weekend links

organic tomatoes

Here in Portland, we have a sunny, three-day weekend stretching before us. I haven’t been sleeping well lately, so we have kept our plans quite simple: dinner with my sister and her family, prenatal yoga, testing new recipes, and perhaps a drive to the beach. And, of course, a new book from the library that I plan to curl up with on the couch. Enjoy your weekend and these links!

1. A guide to organics shows which produce is most affected by pesticides
2. Wondering if it’s safe to eat fish with radiation from Fukishima spreading across the Pacific Ocean
3. Looking forward to an exhibition of Colin Meloy and Carson Ellis’ collaboration for the Wildwood books and The Decemberists
4. Enjoying Commissary Cafe, the latest addition to NW Portland
5. How to create a more productive working environment
6. Beautiful unconventional shelving
7. Great tips on public speaking
8. A guided meditation app for expectant mothers that helps with sleeplessness
9. Which city should you actually live in? (My result: Paris)
10. Share the experience of reading with A Book for Two (pictured below)

Book for Two 1

Book for Two 2

From 2013 to 2014

2013 in review

What a year! 2013 took us from Amsterdam to Portland, past our first wedding anniversary, to Mexico and Canada and all across the Pacific Northwest, and on the path to parenthood. I learned a lot, grew as a person, and was challenged to go beyond my comfort zone. There were missteps and tears, but also new opportunities, the chance to see things differently, and room for love to grow.

As we stand at the beginning of 2014, I can’t wait to see what this year holds and am so thankful it won’t involve an international move. I set goals for myself on a regular basis, so making New Year’s resolutions is a familiar task. This year, I aim to expand my freelance work, explore new areas in Oregon, and do my best to prepare my mind, body, and relationship for the arrival of our baby in June. What are your goals for 2014?

We had a fantastic beginning, ringing in the New Year with our friends Tom and Candy in Bend, a small town in Central Oregon. The day started with a beautiful morning, a delicious breakfast of sweet potato and wild salmon hash, then a short hike along the Deschutes River to Steelhead Falls (pictured below). On the drive back to Portland, Marcus and I talked about our personal, professional, and financial goals for the year and answered the first question in this journal for two. It was a perfect start to the year. Happy New Year!

Steelhead Falls

plus one makes three

christmascard

I am sharing our Christmas cards before most people have received them, but we couldn’t keep the news quiet any longer. A baby is on the way! We are so excited about this big (little) change that will arrive in June. This past year has held so much transition as we left our life in Amsterdam, moved across the world, and began to make a home in Portland. It has been a whirlwind of a year and the changes keep coming, but we couldn’t be more thrilled.

When you announce you’re pregnant, a barrage of questions usually follows. Here are some of the most frequent ones:

When are you due?
June 23! It seems like a lifetime away, but good things take time. Right? It also happens to be right during the 2014 World Cup, so we’re looking forward to having an extra cheerleader for the Deutsche Mannschaft.

How are you feeling so far?
The first half of the first trimester was amazing. I almost didn’t even feel pregnant, which was perfect for our trip to Mexico. Since the beginning of November, the evenings have been tough with nausea and exhaustion. At times it pretty intense, but overall I was relatively lucky. Now, I am almost at week 14 (one-third of the way there) and soon I should be able to stay awake past 9pm.

Were you planning to get pregnant?
Ehm, well. We were starting to think about it and then it suddenly happened. Very quickly. Marcus and I thought maybe sometime next year and definitely after allergy season because there is no way I thought I could survive without medicine. Well, I guess I’m going to have to.

Did you always want children?
No. I know many women who always knew they wanted to be a mom, but I wasn’t one of them. In fact, for most of my life if you put a young child in the same room with me, I would gravitate to the opposite side. My mother always said, “You’ll love your own”, but I didn’t think it was for me. Then my older sister had her first daughter seven years ago and her second four years ago and things changed. Becoming an aunt to my two sweet nieces, getting to watch my sister grow into motherhood, and watching friends enter motherhood with grace has been a joy. About one year after my first niece was born, I met Marcus. He was amazing, sweet, and was excited to be a father someday. As our relationship grew, I realized that being a mother was something I couldn’t picture for myself alone, but us, together as parents, didn’t sound so bad. And now, I can’t even describe how much I already love the little baby growing inside me. Nine months seems like an eternity.

Where are you giving birth?
Home births with a midwife are quite standard in Europe, but just starting to pick back up in the US. I definitely do not want to give birth at home, but will have a midwife deliver our baby. Marcus and I were both born with midwives and we both prefer a process that anticipates minimal medical intervention.

You’re a vegetarian, do you think you’ll eat meat?
Actually, I eat fish, eggs, and cheese (lacto-ovo pescatarian), I just don’t eat meat. I have heard that some vegetarians suddenly crave meat when pregnant. So far, the smell of cooking meat generally has me rushing out of the room. In fact, writing about it even takes a strong stomach. I have been trying to find more protein-rich recipes and I would love all recommendations.

baby clothes

Only 186 more days (or so) to go!

weekend links

The Garden Edit

The holiday festivities are in full swing and I’m looking forward to a weekend filled with friends and celebrations that will take us to Seattle and Silverton. What are your plans for the weekend?

1. The Garden Edit is a collection of products for, and inspired by, the garden.
2. The New York Times story Invisible Child looks at child homelessness through the eyes of a young girl in Fort Greene. Highly recommended.
3. This guide to winter cycling will keep you biking through the winter months.
4. The mulled cider at Crema in Portland is my favorite thing to sip these days.
5. Season 2 of House of Cards looks intense.
6. Celebrate the holidays in Oregon State Parks.
7. Listen to the sounds of the Roaring Twenties in New York (via Open Culture)
8. Portland photographer Kevin Russ talks about his images of the landscape and wildlife in the west (pictured below, via The Quiet Farm)

Kevin Russ

Kevin Russ 2

Kevin Russ 1

sunrise in Baja

Our two-week holiday in Mexico at the beginning of November didn’t turn out quite like we planned. When people ask about our time south of the border, inevitably the focus shifts to Marcus’ windsurfing accident, booking an early flight home, and the tale of a two-week holiday cut in half.

But I choose to remember the sunrises.

I am an early riser. I enjoy waking up with the maximum amount of the day stretched out before me. However, that doesn’t mean I am a morning person. I get up early so that I can take my time preparing for the day, to be quiet before facing the noise of the world. Rushing outside a few minutes after opening my eyes is not part of that routine.

The sunrises in Baja Sur changed that, at least for a week. I would wake and see a golden glow leaking through the edges of the curtains that I couldn’t simply ignore. When I pulled back the curtain, I was met with the most glorious sunrise. I would nudge Marcus and then bolt out the door, camera in hand. Wild-eyed and half-dressed, completely inappropriate to the world outside, but I didn’t care.

We had seven days to catch the sunrise. Some were more breathtaking than others. And someday, we’ll get more when we return to climb the Sierra de la Laguna and witness the sunrise from the top of a mountain.

sunrise in mexico_5

Palmas de Cortez

infinity pool

boats on the water at sunrise

a weekend of thanks

Mt. Hood WIlderness

frozen creek

For the last eight years, I have celebrated Thanksgiving abroad. Some years this meant preparing a full dinner for friends who were just learning about the holiday and other years it entailed a last-minute search for a restaurant that served apple pie. Not only did this Thanksgiving bring traditional food, family, and a four-day weekend, but Marcus’ longtime friend Florian flew in on Wednesday and we spent the long weekend showing him the best of Oregon.

Thursday took us to my parents’ house in the heart of the Willamette Valley. The sun was shining, the food was abundant, and we gathered around the table with 25 friends and family members. Early the next morning, we headed to Mt. Hood for a hike around Trillium Lake. Just a few miles past the ski resorts, Trillium Lake offers a fantastic view of the mountain. The lake was frozen enough to walk along the edge, but other than a few patches of ice here and there, the ground was clear. The walk around the lake was easy and parts of the trail even had a wooden walkway. A level of difficult well suited to the day after Thanksgiving.

After Trillium Lake, we headed to Timberline Lodge for lunch. The restaurant was busy and the food was less wonderful than usual, but the atmosphere more than made up for it. We gave Florian a quick history of how the lodge came to be built during the Great Depression, then we headed up the mountain for a walk in the snow. The next days took us to the beach and then the sights in Portland.

The weekend was the perfect occasion to be thankful for this beautiful state and our easy access to its natural wonder. After a long period of settling, it’s starting to feel like home again. But even more than that, I am thankful for the friendship of these two. They met in Berlin and both moved to Amsterdam around the same time. Music was the initial bond that brought them together and the reason that my flatmate invited Florian to bring his band to one of our house parties in 2007. Their friendship created another relationship, and for that, my heart is thankful.

Florian and Marcus

hiking Trillium lake

forest

weekend links

bikebells

A collection of links for you to enjoy over the weekend! I’ll spend my time testing a few cranberry recipes in preparation for the Thanksgiving festivities on Thursday, hanging out with two dear friends visiting from Seattle, and celebrating my mother’s birthday. What will you do this weekend?

Things I’ve enjoyed lately:
1. Revisiting the fascinating collection of images on Everyday Africa
2. Ordering a new bike bell (pictured above, via Iva Jean)
3. Bookmarking this baked apple recipe
4. Anticipating my first trip to Cottonwood Canyon to explore the +8,000 acres of the newest state park in Oregon
5. Listening to an a cappella group sing Beyoncé’s top hits (so good!)
6. Reading The NSA Files: Decoded on The Guardian
7. Experimenting with more grains and finding inspiration from this article The Complex World of Grains, Made Simple
8. Adding Sarah Copeland’s new cookbook Feast: Generous Vegetarian Recipes for Any Eater and Every Appetite to the top of my wish list (pictured below)
9. Gettin’ happy! (via simonvano)
10. Tasting the delicious spiced cider sorbet at Salt & Straw
11. Booking tickets to see The Christmas Revels: Christmas in Old Europe
12. Celebrating Marcus’ 32nd birthday with a tasty dinner at Le Pigeon <3

feast