Thursday, January 28, 2016

An Antique Trunk

Awhile ago, Erik and I were heading out to his parents house when he spotted a sign for a barn sale. Erik loves a good bargain (and riffling through other people's things) so we dropped Avery off at his Mom and Dad's house and headed out into the country. We found a wonderful old barn filled with tools, fishing poles, furniture and countless little knickknacks and antiques. I'll admit we were both in heaven.

About the same time I had been endlessly searching for a cedar chest on Craigslist for storing all of our blankets. They were all over $75 and I never ended up finding one I liked. Of course at the barn sale there happened to be a whole wall of trunks, all different shapes and sizes. Most of them had "sold" signs on them, but one in particular caught my eye and I pointed it out to Erik. Since there wasn't a price on it, he encouraged me to ask how much they were selling it for. I refused, telling him it would be no less than $100 since it was beautifully detailed and much more interesting than any I'd seen before. Erik was determined to get me the trunk, so he asked barn owners how much they were selling it for. When they said $20, my jaw dropped open and I begged them to hold it for us while we made a mad dash to the nearest ATM to get a nice, crisp $20 bill. 

The metal work was dull and rusty, so on the way home I promised Erik that he wouldn't have to do a thing to restore it, and that I was going to clean it up myself. Turned out that Erik was just as excited about the trunk as I was, because within minutes of pulling into our driveway he was sanding and cleaning our antique trunk himself. It has been in living room ever since housing all of our quilts and afghans. It's so unique and beautiful that I can't believe I almost left it sitting in that barn. I'm so lucky to have Erik in my corner.

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Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Snow Day!

On Sunday our little corner of the earth turned white. Unlike most of our snow days where I'm glued to the weather reports, waiting with bated breath for the snow to begin, this snow fall came rather unexpectedly (at least to our family). And then on Monday, the day we were supposed to return to school, we had a snow day. And when I say "snow" day, I actually mean "ice" day. Freezing rain had turned our beautiful blanket of powdery snow into a giant sheet of ice. But that didn't stop Avery from being outside at 7:30 am on Monday morning, especially eager to stomp around in our icy yard. So here are some shots from early Monday morning...right before hot cocoa and a marathon of Doris Day movies. A perfect "snow" day.

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Thursday, December 31, 2015

Goodbye 2015

2015

In 2015...

Avery got a bunch of awards; the Seahawks won the NFC; I turned 34; our nephew was born; Avery went to volleyball camp; we went hiking in the gorge; we went to the beach; Avery swam; we pulled weeds at Sacajawea; we went to a Mariner's game (and then two more); we bought a tent trailer; Avery turned 7; Avery saved for another American Girl doll; we went to Seattle (a lot); Avery and Grandma made a quilt; we planted a garden; we camped in Central Oregon, hiked the Obsidian Lava Flow, saw Crater Lake, hiked Smith Rock, went to the top of Lava Butte, and had snacks at all the best breweries; we harvested vegetables and berries; we camped at Deception Pass, fished in the sound, and saw Lake Campbell from the top of Mt. Erie; we went to the Sprayground in Tacoma; we saw Monet, shopped at Powell's, and ate at Island Cafe; Avery started 2nd grade; Avery earned a medal at the Castle Rock Bike Challenge; we hiked Siouxon; Avery swam; we harvested our apples; we celebrated our 13th anniversary; Avery was voted student council representative; I got a (permanent!) job at Avery's school; we carved pumpkins; I made a Wendy costume; Avery started basketball again; Erik turned 36; we cut down a Christmas tree and built gingerbread houses; Erik and I went to a Seahawks game (courtesy of the Seahawks); we rode the Santa Sounder; and we had a very merry Christmas.

And we loved each other.  A lot.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

The Story of a Seahawks Jersey

Erik likes Jon Ryan. Jon Ryan is the punter for the Seattle Seahawks. I mean, Erik likes a lot of the players, but he's talked about Jon Ryan quite a bit since he threw a touchdown pass during the NFC Championship game in January. It started out as a bit of a joke, but it turns out that Jon Ryan is pretty rad and Erik kind of loves him. We even went to a Mariner's game over the summer, and Jon Ryan came out and kicked a football into the crowd. Erik was pretty excited about it. And when Erik couldn't decide on what Seahawks jersey he should get, he half-jokingly said he should get a Jon Ryan jersey. So guess what I decided to get him for his birthday?

It didn't work out exactly like I'd planned. Did you know that Jon Ryan's jersey isn't very easy to find? Also, did you know that there are websites that call themselves Official NFL Pro Shops that are actually peddling fake merchandise? I didn't. I finally found an "Official Seahawks NFL Pro Shop" website that carried Jon Ryan's jersey, and it seemed like a perfectly legitimate online store, so I ordered the jersey. A month and 37 emails later, I received a package from China with the most terrible jersey I had ever seen. I demanded my money back, I filed a report with the Federal Trade Commission, and I wrote to the Seahawks to tell them someone was using their Pro Shop name illegally. None of it made much difference. The fake Pro Shop refused to return my money, the FTC couldn't do anything, and the Seahawks offered their regrets at my misfortune and forwarded my email to their legal team.

So, that was that. Or so I thought.

In early December I got an email from the Seahawks Assistant Director of Fan Development. He asked me to call him, so I did. We talked for a while about the fake website, and eventually about Erik being such a big fan and whether he'd been to a game before. I told him that I was able to take Erik to the Veteran's Day game last year. He told me that his department plans the Veteran's Day games and asked what we'd thought of it. I told him it had been amazing. He asked what unit Erik had served in. I told him he was in the 82nd Airborne Division and then the 671st Engineering Company. "Was Erik 11 Bravo?" He wanted to know. "Yes he was." I told him. Turns out he had been 11 Bravo, too. And they had both served in Iraq at the same time.

He asked if we'd like to go to the Seahawks game on the 20th, and told me that they wanted to make that Jon Ryan jersey for Erik. I profusely thanked him and told him that I never imagined that they would do something like that. He said they loved taking care of their veterans and he was honored to give Erik the tickets. I couldn't believe it.

Two days later a FedEx truck pulled up and handed me two tickets, food vouchers, and a Seahawks military coin. Needless to say, Erik was pretty surprised.

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So we went to the Seahawks game against the Browns on December 20th. The weather was perfect, they Seahawks won, and we had the BEST time. (Note: There's our boy Jon Ryan running out of the tunnel in the second picture!)

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And right before Christmas the wonderful staff at the real Pro Shop overnighted Erik's Jon Ryan jersey to me so I could put it under the tree.

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I honestly can't say enough about the Seahawks organization or how wonderful they all were. They didn't have to do anything, and instead they went above and beyond for one very deserving Army Veteran. So thank you Seahawks for making Erik's day. And thank you Jon Ryan for being awesome.

And thank you Erik, for your selfless service to our country.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Photos From Christmas

Christmas Eve is always pretty relaxed around our house. Erik is always working, delivering those last minute USPS packages and Christmas cards, and Avery and I hang around the house cleaning and getting ready for Christmas. This year Avery received her first "real" Christmas dress, so she was pretty excited when I told her she could wear it to the Christmas Eve service with Grandma and Grandpa. After the service we ordered pizza and watched Elf until Erik got home, and then I forced Erik and Avery to take a family picture. They always cooperate...eventually.

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Avery has never woken up before 7:45 on Christmas morning, and this Christmas was no exception. We're pretty lucky in that regard. We are usually waiting for Avery to get up. We opened our presents, had coffee, and leisurely got ready for our day.
  
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I made a breakfast of egg casserole and monkey bread and took it to Erik's parents house for brunch. I didn't end up taking any pictures of Avery opening her presents because we were Skyping with Erik's sister, brother-in-law, and nephew, so there were a lot of things happening. But after presents Avery snatched my camera and I found these gems on my memory card today:

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In the afternoon we headed to my parents house, where my entire family was gathered. This only happens every other year, so it was nice to see everyone and have everyone in the same place. It was Ezra's first Christmas and Rylee's second Christmas (but first Christmas with us), so it was fun to watch the little ones open their gifts. And Avery got the sweetest handmade doll clothes from my mom and a beautiful silver locket from Aunt Sandy and GG (Avery's great aunt and great grandma). She loved all of her gifts, but those ranked among her favorites.

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It was the merriest of Christmases in our little world.