Happy BELATED New Year!

Happy New Year! Yes, I know I’m 10 days late, but better late than never!

Please excuse the low quality of the photos, we traveled down south with only our phones for cameras and I’m not super impressed with the capabilities of my new devise. Next time we’ll bring the monstrous camera, there’s just no substitution.

Our Christmas vacation was pretty epic this year, complete with multiple locations. Traveling the Friday before Christmas is not recommended, however we did survive and are very thankful we have a dedicated family that will drive 6+ hours to pick us up from the Seattle airport when we missed our connection!


First stop on the Christmas train: Hood River! This was the first time the McAuliffe Clan has all been together since Harper was born. My mom astutely suggested we have professional photographs taken to commemorate. Genius! The photos turned out awesome!


The rest of the time in Hood River was spent walking to and from breweries. I have to say, I love my family’s willingness and even insistence in visiting brewpubs wherever we go, makes my job much easier. We visited Full Sail and Double Mountain of course, but the star of the trip was newish brewery Pfriem Family Brewery.

20131221_131005Next stop was a brief stint in Portland OR. Our time in Portland always feels so hurried. Being in a city with past regular haunts and a large number of people we want to visit, I never feel like we’re there for long enough. This time only having about 24 hours made it even worse! Somehow we managed to get to all the family in town, then headed to the airport for a 4:30 flight to San Jose.







Harper was a champ! She’s getting to be such an excellent traveler. We arrived in sunny CA just in time for a snack of prime rib, a glass of wine, and present opening.

20131227_085443Our next few days were full of sunshine. Harper took a tub bath on the porch, watched the birds fight over the seed on the railings, and yelled at Jonah working in the backyard. She loves being outside in the Alaskan cold, but she definitely has taste for warm Californian winter now.


Two excursions into the city, lead to more beer tastings! We visited Hermitage Brewing on our way to visit my Aunt Joan in San Jose. Then a trip into Santa Cruz for the Seymour Marine Discovery Center resulted in lunch at a favorite spot, Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing.

Just when we thought the fun was dying down, our (original) second to last night in ¬†California was filled with planning and phone calls to Alaska Airlines: A couple of Jonah’s friends from college were getting together in Napa for the New Year and they wondered if we wanted to come…. hell yes! We postponed our trip home and headed north.


We spent this year’s wedding anniversary (Dec. 31st) in sunshine instead of snow. On our way to Napa we stopped at a CVS to pick up last year’s anniversary photo to stay true to tradition. While Harper has grown by leaps and bounds, it looks like Jonah and I shrank a little – back to our pre-baby, pre-sleepless nights physiques.

I can’t wait to put the last 4 anniversary photos up side by side, so much has changed since Dec 31, 2010!


Happy New Year! And Happy Valentine’s Day if I don’t see you before then ūüôā



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Hot Hot Hot

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To most, living in Alaska sounds very cold.  After living there for a few years, we have definitely became accustomed to cooler temperatures.  Harper has only known warmer temperatures on vacation and not many have taken place during the hot months.

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It was amazing to see locals in jeans and long sleeve shirts. ¬†The caretaker of our rented house even commented “it’s not that hot.” ¬†Midday it was 95! ¬†When we left Alaska it was half that!

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Fortunately we had a great place to hang out during the hottest part of the day. ¬†The house we rented was fantastic with a shaded side-porch and lots of kids’ toys. ¬†However much the heat was, it felt so good to have the sun on my skin. ¬†I’m getting tingles just thinking about it. ¬†I love being in a place where the shade and sun temperatures are noticeably different. ¬†Definitely makes me miss living in a place with a true summer.

Mexico 1 333It was great to see this little lady get a break from being bundled up.  Yay for cute sundresses!

Do you search for heat when picking a vacation destination?

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Excusez-moi… scusi… Excuse me!

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The first country I visited was France.  The last country I visited before our trip to Mexico was France.  In between I went to Italy and easily got by just knowing French, picking up bits of Italian on my way.  These experiences gave me a false sense of confidence in my ability to communicate in a non-French foreign country.  Let me rephrase that, traveling to Mexico put a dent in my bloated confidence in communicating without feeling like an idiot. Continue reading

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Viva Loreto


Family bonding.

Birthday celebrations.

Loreto was a perfect place for our first vacation as a family of 3.  We left all our worries and frustrations behind, enjoying a week of tacos and beers, strolling to all our destinations.  We stayed in the city proper; we wanted easy access to grocery stores and local Loreto life so staying in town suited us well.  The house I found on VRBO was perfect: easily cooled, fantastic porch, comfy beds, and a great location.  How could you ask for more?   Continue reading

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