This is another one of those ‘in-between’ posts, in-between holidays, in-between celebrations, in-between special events or vacations. From the time we’ve been back from Seattle to now, there’s not been a whole lot of new things to write about, but there are a lot of updates about all of the things we are ‘usually’ up to. So if you ever find yourself sitting there, wherever you are, wondering what the Hales are up to, here’s the answer to your query at the moment…

Usually hanging out as a family…

We are a social-yet-not family. We really like to be homebodies, but also enjoy the company of friends and even large groups sometimes. But lately we’ve been doing our own thing. We bought a projector recently, so Donnie will set it up in the living room and we’ll have ‘movie nights.’ Sometimes we’ll head out for dinner to Taps because it has really good food and is super kid friendly, and I think we’ve been at least once a week since we’ve been back. Once, we took a family exercise outing there (Donnie and I jogged and Paul rode his bike). We’ve had a few stints of really nice weather and on those days you’ll find us outside, making food on the BBQ and hanging out throwing the frisbee or practicing tennis. We like to play Yahtzee as a family, Paul currently has the record for highest score of 413!! We function really well as our small unit of three, and getting to spend quality time together is pretty awesome.

Usually something to do with beer…

That usually statement has not been as true lately though. We’ve been trying to get healthier and that means drinking way less of our delicious beer. And drinking way less means we don’t need to brew as much. But there have been a few fun events that are beer-related. One night we went to a special super secret brewer’s night at the yet unopened new craft beer pub called Fubar. We are friends with the owner and the brewer and it was great fun to taste his new stuff, and hangout and talk beer with lots of other beer nerds. The next week, we went to the grand opening party at the new Taps location in Cocopark. It’s about an hour away by subway, but the journey was worth it and we had a great time with mostly all the same people from the Fubar event. 😉

We also made a HK run recently to pick up some grain to make a new kind of beer. We brought back a bunch of special ingredients from Seattle for it too. It will be a faux sour cranberry beer (it won’t have to ferment for as long as a real sour and used hefeweizen yeast). We finally brewed it this week, so it might be ready for Donnie’s parents to try before they leave.

We had a good homebrew meeting in January, good times with some yummy IPA’s,but we skipped February’s meeting due to work schedules and being super tired. I’m looking forward to seeing what the guys come up with next time though. There’s also a homebrew competition in HK in February…we might look into trying that.

Usually at the gym or working out…

I think I mentioned back in a previous post that Donnie and I have joined a gym and that we’re getting personal training sessions 3 times a week, each. It’s a huge financial and time commitment, but it’s our 10 year anniversary present to each other: getting our health and fitness back together. Since January, Donnie’s lost about 15 lbs and is gaining some muscle, and I’ve lost about 8, but have noticed a lot of muscle gain as well. It seems like a small step, but the shift in our lifestyle hasn’t been small. We are tired and sore most days, but excited for the prospect of being our best selves. We have a ways to go, but the time is well spent and making healthier choices makes me happier in the long run.

I’ve been spending a lot of time hiking too. I still do weekly morning hikes with a friend, but I’ve added some weekend hikes as well. It’s crowded sometimes, but also empty at others. It helps me feel reconnected with nature in a place that feels so busy sometimes.

Usually working…

This year has probably been our most challenging yet as educators. Donnie is always busy with his admin job, and I’m keeping my head above water (barely!) with my two IB courses. Next year will be another year of growth as I take on the IB coordinator job as well. I’ll start my training for that in May. I’m looking forward to the next step, and I hope it isn’t too much more work than what I’m juggling now. But for now I’m just keeping focused on getting to May (half of my classes will be finished and have IB testing), and then June when summer arrives.

Usually planning our next adventure…

We’ve got a few big trips on the horizon, but we’re always thinking and planning. We’re headed to Sydney, Australia for spring break, trying to get to Seoul to see the Bates’ in May, I’ll be headed to Chengdu for a week, and then our big trip this summer is SPAIN!

We’ve rented a house on the coast about an hour from Barcelona, and I couldn’t be more excited to just relax and enjoy all that is Spanish for 5 whole weeks. (Donnie will have to travel to Seattle for work, but I’ll stay in Spain for the entire summer.) The Watsons have already booked to see us, and I’m hoping more people will come visit!

We’ve also booked our tickets back to Seattle for another special wedding in October. And just like that, all the 2017 breaks have been booked except our December break, which is still up in the air…(Munich? San Antonio? Austria?).

Anyway, I think that mostly keeps you informed of what we are usually doing. With that said, this next week will be a big week. Tomorrow is my birthday and we’ve booked a bus to take us on a tour of all of our favorite breweries in the city, about 25 people have RSVP’d to come, so it’ll be a rowdy party! I’m hoping it will be super fun.

Then next Tuesday, Donnie’s parents arrive to stay with us for a month! I’m looking forward to the time with them, and I know Paul is counting down the hours to be back with Grammy and Papa. It’s been a long time since we’ve seen them; the last time was back in July when we were last in San Antonio.

And next Friday is Donnie and I’s 10 year anniversary! We’ve got some fun, but low-key stuff planned out, so I’m excited to celebrate such a milestone with him and our family.

So that’s that, now your curiosity about what we are usually up to is satiated! 🙂

Love to all, J.


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