2.25.2010

February in Napa...

...is one of my favorite places & time of year to visit.

I am obsessed with Napa in February.
Why you might ask?
Because of this:
Hello, yellow mustard plants! Gorgeous! I love them!

This past weekend, my college roommate Brittany* & her husband Mikey came to visit us.
Mikey had a conference in San Fran & Britt called a few weeks ago to see if they could stay with us! I was so excited because we haven't seen them since the Fall of 2007 when we were in Colorado for a visit. Kate was only 8 months old!

*If you live in the Denver area & need a Dentist, check out Brittany's dental practice that she opened 3 years ago, Lodo Dental*

Brittany & Mikey were both raised in Colorado and when I suggested we go to Napa for the afternoon, they were thrilled. And, so was I! That meant I could look at all the mustard!

My mother in law took the girls to the zoo for the afternoon, and the 4 of us headed to Napa for a few hours. As soon as you drop into the Napa Valley, you see this:
Beautiful yellow mustard growing throughout the vineyards & vibrant green hills.
The pictures don't even do it justice. It is simply gorgeous!

Our first stop in Napa was Cakebread Cellars. Cakebread is one of my favorite wines, but I have never been wine tasting there because they are always booked! (We made an appointment this time).

We had a wonderful tour & then a sit down tasting. (and, it was only $10)
Mikey & Brittany were so giddy the whole time & kept saying they couldn't believe they were in Napa. It was fun. It also made me realize how I take for granted how close we live to Napa!
Britt & I, college roomies!
Vineyards outside of Cakebread:
After Cakebread, we headed over to Dean & Duluca for lunch.
I had one of the best sandwhiches I have ever had... a warm turkey, pesto & havarti sandwich. It was amazing.
After lunch, we had time for one more stop, so we went to Rombauer Vineyards.
Rombauer is off the Silverado Trail, so we had to drive a little to get there, but that just meant we got to see more mustard plants:
Rombauer has beautiful grounds & is set up on a hill with a beautiful view of a valley.
It is one of my favorite places to visit. They always have flowers in bloom there.

Mikey & Britt at Rombauer:
Kevin & I:
Mikey & Brittany enjoying the view:
More mustard on our way home (told you I am obsessed with it):
It was so great having them stay with us, even though it was a quick visit. There is just something about the college roommate bond. It is so special. Even though we haven't seen each other in years, it felt like it had only been days. It was so fun reminiscing about our old college days.

My favorite part of the weekend was having them stay at our house & watching them interact with our girls.
I am so glad they got to meet & hang out with Kate & Claire.
Both girls fell in love with them (how could you not?).
The day after they left, Kate kept asking us,
"Where are my friends Mikey & Brittany? I like them."
Mikey & Brittany don't have kids yet, hopefully staying with us didn't scare them from ever wanting kids. My favorite line from Mikey this weekend was,
"I love your girls, but this visit confirms we are going to wait a few more years to have a kid."
Thank you for your honesty Mikey, thankyouverymuch! :)

2.19.2010

Flashback Friday: The Olympics

Are you watching the Winter Olympics?
We are!
Kevin and I both love playing sports, watching sports & attending sporting events!
We especially love the Olympics.
My first memory of watching the Olympics was when I was 5 years old and I watched on TV as Mary Lou Retton won the gymnastics Gold in 1984 Summer Olympics. That started my obsession with the Olympics.

I wanted to be an Olympian so badly. Obviously that didn't happen, but a girl can dream, right?

Imagine my excitement when my parents told us at Christmas of 1995 that they were taking us to the 1996 Atlanta Summer Olympics. My sisters and I were ECSTATIC!
Luckily for us, some of our family friends had just moved to a suburb outside Atlanta and they graciously invited us to stay with them for the week.
The events that my parents got us tickets to were the 2 Women's Soccer Semi-Final games and tickets to see Track & Field.
(These were the 2 events we wanted to see because my younger sister and I were both heavily involved in Soccer and Track).
Of course, we would have loved to see gymnastics, but those tickets were hundreds of dollars. Oh well!
I will never forget our flight from San Francisco to Atlanta. Almost everyone on the flight was going to the Olympics & was wearing red, white & blue. It was so fun to hear everyone excited & talking about what events they were going to.
The American & Olympic spirit was alive and contagious!
Our first event was on the 2nd day we were in Atlanta. We were going to see 2 Women's Soccer games, both semi-finals. It was a double header held at the University of Georgia.
(My dad fell in love with the University of Georgia during this trip and since then has been a die hard Georgia Football fan. He even likes Georgia Football more than he likes my alma mater, the University of Colorado!)
The first semi-final was China vs Brazil (China won)
The 2nd semi-final was USA vs Norway (USA won)
Both games were amazing & so exciting.
Our original plan was to see track & field the next day and then after that, head to Savannah, Georgia for a few days of sight-seeing.
Because the US Women won the game & were heading to the Gold Medal game, my awesome parents decided to find tickets to the Gold Medal Soccer game & not go to Savannah.
We were able to get tickets to the Bronze medal game AND the Gold Medal game.
It was amazing. The US Women beat China to win the Gold Medal.
It was an experience I will never forget & so fun to witness.
(A year later, when I was playing college soccer I actually played against 2 girls who were on the Gold Medal winning Olympic team!)
The next day, we hung out all afternoon in the Olympic Village.
It was crowded! But, it was fun to see people from different countries who have traveled from across the world to attend the Olympics.
We got to hold the Olympic torch used in the torch relay:
(I can't believe how tan & in shape I was. Oh, to be 17 again!)
This next picture is classic & typical me as the middle child.......
Here we are on the "medal" stand. Of course I insisted on being the Gold medal winner. And poor Becks was the bronze medal winner.
We also went to a track meet, but I don't have the pictures from that because we lost the roll of film from that day. I still haven't gotten over it ;) The track meet was great, even though we had seats in the nose bleed section. We got to see Michael Johnson & his gold shoes.

The last few days of our trip were spent sight-seeing in the South.
Growing up in California, most of our family vacations were to Lake Tahoe or to Oregon.
We had never been to the South, so it was fun to experience.
We went to Chattanooga, Tennessee and went to several historical plantations in Georgia.
We also went to the Whistle Stop Cafe, where Fried Green Tomatoes was filmed:
One of my favorite things about the South is Cracker Barrel!
We don't have those in California.
We became OBSESSED with Cracker Barrel and ate there almost everyday of our week long trip. I have now had a 14 year love affair with Cracker Barrel.
(Remember our trip to Florida last year? I made Kevin go to Cracker Barrel everyday!)
This trip was also the first time we were introduced to Sweet Tea. Oh my goodness! So good.
Here in California, if you order an iced tea, you just get plain ice tea, no sugar.
Sweet tea is Amazing. I could drink it by the gallon. Do you know how happy I was when McDonald's starting selling sweet tea 2 years ago? Yumminess for just $1.

This past October, I was able to actually hold an Olympic medal!
This is me with SF Giant & USA baseball player Nate Schierholtz at our High School Athletic Hall of Fame Induction dinner. He was on the USA Olympic Baseball team that won the Bronze in the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics.
{I was surprised at how heavy the medal was!}

I am so thankful that my parents gave us the opportunity to go to the Atlanta Olympics!
I would LOVE my girls to experience that. And, I would love to experience it again!
On my "Bucket List" of things to do before I die is to go to the Winter Olympic Games.
I would like to experience the Olympic Games with the winter sports.
I would love to see figure skating, speed skating, snowboarding, downhill skiing & curling (for reals)
I better start saving now!

I hope you have been enjoying watching this year's Winter Olympics, it has been full of excitement & drama (of course!) I can't wait for the women's figure skating to start in a few days! What is your favorite event to watch?

2.17.2010

A Lovely Weekend

We had a fun filled Valentine's/President's Day weekend.
I LOVE 3 day weekends. They rule.
Friday afternoon, Kate and I made some Valentine treats for friends.
One of Kate's favorite books is Pinkalicious, so Kate insisted we make pink cupcakes.
I took the easy way out & just bought a box of strawberry cupcake mix.
Note to self: Strawberry cupcake mix is nasty. Totally tasted artificial. Never buying those again!
I should have made red velvet ones like last year.
Kate didn't seem to mind & I kept catching her sneaking licks of batter and/or frosting!
After I washed her hands (I am a germ-a-phob, even with my own kid)
I let her decorate the cupcakes however she wanted.
First, she insisted that every cupcake get a red-hot heart in the middle:
Then, she went to town decorating them. I think she did a great job!
I let her pick out one to eat.
She chose the one with purple sprinkles (of course)
I fotgot to warn her that the red heart in the middle was spicy.
Oops. My bad.
Here is her reaction after eating the red hot.
(Good thing I had milk handy to cool her mouth down)
All weekend she kept telling us that red hearts hurt her mouth. haha!
We also made chocolate & white chocoalte dipped pretzel sticks.
FYI...melting white chocolate is a PAIN in the butt. I ruined the first 2 batches!
Here is one of our goodie bags & Valentine card ready to be delivered!
On Saturday, we headed out to our Reid & Kelly's house in Lodi to go wine tasting at this event:
We went LAST YEAR & had so much fun, we went again this year.
I think this will be an annual tradition. We had more friends with us this year!
We got a tin of chocolates when we arrived at the first winery.
There are 40 wineries that participate in Wine & Chocolate.
You buy a ticket & you get free wine tasting, free chocolate tasting & free food at all the wineries!
Elyse & I at the first winery:
Kevin & Reid waiting in line for chocolate chili. (it was SO good)
The newlyweds, Kevin & Cora!
I loved these wine charms/ornaments. I didn't buy any, but I thought they were funny!
{Click to Enlarge}

The weather was amazing. 70 degrees in February. I love California!
Reid, Kevin, Kevin & Steph:
Me & Kev:
Sisters Picture!
Christine & Kelly and Elyse & I:
Vineyards:
Kelly & Reid:
Just like LAST YEAR, we ran into a few "crazies".
The first was a woman dressed as a cupid & the 2nd one was this woman who had WAY TOO much wine to drink & was "dancing" at the last winery we went to. The winery had a live band playing and the way this woman was dancing was WRONG. Just wrong. Kelly got it on video, but there is no WAY I will be posting it. If I did, you would be too grossed out.
We managed to go visit 10 different wineries. We beat last year's record of 7.
 Kate didn't nap all day & fell asleep on Kevin's lap at 6:00 while she was eating dinner.
She was OUT!
She stayed asleep all through dinner, dessert and the one hour drive home!

On Sunday (Valentine's Day) we had a mellow day.
We went to church, cleaned our house, delivered Valentine's cards & treats and then had pizza for dinner.

It was so nice having Monday off for President's Day & I was so happy Kevin had it off also!
We went to Cheesecake Factory for dinner to celebrate our Un-Valentine's Engagement Anniversary.
We had this Carmel Turtle Cheesecake for dessert:
It was the last dessert I will have until Easter.
It was delicious & a great way to end a lovely weekend!

2.15.2010

An Un-Valentines Day Engagement Story


Growing up, I was never a fan of Valentine's Day.
{This probably had to do with the fact that I never had a boyfriend when Valentine's Day rolled around}I had a couple boyfriends before I dated Kevin, but we had either broken up before Valentine's Day or didn't start dating until after Valentine's Day.

Kevin and I started officially dating in September 2001.
We had been hanging out all summer (I had graduated from college in May 2001)
We both grew up in the same town, but he was a few years older.
We went to the same high school & same youth group, but because he was older we didn't know each other. He actually was friends with my older sister & they went to the same college.
When I was in high school Kevin was a camp counselor at the houseboating camp our youth group went to every summer. (He was never my camp counselor). One of my best friends (Sue) and I would always pull pranks on Kevin's best friend Brian. During the summer of 1995, I developed a crush on Kevin & told Sue that I was going to marry Kevin one day.
Little did I know that would actually happen!

But, from the summer of 1995 until the summer of 2001, Kevin and I's path didn't cross.
He was at college & then I went off to college in Colorado.
I saw him briefly one night during Christmas break of 1998 when my older sister had a game night at my parents house.
I always thought Kevin didn't like me because let's face it, I'm loud, have a lot of energy & I talk a lot. And, the fact that I pulled a bunch of pranks on his best friend didn't help my cause.

Fast forward to July of 2001. I had just broken up with a guy I dated my last few months of college. Kevin's girlfriend of 3.5 years had broken up with him (on his birthday!)
I graduated from college in May & was home for the summer.
I had plans to move back to Colorado in the fall & do an internship with a youth group at a church in Boulder that I had volunteered with.
That summer of 2001 was life changing to say the least.
Our friends Reid & Kelly were getting married & Kevin was the best man. None of my friends were home that summer, they were either traveling or still at college. So, I just started hanging out with Reid, Kelly, Kevin & Elyse.
Kevin & I developed a great friendship that summer. We had SO much in common, we just clicked. I had NO intention of dating him because he was and I quote "damaged goods".
We started going on runs after work that summer. We would run for 1.5-2 hours and just talk.
I started getting feelings for him but was weary because I was moving back to Colorado...or so I thought. The assistant youth director job at our church opened up & I decided to apply. I had to let the church in Colorado know that they might need to find another intern & if it was okay with them if I applied for this full time job. With their blessing, I applied. And, I got it. (I worked there for 2 years (and got my California teaching credential simultaneously and then started teaching Middle School math in 2004.)
So, now that I was staying in California, Kevin and I had a DTR (define the relationship) on 9.9.01
The talk needed to happen since we hung out ALL the time. The DTR went well and we were dating. Our relationship progressed quickly & by December we were talking marriage. I was 22 & he was 26, but we both just "knew".

In January, Kevin started house hunting & wanted to buy a condo. He would take me along to look at the houses he was looking at to make sure I liked them & that I approved. The first week of February 2002, I was in a college friend's wedding in Colorado and Kevin came with me to meet all my college friends. We went for a week & the last day of our trip, he told me, "Wow. I haven't gotten sick of you yet". I told him I hadn't gotten sick of him either. Haha!

Little did I know, the day after we got back from Colorado, Kevin went ring shopping.
We also looked at a few more condos. The week of Valentine's Day was approaching. On Monday the 11th, Kevin put an offer on a condo. On Wednesday, they counter-offered him & then he counter offered later that night.
Thursday was Valentine's Day. Both Kevin and I were not big fans of Valentine's Day.
(side note: I was NOT expecting a ring for Valentine's Day)
We made simple plans to go to dinner at a local Italian place.
We made it clear that we wouldn't give presents on Valentine's Day. We exchanged cards.
It was simple. Just like us.

The next day, February 15th was a normal Friday. We had plans to head up to Tahoe for President's Day weekend with Brian & Angie & Kevin's sister and her family. We weren't leaving until Friday night after work. Kevin called me that afternoon & said he was getting off work early & that we should go on a run before we head up to Tahoe. I thought nothing of it because we usually went running 3-4 times a week after work.
I was living at my parents house, so he met me there at 3:30. We went on one of our normal routes, but then Kevin suggested we go "off trail" and run up in the hills.

We got to the top of the hill & it overlooked the entire valley that we live in. It was beautiful, all the hills were green. I told Kevin that we are so lucky to live in such a beautiful area.
At that moment, he got down on his knee (I thought he was tying his shoe)
Then he grabbed my hand & looked at me all serious.
I thought he was joking. I pulled my hand away & told him to stop joking around.
He grabbed my hand again & told me he was serious.
I was SHOCKED. He told me a bunch of nice stuff (I wasn't listening because I was just in shock that he was proposing. And he was proposing while we were on a run!
The whole time he was talking I kept wondering where the ring was. haha!
Finally, he pulled it out of his pocket. (He sewed the ring into his so it didn't fall out when he was running. Apparently, he sewed it a little too well & had a hard time ripping it out of his pocket!)
Of course I said yes & was shaking! We ran straight back to my parents house & my little sister Rebecca was there. Boy was she shocked when she saw the ring!
15 minutes after we got back to my parent's house, Kevin's cell phone rang. The offer on the house was accepted. So, not only did we get engaged, but we bought a house!
(I didn't move in until AFTER we were married)
February 15th is a special day for us!
Since we didn't have a camera took take a picture on our run (and we were both sweaty & in running gear), we went back a week later to take a picture of the spot where we got engaged (in normal clothes):
And, 6 months later on August 24, 2002, we were married!
(More wedding pictures on THIS post)

People always think it is funny that we got engaged the day AFTER Valentine's Day.
I think it is awesome!
So, every year, we DON'T celebrate Valentine's Day on February 14th.
Instead, we celebrate on February 15th & go out to dinner then because this day has more meaning to us!
And, you NEVER have to make a reservation for dinner on February 15th, restaurants are always pretty empty the day after Valentine's Day.
No pre-fix menu, no increased dinner prices, no crowds.
I think Kevin is a GENIUS for proposing on February 15th.
Happy Un-Valentine's Day, Kevin.
I love you & I am so glad I said "yes" to you 8 years ago!

2.10.2010

10 on 10 :: February 2010

Ten on Ten: 10 pictures on the 10th day of the month!
{Document a snapshot of your life & find beauty among the ordinary things in your day!}

Good morning Miss Kate! Happy after a yummy pancake breakfast:
I didn't have to go to school today. Myself and 2 other math teachers at my school had an off campus in-service, so I stopped & got myself a coffee this morning on the way. Non Fat Vanilla Latte, of course!
Our front door, decorated for Valentine's Day:
Playdate at our house with Maddie & Sam. "Fancy Maddie" in her dress up clothes:
Need to stop eating these:
Kate's shirt I made (sans tutu) & the cookies she made with Kevin's mom while I was at work.
She made our initials. One for Daddy, Mommy, Claire & Boulder:
Claire enjoying her "C" cookie:
Gave Claire her last dose of amoxicillin after being on it for 8 weeks treating her dermatitis.
Kate playing/organizing her bowls while I made dinner:
Join the 10 on 10 fun next month!
(and if you did it this month, leave a comment so I can check it out!)

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