Sunday, July 28, 2013

Life is Coming at Me Fast

Here's the thing:
I dropped Scott off on a red eye to NYC last night.
(He is going a week ahead of us to find/sign on an apartment for our family)
It was kind of a fake out "I'm moving to New York" moment for me.

I know I will love New York City and all it has to offer.
I love going new places and living new ways.
I am excited to be surrounded by people who are following their dreams-- whether Columbia students, actors, working professionals, street musicians, or food truck vendors.  It will be amazing to be around people who are doing what they love.

But while still anticipating this giant change, I'm feeling a bit of angst.  
Okay a lot of angst.
I don't really know what I'm afraid of.
Carrying my laundry 2 blocks is not that big a deal.
So I'll fold up my stroller and carry T down the stairs onto the subway.
No big.
Like I said, I don't really know what I am SO worried about.
But in the meantime, I've made some rules to live by:

1. No complaining.
2. No worst-case scenario thinking.
3. No crying.

4. Invite new friends over.
5. Make my home a comfortable space.
6. Eat dinner with my family every night.

These are pretty very basic rules but at this junction of my life they sound pretty consuming.

My back up plan should these fail is to watch While You Were Sleeping on repeat while I sew a quilt.

There are 2 reasons I wrote this post:
1) So that in a month when my "I LOVE NYC" post comes up, we can all get a good laugh at my unreasonable timidness.
2) So that you will write nice, encouraging comments that will help me feel positive and excited about this new adventure.

We decided yesterday that I should come to California this week.  So now here I am, typing away, wondering how my world will flip upside down in 1 week and planning my coping mechanisms. 

Friday, July 26, 2013

More Sammamish Fun

My good friend Jessica was so sweet to have us for dinner.  It was a lot of fun to reconnect and introduce her to T!  We had some WILD times in high school. Wild, I tell you!
I got overwhelmed with not knowing the details of our immediate future, so Scott sent me for some alone time and a carmel apple spice.  I feel lucky every day to have Scott!
Knock off Toms!  I'm glad to have shoes that function like flats, but I can wear without socks. Win.
This girl is a daredevil.  
She must remember watching Grandma talk on the phone while doing other things.  If I'm doing other things I just put my phone on speaker!
Giving Bella tickles.  She love LOVED Bella.  Bella didn't even like her back.  Poor T just wants to give loves to Bella and Tilly, but they both like to bite her back.
One of her fav things was trying out all the kid toys at REI.  She has that papa of her's wrapped around her finger!
More good days in Sammamish!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Scenes from Sammamish

We had such a wonderful time in Sammamish during the month of June.  My parents went to Ireland and England for 1 month, leaving us to house-sit.  It was dreamy.  

They have this program through the city where you can check out these "Dasani bikes" for free and take them around Marymoor park.  It was up to us to convert a jogging stroller into a bike trailer :)  We did 2 or 3 remodels on the trailer attachment, but the first effort ended up being the best!
T loved getting into all of Besta's things.  (Everything is safe and well, mom!) She is an explorer, that girl!
T and I had fun reliving my childhood watching shows like Muppet Classic Theater.  Let me tell you, it is classic!
Which of these cookies look better to you?
or B:  
Really, I want to know!

I'm already missing our nights above the lake.
And morning walks.

Oh and T's favorite thing of all time:  Riding fast down the length of the deck, and back again.  About a hundred times!
The Sammamish Farmer's Market offered some of the best cherries of my life!
We are so glad it worked out for both of us to have us at the house during June!  We had a great time!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

How to Research and Plan Your International Trip: Building a Rough Itinerary

This is a four part series where we'll explore:
1.  Choosing Your Destination
2.  Researching it Out
3. Budgeting for your Trip
4.  Building a Rough Itinerary

Building a Rough Itinerary

Now things are getting exciting!  You've chosen your destination, you have dates... it's time to make a calendar!  I generally do mine in Word, though I'm sure there is a better program.  I just make a calendar detailing the weekdays, and dates that I'll be travelling, like so:
 Then, I generally save it in gmail or upload it to google drive so that I can make changes on it from any computer or device.  This way, my husband can access it too. Next I fill in the absolutes:  Flying dates/times for sure, and I put on anything that I have already bought tickets for, or anything I feel is set in stone.
Once I have the bones of it set, then I use a different color to start filling in the details:
(This is not my actual Peru itinerary)

Keep in mind, this is the overall calendar.  I formulate a separate document as I go, detailing restaurants and even specific dishes I want to try, agencies that offer activities I'm interested (complete with address and phone number), times and locations for church, 1-3 hotel options for each city I plan to sleep in, and the details for any reservation I've already made.  I'll often print this front and back so it's less bulky, and I try to organize it by city so once the first half of the trip is over I can just throw away that page... 

As far as booking hotels beforehand:  This totally depends on the style and length of the trip, and your stress level. :)  On our 6 week "honeymoon" through Southeast Asia, we didn't have a single hotel booked and it all worked out just fine.  One thing we LOVE about doing it this way is that if we find a place we adore, we can stay 3 extra nights without throwing off the rest of our trip!  We value the flexibility of changing plans more than the security of knowing for sure where we'll sleep.  (We did have ideas about where we would stay when we got to the next place, just no reservation.)  Determine whether you are travelling in high season or not, and how picky you are about the price and quality of your accommodation- that will help you decide what is best for you!

A few resources I have loved for finding hotels are:,,, and is great.  
(The Sacred Valley, Peru)
The biggest thing to remember is that this is a rough itinerary!  Be flexible once you get there-- be willing to change things up, or spring for a better offer.  You will learn so much from fellow travellers and locals, it's often best to bag your original plan and take advantage of what's in front of you!  

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Our Amazing Race

We feel like we are on The Amazing Race.  We must complete a myriad of road blocks and obstacles before arriving at our pit stop: New York City.  We've already resolved many of them, but there are many to come!

We decided yesterday to sell our car and fly out instead of pulling a trailer across the country.  We've had hesitations about going sans car, but decided that the city is set up for public transport, and the cost and hassle of keeping a car will be a greater liability than asset.  We are shipping a Ubox (compare to Pods) and will pick it up in Manhattan.  All sorts of exciting changes and events.  The housing market in NYC is very last minute, so we decided we really need to be there to see and sign for a place.  

We are now in Utah sorting through our storage unit and selling a lot on KSL.  If you know anyone looking for a mattress, a BBQ or even a great Kia Sorento, send them my way :)  This is such an exciting time for us and we are excited to be moving forward!

Our days of hiking and hangin' with Besta and Grampy are over for a while...

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

How to Research and Plan Your International Trip: Budgeting

This is a four part series where we'll explore:
1.  Choosing Your Destination
2.  Researching it Out
3. Budgeting for your Trip
4.  Building a Rough Itinerary

Budgeting for Your Trip
BEFORE THE TRIP:  We have had many friends ask us how we can afford to travel, or say "You must be rich!" or "I didn't know you are rich!"  Talk about awkward...   My most memorable comment was when a close friend said "How can you afford to travel so much?  I thought you guys were poor!  You often share meals when we go out to eat, and you two never order dessert..."  In my nicest attitude possible, I tried to explain, "This is exactly why we can travel!  We save our money so we can spend it on what is really important to us."  Would I love to shop at Baby Gap?  Absolutely!  Would I like a specialty drink when we're out with friends?  Of course!  But I have decided that I want to travel more.  So, we make sacrifices throughout normal life in order to make our travel dreams a reality.  Are we rich?  No way!  But we do choose to spend our money on travel, instead of fast food, expensive outings, the latest technology and new furniture (these last two are really where we save the big bucks!).

Our friends the Petersens still use flip phones and drive cars that are 15 years old to save money for travel.  Saving isn't always glamorous, but it is always worth it (for me).  

Before your trip, try to brainstorm ideas about how to save on food and hotels.  I like to bring along dried fruit, trail mix, beef jerky and granola bars. The other justification I use when travelling is that we would have eaten at home- so food money spent doesn't count against the trip total...?  Does that make sense to anyone else?? :)

DURING THE TRIP:  I would hate to get all the way to Thailand, then not be able to pay for an elephant ride!  How awful would that be?!?! We definitely travel on a budget, but we're not so tight that we don't do what we came to do.  I think we save most of our money by staying in cheaper places.  You stay in a $30 place instead of a $55 hotel, and you've just saved $25 in a single night! 

(L: Hostel in Taman Negara, Malaysia R: Singapore, this goes down as our worst sleeping experience abroad)

It completely depends on where you are travelling, but while in SE Asia, we spent an average of $15/night for both of us together.  While in Eastern Europe, it was more like $50/night... totally depends.
We eat a lot of street food (only gotten sick once or twice!) and we grocery shop/picnic for many breakfasts/lunches.  Depending on what region of the world you're visiting, many places offer breakfast with the hotel/hostel. Another thing to consider is your location: If you're on a tight budget, go to South America instead of Switzerland!

AFTER THE TRIP:  Start saving so you can go again :)

The biggest take away for me with budgeting, is to make the choice beforehand about where your money will go.  Then, when you're out to dinner you don't have to debate over that drink or dessert- you've already made your choice. 

The choice to live your dream!
 (Photo: Malaysian Jungle boat ride)

Monday, July 1, 2013

San Juan Islands, WA

We had the best day.
If you're in the area, I'd recommend you take a day for the San Juan Islands.  The ferry was a thrill (For all of us) Rouche Harbor was a highlight, and the beauty of the islands is unbeatable.  
Cute Jake.  He is SUCH a good boy.
Sisters with our baby girls :)  A stranger on deck even approached us and said she knew we were sisters because she could sense our "special bond."  That was a proud moment for me :)

Bocche ball!

This girl was WILD out on deck.  It's a full time job to chase her around these days.

Pondering life.  Next time, we'd love to rent kayaks and take them out through here.  

Caterpillar land!!

I love this pic so much!  Such sweet frienemies :)
Noelle is a great Auntie!

Clearly, everyone is concerned about getting their fair share of ice cream :)

I would guess we memorized 20/25 of our scripture masteries one year while sewing our happy heart quilts together.  Such great memories and reunion with the Bastians!