August was smokey & dry here in the Inland Northwest. With many wildfires burning all across Washington, we tried to limit our outdoor time, but still got in a day of floating on Coeur D’Alene lake and did some teepee “glamping” for a few days at the end of August on Lake Pend Oreille. Joe was in Alaska for the majority of August on his first mission as an active duty AF pilot. Buster and I got in a few hikes and walks, but we mostly stayed indoors avoiding the harsh air. I also made my first Craigslist purchase and bought a big red canoe, just in time for our camping trip at the end of August 😉
Floating on Lake Coeur D’Alene
Daily Walks at Holmberg
Saltese Uplands Day Hike
September turned out to be my favorite month yet of living in our new PNW home. We celebrated Buster’s 3rd birthday with treats and a birthday steak.
A few days later we were off for #LaborDaveWeekend at the Gorge. Joe and I LOVE seeing Dave Matthews Band live and seeing him live at the Gorge, 3 days in a row was incredible and unlike any other concert experience! Just the “GorgeOUS” setting of the Gorge – hehe – took my breath away seeing it for the first time. You step out onto the lawn and it feels like you’re stepping out onto the edge of the world along this beautiful river canyon.
The lawn area is all downward sloping creating the natural amphitheater, which produced the best acoustics of any concert I had ever been to. Watching the sun set every night over the Columbia River Gorge was a little pre-show magic before the stars came out and Dave came on.
Night 1 – September 4, 2015
Night 1 Set List
Night 2 – September 5, 2015
Night 2 Set List
The drive from Ellensburg to the Gorge
Vantage Bridge & the Columbia River Gorge
Wild Horses Monument
Night 3 – September 6, 2015
Night 3 Set List
Each night was amazing, but Sunday, the final night, was by far my favorite and will forever hold a special place in my heart. With a 26 minute long Two Step encore, how could it not? 😉
Here’s a short video I compiled of a few of the songs from the three nights. Now, I don’t claim to be a videographer, so it’s unedited, a bit shaky, and quickly strung together, but it’s a little slice of the magic that is #LaborDaveWeekend at the Gorge.
Night 1: “Bartender” & “Warehouse”
Night 2: “Everyday” & “Too Much”
Night 3: “Crush” & “Dancing Nancies” & “Two Step”
The rest of September was all about savoring the first hints of fall before Joe’s first deployment. We celebrated our wedding anniversary with dinner at a downtown restaurant called Mizuna and Joe surprised me with our own custom-made wedding bands made at Pounder’s Jewelry here in Spokane. We had been married in and using Joe’s parents old wedding bands, which I loved and are so special. I’m not an extravagant gal, so I was looking for something simple. I had been wanting a nature inspired band, so I went with a twisted vine design. One interlacing band of tiny diamonds and a second band of white gold woven together. Joe’s band is matching white gold with a matte center.
September 15, 2012 – We were babies
Anniversary Dinner at Mizuna
Wax Casts of Our New Wedding Bands
Final Rings ?
We also went to the County Fair, did some apple picking at Greenbluff, savored the crisp air and first tastes of Fall, and went on daily walks with Buster.
Spokane County Fair
Apple Picking at Greenbluff
Fall Scenes at Home
We said our first deployment good-byes and life was odd and empty for the first few weeks without Joe here, but Buster and I made do keeping each others company.
We found a new routine and went on many walks. I painted the dining room and spent most of my days working on the shop and preparing for the Holiday season.
We also went on our first solo hike to the summit of Mt. Spokane. Something I had been fearful of doing on my own, but after several weeks indoors working on holiday shop preparations, I was desperate for some inspiration. My soul needed a long hike and so we headed out on our final long hike of the season before Winter.
It was a beautiful, peaceful day. The yellow larches were showing off their bright hues and eerie fog hovered over the mountain sides with the occasional sun beam breaking through, casting incredible light over the evergreen hills. I’m really hoping to do this hike again this summer with Joe and Buster and do some huckleberry hunting.
Halloween was a few days later and I celebrated by carving a couple of pumpkins, giving out candy to trick or treaters, eating some of the said candy 😉 , roasting pumpkin seeds and watching Hocus Pocus.
We savored the very last bits of Fall before Winter and I started filling orders and preparing like a mad woman for Holiday Season 2015.
Lots of coffee was needed in November
Alleyway outside of my favorite downtown coffeeshop, Atticus.
Lots & lots of Holiday shop preparations
At the beginning of November, I went to a weekend craft getaway at a friend’s lake house, who I had met at Be Crafty Workshop in Friday Harbor. It was a rainy weekend on Lake Roosevelt and I got to meet some awesome ladies. We had good wine, food & conversation. And of course, we crafted our little hearts out.
You name it, we crafted it. If I remember clearly, on Saturday we spent around 10 hours craft marathoning and chatting the day away. It was a nice refresh to finally sit down and craft something for myself. It had been f-o-r-e-v-e-r since I last did.
A couple days after I had gotten back from the craft weekend, a terrible windstorm hit Spokane. I remember reading the warnings online and asking myself, how bad could this impending windstorm be? So I didn’t take it seriously at all. It was in the late afternoon, the weather had turned and it had started getting very, very windy very quickly. I was upstairs getting ready to make dinner when I heard a massive crack. I thought a power box had exploded. I ran to look outside our front windows and our neighbor’s tree top had broken off and fallen into our road.
At that point, I grabbed Buster, a couple flashlights, some snacks and headed to the basement. We lost power shortly after. Having seen the aftermath of our neighbor’s tree break off at the top, I was so scared that our trees in the backyard were going to break and fall straight on top of our house. From the basement, I kept hearing the wind howling, power boxes exploding/trees breaking all around me. And at any second, expecting a huge, ground-shaking crash from one of our trees breaking and falling into our new house. It was terrifying to say the least. Terrifying, mostly, because I was by myself and had no idea what to do if indeed a tree came crashing into our house.
Thankfully, that did not happen and Buster and I and our house survived the November 2015 windstorm without a scratch. I was so thankful. Especially after seeing the damage the next day all around our neighborhood.
Many downed trees at a nearby park
Our massive trees survived the storm ? ? ?
We huddled in our house without heat or power for 5 days, sleeping in the basement in front of the fireplace to try to stay warm through the cold nights without heat or power. I was so thankful for a gas powered hot water heater and warm showers.
The unfortunate thing was that the windstorm did happen during the busy holiday sales season for my handmade business and I was getting far behind in orders. I could make my maps without power, but I needed an internet connection to communicate with buyers, print off labels, and make a few templates for custom orders.
After the 5th day of no power, and little work accomplished because I was living in a 45 degree house and freezing, I checked myself and Buster into a hotel up the road. We slept in warmth for the first time in 5 days and I was able to get some work done.
I stayed in the hotel for the majority of day 6 as there was still no power when I went to check on the house in the morning, but thankfully come evening, the power was finally back on at the house! We packed up, drove back home, and turned the heater on!
The next morning we woke up to our first snow in the PNW! First snows are my favorite, so of course Buster and I went out for a walk and came back to a cozy and warm home 🙂
Clearly first snows are Buster’s favorite too ?
Thanksgiving was a couple days later. I was still getting back to normal after the windstorm so I decided to stay home to get some work done on the many orders that got delayed from the windstorm. I made myself a Cornish game hen with stuffing, talked to Joe and family over the phone and continued to be thankful for our little family, our safety and health, and our unscathed home.
On Black Friday, I went on the hunt for a local U-pick Christmas tree on Greenbluff. Hansen’s Orchard had so many different varieties to choose from.
I didn’t have Joe with me to help me chop down a tree, so the nice guys working there helped me cut down the tree I chose, loaded it onto their tractor and brought it over to my car. They had free coffee/hot cocoa where you paid and they even do a military discount 🙂 I love supporting local farms!
December meant serious crunch time for holiday orders. I decorated the tree and our mantle. I was so excited to decorate the mantle for the holidays! It was my first time ever having a mantle or a fireplace, so during the holidays, it was extra special.
I squeezed in a few daily winter walks with Buster and sent out Christmas cards.
Buster’s just so photogenic in the snow ? ❄️
I got a new light fixture for the dining room, which I am still obsessed with: a mid-century modern Sputnik ?
In between getting all my orders out, I was cleaning, painting and preparing for the arrival of my little brother, who was visiting us for a month from Brazil, and Joe, who would be getting back from his deployment a couple days later. It was so good to see Davi again after almost a year!
And of course, having Joe back home after his first deployment! Joe’s absence was hard at times, but once I got into a routine, it went by in a flash. Even though we were apart for Thanksgiving, I was so grateful that he was back in time for Christmas <3
Mid-December was snowy, slow & cozy. We celebrated Christmas together with presents and good food.
Buster’s Christmas Duckie
We spent the last few days of 2015 watching movies, playing in the snow, going for snowy walks and sledding at our nearby park.
Most terrifying snowman award (Joe was proud)
All in all, a great ending to a great year!
…part 3 (January-April 2016) to come…