The story behind our Christmas Card – 2016

Merry Christmas!

As the Christmas season approached, I was scrambling to find a picture to use.    We didn’t do family pictures this year. So that left me searching iphoto.  Thankfully, I came across one from my cousin’s wedding this summer that I thought would do just fine. Not my favorite picture, but good enough.

I found a card company I’d never used before. And I found a design that worked with our picture.   Wanting to get our Christmas cards ordered and done early, I placed the order.

When the package arrived in the mail, I was so excited…until I opened it up.

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 I wasn’t happy with the print quality. And I wasn’t happy with the quality of the image {It was too dark.}  So I emailed them, requesting a full refund.  Much to my surprise, they quickly responded. They apologized. And they refunded me in full.  I sent the package back in the mail {but I did keep one for myself – pictured above!}.

So that put me back at square one. No picture. No Christmas cards.

The day after Thanksgiving, we went to get our Christmas tree.  I packed the tripod to go with us, in hopes that we could snap a good picture.

Thanks to a cold snap that we were experiencing here in the northwest, there was tons of frost that morning.  When we pulled into the Christmas tree farm, we found a spot that hadn’t yet seen the sun.

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I bribed the kids with the promise of a can of pop and treats in the car after our cold photo shoot. And for the most part, they cooperated.  Even despite frozen toes.

Dan has an app that allows his iphone to be used as a remote to the camera.  And while I would occasionally run back to the camera to readjust the settings, the pictures could be taken with the phone/remote behind our backs.

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So while Dan fiddled with the camera, the kids and I could look at pictures on the phone!

Thankfully, we got some great pictures!

I had a few people ask me if the frost was photoshopped into the picture. Or if it was real.  But as you can see, it’s indeed real!  {Though I do wish I knew how to create frost with photoshop!} While we were darn cold, the frosty morning provided us with some festive pictures though.

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We took a few variations of pictures to give us flexibility with designs.

 I found this one on minted.com and it worked perfectly with our picture!

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Hard to believe Christmas is just a few days away.  I think this holiday season has flown by faster than any other.  I’m hoping we can sit back and soak up these last few days a bit.

Wishing you a very joyful Christmas!

jen

The Boston Marathon

Today we have a guest!!  Let me introduce you to Dan, my husband! I know you’ve seen pictures of him before, but I believe this is the first time he’s ever written on my blog!

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This April, Dan will be running 26.2 miles. In Boston!  He got this hair brained idea last April and has been training ever since.

But before he gets there, he has to raise $5000 for a great cause….childhood obesity. And we need your help! If you’d like to donate, please click here.  And if you’re curious, read his story below (in Dan’s own words)…

 Last April I went to Boston to support my friend, Chris, who was running the Boston Marathon for the first time.  After watching him finish and experiencing the amazing atmosphere, I immediately called my wife, Jen, and said:  “I want to do this next year!”

What’s funny about that is I have never been a runner.  Ever!  I tried running track in middle school.  My personal best was coming in NEXT to LAST on the 800 meter sprint.  Yeah!  Yes, I’ve done sports that involved running… but when it came to just going out and running for the sake of the run….well, the couch seemed just comfortable enough!

In fact, the couch has always been a very comfortable place to be.  While I was active in high school and college, my life became more sedentary the older I became.  This isn’t surprising.  Most of us experience this… life and responsibility get in the way of being active, right?  Besides… who wants to get up and go get sweaty and stinky and have burning, achy muscles when we don’t have too? Sounds reasonable.

But with that decision comes the baggage.  And by baggage I mean the pounds.  Probably 30 of them and their closest friends.  They liked to hang out around my waist line and upper thighs.  Lovely!  Of course it didn’t help that in medical school all you feel like you can do is sit around and study.  Then comes residency where you are provided all the doughnuts and soda pop you can enjoy while working 6 days of the week.   Needless to say, I didn’t emerge from this experience looking my best!  My rock bottom was looking at my new driver’s license after moving back to Washington state and seeing double chins and jowls.  Jowls!  Like a hound dog!

So, several years ago my wife and I started working out again.  We started with joining a gym and then an outdoor “boot camp” group.  We added weight lifting and focusing on nutrition (goodbye doughnuts and soda… I loved you so much).  What was even better was watching our kids get into it.  They wanted to “work out” with us and even try to eat healthily.  It’s great to think that we have hopefully instilled a lifestyle in them and tools that they can use throughout their lives. (They still give in to McDonald’s, but only once in a blue moon.)

Now it’s April 2014, and I’m on the phone with Jen saying I want to run in the world’s most prestigious marathon.  She’s actually laughing on the other end!  Remember… I’m not a runner.  I don’t think I would time qualify for the Boston Marathon if I could DRIVE it!  But I remain undaunted.

We start looking  into ways that I could pursue this dream.  A friend of ours suggests looking into the American Medical Athletic Association (AMAA).  (Thanks Tammy!)  This is a charity that focuses on childhood obesity and changing how our youth exercise and eat… and this strikes a chord.  This was a charity I could get behind and really support!   It resonated with my own personal struggles, as well as what I want to impart to my own children.  And let’s face it, as an ER physician, if we could eliminate obesity… well, my work life gets a whole lot easier!

So here I am today.  I’ve been running 4 or 5 days a week for the past 8 months.  I’ve done two half marathons.  Guess what… I actually enjoyed them!  But now it’s time to tackle the big one… and I would love your help and partnership.

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leavenworth half marathon

If anything I have shared resonates with you and any struggle you, a family member, friend or co-worker has experienced, then I encourage you to help kick obesity in its fat ass!  With your help we can continue to ensure that our next generation can be healthier and fitter than every before.   Please take to the opportunity to donate on this website.

To donate, please click HERE.

dan

Merry Christmas 2014!

m e r r y    c h r i s t m a s !

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I’ll be signing off for the remainder of 2014. But I’ll be back in the new year with more interior design posts!

jen

Waterton and Glacier National Parks

Thursday is a big day around here…..Dan turns 40!  He didn’t want a big party, so we decided to take a fun family vacation…

ROAD TRIP TO GLACIER!

We took a ton of pictures and video. So sit back and enjoy a few fun pics! And at the end of the post, you can view the latest and greatest family video!

Our first stop was Waterton Park, Canada, which is the Canadian part of Glacier.

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It was so beautiful. And we saw our first bear there too!  Thankfully, we were in our car and not hiking on a trail at the time.

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After a few days in Waterton Park, we ventured down into Montana to Glacier National Park.

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Both Dan and I loved the one on one time with the kids….

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The weather wasn’t ideal. In fact, it was downright cold on a lot of days.  We just learned to accept the rain and make the most of it!

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Though, occasionally we’d get lucky and see a little sun!

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We tried to find a healthy balance between hiking and stopping and playing as well.  The kids were troopers!

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Most of the time, that is.  There was one day where we may have gotten a touch lost in Glacier in the pouring rain.  And there may have been two scared kids and some tears.

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Finding the trail that led us back to our car was a happy moment.

We saw a moose up close….

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Even on a cloudy day, Glacier was beautiful.

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For some reason, I was focussed on crossing the continental divide….

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Dan was kind enough to pull over for a picture.

If you’re still with me after all of those pictures, here is the video that Dan made! Click HERE to view {or click the picture below}.

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The trip was a great way to celebrate Dan.  And to enjoy some quality family time together.

Happy 40th birthday, Dan!

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Hawaiian Vacation

A few weeks ago, we took our kiddo’s out of school and went to Hawaii for 8 days.  We stayed on the west coast of Oahu in Ko Olina, which is very quiet and far away from the crazy, busy city.

The week was perfect.

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We played. We swam. We snorkeled.

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And by the look of these shriveled fingers, you can tell that the kids spent a TON of time in the water!

We spent the week with friends.  6 adults, 7 kids and perfectly perfect dynamics!

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I took roughly 700 pictures.  But how could I resist when we drove by quaint places like this….

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Doesn’t that just scream ‘Hawaii’?!

The shave ice was a big hit! (They call it SHAVE ice…not shaved ice! Who knew!)

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We tried boogie boarding for the first time on the north shore.

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We had hoped to see a turtle while we snorkeled.  And we didn’t just see ONE turtle, we saw several.  And two even crawled up on the beach, right in front of us! Hello Mr. Turtle!

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I tried hard to be a fun mom and swim with my kids.  Get my hair wet.  Snorkel along side them.   I even went down the water slide!

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Even with a small abscess on Emmie’s bum (which turned into cellulitis), it was still a fantastic vacation.

Her last night in Hawaii was spent in the ER….

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…but she was a trooper.  And after some IV meds, she was in tip top shape.  Just in time to fly home.

One of Dan’s hobbies is putting together video from our vacations.  I haven’t ever shared any on my blog, but thought I’d give it a try this time!. If you have a few minutes and would like to watch, click here!

https://vimeo.com/97250546

Oh Hawaii, how we miss you!

jen

Merry Christmas 2013

Back in October, we had family pictures taken up at my dads house.  It was such a fun place for pictures because of all the greenery, open space and fun barns!   We were just hoping for ONE good picture to use on our Christmas card.  Thankfully, we had several to choose from!

Here is a quick look at some of my favorites.

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Dan suggested we all put hay in our mouths for the next picture. Apparently I missed the memo that we were supposed to actually SMILE with it, because I look like I’m smoking my hay!

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Next is the runner-up for our Christmas card….

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And finally, the card itself….

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Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas.

jen

Christmas Tree 2013

We tend to get our Christmas tree the weekend of Thanksgiving.   And today was the lucky day!

But unfortunately, it was raining.

The morning was fairly dry, while we were at church.  Then when we got in the car….rain!

But we made the most of it and had fun!

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Thanks to rain coats and an umbrella, we {kind of} stayed dry.

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Ok, who am I kidding.  We were soaked.

But thankfully everyone’s mood stayed light and we got the job done.

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The tree is in the house. But remains undecorated. That’s a project for another day.

jen

GIRLS ROOM REVEAL – ONE ROOM CHALLENGE WEEK 6

Week 6. It seemed so far away six weeks ago! But here we are at the final week of the One Room Challenge.

I have to say that my room isn’t truly completed.  It may LOOK finished. There actually happens to be a headboard and footboard in the room! But if you look closely, you will notice there are no side rails.  They were strategically propped up for the pictures.  {And I didn’t exactly win mom of the year award when the footboard fell over on Emmie’s foot!}.  But it’s 90% complete. So for today, that’s good enough!

As a refresher, let’s take a look at some before shots….

girls room 3 {athomeinthenorthwest}

girls room at home in the northwest

And here was my inspiration board…

girls room mood board {athomeinthenorthwestblog}

And alas, some shots for you to get a final look at the {mostly completed} girls room.

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During this process, I realized her side table is too small.  The side table on the right side of her room isn’t balanced with the chair on the left.  I purchased the Rast chest of drawers from Ikea, but due to lack of time, I haven’t quite gotten to that project yet.

The polka dots are from urban walls.  They were so simple to attach to the wall! And really reasonably priced too.  I love what they add to her focal wall.

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GIRLS ROOM ONE ROOM CHALLENGE  at home in the northwest

If you look at the before pictures, you may notice that the chalkboard used to have a chocolate brown frame.  Thanks to some pink spray paint, it now brightens her desk area with it’s new frame!

Here is a closer look at the headboard.

COMPLETED ROOM 2 ORC  at home in the northwest

completed headboard orc  at home in the northwest

I am absolutely head over heals in love with how the headboard looks in the bedroom!  Sadly, I had to remove the beast though until I finish that darn project! But for my little ORC week 6 photo shoot, it sure looks great!

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The windows need something.  I’m thinking a roman shade but can’t decide on a fabric.  So for now, it’ll stay as is until I find some inspiration.

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It always seems like we could use more room for coats and sweatshirts. So I made this cute little number above!  It’s behind her door and adds some great space for a girl with too many clothes!  Come back soon for an easy tutorial on making one of these coat hangers!

Even though there are still a few things left to do, I’m so happy with how it’s all turned out!

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Thanks for reading and following along for the past 6 weeks! Click here to read any of the weeks that you may have missed!

week 1, week 2, week 3, week 4 and week 5

jen

linking up to:

calling it home

 

Happy Halloween!

Wishing you a very safe and happy Halloween!

PUMPKIN FACE  at home in the northwest blog

jen

One Room Challenge Week 5 – Painting Progress

Hello everyone! Here we are at week 5 of the one room challenge.  Only one week to go…and then, in theory, this room should be complete.  One would think 6 weeks is ample time to complete a room {and please note, I actually started on this project BEFORE the ORC even started! So I had a head start – and I’m still not where I’d like to be.} You’re probably not interested in the excuses for my lack of progress. You’re thinking, ‘show me some pictures!’

So here we go.

This week, I thought I’d tackle the the dresser.  It was stained in a medium wood tone.  And it needed to be lightened to match the gray walls and white furniture.

Here’s the before…

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This weekend, I dug out my Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Pure White.  A few coats of paint, some sanding and a coat of Annie Sloan clear wax, and the task was complete!

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Did you notice the little lamp got a bit of pink spraypaint?!  The first picture above shows it in dark bronze. And the next picture shows it  in all it’s pink glory.

Back to the dresser….I really hadn’t planned on going with a distressed look {or as Emmie is calling it, an ‘old time look’}.  But as I was sanding down the chalk paint, it started to rough up the edges.  It was hard to avoid since the bottom layer was a wood finish.  So….I went with it. I can always add more paint later if I get tired of it.  But for now, it’ll just disguise any bumps or scratches that it receives from its 7 year old roommate!

Here is a closer look….

dresser painted with annie sloan chalk paint pure white...at home in the northwest

The old wooden drawer pulls were updated with a little glass pull.  Very feminine {and very cheap! $2.97 at Lowes!}.

I’m happy with it.  And I think Emmie has adjusted to the ‘old time look’.

You might be wondering how my bed building progress is going?!  Well, let’s just say it’s not.  I have to say, I’m not sure it’ll get completed in time.   But don’t give up on me yet! The bed WILL get done. It just may not be done by week 6.

Make sure you come back next week for the final reveal!

jen

linking up to:

 

calling it home, miss mustard seed

 

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