Saturday, November 29, 2008

Weekend Getaway

The cute little town of Astoria, Oregon.

There was an amazing view of the Oregon valley from a hill in Astoria.

Vince on a Coast Guard, he was not supposed to be there - he thought it was part of the Maritime Museum display!

One of the many amazing houses in this little town on the Colombia river.

Vince and I at the beach, a real-live-ocean beach in Seaside, Oregon.

Vince and I had the chance to go to a marriage conference a couple of weekends ago. We have been told by wise people that you should invest in your marriage at least once a year, whether that is taking a class together, going to a conference, attending a retreat, or reading a book together on marriage. I think it is great advice, probably something you think about more in the beginning stages of the marriage, so we want to be sure make it a practice now that we keep for another 60 years or so.

The conference was being held in a tiny town called Seaside, OR, whose claim to fame is that they are the end of the Louis and Clark trail - there are even plenty of plaques and statues to prove it! It was a beautiful town on the intersection of the Pacific Ocean and the Colombia River. The town is adorable, with tons of little beach cottages for vacation rentals, little shops, an very old indoor carousel and a beautiful beach full of sand dunes and tall grass - I loved it.

Just up the river from Seaside was the town of Astoria, population 2,000....for the past century or so. We visited a Maritime Museum, where Vince was kicked off of a Coast Guard ship, a museum on the history of the town, were we had our own personal tour (because we were probably the only guests that came all day, maybe all weekend!) and a look-out hill were you could see the most incredible views of the town, river and pristine valley.

It was an amazing weekend, we definitely want to go back again sometime when we can rent out a little beach cottage for a weekend. We are so grateful for the opportunity we were given to be there.

Thanksgiving Firsts

We have now had our first official Washington Thanksgiving, the day was full of first's actually! This was Vince's first Thanksgiving away from family, the first time Vince has cooked a turkey and I think the first time he was forced to watch the Macy Thanksgiving Day Parade (at least until the football games started), and my first time baking pumpkin pies.

The turkey turned out wonderfully. Vince and I spent the day with the Cobler family, and Jon took on the duty of teaching Vince how to cook. It was really fun to watch as Vince tried to retrieve all of the hidden surprises in the turkey carcass! A new tradition in the Medrano family is definitely going to be Vince preparing the turkey EVERY Thanksgiving...I can't quite handle touching the raw bird.

The day ended with us iChatting with both sides of the family, which made it feel like we got to spend at least part of the holiday with them. Technology is a wonderful thing!

Friday, November 14, 2008

A Few Of My Favorite Things

  • Listening to the rain fall on my roof while I sleep.
  • My husband, who finds new ways every day to show me he loves me.
  • Ella Fitzgerald while I clean (its not the cleaning I love, but the music makes it bearable).
  • My polka-dot umbrella...and the rain that lets me use it.
  • The ground under a tree in the Autumn when the fallen leaves look like a colorfully painted shadow on the grass.
  • White Peppermint Mochas....delicious.
  • The french press I just discovered in my kitchen, where has it been hiding all these months.
  • Discovering new favorite places in my new favorite city of Olympia.
  • My family spread across the country. NC, LA, San Francisco, WA, Idaho. There is nothing better than the amazing times we get to all be together in the same place.
  • My mailbox, it is like Christmas morning 6 days out of the week. I turn my key in the lock while I anticipate the surprises that might be inside - some days the surprise turns out to be bills, which ruins the fun for a moment until I discover a note from home or a Newsweek magazine.
  • Nature. I feel like I am discovering it all over again now that I've left the concrete jungle of LA after 5 years.
  • The library. Have you ever realized just how many books are out there? I could find a new favorite book every week for the rest of my life and never run out of options.
  • The students God lets me minister to at work. My heart breaks over their stories on a daily basis. I have never more fully realized the extent of God's love for the world than when I get to know his children at The YC.

Seattle in the Rain

We had friends come to town to visit this past weekend...and out of town guests mean an excuse to drive into Seattle, even if it is raining. All in all it was a beautiful day, you feel like you are experiencing the real Seattle when you view it from under an umbrella.

We hadn't been downtown at night either, and discovered that it makes for beautiful pictures. Pikes Place, the Space Needle, all the little shops, what isn't to love? We even made a stop at the local cheese shop to watch cheese being made while we ate grilled cheese sandwiches and mac and cheese....mmm mmm mmm, nothing better to warm you up on a cold wet day.

Our trip made me think of the move Sleepless in Seattle - which I discovered Vince had never seen (I guess with 2 brothers and no sisters I should have guessed he never had the chance to see this amazing movie!) So, we put it on our Net-Flix and had a Sleepless in Seattle date night. I am beginning to love the rain. It gives you the excuse to curl up indoors with a good book and a cup of tea, or to stay home for a movie night and popcorn. We will see if I'm still feeling this way after another 6 month or so of rain! I'll keep you posted.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

My Grandma

This last weekend we went back to LA so that we could attend my grandma's funeral. I knew that I would have the opportunity to catch up with a lot of family but I didn't realize that so many people would show up for grandma's funeral. It turned out that she had a great impact on a lot of lives. There were easily 250, if not 300 people that showed up to say their good-byes to my grandma.
What I loved about my grandma was how she would light up any time I visited. There was no doubt that my grandma loved her grandchildren. When I would call or visit she would always say with huge smile on her face, "mijo, you made my day to see you." What was even greater to hear was when that same greeting was extended to Lorissa, minus the mijo part of course. My grandma leaves a legacy of what it means to sacrifice for, and find joy in her children.
Thank you again for your prayers for my family and me during this time. Please continue to pray for my grandpa, Valente Sr. I couldn't imagine the feeling of losing your bride of 54 years.