To Skamania, and Beyond!

IMG_9380   It’s Spring Break, and I have to confess, this year the Whiskey Lover husband and I were a bit selfish. Okay, a lot selfish. We took ourselves on a little get-a-way, which means our boys were not included on this trip! The little dude stayed with Grammie and Grandpa while the teen was with his dad, which meant, ahhhhhh, a night of child-free sleep, eating and drinking what we wanted, and quiet r&r sitting in a 21 and older hot tub at the beautiful Skamania Lodge! 

We made a last minute decision to do this little vacation just a week prior, and, being the budget savvy (some might even call me cheap) wife I am, I headed to Groupon and found an incredible deal for the Skamania Lodge! And booked it immediately. We enjoyed drinks at the River Rock lounge, went into the town of Skamania and ate a DELICIOUS dinner at the Red Bluff Tap House (while also watching the Final Four championship game, rooting for the Gonzaga Bulldogs!), then came back to the lodge to enjoy the hot tub and then relax in front of the fire place in our room. It was delightful! IMG_9383

Then we headed to Hood River, OR the next morning. I had never been to Hood River, and it was just short 30 minutes away. I was excited to taste some wine a the Cathedral FullSizeRender (4)Ridge Winery and boy, oh boy, oh boy! Their wine did NOT disappoint! It was sooooooo good!!! I particularly liked their Rusty Red Reserve (with the black Lab on the label!),  their Cab Franc, and their Riesling.

Then, it was off to the Hood River Distillers Inc. Oh WOW! Should you get the chance to take a trip and do a tasting there, you’ve GOT to do it. (And here’s a secret, I did not try any whiskey!!!) So, this Whiskey Lover’s Wife did not join in tasting whiskey with the hubby. NO, instead I tried the Pear Brandy, three different fruit liqueurs, and a Nordic peppermint spirit called Ullr. Oh my lanta, soooo good! Josh was impressed with the whiskey’s they carried, purchasing the McCarthy’s (from Clear Creek Distillery) Single Malt Whiskey. “McCarthy’s Oregon Single Malt Whiskey is distilled in a Holstein pot still using one pass distillation, this premium, non-chill filtered product is then barrel-aged in air-dried Oregon oak barrels. The result is remarkably smooth for a 3-year-old whiskey.” I am going to assume that Josh will have something to say about the smokey peated flavor of this whiskey on his Whiskey Lover’s Blog.  He also purchased the Hood River Delicious Apple Brandy, because once it is gone, it’s gone! I had to have the Clear CreeIMG_9390k Raspberry liqueur (because it tasted like jam off a spoon! Oh my!!!!) and the Ullr. I told Josh I really loved the Ullr because it tastes like toothpaste, which kind of is totally true, but makes me giggle because when my sister and I were younger, she used to like drinking mouthwash! hahahaha! That’s the truth! I can’t even make that up! SO, I am willing to bet that my sister is going to love this!

To finish off our trip, we stopped by the Edgefield McMenamins in Troutdale, OR to try their whiskey from the distillery on that property. Josh purchased the Single Malt Hogshead Whiskey, and the barley for that whiskey comes from Vancouver, WA. While Josh enjoyed a distillery tour, I enjoyed this Pear Royale drink! I would love to tell you what was in it, IMG_9392because it tasted like a little sliced of heaven, but honestly, I have no idea. I just sat back, enjoyed the flavor and made small talk with the bartender! (I always tend to draw people into some great conversations, and I learned that this young man would be traveling to Japan soon and was excited for his upcoming adventure! Totally cool! I shared with him our plans for Scotland this summer, and we had a great little conversation about travel!) Soon, Josh was back from his tour and we were ready to go eat at the Black Rabbit restaurant on the property. We ate a lot of great food on this trip! And luckily, I have an amazing hubby who woke me up at 5am today to make me go lift weights with him since I was complaining that my pants were tight! You know, eating and drinking good things does come with a price!

During our little get-a-way, I was able to talk to Josh about all I had learned at my Saturday Gottman leader training on the “Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work”, and it was great to refresh our communication skills and engage in thoughtful and deep conversation. (If you’d like more info on that, or to talk with me about marriage coaching and learning the tools and techniques to have and maintain an awesome relationship, visit me at www.staciestoneycoaching.com)  What a wonderful two days spent re-connecting while also allowing for Josh to get his whiskey tasting on!

Oh, and our little dude said he didn’t really miss us at all because he had more fun at Grammie and Grandpa’s house…and he enjoyed his little get-a-way as well!!!

Thanks for reading this week’s adventure with the Whiskey Lover’s Wife!

IMG_9374

Advertisements

Becoming a Glenfiddich in Life

This week, I have had several opportunities to take a look at my life, where I am at and where I am going. And with that, looking at my husband’s life. It is hard, sometimes, not to compare my life to my husband’s life. I am a teacher, while he is a principal. While both in education, totally different jobs. I am an optimist, while he is cynical and a bit of a pessimist. Again, totally different. And this past week, I thought about how whiskey is a great way to symbolize our different paths in our lives.

Keep in mind, I am the WIFE to the Whiskey Lover, not the actual whiskey lover. If you do not agree with the choices of whiskey I used in reference to paths in life, well, to bad! I’m still learning about the finer points of whiskey! Ha Ha! So just read on!…

Here is what has transpired this past week, and I do apologize to keeping things a bit, well, vague, but it is only because I don’t want my whiskey lover husband to be upset at me using him so much as my example! Okay, this past week…

First I guess I should back up slightly and tell you that my husband has applied for a few positions in school administration, thus possibly leaving his current position. And before you ask, yes, he does love where he currently works, however it is over an hour drive away and it doesn’t make sense for us to move closer that way when the boys attend school here and I also work here. The schools that he has applied for are much closer in proximity, except for one, but that was for Leavenworth and if you continue to follow me, you will learn how much I absolutely, without a doubt, LOVE LEAVENWORTH, WA! 

goatfriend

My goat friend at the Enzian Inn putting course in Leavenworth, WA

Second, within a span of a week, he got called to interview for 4 of the 6 jobs he applied for. Yes, Leavenworth being one of them. I was ecstatic, at first, at the possibility of moving to Leavenworth. But then as we truly processed what that would mean to move across the mountain pass, four hours away from Luke’s dad (I was married previously and Luke’s dad is a very good day and we have a great split parenting plan) and our family, plus the fact that the cost of living was greater than where we live, PLUS I wouldn’t actually have a job upon moving there…well, yeah, sadly, he decided to turn down that interview. Which left the other three. This is where it will get vague and maybe soon I will write a follow-up blog to let you know the outcome of the interviews. But for now, I’m going to get to the point of the blog!

You see, Josh frustrates me. A lot. As spouses may sometimes do. And this week has been full of emotion, anxiety, stress, elation, anger, peace, and oh, did I mention stress? And during one of the times I got really frustrated at the pessimism my dear husband seems to have born with, when I was really trying to praise him and raise him up, it dawned on me that I was actually happy that I didn’t have a husband who was bottom-shelf. I actually have a 26-year Glenfiddich husband.

In life, we can decide to be bottom shelf, like a Canadian R & R, or a comfortable Crown Royal that is middle of the road and safe, or we can be top shelf (or even locked behind glass as the most expensive and special) like a Glenfiddich aged Scotch that has worked hard and waited to become truly spectacular.

I mean no harm at those people who are happy with a Canadian R & R life. A bottle of Canadian R & R rich-rare-r-r-blended-canadian-whisky-canada-10370315here in the state of Washington is roughly $8.00. It is cheap. You don’t have to work hard to get your hands on a bottle of this. I’ve only tried R & R once or twice, way before being married to The Whiskey Lover, back in my “I’m not spending my hard-earned money on expensive alcohol, let’s just get drunk” college days, and I can honestly tell you, my only reaction was GROSS!!!!!!!!!! Like, beyond gross. I would tell you my honest thought, but alas, I am a lady, a nice Christian one at that, therefore I can not tell you what I really think of the stuff. But think about it, it is probably one of, if not the cheapest whiskey on the market. It’s not that great. It gives you a bad taste. And yet, some people have made choices in their lives to live that way.

Thinking more about my own life though, I realize that I have been more like a Crown Royal. 2015_1It’s smooth, it’s easy, it’s sweet, it goes well with many mixers (I think especially Pepsi, but that is just my opinion!) It makes me feel comfortable. At around $25 for a bottle, it’s definitely not expensive, but it’s not totally cheap. It’s easy to justify spending that money and enjoying it. My life, much like the Crown Royal, is easy and comfortable. I have a sweet job that I have been at for 17 years. I have fun, but if I’m being honest, I’m not pushed real hard, I never have to be out of my comfort zone, and I am able to change things up as I please, but never too much to disturb that comfortable taste of my life.

Looking at my husband though…he is like an aged Glenfiddich. glenfiddich-21-year-old-gran-reserva-single-malt-scotch-whisky-1I’d say at this point, a good 21 year Glenfiddich, which costs around $250, but I am sure I could venture to say he is close to a 28 year bottle which is closer to $600. (A 50 year is $40,000, and that is reserved for those completely remarkable people like Mother Theresa and Martin Luther King, Jr. and who ever else you would like to add to that list!) But back to my husband. He is an aged Glenfiddich because so many times in our marriage he has worked incredibly hard. Stepping out at a younger-than-most age to go into school administration, leaving his comfortable job. Then, after a year, being told he was the victim of “you’re the low man on the totem pole so you are the first to go”, found failure 27 times. And that summer, even though is was full of sunshine outside, in our home there was darkness. Any man that can be without a job and hear 27 times”You are great, but we went with the other person”, and having that sense of pride that you are the husband, the father, the provider for the family…well, I’m sure you can imagine how much strength it took to walk into that next interview. Which he got. And has had opportunity after opportunity to grow, get stronger, aging to near perfection in his abilities as a school  administrator. He has had to rise up against so many challenges in this small school position, yet has done so with a fine grace far superior to his younger age. He continues to get stronger, becoming something (and someone) that is high quality, unforgettable, and exactly the added “a-ha, that is just what was needed” special-ness that only a man that has refined himself professionally, personally, and spiritually can provide. To me, that is like a fine aged Scotch. I didn’t think I ever needed to try a Scotch, until I finally did, and then, with a sigh of completeness, I understood what perfection tasted like. I feel I am married to a man that exemplifies that.

Of course, my husband is far from “finished”. He is still aging in the barrel, so to speak. Tuesday we will find out what God’s plans are for him, and our family. He may hear his 30th NO. Or as I say, “Not Yet.” Perhaps he will stay where he is. Perhaps he will continue to age elsewhere, adding new notes of flavor to his life. Only our Good Lord knows. But rest assured, he is living his life to the most Top Shelf. And he has inspired me to venture out of my comfort zone. Perhaps I will actually face my fears and finalize my counseling license and move into a new career path. The middle of the shelf may be safe, but the ones who are on the top shelf are just a bit more special, and that’s just the way I see it.

Glenfiddich-1937-750x388

 

Running and Whiskey Weekend Warriors

monorail

Once upon a time (let’s say it was 5 years ago), there was this beautiful Queen, (let’s call her Stacie), who one day was angry with her husband (let’s just, for the sake of this story, call him Josh!) so she went outside for a run. This beautiful, amazing Queen actually wasn’t much of a runner, even though she was a PE teacher, (yeah, yeah, I KNOW!!!), but after running her angry off, which really only took about two miles or so, she realized, “Huh, that was actually not so bad!” And thus, this mild like for running began.

Fast forward two years (that would be THREE years ago, if you want to keep track!), and the totally motivated mommy, wife, QUEEN learned about a cool sounding race in Seattle called the Hot Chocolate 5k/15k Run. And truly, if you really want to know the truth, it was the Goodie Bag of an awesome looking sweatshirt and tons of chocolate fondue that really enticed the Queen! But sadly, that year she was already committed to something else on the same date as the run. The next year, same thing! This run was still calling to her…so in October 2016, the super smart and ever-so-budget savvy Queen signed up for this Hot Chocolate 5k/15k race, knowing that there would be nothing on the calendar yet for March 5, 2017 AND hey, it was a discounted price since she was signing up for the early bird special! So…what does that have to do with The Whiskey Lovers Wife???? Well, keep your Nike’s on, we are getting there!

So, with the run approaching, this thoughtful Queen decided it would be a marvelous idea to invite her family (the King and her two Prince Charming sons!) to join her on a weekend adventure to Seattle. Also, the two young Princes both have birthdays in March, so it would be a great way to spend some family time and do an early mini-celebration. PLUS, the King really wanted to go to the Copperworks Distillery, since the last time the King and Queen went on a distillery tour, we (I mean them, the King and Queen), couldn’t quite figure out what the GPS was trying to navigate so they gave up and headed to Woodinville! (After visiting Westland Distillery, Letterpress Distillery, and 2-Bar in downtown Seattle!)

The weather in Seattle was perfect for our quest. The rain held out, it wasn’t too cold, and there was plenty to see and do for the two Prince Charming’s, like ride the monorail, check out Pike’s Place Market, get grossed out by the gum wall, and eat at Ivarsgumwallpikesplace

The King was beyond over-joyed to find the CopperWorks Distillery. To read his review and experience on CopperWorks, please check out his blog today at The Whiskey Lover! copperworksIt is really an enjoyable piece to read, chock full of a thorough description of his tasting and thoughts. And THAT, my darling readers, is how whiskey is relevant to a weekend of running! But wait! I’m not down with the story yet! You see, while the Queen (or, yep, you’ve guessed it, ME, the WHISKEY LOVER’S WIFE!) was really gearing up to run in the Hot Chocolate race, there was always the thought of whiskey and family time! If you can kill two birds with one stone, why wouldn’t you? (seriously, I wish there were a different idiom I could use. I feel REALLY bad for thinking about killing birds…unless they are crows, because they creep me out.)

The Hot Chocolate 5k/15k Run was a lot of fun, and I felt pretty good about my time. Despite being sick with a head cold and having had a pulled calve muscle the past week, I ran the 5k in 39.12 minutes.

Just over 12 minutes a mile, especially when I didn’t have the forethought to train for hills or inclines…sure, I’ll take it! I’d have to say, all in all, we had a pretty great weekend. And now my hubby has some  CopperWorks single malt whiskey to sip on, I have a kick-a…um, butt new sweatshirt that proves I ran today, AND the boys got tons of candy when boarding the monorail for the return trip to the Seattle Center and TONS of new memories were made! And isn’t that what it’s all about?!

***Side note, the Queen was really looking forward to going up into the Ivory Tower (The Space Needle) as she had promised the Prince Charming’s they would embark upon that landmark this time in the land of Seattle. However, the youngest dear Prince succumbed to his fear of heights and dare I say, FREAKED OUT, so with the great motto of “all for one and one for all”, this entire royal family opted to move past it. Maybe next time…

hotchoccheckin

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Happy Life, Happy…

smile

How do you finish the above? I am sure you have heard it as Happy Life, Happy Wife, right??? Well, today I would like to talk about happiness. What is it that makes us happy? As a Whiskey Lovers Wife, I can tell you that it is not the actual WHISKEY that makes my husband happy (although it certainly does help!) For him, it is all that goes into the making, tasting, and drinking of the whiskey. I have learned it is quite complicated to explain why this makes him so happy, but it does.

Now, here is where I get to tell you that when my husband is happy, I AM HAPPY. But, I am pretty positive that he would say that when I am happy, HE IS HAPPY. Marriage- it’s a giving and sharing and giving back. I might venture out to say that since my husband has become a WHISKEY LOVER, it has strengthened our marriage!

I explained in my first post that I am truly a wine girl. I love wine. However, I have started to really appreciate tasting whiskey. Why? Because it is something I have learned while spending time with my husband. Because I already have knowledge of how different alcohols are made/produced (once upon a time, I was the valedictorian of my Seattle Bartending Academy class of a long time ago and bar tended for a short time in college, but to hear the rest of this story, you’d have to have drinks with us first!), therefore able to have a better understanding of terms my husband talks about, thus creating more avenues of conversations for us. As a married couple who both work full time in education, have two kids, and very busy lives, sometimes it’s hard to just find the time to sit and enjoy a quiet conversation with one another. Whiskey, though, as provided this.whiskey

As a couple, we have gone to distilleries together, we have done a little weekend vacation where the kids stayed with the grandparents while we enjoyed a couple days exploring and learning about new distilleries and types of whiskeys. And as a family, we have a few more day trips around our beautiful state and now this summer we will take a family trip to Scotland! So you see, whiskey really is a tool that is creating memorable experiences for our whole family.  (Watch for a blog in two weeks that discusses smart parenting practices to teach and demonstrate responsible alcohol consumption and use. I will be sharing exactly what are boys perspective is on all this.) 

My husband is happy. He has found a hobby he is passionate about. And more than that, it is something he feels capable about, knowledgeable, and able to share with others. And that is important. In the past, he picked up beer brewing and wood-crafting as hobbies, and while he did well, (and we acquired lots of equipment so he can always go back to those things, and at times he tinkers with them still. It’s good to know how to do a variety of things!), the fact of the matter is, he was missing something. I think it was the feeling of being able to involve others. I never helped him make beer, and my role with wood-working was to pretty it up after something was created. But it wasn’t done TOGETHER. sunshinewhiskeyHe needed me to really know the details about HIM. (To read about that, please go here!) With whiskey, my husband is able to share himself- his excitement, passion, know-how- with me and create opportunities for closeness.

Happy Life, Happy. Period. 

To learn more about building strong marriages, check out StacieStoneyCoaching.com. No, whiskey drinking will not be encouraged, but learning what your are passionate about and how to work together as a team and learn from one another will be the focus! After all, that is where The Whiskey Lovers Wife really is coming from!

 

 

 

Learning to love Whiskey

Hi! I’m Stacie. I’m The Whiskey Lovers Wife. And this is my first blog entry here, but you may have met me before as mrspageantmommy or at my business StacieStoneyCoaching. 

staciemarriage

You can read more about me on the About the Wife page. Today, I am going to share with you my experience of going from a Wine Girl to a Whiskey Lovers Wife, and how I am learning to love the fine art of whiskey tastings.

It all started a little over 6 months ago when I begged my husband to go to Las Vegas with me, as we hadn’t been there for a couple years and I really do love the sights and sounds and SUN in Vegas! Both my husband (his name is Josh) and I are not big gamblers, and we are actually a bit on the cheap side. So, as any good deal hunting gal does, I scoured the internet for all the free things we could do while in Vegas AND found some great Groupon’s to use, like the Eiffel Tower Experience. One of the free things I found was a Whiskey Tasting Class offered in the Venetian Hotel at a place called Vom Fass. Visit their website here!  

venetian

Outside of the Venetian in Las Vegas. At 107 degrees, even the phone was sweating!

Well, that is where it all began. Josh and I learned some basics about whiskey and how to taste. We were given historical background and geographical knowledge as to why the Scotch (whiskey from Scotland!) tasted so different dependent on the area of Scotland it was made, that Bourbon can only be from America (originally it could only be called Bourbon if it came from Bourbon County, Kentucky!), and what kinds of grains are used in each type of whiskey. Josh was hooked. He loves learning and the content captured him. Then there was the tasting. 

I can tell you, I don’t remember learning about the art of nosing, but I do remember being told to breathe out my nose to let the alcohol be released so I could actually TASTE the flavors of the whiskey. While my husband did this like a trained professional, I felt my nose hairs burn and I could barely swallow the vile stuff in my mouth. From that moment on, I was done with whiskey and I gave all my tastings to Josh. (No, he didn’t complain!)

Now, I have to be perfectly honest with you. I love wine. Like really love it. I appreciate the way it is made, from the grapes lovingly grown and harvested right down to the way the wine is bottled and marketed. I dream of working for a winery because I whole-heatedly love the product so much, I could get anyone excited about it. And I realize, that is how my husband feels about whiskey.

Through the past 6 months, I have encouraged this new passion of Josh’s. After all, I AM a Life Coach who specializes in helping others pursue their purpose in life! What kind of wife would I be if I did not do that for Josh? So, we have done several distillery tours in downtown Seattle,

handsomehubby

At the Westland Distillery in Seattle

in Woodinville, and nearby in our more local areas of Olympia and Tenino (all in Washington State.) Stick with me long enough and I’ll talk to you all about these different distilleries and what I have learned along the way. I am SO encouraging, in fact, that recently I booked our family trip this summer to travel through Scotland! The original plan was always to take my oldest son, who is an 8th grader this year, to Scotland when he graduates high-school as his last name and father’s family (I was married previously) is Scottish. Now I suppose Luke will be the luckiest kid in town to travel to the UK for his 8th grade graduation!  Our youngest son is in the 3rd grade and has already decided that we should live there! 

The past weekend was a Meet-Up that Josh belongs to, called the Capitol Scotch and Whiskey Club, where they paired dark chocolates with whiskeys. I decided to go along because of the promise there would be wine for those who did not want to try the whiskey. Once we got there, I decided to be brave and do the tasting. After all, Josh has had me tasting much of his collection at home and I felt somewhat confident that I would no longer burn out my nose hairs! 

Let’s just say, I think I like this whiskey stuff. Like, really like it. Don’t take me wrong, wine still has my heart, but I am understanding why Josh enjoys tasting whiskey so much. One thing I have realized is that when one tastes whiskey, it is not to throw it back and get drunk. In fact, Josh takes a really long time (an hour sometimes) to finish a dram. When I open a bottle of wine, I seem to go through it a LOT quicker than what Josh goes through whiskey. He really takes the time to savor it.

So, with all that being said, I really hope you will follow along as this Whiskey Lovers Wife takes you on a journey of all things whiskey, and many things NOT related to whiskey but more about family, marriage, and even my version of a whiskey workout! Stay tuned, my friends! 

woodinville

Stacie and Josh at Woodinville Whiskey