Coughs and sniffles, season premiere week, college football, and crisp autumn air--classic signs that fall has arrived. But nothing kicks off the fall season like a trip to the Pumpkin Patch!
Yesterday was the opening day at our favorite pumpkin patch—Lakeview Farms. It’s hard to believe that this is our third year to visit the farm. Wyatt was only 5 weeks old when we started this fall tradition. It’s amazing how fast time flies when you’re drowning in diapers and so sleep deprived that you forget what day (or year) it is!
It was very chilly and rainy—perfect conditions for picking pumpkins while enjoying your favorite hot beverage! After riding the little choo-choo (with lattes in hand) out to the field, the search was on for pumpkins with great shape and lots of personality. Eric and I picked out the larger pumpkins (mommy and daddy pumpkins) while Wyatt got to pick out a couple of small pumpkins (bubba and sissy pumpkins) for him and Avery. So, as it turned out, we ended up with a “family” of pumpkins.
A small paddle-wheeler boat was there to transport both “families” across the lake and back to the barn, where a centipede ride awaited the kiddos and took them on a tour through the corn fields. Since it was opening day and not very busy, I guess I should say kidd-O, seeing as how Wyatt had the entire centipede to himself. We feared that he might get a little scared as the centipede ventured out of mommy and daddy’s sight, but he handled it like a big boy. In fact, when the centipede ride was finished, he looked at us and simply demanded, "A-gain!".
It was a fun afternoon activity to help alleviate the disappointment of our Sooners losing to Colorado earlier in the day. But coming home to find that Texas had also lost made the pill a tad bit easier to swallow!
Yes…with Eric! I admit, he can be somewhat difficult to live with at times, and has a rather unique way of showing and communicating his affection for me in front of others. In fact, those of you who know Eric have probably experienced or witnessed first-hand an occasion in which he has had to remove his foot from his mouth. I mean, seriously, the poor guy thought he was giving me a compliment when we first started dating by telling me that I had beautiful thunder thighs! Don’t worry, I quickly corrected him. In an effort to redeem himself, he has since chosen much more flattering terms to compliment my legs, such as tree-trunks or dinosaur legs! Yep, I’m serious. Anyway--believe it or not--he does have a sensitive side (that only comes out when he feels it is absolutely necessary), and an adventurous personality that adds a great deal of excitement to our relationship. As a result, life for us is never boring or stale.
Generally, we don’t make a big deal about certain dates, such as birthdays or anniversaries. But since Eric’s parents were in town, we decided to take advantage of the complimentary babysitting and enjoy some time to ourselves.Since we both absolutely love the Columbia River Gorge, we decided to treat ourselves to a dinner cruise along the Columbia River aboard The Sternwheeler, an authentic triple-deck paddle wheeler. We had such an amazing time! I forgot how nice it can be to actually take our time and enjoy a meal together rather than stuffing our faces in 5 minutes to avoid meltdowns or random food disasters at the table. Of course, it goes without saying that the views were spectacular.
Now that you’re a bit familiar with Eric’s tendency to speak without thinking, I thought I’d share a bit of our dinner conversation. Entertainment just for you at his expense!
Me: “It’s crazy. I can’t believe it’s been 4 years already.”
Eric: “Really? It seems longer than that to me. In fact, I can’t really remember life without you.”
Me: “Is that a good thing?”
Eric: [with laughter] “I DON'T KNOW!”
AND this one….
Eric: [with confidence]“You know, I’m not very good at remembering birthdays or anniversaries, but trust me, I’ll NEVER forget September 21st or June 20th.”
Me: [with an awkward grin]“Oh yeah? September 21st is Wyatt’s birthday, but what is June 20th?
Eric: [very nervous] “Isn’t that when Avery was born?”
For the record, Avery was born on June 22nd!
Moral of the story: never say never
Yep! He’s a mess, but all of his little quirks make him very unique and quite loveable.
Author: Catrina Wine Selection: Nathanson Creek Cabernet Sauvignon
While it wasn't as creative as "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" cake I created for Wyatt's first birthday, I had so much fun decorating this Blues Clues cake, mostly because I knew how much Wyatt would love it--and love it he did!! From the moment we pulled it out of the oven, he was demanding a piece of his "bur-day cake". Since two-year olds have absolutely no concept of time, the poor guy had such a hard time understanding why he had to wait so long to eat it. It took me an entire day to bake and decorate the cake, and then Wyatt had to stare at it the entire next day until his party at 4PM. He was going absolutely bonkers!! I was very pleased at how it turned out, but I certainly could not have done it without the help of Eric's mom. She baked and decorated both of her boys' birthday cakes growing up, so she definitely had a lot of tips to share. Thanks, D'Anna!
Wyatt has been obsessed with birthdays since early in the summer, so we were able to play it up really well. We pretty much started celebrating his birthday a week early by letting him open a wrapped gift every day. By the time his birthday party at Gymbo's house (Gymboree) rolled around, he was pumped and ready to go! He was so excited to see all of his friends walk through the door that he immediately transitioned into show-off mode!
The kiddos (and adults) got to play for about an hour before it was time to sing Happy Birthday and eat cake (finally!). I think a good time was had by all, and I am so appreciative of everyone who helped make our little boy's birthday so special!
I just cannot believe two years has come and gone. Our little baby boy seems to have turned into such a handsome little man overnight. I feel like he has grown more (physically and mentally) in the past few months than I ever would have expected. The way he has handled the birth of his baby sister has made me incredibly proud, and the way he has started sleeping better at night has made me incredibly relieved! I feel like I'm just starting to see the type of person he might become, and I'm just really looking forward to seeing what the next year will bring--hopefully it will include lots of peeing and pooping on the potty! Hehe! Can you tell that I'm sick of changing his diapers as he's standing up or running down the hall?
Thank you all for celebrating with us! Anna, Isaac, Baby William, Sophie, Avery, Wyatt, Gymbo, Carina, Leo, Will, and Christoper, and Grandma and Papa Edgar. Not Pictured: Katherine, Joseph, Bennett, and Hannah
Author: Catrina Wine Selection: Nathanson Creek Cabernet Sauvignon
While we didn’t quite travel the yellow brick road or encounter munchkins representing the lollipop guild, we had quite an adventure on our recent excursion to the otherEmeraldCity….Seattle, Washington.
This was our very first trip to Seattle, and since Eric’s parents, brother, and sister-in-law were all in town from Oklahoma for a visit, we decided to live it up in the city that often carries the reputation of being dark and gloomy. We found quite the opposite, as the city offers picturesque views of lush green hills (which we did get to see), surrounded by snowcapped mountains (which we didn’t get to see), and sparkling blue waters (in which we got up close and personal). Personally, I was so impressed with Seattle and cannot wait to go back! Lucky for you, you get to experience it second-hand through the detailed re-telling of our daily adventures. It will almost be as if you were along for the ride! Aren’t you excited? J
Day 1: Just a short walk from our hotel was the space needle, our first touristy activity. We rode the elevator 520 feet to the observation deck, in which we saw spectacular views of the city skyscrapers and Puget Sound. We didn’t get to seeMt.Rainier due to the weather, but what we did get to see was well worth the elevated blood pressure, jittery stomach, and beads of sweat that formed as a result of being a bit TERRIFIED of heights. I would do it again in a heartbeat, and would love to see it at night!
After the space needle, we headed to Safeco Field to watch our first Seattle Mariners game. The stadium was awesome, as were our seats. Even if you don't keep up with the game (which I didn't most of the time :-)), just being there to experience the great American past time is very very cool--and the beer and park dogs weren't bad either! Wyatt loved the game (when he was awake), and Avery stayed pretty content most of the time.
When the game was over, we grabbed some dinner at a local Brewpub. For those of you who don't know, Eric is a huge beer nut. Every trip we take is somewhat organized around the breweries we can visit. He has a pint glass from every brewery he has visited in the United States. I think it adds a lot of fun to our vacations, but it's also just one more obsession of his that I have to tolerate! :-)
Day 2: We couldn't go to Seattle and not go to the historic Pike Market. We spent all morning at The Market browsing shops and other local vendors. While there, we got to see the world famous fish market known for throwing fish and having fun with visitors. I also bought a latte from the worlds first Starbucks, which opened in 1971. After having lunch at yet another brewery, we headed back to the hotel via the monorail to rest up for our evening activity, which included a boat ride across the Puget Sound to Blake Island. There was a small village (Tillicum Village) where we ALL got to try fresh clams before having dinner on the island. Our entertainment during dinner included a performance by Native American tribal dancers--AWESOME! Here is a small slideshow of us at Tillicum Village.
Day 3: We spent the morning at Alki Beach, which offered great views of the city of Seattle. We mostly just hung out and had good conversation while sipping on some lattes. The water was way too cold to even wade in, but Wyatt got plenty of play time in the sand. After eating lunch at a local burger joint along the strip, we all piled in our cars and headed back to Portland with images of downtown Seattle in our rearview mirror. It was truly one of my most memorable vacations, mostly because we were able to experience it with our family. It was certainly worth the 3-hour drive, and I'm certain that we'll be visiting again soon.
Author: Catrina Wine Selection: Nathanson Creek Merlot
The cat is finally out of the bag. I have been hanging out with BOB for a few months now, and I can't shake that giddy feeling every time we're together. He's perfect! He likes to go jogging with me and will happily tolerate shopping on occasion. He totally LOVES my babies and never argues with me. What more can you ask for? Oh...and the best part is that Eric is completely supportive of our relationship. In fact, he encourages me to spend as much time with him as possible!
Everybody....meet BOB! I'm telling ya...BOB rocks! I never thought running with two kiddos could be so darn easy. In fact, this stroller is so much lighter and easier to maneuver than the single stroller I had for Wyatt. This is my second week back to running, and I can't adequately express how much I have missed it. I totally feel like a normal person again--even though I feel completely winded after the first mile, and my muscles remain in complete shock from not being used in almost a year. This stroller was definitely worth the investment. It's almost like we've added a new member to our family! Here is a picture of BOB with me, Wyatt, and Avery.
Author: Catrina Wine Selection: Castle Rock Merlot
Ahhh....wine-tasting in the Pacific Northwest--one of my very favorite things! I had the great fortune of sharing this wonderful experience this past weekend with one of my very good friends from back home.
Michelle and I met in graduate school at OU when we were graduate teaching assistants and shared an office together. It didn't take long before we realized that our great minds thought very much alike! We've fortunately been able to maintain a very close friendship since the good old days in Norman, Oklahoma and I feel so lucky to have a friend who genuinely cares about me and my family. I swear, she did not pay me to write that!
This was actually Michelle's third trip to Portland to see us. I kept telling her that I was going to take her wine-tasting, so I finally came through on my promise this time around. What made this experience even more fun was that I was able to leave the kiddos at home with Eric so that we could enjoy some nice girl time, which I'm totally not used to doing! I must say, I can definitely get used to it!
This photo was taken at Maresh Red Barn Winery, where Michelle ended up stealing a grape right off the vine as we were leaving. What a rebel!
We ended up visiting 5 wineries in the Dundee Hills, which offered amazing views of Mt. Hood and Mt. Jefferson. We couldn't have asked for a more beautiful day. The last winery we visited was White Rose Winery. It wasn't even on our list, but we stumbled (quite literally after visiting 4 other wineries--just kidding!) upon it and decided to give it a shot. It ended up being the best winery of the day! First of all, the outside of the tasting room looked like a very small wine cellar--very rustic and quaint. It was located on the very top of a hill, offering breathtaking views. Secondly, after the giving the gentleman a hard time for asking for our ID's, he told me in such a sweet voice that I had very young eyes! Really, this guy knows how to sell a bottle of wine. Well, it worked! I ended up buying a Pinot Noir for $38--the most I've ever paid for a bottle of wine. Here are Michelle and I at White Rose Winery. You can barely see Mt. Hood in the distance just to the left of Michelle.
I'm looking forward to sharing the expensive bottle of wine with my hubby on a romantic date night. Who am I kidding? It will be more like opening the bottle after the kiddos go to bed and struggling to keep our eyes open long enough to finish a glass together! Maybe I'll just save it for my blog nights--that might be more fun!
In the few days that Michelle was in Portland, we rode the streetcar through Downtown to a nice child-friendly coffee shop where we had some lunch (and lattes, of course) and watched Wyatt push a pretty pink doll stroller around the cafe. We also made it to a few really neat restaurants, and as disciplined as she is, Michelle actually fit in time for a 10-mile training run along the Willamette River. She's preparing for her first marathon in Orlando in January. You go girl!
We had such a fun time. It's always nice to have visitors from back home when you live so far away. Wyatt ate up the attention, and I enjoyed some nice, relaxing conversations with a dear old friend...very old friend. Ha! Just kidding Michelle! I'm older than she is!
And I can't forget to take this opportunity to showcase the beautiful blanket she crocheted for a beautiful little girl named Avery. Thanks so much, Michelle. Avery already loves the blanket (and miraculously has not spit up on it yet)!
Since Avery has been born, I've been trying to figure out the whole bath thing without having to spend any money. But Avery has made it clear that my techniques thus far have simply been ineffective. So, I finally decided to fork over the whopping $15 bucks (well, $5 after my $10 off coupon) in an effort to make bath time more enjoyable for everyone.
What do ya know--she loves bath time now. Check her out--happy as a clam. Wish I would have spent the big bucks earlier! :-)
My Wine Personality:
For the most part I’m a chardonnay, as I consider myself to exhibit a somewhat sunny and mellow disposition
(most of the time), but because I find a tremendous amount of joy out of showering my two kids with hugs and
kisses, I also possess the subtle sweetness often found in a riesling. But don’t be fooled. I love a great
outdoor adventure and am willing to try anything once. This occasional display of boldness is thought to match
that of a cabernet, whereas my appreciation for nature suggests that I have an earthy component to my personality—very
characteristic of a merlot.
“Wine rejoices the heart of man and joy is the mother of all virtues.” Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, 1771