Happy Birthday, Grandma!
Sunday, September 28, 2008

We hope you had a wonderful day with lots of balloons, dancing, and party hats (we know how crazy you and Papa can get sometimes) despite the fact that Daddy neglected to wish you a happy birthday when he called to talk to Papa about, none other than, football. Don't worry, Mommy kicked him in the head for it before pleading with us never to be like him. :-)

We can't wait to see you in 13 days! We have lots of cool tricks we want to show you. Don't forget to pack your helmet!

Love, Wyatt and Avery

BIG SHOT of the week
Friday, September 26, 2008

Sunrise Point in the Hurricane Ridge region of Olympic National Park is a favorite among photographers because of the amazing images that can be captured just as the rising sun starts to peek over the range of snow-capped mountains, casting an impressive pattern of brilliant rays across the landscape.

Eric took this photo on our family vacation to Olympic National Park (WA) in June 2006, when Wyatt was only 9 months old. It has always been one of my favorites.


Wrestle Mania
Thursday, September 25, 2008

I apologize for my lack in posting, but Eric has been in Salt Lake City all week, leaving me without a camera. Can you imagine how bored I've been not being able to take any pictures or blog about them? It actually has not been so bad. My house is spotless and the laundry is done, at least for the next two hours. I've been able to work out in the yard some, and even had the privilege of cleaning up the vomit and diarrhea (and a couple of nosebleeds in between) that the pesky little Stomach Bug left behind following an unsolicited visit. Needless to say, I'm so ready for Eric to be home tonight.

While I don't have any pictures to share, I did take some video today of Wyatt wrestling with Avery. The boy does not like to play unless he can play rough, something Avery has evidently picked up on because she doesn't seem to mind at all. In fact, she seems to enjoy being tossed and dragged around like a little rag doll.

As the video begins, Avery reminds me of a boxer warming up in anticipation before her opponent enters the ring. So funny.

Notice how Wyatt was the one saying, "Ouch!" when it was Avery's head that hit the wall. Oh, they crack me up.

Wine Selection: Barbera d'Asti by Cascina Castle't
Personal Rating: **Fair**
Comments: I haven't dabbled much in foreign wines, but now that I have a fairly decent grasp on American wines, I thought I'd venture into the unknown. It truly is like learning a new "wine" language. It's hard to know where to start. But I can tell you I wasn't thrilled with its flavor, although very different from anything I've ever tasted. I thought the label was cute, so that's why I bought it. I rather enjoyed reading the description from the website:
A photo of the family on the mythical Vespa, a symbol of the 1950s, the renaissance years. A serene return to the past through the eyes of children who look hopefully towards the future. A poetic image that underscores the values and simplicity of a family concern managing our lands during the post-war reconstruction period. It represents the wine that more than any other characterizes the family and the territory. A Barbera d’Asti, of the female gender, as is the way Piedmont people consider it. The story of a wine is often as complex as a person’s, and just as fascinating, and it is nice to see, in a faded photo taken during a spring fete, the simplicity of the one matched by the simplicity of the other.

Can THREE Really Be the New TWO?!?
Sunday, September 21, 2008

Today is Wyatt's birthday. Three. THREE!

This is when we celebrate not just a new year of our child's birth, but also our survival of what is considered by many as the most exhausting, patience-seeking year of parenthood. "Terrible Two's" are now out the window--replaced now (by virtue of the beloved birthday--that 366th day in which personalities are miraculously altered) by a more level-headed, rational child who listens intently and plays by the rules.

Hmph. Not in our house. Not by a long shot.

And according to some of the reports I've seen in the media lately, some child development experts are suggesting that the times have changed, thereby increasing the legal age in which a child may attempt to drive his parents to The Looney Bin--from 2 to 3. What are these people trying to do to us? You mean to tell me I'm quite possibly going to remain in a constant battle of wills with my child for the next 365 days? Uh, Waiter...check please.

All (or most) joking aside, life with our little hurricane has not been terrible in the least. Trying sometimes, yes. But this past year, we've watched him grow into such an amazing little boy with quite a personality. He is our child of intensity and extremes. When he's happy, he's screaming in delight as he rides his rocket all the way to Cloud 9. When he's sad, he melts in Mommy's arms like ice cream on a hot summer day. When he's angry, he summons the hurricane that will inevitably leave everyone's world upside down and in disarray. There's absolutely no middle ground. But we've grown to accept and appreciate how "passionate" he is, all while developing creative parenting strategies to help maintain some sort of harmony and balance in the house.

I've noticed some incredibly impressive changes in him over the past few months, which provide some hope that smooth sailing may just be a possibility for us. He's been sleeping completely through the night on most nights, communicating his needs in a more effective (and less embarrassing) manner, and will unbelievably go to and stay in a time-out at home and in public. Seriously, for a child with such a rebellious tendency, this is a huge--HUGE--achievement. It's just such a relief to know that I won't have to ride out the stormy seas for the rest of my life!

One thing is certain. He's a great conversationalist--with people as well as inanimate objects. The boy can talk for days. Just get him on the phone, and he'll undoubtedly give you a play by play of his life...from the beginning (you can't understand much of what he says, but it's entertaining nonetheless). Here is a bit of our mother/son birthday conversation over one of his most cherished and delectable life indulgences...CAKE!

Happy Birthday, Sweet Boy.

Wine Selection: 337 Cabernet Sauvignon
Personal Rating: ***Good***
Comments: This is a really BIG wine best drunk with an equally BIG meal. It's really good though.

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Anyone looking to adopt a 3-year-old boy?
Friday, September 19, 2008

You Scrubs fans will really appreciate this reference. You know, the episode in which little Jack walks into the room just after Perry and Jordan find out they're "unfortunately" expecting another child and proclaims with such pride, "I pooped in my bed, so I put in on the TV."

Hilarious, right? Yeah...


It's not uncommon for Wyatt to occassionally pull off his pants and diaper in an effort to rebel against naptime. It is something that has frustrated me beyond belief because I'm at a loss for how to effectively handle the situation. He's clearly rebelling, but since we're in the process of potty-training (well, sort of) and trying to instill positive feelings about poop and pee (if there is such a thing), I'm just not convinced that discipline is the correct approach. So, I've just taken it one incident at a time. But today, he has taken his rebellion to a completely different level and I've since been praying for God to grant me more patience than ever!!!

After realizing there was more playing and less napping taking place in his room today, I forcefully opened his door, game-face on and pointer finger ready. It took only seconds to realize (by the ear-to-ear grin on his face) he had taken the liberty of removing his pants and diaper. "Geez. Here we go again," I grumbled under my breath. It took me only a nanosecond after that to smell what I was praying to God was NOT what I thought I was smelling. Then I saw it. Oh, yes. Assembled in such a nice, thoughtful little pile on the floor laid the contents of his large intestine, topped ever-so-lovingly with an imaginary middle finger that implied, "Here's to taking a nap, Mom!"

Go ahead. Laugh at my expense. I know you are. I would be too. After all, that's what got me into this mess. It's called Karma.

How does the saying go? Shit Happens? Yes. Yes it does. And boy does it stink!

BIG SHOT of the week

Fort Rock is a massive, natural landmark rising from the flat, barren desert of central Oregon. I think this photo not only captures the complete desolation of the land for which a person can gaze for miles upon miles, but it also reveals the magnificent impact that a single structure can have on an otherwise predictable and potentially unimpressive landscape. Without question, The Rock boldly commands attention, as if a Sargent entering a room of new army recruits.

I also love the color saturation and wispy, feathery appearance of the clouds.


Southern Girl
Thursday, September 18, 2008

I discovered this song recently, and I can seriously listen to it over and over again. Amos Lee is a singer/songwriter from Pennsylvania that wrote this song because "I was in love with this girl and I could just see myself being this bastard sometimes for the wrong reasons."

It's a great tune. Check it out.

I never knew pigtails could be so scary.

Today I attempted pigtails for the very first time. Oh, boy.

Admittedly, I need a lot of practice. But I've already accepted that getting "the part" just right is going to pretty much be an impossibility for me. And I'm not quite sure how I feel about the one spot of crusty cradle cap remaining on her head--you know, the one covering the ever-so-delicate soft spot--being exposed for the world to see. Not that the world (or anyone for that matter) will even notice, but nevertheless, I fear I will be unable to suppress the embarrassing motherly urge to pick at it while in public. And finally, every time I've glanced at her this morning, I've been haunted by the incredibly ridiculous mental image of Ace Ventura prancing around in a ballerina costume. It's quite frightening, really.

Or better yet, she may resemble even more closely that of the very popular green ogre by the name of Shrek--equally frightening, to say the least.

You know, we might just forego the whole idea of pigtails and reintroduce them in a few months when she'll hopefully bear more of a human resemblance. Pippi Longstocking I can tolerate. Ogres and crazed lunatics in tutus...not so much.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Pickles. We sure can't get her to eat 'em, but she sure loves to get herself into 'em.

It seems every time I turn around lately, Avery is getting herself into trouble. It's as if she waits for that perfect moment when my back is turned ever-so-slightly to take advantage (without hesitation) of an opportunity to explore forbidden treasures around the house. The funniest part is that once she's in her pickle, she can't get out--thereby, blowing the whistle on herself with her pitiful cries of desperation.

Here are just a few occasions this week in which she's had me gasping in horror and running towards her with outreached arms (and gathering just enough of my wit to snap a picture...of course. :-))

One thing is for sure. She's definitely keeping me on my toes. Now, if I could just get her to stay on her own.

Wine Selection: Louis M. Martini Cabernet Sauvignon
Personal Rating: ***Good***

Sooners in Seattle
Monday, September 15, 2008

Ahhh....college football. I absolutely love it. Not just because the Sooners always seem to be on top (which they are...whoot! whoot!), but it truly is the one sport I can follow all season long. I'm not required to actively seek out a programming schedule to find out which teams are playing on any given day of the week, as with other sports like baseball and basketball. Nope. College football offers just the kind of predictability I need. I know weeks in advance that every Saturday of the season will be spent with my rear planted on the couch flipping from game to game (well, Eric will probably be doing most of the sitting and flipping while I'm calling out for instant replays from the kitchen as I prepare peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for the starving and needy children of the house. But hey, it was a nice thought.), and watching top-ranked teams falter as they're defeated by an underdog team in a last-second Hail Mary. Man, there's nothing else like it!

It's been quite a while (at least 4 years) since Eric and I have been to an OU football game, so we were ecstatic to learn that the Sooners would be playing Washington at Husky Stadium--and on our 5th wedding anniversary no less! There was no question we'd be making the 3-hour drive to Seattle to watch our team.

Have I ever mentioned how much I love Seattle? If it weren't for the traffic, I'd want to move there in a heartbeat. I mean, how amazing is it to be at a college football game surrounded by beautiful Lake Washington with a perfect view of Mt. Rainier?!?! Truly unbelievable.

View from our stadium seats
I love the "parking lot of boats" on the lake.
It's one way to get to the game,that's for sure!

Mt. Rainier in the top right (click to enlarge)

Since the game was essentially a blow-out at half-time, we decided to make better use of our time without the kids and headed straight to a local sports bar to watch the rest of our game (as well as other, more exciting games) while enjoying a couple of brewskies.

It's at the sports bar where we met a 50-year-old fisherman by the name of Mike. He was about three sheets to the wind when we first made his acquaintance. He had consumed about 4 beers on an empty stomach while waiting for his food to arrive. "Wow!", I whispered naively to Eric as I expressed some concern about how long it might take for us to get our food. He responded kindly and quite reassuringly, "I have a feeling he drinks beer fast."

At any rate, we learned quite a bit about Mike. He's a die-hard Packers fan. Married 11 years with two kids. Lived in Alaska for 10 years, now Tacoma for nine. He even landed a role in Discovery Channel's latest documentary, The Deadliest Catch (or so he claims). When we told him it was our 5th wedding anniversary, he gayly offered his drunken, somewhat slurred (and unsolicted) advice to maintaining a happy marriage. "It's all about communication...and laughter" he proclaimed as he forcefully slammed his beer bottle on our table. "You keep doing those two things, and you'll be alright."

Sure. He was a little inebriated. A litte bit annoying. But for some strange reason, it was a pleasure to meet his acquaintance. I certainly didn't find it simply a coincidence that I sat myself at a table right next to him while Eric was parking the car. In his drunken and somewhat lonely stupor, I'm glad we were able to offer the guy a little conversation without judgement. And to be quite honest, as I sat there with Eric pondering the very reasons for the success in our own marriage (during commercials, of course), I somehow couldn't help but wholeheartedly concur with the drunken man's recipe for marital contentment. His food finally arrived (although not before yelling expletives at the cooking staff). We shook hands with the fisherman who made us laugh and bid him farewell. Incredibly, this world is filled with some very unique and interesting people. I find it unfortuanate that I will only have the oppportunity to know only a small (very small) percentage.

I couldn't have asked for a better way to celebrate 5 years of marriage. The Sooners won. We had great conversation (between the two, and sometimes, three of us). We laughed. A lot. Surely (fingers crossed) this will get us through at least one more year. Ya think?

Sooner family departing from Portland
Next stop: Seattle

Wine Selection: Pinot-licious Pinot Noir
Personal Rating: **Fair**
Comments: I bought this bottle of wine yesterday during a girl's afternoon with Shelley. We shared a glass, and I thought this might just be the pinot noir I've been searching for, so I bought a bottle. Sadly, I'm disappointed (yet again). I lost the cork upon opening the bottle. It's now floating in the bottle and allowing small particles to disentigrate into the undrunken portion. Someone once told me that a little cork adds character to the wine. I hope they were right.

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Thursday, September 11, 2008

Much of the content on this blog is devoted to the two little gremlins that pretty much rule the roost in our house--at least they think they do. I often write about our travels and the silly little things our kids do to make us laugh. But as I was browsing through the multitude of photos from our vacation last week (over 400, just to give you an idea), I realized how unfortunate it was that some of the most breathtaking images Eric had captured of the landscape would never be shared with others simply because they failed to feature one or both of our children.

So, I've decided that I'd like to feature one exceptional landscape photo each week and call it the "Big Shot" series because a) it's a photo worthy of recognition and b) it's a great way to stroke my husband's ego. Ha!

This week's BIG SHOT is of Elk Lake (the one on which we kayaked) in central Oregon at sunrise.

There are several reasons why I love this photograph: the morning fog, the reflection on the lake, the sharp contrast in color. But most of all, I think it's amazing how the foreground is brightly lit by the rising sun while the background remains in a dark slumber--only moments from being rudely awakened by the violent rays that would slowly, but inevitably, encroach upon its peacefulness.

Wine Selection: Mirassou Cabernet Sauvignon
Personal Rating: ****Excellent****
Comments: I have tried the merlot before and I'm fairly certain I didn't appreciate it as much as I do the cabernet (I'm too lazy to look it up). This is such a nice, smooth wine that is easy to sip without food. I'm totally loving it.

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Lava River Cave
Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Large areas of central Oregon are covered by ancient lava flows, and often, there are tunnels winding through them. Lava River Cave is one of the longest lava tubes in Oregon, so we were excited to have the opportunity to explore one of the area's most interesting attractions.

It was about 40 degrees and obviously pitch black, so we needed flashlights or lanterns to help guide us. Surprisingly, Wyatt nor Avery were freaked out by it. In fact, Avery found the dark conditions perfect for napping, so that's what she did.

Wyatt: exploring with his flashlight
Avery: still napping

It's so hard to believe that natural structures like this even exist these days. It truly is amazing the great lengths that have been taken to help protect them, as they provide so much insight into how the land has evolved over time.

A close-up view of the tunnel walls

About 45 minutes into the tour, Wyatt started to get a little annoyed by the darkness and pretty much made it known that he was ready to leave. But fortunately, he mustered up just enough patience to humor his daddy for one final photo-op in the cave.

I'm not sure which is scariest: the boys posing as bears,
or The Spirit that wandered into the photo. Bwahaha!

Wine Selection:
Genesis Merlot
Personal Rating:****Excellent****
Comments: This wine is fairly complex, but all of the flavors just seem to be really well-balanced to me. The tannins are definitely there, but not too overpowering.


Kayaking 101
Tuesday, September 9, 2008

While on vacation last week, we spent a couple of nights in a cabin on Elk Lake. The resort was pretty much deserted following the long summer run, but we certainly didn't mind (we're not much for bumping elbows with the masses). One of our primary reasons for staying at the resort was to take advantage of the kayaking. Even though it's something we've always wanted to do, neither of us had ever had the opportunity.

Wyatt must have overheard some of our conversations (and sensed our excitement), because from the moment we arrived he kept insisting that we "go to the kayak...let's go to the kayak". At that point, we could have sat him in front of a rock and said, "there's your kayak, buddy" and he would have been thrilled to pieces. Once he actually laid eyes on the kayak and realized it was a type of boat, he was utterly beside himself and quickly demanded that he go for a ride.

We should have known that just sitting in the kayak on the shore wasn't going to cut it. He wanted the real deal. Being the novices we were, Eric took one for a test ride to get a feel for it before taking Wyatt on a short little cruise.

When the time finally came for Eric and I to ditch the kiddos for our kayaking date on the lake, I wasn't sure what I was most anxious about--the possibility of tipping over in the frigid lake waters or the fact that we had a total stranger looking after our kids. It was the first time we had ever relied upon a nanny service for childcare. But after meeting the girl and seeing how she interacted with them, I felt much more at ease--leaving me to think about other, more important matters...like tipping over in the frigid lake waters.

I'm pleased to report that in the 4 hours it took us to explore every nook and cranny of the lake, we not only remained upright, but we nearly reached mach speed a couple of times as we glided so effortlessly across the water. That's what I call teamwork! If the truth be known, Eric was the muscle behind the operation. But hey, I steered. If not for me, all of that muscle would have had us just going around in circles. So there.

It was truly an awesome experience topped off with a lovely bottle of wine and some good old fashioned conversation--something we don't get nearly enough of these days. I'll be ordering up another one of those dates again really soon, that's for sure.

Wine Selection: Genesis Merlot
Personal Rating:****Excellent****
Comments: This wine is fairly complex, but all of the flavors just seem to be really well-balanced to me. The tannins are definitely there, but not too overpowering.

My New Number One!
Monday, September 8, 2008

Earlier in the summer, I came out with my Top 5 Oregon Hikes. Three months (and what seems like a gazillion hikes) later, my list of favorites has changed dramatically. Most interestingly, the ever-so-coveted top spot now has a new occupant. No longer is Cascade Head the big Numero Uno! That glorious title now goes to the Green Lakes Trail just west of Bend, Oregon.

Of the Three Sisters mountains,
this is a view of South Sister from the trail.

To me, this trail had everything a hiker could want: diversity in landscape, challenging mileage (nearly 10 miles), and manageable terrain. I know I said I'd never do it again, but I always say that. Besides, it wasn't 10 miles (like the Paradise Park trail)...it was nearly 10 miles. That makes a big difference. And this trail was much less difficult to complete, making it actually enjoyable...for everyone!

About 4 miles into the hike, we encountered a nice young couple who
actually asked to take our family picture. How sweet!
It's probably the only one of the 6-day trip.

There is no way I'd ever forget this trail and the absolute magnificence in which it beholds. I hope to have the opportunity to hike it again someday.

Fall Creek

For anyone interested, here my revised Top 5:
1. Green Lakes Trail, Central Oregon.
2. Eagle Creek Trail, Columbia River Gorge.
3. Cascade Head Trail, Oregon Coast.
4. Dog Mountain Trail, Columbia River Gorge.
5. Larch Mountain Trail, Columbia River Gorge.

Wine Selection: Fetzer Merlot
Personal Rating: ***Good***
Comments: It's been a while since I've tried this wine, and my opinion remains the same. This is just a very nice wine to sip without food. It's very easy to drink--seems to be smooth with a lot of flavor. And very affordable, which is always a plus.


First Day of "School"

Well, some may call it school. But when we're talking about 2 hours per week for a one and three-year-old, it's more like "zen time" for Mama (let's be real, here). Two solid hours to let my hair start to re-grow after having pulled it out the previous week. Two hours to simply do as I please--read a book, sip some coffee, run an errand, run a mile, or just stare off into space. It's only 2 hours, but a very precious and much deserved 2 hours nonetheless--just enough time to re-group for the week ahead. Perfect.

Progress report for the first day:

Wyatt miraculously sat still long enough to craft the most beautiful, and lest we say "creative", apple tree that has ever adorned our refrigerator. Way to think outside the box, Wyatt! That's my boy.

Apparently, he shed a few tears when his teacher admonished him for running in the classroom. For a kid whose motto is "FULL SPEED AHEAD!", it was sort of a tough pill for him to swallow. But he managed. Way to go, kiddo.

Avery also participated in arts and crafts on her first day detached from Mommy's hip.

Upon close inspection, you'll notice the very sparse (but ever-so-thought-provoking) splashes of color on her canvas. What may not be as obvious are the tears that soaked this poor little naked paper doll from head to toe. Seriously, if tears were made of color, I'm certain this would be one of most phenomenal masterpieces ever created by a 14-month old!

Let's just say it might just take Avery a little time to adjust to a new environment without her mommy. She did alright for her first day though. I was proud of how she kept herself together (for the most part) while I was away. But boy, when she first laid eyes on me, she turned to absolute mush--for a couple of minutes at least, and then she was ready to play again.

What I didn't realize when I signed up for 2 hours of free time was that we would already be bombarded with homework. What the heck is this all about? The kid is three and has "homework" already?!?! But I suppose creating a family collage isn't too intimidating...and it doesn't hurt that I can call and collaborate with Shelley. What pictures are you using? What kind of glue did you buy? You get the idea, I'm sure. I thought preschool was supposed to be good practice for the child, but I think it might just be the other way around in our case.

Wine Selection: Fetzer Merlot
Personal Rating: ***Good***
Comments: It's been a while since I've tried this wine, and my opinion remains the same. This is just a very nice wine to sip without food. It's very easy to drink--seems to be smooth with a lot of flavor. And very affordable, which is always a plus.


Honesty Is the Best Policy
Saturday, September 6, 2008

While exploring the Newberry National Volcanic Monument in central Oregon last week, we toured the Trail of the Molten Land--a self-guided interpretive trail that meanders over the 7,000 year-old lava flow from Lava Butte (the cinder cone pictured in the background).

While on the trail, we stopped occasionally to read the signs highlighting various points of interest. Wyatt raced to each sign and asked very excitedly, "Mommy, what does the sign say?!?!" Most of them included terminology even I could hardly articulate, so it must have sounded like absolute jibberish to a toddler. But I read each sign with a great deal of enthusiasm nonetheless, which seemed to satisfy his curiosity.

At one point along the trail, he was unwilling to wait for Avery and I to catch up (we were busy singing, dancing, and clapping) and finally asked Eric to read him the sign. He obliged. And in a tone most monotonous, began reading the sign to Wyatt. In mid-sentence, Wyatt rudely interrupted as he shouted from afar, "Mommy, what does the sign say?!?!"

Ouch!...the "Daddy Diss."

I guess we know who the preferred storyteller of the family is now. You gotta love the brutal honesty of a child. Thanks for the laugh, Wyatt.

Wine Selection: Sockeye Merlot
Personal Rating: ****Excellent****
Comments: This is an exceptional wine--very smooth and very flavorful. I've tried the chardonnay in the past and wasn't nearly as impressed as I am with the merlot. It looks like I've found new favorite. **Shelley, you might really like this one.


Friday, September 5, 2008

That was Wyatt's nickname while on vacation last week--for there was hardly a time in which there wasn't a cloud of dirt billowing from beneath his feet. The boy loves dirt, and is never quite satisfied unless he's rolled around in it like a dog, bathing himself in filth.

I'm sure you can imagine my delight when we planned to spend an entire morning at the High Desert Museum. A museum, free of dirt or sand--a nice break from the dirt cloud that had been looming around us the previous few days.

One of the few opportunities to dress him in a nice clothes, I enjoyed watching my well-kempt little man skip and jump from exhibit to exhibit--marveling at all of the "cool stuff" he encountered along the way, including:

a 1914 Model T Ford

a decorative, walk-through Tipi

and a spiderweb perfectly designed for little climbers

Could it actually be possible for our little dirt monger to walk out of there clean as a whistle? Escaping the very thing that attracts to him like a magnet? Wishful thinking, I suppose. Who knew there would be a sand pit strategically located at the museum exit?

"Pigpen" returns

Mamaholic Visits Oregon
Wednesday, September 3, 2008

A great friend of mine from college, Laura (a.k.a. The Mamaholic), traveled last week from Illinois with her husband and daughter to experience all that the Pacific Northwest has to offer. I'm so glad that I was able to meet up with them at Larch Mountain for just a short time while they were zipping through town.

Laura's daughter, Clara, was born just one day before Avery.

After camping and hiking in the Columbia River Gorge, the very exuberant family of three rushed off to the coast--gearing up for quite a drive south before entering Redwood National Park in Northern California for more hiking and exploring. It's so refreshing to know that there are other die-hard, outdoorsy families out there. I was starting to think something was wrong with us.

Her Favorite Things
Monday, September 1, 2008

Like Oprah, this little girl can't part with her "favorite things". As much as it pains me to wake a sleeping baby, I walked in to Avery's dark, quiet room a couple of days ago to find her snuggled so closely with everything material that means so much to her: Dutchess the Kitty, her puppy dog, a little blanket, Curious George, and the ever-so-treasured pacifiers. I hardly ever get the opportunity to watch my children sleep, and it nearly brought tears to my eyes thinking about just how sweet this little girl is.

When this posts, we'll most likely be in the midst of camping in central Oregon. I'm praying she will exhibit a similar sleeping pattern while snoozing in the wilderness.



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