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. So.many.kids. 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 sauce...my 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.

mussels

- 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.

Delirium

- 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.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Long weekend in Brussels, Belgium

If you've been following along on Facebook and Twitter, you'd know we were in Belgium over the weekend. Our trip to the States was go-go-go with road trips, weddings, and family obligations. Then when we got back home Will was working long shifts (12+) and weekends so I wanted to plan a relaxing vacation for him.

Royal Windsor Hotel
Will immediately hit vacation mode.

We flew in early on the 4th. We caught the train from the airport to the city center and wandered around town...partly looking for our hotel, partly killing time because check in wasn't until 2. After two hours, we saw a good amount of the area surrounding Grand-Place, but we still had no idea where our hotel was. So Will finally caved and asked for help. Turns out the hotel is like two blocks from the train station. Aagghh! We checked in and then immediately crashed. We woke up for dinner and went for a walk through Grand-Place...and then immediately ran for cover when it started pouring. We spotted Hard Rock and got a table within 5 minutes. I've never had that happen! We really wanted to eat at a local restaurant, but the rain was relentless and we didn't bring our jackets. But we were rewarded with free beers since we are American and it was the Fourth of July. Yay!

Brussels, Belgium
Brussels, Belgium
Hard Rock Brussels

The next day we went on a 3 hour walking tour of the city. Normally walking for that long will make me cranky, but our tour guide (Dee) was amazing! First of all, she's from Ireland and had an awesome Irish accent. On top of that she was full of interesting facts, hilarious jokes, and stories about the city.

Brussels, Belgium
former stock exchange building, future beer history museum
Brussels, Belgium
St. Nicholas Church
Brussels, Belgium
Manneken Pis (and our guide, Dee)
Brussels, Belgium
Les Galeries Saint Hubert
Brussels, Belgium
The city is full of cartoon murals
Brussels, Belgium
St. Michael and St. Gudula Cathedral
Brussels, Belgium
Royal Park
Brussels, Belgium
Royal Palace
Brussels, Belgium

Sunday was our lazy day. We slept in, ate tons of food, did a little shopping, and just wandered around. We debated taking a day trip to Bruges or Ghent or Antwerp, but in the end we wanted to keep it a lazy day. We stumbled upon a handball game going on in Grand-Place and a 3x3 basketball tournament in front of La Monnaie. So surreal seeing the games being played in front of huge historic gorgeous buildings. We had to go into the Tin Tin and Smurfs shops. My husband indulged my book fetish and let me buy books on both comics' histories. I can't wait to read them!

The trip was exactly what Will needed to decompress so it was a hugely successful vacation. I'm already having major travel withdrawal and I'm already planning our next one.

Brussels, Belgium
Frisian handball in Grand-Place
Brussels, Belgium
Brussels, Belgium
Guess where the Tin Tin & Smurfs comics were created?

Friday, July 4, 2014

More from a sleep-talking Will

Happy 4th of July! I hope you're all enjoying the holiday. We're taking advantage of the long weekend with a trip. Check Facebook or Twitter for updates to find out where we are!

Every weekend he tries to switch to my sleep schedule so that we can get out during the day. Usually this means going out during the mornings before he crashes in the early afternoons for a "nap". Last weekend I tried waking him up from his nap and this happened:

Facebook

He no joke tried to give me orders like I was one of his airmen on the line. He just kept telling me to do the tanks and run the blah blah blah. It was all coherent thoughts and spoken as if he were awake. I just didn't understand most of the crew chief jargon so I couldn't hurry up and write down what he was saying.

As my aunty points out, I'm a sleep talker too. Will has only heard me sleep talk a handful of times though. I really hope that we're having epic conversations when we're both sleeping. Or it would be even funnier if we were having completely different dreams and trying to have two separate conversations that merged into one ridiculous yelling match because neither of us understand.