Top Sixteen of 2016

16. Turning 30. (July)

15. Buying a new car. (May)

14. Taking on more writing projects at work. (February-December)

13. A Sunday night wedding in Bellingham. (December)

12. The Lumineers concert. (June)

11. A long weekend in Portland exploring and watching Erin marry her love. (August)

10. Celebrating my sister’s 21st birthday in Leavenworth. (January)

9. Hiking old favorites and exploring new trails. (May-November)

8. Moving into our own place in Everett. (March)

7. Finding out that I’m going to be aunt again. (October)

6. Establishing healthier eating habits. (November)

5. Celebrating our first anniversary. (July)

4. A long weekend in New England with my grandparents and dear friends. (October)

3. Girls trip to Austin. (May)

2. Watching my brother and his best friend open their own bar. (February)

1. Finishing the half marathon–and training all summer long with Derek. (September)

Derek’s 33rd

This photo is not from D’s birthday celebration. I failed on capturing those memories. But I did capture his moment of fame after he took the first place prize at my Aunt & Uncle’s Annual Pumpkin Carving Party. Check out that awesome Frankenpumpkin (and the boy holding it is pretty great too :)).

Yesterday was Derek’s 33rd birthday. And for the second year in a row, the celebration was cramped by a major storm. But I tried to make the day special as best I could. I ended up working from home so at least we were able to spend most of the day together.

I made him his all-time favorite meal, veggie pot pie, followed by pumpkin pie for dessert. We never lost power, so when he took study breaks, we caught up on some of our favorite shows. I wanted to give him a fish as his present, but I wasn’t able to get a pet store so we’ll have to go together this weekend.

It was a low-key celebration. But I think that’s what Derek wanted anyways–he spend most of the day grading papers and reading history books because he’s such a dedicated student (even on his birthday).

Here’s to hoping that the weather is more cooperative on his next birthday so we can party like the rockstars we really are.

Happy Birthday boyfriend! You’re my favorite person to wait out a storm with. I love you this much.

p.s. In the grand scheme of things, the hurricane didn’t treat us so bad. Our ceiling started to leak last night but that’s nothing compared to the damage in other places. All my friends and family on the east coast were, thankfully, unharmed. My heart goes to out to those who were not as lucky.

A Belated Birthday Recap

Year 26 really started off great for me. The celebration actually kicked off the weekend before my special day. We found ourselves in Connecticut for the weekend and my Aunt organized a birthday dinner with family. She even surprised me with a vegan cake from a local bakery. It was so delicious. Really, so good. I didn’t even want to share (but I did…reluctantly).

Fast forward a few days to my actual birthday. My company gives everyone their birthday off so that we can spend the day doing something other than work. I chose to spend the day at the beach with my favorite person. We packed a picnic, including with wine for a birthday toast, and headed out mid-morning. We went to Ogunquit beach in Maine (on the wise recommendation of some work friends). It was beautiful and the weather was perfect–80s with a breeze.

On the drive up, I got a picture message telling me about the gorgeous bouquet my mom, step-dad and sisters sent me. Mom didn’t realize that I wouldn’t be at work. But the flowers were still good the next day. In fact, they are still looking just as fresh almost a week later. These are probably the prettiest flowers I’ve ever received.

When we got to the beach it was pretty apparent that we weren’t adequately prepared. We had no beach gear–not even beach towels. I grabbed some older bath towels on the way out the door for us to sit on. But these beach people…they don’t mess around. They had serious stuff–tents, chairs with built-in umbrellas, super coolers, beach games. We did manage to remember a tiny bottle of sunscreen, at least. Thankfully, it turns out you don’t need fancy things to enjoy the beach. 🙂

After eating lunch on the sand, we packed up the leftovers and dropped them back off at the car to do some exploring. We stopped in a candy store and though I didn’t expect to find anything I could eat, Derek found the last box of vegan rice milk chocolate and promptly bought it for us to share. I’m a dark chocolate lover so it wasn’t my favorite, but it was nice to have some variety.

Next up we enjoyed some drinks and snacks at a Mexican restaurant named Banditos (a nod to my favorite college burrito bar) before venturing back south. We stopped at the outlet stores on the way home but I wasn’t feeling inspired so we left empty handed.

We ended the evening by sharing a meal with our friends Lisa and Jim. They met us in Allston and we walked to a new-to-us Thai restaurant (who am I kidding? Every restaurant in Allston in new-to-us at this point). The food was pretty good. But the vegan ice cream we had for dessert was even better. 🙂

And then, just to extend things a little longer, I had a little birthday/house-warming get-together last Saturday. A few friends came over to see the new place, eat pizza, drink wine, and indulge in more vegan baked goods. It was a perfect finish to a lovely birthday week.

No doubt, I have the best people in my life. Thank you for celebrating with me. You all are loved and appreciated.

-A

Three-Two

On Saturday Derek turned 32. We started the day at a Boston Vegetarian Society Festival. It was uncomfortably crowded so we only stayed for a tiny bit. But we met up with friends Lisa and Jim and I ate a vegan soft serve cone (yum!).

Then we hopped on the T and made our way downtown for a matinee of Peter Pan. It was in a 360 degree theater and there was background movie projected all around us. Is was so different than anything I had seen before; I really enjoyed it, despite the fact that were pretty much the only audience members without kids. I’m fairly positive that Derek had a good time but he’s not as expressive as I am so sometimes it’s hard to tell.

Outside of the theater

Inside the theater

After the play, we went to a new-to-us restaurant. We got there just in time: when we walked in, there was only one table seated but the place filled up a few minutes later. And then the snow started falling. It was pretty to watch from the window, but we knew it was worse by my apartment, so we headed home.We ended up following a plow for most of the drive, so the roads were clear (for us at least).

And then Derek got an unexpected and unwanted birthday gift: power outage. Good thing I gave him a cozy-but-in-a-manly-way bathrobe as a present so he could wrap up in that while I lit tealight candles all around the apartment. We planned to watch a movie and lounge on the couch for the rest of the evening, but instead we laid in bed until we were warm and then fell asleep. Lame.

So it wasn’t the birthday I had planned for him but we made the best of it. I still owe him some carrot cupcakes, though, since I couldn’t bake on Sunday.

Derek, I love you. Thank you for sharing the last year with me. I hope 32 is your best year yet.

A Quarter Century

Disclaimer: This is a crazy long post. But it’s the last one from my trip to Washington. And this time there are corresponding photos thanks to Katie K. Enjoy. Or don’t. I won’t tell you what to do.

I had no expectations for my 25th birthday celebration. In fact, I was so excited about planning my vacation home that I sort of forgot about my birthday. But I have great people in my life, so I should have known that 25 would bring great things.

The timing of my trip dictated that if I wanted to celebrate in Seattle, I’d have to do it Sunday night- the day before my birthday. Doug gave me a little slack about starting the party a day early, but it really worked out well.

Derek and I met Rebecca and Katie K. at Doug and Mego’s. We started with a little pre-funking and then I opened my gifts from Katie. She brought me a delicious carrot cupcake from my favorite Portland bakery and gifted a cookbook that I instantly fell in love with and a wire whisk that goes with an inside joke from grad school.

Then we walked to a sushi restaurant not far from the apartment. It ended up being the perfect dinner spot because even though they only had 2 beers on tap, one of them was Kilt Lifter—my favorite. We ordered way too much food and beer and ate family-style. Derek may have spilled a drink on me, but he’d be embarrassed if I told you, so I won’t.

p.s. That necklace was my present from D. And he picked it out all by himself. Isn't he great?

After the meal, the boys headed straight to the bar while the girls headed straight to gelato. Yum yum yum. When I got to the bar, Mike D. had already arrived and someone had already told the bartender that it was my birthday. So I accepted my free beer and then bear hugged Mike. A few minutes later, Mikey Van Fleet showed up and the crew was complete. Some people played pool, I played shuffleboard and we all played songs on the jukebox (which, for some reason, I kept calling a music maker). There were shots for the July birthdays (Doug, Mike D., Katie and I) and then a bar regular named Heavy insisted on buying me a birthday drink.

Rebecca, Mike D. and Mego had to leave earlier than the rest of us, but I think it was at least midnight when they left. Derek, Katie, Mikey, Doug and I stayed until the bar closed. Derek may have spilled another drink on me. But again, I won’t embarrass him by telling you. On the way home, we accidentally split up. Derek and Mikey walked to Chevron for beer and scratch tickets. Doug, Katie and I walked to QFC for beer, Gatorade and snacks. And then we all met up at the apartment.

My snack. I'm not really sad- that's just a pose for the photo.

The boys stayed up even later drinking and talking outside. Katie and I crashed on the air mattress and didn’t wake up again until Mikey woke us all with a night terror that caused him to scream and kick. And then something funny must have happened because he started laughing in his sleep.

Katie and I had a quick breakfast at a place around the corner before she had to return to Oregon for work. When I got back to the apartment, Derek and Doug were starting to wake up. After watching some youth track races, Derek and I headed to the Ave for a little shopping (where I bought myself my newest favorite skirt), Jimmy John’s and then headed south for my mom’s house.

In Rainier, we hung with the family for a little while before Rebecca, Doug and Megan joined us all for dinner. Apparently my mom had planned a surprise party but I had inadvertently ruined it by inviting everyone over myself. No matter. We ate tasty lasagna and then my mom pulled out the crème brulee I’d requested. It was so good. We ended the evening my watching Jaime’s soccer team kick butt in their last game of the season.

All in all, it was a perfect birthday: easy and full of good food and great friends.

Here’s to hoping that 25 is my best year yet!

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