Wow…I am really bad at this.

So, as family knows (and a few friends) we had a pretty fun summer and a really tragic autumn. This has kept me from posting for multiple reasons and I only post now to tell you…I will probably stop posting.

Shocking! But the truth is, we are finally moving back to Texas and are expecting our first little boy (due in August). So in light of those life changes, the name  “A Texan in Washington” will simply no longer be applicable. Plus, all of the events that I would feel the need to write about would probably only be interesting to myself and the grandparents of our future baby. I don’t think the world wants to know that Little Leger made the vowel sound ‘ee’ today or that our laundry basket is full of burp cloths (fascinating!). Granted, I may want ten minutes to myself and come to the computer to blog about…something else that may be going on in our lives… although at this point, I don’t anticipate that happening. HOWEVER, it may. And in that case, I’ll have a new blog set up and maybe even post pictures of our goats and chickens instead of  our baby. We’ll see. By the way, new place in Texas? Goats and chickens. I was serious about that one.

So, in lieu of spring, marathon packing, future house renovations, farming attempts, and at least two 3 day car trips down to Texas, I bid you adieu. For now 🙂

I have a feeling as soon as we get settled in, I’ll be scouting the pages of wordpress for a new blog template and will post an embarrassing amount of boring pictures. Have fun looking at those!


Look out snow covered Mt Rainier, I’m wearing shorts!

Ok, so I’ve lived here for over a year now and this is the first time we’ve gone to the mountains. I mean, I can see Mt Hood and Mt Saint Helens on a clear day but we hadn’t actually trekked over to these beautiful stone monuments until a few weeks ago (and we still haven’t actually “trekked over” to either of those mountains yet). We went to Mt Rainier instead! And little did we know that there would still be literal walls of snow in late June…

Patrick and I have been talking about going camping again basically since it started raining (so it’s been a while!) and we planned a brief trip to Mt Rainier. I was responsible for making sure we had everything together as we went to REI and got Patrick a new sleeping bag (he nearly froze   last summer when we went to Crater Lake), a nice blow-up insert, and I filled up the cooler full of sandwhiches for the road and raw meat for the burgers we were going to grill. I had my first aid kit, sunscreen, bug spray, protein bars and a gallon of water.

Unfortunately, I forgot the tent.

My bad. I don’t know how I missed it…

Anyway, due to me forgetting the only thing that makes camping actually camping, we got to stay here instead. With an attached bathroom!

Pretty, right?
So, we really had no idea that Mt Rainier would still be covered in snow in late June (clearly!). The last time Patrick was there, which was a while ago, he went in late August and believe me, two more months of 80 degree weather will make a big difference. I think we’ll be going back in about 6 weeks to get the whole experience and hopefully be able to climb the mountain trail this time. It was still fun though and very beautiful! I kind of liked playing in the snow in my shorts and it definitely looked like a winter wonderland. I mean, it’s not very often you get to throw snowballs or go sledding in the middle of summer 🙂
Ridiculous!  Anyway, there was really only one hike that we took where the trails weren’t covered in snow. This wasn’t one of those trails… but the base of it was gorgeous and relatively snow free.
One last picture and then I’m off to do house work 🙂

Every time I think I’m on top of things…

…something else comes up and I realize just how little I have actually accomplished! It’s been over one month since I last posted and there is literally no excuse for the delay. Last time I signed into my page I had already organized the photos for my next 3 posts (which is the only remotely lengthy process for my blogging style) and look where that got me! Five weeks and at least 2 new adventures later and still no post. Pathetic! I’m so behind!!

So, while I had planned to have a new weekly post for you the entire month of June, um, well, it obviously didn’t happen, so I’m gonna combine the adventures we had (IN APRIL!!!) in this post. Because, honestly, I have at least 2 more things to blog about and then we head to Europe so that’s a whole new can of worms and hundreds more pictures that I must share with the world! SO. MUCH. BLOGGING! But hey, at least we’re finally out of the house!

So, our first field trip after our dreary winter was actually a trip to the coast again. We stayed in this beautiful hotel right on the beach, watched a breathtaking sunset and explored what has become our favorite beach town EVER: Cannon Beach! Oh CB, why can’t your housing be remotely affordable so we can buy a summer home here?


That seagull was so awesome. And the pics of the sunset can’t really do it justice. But that was from our hotel room porch, so that’s kinda cool. Next!

Tulip farm in Woodland, WA!! This was so much fun, this was the last weekend in April and the first time it warmed up to be over 80 degrees! Or maybe it was just 80… I don’t remember. All I know is that it was finally sunny and I got sunburned for the first time since moving here. And that was weird. ImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImage

Cutest place ever, right? They had food stations, bouncy houses, and games set up for the kids and I wish I had taken a picture of all that (think of a mini fair) but I was too in awe of the technicolor flowers slapping me in the face. Crazy! Next 🙂

This is a park that we went hiking around last month that is the middle of Portland. We were in Lower Macleay Park which leads to the Pittock Mansion. We did not know that at the time so here’s a picture of what we missed out on.Image

I can’t believe we didn’t hike on… I’ve been wanting to see this ever since my friend Sara told me about it. I guess we will just have to go back. Oh! Here is where we turned around though, it’s really cool but not quite so grand…ImageImage

And we naively thought this was all there was to see and that this was the end of the trail. Silly Leger’s… but the trek up to this “cabin” was gorgeous. I mean, this place was in the middle of town and only about 15 minutes away from our house in Vancouver. It’s definitely one of the coolest things about living up here!ImageImageImageImageImage

And by the way, I love mushrooms. I am already planning to devote an entire post to all of the wild fungus up here. I mean, look how pretty and colorful! You might being seeing this picture again in the near future.

So there’s that! I’ve got to cut this short because my cat just stunk up my office and I have to get out of here… until later!

Spring has come!

*yawn, sigh* Long time, no post! It seems that winter/spring up here makes some people hibernate. Or perhaps it’s just us. I don’t feel adequately waterproof yet so venturing out in the drizzle wasn’t the funnest thing to do over the last few months (I still have no poncho and misplace my umbrella on a weekly basis). There was a lot of sleeping, a lot of movies, and a lot of searching the web for over-exposed, sunshine soaked pictures of the desert from which I tried to absorb Vitamin D through. It didn’t work. But a girl can dream of blinding, dusty, Midland summers can’t she?

But, let’s be honest for a second. Before we moved, I had numerous people go on about how much it rains up here and how horrible/you’ll hate it/depressing (enter your choice of negative emotion here) it was going to be. I too know that it rains a lot in Seattle, we all do. But we weren’t going to live in Seattle! And I was indignant. I love cold weather! I like having a real winter and I think that winter should be cloudy and dreary. After all, I lived in Tulsa for five years and we had loads of snow, frigid weather and ill-timed power outages due to the ridiculous ice storms that came every year. I still loved it!

But those folks weren’t entirely wrong (you guys weren’t entirely right either 😉 ). And after 7 inches of rain in March I was feeling the blues. We had five days with no rain, and they were glorious! But still, it was an unusually wet month (they normally get half that amount of rain). Now this wouldn’t have been so bad if we hadn’t already had 7 inches in January. And while February wasn’t as wet, the sun still didn’t shine very often. So…yeah. The rainy season sucks. It lasts about one month too long BUT here’s what you get because of all that rain.

It doesn’t even look real. It’s ridiculous. And kind of worth it. The Japanese gardens were in full bloom by the beginning of April and every single weekend last month was full of sunshine and heat. It was over 80 degrees at one point (that’s 20 degrees above average). It was awesome. I got sunburned.

So, I’m going a little out of order in our trips over the last six weeks (we started our “travels” at the beach and I’ll post pictures later) but since I kinda vented to my sisters and mom about how horrible the winter was, I figured I needed to refresh my own memory and share some of the beauty that results in that dreary weather. I have been very impatiently waiting for the day the Japanese gardens would be in bloom. We have now seen it every season in Portland and as it changes drastically every few months, you never get tired of it. It’s a good little workout too, so win-win.


The flowers were gorgeous, as you can see, and some were vines, some were trees, some were bushes. We could not have picked a better time to go and I think if we had waited one more weekend we would have missed some of these blooms.

It’s more vibrant than technicolor!

Man, Japanese Maples are some of the coolest trees ever. Their branches are so unique and twisted that even when they don’t have leaves, they are interesting to look at. Love it!

So I could go on and on with pics from the garden but I’m nearly three months behind in my postings. I figure I should show you something that I haven’t already posted in another season (so pretty though, right?).

Enjoy this little bit of springtime cheer from the Pacific Northwest and I’ll bring you a little bit of the beach next time 🙂


2012 Oscars!

I just finished half-ass watching the Oscars and I realized I had only seen 2 of the 9 nominated Best Pictures. That made me want to rent The Tree of Life from my On Demand list. So I did. I’d been wanting to watch this movie for a while now but hadn’t really been in the mood. Well, tonight, after 2 glasses of wine, I decided to rent it. And it’s a weird little movie. I’m about an hour into it and believe me, it took all the strength I had not to comment on it 30 minutes ago. It’s a weird flick. The first 30 minutes of it are space shots from NASA with meaningless commentary meant to pull you in for the next 2 hours. So far I’ve enjoyed it though. It’s a beautiful movie! The visual aspect of it is lovely and I adore the music.

And on a day like today I especially like the dialogue where I’ve paused it. It has the main boy questioning God in prayer, “Where do you live? Are you watching me?” while in the background he’s praying “Help me to be thankful for everything I got; help me not to tell lies…”. It’s beautifully accompanied by a piano based soundtrack. For some reason, after only an hour, this seemingly boring movie has touched me. It’s already made me cry!

And this one moment of habitual prayer, such as “help me Father” and “Bless my family” with the integrated cries of the human heart like, “help me to be humble” and “help me be honest”. It’s actually pretty true to the human plea. There have been many nights where I have prayed that habitual “bless my family” prayers with the commentary of “help me to be honest” running in the background. So many nights of that underlying plea to “let me be open, Lord!” and “give me the backbone to speak my mind!”. It’s interesting to see that type of forethought come through in a movie. Because, honestly, I’m not the only one who thinks such things or needs that type of help.

Every now and then we all need a little nudge to say what we’re really thinking; what we’re really feeling. And it can be hard! Especially if you think that your opinions will be negatively received. Man, I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve kept my mouth shut just because I didn’t want to be negatively criticized! It’s pretty embarrassing. And it makes me ashamed to think of myself as a strong woman when I’ve had such moments of extreme weakness. And I have had A LOT of them! That’s one of the problems of being a people pleaser. Because even if you aren’t actively pleasing someone in your life, you’re probably altering your life course so that you don’t at least disrupt the waters. I’ve been on this course for quite a while! Believe me, I don’t think anyone has been happy with my choices since 2008. And if half the folks new what I did to get to that point they would probably disown me! Gotta love the unknown paths that we all take. No one really knows anybody, do they? We all think we do, especially family or friends, but the truth it, we all have things that we don’t share. They may not really be bad, but they may not be public knowledge. And yet, everyone thinks they know better than you. It’s interesting. Especially since no one is completely honest. We all have these personas that we portray to specific people. You know who I’m talking about, you’re probably reading this right now.

You’ve lied. You’ve expressed concern when it wasn’t fact-based because you actually had no idea what you were talking about. Or who you were talking about.

It’s amazing how much we think we know just because we’re older. Age has nothing to do with it. You either know us, or you don’t. It’s as simple as that. It’s about experience. And you can have a hell of a lot of experience at 16 or 26. It just depends on your life.

Anyway, The Tree of Life got me thinking. I haven’t finished the movie yet but that simple prayer in that first hour really got my mind churning.

“Are you watching me?”

Answer, “Yes.”

The real question is, “Are you proud of what you see?”

Oh, if I had unlimited amounts of cash…

Welcome to the new look! I was recently diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder (which basically means I’m high strung and I over-react) so in my attempts to be zen I thought I might as well change the things I have control over (without therapy): the appearance of my blog. Yes, minute. Miniscule. Irrelevant? Maybe. But the softer colors are pretty and make me feel better, blah, blah, yada yada, peace and harmony. On to the point!

Interestingly enough, last night during my yoga practice, I was thinking about a conversation I had with Patrick over a year ago when I bought my first lottery ticket (not quite the peace of mind I was looking for in downward dog but what can you do). Obviously I wasn’t one of those folks who turned 18 and bought cigarettes, porn, and a lottery ticket. I got my nose pierced and a tattoo instead but that’s beside the point. So, here I am. 25 years old, feeling like I’m doing something illegal, needing help to figure out how to do this whole “lotto” thing (it was something ridiculous like $200 million so don’t judge me) and naturally thinking, “What am I going to do with all this money if I win?” This question is something I’ve thought about for nearly 2 decades. I remember when I would visit my dad in Georgetown and before we would go to bed we would talk about all the stuff we would do or buy if we won $1 million dollars. Which, when you’re 7, seems like an UNLIMITED amount of money! I wasn’t very good with math so when I said I wanted a Lamborghini I didn’t realize that after that, nearly half of my money would be gone. And then there were SOO many more things a little kid wants. I wanted a Palomino. I wanted a princess castle. I wanted to go to Disney World and I wanted to be a Disney princess in a princess castle. I wanted a harp and I also wanted a Bengal. Naturally.

So when Patrick and I started talking about what we would do with all of that money, our list was a little more mature but you would be surprised what doesn’t change when it comes to childhood dreams. I still wanted an awesome car. Although, a more practical one that would hold more than 2 people. Maybe a Porsche Cayenne. I wanted a house (well, one on every continent) and land so I could buy that Palomino I had dreamed of. And if that house had a turret and a moat, so be it. The exotic cat was still on the list but this time it was a Savannah and yes, I would be a voice actor for Disney because I would have the money to pay my way into fame! Obviously, this stuff was silly, impractical, and not things I necessarily wanted (voice acting excluded). We went down the list of people that we would take care of, including ivy league college funds for our brilliant non-existent children. No one in our families would have house or car payments and all their debts would be covered. We would divide our 10% among various charities and missionary friends and then, because it’s $200 million, we would probably go crazy and move to a hut on some remote island so people would stop asking us for money… but I digress.

The main thing I was thinking of last night was that if I truly had unlimited amounts of money, I would want a killer music room. I would buy that harp and that baby grand and soundproof the crap out of that room. It would be the oasis that I could escape to and practice and write and be the musician I always wanted to be. Because I would have music lessons every day. People to make me practice and force me to excel! I would have private language tutors and I would become fluent in French and Italian and be proficient on guitar, piano, and of course, harp. Out of all the things on my wish list, above all, I wanted that music room. And after thinking about this, really, thinking about all these things you want and knowing that, realistically, you’re never going to win the lottery, it becomes a totally negative experience. I mean, who does that? All that it does to a person, or at least all it did to me, was make me want things I didn’t need and create in me this feeling of discontent. I mean, this fun, innocent conversation, kind of took me to a dark place and I realized how bitter I was about what other people have. Jealous. Covetous. To the point where finding out what some people were spending their money on, made me outright angry.

Which is crazy.

I was literally temporarily insane.

I’ve been beyond blessed in my life! I am one of those kids who was able to go to college and not graduate in debt. I have a car that’s paid off. We are home owners! We have a roof over our head, food in our stomachs and clothes on our backs. And I’m sad because I can’t get private music lessons on a daily basis? Cry me a river!! C’mon!!?!

It was eye opening. And it really made me do some self-reflection. I mean, this guest room is small but if I took the bookshelves out, I would totally have room for a harp…

All of this to ask: if you had loads of money, what’s the one thing you would want or do, more than anything else (after you’ve provided for your loved ones and tithed your 10%)?

And don’t think too long and hard over this because we are called to be content wherever we are in our lives. But once in a while, it’s a fun thing to think about. And I think it can teach you a little something about where your heart lies.

A rose by any other name would smell as sweet… unless it really stinks.

Normally I would have just posted this on Facebook. I would have made a quick note about celebrities and how they feel their children will be untouchable by the mean, ruthless, bullying and name calling that occurs on the playground. After all, they are famous. No one would dare mock their child for being named Audio Science. Or Pilot Inspektor. Or Diva Thin Muffin Pigeen (I’m sure your daughter’s not bitter, Frank Zappa). And now, dear Robert Downey Jr., with the normal name that everyone knows thanks to your many stints in rehab and your raw talent, you have deigned to bless your child with the name Exton. How kind of you! Now it’s not the worst name (I think Frank Zappa may have taken the cake on that front… Moon Unit? Dweezil? When will it stop!?) But, after hearing these ridiculous celebrity names, I’m just at a loss! And it doesn’t stop there.

I have had numerous conversations with normal, everyday people, who are naming their children crazy things (or more often, know someone who is guilty of the crime)! I understand wanting to be unique and not wanting your child to be one of 8 kids in their class with the same name. It gets confusing, I know. And adding a funky spelling to a classic name really doesn’t help. It still sounds the same and now it looks stupid. Obviously, I won’t be giving examples of “everyday-people-names”. I would offend someone more than I already have. But people, if you are preggers, know someone who is preggers, plan on getting preggers, please, PLEASE, for the sake of that child’s sanity, safety, and future professional life, don’t name them something cruel and ridiculous just because you want to be different. That kid will likely resent you for it. And change their name when they turn 18. I would. No one’s going to name me Moxie or Blueberry and get away with it.

Happy New Year!!

Oh man. It’s been a crazy year! Lots of changes for us but that’s a good thing 🙂 I don’t necessarily see change as a bad thing… It’s not something I’ve ever really been afraid of. It’s something that can bring great anxiety or uncertainty, but those things, when you stop to think about them, aren’t, in themselves, bad things to come across. For those who haven’t kept up with my daily life, I had always planned to live abroad. My great dream was to be an opera singer. I wanted to live in Italy and be immersed in the language. I wanted to have the freedom to travel to France and Germany to expand on my few lessons in those languages. My dream was to be a world traveler, an exceptional attribution to my craft, and to be fluent in apparently 4 languages. At least!

But plans change. Life happens! And “life” tends to hit you with experiences that you never prepared yourself for. Such as falling in love. And marrying that man who was meant to be your soulmate (even if his life plan was to take you to Washington instead of Florence). But who’s to say that you weren’t meant for Vancouver? And who’s to say that your soulmate won’t take you to Florence anyway? I was lucky enough to marry someone who wants to travel as much as I do! Our main destinations may be different but we both still want to travel. And while I may feel the need to start a family soon, I don’t see that as stopping our 17 hour flights. Who knows? Maybe we will be blessed with calm children who don’t fuss half of the day! Maybe we will be those folks who can take their children abroad and continue exploring despite the extra baggage. Or maybe we’ll be the folks who take the plunge, drop everything in the states, and move to Europe anyway. Because we want to. Because we want to experience different cultures and raise our children to be bilingual (not solely due to our proximity to Mexico). Who knows? All I know is that I’m pretty content where I am. Yes, I miss Texas. But I don’t miss Texas for Texas. I miss it for the people that it holds. The friends and family that I left behind. And looking at Midlands weather, I apparently miss it for the snow!

BUT I spent 5 good winter years in Tulsa, Oklahoma. And those winters were harsh! Beautiful, yes, but ice doesn’t make for a friendly car companion. There were many days when I couldn’t leave my home. Including when the electricity went out during finals and I couldn’t drive to campus or heat my house. I’ve never wanted my cats to cuddle with me more. It was freezing! Whose thermometer says 45? Really! And I had no fireplace… Anyway! Weather all the way up in Washington has been much less brutal.

So, happy new year! Enjoy what you have because someone else has it worse off. And if you have snow, be happy you have heat 🙂

Holy crap, it’s fall!!

And I’m listening to Christmas music.

Well, I have a remix of “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” (which is probably the only Christmas song that I hate…)  and the Miss America theme song going through my head…but that’s not really normal, right? I mean, I know (as does my mother and Sara) that my Christmas music starts pretty early but I think even they would agree that THAT’S a little weird. Anyway, it’s fall! And I should cool it on the Christmas tunes.

Our very, very, leafy yard. Now this picture was actually taken at the beginning of October. We no longer have ANY leaves on those trees. And I raked. One time. So we still have leaves in our yard. But now it’s not as bad as it was! Only dead… and colorless. OK!

This is the view from across the street. We have these 2 gorgeous trees in the front yard that, when we looked at the house in May, were covered in bright pink blooms! Can’t wait till Spring! Well, I can actually. I don’t want to miss Christmas…

So, all of this leaf changing happened while we were in Austin over the first weekend of October. We got home and the thermostat was pretty much stuck on 65 for a good two weeks. It’s currently 62 and the temps are steadily falling! The high on Monday is 55! It’s cool though (literally…) it’s been gorgeous and since we have no A/C I’m very grateful for the cooler weather. And our heating system is awesome! We had to get a carbon monoxide detector because after we bought the house we discovered there was a hole in our chimney and the pipe from the furnace had melted… yeah. It’s amazing that the previous owner didn’t die. Anyhoo, fixing our chimney was the first thing we did to the house. They closed up the hole and while they were on the roof the rest of that melted pipe just came off. Like, they pulled it out of the chimney. At that point we didn’t even know that it was a problem! So, long story ever so slightly shorter, with our the chimney hole patched up all the fumes from the furnace still go up and outside instead of in our house. Killing us while we sleep. It’s a good thing. Oh! Yes! Our heater? Awesome! So, with this house being over 70 years old, we have wooden vents on our floor and these cool metal vents that put out so much heat that you only have to turn the heater once in the morning to take off the chill and then, if you feel like it, once at night so you can get all cozy under the covers. It’s so nice! I don’t know why all heating systems aren’t along the floor… man. That was pretty boring, huh? Ah, heaters and chimneys! My life is ever so fascinating. Moving on!

I got crafty for a whole day. I was inspired by all the bright colors and I took a really awful picture of my “art”. These flowers took forever to assemble… never again. Or, not until after Thanksgiving at least.

Ah, fall!

October has been so wonderful! We have been home for 2 whole weekends now and we’re going on three :). Tomorrow I’m going to scout out some antique and furniture stores to get a better idea of what’s available for the studio since we will be moving in very soon. Camas, which is about 14 miles east of us, has the most amazing shop. It’s gorgeous! The displays they have scream shabby chic… it’s ridiculous! They have the cutest storage piece that I’m hoping will still be there by the 1st… I can’t wait to get the studio ready so you can all see it! It’s going to be wonderful. But, in the meantime, I’ll show you some of the pictures of our trip to Bellingham. We were there shooting a wedding and this is where Patrick fell in love with the Pacific Northwest. I can totally see why he wanted to come back. Enjoy!

This was taken on the pier in Fairhaven, which used to be a separate city from Bellingham but is now just an adorable community on the south side. So, essentially, Bellingham has 2 historic downtowns and therefore twice the charm. It’s insane! And crazy beautiful. Just one more of the sunset…

I look at this and I feel like I’m back in Italy… it’s almost irresistible! Almost 😉
So, later in the weekend Patrick showed me his favorite part of the are and we drove along this winding, scenic road called Chuckanut Drive. With views of the bay with islands and mountains in the distance it was pretty breathtaking. There were some gorgeous homes over there! Some were closer to the water and the beach and others were up in the hills overlooking, well, everything! It was awesome. I went home with every free real estate magazine I could find.
This picture doesn’t quite capture the view but the clouds were crazy! And you can still see the trees tops so if you can imagine looking over that from your house 50 feet above…yeah. Pretty nice. I mean, if someone wanted to give me a house with a view like this AND easy access to the beach I wouldn’t turn them down. I would demand that they pack all my belongings for me but that’s it.
And this is just cool. So I’m sharing it with you. It was really big and the trees in these parts are enormous anyway, but this literally grew over a boulder. A BOULDER! What DOES that?!? It blows my mind too much. I need some clouds.
WHAAAAA! Patrick made a huge mistake giving me photoshop and telling me there was an HDR program with it…
Anyway, Chuckanut Drive kind of curves around the bay and when you get out of the narrow winding parts (cliff down on the left, cliff up on the right) you end up in farm land. The smell of manure was like a slap in the face! Granted, it reminded me of Texas and I totally loved it, but it caught me so off guard! Patrick may want to live up on that giant hilly mountain but I can see the water from the flatland and I’m thinking we may need a farmhouse.
I’m pretty sure I took this after we turned around and decided to go back to downtown so this view is on our right, and that view of the water from above? On our left. Yep! AND we could see the big ‘mountain’ that a lot of the houses were on. I’m thinking this farm is the way to go. Not a bad picture from a moving car is it? Cause the scenery is that awesome!
So that’s it guys. We actually haven’t done much since then (well, we’ve worked and been to Austin and stuff but when it comes to documentation this is the last exciting thing we’ve done…). Maybe I’ll take my camera with me tomorrow and give you guys a tour of downtown. If it’s not raining. Which, now that I think about it, I believe it’s in the forecast… ah fall!