Friday, August 22, 2014

Life Update: August

August has been pretty low-key and hermit-y for us.

Will has been working long and hard hours (as usual), including more and more last-minute weekend shifts (unscheduled). He had an unexpected little TDY. It was only 4 days, but it was torture because we were woken up on the day he left with a phone call. The gist of it was: "Pack a bag and get to the squadron as soon as you can." It was so unexpected that no one knew exactly where he was going or for how long. At first it started out as a possible overnight trip...then two days...wait three...okay four, no seriously this time four. Each update an extra day was tacked on for one reason or another.

military homecoming
Will: "Can we go? How many pictures are you going to take?"
Ech: "Shut up and smile."

I finally know the meaning behind the #sherlocked and I feel so cool for it. I've been told over and over again that I'd love Sherlock since I love Doctor Who. I've been putting off watching it though. Not because I didn't think I'd like it, more because I knew I'd be obsessed and wouldn't be able to stop. I was waiting for Will to go on TDY, but I caved now because of Will's current work schedule. He's only around to sleep so I needed to indulge in a new show obsession.

In family news, Leetle is a swim champ. She got 7 ribbons in the 7 events she swam. 4 1st place, 2 2nd place, and 1 3rd place. She posted qualifying times for 3 of the events which means she's qualified to enter state championship meets. I'm so proud of her!

And Beebee just turned 8. 8!!! How can she be 8 already? (How can I be 28 already? Ugh!)

Ech's family

As I was writing this post, I got my latest test results back. (For those of you don't know, I have cervical dysplasia) I was expecting the usual "Come back in for a colposcopy". But this time I got all good news. The tests came back normal! The last time this happened, I had to repeat the tests because the margins (or something) were too iffy to be conclusive and it turned out it wasn't normal. But this time I don't need to come back until next year for repeat testing! Yesss!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Bridge of the Gods

Bridge of the Gods

I laughed when my mom handed me Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed. Me? Read a book about hiking? I never turn down a book recommendation, though. It took me almost a year to get around to it. A big motivator was the Semi-Charmed Summer 2014 Book Challenge. It fit in one of the categories so I read it on the plane on the way to Oregon.

I kicked myself for waiting so long to read the book. There's a good reason it's so popular. I'm not really great at giving book reports or reviews, so I'll just say that I highly recommend it and leave it at that.

Anyway, so the Bridge of the Gods connects Oregon to Washington and that's where Cheryl ends her journey. I jumped at the chance to see it. I love it when I can make a book and reality meet.

Cascade Locks Trail Head
Bridge of the Gods
Bridge of the Gods
Bridge of the Gods
Bridge of the Gods
Bridge of the Gods
Pacific Crest Trail

Saturday, August 2, 2014

10 years of 20's

I saw this quote on Pinterest and it made me realize that I'm still trying to grow up too quickly. I have two more years of my 20's to be reckless and stupid and ridiculous and impulsive. Lately I've been so caught up in growing up and settling down and buying a house and all that.

Will and I had a long talk about what his career goals were in the military. He has been struggling with the question of staying in until retirement or not. I was pushing him to get out because I want to move back to Portland and buy a house. I cried because I realized I'll be pushing 40 by the time we'll have the option settle down. Will should have slapped me. I keep trying to be the older version of myself who's ready to settle down. I keep forgetting that I'm only 28.

I think being in my late 20's should mean I know my limits and I can make smarter decisions. But I think being in my 20's in general means I should still be doing things purely for the sake of "why not?" If you take away the obnoxious teenage mindset of "YOLO" and strip it to its basic meaning, it rings true.

I don't really have a specific idea of what I'll be doing to take advantage of my 20-something year oldness. But for now, in this moment, I'm going to go take shots while playing video games with my husband in our underwear. Why? Because it's past noon. Because it's a Saturday. Because we have no obligations today. Because why not?

Friday, August 1, 2014

11 Questions

Liebster award
The lovely Miss Heather over at The Life of a Traveling Navy Wife nominated me. So sweet!

The Rules
- Each person must post 11 things about themselves by answering the questions that the nominator has set for you.
- Create 11 questions for the people you’ve nominated to answer.
- Choose 11 people (with less than 200 followers) and link to them in your post.
- Go to their page and let them know (or contact them through social media).
- No tag backs!

1. What question do you hate to answer?
"What do you do?" It's always said with a bit of unintentional snottiness and disapproval. Apparently if I don't work, I have no meaning in life.

2. If happiness was the national currency, what kind of work would make you rich?
Spending time with my family and friends is kind of a given answer so I'll add to it. Traveling the world with my husband. We always have the best times exploring new places, I'm always planning our next trip.

3. How did you choose the title of your blog?
It's nicknames we had for each other when we first got married and needed usernames for our video game characters. I don't think we ever actually called each other Ech and Will though, just our characters.

4. What is your favorite charity (and please tell us why)?
Libraries. Reading and books are a huge part of my life and always have been. I think it's important for emotional and mental health to have a place to escape to and books do that for me. I also think it's essential for grammar and vocabulary development which, by the quality of my social media feeds, we need a lot more of.

5. Most daring thing you've done in your adult life?
I went on a month-long trip to Tanzania for a college class. It was the first time I'd ever used a passport and I was so out of my element with lots of camping and a week-long trek up Mount Kilimanjaro. I'm not an outdoorsy type and I'm definitely not a hiker so everyone was shocked. But I went, I camped, I trekked, I survived (despite a bout of altitude sickness that put me out of commission on the summit day), and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. It was of my best life experiences.

Mount Kilimanjaro
My tentmate and I on Day 1 of the Mt Kili trek. You might recognize her as Clark from Captain and Clark.

6. What is the best meal you've ever had?
Wow, I don't even know how to answer this question. I've eaten so many amazing meals. I have to say my favorite were the meals at my grandparents' house growing up. Both sides of the family had big get togethers and everyone would cook and I would stuff my face all night.

7. Craziest thing in your refrigerator right now?
It's kind of tame right now. Just the usual...milk, eggs, cheese, spam, condiments.

8. What one book would you recommend to your readers?
It's like asking a mother which is her favorite child. One of my biggest favorites is Possible Side Effects by Augusten Burroughs.

9. Road trip or airplane? (caveat: given you can choose between the two to get to your destination)
That's another hard one. I think airplane so that Will doesn't have to stress about directions and I don't have to stress about his driving.

10. Sweet or salty?
8 times of 10 I'll pick salty. But sometimes I get in those moods and I'll devour a mountain of chocolate or ice cream.

Belgian chocolates
Can't say no to Belgian chocolates!

11. What is your favorite indulgence?
Lazy days watching movies or our tv shows in bed all day with my husband. It's good for him to unwind when he's had a hard work week and I like the cuddles. And we both like being lazy.

I'm going to cheat a little and nominate all the bloggers over at Milso Bloggers, minus Heather and me since we've already been tagged. I know there's more than 11 bloggers there, sorry.

1. What is your favorite part about blogging?
2. Recommend three blogs.
3. What's your favorite way to treat yourself?
4. If you could settle down anywhere in the world where would it be?
4. If you had to re-name yourself, what would you choose? (first name)
5. Is there any meaning behind your middle name?
6. What are your go-to care package items?
7. When you're having a rough day, what calms you down or centers you?
8. Outside of your family, who is your personal hero and why?
9. Are you a sports fan? Who do you root for?
10. What's on your duty station wishlist (any duty station regardless of whether or not your military member can actually be stationed there or not)?
11. What's your favorite thing about being a military spouse/significant other?

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Will's 25th Birthday at the Oregon Zoo

Oregon Zoo

Will is obsessed with animals and zoos. I'm conflicted about how I feel about zoos, but he enjoys them. He's never really been to a good one though. I grew up going to the Honolulu and Oregon Zoos so I've been spoiled with some good quality. I had been promising him all year that we'd go to the zoo for his birthday when we got to Portland. He definitely made sure I remembered to keep that promise.

"When are we going to the zoo?"
"Which day are we going to the zoo?"
"We're still going to the zoo right?"

Oregon Zoo
Feeding time!
Oregon Zoo
Oregon Zoo
Oregon Zoo
The lady said, "Okay the goats are going in now" and opened the door...without hesitating every single goat turned around and walked through their door. So obedient!

We went the day after we got back from our road trip. It was hot. And it was overrun with kids on field trips. Some squeezed my ovaries with their cuteness. Most of them acted as birth control as they ran around screaming and pushing their way to the front. My favorites were the kids running around the grassy areas while their parents relaxed on the side. I love how they become best friends with another little one simply because they're the same size and have the same amount of energy.

Oregon Zoo
Looking at creepy crawlies
Oregon Zoo
Catching salmon

Anyway, most of the animals were passed out because of the heat. We did get a close up look at a good amount of them though.

Oregon Zoo
The eagle was on the ground hanging out close to all the people, so cool!
Oregon Zoo
Will laughed at me when I made Mama take a picture of me in the eagle's nest
Oregon Zoo
"If you're a bird...I'm a bird" HA!! More I like I made him be a bird with me.

Of course I camped out in front of the elephants for a good long while. Baby Lily followed her mama everywhere she went and at one point she rolled a ball along in front her. She was killing me with her adorableness. I can't wait to see the zoo's new elephant expansion. It's going to be huge and gorgeous.

Oregon Zoo

By the way, if you're planning a trip to the Oregon Zoo...they have $4 admission on the second Tuesday of each month. We scored big with our timing and hit the magic date. Yesss!

Oregon Zoo
4001 SW Canyon Road
Portland, OR 97221

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Two Weddings

The reason behind our trip to Oregon & Florida was two weddings.

The first one was in Oregon. One of my best friends from high school asked me to be her bridesmaid and I was so excited to say yes. It was a fancy formal affair at the Elysian Ballroom. I've gotten to know her new husband pretty well over the years and I was so happy for their big day.

I've never seen such a well-planned out affair. The bride planned lots of time for all of us to get ready before the wedding. We were able to relax and take our time getting our hair and make up done. This was my first time wearing false eyelashes. They were weird at first, but I loved them! I'll have to practice putting them on myself.

Portland wedding
Portland wedding

I was so caught up in enjoying myself at the wedding that I totally forgot to get a picture of the two of us. Luckily one of our friends caught us when I went over to visit Will's table and the photographer caught us smooching on the dance floor.

Portland wedding
Portland wedding

The next weekend was my sister-in-law's wedding in Florida. She got ideas from Pinterest and did all the decorations herself and it came out beautifully! This was only my second time to Will's hometown and I got to meet a lot of extended family members that weren't in town the last time I visited. I had so much fun bonding with my in-laws and I was touched that I was asked to be a bridesmaid.

We sipped mimosas and Italian wine while we got ready. The guys kept wandering in to sneak drinks. I bought my first pair of cowboy boots for the wedding. They were so comfortable! We danced half the night away and I never had to kick them off. Hello, summer dresses and boots!

Punta Gorda wedding
All the siblings and their spouses
Punta Gorda wedding
Punta Gorda wedding

Again, we forgot to take pictures at the reception. We were busy catching up with everyone and hitting the dance floor, but luckily Will's great aunt got this shot:

Punta Gorda wedding

I'm bummed we didn't get more pictures of the two of us all dressed up, but nights like those were made to be in the moment and not caught up behind a camera. We really enjoyed ourselves at both weddings and we were so happy we could be home for them.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Breakfast Party

Will has been on mids shift (graveyard) for a few weeks and Friday mornings are their weekly breakfast out after their shift to start their weekend. I told him to invite the guys over to our house this week and I'd cook for them. It sounded like such a good idea. The guys get a home-cooked meal. I'd get to meet the guys he was on shift with. But then Thursday night rolled around and I was like, "WHAT WAS I THINKING!?"

I always stress out when I cook for other people. But as always, the meal was a success and I had nothing to worry about. I was so busy I didn't take any pictures, but here's what I made:

Doughnut muffins - since breakfast is best served fresh and piping hot, I made these ahead of time for the guys to munch on while they waited. I made a batch of 12 and they were gone in like 2 seconds. Normally I'd serve these hot, but I didn't have the oven time to make them fresh. They're still delicious cold though.

Loaded potatoes - It's basically hash browns with cheese and bacon with sour cream to bind it all together. You can add whatever else you want. It' s a staple in our house.

Tater tot casserole - Eggs, sausages, cheese, and tots. It was my first time making this so I was nervous it wasn't going to be good, but it was amazing! It's going to make the rotation of regular meals for us.

I also made a cinnamon loaf, but it was just a little dry so I didn't serve it. I thought about making corn beef hash too because I know how guys can eat, but the two dishes were really filling and it was the perfect amount. If you'd like the recipe to any of the dishes, let me know! They're all so addictive and really easy to make.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Air Force happenings

It's been a busy few weeks for our Air Force friends. First, Will found out his tech sergeant (technical sergeant/E-6) test results. He didn't make it. It wasn't a surprise, it's really hard to make it on the first try. But he did well enough to be confident about his chances for next test cycle!

Both his troops tested for staff sergeant (E-5) and they both made it! One was in ALS (Airman Leadership School) so Will got all fancied up for his graduation. It's been awhile since I've seen Will in his dress blues...I think it was his own ALS graduation two years ago. Crew chiefs don't wear their blues very often.

ALS graduation

The staff sergeant results came out last week so our group of friends got together over the weekend to celebrate Will's other troop's selection. We ate some delicious steaks, partook in some adult beverages, and went to the Cali Bar. Fun times!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Eating and Drinking in Brussels Belgium

I'm having withdrawals from all the delicious Belgian food and beer. We ate as often as our stomachs would allow. My stomach was heartbroken when we had to leave. Here are our favorites:

- Chocolates!

I dragged Will into Neuhaus everyday for new pralines. (Did you know that Neuhaus was the one to create pralines?) They were all surprising and delicious. We also tried a few other brands, but Neuhaus was my favorite.

Belgian chocolate

- Frits (Frites / Fries)

Did you know that French fries should really be named Belgian fries? The man who brought them to the US heard French being spoken so he assumed the food was French. Belgium was robbed! They take their fries very very seriously. In fact, our tour guide told us that one of the questions on the citizens test asks how to properly make Belgian fries. Through my pre-trip research I found Fritland. It's right next to the old stock exchange building and sound super fake. But they have some seriously delicious fries. We got the traditional Belgian sauce - andalouse sauce. They say it's a little spicy, but I didn't think it was at all. (I'm the kind of girl who orders my Pad Thai with 0 hotness on a scale from 1-5...I get laughed at sometimes.) Anyway the fries are soft and fluffy on the inside and perfectly crispy on the outside. Paired with the andalouse mouth is watering just thinking about it. So good!

Belgian friess

- Mussels

Mussels from Brussels haha! So dumb, but yeah. My pre-trip research said to try the mussels. We really have nothing to compare them to since neither of us have ever tried them before. I ordered them with white wine sauce and they gave me a huge pot of them. They're chewer than clams, but less chewy than oysters.


- Beer (of course)

We're not huge beer fans. I'm definitely don't like the dark stuff. But Belgian beer throws all that out the window. We drank at a few places, but Delirium is the place to go if you want to drink in Brussels. The service was awful. The female bartender literally ignored us and served people to the right and left of us, constantly passing over us. The rest of the staff ran around looking busy, but there were only ever three couples at a time at the bar (including us) while we were waiting. So ridiculous. Finally the male bartender served us. We would have spent a lot more money there and tried a lot more beers, but we drank one each and left. But, the beer was worth it. Will ordered the Nocturnum, which I ended up sneaking up more than a few gulps, and I ordered a...shoot I forget. It was a pale one.


- Waffles (obviously)

There are three types of Belgian waffles. One is smaller and round with clumps of sugar mixed in so it melts into the batter as it cooks. It's sweet and needs no toppings (but it's delicious with whipped cream). The second type is the one pictured below. It's larger and square and is typically topped with chocolate or whipped cream. This one was my favorite. It wasn't too sweet and we got it off a truck so it was hot off the iron. I could have eaten more, but Will insisted we save room for dinner (insert lots of pouting from me). The third type of waffle is the tourist waffle. It's piled high with all kinds of toppings. The waffle itself is the least tasty, but all the topping make it delicious.

Belgian waffle

- Chutney's

Our last night we ate at our hotel's restaurant, Chutney's, and ordered traditional Belgian dishes. To start off I got a cherry lambic beer (kriek lambic). So good...and I hate cherry so that's saying something. For dinner I ordered li├Ęge meatballs and they melted in my mouth. I like meatballs, but I don't love them. But these? These I loved. Will ordered beef carbonnade with geuze beer. I tried a bite and it was so tender and juicy. I preferred my meal, but I would have been happy if I had ordered his too. And of course I got a waffle with everything on it for dessert. Whipped cream, ice cream, chocolate, and fruit. Yum! Everything we ate was filling without being too heavy and it was a perfect meal to end our trip.

Belgian food

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

World Cup

I tried not to get too emotionally invested in the World Cup, but it happened anyway. I was sad when Italy and Japan were eliminated. I was heartbroken when the US was knocked out. I booked our Belgium trip before I realized that it was Belgium that we were playing next. Will and I made a lot of jokes about how awkward our trip would be no matter who won. If we won, we'd have to give all the Belgians an "I'm sorry my team eliminated yours" looks. If we lost (which we did), we'd have to see all the kits and flags, hear all the chants and cheers...but it wasn't so bad. We got into the spirit. There are a LOT of Brazil fans.

Brazil fans

These boys were super rowdy. They were hanging out the windows, flirting with all the girls and chanting. They went nuts anytime another Brazil fan walked by. Especially this group, they all went crazy:

Brazil fans

On the day of the Belgium game, we planned on finding a bar and watching the game. But we ended up at Delirium and they didn't have any TVs. After we had a beer, we walked around trying to find somewhere good to watch the game. Anywhere worth going was packed. Some of the bars had large TVs pushed up against the windows so people were crowded in the streets all over the place...with drinks in hand of course.

Belgium World Cup game
Belgium World Cup game
Belgium World Cup game
Belgium World Cup game
See the guy in the gray shirt? He climbed up the side of the building. He ended up falling off after a little while. Don't worry, he was fine and laughing about it.

I'm too short so I couldn't see any of the screens at the places we stopped at. We ended up going back to our hotel to catch the end of the game from our room. I was going with the whole "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em" thing and that backfired. I'm over the World Cup. There are a couple teams I'd like to see win, but I'm not rooting for anyone. Too much disappointment.