Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Patio Upgrades

In March we had a patio cover installed by Affordable Patio Covers. In May there was finally enough decent weather to stain it. This month we finally got some patio furniture and a sun shade (thanks Costco!) so now the space is actually usable! We may put up one more shade (for the other side of the patio) but it is nice to now have an outdoor option for dinner and relaxation!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Buttercup Mountain Hike

Matt and I climbed Buttercup Mountain in the Smoky Mountains on the 18th. Since it was Katie's birthday, I was looking for a peak that wouldn't keep us out too late in the afternoon. This dovetailed nicely with the weather forecast, which predicted worsening weather later in the day.

We left Boise about 6:15am and had a quick and uneventful drive through Fairfield and up the Willow Creek Road. After being stopped by private property in the Cherry Creek area, we went part way up the road to Buttercup Mine and started our hike there. We parked around 6100' and quickly gained a ridge which contained an ATV trail for a short ways. Eventually the trail ended and we simply followed the occasionally steep ridge all the way to the summit. By the time we reached the top clouds were starting to envelop the surrounding high peaks and a few flurries were starting to fall. After a brief time on the summit, we retraced our path back to the vehicle. Fortunately, the weather held for us!

As we were heading home, we hit the rain around Corral and it never let up - I think Katie was surprised we actually had decent weather on our hike! Plus I was home in plenty of time for Katie's birthday dinner!

Buttercup Mountain Pictures!
GPS Track

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Oregon Camping 2011

In the spirit of past MVP trips, once again we met Joey, Sam, Cecilia, Tracy, and Dan for a short (two night) camping trip. This year's destination was Deschutes State Park along the Columbia River just east of The Dalles, Oregon. We arrived on the afternoon of Friday the 10th and were the first to show up. We checked out the park and played some Scrabble (Katie won) before the Pilons arrived later in the afternoon. Our immediate observation was that the park was quite windy and it nearly blew away our Scrabble board! Fortunately it calmed down just after sundown and was pleasant during the rest of our stay. Another interesting feature we immediately observed was the horde of super-aggressive blackbirds that would swoop down on you, chirp incessantly, and poop in your general direction. Unfortunately, the birds never calmed down!

On Friday night we enjoyed a hot dog dinner and sat around the fire and waited for Tracy and Dan to arrive late in the evening - they made it just after dark. After hanging around the fire and chatting for a while, we retired for the night. Sadly, our sleep was interrupted by the Union Pacific trains rolling by the campground several times through the night - this wouldn't have been so bad if they didn't blow the horn roughly five times each time they passed the campground! Argh!!

Saturday was a great mix of eating, hiking, hanging out in the sun, napping (in between trains), and taking it easy. Just like camping should be! The hiking was spectacular and consisted of a nice trail paralleling the Deschutes River upstream. Sunday we spent the morning packing up and enjoying Katie's lovely bacon and french toast breakfast! After some group pictures, we were on the road just after noon for the long drive back to Boise.

I really liked the campsites and the hiking/biking options at this campground but the train noise was pretty bad. It quickly became pretty obvious why we were some of the few tenters in the whole campground! Even with that, it was a great weekend camping with friends!

Oregon Camping Pictures!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Katie's another year older!

As most of our loyal followers know, yesterday was my birthday - yep, I'm 24 - you guessed correctly! ;-) Zach left eaaaarly in the morning for a hike with his buddy Matt - he'll be posting separately about that, I'm sure. Matt's moving down to Salt Lake City to go to Grad School, so it was probably their last hike together.
I enjoyed a leisurely morning, complete with sleeping in & looking outside to realize that the weather was much poopier than anticipated! It was drizzly & icky...didn't the weatherman realize it was my birthday?! Anyway, my day was quiet - I talked to a couple of friends on the phone, and then headed over to Target to wander the aisles for awhile. I headed home, did some reading (I recently finished The Help, which was excellent, and am now working on A Recipe For Bees, which is also proving very good.
After a little TV watching, Zach came home & we headed out for a fantastic dinner at a local Italian restaurant called Gino's (I can't provide a link to their website, because they don't have one!). The food was wonderful - I had amazingly light, fluffy gnocchi in a cheese sauce, and Zach loved his Chicken Parmigiana...we also had some calamari that had a very light batter & were served with excellent marinara sauce. YUM!
After that deliciousness, we went to see the new Steven Spielberg movie, Super 8, which was quite good - it reminded me a lot of ET or The Goonies, from back in the 80's - a group of kids witness a train wreck & then spend the movie trying to figure out what happened.

So, that's the story of my 24th (!) birthday :-)
Happy Birthday (June 17th) to my Mother-In-Law, Jan!!


Thursday, June 16, 2011

The (long-awaited) update on the baby!

Well, as Zach mentioned in his last post (was it really TWO WEEKS ago?!), we spent the Memorial Day long weekend (last weekend of May) in Portland, checking out some great restaurants & sights as well as wandering through IKEA!
The main purpose of our IKEA trip was to pick out & pick up furniture for the nursery, which was quite the experience...I had forgotten how exhausting it can be to spend 2.5 hrs in IKEA!
Here's a rundown of what we picked out (click on the link to see a picture!)

1) Crib (which converts into a toddler bed)
2) Dresser & removable Change Table top (so it can be a standard dress once the Change Table is no longer needed)
3) Wall Shelf/Hanger (to go over the change table)
4) Toy Box/Storage
5) Crazy Curtains!

Yes, the curtains are kind of bold, but we're going to paint the walls a light green (a little darker than celery, perhaps), and these curtains will add a punch of interest! We're going to paint the ceiling a sky blue color, and IKEA also has a very cute sunshine light fixture that we're thinking of getting when we're in Vancouver in a couple of weeks (or maybe Seattle, on the way home).

So, that's what we've got so far for the nursery. We also picked up a Playpen & Stroller/Carseat "Travel System" from Babies R Us, and recently registered there - Zach worked the scanner gun like a professional! I think it's funny that the stroller/car seat we picked is named Ben! :-) Aprims representing!
We also recently got a special delivery from the Vickery Grandparents - lots of awesome books, and a big box stuffed with a huuuuge assortment of fantastic clothes, blankets & other really fun stuff! Thank you very much, Jan & Ron!

In non-nursery news, we've started Childbirth Prep classes at the hospital where I'll be delivering. We've been to two classes so far, with two more to go, and it's been very interesting! The instructor seems to lean more towards natural, med-free childbirth, which is what I'm interested in (and I'm the only one in my class that wants to go natural!). A co-worker of mine (who had 2 c-sections, one of which was scheduled 4 months before she was due) told me yesterday that she'd "MUCH rather recover from a c-section than actually give birth" :-0 I was kind of shocked at that!
We'll also be taking a Hospital Tour, along with a Baby Care Basics Class, a Nursing class & a class specifically geared to Natural Childbirth...so hopefully we'll be as prepared as possible, at least in theory!

I've been feeling pretty good these days - lots of movement & kicks most days from the little one. Apart from slightly swollen ankles/feet, I haven't had many other complaints - we went camping last weekend & it was a success, which was a relief!

I think that covers everything, but I might be missing a few details - my brain is mush lately! We're going to try & relax this weekend, maybe start painting (!!) and go for an Italian dinner on Saturday night...apparently I'm going to be a year older or something - where did the time go?!

Also, big congratulations to my cousin Jason & his wife Susan, on the arrival (June 2nd) of their new little boy, Brandon Campbell Savage! He's adorable!!

We hope you're all doing well & enjoying these lovely June days!
Lots of love,
Katie & Zach

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Portland Trip

Katie and I used Memorial Day weekend to check out Portland and most importantly to do some shopping for still-unnamed Baby Vickery. The drive from Boise is long and unexciting but fortunately we had a XM radio receiver to increase the entertainment factor. By far our biggest shopping commitment was at Ikea looking for nursery furniture and various other household items. That store is special because after 2+ hours of looking at stuff I was totally exhausted, particularly mentally. Too much discussion of household decor I think. At any rate, we picked up a few items for the nursery which Katie will be blogging about soon!

While in Portland, we ate at a few interesting restaurants. Upon arrival, the Deschutes Public House was our first stop and along with the top quality beer I really enjoyed my elk burger with a soft pretzel that we shared as an appetizer. We were both amazed that the place, despite being very large, had huge lines the entire time we were in the area. After our great meal, we walked around downtown and then spent some time in Powell's Books, easily the biggest bookstore I've ever been in. Their technical book selection is impressive and I ended up getting a book on functional programming. We also stopped by the Whole Foods before retiring for the night.

On Saturday we visited Pine State Biscuits for breakfast and had some amazing biscuits - our order included them with sausage, chicken, and jam/butter and every combination was outstanding! This nice repast was followed by marathon shopping and a side trip to see the Capitol at Salem. Dinner was at Dove Vivi, which featured some amazing pizza on a cornmeal crust like nothing either of us had ever experienced. Finally, I insisted on a brief stop at the Bridgeport Brewpub for a beer. The beer was definitely good and the menu looked comparable to Deschutes' offerings. It is definitely somewhere to go in the future! We had also hoped to attend a Portland Timbers MLS game on Saturday, but tickets started at $60 on the secondary market and that is just way to much for a soccer game!

On Monday we did some more shopping, visiting Katie's favorite store Trader Joe's and also the Uwajimaya where Katie found lots of exciting Udon noodle varieties. Before leaving town we had a quick lunch at Burgerville which is a pretty good quality fast food place in the greater Portland area.

Despite a lot of driving, it was a very enjoyable trip. I didn't know that much about Portland but I was definitely impressed with what we saw and Portland's beer options are the best of anywhere I've seen. Also, as of this past weekend, we've finally finished getting rid of excess furniture and we can now start the process of assembling all the new furniture we bought and setting up the nursery.

Oregon Pictures! (sorry, the only pictures we took were in Salem)