Kayaking With My Pup

20 July 2015

{Sorry for the phone photos, but sometimes you have to work with what you've got!}

Do you have some hobbies that you're head over heels for? One of mine is kayaking and being anywhere near the water. Another one of mine is playing with and training my dog, Odin. So naturally I've had the desire to combine the two. Today I did! And it was as amazing as I thought it would be. 

First off, my dog is naturally gifted. Just like every dog mom out there I think that my boy is the best there is. But I have some proof! He is very smart and very brave. It took all of zero treats to convince Odin to get on the kayak. I had sat down in it and paddled around him for a little bit while he was in the lake. Then I pushed up onto the bank a bit. I called him over and had him "touch" it a few times before calling him in. Odin is a very trusting dog (and my companion) and he prefers to be by my side whenever possible; after seeing me in the kayak he had very little hesitation about getting in. 

Sure enough he hopped on in and sat on my legs and I pushed off from shore. Since this was my first time taking him out (and I, ahem, had my phone with me) I didn't go past the depth where I could stand up at chest height while he was on the boat with me. We had a great time paddling around together and I couldn't stop smiling and laughing. It may be one of the top ten cutest experiences of my life. 

Long story short... if you get a chance and you have as brave a dog as mine, you can't miss the opportunity. And excuse the poor video below; I'm sure you understand that it can be a challenge to record, paddle, and balance a dog on your legs in a kayak. 



18 July 2015

There is nothing more calming to me than being near water.

Dolphin Excursion

17 July 2015

On an overcast morning we traveled down south to Manteo and caught a boat ride on the Roanoke Sound. We were guaranteed to see dolphins and sure enough the advertisement was right! We were on a flat little boat that traveled out into the sound for about an hour and a half. We headed towards a lighthouse before we encountered the first group.  The dolphins really get within a few yards of the boat so there are quite a few photo opportunities. I think the family had a great time out on the water and I loved getting to be on a boat tour. Any time on the water is fine by me!

Evening Walks

16 July 2015

This week we've been staying at the Outer Banks in North Carolina with Noah's extended family. The cousins spend the days at the beach, playing games, and catching up with one another. Last night we took an evening walk up the boardwalk and down to the beach to enjoy the sunset and the colors that splayed across the water. 

There are essentially three family units that make up the extended family on vacation here. Noah and I have talked and joked a few times on this trip about how many years it will take before we, ahem, expand enough to need two houses. As each year passes we feel more and more like a new family member could be added before the next summer. I would guess that's still a while off, but as we get closer and closer to 30 the possibility becomes more of a reality. 

In total we've had sixteen people on vacation this week, which can be quite crowded in one house, but we've managed to make it work. I think this year Noah and I have done better about balancing alone time and family time. It's always a bit of a challenge, because we want to be with the family, but we also can't afford vacations on our own with me back in school so we want some chances to do things as a couple too. This year I think we found a balance that works for us. 

Each morning and evening the family is sitting down to eat meals together and the cousins play at the beach and in the water. One of my favorite things (surprise, surprise) is that we brought the kayaks this year. I've already taken it out on the Sound and in the Atlantic and had a lot of fun on both days. We spend a lot of time in the pool, having some drinks, and playing board games with one another. A popular game this year has been the Jackbox pack where you have to be a little creative with drawings and lies. 

Time with family is so precious, especially as we age and lose family members whether to states far away, obligations, and even as loved ones pass. We've been incredibly lucky with Noah's family that they retain such a tight knit group and support one another. 

Happy Anniversary

15 July 2015

Yesterday was our three year anniversary. Noah and I got married in 2012 and have been together now for over ten years. We have been at the beach for about four days now and yesterday we kayaked, went to the beach, swam in the pool, and walked around Scarborough Faire. It was a pretty great day and a relaxing celebration. 

Prompt: What were your favorite picture books when you were a child?

07 July 2015

What were your favorite picture books when you were a child?

Every evening before bed my parents read to my sister and me. It's actually one of the memories that stands out as being the best times with my dad. Growing up my mom stayed at home so we'd see her after school, but dad was the one reading to us four times out of five. Some days we would get in bed and we would go through the Highlights magazine looking for hidden objects, other days we would read an entire book, and sometimes we would go through a few chapters of a book each night until we finished. 

My favorite book as a child was the Rainbow Fish. At a base level, the colors and shimmery scales appeal to all children and made me want to reach for the book every time. Then as you read about the Rainbow Fish you learn that he is cold-hearted and beautiful. It takes some time for him to reflect on himself before he realizes that he needs to be kind to others in order to have friends. 

While Rainbow Fish was my singular favorite, there were also two other picture book series that caught my attention. One of the series was about vegetables and my grandma would read them to my sister and me on her porch. This time showcased the softer side of her, which as I got older would seem to fade away more. 

The last series was one about animals by Suzanne Tate. The author had books on otters, clams, and other creatures. Occasionally I still see the picture books when I walk through a gift shop at the beach. These books remind me of my mom and learning to read. I can't remember reading any books before this series although I'm sure there were some. I'm not sure how we got started with the series, but it still brings back fond memories.

NY Times Prompts

06 July 2015

{photo via Mark Loper}

The New York Times came out with a list of 500 Prompts for Narrative and Personal Writing. These prompts range from light topics such as music and entertainment to personal values, childhood, and relationships. As this blog has always been a bit of a journal for me, I think these prompts can be a good way to get ideas flowing. 

I love reading the big blogs (A Beautiful Mess for example), but I also love reading very personal blogs. I'm the very definition of an instagram user. Seeing pictures of people's lunches makes me feel motivated to eat healthy and to cook, I enjoy your selfies, and you can post 1000 pictures of your pets and I will still follow you. Being able to read about people's daily lives around the world has always inspired me and six years after starting this blog I still love learning about others. 

So soon I will start a "Prompt" series that features questions from the NY Times list in an effort to search through my own memories and to let you know a little more about me. 

Seattle: Pleasant Days

05 July 2015

Our last full day in Seattle was spent at our rental house. We took a good, long hour walk around the neighborhood (and exaggerated our sunburns a tad bit more). Then lazed about walking to restaurants and trying some drinks. For dinner we ate at Cactus, a local Mexican restaurant. As the sun started to sink lower I decided to use the kayaks that our rental owner provided. It was an incredible experience that I'll expand upon in a different post. 

Honestly, Seattle was beautiful and I'll sum up my favorite experiences in a different post in case someone plans on traveling there soon. It really was a beautiful summer city.

Seattle: Aquarium, Harbor Tour, Underground, and Pike Place

Seattle, Snoqualmie Falls & a Winery

Yesterday we visited Snoqualmie Falls, which are about 40 minutes away from Seattle.  We did a pretty vertical hike from the top of the falls down to get a different view and to leap from rock to rock in the river. It reminded me a lot of my old geology field trips. After the falls we ate lunch and then went to a winery nearby. Noah and I tried a flight of riesling and then we all headed back to the rental. 
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