Weekend

We're in the middle of a super crazy summer with virtually every single weekend booked up until October. However, we hadn't seen my sister's family (including our 6-month-old niece, Sophia) for a few months, so I was desperate to plan a trip down to Oregon to visit them. Luckily, we realized that 4th of July weekend would work for everyone. I headed down on Friday afternoon after work and spent some nice, relaxing, quality time with Nichole, Aaron and Sophia before Stewart arrived when he got off shift on Sunday morning.

Babies change a lot in just a short time! I couldn't believe how much Sophia had grown, and she is just so much FUN now! She is alert and active, she smiles and laughs, plays with toys, and even throws little fits like the princess that she is (obviously my relative). I love visiting my sister because I feel so relaxed around her. We have so much fun just sitting around talking, making meals, and hanging out on the floor playing with Sophia. The weather was gorgeous so we spent one afternoon walking around a beautiful park and feeding the ducks, and another trekking into Portland for our annual visit to Voodoo Doughnut.

Before she was born, Stewart and I got Sophia an adorable handmade wooden hippo clock which we brought home from our trip to Italy, and this time we gave her a super soft plush hippo that we got on a trip to the Woodland Park Zoo. I've decided that hippos are going to be "our thing" and I've already got a pretty cool Christmas gift scoped out! Stewart and Aaron are both so great with Sophia... I'm probably going to get in trouble for saying/writing this, but it makes me really excited for the day when we have a baby of our own, because I can tell that Stew is going to be an amazing dad. In a few years, of course...!

We hope that everyone had a safe and happy 4th of July filled with friends, fireworks and fun!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Welcome!

Hello and welcome to our blog! I know many of you have spent the past few years following my personal blog, but I've decided that getting engaged and planning a wedding is the perfect time to start a new chapter... so here "we" are! Although this site will probably start out with a huge concentration on wedding planning, it will continue to be a place where we can update all of our family and friends on our day to day adventures. We really wish that we could see everyone more often, and we hope that in some small way our posts will help the people we love feel a little more connected to us. Thanks for stopping by!