What's Up? Chuck.
Saturday, May 31, 2008

Chuck E Cheese's may just be the place "where a kid can be a kid", but all of the bright flashing lights and cacophony of sounds coming at you from various directions, also qualifies it as place where a mom can quite frankly, GO BERSERK! It has been at least 20 years since I've seen that over-sized rat, and I must say, I wouldn't be heartbroken if another 20 years goes by without seeing him again. He is just as creepy as I had once remembered. I'm really not sure Wyatt even noticed Chuck, or Chuck"e" (whatever his name is) since he was entirely preoccupied with climbing up towers, crawling through tunnels, and zooming down slides.

It was his friend, Katherine's, third birthday party. I would have loved to get a picture of the two of them as they raced by me at mock speed, but I pretty much figured out early on that it just wasn't going to happen. However, I did miraculously get a picture of Wyatt and the birthday girl sitting (for a nanosecond) next to each other for what was likely to be only a single bite of pizza. And if you look closely, you can see what Wyatt likes to do with his nanosecond of down time. A real charmer, that one.

Avery was thrilled to finally be relinquished from her prison (a.k.a. the Ergo Carrier) for a few moments so that she too could get in on some of the fun.

All kidding aside, it really wasn't that chaotic. Wyatt had an absolute blast and it was really quite fun to watch him have so much fun with his friends, despite almost being trampled by dozens of sugar-loaded rugrats. And Wyatt just wouldn't be Wyatt without making a grand exit, full of kicks, screams, and the always impressive left hook to Daddy's jaw.

After a much needed nap, Wyatt had a great time sifting through all of the goody-bag loot. A big thanks to the Landfield's for inviting us to celebrate such a very special day with you!

Wine Selection: Screw Kappa Napa Cabernet Sauvignon
Personal Rating: ****Excellent****
Comments: Just as tasty as ever!


Damn, Gina! We're Getting Old!
Wednesday, May 28, 2008

This is certainly the year for milestone birthdays amongst my close circle of "old" friends. Today, one of my dearest friends, Heather has officially bid farewell to her twenties, and is hopefully embracing her thirties with a big, FAT Margarita! Hey...a girl can hope, right? C'mon Heather, I know nothing compares to sweet iced tea, but throw me a bone here!

Heather and I met 13 years ago while working as cashiers at the local super market before being "promoted" to the video department where we eventually earned the title of "the video snobs" by our lazy co-workers who no longer wanted anything to do with us. Our isolation from others fortuitously led us to eventually becoming college roommates. It is very important you understand that there are no two people less compatible to live with one another (much less be friends) than Heather and myself. This is a girl that would never go to the bathroom without a buddy, and actually rid herself of her long locks of hair when she realized her new college roommate wouldn't grant her the same luxury as her mother did when it came to washing her hair for her. Seriously. The girl has come a long way, folks.

There was a time during my freshman year of college when I wondered if I had made a huge mistake agreeing to live with the "high-maintenance girl", but there came some moments in which I really needed a friend, and she was always there. ALWAYS. One thing I quickly learned about her was that she was one of the most loyal friends a person could ever have, regardless of personal differences. I then felt very lucky to call her my friend.

Fast-forward to 2008 (no sense in re-hashing all of the crazy and embarrassing moments in between), and she's just the same as she ever was--with maybe a few more expensive (very expensive) designer purses clutched to her side. Thanks to her, I've actually had the opportunity to "pet" a $3,000 bag. Man! Think of all the bottles of wine you could buy with that kind of money! :-)

Despite our differences, Heather remains one of my closest friends. I mean, we still call each other "Dude", for crying out loud! I'm not sure I know of any other 30-somethings that still refer to their friends that way, but at this point I'm not sure it will ever die. She drops everything to see me when I come to town (T-town, that is) and shares all of the gossip on people she's known since elementary school. She's the type of person that never loses touch with anyone she meets (she's had the same cell phone number since I've known her), and is the first to help a person in need. I'm sure she's made millionaires of some of those homeless guys that sit at the end of freeway ramps!

She is a true "fashionista" that probably shouldn't be living in Oklahoma, but she's too close to her family to move away. I really admire her for that in so many ways. But if anyone can transform a hillbilly into a fashion icon, it's Heather. She's got mad skills, ya'll.

As I did with Ode to My Onionhead, I put together a slide show of pictures over the past 13 years.

(Believe it or not, Heather, I've misplaced the Padre Island picture! I must be losing my mind in my old age. Hehe! I'm sure I'll find it one of these days--the picture. I fear it may be too late for my mind.)

Happy Birthday, Dude. I miss you and can't wait to see you again. Thanks for always accepting me for who I am, despite all of my fashion flaws! Love you!

**Only those who were fans of the 90's sitcom, "Martin" [Lawrence] will get the "Damn, Gina!" reference!**

Can't Find Avery? Check The Refrigerator.

Well, not inside the refrigerator, of course (we're not that crazy around here).

Playing with magnets is Avery's new favorite activity these days, and I've been quite impressed that she's been able to figure out so quickly how they work. Wyatt never showed an interest in magnets, puzzles, or shape sorters. He would show an interest initially, but if it didn't "work" for him the first try, whatever piece he was working with at the time ended up being tossed across the room. Avery is much more of a thinker--likes to take her time. How can these two kids possibly be related?

For Creative Minds NOT At Work
Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Are you the type of person that has a particular vision in your head of a gift you'd like to give, a decorative vase you'd like to incorporate into your living room, or a piece of clothing or accessory you'd like to wear, but fail to find what you're looking for after what seems like countless searches on the internet? If so, then you must check out Etsy.

This seems to always happen to me. I apparently have a creative mind, but somewhere along the way I failed to inherit the gene that would allow me to actually create it with my own two hands. I can barely sew on a button for crying out loud! As a result, I'm forced to rely on random strangers on the internet to actually transform my creative mental images into physical masterpieces, all the while paying them an incalculable amount of money for an idea that I personally dreamed up in my head. Grrr!! But what can you do?

At least it's so much easier with Etsy to find unique items and designers that at least come very close to resembling your own vision. Take a moment to check it out. You won't be disappointed. I spent most of my free time this evening searching once again for something that apparently only existed in my head. But just before I decided to throw the computer out the window, a little voice reminded me of Etsy. Wouldn't you know, I found what I was looking for in a matter of minutes. To avoid an incredible amount of ridicule, I'm not going to reveal what it was I spent so much time searching for (and not willing to settle). It's kind of ridiculous actually, but let's just say that I like to pay very close (ridiculously close) attention to detail that it should almost be considered a new psychiatric disorder!

(Shelly, you should consider selling some of your creations on Etsy if you haven't already. You have been blessed with the same amazing gift that unfortunately passed me by.)

Wine Selection: Louis M Martini Cabernet Sauvignon
Personal Rating: ***Good***
Comments: This particular bottle had been opened for nearly a week, and believe it or not, it still tasted great. I was a little worried, but I wasn't about to let it go to waste without at least trying it!


Memorial Weekend In Central Oregon
Monday, May 26, 2008

This Memorial Day weekend we joined our good friends, Kurt and Justine, for a relaxing weekend in Central Oregon. It was our first time to venture to that part of the state, and needless to say, we quickly realized we were going to need more than two measly days to adequately experience and appreciate its greatness. The charming little towns, the scenic hikes, the good food (and beer!), the museums, the shopping...I could go on and on! But in the two days we were there, we did get to experience some of the hot spots (while simultaneously planning our week-long trip back there in September!).

And because I got struck with a very unusual case of laziness, I was not my normal, shutterbug self. I didn't take a single picture! Can you believe it? So, you'll have to settle for something a little more generic today.

We had the great fortune of staying in a vacation home at the Sunriver Resort, just south of Bend. AWESOME! This resort is apparently one of the best golf hot spots in the U.S., but I wouldn't know from experience. With my golfing skills, I'm usually restricted to the driving range or putting green only. I haven't quite graduated to actually getting to play a real game. That is, unless you count alternate shot! I don't.

(Mt. Bachelor in the background)

I would have to say that one of our (I mean, Eric's) primary reasons for visiting was to experience the Deschutes Brewery in Bend. Eric has collected a logo pint glass from every brewery in the U.S. he has ever personally visited. And generally, every road trip is planned with breweries in mind. Yeah, it's not really that exciting to wait until 4PM to eat lunch on the road just because there isn't a brewery in close proximity! I'd estimate that he has over 30 glasses in his collection. To put it mildly, he's a bit of a maniac. At any rate, the beer and food were actually quite "deLICIOUS!", as Wyatt would say.

On our second day, I had the opportunity to indulge in a bit of wine tasting at Volcano Vineyards in Bend. If I had a single complaint of the area, it would be that there aren't enough wineries there. Hehe! And of course, we'd feel a little guilty toting the kids around to enjoy our own personal pleasures unless we let them indulge in a bit of their own. There was such a neat, old-fashioned soda fountain (Goody's) around the corner from the winery. When we walked in and saw all of the candy, ice cream, and caramel popcorn, Wyatt's eyes got as big as silver dollars. I even treated Avery to a couple of bites of ice cream. I know...the Nutrition Nazi giving an 11-month old ice cream...It's amazing how much more relaxed you are with your second!

I have never been more excited about planning a family vacation before. Eric has already told me the few things he would like to do in September, and the rest is up to me. I'm so excited about spending more time in Bend, Oregon and the surrounding cities and towns. I am so incredibly jealous that my friend, Shelley was able to grow up in this area. How awesome!

The most interesting part of this whole adventure is that Avery and I are actually back home, while Eric, Kurt, and Justine have taken my sweet little boy to Malheur National Forest for an additional four days. I have never been away from Wyatt for more than one night, and I have such mixed feelings about it. I'm so excited to have a break--to get some projects done around the house. But I'm suddenly terrified that I'm never going to see him again because he's going to die from a rattlesnake bite. I swear, motherhood can be a blessing and a curse at the same time. I have actually been thinking about it for a while, and even asked Eric if he could get his hands on some anti-venom. Seriously. There must to be some perk of being a doctor, right? Of course, he's too much of a rule-follower to unethically acquire some (like most doctors ;-)). But since every adult that will be caring for Wyatt has a medical degree, I have to keep telling myself that surely--SURELY--he will come back to me with a pulse.

I'll just plan on keeping myself super busy with cleaning, exercising, and taking pictures of Avery. She doesn't even know how excited she'll be to hog all of the blog spots while Wyatt is away.

Wine Selection
: Napa River Chardonnay
Personal Rating: ***Good***
Comments: This is a fairly inexpensive (about $5) wine I bought from Trader Joes, and of the six I purchased from there, I think this is my favorite so far. It is incredibly easy to drink by itself, and very smooth. If you're not a regular wine drinker, this would probably be a decent choice. I'd certainly like to buy it again.


What A Difference A Year Makes
Friday, May 23, 2008

One of Avery's best friends, Maggie, turned a year old yesterday. She is one month to the day older than Avery, and it's been so exciting watching them grow and, finally, play together. And by playing, I mean squealing, stealing, and trying to poke out each other's eyes. But isn't that what girls do regardless of age?

There were a total of 4 babies and 1 little vulture who couldn't stop salivating over the cake. Hmm...I wonder who that could have been? After the party, we attempted to get a group photo. It's challenging enough to get one child to sit still, smile, and look in the general direction of the camera. Can you imagine trying that with four children, all of whom are a year old? You can't blame us for trying.

They all look really excited to be at a birthday party, don't they?

Maggie is comforting Avery, who wasn't quite sure what to think of the bubble machine.

Avery is 11 months!
Thursday, May 22, 2008

It seems crazy to already be planning Avery's first birthday. I have a tendency to look for just about any excuse to play around in Photoshop, so I was not about to pass up an opportunity to design some invitations for my baby girl--even though the small handful of guests could have easily been notified via phone or email. What can I say? I like to waste time. I'm still trying to work out the details of the cake, but I think it's going to be really fun to make. I have two cakes under my belt so far--The Very Hungry Caterpillar and Blues Clues.

They really do take a lot of time, but it's definitely worth the effort (depending upon who you ask...Eric thinks I'm nuts) when you see the finished product.

The big question remaining is Will Avery be walking by her first birthday? My prediction just a month ago would have been absolutely not. But she has surprised us so much in just the past couple of weeks that I now feel it isn't as far from her reach as I first thought. She is quickly perfecting "the waddle" that may just have her toddling around in 4 weeks or less. Grandma and Papa Edgar shipped her a Shop N Go walker to help her get around, and it was a huge hit with both kids. In fact, I'm still in the midst of playing referee in an effort to prevent any knock down drag out fights between brother and sister. While Avery may be able to use the walker with incredible grace, the poor girl can't steer the thing to save her life! And boy...it makes her furious! Take a look.

(But hey, at least Elmo was having a good time!)

Avery is also becoming more verbal. She has added "bye-bye" (accompanied by a wave) to her vocabulary, and imitates animal sounds for cat and dog. She will also very excitedly dish out high fives. My baby girl is growing up!

Wine Selection: Louis M Martini Cabernet Sauvignon
Personal Rating: ***Good***
Comments: This is a pleasant, fairly smooth cabernet with just a hint of spice. I think this wine is very, VERY, good! Well balanced.


Beautiful Astoria
Sunday, May 18, 2008

We totally got to live it up this weekend with our full expense-paid (compliments of OHSU Department of Neurology) weekend getaway to Astoria, Oregon--the city in which one of my favorite childhood movies, The Goonies, was filmed. This is by far my favorite coastal (well, semi-coastal) town in the Pacific Northwest that we've visited thus far. It's the place where the Pacific Ocean meets the mouth of the Columbia River, and where old Victorian-style homes cling to steep wooded hillsides. Astoria, to me, is a mere replica of the image I've always had in my head of what the Pacific Northwest should look like.

We stayed in an amazing hotel (just a couple of notches fancier than the Motel 6 we've grown quite accustomed to) built at the very end of a pier, which meant that every room had a stunning view of the Columbia River.

We quickly realized upon arrival that one of our main objectives in staying there was going to be to check out of the hotel without being held responsible for a broken vase, dish, or, at the very least, an upholstery cleaning. I'm very proud (and quite relieved) to report that our mission was indeed accomplished. Phew!

We also somehow managed to tire Wyatt out enough the first day that he would be absolutely dead to the world the next morning while everyone else in the room was awake and talking (including a squealing baby girl!). UN-BE-LIEVE-ABLE!!

Wyatt sleeping soundly before being dog-piled by his baby sister.
It was kind of nice to see him get a little taste of his own medicine.

We didn't do much in the way of recreation since Eric was taking part in a conference most of the weekend, but we did get to experience some of the local attractions. The biggest hit with our train obsessed toddler was the trolley that ran along the riverfront--or more appropriately, the tracks. He refused to walk unless he was on the tracks and rambled incessantly about them all weekend. Not an exaggeration.

The Maritime Museum was a nice treat, and Wyatt loved exploring all of the exhibits. But upon first mention that the trolley was outside boarding passengers bound for our hotel, he was the first one out the door! I'm dead serious when I say that he could have spent the entire weekend eating, drinking, and sleeping on that trolley (or the tracks for that matter).

One thing we didn't realize was that there would be childcare provided in the mornings while the conference was in session so the spouses could treat themselves to a little rest and relaxation. I just can't tell you how badly I wanted to perform a little happy dance in the middle of the lobby when I heard those words. Let's just say I thoroughly enjoyed my three cups of coffee--feet propped up and listening to my favorite tunes on my nifty new iPod--as I watched seagulls fly and ships sail in from the sea and under the Astoria-Megler Bridge.

The Astoria-Megler Bridge extends 4.1 miles across the mouth of the Columbia River,
and is the longest "continuous truss" in the world.

We had an amazing view of the bridge from our hotel room. Even Avery took some time away from exploring electrical outlets to appreciate its magnificence.

How can you not just want to eat up this little pile of sugar?!?!

We are really looking forward to another visit to Astoria in the very near future. Hopefully we'll make it there again this summer.

Wine Selection: Eola Hills Pinot Noir
Personal Rating: **Fair**
Comments: I've tried really hard to develop a taste for the pinot grape, but it just doesn't do much for me. Some people absolutely love Pinot Noir, but there is something about the taste that isn't very pleasing to my palette. I'll certainly keep trying some though. I'd love to eventually find one that I can appreciate and enjoy.


and THIS little piggy...
Thursday, May 15, 2008

...ate an entire mountain of pasta!

What can I say? The girl loves her carbs.

Little Discoveries

Now this is a creative little mind at work.


Who ever thought exhaust pipes could be so multi-functional? I suppose it might be a good idea to teach him NOT to attempt this while the truck is running.

What Did You Call Me?
Wednesday, May 14, 2008

We were hoping it might just be a phase, but it appears as though Wyatt no longer feels the need to refer to us as Mommy and Daddy. We're simply Mom and Dad now. At two and a half?!?! Isn't this just a little bit early? It's not like I want him calling us Mommy and Daddy forever, but geez...he just started talking for crying out loud. What I really want to tell him is this:

"Honey, once you start sleeping in your bed by yourself at night and pooping in the potty, then you've earned the right to call me Mom. Until then, it's Mommy. Got it?!?!"
I guess it could be worse. At least he's not calling me Catrina.

Just In Time for Mother's Day
Sunday, May 11, 2008

I found it very fortuitous to be hiking alongside meadows bursting with colorful and fragrant bouquets of wildflowers on the very weekend in which mothers around the country will be gifted with thousands of blooms, symbolic of love and appreciation. As I marveled at the vast array of natural floral arrangements customized by God himself, I so desperately wished I could handpick just a few to share with all the mommies in my life. But since we can't afford next-day air shipping, I figured the next best thing would be to present you with a virtual Mother's Day bouquet guaranteed to last forever!

I would first like to wish all of my mommy friends a Happy Mother's Day. Without them, I probably would have already checked myself into a mental institution. They are smart, beautiful, and I can always count on them for support and encouragement. When I saw this little cluster of flowers, it reminded me of how mothers tend to huddle together in an effort to create something truly magnificent. We're all striving to achieve the perfect balance when it comes to parenting our children, and each of my friends brings something unique and special to the table. You guys know who you are, and I hope you know how much I appreciate you. Treat yourself to some of the finer things in life today--like going the bathroom by yourself. You deserve it! :-)

These flowers reminded me of another very special mommy...my sister. Walking into a meadow of these flowers is sure to warm the hearts of the coldest souls and put smiles on the longest faces. That's exactly how I feel about my sis. Everyone loves to surround themselves with her positive energy, and her children are a complete reflection of her. She has tremendous patience, and her multi-tasking skills are quite impressive. I only know one other person (Alison A.) who can perform up to 359 tasks every minute and still appear to have everything under control. I, on the other hand, start to go into cardiac arrest just watching them. :-)

One thing is for sure. Being a mother has given me a profound appreciation for my own. This woman has overcome many obstacles in her lifetime, has raised two (only slightly dysfunctional :-)) daughters as a single parent, and continues to strive for excellence in her personal life. I'm incredibly proud to report that she just recently became a college graduate--proof that it's never too late to reach for the stars. She has and always will be a source of inspiration for me. I chose this flower for her, primarily because it's just a little bit funky and different. She likes stuff like that. She often finds the beauty in things that others cannot. She loves to root for the underdog.

And I certainly couldn't let Mothers Day come and go without the mention of the best mother-in-law IN THE WORLD! I feel fortunate to have a very special relationship with my husband's mother, and I'm pretty sure there aren't many women who can say that. She is special in many different ways, but I am most appreciative of how she takes a genuine interest in my life. And her superb listening ability is second to none. Talking to her is like a breath of fresh air--kind of like these flowers. They also appear very clean and crisp--kind of like her house. I would seriously have no problems letting my kids eat off of her floors!

I sincerely wish all the mommies out there a very special Mother's Day! Love ya'll!

Dog Mountain
Saturday, May 10, 2008

On a whim (as we were on our way to hike someplace else) we decided that today might just be our last opportunity to hike Dog Mountain to see the beautiful wildflowers in bloom, so we quickly switched gears and set our sights on the 7.6 mile round-trip trail we've been looking forward to hiking the past few years. Since our previous attempt didn't go over so well, we were quite pleased when the weather held out long enough for us to experience one of the most talked about recreational attractions of the Columbia River Gorge.

First, let me just advise against hiking this trail unless you consider yourself to be in at least decent shape, or else you may not make it out alive! This trail was incredibly strenuous--more so than I ever imagined. With a 3,000-foot elevation gain over 3.8 miles, your leg muscles will no doubt be trembling with pure exhaustion by the time you reach the summit. Add children to the mix, and you'll be lucky if your legs remain attached to your body!

Enjoying the view with only a mile (a very, VERY steep mile)
before we reach the summit. Isn't the view amazing?!?!

Perhaps we may have bitten off a tad more than we could chew with the decision to bring our kids, as we saw no other children on the trail under, what had to be, the age of eight. I actually had it pretty easy (carrying Avery in the backpack) compared to Eric since Wyatt wanted absolutely no part in the adventure from the very beginning. However, the terrain was entirely too steep for a 2 1/2 year old anyway, so it was inevitable that he would spend most of the hike riding on his daddy's shoulders enjoying his pocketful of "moons" (cashews). When we finally reached the top, we were greeted with accolades from several other hikers who were in utter disbelief that we actually summited with small children. Miraculously, however, Wyatt just so happened to find the energy that was hidden deep within his being just as we started down the mountain. How convenient.

Letting Avery burn a little energy (and practice her walking skills)
while at the top of Dog Mountain.

At some point along the descent, Wyatt found an ant that he ultimately ended up loving to death--God rest its little ant soul.

And wouldn't you know it...just as I thought the hike was going to be rather uneventful, I nearly stepped on a snake--and not just any snake--a rattlesnake!!

WHAT THE HECK?!?! Well, those probably weren't the exact words I screamed out as I was running toward Eric in desperation to save my life, but you get the picture. I kind of have a rocky relationship with snakes, if you weren't already aware. Of course, Eric (the Marty Stouffer of his generation) thought it was the coolest thing EVER and decided to provoke it just enough to hear it rattle. That was my cue to get the bejesus out of there!

I'm totally going to be sore on Sunday. Hmmm...maybe I should milk this Mother's Day thing for everything it's worth. Massages and foot rubs every hour. That's not unreasonable. Is it?

Wine Selection: Trellis Cabernet Sauvignon
Personal Rating: **Fair**
Comments: Cheap wine--cheap flavor. I probably won't buy it again.

Holy Cow! What Rock Have I Been Living Under?
Friday, May 9, 2008

Thanks to the gentle nudging (more like yelling in ALL CAPS…Ahem! Starr) from my girlfriends who don’t want me to be forever trapped in a technology time warp, I am now the very proud owner of the ever-so-awesome iPod nano.

Let me tell you (not like I really need to, considering I’m probably the last person on earth to get one) just how fine this little piece of machinery is. I can now work out like a maniac to my own customized playlist rather than spending precious time searching for the one radio station with the least amount of static that also happens to be playing music. I must also note how incredibly refreshing it is to have headphones that actually function without the strategic placement of the wires up, over my head, and just a wee-bit to the left. What do you know…I might just be able to direct all of my energy toward my workout for a change. What a concept!

Getting Eric to agree to such a purchase was somewhat interesting. But isn’t it always? The phone conversation went something like this.

Me: “Hey! Can I get my birthday present early?”

Eric: “Birthday present? Isn’t your birthday in like June or July?”

Me: (sigh…with a slight roll of the eye) “July. You know that.”

Eric: “What do you want?”

Me: “An iPod.”

Eric: “iPod?!?! Catrina, we are not a technology family. You don’t need an iPod.”

Me: (a bit pitiful) “Eric, how do you expect me to lose the rest of this baby weight unless I have some good music to motivate me?”

(Ah ha! The hook!)

Eric: (sigh) “FINE. Get whatever you want.”

Now that’s what I like to hear. I expect that same response when I ask for my Hybrid Tahoe in a few years.

Wine Selection:
Trellis Cabernet Sauvignon
Personal Rating: **Fair**
Comments: Cheap wine--cheap flavor. I probably won't buy it again.

Countdown to Destruction: Sur la table
Thursday, May 8, 2008

Meet our dining room table. This is the single piece of furniture in our house I’m most excited about replacing one day. It’s such a monstrosity that I’m really not even sure it qualifies as furniture. At this point, we can’t justify spending the money to buy a new one—which means we’ll have to wait until either Eric is finished with residency or the table just finally decides to give out on us. Considering it’s literally on its last leg, we might just be preparing our bonfire sooner than we think.

It is dying a slow and incredibly painful death (more painful for me than the table, I think). Each day, it seems as though I’m tossing another cushion into the garbage (we’re down to just one now), or discovering a lonely screw on the floor that has somehow managed to abandon ship--thereby increasing the likelihood that one day a chair will (mark my words) collapse when either Eric or I sit in it. Dear God (fingers crossed)please don’t let it be me, and if it's not then please (oh, pretty please) let there be a video camera handy!

I acquired this table when I was in grad school from a neighbor who was gearing up for a cross-country move. I knew it was a piece of junk at the time, but beggars can’t be choosers when it comes to free stuff, right? However, if I would have known that nearly a decade later I would be sharing meals with my family at this table, I would have run (more like sprinted) far, FAR away.

The table (in an effort to drive me absolutely mad) may actually make it two more years. But if it does, it will seriously be hanging on by a thread (a frayed one at that). So, I thought it might be fun for Sipping Chardonnay readers to join us for the final days or months (hopefully not years) leading up to the big bonfire. There will no doubt be some very interesting things to report between now and then. I’ll even open up the floor for bets on which one of us takes the first fall! Stay tuned.

Wine Selection:
Trellis Cabernet Sauvignon
Personal Rating: **Fair**
Comments: Cheap wine--cheap flavor. I probably won't buy it again.

Doublemint Twins?
Tuesday, May 6, 2008

More like best friends with mommies who share similar tastes in children's clothing.

Seriously. This was not planned. We showed up at their house to go on a walk yesterday when we realized the girls were completely matched from head to toe--not just in the same shirt, but the same fleece pants (that were purchased from a completely different store, nonetheless). This is not the first time our kids have coincidentally been dressed in the same clothes--although not to this degree--and frankly, I'm starting to get just a little freaked out by it. I guess great minds really do think alike.

New Trend in Choo-Choo Fashion
Monday, May 5, 2008

When my good friend, Shelly crafted this amazing little hat for Avery, she probably had no idea that what she was actually creating was a train conductor hat for Wyatt.

He has taken complete control of this hat, talked about it in his sleep last night ("I can't find the hat!", "I can't find the hat!"), and even asked for it first thing this morning.

Can someone (grandparents, maybe :-)) please send Wyatt a real conductor's hat so that Little Miss Avery can have her hat back? Pretty please?!?!

Angel's Rest

We certainly could not have asked for a more beautiful day on Sunday. Every so often, Mother Nature teases us with days like this. Just when we think we've turned the corner into summer, she's back to her old tricks again--dumping wet weather on us for several more days. One thing we've definitely learned while living here is that when the sun is out, you drop whatever it is you're doing and head for the nearest exit. And yesterday, we did just that.

We hiked the Angel's Rest trail in the Columbia River Gorge. I'm always up for hiking in the Gorge, for the trails (in my opinion) never disappoint. You can read about one of our other Gorge hikes here.

It was about 2.5 miles to the top of Angel's Rest, and I must say it's not the best place for a rambunctious toddler to be running loose. Needless to say, we stayed only long enough to ooh and ahh over the most gorgeous panoramic of the Columbia River before starting our descent. But just to give you an idea of how high it was, we were actually able to look down on a helicopter flying by. That's just plain weird.

Wyatt was pretty tuckered out from the beginning, which meant he spent most of the hike on Eric's shoulders. Avery did great in the backpack and even took a little snooze on the way down. Yay for another successful hiking adventure!



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. (more)


“Wine rejoices the heart of man and joy is the mother of all virtues.”
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, 1771