Thursday, September 8, 2016

I'm back! The Part 1 of the 2 Years I Went Missing

I'm baaaaaaaa-aaaaaack!

I'm baaaaaaaa-aaaaaack! 

Holy moly! Has it really been TWO YEARS!? Wow, what a whirlwind. Apart from still being married to the same super-happy-fun-time guy and being blissfully baby-free my whole life has changed. An overview (read: list full of excuses) you say? GLADLY! Buckle up folks, you're in for a long post. Here is part 1 on what has happened since July 2014 in the life of Steph-o:

1) I quit my job at Oregon State.

Farewell cake at OSU :(

This, I would say, has been the largest change! I went from a large scale, government job to a tiny, private office, to an even smaller 3 woman show. Husband's work called him back to Portland and since we had planned on moving back anyway, the time was (sort of) right.

2) I took the first job that fell into my lap: a desk job at an orthodontic clinic. There were pluses and minuses there. But the biggest plus? My coworkers!! These gems, they are the best!

These girls.... amirite?!

AAAAAAND I got to work with one of my favorite people ever! Sarah has been one of my best friends since I was 15, maid of honor at my wedding and my saving grace in high school. This gal is my fave!

Forever friends

But sadly, I quickly got tired of front desk and wanted to work somewhere more in my field. I actually cried when I gave my boss my two week one month notice. I still miss them every day but my new place is working out just fine! More on that later...

3) We moved to Portland. We love (and I mean LOOOOVE) Oregon State and Corvallis, but we are both from Portland, both sets of our parents live here and it's where we want to raise our family. When we moved to Corvallis, we always knew we would come back. And while it was a little premature, we have finally settled in to our new home...

4) We bought a HOUSE! WOOHOO! In October 2014 we became first time home buyers! How exciting! And even better, we were able to purchase my grandparents house. This was a little bittersweet as we were buying the house so they could move in to an assisted living home. But it was really nice having my Grandpa tell me he was happy we were buying it so he could still come visit!

Signing papers! 

There will be more on the remodeling and decorating to come. Trust me... I have a LOT to say!

Champagne celebration 

5) And two days later, my Grandpa passed away. I'm not going to lie and say that didn't totally suck. BUT, I like to find the silver lining in everything. He had all of his "ducks in a row" as one might say. Grandma was finally in a good memory care facility (she had Alzheimer's), the house was sold, and he was excited about heading to a new, swanky assisted living home. My dad was with him the evening before he passed away and he told him, "We've got everything squared away, I feel good. You go have fun on your vacation!" Then he went to bed and never woke up. As much as we would love to still have him around, maybe it was better that he passed before my Grandma's memory really started to deteriorate. 

Good 'ole Jack on his 81st birthday

Love you Grandpa! You are missed!

6) We had our first Christmas at our new home! We signed papers on our house October 20th, Grandpa died on October 22nd, and because we put in new carpets we didn't move in until November 8th. That isn't a lot of time to move, unpack, furnish, and be ready to host the whole family for Christmas but we were DETERMINED! And it ended up being unfinished, but beautiful! 

Cheers to our first Christmas in our new home

Christmas tree hunting with these clowns! 

7) We saw Garth Brooks in concert. 

Best. Night. Ever.

If you don't think watching Garth Brooks in concert is a big life event you can just get out right now. 

8) My orthodontic office went to the AAO conference in San Francisco. Talk about a fun trip! Have I mentioned I loved my coworkers? Spending 4 days in a beautiful city with them was like a dream come true! We went on a Duck Tour, ate at a Guy Fieri DDD approved restaurant, walked everywhere, and my personal favorite: went on a tour of Alcatraz. We also caught a couple of classes at the conference too...

Coming up the hill at Alcatraz 

Duck tours 4lyfe!

9) My best friend Molly, her boyfriend Bret and their sweet dog Paisley moved in with us. Molly and Bret are saving for a home and we decided, what better way to save than to pay cheap rent at your friend's/cousin's house!? They have been an absolute joy to have around! Molly and I lived together in college and it was one of the best years of my life! I absolutely love these three!

Does it get any better?

10) We threw some parties. With wedding season coming up and my love for our new house, I was MORE than thrilled to throw one of my best friend Julia's wedding shower (she's marrying Husband's cousin, Jon). We had a BLAST with the whole family coming over, drinking champagne, and making toilet paper wedding dresses. Julia is SO full of life and so was her party. 

Our blushing bride

So, why stop there? We also threw their rehearsal dinner which was so much fun! Beer pizza and the men joined in and we had a great time! 

11) WEDDING SEASON! Is there anything more fun!? Wedding season 2015 kicked off later than usual this year. Our first was on July 24th with Jon and Julia tying the knot! Julia, I kid you not, looked like a fairy tale princess. GAWD I just love her so much! It was a beautiful day and Husband and I felt so lucky to be asked to be a part of it. #itsyourdaybabe

First dance

We're the three best friends that anybody ever had...

This is how you play pool right?

12) Wedding #2 this year was on August 8th. My sweet co-worker Mel got married to a wonderful man who, coincidentally, went to high school with Husband. Everyone from work was there and we had a blast celebrating Mel and her special day! 

They did it!

Our beautiful bride

The whole work crew (minus Kelsey)

13) Wedding #3 were our friends Zach and Kendall, they ALSO got married on August 8th! Busy day! We met Zach in college and Kendall we met through Julia (confused yet?). Because I was at Mel's wedding I was only able to make it to Zach and Kendall's reception but I heard it was a beautiful wedding full of love! 

I love the love in this picture.... and the selfies in the background

There's one more wedding but we will get to that later because there is more to discuss in between! 

14) I turned 30! Where is that screaming emoji when I need it. I wouldn't say I'm necessarily afraid of aging but it's definitely not one of my favorite things. As luck would have it, my 30th birthday ended up being, truly the best birthday of my life. In the morning, sweet Julia had me over and made me a whole crepe bar (she is a GENIUS with crepes by the way) and had a small champagne and paint class where we drank mimosas and she taught me and 2 other of my close girl friends how to paint a picture I had picked out. 

Paint class!

Then we all headed off to my big party. My parents threw me an amazing party and their new house. There were coasters and water bottles with my name on them and they even hired a food truck to park in their driveway and serve everyone. So many people showed up, I was overwhelmed with love from all sides. And my basic bitch friends and I may have started the JeanJacket Band...

So basic...

15) We went on our annual Tahoe trip! Every year for Erika's birthday we head down to Lake Tahoe for one of the MOST FUN trips of the year! John's grandfather built the cabin with his BARE HANDS! Good friends, good cook outs and plenty of lake time! Molly and Bret were training for the Portland Marathon and ran 9 miles at 7,000ft elevation!! Crazy people! I joined them for 3 miles and it was brutal! We buy matching tank tops every year and virtually live in them the whole weekend. Unhygienic? Yes. Stinky? Yes. Super fun? Yes.

Lake Audrain

Lake Audrain is a short hike from the property John's family owns. We often go here where we pretty much have the whole place to ourselves, rather than fight the crowds down at Lake Tahoe

Our beautiful view

We took this picture the day we left but this was the view at the turnaround of Molly, Bret, and I's 3 mile run.
Family dinners are the best dinners

 Cookout night: a crawdad, alfredo, and marinara sauce pasta feed!

16) Molly and Bret got ENGAGED!!! Ho-ly crap, you guys! I love these two so much so I was over the moon when I came home from a weekend raft trip to a whole bunch of text messages from Molly showing me her new ring!

Oh. Em. Gee.

They traveled down to the Red Woods and went on a hike. Molly was distracted and talking about the trail and Bret made a great trail pun (I will spare him the word-for-word replay), told her how much he loved her and asked her to marry him!! They picked out the ring together and the diamond is Molly's mom's. HOW SWEET! 

17) My Grandma passed away. Just 11 short months after her husband, my Grandma who was sick with Alzheimer's passed away. Again, while this totally sucked, I like to see the positive in everything. My Grandma was not living a good quality life and now she is with her husband and has her memories back.  While I am sad for my family and myself, I'm happy for her. She is in a much better place. 

Grandma, before she got sick.

18) Katie and Carson got HITCHED! A really nice distraction from my Grandma's failing health and passing was concentrating on two of my very close friends getting married. Katie and I have been friends since high school, she is a beautiful person inside and out. I don't want to brag (but I totally do) but I had a hand in setting these two up. Match maker Stephanie is here for your loooove needs!  

Seriously, does it get more beautiful than this?

These two are so full of love I can hardly stand it. I love them so much and their wedding was hands down the most beautiful I have ever seen (yes, I am counting my own). I felt so lucky to be a part of it--from the beginning and on their big day as well. 

I have no idea why this picture makes me laugh so much but it does. This is the kind of comfort you find with someone you've been friends with for 15 years...

19) I threw a murder-mystery dinner party. Pretty much since Pinterest was invented I've wanted to throw a Harry Potter themed murder-mystery party and this Halloween, I FINALLY did it! It was a little expensive and kind of stressful but SO worth it! My friends did a FANTASTIC job dressing up and playing their parts, I was really impressed. I won't give away the end but if you'd like to throw the party, I recommend checking out this blog. 

Hopefully, one day, I'll get around to posting all the details about this thing on the blog, but for now enjoy the few pictures I took.

This is only about half the group (and about 4 drinks in).

20) Sadly (for me), about 6 months after they moved in, Molly and Bret found a place of their own and moved out. While they were with us, I grew really accustomed to having someone furry greet me when I came home from work. So the morning after the Harry Potter party, I took a look at the Humane Society's website and found this sweet baby girl. 

I'm not really a cat person, but with our busy life, I just couldn't justify getting a dog and leaving him/her home alone so often. Turns out we got the best of both worlds because Meowie (yes that is her name) behaves about as much like a dog as it is possible for a cat to do. She doesn't sit or shake but she greets us with gusto when we come home from work, snuggles constantly, plays chase and even a weird form of fetch. I know I sound like a crazy cat lady but she is seriously such a joy to have in our lives! 

21) We went on a huge family Thanksgiving cruise! Have I mentioned I hit the friggin JACKPOT when I married Husband? His family is the best. And I don't mean like, they are great and I love them. I mean if I lived thousands of lifetimes and met alllll the people compounded over all of those thousands of lifetimes, I would never find a better family than this. I mean it. His parents treat me like one of their own, I have spent one-on-one time with his Aunts, I have lived with both his siblings and his cousins, they are my very best friends and were my bridesmaids (shout out to Julia who I wish had been), his Grammy makes Mother Teresa look like a heinous bitch. I mean, they are THAT awesome. So anyway, 35 of us all went on a Mexican cruise over Thanksgiving 2015 and as you can imagine, it was one of the best weeks of my life. I've done this cruise a couple of times before but this one took the top prize, and it was alllll because of the people. 

This isn't even close to everyone..

We had an amazing few days in Mexico. We went snorkeling, shopped at grass markets, drove dune buggies to tequila tastings and the site where they filmed Predator, took the most bizarre trip to go horseback riding, ate at a restaurant where they didn't speak any english, and had a generally awesome time. 

Horseback riding on the beach.

That concludes Part 1 of the missing years! Stay tuned for Part 2! 

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