Monday, June 13, 2016

A weekend in Seabrook

Weekends where T.J. has all three nights off are few and far between so we do not like to waste them. He often has grand ideas for these golden weekends and will proclaim "lets go away!" Of course sometimes he forgets to tell me his schedule until the Thursday before and it's too late for me to plan anything, or he's too exhausted from the week to do much more than binge on Netflix. But this past weekend I had enough notice to do some research and find a place for us to escape to for a couple nights. It couldn't be anywhere too far of a drive (I found an adorable Airbnb in Bend that I've bookmarked for a longer weekend since it's about 5 hours away), and it had to be dog friendly. We've been wanting to go to the coast for a while now so Seabrook, Washington checked all our boxes. I packed his weekend bag for him so that the second he got home from work all we had to do was load up the truck and the dog and hit the road.
Seabrook is a little beach town not quite 2 hours west from our home. It sits up on a tree lined bluff overlooking the ocean and is chock full of coastal sweetness.  All the beautiful shingled homes are privately owned and perfectly designed to create the most adorable, walkable little community. When we arrived we got checked in at the rental office, and were given our pool key (that we never ended up using) and a cute welcome bag with shower items, dog treats, popcorn and other little goodies for our stay. I had rented a little two bedroom cottage named Sandy Crab and it was just perfect for the three of us!
Since we'd gotten in kind of late we pretty much went right to bed and were excited to explore more the next day. We woke up early (thanks Hunley) and had a bite of breakfast in our house before making our way to the beach.  The whole way there I was snapping pictures and exclaiming every step how simply adorable this town is! It's pleasantville perfect. The sidewalks are made of crushed shells, the homes have large cedar porches, and colorful shutters and doors, flower boxes and picket fences. I loved getting to meander around the town and try to pick which home was my favorite, an impossible task.
We passed the town hall and then arrived at the Red Velvet Bakery by the Sea where T.J. grabbed a coffee before we started our climb down the twisty steps to the sandy beach below, trying not to break our neck as Hunley dragged us most of the way.

Though the morning has started out sunny enough, some dark clouds had rolled in as we'd made our trek to the beach. But we stuck out the drizzle like the good Pacific North-westerners we are now, and were soon rewarded with just overcast skies.
Hunley was in seventh heaven having the entire expansive beach to run on. He chased seagulls and splashed in the waves and ran back and forth between T.J. and I until he was completely exhausted with his tongue hanging out the side. We walked back to our house on a different path and passed more adorable homes, public fire pits, bocce ball courts, and the cutest "Lending Library."
My favorite vacations involve a good mix of activity and down time so after our morning excursion we plopped ourselves down on the couch, wrapped up in blankets, to watch a couple hours of our new TV series (I'm not going to say which series, though, because it's been over for years and yet somehow I haven't had it spoiled for me yet).
 When we were satisfied with our couch potato status we ventured back outside and were pleased to see the sun had broken through the clouds in full force. We headed back to the beach, this time by way of the affectionately named "Gnome Trail."  
This dense, wooded, mossy trail, is not exactly what we think of when we picture the beach, and we kept questioning whether we were headed in the right direction, but sure enough, the trees cleared and we found ourselves a bit further down on the beach than our earlier excursion. 
This time on our way back to the house we checked out some of the other shops and restaurants in the town. There are two restaurants, a wine and cheese shop, a cute ice cream and candy store, and a market where you can pick up supplies for s'mores or sandwiches, plus plans for future shops.  I think it would be so fun to come back here in a couple years, maybe next time with some family in tow, and see what new adorable cottages and restaurants have popped up.
We got showered and left the dog behind and went to enjoy a nice easy dinner together at Mill 109, with views of the setting sun sparkling off the ocean. 
On Sunday we went back to the beach for one last frolic before we had to pack up our gear and head on home. We had the whole beach to ourselves and we're joking about how different it would look if this was a beach on the East Coast in June. For one thing, I don't think I've ever worn rain boots and fleece to the beach in South Carolina.  But regardless of what coast I'm on, there is just something about the ocean, something that pulls and my heart and catches my breath like no other place on Earth. 
We were sad to be leaving so soon after arriving but I am so glad to know this little slice of paradise is just a short drive away from our home. It's so crazy to think this is a piece of the country we might never ever have visited if not for this crazy journey we're on. These weekend adventures are like water for the soul. We come home with stories to tell and memories that we'll share forever. I feel lighter and refreshed and ready to face another week of late nights alone. So no matter how last minute, or how hectic the week before has been, I'll say yes every single time T.J. tells me "let's get the heck out of town." Just to go somewhere, anywhere new, together.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Two down, Three to go.

This past weekend we gathered alongside our Ortho department family to celebrate the graduating chief residents. In just a few weeks they'll be moving away and heading to new hospitals on new Army posts. We toasted the end of their five year sentence, recognizing all their endless hard work  that brought them to this place, and the awards and achievements earned along the way. And in turn, they pass on words of wisdom and some gag gifts to the younger residents whom they're leaving behind.
Of course this banquet also means that T.J. is (almost) done with his second year of residency - only 4 more call nights left - which deserves all the praise hand emojis! After the banquet we headed to a local bar in our town to prolong the celebration and sing a little karaoke. Here's a riddle for you. What do you get when you take a couple who's normal bed time is 9pm, and the last time they went out was 6 months ago?  Answer, a headache in the morning and a puppy whining at the bottom of the stairs because he's already been up for 5 hours and you're still in bed. It may have been the latest we've been up since before we got married but you can't waste these rare nights, when everyone is free, and no one is dressed in scrubs.
This has been a long year, full of even longer nights alone and one worn out husband, and yet I still can't believe the "dreaded" second year is over. I am so incredibly proud of how hard he works, and how positive he stays through all the endless shifts and emergency room pages in the middle of the night. It would be easy to only look at the negative side of residency, the toll it takes on him physically and mentally, the time spent apart, but that's just not how he rolls. He still walks in the door at the end of the day smiling, with an armful of books and dirty Tupperware from a week's worth of lunch,  and gives me a big kiss and a "hey baby!" and I completely forget that I had to kill the spider in the bathroom because he wasn't home. I feel like we're pros at this now. The next three years of residency are going to breeze by... right??

Friday, June 3, 2016

five on friday

Thank goodness it's Friday! T.J. had a really hectic week at work and I feel like I barely saw him so I am looking forward to having a fun weekend with him. We have the graduation banquet for the chief residents in his program and it's supposed to be sunny and beautiful all weekend! Plus it's June, which is my birthday month and therefore my favorite month, so I'm ready for him to get home from work today so we can start enjoying it together!

Now lets jump in to the my Friday Five.

one. I tried a new recipe this week that I saw in this month's issue of Southern Living for a Chicken Noodle Bowl with Peanut Ginger Sauce and it was big hit! I used rotisserie chicken which made it even easier and the recipe made a lot of extra sauce so I didn't have to worry about dinner for the nights T.J. was out.
two. I am in this style facebook group where you can post your outfit of the day. My office is super casual (and I'm usually the only one there most days) so I am totally lazy when it comes to my wardrobe. Lately, though,  I've been missing getting dressed up for work like I used to. The days of blazers and heels and riding the metro with all the other professionals seem so far away (not saying that's a bad thing).  Most days I  just throw on jeans and t-shirt but this little group has given me a fun excuse to actually try with my outfits, wear more accessories, and I've felt so much more put together this week.

three. My last hair cut was exactly one year ago so I think it's about time. I want to mostly keep the longer length but I need to freshen up my layers and I just have to get some of the weight out of it! It's way to thick for summertime.
(my last haircut last june) 
 (some inspiration for my yearly cut)

four. T.J. has a weekend off coming up this month and he actually told me about it more than 1 day in advance so we are trying to find someplace to escape to. He's itching to get out of town and it happens to be my birthday next week so I'm scrambling to find a cool place to go for a couple nights. So many PNW bucket list items to choose from! Just got to find the right Airbnb.
five. Speaking of birthdays...a new bed is on my wishlist. I'm kind of over our zen mattress/boxspring on the floor deal and I'm leaning towards a wrought iron bed frame for a rustic farmhouse feel.
 (source: 1 | 2)
(link up: here and here)

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Hawaii Travel Diary: Maui Part 2

Oh yes. You can bet I don't care one bit that it's been over a month since we got back from Hawaii, I'm finishing my recap whether you read it or not.
Picking up where I left off (many weeks ago) we'd been enjoying the second part of our vacation in Mauii. We'd had a relaxing couple days just lounging around the resort and eating our weight in fresh Ahi Tuna.  We had very few plans for our vacation but the one thing I told T.J. I wanted to do on our trip was go on a snorkeling excursion. We were able to get free snorkeling gear from the hotel to use right on the beach and there were tons of fish and beautiful clear waters to explore there, but I desperately wanted to take a boat ride out to Molokini Crater and Turtle Town for some more exciting snorkeling.

On Thursday we had scheduled our early morning snorkeling cruise with Seafire Charters (they were amazing!!). Wednesday had been incredibly windy, lots of rough waves and rain overnight, so we were glad that it wasn't raining when we woke up Thursday morning. We got up early and drove to the boat landing to catch our ride. Even though the wind had mostly died down, the captain warned us that it would still be quite rough out on the water and that we might not get to go to all the usual spots but that they would still take us to a bunch of cool places. They gave us the option to reschedule and made sure we were all confident swimmers and snorkelers, and I've never gotten seasick before, ever.  In hindsight, this should have been my first red flag but we said we were still good to go and so did the rest of the group going with us. While we were getting checked in, a different charter snorkeling trip went out ahead of us. 30 minutes later, they were back, soaking wet saying they couldn't get to the crater. That should have been our second red flag, and again the captain made sure we were all prepared to go and again I was overly confident. The ride out to the crater was bouncy and rough but the fun kind, with the wind blowing and the waves splashing you as you sliced through the water.
Molokini crater is a half moon shaped rocky outcropping in the middle of the ocean teaming with marine life, and on that day it happened to be getting slammed by huge waves. The captain said we could try to snorkel on the back side which would be more protected from the wind and was still an amazing place to snorkel because it is basically a 300 ft wall of coral. And that's when things went down hill for me. As we sat there rocking and swaying and rolling with the waves, we put on our masks and flippers and I started to feel less than okay. I was getting clammy and nauseous but just knew I'd feel better once I was in the cool water so I quickly jumped into the ocean. The water was so rough and my stomach flipped and rolled with each wave and my snorkel kept filling with water as waves splashed over me. I was constantly having to blow out water and I couldn't catch my breath and the nausea just would not go away. I decided I had better get out of the water and the second I got back on the boat I threw up over the side (which the fish loved- gross). Luckily? I wasn't the only one feeling seasick or I might have been embarrassed. The crew was so sweet and handed out ginger ale and wrist bands and rubbed essential oil behind our ears. T.J. was totally worried about me and I totally did not care that he had seen me get sick for the first time in our marriage.

We only stayed at the crater for maybe half an hour and I was so glad to get moving and have the cool breeze in my face but once you're sick the only thing that really helps is dry land. The next spot we stopped was just a little ways off from shore and a lot less rough but I knew I couldn't put a snorkel mask back on. I was hesitant to even get back in the water at all but I swam to shore along with a couple of the other girls and basically crawled onto the beach.  We waited there for a bit before one of their office staff came and picked us up and took us back to the boat launch to wait for the rest of the group to return. I told T.J. to stay on the boat with our things (and there was no point in both of us missing out on the turtles- T.J. saw three and I was super jealous) but he said the ride back was even more rough and a bunch more people got sick so I was super thankful I'd gotten off when I did. The charter company was so nice, the crew made me feel so much better with their mothering, and they even refunded us for my trip. Even though it was a total bust for me, if we ever go back to Hawaii I would definitely try to do this trip again, but would just be sure to go on a day when it's super calm and smooth.

I was feeling completely dehydrated and still queasy so we decided to walk to a nearby restaurant, Monkeypod, for lunch. I had a coke and a margherita pizza (I just needed something easy on my stomach) and then we went back to the hotel to get back to doing what we do best, relaxing and reading.  The pool staff came around later in the afternoon and passed out Popsicles and the day was salvaged. That night we went for a walk on the beach and picked out our favorite ocean side houses before heading to one of the Lehua Lounge by the upper pool for a light dinner and then calling it an early night.
Friday was our last full day on Maui so we were going to make the most of it. We went down to the beach in the morning and T.J. rented a paddle board and I relaxed under the umbrella and watched him out in the water. Then we grabbed snorkel gear (the day before hadn't completely ruined it for me) and enjoyed a much more relaxing time in the water together. For lunch we dined at the Bumbeye Beach Bar again, and again ordered the most delicious Ahi Poke to share along with some summer rolls, plus a pina colada for me.

After lunch we moved to the pool area and the rest of the day passed peacefully. We had originally made dinner reservations at Morimoto but decided we wanted to go back to the Ka' Ana Kitchen, where we'd dined the first night, again. There were still too many yummy items on that menu that we wanted to try and we did not regret it! We actually had our same waiter which was funny, and he brought us a glass of champagne to toast to our last sunset in Hawaii. 
We headed back to Washington the next day and over a month later I've finished recapping the most wonderful and relaxing vacation. It was exactly what we needed- a time to just be together and breathe. I watched the stress melt away from T.J. as we landed in Hawaii. And after a perfect week, just the two of us and no responsibilities, we came home refreshed and in denial that our trip was behind us but ready to get back to our puppy and the real world. To round it off here's a little video of some gopro footage from our time in Maui. (It's mostly just of us snorkeling so hopefully it doesn't make you seasick...)