Friday Nights Are For Friends!

As we have been transitioning to parenthood and family life, one thing that we miss (ok, Adrienne might miss this more than Andrew) is Friday Night Fun. The weeks are long and we are always busy!

In 2017 we have decided to make more time to be with people we enjoy so in that spirit, and borrowing with gratitude from our neighbors, we are going to be hosting a series of dinners this spring.

The idea is simple: you are awesome and we want to hang out. Kids are crazy and restaurants are hard. So let's hang out at our house!

Doors will open at 4:30, dinner will be served between 5:45 and 6:00. We have toy entertainment for the under 5 set, feel free to bring entertainment for the over 5 set. Children are not required though, adult time is amazing. The main course is spaghetti and meatballs and we always have wine. You commit to bring something to share. It could be an appetizer, a side, a dessert or a beverage--the options are endless!  Please let us know if you have dietary restrictions and we'll make it work.

Who can come? Anyone we have space for! So that's 6 adults and as many children as they bring with them. Feel free to bring friends, we love getting to know new people!

Don't worry if you're plans change, just let us know so we can open up the spots to others.

 We can't wait to see you! Sign up here:

We Are Back! (With Babies!)

Whew! It's been a minute since we updated this bad boy. Luckily not much has happened...well ok, a lot has happened. We had baby number 1 in 2013 and she is lovely.
We moved from Capitol Hill to Wallingford...
We had baby number 2 in 2016 and she is the sweetest...
The sisters are in love with each other and we are so proud of them...
We bought and renovated our forever home. If you're Facebook friends with us, we're happy to share all of the progress pics. It was an adventure...
Adrienne stepped away from teaching to spend more time at home and promptly filled that time going back to school for a Masters in Organizational Leadership and consulting work for teachers around the region. Andrew is a principal engineer at Amazon and celebrated his 10th Anniversary with the EC2 team. Maeby is still our mascot. We're excited to see what the future holds and how we can continue to enjoy our community far and wide!

Politics Big and Small

Many of you know that I am a bit of a political junkie and I am fortunate enough everyday to go to work and talk about it with kids. I am struck lately by the similarities I see between my classroom and the national political stage. We're involved in a Legislative Simulation now that has divided the class into Republicans and Democrats and they are trying to pass legislation out of the Senate. What I see is a Republican party that is led by an very strong student and is very, very organized. Despite being in the minority they are incredibly aggressive and they play hard ball with everything. On the Democratic side I have another very strong student who is doing everything she can to cajole and threaten her side into doing something, anything to play the game even a little bit. Needless to say when we go to the Floor tomorrow I expect the Republicans to tear it up and the Democrats to whine about how they're the majority and they're supposed to win stuff.

This got me thinking about whether this is the problem with Democrats in general right now. We spent so long in the weeds that now that we're out of them we feel like we're owed stuff (like a Senate seat in MA) and we don't want to fight for it anymore. We're tired and we want someone else to do the heavy lifting. I think what I'm seeing in my classroom and what we're seeing in our country is that the Republicans are happy to lift and if we don't like the direction they're going we have no choice but to get off our butts and keep fighting. Or you know, not, but when the blame game starts again I hope we'll be a little more introspective and start with ourselves.

...but doesn't it always rain there?

When I tell people that I live in Seattle, the first question that they ask is about the rainfall.  I'm not surprised by this; Hollywood and television have done a great job of cementing this "fact" into our shared picture of Seattle.  Movies like Sleepless in Seattle and television shows like Grey's Anatomy generally show outside scenery shots with moderate-to-heavy rain falling and the ground shimmering with deep puddles.

The reality is that it doesn't rain that much here.  Annually, Seattle receives about 36 inches of rain.  Compare this to the 50-60 inches that falls over most of the Southeastern US or the 40-50 inches that falls over the US Mid-Atlantic areas.  Seattlites joke that only tourists carry umbrellas.  While this isn't a hard-and-fast rule, it is true that most rainfall in Seattle can be tolerated with a light coat.

The majority of rain in Seattle tends to fall in the winter and spring.  In fact, between May and October, Seattle receives less than and inch-and-a-half of rain per month.  That being said, in the winter months it's not uncommon for there to be at least some rain every day (or almost every day) for a week at a time.  In fact, we broke a local records a few years ago when it rained (at least a little bit) every day for over 30 days.  I suspect that this is the main source of this legend.  What this legend doesn't mention is that we also get days like the one pictured below throughout our rainy season; I took this photo a few days ago from my office:


I've also read (although I'm struggling to find a reference) that this rumor was started by old Seattle curmudgeons who didn't want people to move to here after the hype of the World's Fair.  Lacking the marketing budget of the pro-Seattle campaign, they resorted to guerrilla tactics: rumors and fear-mongering.

That story might not be true, but the fact remains: Seattle's a beautiful city to live in.  And no, it doesn't rain all the time.

2009 in Review

It's time again for the annual year-in-review...

Adrienne and I started 2009 as newlyweds.  We flew back from our wedding in Florida on New Years Eve, buying tickets to Teatro ZinZanni's dinner theater while the plane was boarding for take-off.  We landed in Seattle, got home, dumped our bags in the living room, and got ready for the party.  In hind sight, it might have been a bit much, but at least we looked good: New Years Eve 2008/2009.

In January, we rooted for the Gators to win the 2008 BCS National Championship game.  In my excitement for their win, I wore head-to-toe Gator apparel to work.

I threw Adrienne a surprise birthday party in February in additional to celebrating her mom and dad's birthdays.

In March, we watched the final episodes of Battle Star Galactica.  I'm not thrilled with the fracking ending, but that's another story.

April was a busy month.  We took a trip to Sedona, AZ with my parents and some of my mom's family.  We also bought a ridiculous cake for Rob and Anne Marie and hosted Easter dinner.  I sold my old table and chairs on Craigslist before our brand new custom-made table and chairs arrived.

In June we had our Seattle Reception with friends and family.  My parents came out for the party and got to experience some of Seattle's best things.  I also ran an open proxy for the people of Iran to access the internet while they were experiencing political turmoil.

On July 1st, Adrienne and I picked up our shiny new iPhone 3Gs phones; they're very nice.  We celebrated the 4th of July with family and friends.  We went on a wild adventure up the eastern seaboard to visit family and friends.  On July 25th, we adopted Maeby, our cute, little Chihuahua.

In August, Adrienne and I went to a Mariners game with Rob and Anne Marie, and Albert and Catie.  Rob and Anne Marie were married at the end of the month, yay!

Adrienne and I flew to Gainesville in September to watch the Florida Gators crush Tennessee.  I spent a few days at my parents' house before heading back to Gainesville for a recruiting trip for work.  I gave a tech-talk and helped man our career-fair booth.

I buzzed my hair in October, something I hadn't done in many years.

In November, I went back to Gainesville for another recruiting trip; this time was 3 full days of conducting interviews, ugh.  Later in the month, Adrienne and I flew to North Dakota to celebrate my grandma's 90th birthday and had Thanksgiving dinner with the extended family on my mom's side.  We had thanksgiving shrimp, they were tasty, but that's another story.  We had second-Thanksgiving back in Seattle with a much more traditional meal.

In December, Adrienne and I celebrated Christmas Eve with her parents before jetting off to a week in Hawaii to celebrate our anniversary.

I'm hoping 2010 provides us with as much fun and adventure as 2009 did.

Hawaii, you're amazing!

Wow... just wow!

Without question, this was the best vacation that Adrienne or I have ever been on.  Perhaps it was because it was our honeymoon and first anniversary... perhaps it was because we were in Hawaii... perhaps it was because the weather was perfect.  Whatever the reason, Adrienne and I had a fantastic time and are definitely looking forward to our next vacation.

Adrienne and I didn't go on a honeymoon immediately after we got married; her work schedule wouldn't have allowed us to spend a meaningful amount of time anywhere interesting.  It didn't take much planning for us to realize that spending our anniversary in Hawaii could also be perfect honeymoon.  Adrienne and I both needed to visit Hawaii for our "all 50 states before we're 30" goal, and Hawaii is... well... Hawaii.

We arrived Christmas day and departed New Years Day.  We filled these 7 days with adventure and relaxation.  We wanted to experience some Hawaiian traditions, like this luau:


We also wanted to do some activities that were relaxing and romantic.  We took a Mai Tai sunset sail which picked us up on the beach in Waikiki and sailed us into the Pacific Ocean on a catamaran while the sun set.  There was another boat in the distance which allowed me to capture this:


After returning, we decided that this vacation was filled with too many adventures to write only a single blog post.  Instead, we wrote a number of postings about our trip.  Be sure to check them out as well:
Hawaii was the last state that Adrienne needed to hit her "all 50 states before 30 goal".  Congratulation's Adrienne!  Our next big adventure will be to Alaska, the last remaining state that I haven't visited.

Kahala Resort and Spa

Having never been to Hawaii, Adrienne and I were unsure of where we should stay while we were there.  Asking our friends and family who'd been didn't point to any clear winners or losers, just a long list of Hawaiian-sounding words which were meaningless to us at the time.  We did some research on our own and settled on the Kahala Resort and Spa on Oahu.  It's a few miles away from the tourist-filled buzz of Waikiki and just east of Diamond Head.  It's intentionally secluded behind a residential neighborhood and is nestled between a PGA golf-course the the Pacific ocean.

The Kahala was the nicest hotel that Adrienne or I had ever stayed in, but the hotel is only part of the resort experience.  If we'd chosen to, we could have spent our entire vacation on the resort property eating at each of the 5 restaurants within the resort, swimming in the pool, lounging on the beach or being pampered in the on-site spa.  Even with all of the resort amenities, the perfect decor and relaxed atmosphere, it was the service that really iced the cake for us.  For example, as our cab from the airport pulled up at the bell-stand, 3 bell-hops approached the car; one to open each of our doors and one to get the bags from the trunk.  The guy picking up the luggage inferred who we were from our luggage tags, greeted us by name, escorted us to the check-in desk, waited for us to check-in, escorted us to our room, explained the A/C controls and other little things, congratulated us on our honeymoon and asked if there was anything he could do to make our stay more pleasant.  Wow!

Here's a view from the second-floor Veranda restaurant looking out across the dolphin lagoon, towards the pool with the Beachfront cafe on the far left and the Pacific Ocean in the distance:


What dolphin lagoon?  Did I not mention that they have 6 dolphins that live in a lagoon on the resort... crazy!


I'm not normally a "let's go hang out at the beach" sort of person; I don't like being hot and I don't like having the sun in my face.  It's just not me.  Of course, with a cabana shade to keep the sun out, the perfect Hawaiian weather and wait-staff serving me mohitos whenever I exert myself enough to hoist the yellow flag attached to the cabana... with that I can be convinced:



We tried to strike a balance between exploring the island and exploring our resort.  We'd arrived in Hawaii on Christmas day in the afternoon and we wanted to do something special for Christmas dinner, but we didn't want to have to work too hard for it either.  Fortunately the Plumeria restaurant (in the resort) was doing a Christmas buffet.  We'd mentioned that we were here for our anniversary to our waitress, and she congratulated us with complimentary cake:


Jason and Lara's wedding present to us was a romantic dinner.  The hotel really went out of their way to make this special and it was an amazing experience.  They'd set a table for us in a small gazebo near the ocean.  The table was decorated with white linens, sea shells and coral; the chairs were dressed up with chair covers (which coincidentally matched the chair covers we had at our wedding).  We were escorted to our table by our personal waiter, Subra.  He explained that he would be our waiter for the evening and reminded us that if we needed anything he'd be just a short distance away.  Subra filled our champagne glasses, brought us warm bread and poured ice-cold bottled water into our glasses before excusing himself to his station, a small cart about 20 feet away.  We'd arrived at the table about half an hour before sunset and were able to watch the sky transition from day to night while the sun showered us with rays of yellow, then orange, red, pink, and eventually purple before disappearing for evening.  We had three-course meal: sushi/sashimi and crab cakes for the first course, beef tenderloin and kubota pork for the second course, and banana bread pudding and guava cake for dessert.  The food was fantastic, the atmosphere was amazing, and the service was super.  Thanks Jason and Lara:



Our last night at the resort was New Year's Eve, which has extra significance for us: we met on New Years Eve 2004/2005.  We chose to treat ourselves to Hoku's Restaurant on the resort.  Our waitress, India, took great care of us and we feasted like kings while sampling from their appetizer menu over the course of a few hours:


Adrienne and I really had a wonderful time here and we're both hoping that life gives us an excuse to return again in the future.