August is Awesome

Aaaaannnd, we’re back.  I never know how to start these blogs.  I feel like no matter what I do, the beginnings end up cheesy.  Ah, well.  If the cheese-factor is too high, just skip the first paragraph or so.

So where to begin?  It’s been quite a summer!  I know I’ve said that already, but it’s really true.  It feels like we’ve been going non-stop for weeks now.  Over the last few weeks Jason has been studying hard– in addition to his classes to get his real estate license, he’s been doing other classes as well.  He has just finished his licensing to become a mortgage loan officer, and so now can officially get you a home loan!  He’ll be transitioning into his new job title here shortly, which is awesome.  So, if you know anyone in Oregon that needs or wants a home loan, send them his way!

Over the Fourth of July, Jason and I each took trips– I went to Colorado to visit Lara and Kimberly, and Jason went to Yosemite with his dad.  Here are some pictures from Jason’s trip:

My trip was AMAZING– Colorado is pretty cool.  I spent the first few days with Kimberly Perez in Boulder, hanging out and catching up.

The first day I was there, Kimberly had to work, so I headed down to the Pearl Street mall, and I took a free yoga class at the Patagonia store there. It was a total trip.  It was in the basement of the Patagonia store, which had some dirty floors, and the mats all had holes in them.  That was cool, you know it’s a free class, so how much can you really expect them to put into it?

I’m used to classes taught by ladies who clearly do yoga for the workout, in Lululemon expensive pants, making you sweat.  This instructor was a dude, rather hippie-esque, with long hair, clearly dirty feet– you know the type.  He played reggae the whole time, which was the first indicator of what type of class I’d gotten myself into.  The class, probably because it was free, had several interesting characters attending– one dude was a little older, really super lean (like almost too skinny– stringy).  He had a huge cut on his shin that was bleeding profusely throughout the whole class, wasn’t wearing a shirt, and at the end of every difficult pose, would let out the longest and loudest “AAAAAAAAHHHHHH” I’ve ever heard.  I was honestly slightly worried about his health.  The other participants were pretty normal hippies, but there was one lady who had clearly never taken a yoga class before because she was in jeans, and the girl next to me was wearing a midriff cutoff shirt with beaded fringe, had long dreads, and judging both by her feet and her odor, hadn’t showered in a while.

But, you know, whatever.  It’s yoga.  So we start to get into the class, with the reggae guiding us, stretching and doing some poses, with the instructor asking us what we wanted to do every five minutes.  We got about an hour into the class, and then the instructor really wanted us to mix it up.  So he asked us to get up, and to really get into the music.  You know, start dancing in place.  Doin’ some sweet reggae dance moves.  So I’m going along with it, a little self-conscious (reggae dance moves?), and then we need to mix it up again.  So the instructor has us take these sweet moves he’s taught us (which is basically some white person version of African dance), and we start doing these moves in circles around the studio.  Gotta get that movement in, man!  Circle, circle, hip thrust, arms up– you get the idea.  But clearly the energy of the sweet reggae dancing isn’t exactly what he had in mind, so he adds another element.  Now as we circle around the room, grooving, hip thrusting, and jamming, we are high-fiving each participant that we pass.  Step, step, hip thrust, squat dance thingy, arms out, high five, man!

Seriously.  By the time we were done, I was laughing out loud.  It was hilarious.  Needless to say, hippie feet girl and super-skinny bleeding man were totally into it.  Upon catching up with Kimberly that night at her apartment, she explained that this was probably just the ritual welcome to Boulder that I had experienced– a true experience that many tourists miss when visiting the more popular (and expensive) yoga studios that dominate the Boulder landscape.  I felt honored to have been given such a beautiful and meaningful welcome.  Thanks, Boulder.  I love you too.

The most amazing Kimberly Perez showed me other amazing Boulder sights– we went up into the mountains and visited a super cute little town called Nederland, we hung out in Boulder, we dipped our feet in the river, ate wonderful food… it was fantastic.

I love my awkward arm placement.

After that, I picked up a rental car and drove to a small town called Gothic just outside of Crested Butte to meet up with Lara at her summer research site.  The location was amazing– right at the base of mountains, in a tiny little researcher town with gravel roads, basically smack in the middle of national forest.  She was there for three months this summer, starting some research regarding plants and climate change.  Lara, baby Mila and I stayed in her little cabin in the woods, and I helped her get her site set up for the summer.  It was awesome!  The weather was gorgeous, the views were gorgeous, the town of Crested Butte is gorgeous– it was a fantastic trip.  Baby Mila, in case you were wondering, is still the cutest baby ever.  She’s almost 2 now, so I guess not really a baby anymore, but so much fun to hang out with!  And it was awesome to get to catch up with Lara, who I hadn’t seen since her trip to Portland last year. I did miss seeing Beef, which was very sad, but hopefully I’ll get to catch up with him soon.  We did get to Skype, which was awesome.  Here are some photos of this extremely photogenic holiday:

See what I mean?  Gorgeous.

Ready to start work at the site.

Rough spot for research, right?

On a hike to see a waterfall.

Hilarious statues in Crested Butte.

I couldn’t help it.  She’s just so damn cute!

I got back from that trip on a Thursday, and Friday night Jason and I headed out again, this time together and this time to Washington, where a friend was having a birthday celebration at a house off of North Bay.  Again, it was gorgeous.  It was like I was on a scenic gluttony tour.  We camped in their backyard, and spent the entire weekend in the sun, playing Catan, going out on kayaks, hanging out and celebrating birthdays.  Brad’s birthday was just after mine, but I really felt as though they had put the entire weekend together to celebrate my birthday.  It was amazing.  Best birthday weekend I’ve had in a long time, complete with food so delicious and ridiculous that we ate it all before I could even take a picture.  Regardless, here are some photos that will both make you jealous, and convince you that we actually lie about the weather in the Pacific NW so that no one else will move here:

The excellent weekend crew, courtesy of Brad Cole.

Ready for kayaking.

Men.  Doing man things.

Soaking it in.

Not a bad place to sleep.

Album cover.

Best photo bomb EVER.

Courtesy of Alex Graham.

Yup.  I told you.  Summer out here is FANTASTIC.  Not too hot, beautifully green and lush, with so many cool things to do and places to see…  it’s amazing.  It’s just too bad that it’s so damn short!  Although I do feel like we’ve had a long summer so far– it started early this year, which is nice.  Like it was apologizing to Jason for all the rain during the winter (although, don’t tell Jason, it was a seriously dry winter this year).

Anyway.  We headed home, regretfully, from Washington, after threatening to move in with Brad and Katelin, which I’m sure they really would have appreciated.  Who wouldn’t want to live with us?  Tuesday night, my little brother Chance flew into town for a visit!  He is headed out to college at Brown University this fall, and we were really excited for him to come up for a visit before flying out east.  He spent a few days with my grandmother, and then for the weekend we drove up to join them.  Look at how cute and photogenic we are:

Chance and Grandma

I just love her.

We’re a family! 

I love hanging out with my family.  They’re pretty cool, in case you didn’t know.  I’m so excited to see where life takes Chance, and what amazing things he makes of it.  I’m pretty proud of that ridiculously smart brother of mine.

Our summer hasn’t all been fun and games, though.  Jason’s grandfather passed away in late July.  We took an unplanned trip to Kansas for the funeral, which was really sad.  Funerals are always crazy things– it’s such a sad event to bring people together, and at the same time it’s hard not to enjoy seeing all the people that you love in one place. It was really wonderful to see Jason’s family– they are all so excited for this baby, so supportive and loving.  It was fun to be able to share being pregnant with them, despite the sad circumstances.  Clearly, we didn’t take many photos while there, but I did get a good one with Jason’s Uncle Bob, who holds a special place in this Dunbar’s heart:

He’s pretty cool.  I guess I like him.  🙂

Jason’s mom bought us some amazing baby gifts, including some ridiculously cute baby clothes– holy crap, you guys.  Little baby clothes are CUTE.  Jason has taken to holding some of the clothing up over his shoulder like it’s the baby, and pretending to bounce and burp the outfit.  It’s pretty entertaining.  He’s practicing.

Jason’s birthday was this month, and this year, I was not going to fail (as I’ve done many other years in the past), and I was going to plan something cool!  So we got several friends together to go camping.  Our original plan was to head to Opal Creek, which is supposed to be some of the most beautiful hiking in old growth forest here in Oregon.  On the Friday night after Jason’s birthday, we drove to just outside of Salem, up into the Willamette national forest.  Only, we arrived to find that the place was a zoo, completely overrun with cars and campers.  We headed out of there pretty quickly to try to find another site in some National Forest land– packed.  We tried 5 separate established campgrounds, all of which were full.  We finally ended up camping on the side of a forest service road, just to get some sleep. 

I was afraid the weekend was ruined.  But after we cooked a little breakfast, road trip style, we checked back at a campground we had passed, and found a campsite had opened up!  It was right on Detroit Lake, just east of Salem, and the weekend was salvaged.  We did a 5 mile hike, kayaked in Luke’s inflatable kayaks, ate burritos and had a campfire… Here’s a little taste of the birthday weekend:

Cooking breakfast, road trip style.

This is the most amazing series of photos ever.

Campground kung-fu.

Sword practice.

Pregnant lady trying to get cell reception.  I was trying to find the other members of our party, I swear.

Sunset kayaking!

Last weekend was Karen Darr and Ian Mouser’s wedding!  Check out these photos from the extremely gorgeous ceremony:

Yeah. Rough place to get married, huh?

In amidst all of this, we’ve been doing the usual.  I’ve started a Spanish class up again, which is awesome.  I go on Thursdays for a few hours of conversation, which is exactly what I need.   We’ve put up the crib in our back bedroom, which makes all this feel even more real.  My belly is getting bigger every day– I think at this point, it must have it’s own gravitational pull.  It certainly attracts a lot more food to my shirt than it ever used to.  We’ve got more nicknames for the small child, since MLM can’t really be used anymore… Jason most often refers to her as LTB, or Lil’ Tiny Baby.  He’s brainstormed a few options for permanent names, too, including:
Karate (pronounced Kara-tay)
Miracles (pronounced Meer-ah-cleez)
Challenging (pronounced Shall-on-jing)
Or how about something more like Catan Wheat Marshall?  I like that one, myself.  🙂

I mean, seriously.  Look at the size of that thing.

Baby crib!

 The other thing I’ve noticed about this stage is that I now have to pee pretty much constantly.  Just about every hour.  This makes trips to any store, or any drive, more entertaining.  Also, apparently baby shower season is starting, as we have three coming up in the next 2 months!  Creating a registry is harder than I thought.  How much stuff does one need for a baby?  Apparently, a ridiculous amount.  We just got a sweet tent in the mail from the Weiss’… I’m excited to put it to use at the crag! 

Speaking of the Weiss’, here are a couple photos from that trip Jason took to CA to see them:

Matt, belaying attentively

Jason and Kristy

Bryan and Suzanne

Whew.  It’s been a bit of tiring summer.  We have friends and family in town now, and more adventures planned for future weekends, so you can expect more blogging at a later date!  Word, friends.

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