Leif Erikson from Thurman Gate to Alder trail to Wildwood and back down. Perfect way to spend a Sunday morning.
Ava Lucille’s Birth Story. Leah’s full play by play.
Wonderful, restorative long weekend in Victoria with Leah and her grandparents. Highlights: Saturday salon, lots of sleeping, morning walks to Moka Coffee, bananagrams, reading on the beach, and watching (almost) the first season of Breaking Bad.
Spent a long time thinking about my role in the WordPress community too. Wrote a pretty angsty post this morning that didn’t end up now I wanted it to. Still not sure how to solve the problems I see.
I’ve been remiss of blogging, but for very good reason: Leah is pregnant with our first child, and we had our wedding. Plus, business is going exceedingly well. So, not a lot of free time.
For the full story on Leah’s pregnancy, check out her write-up. We learned just over a month ago — on my birthday, in fact. Having discussed baby names for the past six months, I was mentally prepared and my initial reaction was excitement. Leah took a week or so to get used to the fact we’d be having a kid in March 2014 instead of March 2019. Once she did, we shared the news with the world.
On Sunday, Leah and I got hitched in front of Haystack Rock at Cannon Beach. It was, sincerely, the best day of my life. Not only did I get to tie the knot with my best friend, but the weather was beyond believable. Perfect day for a beach wedding. We had over 180 people attend the ceremony and reception. I’m truly humbled by those who took the time to celebrate with us, particularly those who traveled across the country and across the world.
Originally we had plans for a two-week honeymoon to Turkey and Greece. Because of the pregnancy, we’re instead headed to Sunriver for several days. We haven’t left yet though! Thanks to the state of healthcare insurance in the US, today we discovered Leah is denied any new coverage because pregnancy is a pre-existing condition. Her existing coverage ends September 19th. Fortunately, Oregon has the Oregon Medical Insurance Pool to pick up where the private sector drops off. Ironically, Regence, who provides my insurance and said they would deny her, is the provider of OMIP.
My genuine wish is for the “startup” world to take solving real problems more seriously. Josh Kushner’s Oscar sounds neat.
Japan: weird, polite to a fault, and bubble gum. I hate to be one of those people who say “you don’t know it until you experience it,” but that’s exactly the case.
Always looking for an excuse to travel, Leah and I hit Tokyo, the Kiso Valley, and Osaka June 14th through 24th. It was Leah’s third time to Japan and my first. Needless to say, everything that was wild to me was no big deal to her.
Our itinerary looked like this (Leah did a great job blogging the first part of the week):
- Friday: Depart Portland Friday afternoon, arrive Tokyo in the future.
- Sunday: Explore Tokyo with Seiga and drink iced coffee from vending machines. Skytree was my favorite sight.
- Monday: Check out the Tsukiji Fish Market, eat a bowl of ramen, then take Shinkansen to Nagoya and Kiso Valley to experience the ryokan.
- Tuesday: Hike from Tsumago to Magome (16 km or so). More eating.
- Wednesday: Take Shinkansen to Osaka, where we stayed with Leah’s friend Nathan for the rest of the trip. Indian food for dinner.
- Thursday: Explore Kyoto. Experience a legit tea ceremony. Make nachos with homemade tortilla chips from homemade tortillas.
- Friday: Hang out in Osaka part one. Running in the morning along the waterfront. Read in a coffee shop. Wander around all night with a friendly drunk guy.
- Saturday: Hang out in Osaka part two. Recover from our hangovers. Attempt to buy souvenirs, but fail because neither Leah or I like shopping.
- Sunday: Explore Nara. Fight deer. Hike to the top of a hill. Shinkansen back to Tokyo, and fly home.
"Look how pretty…"
On Sunday, May 26th, I asked Leah to marry me. She said yes — in front of her family and hundreds at the Spray Rodeo. Her father, Ned, caught the moment in the video above.
I’d been waiting for the right opportunity for a few months, spending my time agonizing on which ring to buy and where to pop the question. At the start of our relationship, Leah played an important role in producing my mom’s 30th wedding anniversary gift to my dad. I thought I might take her down to the beach, have a couple friends spell out the marriage proposal in driftwood, and then pop the question. The fates decided I needed to propose in a better way.
Spray it was. Attending the two-day Spray Rodeo, and camping in Shelton-Wayside, is a long-standing Olson family tradition. Leah has been every year since she was six — yes, this year was her twentieth year. Considering she’s mentioned multiple times Spray is her “favorite time of the year,” I knew it was my best chance to get her to say yes.
Sunday morning started out with dismal weather. It rained so hard we stayed in the tent until 9 am. The rain let up, a little sun poked out, and I set about chilling my nerves by chopping wood.
Proposing to Leah posed two challenges: asking for permission from her father, and sweet-talking the rodeo committee into letting me into the arena. The first was much more intimidating to me. When the clouds started to clear, and with my window of opportunity growing smaller, I knew I needed to man up. I went to chat with Ned.
“Hey Ned, can you take a walk to the truck with me?” I ask. Ned gave me a weird look, reached into his pocket, and handed me his keys. “Actually, I’d like to walk with you to have a chat,” I clarified. Ned gave me a weirder look and reluctantly said “ok….”
I pitched my request. My fears didn’t manifest themselves. Ned gave his blessing, wrapped me in a big bear hug, and proceeded to tell me that even if he said no, he’d still expect me to ask Leah. First hurdle cleared.
Convincing the powers that be to let me hijack the rodeo late on day two was dependent on a great deal of luck. Fortunately, I had luck to cash in. I managed to get the name of Joann Griffith, long-time organizer, as the person who could give me the go-ahead. After a quick search, and help from a couple friendly souls, I found her in Frank’s Pub.
I pitched my request. “Well, I always love a good love story,” Joann responded. Boom, two for two. Time for the final step: walking out into the arena, and taking the mic from the announcer…
Yum! A Leah Olson creation — berry blintzes with lemon ricotta filling.
Happy Mother’s Day to all current and future moms. Remember to call yours today, and tell her you love her.
One of my favorite recipes from Leah’s mom: nograinola. It’s delicious, wholesome, filling, and, hence the name, a grain-free granola. Some day, Leah and I will finally get around to picking another name for it and starting a wildly successful food company. Until then, and because Siobhan is asking for Paleo recipes, you can make it for yourself.
Preheat oven to 275 degrees Fahrenheit.
In a large bowl, combine nuts, seeds and coconut flakes. Stir until well combined. In a small bowl or 2-cup Pyrex measuring cup, mix coconut oil, honey, vanilla extract, cinnamon and nutmeg, until well blended. Pour oil and honey mixture over nuts and seeds and stir with a large spoon or your hands until everything is well coated.
Spread mixture out evenly on a jellyroll pan (cookie sheet with sides) and bake at 275 for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Remove from oven and stir in dried fruit. Let cool completely and store in an airtight jar.
- 1 cup raw cashews, chopped
- 1 cup raw walnuts, chopped
- 2 cups sliced almonds
- 1 cup raw pumpkin seeds
- ½ cup raw sunflower seeds
- 2 cups unsweetened coconut flakes
- ½ cup melted coconut oil
- ½ cup honey (or ¼ cup honey and ¼ teaspoon liquid stevia)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 ½ cups dried fruit (raisins, cranberries, cherries, chopped apricots, chopped dates, etc.)
Sign I’m growing up: I was kicked out of the condo this evening for Leah’s book group.
I say it’s an excuse to drink wine. She says I’m being sexist, but she didn’t explain why having an excuse to drink wine is a bad thing.