10. Texas adventures
In January I decided to visit my friend Lindsey in Austin in March/April to celebrate our birthdays together. Two days after I bought my ticket, her boyfriend proposed to her and they planned a June wedding. So I ended up going to Texas twice!
Our spring birthday road trip to West Texas was amazing. We had a blast and got great weather, mostly in the high 60s and low 70s, with a few sprinklings of rain.
|Lindsey and I in Big Bend National Park|
9. Birthday hike
In April I organized a group hike for my birthday with my mom, a few siblings, and some friends. It was my first time hiking with my nieces and nephews--aged 7, 3, 2.5, 1, and in utero. It was slow going, but really fun and short enough to be reasonable. If you're looking for a short but steep walk off Highway 2 suitable for dogs and little ones, check out Heybrook lookout.
The whole posse:10 adults, a 7 year old,
3 kids under 3, and one in utero at 8 months
8. The birth of Faith
One of the absolute highlights of my year was witnessing childbirth for my first time when my younger sister had her third daughter. It was an amazing experience, especially since mama and baby were healthy and it was a short, uncomplicated labor. Little Faith even decided to come out on a weekend, so I didn't have to go to work a zombie the next day after being up all night for the 4 a.m. delivery.
Later in the year I started watching the BBC 1950s period medical drama "Call the Midwife." It's about nurse midwives in London's east end, and in season 2 episode 1, this line stood out to me: Birth was, and will always be, the most commonplace of miracles, an event at once familiar and phenomenal, timeless and immediate, briefly making angels of us all.
|Faith, a few hours after being born (May 2016)|
The newborn with her oldest sister
and a tired dad in the background
|Faith at five months, a super |
happy, healthy, chunky baby.
One thing I love about weddings is that they are similar but different in ways that lets the couple's personalities and values shines through. One of the more unique, truly-theirs weddings I've ever been to was in June when my friends Rowan and Nate got hitched. It was at her family's farm property in Snoqualmie, Washington, and so full of intention, from the very first moment we arrived and got to pick our party favor: a ceramic mug handmade by the bride, to use for the night and take home. Next to the cup table was the drink table with ice, gin, seltzer water, and your choice of an array of homemade kombuchas in glass gallon jars to mix with, many of which had been brewed with ingredients grown on the farm.
|Mugs for the wedding all handmade by the bride|
The groom; four of us who met in college on a semester of
backpacking in California; and our illustrious instructor
|Speeches and toasts, in the greenhouse|
6. Taking the month of August off of work
It's hard to even know where to start with this one. First of all, I'm so, so grateful that I have a job that allowed me to take this extended vacation. Second, you can read more about before the month and after the month. I traveled all over the Cascades, drove hundreds of miles of forest service road, and did a ton of hiking and backpacking.
|Driving east on Highway 20 toward Okanogan at 6 a.m.|
|Central Cascades hiking|
In August during the month off, my mom and I went to Hidden Lake Lookout for our third-annual mother-daughter backpacking trip. She is such a trooper: she's nearly 60, only backpacks once a year, and is up for anything. This year, even though the hike was relatively short, it was a lot of elevation gain and also requires crossing snow and scrambling on rocks.
4. Hiking with my oldest niece
I taught high school students back in 2006 and I really love that age group. My oldest niece is now 15 and a half, and just a joy to hang out with, hilarious and curious and so engaged with the world around her. She lives in Bellingham and I see her fairly often at family gatherings, but have hardly ever spent a full day hanging out, just her and me. I had a hike I wanted to do down the Mount Baker highway, and invited her along since it's close to where she lives and she was on summer break. We had a blast.
3. California Coast Wedding
In September I went to Mendocino county to visit a friend and attend a wedding. I flew into Santa Rosa (just north of the Bay in Sonoma County) and stayed with a dear friend in Ukiah, who moved to down there from Seattle about five years ago. We went to a mutual friend's wedding together on the Menocino Coast.
|Wine tasting on the way to the coast|
|Near the wedding: stunning coastline, even in the fog|
2. October Seattle Wedding
In October, I went to a super local wedding of a college friend. It was a lovely ceremony in South Seattle on a sunny fall day, and a fantastic reunion of college friends who came from all over the U.S. to be there.
1. Writing a book and taking writing retreats
I am writing my first book and have devoted almost every weekend since October to writing. I sometimes work from home or coffee shops in Seattle, but I also love getting out of town to have a secluded place to focus, away from the dishes in the sink or other home projects.
Writing retreat: friend's place on a lake outside Olympia.
He graciously let me stay while he was out of town for a month.
|Friend's lakeside cabin|
|View of Rainier from the cabin|
Cheers to 2017, to more of what you already know you love, and the joys you have yet to discover. Happy New Year!