Thirty-Four Things I Loved in My Thirty-Fourth Year

celebrating birthday

Hi there! Steph, here. This past weekend we celebrated my thirty-fourth birthday, and the occasion got me thinking about how amazing the past year has been. It has been so full of changes and new friends and adventures, I decided to share with you thirty-four things I loved in my thirty-fourth year. I’m contemplating making this an annual feature. What’s better than a healthy dose of gratitude on one’s birthday, right? But seriously, this has been an amazing year, and I have a feeling I’m going to have a hard time limiting it to thirty-four! But I’ll do my best. In no particular order:

  1. Moving to Washington. I was thirty-three years and thirty-three days old when we made the move. And it was the best one of my life.
  2. Buying a sailboat. We now call Willow our home, and almost a year later, I’m still loving it. s/v willow
  3. Celebrating five years of marriage to Jim. We didn’t have the huge celebration we planned, but it was a day that was incredibly special to me.
  4. Meeting our new marina family. Peter and Mary, Jim and Debbie, Aaron and Nico, Pamela and Cliff, Skip, Mike and Earlene, Jonathan, Damian, Mark and Dawn, Greg…I hope I’m not forgetting someone! They’ve all welcomed us to this community with open arms and I am beyond grateful for every one of them.
  5. Meeting the girls. Amber and Nicole. Julia. Meg. Emily and Rochelle. I always dreamed of having a group of girlfriends like this, and you ladies are everything I’d ever hoped for! smores and tulips
  6. Spending quality time with our nieces and nephews. Now that we don’t live just down the street, we end up staying with these kids and their parents when we come into town, and it’s been such fun to have real, quality time with them. And, you know, their parents. And our parents. And extended family. When you don’t live close, the time you spend together is richer, I think. ice cream with grandma
  7. Turning Katie into a boat dog. She doesn’t love every moment of it, but it was so exciting to see her exploring the boat for the first time. She’s adapted rather well, and someday she may even enjoy sailing! (If you’d like to see more of Katie’s boat related exploits, check out her Instagram account! @katietheboatdog)boat dog
  8. Meeting Avery P and Baby#.  I love these kidlets! Avery and Harrison
  9. Learning to cook in a tiny kitchen. One pot. One pan. And space for one butt. It’s been challenging, but oh, so fun! galley chef
  10. Getting to know more of my extended family. So much of my dad’s family lives up here, and it’s been such a joy spending time with them! family reunion
  11. Exploring the Pacific Northwest. I have had a blast trying new restaurants, checking out new towns, walking on new beaches, hiking new trails and sailing on new waters. It’s been like one big vacation!
  12. Spending time with our Painter family. Let’s just say the guest room at Bryan and Janelle’s house is referred to as “our room,” and Katie automatically becomes a Painter dog the second she bursts through the front door. We have so much fun spending nights or weekends there, sometimes with them, sometimes without (when we watch their dogs Bo and Jesse aka. Katie’s black soul sista). We’ve known them since 2014 (when we shot their wedding), but it feels like it’s been forever. And I am so so glad we finally live closer to them!painter family
  13. Seattle food. Seriously. Red Mill Totem House fishwich (below left). Biscuit Bitch. So many poke places (almost all of which have popped up since we’ve been here!). The Crumpet Shop (below right). Piroshky Piroshky. Oh. my. gosh. This place is a foodie’s paradise! seattle foodie
  14. So much good coffee! Storyville. Viking Brew. Cups. Hot Shots. Poulsbohemian. What is that one we had in Olympia? I am living in a coffee lover’s heaven, and you want to know what? Four of those are within WALKING DISTANCE of my home! viking brew, storyville
  15. Being there to see Charlie propose to Dina. And photographing it. I cried. (You guys saw me crying, right?) Charlie is another friend whose been in our lives only a short time, but it feels so much longer. And, on top of watching him propose, meeting Dina was so so cool. You picked a good one, Charlie!  beach proposal
  16. Girls weekend at the lake. Oh my gosh. I haven’t laughed that hard since high school. We definitely must make it an annual trip. girls weekend at the lake
  17. Sue and Bill. Did I mention yet that these are in no particular order?  Because these people would be tied (with so many others) for first, if we were. Sue was the broker who helped us buy our boat. Not only is she awesome at what she does, but she has become such a great friend, and we are so grateful that we saw her pirate ship on yachtworld! Oh, and Bill creates transcendent culinary experiences, like homemade bread and homegrown zucchini relish. We’re keeping him!
  18. Learning how to sail with Peter, the old owner of our boat. sailing lessons
  19. Happy hour on our boat with Jim’s parents and Peter. We’d lived on the boat for just under a month and it was our first time entertaining. Our knife wasn’t good enough for Donnie’s special bruschetta, so he made sure to pick up one sufficient for the job and left it for us on the boat.
  20. The Kitsap Wedding Tour. It’s not that we had a terribly successful experience in terms of booking clients, but we met so many amazing vendors. And working on the committee was a wonderful experience for me. kitsap wedding tour
  21. Starting over. This past year, we hit the reset button on my life. We moved homes, changed jobs, left our family and friends behind and started anew. And as much as I miss the people we left behind, I am so so happy with our new life.
  22. Waking up every morning on the water.
  23. The sunrise on Valentine’s Day. poulsbo sunrise
  24. Starting Life at Six Knots. Have you seen our blog or Youtube channel? If not you should check it out. We share our life as liveaboards in the Pacific Northwest!
  25. The month of May with Don and Colleen. Does everyone love their in-laws as much as I do? I totally hit the jackpot here. We even lived with them for a year before we were married and I can still say I enjoy spending time with them.
  26. The Washington State Ferries. I may be weird, but I love riding the ferry! ferry in Friday Harbor
  27. Walking through Whitney Gardens with my mom. I may have been sick, but I so enjoyed meandering through the millions of rhododendrons and expertly landscaped gardens. It was peaceful and beautiful and the time with my mom was priceless.
  28. Almost buying a trawler. It was heartbreaking to fall in love with a boat and then not be able to buy it. But that first week in Washington will always stand out in my mind. From breakfast every morning at the hotel to meeting with Sue a hundred times for different reasons to exploring Olympia in our spare time, it was one of my all-time favorite weeks. CHB trawler
  29. Thanksgiving at Geoff’s house. We were so warmly welcomed into my dad’s family on this day. Delicious food. Enjoyable conversation. A hilarious afternoon spent playing this game of guessing what the person next to you was trying to say via an illustration. I don’t remember what it was called. But we all laughed till our sides ached.
  30. Mora ice creamI try to limit myself to once a month. But it’s so hard!mora iced cream
  31. Making our way around the family’s guest rooms before we moved. We spent a week living with Jim’s Auntie Norine, a week with my Granny Judy in Tahoe, several days with Jim’s sister, Tricia’s family and several with his brother, DJ’s family. We had almost a month to kill after our house closed and before we could leave for Washington, and it was so neat to get to spend a little bit of quality time in each of these homes.
  32. Sailing to the San Juans. We spent two weeks sailing (and, lets be real, motoring a heck of a lot) in the San Juans Islands. We spent our days hiking to a lighthouse, scouring sandy beaches for treasures, hiking through a forest that felt like the set of The Lost World (only without the dinosaurs) and exploring tiny uninhabited islands. Our evenings were spent on deck with a beverage and a 5 lb bag of peanuts, watching the sun set the evening sky on fire and the night sky make her meteor magic. It was the perfect journey for our first extended trip away from the dock.  sailing in the san juan islands
  33. Marathon watching Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life with my mom. There was junk food and tons of coffee and we locked ourselves in a hotel room in Sacramento and didn’t leave until we were done. It was one long night. And it was perfect.  drink coffee like a gilmore
  34. Visits with friends…and their moms. Liz and her mom visited in July and Jenny and hers visited in March. Both times we spent the morning on Bainbridge Island, drinking coffee and cruising through the shops. It was so fun to spend time with Jenny and Liz in my new stomping grounds, but both visits were made exponentially better by the inclusion of their moms.  bainbridge island friends

I’m only a few days into my thirty-fifth year, and so far things are looking good. I can’t wait to share with you my favorite things about this coming year because I know it’s going to be fabulous!

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We are Jim and Stephanie, husband and wife wedding photographers. We live on a 36 foot sailboat in the Pacific Northwest with our dog, Katie, our dreams of adventure, and our Chemex coffee maker. 

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