Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Weekend 2009

With Friday being the last day of school and the start to Memorial Weekend, we really didn't have any plans per se.

The kids swam all afternoon when we got home from school. This seems to be the only time they get along. I am so glad that we decided to get an above ground pool. The small amount of maintenance so outweighs the joy and fun we all have with the pool.

Saturday they got up and were back in the pool at 9:00 a.m. Spent all day in the pool. Tim spent the afternoon smoking some ribs and chicken. Dad, Janice, Kati, and Brady came by along with Albert and Jeri and we had a delicious dinner! Brady even swam with the kids.

Sunday the kids again were in the pool till mid afternoon when we decided to take the tent over to the pretty pond on the 50 acres. We have a grill over there and cooked hot dogs and hamburgers and fished all evening. We didn't catch much. Grandpa Albert came out to see our setup and Amy and Tim's cousin Spencer and his girlfriend came out for smores. They fished a while and had a couple of good bites but lost them before they got to the shore.

The evening was beautiful and besides the bullfrogs and a howling dog up the road we had a good nights rest.

Jake and I were up at 6 a.m. with our poles in the water. We had a couple good bites but we too lost them before we landed them. We tried some new hooks and had better luck. I was the first to pull in a huge catfish. Jake and Tim caught three more all in about 30 minutes and as quick as they started biting they quit. We broke down camp about 10:00. We are getting much better at putting up and taking down the tent.

We came home cleaned the fish and the kids have been swimming since. Tim is in bed asleep and has been for about 4 hours. I guess his night wasn't as restful as mine!

Jake wants to go to the pond behind our house this evening. We'll see....

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Official Camera Geek!

OK. As I sit here mid morning getting very tired, I have come to the conclusion I have lost my ever loving mind. Yes this morning around 5:45 I awoke to a gorgeous sunrise. The sky was all pink. We had left the door open last night so that is how I saw the sky. The first thought that came to mind was grab you camera and go take a pic.

So out I went in nothing but a t-shirt, no shoes, thinking to my self "boy I hope there are some cows up and stratgegically located. How crazy is that!

I got my pictures and could not go back to sleep so I got an early start on my Thursday! But I do think that this qualifies me as a camera geek!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Junior High Graduation

Jessi was asked to help with Junior High Graduation this year. She was to wear a dress (no skirt and top had to be a dress). She handed out programs as the people walked in. Then the class officers had to do the reception. So we had to bring two dozen cookies (which I bought from Katy's pantry because we all know how well I cook).

Before we left Jessi was all dressed and looked gorgeous! I asked her to go outside and take some pictures and she threw a fit! I was so mad at her. She didn't care so Jenni (my little angel) said she would go out and pose for me so here is my model. Isn't she precious!

By the way, this teenage attitude of Jessi's stinks!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

New Family Members

Well I gave in and surprised the kids on Saturday with a couple of bunnies! They are so cute and personable. The grey one is Thumper and the black one is Flower. Jessi named them from the Bambi movie. The bunny was thumper and the skunk was flower. Isn't she clever!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


There is nothing more beautiful that the blooms from the iris in the spring. My only regret is they bloom for such a short time. Here are some shots that Jenni, Jake, and I took.
Purple anyone?

Isn't this one gorgeous!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Napa Valley Day 7

We were up around 6 a.m. and ready to make the trek home. We left at seven so no waffles today.

We enjoyed the beautiful drive back down Hwy 29. Tim had purchased the gas deal where we didn't have to fill up before taking the car back. About 30 miles out I began to sweat whether we would make it or not. We made it with only 25 miles to spare per the car's distance meter.

We got checked in and both planes were pretty uneventful. Three of the four planes we were on this trip were packed to the hilt. No seats available. I thought we were supposed to be in a sluggish economy. You couldn't tell it by the airports.

When we landed in OKC the kids were all right at the doorway waiting for us to come through. They were fighting over who would hug who first. I knew that wouldn't last long.

We got our luggage and headed back to mom's to get their things. We made it home about 10 p.m.

Mom - Thank you so much for taking care of the kids. I know what a handful they are and I appreciate it so much that you took the time to spend with my kids to give me a much needed break.

Kimi - Thank you for entertaining the kids at the Dachsund races. Josh is still talking about it.

The kids will remember these times as much as I will remember the great time I had. Thank you both again.

Tim - Thank you so much for taking me to this wonderful paradise. It was the best trip I have ever taken and I can't think of anyone I would have rather shared the experience with. Thank you for making my Birthday special. I love you very much!!!!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Napa Valley Day 6

Well today is our last day for the morning waffles. We are both kind of sad.

This morning we headed up to the Sterling Winery. This is the winery that you had to take a gondola up the side of a mountain to get to it. When we got there and saw how small the gondolas were, we took one look at each other and said no way. So we bought a bottle of wine at the bottom and then headed for some safer adventure.

These are pictures of the Sterling winery taken from the Castle a few days before. You can see it in the background of the pictures.

I'm not sure if this was safer or not. Now remember I told you at every winery we stopped at Tim usually bought a bottle of wine. If we both tasted that would be $20 and if you purchased a bottle they would waive the fee so why not buy the bottle. We ended up having 24 bottles after we went back to the Bennett Lane winery to get three more bottles of the awesome Chardonnay. This is by far the best wine I had all week. Now I bet your wondering how we are going to get all this wine home. They have these 12 pack boxes that you can check them like luggage but they are very very heavy so we headed out to find a UPS shipping spot. Now to ship 24 bottles was quite expensive. By the time we added insurance it was $140. I think money well spent so I didn't have to carry the darn things through the airport.

After leaving the UPS store we headed back down highway 29 to see if there was anywhere we wanted to stop and hadn't made time yet. We decided to go into Robert Mondavi Winery just to say we had been there. It was very nice. We didn't take the tour or taste the wine because we couldn't buy anymore.

Our next stop was the Go Fish restaurant. We had a great mac and cheese appetizer with shrimp. Tim had salmon sandwich and I did the fish and chips. It was ok. I'm just not crazy about fish. It was very nice though.

On our way back to Calistoga I saw this old vine vineyard. The heat fan was old and rusty and I thought what a great picture. I made Tim turn around and go back and pull over so I could get this picture.

We headed back to Calistoga to find the kids a souvenir. The t-shirt shop was our only choice. There isn't much here in Napa Valley for kids. We strolled Main street in Calistoga and stopped in a little coffee bar. We enjoyed a nice cup of coffee and then headed back to the hotel to rest before dinner.

Our last night here we ate at the Calistoga Inn. It had a really nice little garden area and the food was incredible. I had Carribean Jerk Chicken and Tim had the steak tonight. It was so delicious and the atmosphere was wonderful. We had a great bottle of wine duh! We are in Napa Valley.

After that wonderful dinner we headed back to the hotel to pack up. It went pretty quick and we are ready for the trip home.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Napa Valley Day 5

Guess how we started our day today..... You guessed it more waffles!

We headed over the mountains to Sonoma Valley but it wasn't what we expected. The Napa Valley area is very quiet two lane very laid back. Highway 101 goes right through it which is much like an interstate. We decided quickly to head back over the mountain.

Our first stop was a place our tour guide at the castle suggested. Frank Family Winery has no charge for the tasting so we didn't share at this place. It was really a pretty place and the guys were really funny. The wine was oh so good too. We even had some sparkling wine. Yummy!

The wine guy here sent us up the road to Dutch Henry Winery. This was pretty much a metal barn where you walked in a big open overhead door and tasted wine from a board across a couple of barrels. Tim really liked this guy and bought some wine here too.

Next we headed back into town to a cute little lunch spot called Taylor's Refresher. No matter what time of day it is when you drive by there is always a line about 12 people deep. So we decided to lunch here. They had a bunch of picnic tables out back. It really was a neat place. You could order beer or a bottle of wine here too. We did not. We were ready for a good old soda pop. We each had a hamburger, fries, soda, and shake. Our total bill was $55!!!! I saved the receipt to show Albert. He will never believe it.

After lunch we stopped at a very pretentious place called the Franciscan. We walked around and looked at the picture gallery. I really wasn't much impressed here. But I really liked the fountain at the end of the driveway.

Next we headed back over to Silverado Trail and to the Munn Napa Sparkling Wine place. We decided to take the tour. What an incredible tour. They take you out show you the grapes and how they are picked. Then you go into this huge room with dozens of large stainless steel tanks. You walk down the beautiful halls and look down into the rooms where the wine is bottled. The name of the robot is Bob. This was truly an amazing tour. I highly recommend this one. It is amazing hour they get the bubbles in those sparkling wines.

I was so tired that we didn't taste here. You could sit at a table out on the porch and try there sparkling wines but I just wanted to rest before dinner.
We decided to do Italian food tonight and someone had suggested Boskos in Calistoga. Oh my gosh... The food was incredible!!!! We had a wonderful bottle of wine and the best food imaginable. The desert was to die for.

When we got back to the room I couldn't move. I am so full from both of the huge meals we ate today. I don't think the seat belt in the plane will fit around me on the way home!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Napa Valley Day 4

Today we started with the wonderful waffles and then headed out to the Castle of Love.

It was incredible!!!! We had the cutest girl for our tour guide. We start out in the chapel. It was very ornate and beautiful. Then we headed into the outdoor court yard. They have lots of events here that you have to dress for the times. Next we headed into the big dining hall. It was huge and the table along the center was incredible. The castle is 8 stories four above ground and four below. They have 5 miles of piping in the walls. They crush the grapes and then pipe them to the room underground where they want to store them in the barrels. They just hook up a spigot to the faucet in the wall and start filling barrels.

They have part of a cave under the mountain that stores barrel after barrel after barrel. We headed into the torture chamber. He wanted it to be authentic so it has a torture chamber. Our guide said that at one halloween party he really had the room decked out. It wasn't all that big but kind of creepy. There was a big beautiful room with arched ceilings where there were lots of barrels stored. It was so magnificent. He sets up tables down the middle and has parties in this room too. The candle light valentine party looked like fun. They had pictures from it

There were unmarked bottles every where all stacked up. They looked really cool.

We headed down to St Helena and just walked the cute little downtown area. Some very cute stores. We stopped at a nice little mexican cafe for lunch. It was soooo good!

The rest of the afternoon we headed to Sutter Home, Turnbull, and Beringers. All of them were really nice big wineries. We didn't taste but just walked around and checked out the stores. We did stop at a neat looking winery called Alpha Omega. It was really modern and had pretty good wine.

After three days of drinking wine, we were actually wined out. So we headed out of town to the Old Faithful California Geyser. Now when we walked into this trailer looking place and the cost was $8 per person I wasn't sure I wanted to go out to see it. They had those really tall reeds to prevent you from seeing it from the trailer. Tim said come on lets go so we headed out the door. Where the stench of the fainting goats over took us. Yes they had about 12 head of the fainting goats. They are supposed to faint if startled. I tried my best to get them to faint to no avail.

Well the sign said every thirty minutes but in the last two weeks it had been going off every 5 to 8 minutes. Volcano anyone? It was pretty lame but I got some good pictures. After we go this summer to Old Faithful in Yellowstone we will have seen two of the three continuously timed geysers.

As you leave the drive from here there is an advertisement for the Petrified Forrest. Another corny little out of the way place. Although the club house was better it was still $8 a piece to go on a little 1/2 mile circular hike to see these old trees that after millions of years had turned to stone. About 20 yards up the hike is a sign that says watch out for rattle snakes. Great! Again I got some nice pictures and the walk was nice.

After this adventure we headed back to the room. We decided tonight we would just snack on the crackers and cheese that we got the other day. It was very relaxing. We even went and sat in the hot tub.