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d’s holiday in the land of …. January 6, 2011

Filed under: christmas — ravennagirls @ 1:30 pm
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milk and honey.

rice balls and snow.

What a trip.  It’s no secret I went to Jersey for Christmas {see Christmas 09 here with striking similarities}. 

It always seems that Christmas for me comes twice.  Once at home in Seattle, and then again in NJ.   While my early December weeks were filled to the brim with friends, late night crafting with B, lots of advent church services, twinkling lights, wearing my Christmas outfits, etc… My Christmas week brought something very very different.  Yes, family, obviously! Oh, and obviously rice balls and stuffed shells and a very stuffed me. {insert, resolution one for 2011, lose December I-ate-everything-in-sight weight!}….

But it also brought a whole lot of snow!  A true Nor’easter blizzard! 

So… first presents and Santa from 2010….I gave some pretty fun things this year.  At least, I hope my recipients felt that way.  I had a good time making them at least… and watching people open their presents {my favorite!} …

and church…

ok, i lie, this picture is from an advent benefit concert B and I attended at this amazing church in downtown Seattle right before I left town.  But it’s crazy pretty, right?

and then friends and family and enough rice balls consumed to feed many many more.

and then snow snow snow snow.

The blizzard was perfect for a warm fire, more Christmas movies, playing this new board game my sister got me, chatting with an old friend who is luckily my parents neighbor and could walk down the block to see me, and plowing.

Yes — plowing.

The snow had been coming down most of Sunday afternoon.  By darkness, we took the first pass down the cul-de-sac.  Then I passengered along in the truck as my dad plowed some businesses all around town. 

{full speed action shot!}

{out the truck window as we plow by my parents' house}

Its so quiet in the dark, thick snow.  Nothing to be heard, but my dad’s sirius radio stations, that is….

{snow fallin'}

{garden santa, buried!}

After that first night, the next day was full of shoveling and more plowing.  Oh and snowball fights.

It was an insane amount of snow, 25 ” at the house, to be exact.  That plus the fierce wind made for some deep drifts to shovel.  I should have brought my snow pants!

{view from my side of the truck}

This is my dad, plow master.  This is him in  his element of pure glory, as trapped residents in my parents’ beach-town neighborhood are chanting his name and pretty much throwing a block party in his honor. 


The coastal towns, Ocean Grove included, got about 3 feet of the white-and-fluffy stuff.  And, due to some bureaucratic nightmare, no plows came to their rescue.  {all I kept thinking was  – my street in Seattle will never see a plow according to the City’s snow maps of plow-worthy streets!}

So after three days of ant-like pathways being the only way out of the house… residents banded together and shoveled out to a main road, getting their cars off the street and a small path for my dad to come in.

 Hence the chanting for Mr. Plow Master.  Cabin fever had overcome the neighborhood….

{the doggie neighbor says, "where did the grass go??"}

After we were done and my dad was crowned King, we headed for the beach.

I had never seen a beach all covered in snow.  I usually go there in the summer, after all!   The snow fell, then the wind blew, which resulted in sand covering the snow in some places.  You would never know it was there unless you stepped in it, like I did… and sank. 

{d’s footsteps}

Too pretty for words…



The Twinsies August 12, 2010

Filed under: celebrations — ravennagirls @ 2:53 pm
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The Blana Babies

Kaylee Elizabeth, born on August 10th….5 pounds, 12 ounces


Ethan Tyler, born on August 11th…6 pounds, 10 ounces



They are so incredible, cuter then any picture could describe.

Dana and Blake, you guys did an amazing  job!  Everyone is happy and healthy!!!!!!!!  Congratulations!!!  We could not be happier for you — even if you (cough, Blake) played some mind games with us about the names and drove me (D, because B is much more patient apparently) nuts. 

We love you guys and Ethan and Kaylee … and are so HAPPY that they joined your family!!

{and that you let us visit them this morning.  you guys seriously rock!}

Here is Bri with Ethan… and Dana looking on!

And me with Kaylee….  look at her hair!

I am pretty really COMPLETELY THRILLED…. because I have been asked to be Kaylee’s godmother.  🙂

Kaylee and I…. day two!


oh, what, do you guys want equal blog time?  Ok, Ok,  we can do that.

Ethan and his dad!

(ps, you can read here, here and here about some things we did/made to prepare for the babies arrival!)


sometimes it rains June 13, 2010

Filed under: adventures — ravennagirls @ 11:35 pm
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quite literally in fact. 

I know, we’ve been neglectful bloggers as of late.  I’d usually apologize, but eh, I just didn’t feel like blogging.  That’s really all.  Plus, June began our crazy busy month of pure fun.  Seriously, sometimes my calendar makes me hyperventilate.  But I have such fun doing it all!!

What’d we miss?

For a whole week my lil sister came out to Seattle to visit me.  It was delightful, except for the whole rain thing.  It wasn’t just a little rain.  It was a whole lotta rain. Cold and rainy.  She probably thinks this place is tragic since her plane landing in town has always issued the start of some unusual pattern of intense grossness lasting for days.  While I was irritated that the camping trip I planned on the peninsula was literally washed away… I was also doing a happy dance for the grass seed B and I planted in the backyard.  It’s like three inches tall after 2 weeks of rain. 

Anyway, I digress.  We found rainy day activities to do.  It involved Kaity making us homemade pancakes on Saturday morning in our PJs .  And then the three of us bundled under blankets on the couch ate and watched TV.  Pure bliss.

Plus, we played hooky from work (shhh!) and finally visited Banya 5.  It’s this great Russian bathhouse in South Lake Union with steam rooms, sauna, a tea room and different temperature pools.  Plus if you arrive before 4.30 it is half off admission.  It was delightful…living in Finland thought B and I how to love sauna.

We ventured out in the rain one day and took the ferry over to the Kitsap Peninsula.  We visited both Port Gamble and Poulsbo… walking around, drinking coffee, shopping.  The sun peeked out a few times… but sadly not on the ferry home….

Kaity and I dined at two of my favorite Seattle restuarants.  Don’t you love when people come to visit and it gives you the perfect excuse to go to your favorite spots??  We had sandwiches at Macrina bakery and sushi at Chiso, yumyum!

Oh, and we played lots of board games in between all of this…and had friends over to join the fun. 

And then, on Memorial Day… it was looking like rain.  So we thought…all well, we will just have an indoor BBQ.  About an hour before people were going to come over… there came the sun, in full force.  We all quick moved the patio furniture out and started the grill… It was glorious.  Also glorious were the made from scratch Red Velvet cupycakes Kaity made for me (which i so nicely shared with my friends…)  Why on earth did I not take a picture of these??  Oh, probably because I was too busy eating them and basking in the sun on the patio. 

The sun was nice enough to last for Kaity’s last day in town too… So we went to Ballard Locks and watched the salmon swim and the boats go through …

danielley says, “watching these salmon  makes me hungry for dinner!”

: )


a christmas in two places December 31, 2009

Filed under: christmas,friends and family — ravennagirls @ 12:56 pm
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my (d’s) christmas was spent partly in seattle and partly with my family in new jersey.

it was double the fun that way!

The weekend before Christmas was spent in Seattle, being cozy at home by Matilda and exchanging gifts with friends.   The girls all went out for our annual dinner to exchange and celebrate.  {i was so excited about giving my presents i could barely sleep the night before!}  We had much to be thankful for, much to celebrate!  You will all see this coming year how big 2010 will be for friends of ours!

{I have planned some posts for the new year that include some crafty how-tos for some of the things I made for family and friends.   It has been so hard to wait to share them, but I didn’t want to ruin any surprises!}

B and I also saw the Christmas Ships near our house.   We stood on the banks of the lake where luminairies glowed, and listened to the Northwest Girls choir sing while riding upon ships adored with lights.  It was like magic.

I then carefully packed my remaining gifts into my luggage and boarded a plane. {and all of them arrived still looking darling this year!}

I spent a week in NJ visiting with family and friends, having a white Christmas, seeing West Side Story in the City, baking some Molly chocolate chip cookies, playing board games I received.  It was quite delightful, yet busy.  {and i ate my weight in stuffed shells and sauce and rice balls and cheese, yumyum!}

My family now opens presents on Christmas Eve {i just know that Santa delivers to our house early as continued thanks for all those great cookies we fed him all those years…} 

and as usual, i got some very thoughtful, neat-o, spledid things.  {you might even see pictures, if i ever unpack} ….But, much like my Seattle Christmas, I simply love giving gifts.

I love how excited i feel, when I know what’s in that box, when I imagine what the recipient will do when they finally lay eyes upon it.

Because Christmas is all about reminding us, all of us, how great gifts are.  How one day, a long time ago, we all received a gift of far greater magnitude then we can even realize.  Because of that gift of love, we are called to GIVE to others.  Not just on Christmas, but though gifts all year long.

we wish you a very happy, content,  peaceful, cheery, fulfilling new year.


meet matilda December 9, 2009

Filed under: christmas — ravennagirls @ 12:27 am
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highly anticipated is the trip to get the tree.

We often go out to the east, over the mountains and through the woods style.

Mountains around, snow on the ground, and hundreds of healthy evergreens to choose from.  {they don’t call washington the evergreen state for nothing!}

This year we went over Thanksgiving and had a few tree seekers in tow….

here is each with their very special Christmas tree…


and the first tree of our first house.

I am a good timber-shouter.

the sky was blue, the ground a blanket of untouched snow.  As the sky turned pink for us, and the mountains glowed, we carried our trees home.

mmm our tree.  she is perfect!


nj for labor day, round two September 16, 2009

Filed under: friends and family,travel — ravennagirls @ 5:21 pm
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Yes there were waves {You can read all about the waves here}  but what else did I do on my short jaunt to the east coast?

I will show you, since I took over 200 pictures in 3 days… {ha}

These pictures are an evening around town.  The sky was breathtaking against the Victorian gingerbreads (houses).  The cross lit up in the background is the Great Auditorium, the main town attraction and where they host Sunday church and concerts.    The Auditorium sits on a large lawn facing the ocean.  One night the moon rose slowly above the ocean surf and one of the town’s wooden beach crosses.




These little tents are summer only homes for beach-goers!  They surround the Great Auditorium green and are oh so cute.


Some during the day beachy pictures after I got out of the surf…



Don’t let these peaceful pictures fool you though.  Ocean Grove is small, yes, a few mere blocks squished between the ocean on one side and a state route that goes down the shore on the other.  Small in this case does not mean sleepy though – at least in the summer.  There is major bustle.  Major car-free bustle.  So this is how my parents get around town…

{note my mom’s blog debut!  They were both quite excited asking me what fun things would make the blog! crazy!}


We went on many bike rides – my mom and dad on their beach cruisers and I on my high school Schwinn.   My mom’s bike has a darling bell {though you should ask the neighbors what they think about its ring} to let everyone in town know that she is coming….  We would bike to the beach, bike to church, bike to shops…

My mom got the new house these… a birdhouse made out of a gourd and this awesome mid-century fondue pot from on of my favorite lil vintage shops on Main. {thanks!}


 The aforementioned bustle comes to an end when darkenss falls.  Then the town changes.  During the day it is BEACH.  At night it is PORCH.  Seriously.  Your house becomes less about the aformentioned gingerbread and all about how big your porch is.  You sit out there, get eaten by the bugs, drink wine, eat dinner, chat with your neighbors, bike ride by others doing it too and wish them a good night.

Here is my parents house during the day, with the porch just waiting for its time in the darkness…


and then night falls and we enjoy it.  Look at this delicious dinner my mom made {me!}… look at those jersey tomatoes! {yum!}

8-labor day


The trip came to a close on Sunday.  Not before though I got to go to a more modern church service outside overlooking the ocean.  I could do that every week.  What a perfect setting for worship.



Thanks M + D for a fun trip and for being patient with me as I took lots of pictures for the blog!


nj for labor day, part one September 14, 2009

Filed under: friends and family,travel — ravennagirls @ 4:12 pm
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Over labor day, I {d} had the priviledge of being treated to a trip to NJ.  I grew up there, and my family still lives there.  I had not been since the holidays.  While that is always fun and family filled…. it lacks something I miss.


Well, I suppose there are actually waves during the month of December, but none that I wish to dive into!

The Jersey Shore during the summer is quite enjoyable.  When I was younger, my family and I would frequent the peninsula of NJ, a small town called Cape May.  In high school, friends and I would lounge in Belmar.   Now, my parents have a beachy abode in a teeny town called Ocean Grove. 

It doesn’t matter which exit you get off the parkway, imo.  The waves are incredible at each and every one.  This year was no exception. 

Both beach days had some rough waves, but swimming was allowed since the flags were only waving red, extreme caution.   I came out each day mostly unscathed.. just a swimsuit full of sand, some shells stuck in my curls, a mere ponytail holder swept away for the fishies to steady their braids.   My dad however lost yet another Tulane hat.   Oh, you didn’t hear?  Apparently Tulane is starting an underwater school for fishies off the coast of Ocean Grove, and my dad has singlehandedly outfitted the entire school with his years of Christmas presents from his darling daughter {that would be me, in case you are confused}.


montage1 copy


montage2 copy



and… here is a nice close up of us getting clobbered.  All I recall of this wave was that another of equal size came very soon afterwards.  I did was subjected to a few underwater somersaults before my legs caught air.  My dad would then laugh at me, for all he saw were two kicking feet above the surface.  hy-ster-ical.closeup copy

Special thanks to my mom for her picture taking while I jumped some waves and for only subjecting the other beach-goers to my paddle-ball playing for a few mere minutes.

{and stay tuned for tomorrow, a less wet version of my vacay, filled with shopping and food and town.}