It worked out perfectly to combine a work conference for Nick in Seattle with family weekends in Bellingham. So we flew into Seattle and headed up for a day with Kara’s Grandparents who are in their 90’s. We did church and lunch which was enough adventure for one day.  While Nick was at his conference, Ivan and I explored Seattle. We have a museum pass that let us into some in Seattle. So we enjoyed the Children’s Museum of Bellevue, Science Center of Seattle, Museum of Flight. Ivan’s favorite was the Children’s Museum where he got to play with race cars, a big rig, climbing ropes, trains and water tables. After the week of Seattle we headed back up to Bellingham for one more day and thankfully it was a wonderful sunny day. We took Kara’s grandparents on a drive and out to lunch with a view of the water near the Canadian boarder. It was a lovely trip to see family and friends, but we were glad to be back home, despite the early snow in CO!

Check out a video of photos.


12 years ago Nick surprised me with a weekend in Breckenridge, CO.  During that weekend celebrating our 1 year anniversary we decided to make it a thing: every year we go somewhere else in Colorado and every other year we switch off who plans the surprise for the other person. This year was my year and I as I looked at options it just kind of all fell together. I’ve always wanted to experience a tiny house so I reserved one in Loveland, CO.



At the same time Nick was given a birthday and anniversary present for both of us to go on a sailing lesson. So it was set, I arranged a swap for child care and off we headed Friday.  Though it was such bad traffic we found a local Denver brewery to have dinner.



Saturday was the sailing lesson then we hung out around Loveland.



There are tons of sculptures all over town and 2 very large sculpture gardens, so we meandered around all of those.





We also found a great local CO tap room and delicious Cajun restaurant.


Bean, our long-time household companion, had deteriorating health over the past 6 months and was put down recently. This blog is our memoir of her.

I (Nicolas) got Bean during a period of life in which I was “lonely” and wanted a friend.  Having grown up loving cats on the farm, a cat was an easy choice. They mostly care for themselves, can be left at home for multiple days, and are not so needy. [Read: I’m not a fan of dogs]. All this was before Kara, so she inherited Bean with our marriage.  😉

As a kitten, Bean would sleep curled up in my arms under the covers and then lay on top of me in the morning, rubbing her whiskers in my face which I swear was to wake me up for food. But even once Kara came along, Bean still continued sleeping at our feet on the bed and then on top of me in the wee hours of the morning. Bean loved her “breakfast” each day – with much excitement for fresh food, she would do a little “dance” in which her tail squiggled and shook while her hind legs danced in place. This type of excitement also existed for the potential to the lick the bowl of any kind of dairy – milk, yogurt, eggnog – or get a piece of cheese. By the way, she could sniff these out from any other room in the house and then come prancing in to beg for some dairy.

Although Bean would sleep about anywhere or on anything the house (especially in boxes), she was also very much a lap cat even with visiting friends and family. And it didn’t matter if we were doing other things like working on a computer or reading or eating or napping…when she wanted lap time, it was her time. Especially when she wanted attention and her “belly rubs”. To get those, she’d lay on her side on our lap, spreading her legs like a hussy, and then use her feet to push against us while we gently stroked her underside. Up until the point that she was done with that and would give us a “playful” bite on the hand to end the belly rub session.

We also enjoyed antagonizing Bean.  Albeit from visits from the dogs (Kona, Maddy, Gretchen, etc.) or young kids or holding her tight or putting her into awkward positions against “her will” just for a funny photo.  But she would quickly recover after a nap, more lap time, and maybe even a treat like catnip.  And many times she was very playful with string, fingers under doors, dart around the house spastically for no apparent reason, and chasing her tail and/or bugs.

If you so choose, enjoy this video filled with some of our favorite photos and video clips of our life with Bean.  It’s lengthy at 17 minutes, but is mostly for our own memories down the road.

Thank you Bean for the 14 years of companionship, laughs, and times of comfort.

It’s hard to believe we are at the end of summer already. Between traveling and working on the house the summer just flew by. We enjoyed hiking and camping and being with friends and family, taking a final camping trip Labor day weekend, and a beautiful hike the last weekend. So thankful that Ivan did amazing on an almost 3 mile hike.

Here are some pictures as a video.


IMG_20180820_115610.jpgWe spent a lovely week on the beach in Florida.  Ivan loves the sand and is beginning to like the waves and water so it still is a great place to relax. This time we found a tiny complex with about 25 unites right on the beach. We had a kitchen, outdoor tables to eat at, pool that over looked the beach with sand and water 5 steps below.

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It was perfect. We took a few excursions to Kennedy Space Center, Daytona International Speedway and bowling. Ivan loved it all. I really enjoyed learning about all the space science at Kennedy and we ended up meeting another couple on the beach who used to work there so interesting to get inside stories.  We enjoyed both delicious seafood as well as simple meals prepped at our place. All in all a great relaxing vacation. Check out our video


My parents had a celebration of 40 years of ministry that they asked my brother and I and our families to be a part of in Pennsylvania.  So we booked a flight to Harrisburg and arrived and headed to the party. We had a busy weekend of being together in a very eclectic house in Mt Gretna as well as spending time where my parents are parked with great family friends who have known me all my life.  The boys were in the pool as much as the rain held off and didn’t seem to mind the chilly water.  We hit up a few tourist stops before parting ways.

Nick and I then took a day to visit Baltimore, MD and hang out around the Inner Harbor area. We walked around and explored some local places and the free Baltimore Art Museum. We thoroughly enjoyed some great seafood while there then headed back to drop Nick off at the airport.

Ivan and I stayed a week longer so that I could visit with my dear friends from elementary school and a college friend in the area.  It was fun to reconnect and have play dates with kidos.  Ivan as always was excited to meet new friends and play as much as possible yet did really well when he was the only one as well.  He is such a great traveler.

We rounded off the trip by a visit to Roots Farmers Market and dinner with special family friends. It was great, but we were tired and ready to be home and see Nick again.


Click here for a video of photos.

We have worked so hard on our home the past 8 months. It has been a whirlwind of projects.

Before and After shots

beforeandafterbefore and after2Since we moved in in December we’ve done painting, concrete, lighting, door handles, hinges, cabinet handles, deck, yard work, tree trimming, and décor. We had the help of wonderful contractors (If you need a great painter, electrician, concreter or decker call me.) and my parents through this spring. We are so happy with how things have turned out and are thoroughly enjoying our space, especially the new deck during the summer.  We also loved the help of Amber Hanna at Cocooned Living…….Thanks to her we can finally enjoy Nick’s art up on our walls!

Here’s a video of more detailed before, during and after pictures.