It Wasn’t All Garbage, Was It?

 

What a dumpster fire of a year 2016 has been. So many amazing people gone except for the one person who should explode in a mass of Cheetos and straw hair (and pls take your shitty racist women-hating followers with you THANKS!). But in the spirit of positive vibes and glass-half-fullism, I will now try to remember the good things that happened this year. Because it wasn’t all garbage, right?

January

My dad turned 60 and we surprised him with a phenomenal party! We played outside and Larry ended his hipster bartending career.

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February

Some cold-weather running featuring beautiful sunrises and a trip to Florida to visit Lar’s dad.

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March

Jay Blistan visited! We ran up hills and went to the Sounders home opener. Cherry blossoms came out, daylight lasted longer, and we celebrated Easter with friends. march1

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April

My grandparents visited!!! So did friends from back east, and it was the best birthday ever with my whole fam in Denver.

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May

More visitors: college bestie, our most famous friend David Crabb, and I met the U.S. Poet Laureate at our big work fundraiser. We camped with friends for Memorial Day.

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June

We ran the Bend Beer Chase for the second year in a row. I made boozy cherries with good friends, we celebrated Lar’s birthday at the Seattle Rock Orchestra’s Beach Boys show, and we took Tippy on her first camping trip – also our first unsupervised camping trip. We made fire!!

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July

I made beautiful American jello shots. Shenanigans at the Dixie Chicks concert and camp out involving biblical rain, Gentleman Jack, and pitchers of wine. We gained a new family member, Fippy. East Coast Wendy visited!!! I learned that I am really good at shucking oysters and we climbed a mountain with Tippy.july1 july2 july3 july4 july5 july6

August

Month of excessive vacations! We traveled to Mexico with old friends AND Croatia with new friends. Also: helmet nachos!

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September

Still Croatiaing. I did not run a sub-2 half but did PR at 2:05 and haven’t run more than a mile since. My parents visited!!! And I got to be a witch for Harry Potter trivia at work.

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October

I rowed in the rain and visited my sis in Charlotte with our mama. Football games, soccer games, and Tippy’s 12th birthday party. We sold our Prius and became car-less city folk.

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November

I was depressed. We escaped reality by binging The Crown and with a long weekend in Astoria. And we spent a week back in Philly with family and friends. That was like balm for the soul. ❤

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December 

I went home to Ohio for the annual girls weekend and met Josie! We celebrated the holidays by seeing The Nutcracker, a White Christmas sing-along (this was THE BEST!!!), and lots of movies. We’ll celebrate eight years of wedded bliss on Friday and are hosting another NYE party on Saturday.

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And then it will be 2017. We’re heading to Grand Cayman with my family in January (and will be very drunk there on inauguration day) and will come home to a new president. Not my president. And then impeachments shall begin, Russia will get involved, China will be pissed, the nukes will come out, and the world will end.

So here’s to 2016. And a very merry 2017 to us all!

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Birthday Weekend in Denvahhhh

Well, hello there. It’s been awhile! But I’ve been having fun, so as Beyoncé would say, I ain’t sorry. Now let’s time travel back to ye olden thymes (herb pun for my Gma!) and revisit another exciting weekend in April when my family gathered in Denver for a friend’s wedding. AND it just so happened to be my birthday weekend. Me me me!

We flew to Denver on Thursday evening on the bumpiest and scariest plane ride EVER – I was making peace with death and reassuring myself that the dog-sitter would stay with Tippy until my family could get to her. But we lived! So my bro picked us up and we checked in to our lovely AirBnB around midnight. It had been raining pretty hard in Seattle and I discovered that my trusty black boots had basically disintegrated, so into the airport trash they went. I was not entirely shoeless but I did put shopping for a new pair of black booties high on my priority list.


My parents and sister arrived early Friday morning from Ohio, and my sis and I exchanged birthday gifts (hers is on the 11th). We got each other the exact same card because we are the creepy twin girls emoji come to life. 👭🔪


Then it was off to find breakfast. We struck out at a few places before ending up at the delicious Pete’s Kitchen.


After cleaning up, the ladies shopped (new black booties, check!) while the guys relaxed back at the condo. We eventually headed back out to taste some wine on tap at The Infinite Monkey Theorem – it was heaven. I’d like wine on tap in my home, please. You can replace all the water faucets. Then we did our best hipster impressions while we waited for a Lyft to take us to dinner, which Kris was VERY excited about…


…because it was at, where else, The ChopHouse! No photos can be shared because we porked out too much. After, we somehow rolled ourselves over to the wedding-eve party at Lucky Strike, but we didn’t last too long before hitting the hay.

The next day was Erik and Kellie’s wedding! Kellie is one of my brother’s BFFs and just an all-around awesome person (see: mannequin), so we wouldn’t have missed this for the world. Plus, it was a BRUNCH wedding at the historic Oxford Hotel – say whaaaat!


We laughed, we cried, we sobbed like babies during an incredible a capella performance of “Hallelujah,” we recovered with mimosas and had too much fun in the photo booth. The whole thing was just lovely and then we came outside to find…snow. In mid-April. When just days before, Kris had sent pics of the 70 degree sunshine. Denver, you cray.


We relaxed at home for a bit before venturing back out to the post-wedding party at Wynkoop Brewery. Pool was played, drinks were had, the bride was still in her amazing dress – it was fab! And it was still snowing, much to Kalyn’s despair.


The next day was MY BIRTHDAY yaaaaay. We had a delightful breakfast at home and I declared that no showering was allowed. So we took our stanky selves out to The Source, an artisan food and booze market in a really old brick warehouse. There’s a butcher, a few restaurants, lots of shops, and a brewery dedicated to sour beers called Crooked Stave. My mom was not a fan of the sours.


But I was a fan of the Snapchat filters that day.


Our next stop was the genius establishment First Draft, where sits a wall of 40 taps and you can pour, taste, and pour some more. By the end of our time there, we were mixing some creative bevs (kombucha and white wine!) and Mom and Dad were ready for a nap.

So home they went and off we drove to our next locale: a dive bar! The Thin Man Tavern, to be exact. We took over some couches in the back and played many rounds of the old college game Asshole while I drank cheap champagne. And I was President for most of the game NOT because it was my birthday but because I am sly like a fox. We also FaceTimed Recie – is there anything more adorable than dudes who melt when they FaceTime a baby?!


Soon it was dinner time and Ma and Pa were ready to meet up with us again. Lots of dinner options were debated but in the end, there was only one place I wanted for my birthday dinner: Steuben’s. This is comfort food at its finest and most of us went to town on the Sunday special of chicken and waffles…while fighting off sleep.


Everyone was too full and sleepy to get dessert with me, so I got banana pudding to go! Score.

Mom, Dad, and Kalyn flew out early the next day, but our flight wasn’t until the evening. We did some fitness, cleaned up the rental, and checked out, then headed to work with my bro for a bit so we could both “work remotely” (errr catch up on blog reading?).


After lunch, we bid Kris and Denver farewell and headed for the airport. It was a pretty much perfect birthday weekend with my favorite people (just missing Tippy, of course).

And the celebrations didn’t end there! There were treats at work, then Lar took me out for surprises on Wednesday, starting with drinks by the water at Westward, dinner at Manolin, and dessert at Pie Bar, where I learned that champagne doesn’t go with everything…like banana cream pie. But I powered through because that’s what 35-year-old women DO.


And finally, we hosted a birthday cookout on our roof for the April bdays on our group…there was pink lemonade layer cake. Plus Lucie!


So cheers to 35 / I am halfway to 70! And cheers to me for finally updating the blog. Lots more to share, maybe I’m on a streak…stay tuned.

Grandparents Do Seattle

So. April. That was a thing that happened. A combination of birthday month activities, visitors, family weekend in Denvahhh, 18 stitches (more on that later), and playing outside in the gorgeous weather kept us busy and made for a pretty amazing month.

But the highlight of my April (and possibly my forever) was when my grandparents came to visit.img_5674

I had texted Granny Janny in December to ask if she wanted to fly out to see The Nutcracker in Seattle, because 1) it’s pretty much in my backyard, and 2) we have a running “thing” with The Nutcracker in that she’s been promising to take me since I was about 6 but we’ve never managed to see it together. I had found relatively cheap direct flights from Detroit to Seattle, and while she chose to avoid the risk of inclement weather (smart), it did start the conversation about a springtime visit. And voila! A trip was scheduled.

They landed on a very sunny Thursday, so I took the light rail all the way from work to the airport (a new thing!!) because traffic was its typical horrendous self, and we light railed all the way back into downtown before catching a Lyft to our place. After a few Tippy belly rubs, we headed for the roof to show off our favorite views. Grandma enjoyed sniffing the rosemary, and we all enjoyed a gorgeous sunset before housing some pizza.

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On Friday, we were back on the roof for coffee hour, a quick morning power nap on the couch, and then it was tourist time! We rode the monorail down to Pike Place and walked the shops, including Beecher’s, the fish mongers, and Rachel’s Ginger Beer. Then it was on to a delicious lunch at Matt’s in the Market, where we got to watch a pig being butchered – great fun!

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Next was a harbor cruise, then a cookout on our roof. Bedtime was early, since our guests were still on east coast time, but first we played a few rounds of Tippy Memory to keep our brains sharp (Lar and Gpa were very good; Gma and I were terrible but we’ll blame the wine)! Grandpa and Tippy were also becoming fast couch buddies.

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On Saturday, Tippy was so despondent at the thought of being separated from Grandpa that she couldn’t even bear for him to use the bathroom.

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Despite her dramatics, we ventured outside of the city to Whidbey Island, a 40-minute drive and 30-minute ferry ride away. There was drizzle, but we thoroughly enjoyed the Langley Whale Center, Useless Bay Coffee, and the lovely gardens in town. Lunch was at Prima Bistro, where we had a great view of the water, and then there may have been some car napping on the way back home.

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Back at home, the boys decided to stay in and watch some Final Four basketball while Grandma and I ventured over to the Chihuly Garden and Glass Museum – another spot in our own backyard that we’d never visited. It was stunning! And the glass-blowing demonstration made us both want to enroll in glass school immediately (random side note: the glass blower is from Findlay, OH, and went to BGSU). I can’t remember what we did for dinner but I am guessing it was eat leftovers and pass out early…after a few rounds of Tippy Memory, of course!

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Chihuly Garden and Glass

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Sunday morning, we did our usual Sunday-with-visitors thing: breakfast at Portage Bay Café, followed by the Ice Cream Cruise around Lake Union. I’m not sure what was going on with Captain Larry (not to be confused with my Larry) but he wasn’t his usual fact-filled self this time around. Since this was my fifth or sixth time on the cruise, I was supplementing facts for him. Hope he’s back to his usual self the next time we board! Regardless, it was a lovely day on the water and the houseboats looked fab.

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Next, it was Take Your Grandparents To Work Day! Except I didn’t have to do any work since it was a Sunday. We got to UW a bit before the Library opened, so I snuck us in and got to give a private tour of the Reading Room and other parts of Suzzallo.

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Next up was another standard stop on LarKar’s Seattle Tour: Kerry Park! We drove up instead of forcing them to walk up Queen Anne Hill like all our other visitors, but Grandpa did get a chuckle out of calling my mom to tell her I made them walk up anyway (this was after Jude had threatened me to “take it easy!!” on Gma and Gpa…pssh, they could have done it!).

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After some downtime at home, we then ventured back out to the Ballard Locks and shopped for our next yacht, followed by another incredible dinner at Bitterroot, where we killed our traditional Cowboy Killer.

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We returned them to the airport bright and early Monday morning and I was terribly sad to see them go. I can’t say how much it means to us that they flew across the country to come visit. We love you, Grandma and Grandpa! Come visit again soon!! xo

60 Things

  1. My dad turned 60 at the end of January!
  2. My mom started plotting back in October for a surprise weekend to celebrate.
  3. We flew in to Ohio on the Friday that Winter Storm Jonas was really picking up.
  4. We met my brother at O’Hare and did some quick dancing in between flights.
  5. I watched “Inside Out” on the plane and cried like a baby.
  6. I sent Dad a picture of Tippy on a walk and said she was being a real pain on her leash today, when I was actually sitting on the runway. Sneaky, sneaky.
  7. We arrived in Columbus without any issues, but had several family and friends whose travel plans were ruined because of the storm.#rude, Jonas.
  8. My sister picked us up and we had a car dance party.
  9. On Friday evenings, my parents can be found drinking wine at Hausfrau Haven, so that’s where they were when we landed.
  10. We stopped at home to change and then headed over to Hausfrau.
  11. Dad’s back was to the window, so Kalyn went in first since they were expecting her, and then we stared through the window like creepers until he turned around.
  12. We got him good!
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  13. He was really, truly surprised and said the only thing he thought was weird that day was when Mom couldn’t stop watching the Jonas coverage (since she had children flying through the air and was nervous about canceled flights).
  14. Mom breathed a sigh of relief and told him how long we’d been plotting. He was so surprised that we’d kept this quiet for so long. We are excellent liars!
  15. Mom also “spilled” the rest of the weekend plans – the boys would be taking him to see a movie tomorrow while the girls got manis, and then we had reservations for a fancy birthday dinner at his favorite restaurant. He bought it and much wine drinking commenced.
  16. Other friends showed up, and I finally got to meet baby Recie!!
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  17. When we finally stumbled home for dinner that night, we ate wings from Roosters and frozen Snickers bars from the freezer. So much for more veggies in January!
  18. On Saturday morning, Kalyn and I went for a nice freezing cold run at Schiller Park.
  19. Like total nerds, we wore our matching Lulu ponytail head-condoms and Ohio U sweatshirts.
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  20. We saw an elderly gent coming toward us on our run and when he saw our shirts, he joyfully said, “Hey, that’s my school!” We yelled back, “Go Bobcats!” and it was adorable.
  21. We also saw many bird friends (LIE, BIRDS ARE NOT OUR FRIENDS) whose butts were frozen to the pond. Don’t feel sorry for them. They can’t swoop down and poo on us from above when their butts are stuck to the ice.
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  22. We did three laps around Schiller to make about 2.5 miles before our snot froze and we headed home.
  23. Once home, we promptly went back out, heading next door to the delightful Brown Bag Delicatessen for lunch. Little did we know, we’d be back soon…
  24. Everyone had a fairly lazy morning and afternoon until about 3, when Dad, Kris, and Larry left to see “The Revenant.”
  25. THAT IS WHEN JUDY MCDONALD (already at a Level 9) TOOK IT TO A LEVEL 10.
  26. The Ladies McDonald sprang into action, cleaning, moving furniture, setting up the bar, and making ourselves presentable before the caterers arrived at 5.
  27. Bubs and I took a trip to the store to buy ice and beer. Shout out to our Boston friends with our Sam Winter Ale!
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  28. Then it was shower time. Clean bods, full hearts, can’t lose.
  29. My college roomie Teresa arrived from Indianapolis around 5!! I hadn’t seen her in over a year and it was so great to have her in my arms, in person, for real. Our other roomie Alicia was supposed to come too, but she lives in West ByGod Virginia and Jonas was hitting her hard. Sad face.
  30. We came downstairs around 5:15 to find Mom in the kitchen and asked if the caterers had already made their drop off. She said no but didn’t seem too worried – guests were arriving around 6 and she was sure they were on their way, so there would be plenty of time. We went back upstairs to finish getting ready.
  31. Caterers still hadn’t arrived at 5:20, so she called to ask WTF.
  32. She yelled from the bottom of the stairs and we came to the landing to hear her say…
  33. “The caterers canceled our order.”
  34. JUDY MCDONALD = LEVEL 11!!!!
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  35. Crisis mode activated. I was set to run back to Kroger for cheese trays and munchies, reasoning that we had a fully stocked bar, so really, who needs food for 50 when we’ve got drinks?
  36. The caterers called back and said they could bring some things within the hour (luckily, they still had a chef there) but it wouldn’t be what we’d originally ordered. And they were set to arrive at about the same time as the guys would be returning. Eeek!
  37. Mom sent us back to Brown Bag to see if they could make a few sandwich trays just in case, and luckily, they were. I was high on adrenaline and aggressively ordered 40 sandwiches cut into fourths. This, for future reference, is way too many.
  38. Family and friends started to arrive and were greeted with, “Hello! Can I take your coats? Grab a drink! Nope, no food yet, caterers fucked up. Oh look, here’s some old cheese we found in the fridge, have that!”
  39. Larry texted me that they were on their way back from the movie, and then texted again when they were blocks away. That is, of course, when the caterer pulled up.
  40. Lucky for us, the boys didn’t notice the strange men carrying trays of food in the front door as they drove by.
  41. Everyone got silent as the boys came in the back…
  42. SURPRISE!
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  43. We got him again!
  44. Teresa and I stole away to FaceTime with Alicia. Roomie reunion!
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  45. So many people were there and it was awesome to catch up with family and friends since we weren’t home for the holidays. But as it always goes, it seems like I didn’t spend enough time with anyone.
  46. Including my wonderful grandparents! But they are coming to visit in less than two months (!!!), so we will have plenty of time to catch up then.
  47. I spent most of the party running around refilling drinks (and my own!), which is a great way to visit with everyone. Eventually I settled in by the bar to hang out with “The Girls,” my parents’ awesome neighbors, and some other cousins who I rarely get to see.
  48. My teenaged goddaughter (what? how? when did I get so old?!) discovered a copy of Eleanor and Park on the bookshelf and it made me so happy to see her sneak away to a closet to read it. A girl after my own heart!
  49. I barely saw Larry throughout the evening but managed to snap a quick selfie toward the end of the party.
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  50. Toward the end of the night, the last folks standing gathered around the kitchen island to watch Dad open gifts and make judgments about those who weren’t there.
  51. I snapped a truly terrifying pano of this crew. It’s kind of Picasso-like.
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  52. People gave my dad some very sweet gifts, including lottery tickets, sporty stuff, and even a flannel beer coozie.
  53. Mom and Dad went to bed, and then it was really time to party.
  54. Kris performed his sabering of a champagne bottle trick. Bubbly for everyone!
  55. And then we all made the mistake of sitting on the most comfortable couch in the world. Soon, this was happening.
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  56. Teresa and I stayed up until 4am talking. We are so young and fun!
  57. Alicia ended up making the long drive to visit the next day, missing Teresa by just a few hours! I am very lucky to have friends who make long drives to see me.
  58. We stayed until Tuesday and really enjoyed the rest of our time in Ohio. A lot of it was spent eating leftover sandwiches and one bomb-ass birthday cake that Mom made for Dad.
  59. We also finally met Mason, my parents’ friends’ pup who they often get to dog-sit. He’s so sweet!!
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  60. Happy birthday, Dad!!! We love you!

A McSeattle Thanksgiving

This post is long overdue, because I’ve been having trouble finding the words to explain how great our Thanksgiving was. Everything from the clear, crisp weather to the amazing house we rented could not have been more perfect. Even picking up my brother from the airport on Wednesday, which on Thanksgiving Eve is usually the ninth circle of hell, was pretty painless because we avoided the miles of traffic backed up for arrivals by snagging him at departures. Genius!

After a quick drink, it was bedtime because we had a Turkey Trot to run bright and early the next day. With headgear.


 The course was a lovely downhill coast through Ballard’s Sunset Hill (where we’d be checking in to our rental home later that day) and ending at Golden Gardens. We stayed together until about mile 2, when Kris had to take off to beat a Michigan fan for the glory of Ohio. We reconvened on the beach and enjoyed the clear mountain views, then rewarded ourselves with Starbucks and Tippy snugs.

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Then it was time to move to our Sunset Hill home for the next six days. We walked in and our jaws dropped at the view – the pics on the website did not do this place justice.

There wasn’t much time to gawk, though, because we had a turkey to get in the oven. Work that fowl and that flannel, boys.


The rest of the fam arrived around 2. It was so fun to watch their faces when they saw the incredible views and explored the house. Since it’s winter and the sun sets at 4, we enjoyed a delightful, bundled-up happy hour on the deck before more cooking, digging in to all the incredible food and drinks, and shunning Kalyn for not wearing flannel.


     

  

  
On Black Friday, we woke up to another perfect day.

So we braved the outdoors for a ferry trip to Bainbridge Island.

  
We walked around Ft. Ward and saw some WWI stuff, and Kris tried to teach Kalyn how to skip stones. Look at those snow-capped mountains!


 Next we dined on delicious pizza at the Treehouse Café, then tasted flights of wine at Eleven Winery, where the boys engaged in a tense game of Simpsons chess.

     

 We were back on the ferry just in time for another perfect sunset with Mt. Rainier lit up in all her glory.

   
   
Saturday morning we were up early for to watch the Ohio State-Michigan game at Peddler, which was packed with good Ohioans who brought tons of delicious food to share, including Kalyn’s breakfast of champions, cheese and Buckeyes. Then, it was back to the giant, glorious couch to watch more football and nap off the booze.

   

    
   
That night, we went out to a fancy dinner at Porkchop & Co in Ballard. Everything was seriously tasty. The things they did with Brussels sprouts were out of this world! After dinner, ma and pa returned to the house (and Tippy) for the evening while we youngsters went on a Ballard bar crawl, hitting up four or five delightful establishments and staying out until the wee hours of morning. We discovered a game called Drunk, Stoned, or Stupid that I encourage you all to purchase for your next family gathering if you’re in to calling each other out for being total a-holes.

  
Sunday we worked off our hangovers with brunch at Portage Bay Café, then returned to that wonderful couch to be lazy and watch football and movies – honoring the true meaning of Thanksgiving weekend.

   
 Monday was the last day that we’d all be together, as Kris was returning to Denver that afternoon. Kalyn and I ran off our feelings (and about 300 pounds of gravy and pie) with a jog down to Golden Gardens to pick out our yachts while Kris and Lar did work (ew, grownup stuff).

   
    
 The workaholics took a break so we could all have lunch at the Highliner Pub at Fisherman’s Terminal (fresh fish and chips, so good!), then explored the docks and giant boats. 

   
   
We bid Krissy goodbye that afternoon and started thinking about packing up and vacating what had become our home away from home. Sob. Larry and I had the Peddler holiday party that night, so mom, dad, and Kalyn did their best to eat the gazillion leftovers still haunting us from the fridge. Can you spot the Larry?

  
Tuesday morning was more packing and eating of leftovers (pie for breakfast is such a good idea) before finally bidding the family farewell. I will admit that I cried a little. It was such a perfect week of family time, and I’m so grateful that my favorite turkeys made the trip to be with us in our new home city. We aren’t heading home for Christmas this year (more sobs) but we are looking forward to our next family gathering in Denver in April.

  

Thankful

  
Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours! It’s going to be a wonderful Seattle weekend. My brother arrived last night, and my parents and sister get here this afternoon. While waiting, we will be running a cold-ass Turkey Trot and then moving into a gorgeous AirBnB in Ballard for the weekend. I’m beyond excited. 

I’m also beyond thankful for everything this year has brought us: a new city, new jobs, new friends, and new adventures. It wasn’t always easy but we’ve been so lucky that I can’t be anything but thankful. I am especially thankful for all of our friends and family who came to visit us this year, making our transition a little easier. I’m also thankful to YOU, whoever you are out there, for reading. 

Have a wonderful holiday and I’ll see you in December with a recap of the McSeattle Thanksgiving Weekend! 

  
Tippy is thankful for her new friend Rocky, whose face she ate off and then puked up. ❤️

Denvahhhhh

We visited my baby bro in Denver a few weekends ago and had a marvelous time. The food is excellent, we drank some awesome beers and then some not-so-awesome beers, and watched a lot of football – both the Euro kind and the Merica kind. Denvahhhhh!

We landed around midnight on Friday and were greeted with Kristopher’s amazing homemade pizza rolls, then fell asleep to Broad City (YASS QUEENS). We were up early the next day for the Crystal Palace match. We are huge fans now and should probably move to London.

After a sad loss, it was on to Denver Biscuit Company for some insanely delicious biscuit creations. We ate in the beautiful park and fended off evil geese.

Next, we were off on a brewery tour while all the college football was happening. It was THE BIG GAME in our household with Larry being a Penn Stater and me being a fan of almost all things from Ohio, like Ohio State. There were a ton of other great games on that day, and a lot of delicious beer to be had. Once it was game time, we spent the first half in Denver’s Penn State bar, Pat’s (featuring cheesesteaks and Tastykakes!!), then headed to the Ohio State bar, Hayter’s, for the second half. Our beverage standards quickly deteriorated as the evening wore on. A bucket of shitty beer for $12? And is that Banquet beer?! Yes please!

Ughghgh we woke up so hungover. Nothing some donuts and incredible breakfast at Jelly wouldn’t fix!

 We got a ZipCar and drove out to Red Rocks and up to Guanella Pass. It was a stunningly perfect day!

Good work, Denver. We like you a lot and will be back soon!