The mini-date

Luke and I have a lot going on right now we are waiting on houses to close so we can move, getting ready to take birthing classes, and getting connected to our community among many other things. (for more on this check out the last few weeks worth of blogs). The weekends fill up quickly and we realize with Baby Greene coming soon our lives will only get busier.

So I want to point out the purpose and beauty of a mini-date. A mini-date, at least in my definition can be an hour or less outing that is close to home and easy to get to. It may be going to get a small treat, going on a short walk around the neighborhood or the park, or even involve some form of errand.

For example: This past weekend Luke and I, impatient to get into our new home, decided to pursue Home Depot. We stopped at Sonic for some limeades then strolled through the store gathering ideas.

This sort of outing a few years ago would have felt unromantic, and definitely would not fit into my idea of the ‘date’ category. But it requires both of us to put aside all other work and issues and focus on each other. Window shopping for something as mundane as fixtures and appliances was fun. We were able to dream and hope, to think ahead and hear each other’s preferences and ideas. But it also was practical, we gathered information we needed and discovered what we need learn more about.

I know that a mini-date will become even more exciting and or necessary once Baby Greene comes and my whole life feels like it revolves around his basic needs. The nice thing is these types of mini-dates don’t necessarily require a babysitter, with a little work and a baby carrier it can become a good short family outing.

I know it’s easy to get stuck in a rut: to at the end of the day plop down in front of the TV until it’s time to get ready for bed. But there are other ways to spend evenings without spending a lot of money. It’s not always easy to break up the “norm” but when we do we find it very rewarding.

Any other ideas on mini-dates?

Day-cation

This past Monday Luke and I decided to celebrate Valentine’s day  by spending a day on the coast.

We were overdue for a day-cation so we could enjoy moment, and focus on each other and the beauty around us. Our goal was simple: enjoy a scenic drive, take a walk on a beach, and have some good food.

We took the 12 to Aberdeen, about an hour drive north west, then decided to explore the southern end of Gray’s harbor.  Driving a half hour southwest we came to the town of Westport. A small boating town mostly for collecting oysters, clams, and crabs, it also maintains a few seasonal tourist shops including charter boats companies,  candy and gift shops, and several restaurants across the street from the boat docks.

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Anxious to get to the beach,we drove to Westhaven State Park. We bought a Discovery Pass; an annual pass which pays for itself if you visit any state park more than three times in a year. Then walking over a short  dune we reached the beach.

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The day was unusually sunny and warm (in the 50’s).  Kira was more comfortable with the beach compared her first encounter at Christmas. (for more on this see). She chased the sandpipers and seagulls, jumped over driftwood, chased the waves, and even encounter a live crab.

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Luke and I enjoyed a quiet stroll down an almost deserted beach and soaking in the sun from natural seats in the drift wood. When the tide hit the drift wood we decided it was time to leave. We climbed back up the dune then discovered a concrete walking/bike path with views of the ocean along the jetty. We took advantage of this to get exercise in and to give Kira a chance to dry off  (I forgot the towels).

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I voice and interest in salt water taffy so our first stop back in town was Granny Hazel’s candy shop.  After selecting a  our favorites Luke noticed  unique truffles in the front display: all with beer bottle caps on top made of candy and filled with beer reductions (like bourbon balls). It didn’t take much for him to want to try them. Well if Luke gets chocolate so do I, so I got an espresso and salted caramel truffle.

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Next we decided it was time to eat. For an early dinner we went to Bennett’s Seafood Shack.  Luke got the hand breaded halibut and fried clam basket, I got a cup of chowder and their chicken tacos. There was plenty of food, and all of it was very good.

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Full and happy, we decided to  drive to Grayland. Only about ten minutes from Westport going south, we found the Grayland Beach state park which houses a large campground. There is no car access to the beach, instead their are several walking trails from the campground. Driving a little further we found several  remote and rustic state beaches with minimal drift wood.  We were surprised we could drive right out onto the sand.  Overall it was quiet and peaceful. We let Kira out of the car to run around and took in the view as the sun began to set. There was no better way to end a perfect day-cation.

Happy Valentine’s Day 2017!

 

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This year for valentine’s we decided this past weekend to spend a day at the coast. We wanted to explore where we live a little and get away from the chaos and business of settling into our new lives. Sometimes it’s nice to have a loose plan, take a drive and see what happens. For more on this wait for blog later this week called: day-cation.

And of course as usual I made valentine’s berry pie. This year’s pie is raspberry and blackberry with crumble top.

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I hope you all get a chance to spend time with or share your love for friends and family today.

It’s a . . .

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 Baby Greene is a boy!

Luke and I had not talked about our predictions until the twenty week ultrasound was over, but he was right, I was wrong. So far everyone has guessed well, except for me. Luke said I’ve been carrying and gaining weight almost completely in the front which is a common “boy” indicator-easier for him to see I guess.

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We found out the gender mid-January and starting planning how to tell family and friends. Since it was so close to the holidays trying to set up an elaborate, or even basic, gender reveal party was just too difficult. Even with living closer to family now we are still a few hours from everyone so we decided to do a long distance gender reveal.

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We sent custom made gender reveal cards to close friends and family. We scanned a picture from the 20 week ultrasound and added the banner sharing the gender (as you can see above). For parents and siblings we ordered  magic mugs with the same design. When parents/siblings put a hot beverage in the cup it slowly reveals the same picture from bottom up starting with the ultrasound picture and ending with the banner sharing the gender.

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Everyone loved the idea. We did orders through Walmart online, it took two weeks to get the mugs, but it was a pretty good process and I think worth the wait.

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So did you guess right?

Finding a Home

We have been house hunting since October. At times it has been a frustrating experience; it is a sellers market right  which means there are not a lot homes for sale and when they do come up they sell fast and at close to their listing price. For more on our house hunting journey see . . .

But a few weekends ago we came a crossed a home in a great location: minutes from the freeway, grocery stores, our current church, and only twenty minutes to Luke’s work. It is on a quiet road with only a few neighbors and farms. The property is full of mature pine trees, creeks, and a pond that provide plenty of seclusion. The front and back yard are huge and fenced in so they would be perfect for Kira and kids.

But there were no picture of the inside of the house online, so we were a little unsure. Our realtor reassured us that  the home was currently a rental and the home qualified for loans that required the house to be in decent condition.

With this in mind, we checked the house out on a cold dark weeknight. Overall we were happy about the size of the home, rooms, and it’s layout. The home is still stuck in the late 1970’s when the house was built, but live-able. We walked away with a few concerns and wondered about items we couldn’t see well in the dark.

When we came home we spent dinner time talking about repairs and projects; ways we could transform the place and make it our own. We talked about cost, priorities, when we’d want to complete projects, and whether we could live in the home as is until then.

We have learned that in this market, with our budget, and with time pressure of a May due date there has to be a compromise. We have seen beautiful modern homes on small or unusual properties, we have seen great properties with houses that need a lot of TLC, or homes that have some  of both but are far away from our preferred location. This home it is in a great location, great property, and the house is in good condition, the compromise is in the work we’d put in to update it.

So we decided to make an offer and after negotiations we settled on a price and went under contract with the condition that the inspections went well. The next weekend we asked Luke’s father, an experienced general contractor,  to look at the house with us. Most of our concerns were resolved or turned out to be smaller projects than anticipated, and in the light of day the house was felt more inviting. Diana and I walked around talking about projects while Luke and John did the inspection. After we left, his parents came home and like us started brainstorming updates to the house.

Yes, there are a projects to do before moving in but they are maintenance items and none of them are too expensive or time consuming. Right now we are in the process of other inspections: septic, pest, water etc. if all of those go well them we may have a home by mid-March.