Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Paper Anniversary

This weekend we celebrated our paper anniversary. It is said that the paper anniversary symbolizes the delicate nature of a young marriage, as well as the modest beginnings of a new couple. I love old traditions and we both stuck with the paper theme for our gifts for each other.

My in-laws loves gifted us the use of their Napa house for the weekend. We are so lucky to have a family home in a place like Napa. Visiting Napa is on so many people's bucket lists, and people spend thousands of dollars to vacation to this place. Our second home. It's important to keep that in mind and not take such a beautiful blessing for granted.

We drove up after work on Friday and found the kitchen decorated with a banner and a bottle of champs in the fridge. God love my sweet in-laws. Seriously. They are so cute.
Nick made a couple pizzas and we spent the night relaxing and reminiscing. I found out Friday night that we would be waking up at 5:00 AM Saturday morning to go on a hot air balloon!

We woke up early Saturday to the sound of the pouring rain. A call to the balloon company confirmed that we would not, in fact be able to go that day. We went back to bed and woke up to more rain. We sat by the fire and talked about our wedding morning and what a complete disaster it would have been to have had rain that day. Our entire wedding was outside except for the bar and dance floor. We seriously would have been screwed if it had rained and I couldn't help but think about all of the poor brides that no doubt had weddings happening in the valley that day. We ended up going downtown to get a coffee at Oxbow, which was packed because of the rain. We left pretty quickly and went to a brewery to have a quick lunch and watch the A's game.{by the way... Wooooooooo!!! We won the West!! See you at the playoffs!}

Saturday night we went to one of my all time favorite restaurants, Michael Chiarello's, Bottega in Yountville. Dinner was absolutely to die for. We had frozen wedding cake to eat at home so we skipped desert, but loved these cute little peanut butter chocolates our server brought.

Sunday morning we woke up {at 5 AM} to go get on the balloon. This was an experience that I wish everyone could have at least once in their lives. Watching the sunrise from 3,000 feet above the vineyards was just breath taking. The balloon company that we went with launches the earliest and from the furthest North so we got to see all of the other balloons filling up and launching. At one point there were 16 other balloons in the air. Amazing.

We got married right on that golf course! To the left of the pond you can see a section of wedding chairs set up for another wedding.

Sunday was our actual anniversary and we flew directly over the golf course where we got married. Having to postpone the ride actually worked out better than we could have planned!
By the time we were done it was only 8:30 so we went to breakfast and then back home to watch our wedding video, do our gifts, and definitely take a nap. For my gift I made a shadow box frame with the lyrics from our wedding song. Nick gave me an empty journal with a message in it, promising to fill the journal with love letters and notes to me. I honestly couldn't think of a more perfect gift. This man just melts my heart.

My heart just feels so full of love after this weekend.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The Crush

Is there anyone in the world that doesn't like fall? The pumpkin spice lattes, the crisp air, the changing colors, the new wardrobe, the football, and most importantly the food. 

For our family, fall is an exceptionally special time of year. Fall means the grape harvest. The crush.
Anytime between the beginning of September and the end of October, the entire family and a few family friends are on call for the harvest. When the sugars in the grapes are perfect, everyone is expected to drop everything and head to my in-law's in Napa to help in the vineyard. Our vineyard is small, we'll just call it 100 vines. Small, but mighty.

The fateful call came mid week last week and early Saturday morning we found ourselves making the short drive up to the valley. {I'm just going to be real here. I'm thanking my lucky stars the call didn't come this week meaning we would be harvesting with a house full of people on my anniversary weekend. As much as I love the harvest, I am not cool with it taking the place of anniversary fun.}

We knew ahead of time that we were going to have a lot of grapes this year. More than we've ever had before so we called in some reinforcements and planned to do a dinner afterwards to thank everyone for helping. By Sunday everyone was exhausted but relieved to have everything done so early in the season. 

I didn't get many pictures of the de-stemming  process but that took us the longest. We dump all of the grapes onto two tables, pour some glasses of wine, and get really dirty. Pulling the grapes apart is a messy job and I didn't want to get my pretty camera all dirty but I did snap an Instagram photo or two.

By far, the best part of the entire process is the crushing of the grapes. Since we don't have thousands of pounds of grapes to deal with, we get to crush them the old fashioned way... with our feet! {Don't worry we bleach ourselves sterile first.}

Saturday night my FIL bottled all of last years wine. It was super tasty and fun to watch. He usually bottles when none of us are around to bug help him.

Happy Harvest!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Maui Family Vaca

We made it home! We got back late Saturday night, picked up the pups, and slept for about 11 hours. We woke up Sunday morning to the first 9er game of the official season and may or may not have decorated the entire house for fall and eaten a full batch of baked artichoke dip.
Here's a recap of our glorious 8 days in paradise. We arrived on Friday morning and spent the day lounging on the beach and drinking a few Mai Tais. We spent most of the week like that minus a few adventures and meals out. Major photo dump coming your way...

The view from our balcony

How cute is my sweet SIL? She is about 4'10" and this giant Rainbow flip flop was almost as tall as her. I made her try it on. 

Our family typically doesn't go out for breakfast much, we prefer to save our calories for dinners and wine but we couldn't resist this place. There are only a few other locations {Singapore, Tokyo, Portland, and Hong Kong}. In the unlikely event that you ever happen to find yourself in one of those places, definitely try it out. You order a squeeze bottle of pancake batter and they bring it to you with the toppings that you choose. We picked scallions, cheddar cheese, and crème fraiche. The best part is cooking your pancakes on the griddle built into the table. I never would have thought of making savory pancakes on my own but I am definitely going to be replicating these at home soon. They also had an entire menu of breakfast cocktails which is always exciting. I had a passion fruit mimosa. I pretty much have passion fruit juice running through my veins after this vacation.

The next day we ventured up the volcano and stopped at a goat cheese farm. They had tons of flavors of all kinds of goat cheese and goat's milk truffles. I picked a passion fruit one of course and we ordered a sampler platter of a bunch of their different cheeses.  Delicious. 

Nope.. that's not ice cream. It's goat cheese!

After the goat farm we kept driving to go to a winery also on the volcano. We got there only to find that they were closed for Labor Day and picnicked in the mini van instead. Can you tell from my MIL's face that she was less than thrilled? 

We spent the next day at our favorite beach in Napili. There is a little restaurant right on the beach that has a happy hour that lasts pretty much all day. It was really hot and we spent most of the day on the patio ordering drinks and food with a few occasional dips in the ocean. I snorkeled here for about 3 minutes and we saw a giant sea turtle. Turns out September is turtle season and we ended up seeing them all over the place. 

I ate more than my fill of poke {pronounced pokey} on this trip. Since we started trying to conceive I have completely cut raw fish of every kind, especially ahi tuna from my diet. That means I haven't had sushi since April. Sad face. Until this trip that is. I haven't had any hard alcohol either so a few fruity Mai Tais were a special treat I was really looking forward to. 

My all time favorite. Poke Nachos.

It is said that Maui has some of the most beautiful sunsets on earth. I think my photos turned out pretty good but really don't even do it justice. We sat out and watched the sunset every night either at the resort or at dinner. 


On Thursday while the rest of the world was counting down the minutes to the weekend, we were riding mopeds around the island. We had so much fun. I won't lie it's a little scary to ride one of these things down the normal street with cars all over the place and trying to pass you. We rode back up to our favorite beach and got some happy hour appetizers. What else would you expect? 

My husband is just so damn cute. I told him he should have been a motorcycle cop. He totally looked the part.

I got really lazy about taking pictures near the end of the trip. This one is from our last night before we went out to dinner.

Today was back to reality and over 300 emails... and a massive forest fire burning right outside our back door.


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