Friday, February 22, 2013

Count Down to Portland, OR

via thelittlecanoe

Ever since Don took his first plane ride on our trip to San Francisco in 2010, he's been having the travel itch. I definitely have had the travel bug as well. We weren't able to go on a big vacation last year because of how crazy, hectic it was. We were able to escape for a weekend or two throughout the year to Williamsburg, VA, Pennsylvania, and a few other local places. But after our wedding, we agreed that we needed a vacation.

A few months ago, we were talking about our next vacation possibilities, Vermont? Maine? Ireland?? We've been wanting to visit Portland, Oregon for a few years now. For some reason, I have this weird fantasy that Portland is a magical place. Don laughs at me because every time I say "Portland" I wiggle my fingers in the air, to simulate sparkles. I don't really think that Portland is actually magical, but I like that Portland is an urban setting that isn't quite a busy as NYC or DC, it is quirky, and it is surrounded by wilderness. I think we'll fit right in. I quickly did a search on Priceline for plane tickets to Portland. I was shocked when I found round trip tickets from DC to Portland for $320! When I told Don the price, he got a huge smile on his face and we knew where we'd be heading for our next vacation!

We are heading out in the end of March for a week. I seriously can't wait! For Valentine's day, I bought Don a little 5x7 print of the "We Belong in Portland, Oregon" image above from The Little Canoe on Etsy. Don is a "we'll figure it out when we get there" or "we'll cross that bridge when we come to it" kind of guy. I'm not. I'm a planner. Not just a planner but a "Hello, my name is April and I'm a compulsive planner" kind of girl. (The first step is admitting you have a problem, right?) I began creating an excel spreadsheet of our trip as soon as we booked the tickets. I did one for our San Francisco trip too. I'm a lot like my dad in that way. Although his vacation timelines drove me CRAZY, (8:00am - wake up, 8:15am - showers, 8:30am - finish getting ready, 9:00am - leave hotel room, 9:05am - grab continental breakfast...) we always had the BEST vacations. He'd find the coolest things to do! So, like my dad, I've been doing some research, so far our list of things we want to do include:

  • Food Walking Tour - This is a must for every city that we visit from now on. We did one in San Francisco and are hooked. I found Forktown, and we are thinking about doing the N. Mississippi Ave. Tour. Anything involving food trucks and I'm in!
  • Underground Walking Tour - I read in a Portland guide that my sister and brother-in-law gave Don for Christmas, about these tunnels under the city. The tunnels were originally used for trade, but became the hub of crime, scandal, and controversy. Now they offer walking tours of the tunnels. 
  • Freaky But True Peculiarium - An awesome looking museum, but I think the title says it all. 
  • Rose Garden - We rented a little cottage across from the Rose Garden. We aren't in the heart of the city, but not far from it. And honestly... who can resist staying across from a rose garden?
  • Japanese Tea Gardens - I haven't done too much research on the Japanese Tea Garden but Tea + Japanese Theme + Garden = the best combination.
  • Alberta Street Festival - On the last Thursday of every month, there is a huge street festival on Alberta Street. We are flying in that day and I'm so glad we'll be able to make it! 
  • Farmer's Market - Could you really go to Portland and not experience the Farmer's Market? I know we wouldn't miss it!
  • Powell's City of Books - This book store always comes up in "what to do in Portland" searches. Everyone says it is one of the biggest book stores. Don and I have been trying to read more so maybe we'll have to drop in early and pick out a book to read in the evenings!
  • Hiking - Even if it is raining, I know Don and I want to get in some hiking. I need to do some research on which trails we want to tackle. But I know I want at least one that has waterfalls!
  • Awesome Eats - Don and I are foodies. Or maybe I'm a foodie and Don just humors me...? In any case, I can't wait to try the grub! I need to do more research, but I've already seen that I need to try VooDoo Donuts. Did I really need a push to find a reason to eat donuts? I don't think so! I read on another blog about how good the brunch is at Irving Street Kitchen. That's one of the things I love about the blogging world!
  • Mt. Saint Helens/The Coast - Don really wants to rent a car to drive to Mt. Saint Helens. It isn't very far, so why not? And while we have a car, why not take a drive along the coast? 
I'm still on the search for more and more to do. I have to fill in my excel spreadsheet! Although, I'm not as meticulous with the details as my Dad was (still is??). I just like to have at least one or two things planned for each day. If you have any suggestions, or know of anyone with suggestions, we'd love to hear!!

We can't wait!!!!!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Snow Day!

It snowed this past weekend. I was actually glad to see the snow. I've been thinking lately that I either want snow or I am just ready for Spring to be here. It was the first time Don and I had to shovel the sidewalk in front our new house. We were actually kind of excited. I realize that it is not exciting, or even fun... but something about it being our walkway, our driveway, and the sidewalk in front of OUR house, made us smile.

The dogs on the other hand.... well they weren't too thrilled with the snow.
 Tater-Tot (above) didn't mind it so much... but Leo (below)... well, Leo tried to hide from the snow as best he could..
He was either hiding in the bushes or begging me to let him back inside. 

We decided to tackle a project we've been discussing for awhile. I love my little dogs. I've had them for quite some time. I always tell people that they are old men in puppy disguise. Believe it or not, Tater-Tot and Leo are 14 years old. They've been with me a long time, through my teen angst, college, when I moved out on my own for the first time, and now as Don and start our new family. But because they are getting older, they are slowing down and having trouble hearing. I have also noticed that neither of them can jump on the bed anymore. (I'm pretty sure Leo can still do it, but when he sees Tater-Tot get picked up all the time, he thinks he should be too.) 

Tater-Tot was also recently diagnosed with Cushing's Disease. We have him on medicines and he's been doing really well. But it causes him to drink, eat, and pee a lot. He also likes to jump off the bed in the middle of the night at least 100 times to do those things. He makes sure to wake us up to pick him up and put him back on the bed. Leo, has followed suit. We also noticed that when Tater-Tot jumped off the bed, he would limp. We were concerned for his safety (and to be honest, we were getting tired of the countless times we had to wake up to lift both dogs back into bed). We tried two different kind of pet stairs, and they just wouldn't use them. So I decided it was time to build a ramp.

I told Don what I wanted, he designed it, and we built it together.
First we built the base/landing that would connect with the bed. Don designed it with so much support that even he could stand on it. I think it is safe to say that it will support both of our 10 pound dogs.
We wanted the base/landing a little longer than the actual ramp so that it would be easy for them to reach it from the bed, while allowing our comforter to still fall next to the ramp.
 We didn't have exact measurements, but since its a dog ramp, I was mildly okay with it being imperfect. We also knew we'd cover it with carpet for traction.
 And Voila! Our dog ramp! I want to paint it, or stain it... I can't decide. Something to make it a little prettier. I also want to add some drawers under it for storage eventually. But this is what we currently have: 
 Don put both of them, one at a time, near the bottom of the ramp and I called to them to come up. They weren't 100% sold.

 Especially when we called them over to go back down it. They are thinking, "You want us to do WHAT?!"
 But after a few days of training, Tater-Tot has really gotten the hang of it. I've even caught him in our bed earlier in the evenings, now that he can get on it himself. (Note that he has 1 dog bed in our bedroom, 2 dog beds in the living room, and 1 dog bed in the basement... but I guess our bed is the best. Unless its summer time, then his favorite place to be is on the AC vent.)

I like to think in this picture he is saying "Thanks, Mom!"

Thursday, January 24, 2013


I've decided to by pass the usual "exercise more" and "eat healthier" resolutions. I will or will not do them regardless of making them "official resolutions." *BUT... I would like to add that Don and I have been going to the gym/working out at home at least two times a week usually three, for a few months now and we always have significantly cut down our wheat and processed foods intake. Woo!

Okay, back to our resolution. We thought awhile about what we really wanted to accomplish this year. With all of the craziness from last year, I decided we needed to get better organized.

So our resolution is to organize every room in our house throughout the year. We decided that in order to keep our sanity, that we would only overhaul one room a month. I've been stalking Pinterest and organizing blogs for the past few months. It has really inspired me! It has also shown me that organization can be pretty and stylish.

I am loving this organized spice drawer featured on a blog I follow, called IHeartOrganizing

And this organized office storage is from one of my favorite blogs, 7th House on the Left, featured on IHeartOrganizing
I secretly think Ashley from 7th House on the Left and I are destined to be friends...
We haven't really started on a room for January... we have done an overall clean sweep of the house. Does that count? We cleaned our room, donated some clothes we don't wear, cleaned out some left over moving boxes, and I did attach some chalkboard labels to my flour containers in the kitchen. Now I know exactly which flour to reach for!

That's a start right?

What are your resolutions?