Wine & Chocolate

Yesterday we headed out to Lodi to go to Wine & Chocolate with our friends Reid & Kelly. They live in Lodi now & keep us informed about all of the Wine Tasting Events throughout the year (there are a ton in Lodi!) Every Valentines weekend there is an event called Wine & Chocolate where all 40 wineries in Lodi have wine, food, chocolate & music. This is the first year we have been able to go!
This Kate on our way out there. When we got on the freeway, I said "Happy Valentines Day Kate" She said, "What is dat?" (she obviously forgot about all the Valentine's Goodies we made the other day)
I said, "Valentines Day is a Hallmark holiday that makes single people feel bad about themselves. Just remember Kate, Jesus is your one true love."

We met at Reid & Kelly's house (Kelly had gotten a babysitter for Kate & their son Owen). This was the first time Kate has been left with a babysitter other than her Granparents or my sisters! She did great. We headed out at 11 am with Reid & Kelly, Christine & Rod, Rod's parents and Jimmy & Denise and of course Claire.
Here we are the the first Winery, Jessie's Grove. My goal was to get a picture of us at all the wineries! I acheived my goal. Reid's goal was to go to as many wineries as we could. We went to 7 out of 40. His goal is to go to more than 10 next year!
Jessie's Grove had the best food...they had these Chicken Mole Tacos. SO good! It was pretty crowded there.
Then we headed to Abundance Vineyards. This is where we encountered CRAZY PERSON #1. Crazy Person #1 was a lady who was really enjoying her wine & asked me 3 times if she could buy my baby for $50. Ummmm...sorry lady, she isn't for sale, And if she was, she is worth WAY more than $50. Anyways..
I decided to put Claire in the Baby Bjorn. She wasn't too excited about it & kept trying to grab my wine glass.
Reid & Kevin in front of this door that Reid really liked....
The Murphy Ladies!
Our 3rd stop was Lange Twins Wine Estates they had really good wine & these really fun panini sandwhiches...Brie cheese & Chocolate on Sourdough baguettes. I didnt think I would like that combo, but it was yummy. This was Kevin's favorite place, he really liked how the whole tasting room was lined with wine barrels.
Then we headed to Macchia. Reid & Kelly call this the "Slutty Girl Winery" because all their ads have girls with very little clothes on. It was a cute winery with a lot of charm & they had some interesting names for some of their food & wine.

These meatballs called "Great Balls of Fire" were AMAZINGly good!

There was barrel tasting from these 2 wines "Flirtacious" and"Boobylicious". Yes, they had a wine called "Boobylicious". Hysterical.
They donate some of the proceeds from that wine to Breast Cancer Awareness.
Macchia is where we encountered Crazy Person #2. It was an older lady who came up to me & Claire and said "Hi Baby Claire". She said she noticed us at another winery and said our baby was so cute. She was very nice, but HOW did she know my baby's name. Weird.

We left "Slutty girl Winery" and headed over to Heritage Oak Winery.
Isn't it pretty?
Their wine was okay, but they had these chocolates with ice cream in the middle. Delicious. Kelly's favorite stop, hands down.
We encountered Crazy Person #1 AGAIN. We remembered her, but she apparantly didn't remember us because she offered us $50 for Claire again. When I laughed & said no, she said, "Man, no one is selling their babies today. What if I offered $70?" When I kindly/awkaredly said "she's not for sale" she walked/stumbled away. We got a laugh at her & decided to start taking pictures of the crazy people we encountered. So, here is the back of Crazy Person #1
One of the wines at Heritage Oak is called "Zinfendelity" and they gave us these REALLY cheesy buttons that said "I commited Zinfendelity at Heritage Oak Winery". I HATE plays on words like this. SO cheesy. Here are Chris and I with our buttons.
Our 6th stop was Vino Con Brio. It had the best atmosphere, hands down! It is connected to a Bed & Breakfast & it had a lot of character & a cute cobblestone courtyard.
Reid & Kevin discussing the wine.
We encountered Crazy Person #3 here. Claire was asleep at this winery, and this lady in the red hat kept walking by us and bending down to the stroller and shouting into Claire's face "Wake up, wake up!!" Thanks a lot Crazy Lady #3, you eventually did wake her up.
Our 7th & final stop was at
Borra Vineyards. They had beautiful vineyards also.
We ran into our 4th and final Crazy Person here. I was standing off to the side with Claire & this guy comes up to me and says "So, how is Claire sleeping at night?" (ummmmmmm What? Who are you? Where are all these crazy people coming from. I thought to myself.) Reid, Kevin and I glanced at eachother & I said that she was sleeping okay and excused myself (with Claire) to go get some more wine. I left Kevin with the crazy guy. Reid giving a thumbs up at crazy guy while Kevin is stuck talking to him.

I saw this shirt at Borra. It reminded me of my younger sister Becks! haha.
After we were done wine tasting we headed back to Reid & Kelly's for dinner. Reid brews his own beer & the guys did some beer tasting when we got back.

The kiddos hanging out!

When we got home from Lodi, we discovered that St. Valentine (aka Grandma Jill) had hit our house with some Valentine's presents.
For the girls, an outdoor picnic table:

Wine & cookies for Kevin & I and a toy bone for Boulder!

We had a fun & tiring Valentine's Day. Usuaully, we don't do anything on the actual Valentine's Day. Kevin and I always celebrate Valentine's Day on February 15th since that is when he proposed! (He is a Valentine's Day hater) We exchange Valentines Day cards on the 15th & then go to dinner. No crowds & we dont have to make reservations, it is great!


10 on 10 :: February 2009

10 pictures on the 10th day of the month....

Claire asleep when I left for work this morning.
She had her best night of sleep last night EVER & slept from 7pm to 4:30 and went right back down after I fed her!

The agenda in my classroom...who's the mean teacher who gave a quiz today?

The girls in the shirts Auntie El gave them
(she is on a mission trip in Thailand right now)

Our front door

Kate & her buddy Maddie!

Kate & Maddie playing in Boulder's dog house! Silly Girls!

Kate playing with blocks

Dinner time! Homemade Macaroni & Cheese!

Horray! Kevin submitting our taxes! Thank you Uncle Sam!
Ice cream while watching Tuesday night TV...American Idol and Biggest Loser!


111 Random Things about Mel

I (like everyone else on Facebook) was tagged to write 25 Random Things about Yourself. I love things like this, so I quickly obliged last week. All week as I was driving or laying bed, I kept thinking of MORE random facts about myself that I could have put instead. So, here you go, 111 Random Things about Mel.

Proceed & Read with caution and only if you have nothing else to do.

(The first 25 are the same ones I put on Facebook).

1. I hate mayonnaise. I can have it mixed into things, but if I see it plain it makes me gag.

2. I have a bizarre memory & if you tell me your birthday, I will never forget it.

3. I can walk on my hands the length of a basketball court.

4. I love being the middle child. I think having an older & younger sister is so fun. I am so lucky my sisters are 2 of my best friends. We never fought growing up & never fight now. We get along so well!

5. My best friend Anna-Karin (AK) moved next door to me in 5th grade. We immediately became BFF’s & both went to University of Colorado. We lived in the same dorm, both married guys who also grew up in the same town & got married 2 months apart, went through miscarriages weeks apart, and had our first kids a few months apart & our 2nd babies 3 days apart. She stayed in Colorado, but I pray everyday that they move back to California

6. In 1995, when I was a sophomore in high school, I set the school record in track for the 300 meter hurdles. I still hold that record!

7. When I was 16 on our church youth group Houseboat trip, I had a crush on one of the drivers named Kevin Larson. I told my friend Sarah-Sue that I would marry him one day!

8. I was a good girl in high school & then had a wild streak my first 2 years in college.

9. When I graduated from University of Colorado, I held 12 school records for the soccer team. I only hold 1 of them now.

10. I am a perfectionist, slightly OCD, a neat freak and a HUGE germ-a-phob.

11. One of my goals in life is to go to all 50 states. So far, I have been to 32. (Edited: I have now been to 34)

12. Kevin and I dated for 5 months, got engaged & were married 6 months later on August 24, 2002.

13. I am very impatient & want things to go my way, at my time. I am thankful to God for his plans & his timing. He continues to reveal this to me ALL the TIME!

14. I love playing games & am very competitive (being married to Kevin has actually mellowed me out).

15. I am sensitive & cry during happy/sad movies and books.

16. I would like to run a marathon one day.

17. I miss playing soccer so much that sometimes I have dreams at night that I am allowed to play college soccer again for a few more years.

18. Becoming a mother was the best thing that has ever happened to me. I thank God everyday for blessing me with 2 healthy & beautiful girls. I love them more than I could possibly imagine.

19. I am so lucky to be married to Kevin. He has more integrity than anyone I know. He is such a hard worker & loves me and the girls so much. I can’t imagine life without him.

20. I can’t breathe through my nose. I have had surgery 2 times to fix it, but it didn’t work.

21. Growing up, I never had a dog. I told Kevin I never wanted a dog. Then, for his 30th birthday I surprised him with a yellow lab puppy. I got to name her Boulder (after Boulder, Colorado).

22. I started drinking coffee everyday when I was 16. If I don’t have coffee, I get a caffeine headache. Can you say, addicted?

23. I hope that my girls grow up with good self esteem and know that they are loved by Kevin & I and that God has created them in his perfect image.

24. My house is very clean & organized (most of the time) but my closets are a disaster.

25. I am a huge night owl & stay up way too late every night watch ing TV or being on the computer (internet, facebook, blogs, photoshop, etc)

26. My top 3 favorite candies are: Hot Tamales, Sour Patch Kids and Good & Plenty.

27. My senior year of high school I was Senior Class Treasurer. 3 of my closest friends were also class officers & we got to plan our 10 year Reunion in 2007. I didn't know when I was in high school that the class officers had to plan the Reunions! But, I like doing that kind of thing.

28. My favorite place to vacation is Hawaii. Maui & Kauai are my favorite islands.

29. When I was playing soccer at Colorado, the Boulder School of Massage gave the athletes massages every Monday. I wish I still got massages every Monday. I wish Kevin gave me more massages (hint, hint)

30. This year is my "golden" birthday. I turn 30 on May 30th (and it is on a Saturday! sweet!) (Edited: I am now 33. Sigh.)

31. Turning 30 is freaking me out a little. That seems so old. I am currently deciding what I want to do for my 30th. I either want to go wine tasting in Napa or to dinner & then the dueling piano bar in San Francisco with friends! (Edited: You can read about my 30th birthday HERE! It was a blast!)

32. I have been pregnant 4 times. My first miscarriage was in October 2002, it was an ectopic pregnancy & I am lucky to be alive. My dr saved my life. Thank you, Dr. W. My 2nd miscarriage was at 10 weeks in October 2005. It was one of the hardest/darkest times I have ever gone through. (Edited: Luke was my 5th pregnancy)

33. Growing up I wanted twin girls. I was secretly hoping for twins when I was pregnant with Kate because I was miserable & so sick. I am glad I didn't have twins, I don't think I would be able to handle that.

34. I teach at the same middle school that Kevin and I went to. I teach 7th grade Pre-Alegbra in the EXACT same classrooom that I had 7th grade Pre-Algebra.

35. I was the Varsity Assistant Girls Soccer Coach at our High School for 6 years. I stopped coaching after I had Claire (too hard with a new baby & toddler). I miss it a lot!

36. I have the same wedding anniversary as my parents! Kevin and I got married on August 24, 2002. My parents got married on August 24, 1974.

37. I gained 50 pounds while pregnant with Kate. I gained 45 pounds while pregnant with Claire. I have lost all my pregnancy weight. I owe that all to breast feeding & my mom's genes. Thanks mom! (Edited: I gained 45 with Luke also! Yikes!!)
38. My younger sister Rebecca and I are so alike, It is kinda freaky. Seriously, our personalities are freakishly similar.

39. My older sister Elyse and I were actually mistaken for twins most of our lives. As we got older, whenever people would ask us if we were twins, we started saying yes for fun. I wonder if Kate & Claire will be mistaken for twins when they are older. (Edited: I get asked if they are twins 1-2 times a month)

40. My mom, sisters and I have the same mannerisms, gestures & sound alike. It freaks people out :)

41. I used to drink a Diet Coke or Diet Dr. Pepper every afternoon until I got pregnant with Kate. I gave it up & only indulge once a month or so.

42. One thing I can't handle is injustice. It infuriates me!

43. I am a people-pleaser. I have a hard time saying no.

44. My favorite holiday is Christmas.

45. I get a pedicure once a month during the months of May through September.

46. The thing I miss most of my life before kids is laying out in the sun, by a beach or pool, relaxing and reading (and having a fruity cocktail!)

47. I was a girl scout from kindergarten until 4th grade. I loved selling Girl Scout Cookies. My favorite flavor is Samoas, followed by Thin Mints.

48. I love wine. Kevin and I started a couples wine group 4 years ago with 5 other couples. It is SO fun.

49. My sisters and I call our dad "Jimmy".

50. I could eat pizza everyday.

51. Fall is my favorite season. October is my favorite month. I am OBESSED.

52. The only beer I like is Heffeweisen.

53. My favorite cocktail is a Lemon Drop (followed very closely by a strawberry margarita or a lava flow)

54. I have been to the 4th of July parade in our town EVERY single year of my life. I wouldn't miss it for anything!

55. I don't like prime numbers. But, ironically Kate was born on 1.23.07 (all prime numbers). My soccer number growing up was #3. My soccer number in college was #17 (again, both prime numbers).

56. I don't look good in sunglasses And, I have never spent more than $10 on a pair of sunglasses.

57. When I was 13, I put itching powder in my older sister's bed on April Fools Day. She told on me & my dad made me sleep in her bed. (obviously I changed the sheets after my parents were asleep).

58. I wish I could sing.

59. I am a good cook & love to bake. I hate doing dishes...ESPECIALLY unloading the dishwasher.

60. Kevin says the laptop is my boyfriend.

61. We didn't find out what we were having with both girls. We wanted the surprise at birth. I KNEW they were both going to be girls from about 3 months pregnant. There is some truth to Mother's Intuition.

62. I was recruited by over 50 schools to play college soccer. I think my mom still has all my recruiting letters. My final 2 choices were between Colorado and Cal.

63. I did not like being pregnant. Both my pregnancies were IDENTICAL. I had morning sickness starting at 6 weeks exactly that lasted until 22 weeks. I threw up 2-3 times a day and was nauseous all day. It was miserable. (Edited: My pregnancy with Luke was even worse...my nausea didn't end until he was born!!!)

64. My favorite white wine is Talbot Chardonnay. My favorite red wine is Cakebread Cabernet. I cannot afford either one of them.

65. My first car when I was 16 was a 1979 BMW 320i. I nicknamed it the putt-putt. My dad bought it in the 80's from a former Oakland A's baseball player. The transmission went out on the car my junior year of high school & I didn't have reverse for 4 months.

66. When I was in high school I baby sat for our neighbor's almost every Saturday night to give them a night out because their son had Leukemia.

67. I went to New York City with my sisters to volunteer with the Salvation Army September 11th relief a few months after 9-11. It one of the most amazing experiences of my life along with the trip
my younger sister Rebecca and I went on to New Orleans & Mississippi with our church to build houses for Hurricane Katrina relief. It was life changing.

68. I love me some reality TV. I watch trashy shows like The Bachelor, The Hills, Real World/Road Rules Challenge, American Idol & Biggest Loser.

69. I have been a subscriber to People magazine for (gasp!) 8 years. It is my guilty pleasure. Before I had kids, every Friday afternoon after work, I would read my People magazine & drink a Diet Coke (or Diet Dr. Pepper). It was a great way to start the weekend!

70. I want to go to the Oprah show & also David Letterman. They are 2 of my favorite talk show hosts.

71. I love roller coasters.

72. My favorite color is pink. Currently, my favorite color combination is pink & brown.

73. I don't know how I convinced Kevin to allow me to name Claire, Claire. He didn't like the name at first. He wanted to name her Sarah. (pretty name, but boring with our last name!!!)

74. If we had a boy, his name would have been Luke James. If we had 2 boys, the other boy name would have been Grant Thomas. (Edited: We had our Luke James! YAY!)

75. I have always wanted to be a teacher. When I was 4 years old I used to "play school" and pretend to be a teacher.. I would change my bedroom into a classroom and my stuffed animals were my students.

76. Kevin and I both went to the same preschool. That is where we will be sending our girls to preschool.

77. Buchannon's Coffee Pub in Boulder, Colorado has the best Vanilla Latte I have ever had. (Coffee Bean is a close 2nd)

78. I have a lot of black clothing items. I am obsessed with black shoes & black purses. I need to branch out.

79. My mom said I couldn't get my ears pierced until I was 10. I got them pierced at the age of 6 because everyone at Elyse's 8th birthday party had their ears pierced & my mom decided we could have ours pierced. My ears have never been infected. I got my ears double pierced in 5th grade. I triple pierced my own ear when I was 16. I numbed it with ice & then stuck an earring through it. I got my cartilage on my left ear pierced my freshman year of college. I took out all my ear piercings out (except my original piercings) the week before I got married. I didn't want my wedding pictures to look tacky with all those ear piercings. I haven't worn earrings in them since!

80. When I was 16 I went bungee jumping without telling my parents & I used my older sister's ID (she was 18). I told my parents what I did as soon as I got home.

81. I wouldn't have been able to survive the first few months of motherhood with Kate (or Claire) without the help of my mom or mother in law.

82. I am a control freak.
Fortunately ( & unfortunately) God keeps reminding me that I am NOT in control but HE is.

83. I am a very social & outgoing person. But, I also love staying at home on a lazy Friday night.

84. My mom is one of my heroes. She has been through so much in her life, but you would never know. She is one of the strongest people I know. I hope I can be as good as a mom as she has been.

85. One of the first things I do when I get home is take off my bra & put on comfortable clothes!!!

86. I don't hold grudges. I forgive easily.
It takes a lot to offend me. I am very easy-going!

87. I am obsessed with good pens.

88. I have really long arms. My wing span is over 6 feet long. I also have long fingers. 2 times in my life strangers have approached me & asked me if I was a hand model.

89. I don't know how to drive a stick shift. Kevin *tried* to teach me when we were dating. It did not go well....I blame the teacher ;)

90. I love making lists. Nothing feels better than crossing something off my to-do list!

91. In high school I was voted "Most Athletic" and "Friendliest" of my senior class. My mom told me she was so proud of me being voted "Friendliest".

92. When I write, I hold my pencil/pen the wrong way. My 4th grade teacher tried to correct me, but it didn't work. I have good penmanship (especially when you see how I hold pens when I write)

93. I have a good sense of humor & can be very sarcastic. I am also nosy (which why I love reading other people's blogs!)

94. I enjoy the deep, authentic & real friendships in my life. I don't have time for shallow & fake people. I love sharing life, stories & experiences with people!

95. My husband makes me laugh AND he is hot! I am so lucky!

96. Becoming a mother is the most challenging & rewarding job I have ever had. I fear not being a good mom.

97. I have never had braces.

98. I am right handed, but can write very well with my left hand. I wake-board, run hurdles like a lefty and can kick a soccer ball very well with my left.

For the past 12 years I have given up all candy, desserts & sweets for Lent.

100. Speaking of 100...I hope to live to be 1oo years old! On my 5th birthday there was a lady who turned 100 that day & I thought it was so cool!
Triple digits baby! My only living grandparent is Grammy. She wants to live to be 100 also. She will be 98 this year! (Edited: Grammy is now 101 & still going stong!!!)
101. I have a fear of public bathrooms & use the paper towel to open the stalls & doors. I HATE public bathrooms that have air dryers instead of paper towels.

102. Sponges are banned from my kitchen. They are just germ traps. {shudder}.

103. In the next few months I am going to start a little side business making baby shower announcements, shower & party invitations & holiday cards. (Edited: My ETSY shop opened September 2009!)

104. I am obsessed with taking pictures of my girls.

105. I don't know how to spell the word definitely. I have to use spell check every.single. time. For some reason, I just can't remember how to spell it!

106. My favorite store is Target & one of my favorite things to do is go on a date to Target by myself when the girls are in bed at night. I get to walk down every isle & take my time looking at things. It is oh so fun.

107. Fire & Ice roses are my favorite flower.

108. My parents took us to the 1996 Atlanta Summer Olympics. I would like to go to the Winter Olympics someday too.....how about the 2010 Vancuver Olympics...pretty please Kevin :)

109. I got 2 of my wisdom teeth out in when I was in 3rd grade. I brought them for show & tell the week after I got them out.

110. I have a bad back. When I was in 7th grade I was diagnosed with scoliosis. Also, my right leg was longer than my other & I had to wear a lift in my left shoe of 3 years. When I was in college, i herniated 2 discs in my back (caused by gymnastics as a kid & years of soccer). It was also discovered that I also have an extra bone in my spine that is passed down from fathers to daughters. Thanks Jimmy :)

I know that I am blessed. God is so good & I don't deserve all the good things he has given me.


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