Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Happy Birthday!!

Today was my hubby's birthday!
It was also my dad's! hubby was born on my dad's birthday.
Though most of the time you will hear me complain about this matter...
I was thinking about it today...and it's actually kinda cool.

Tonight we had a little birthday dinner for them.
I made my Chicken Cordon Bleu.
Rice A Roni..
(You read correctly...Rice-A-Roni)
Ceasar Salad.
And "Carrot Souffle."
(I actually overcooked my carrots and thought, "Oh Crap! What am I going to do?!"
So I mashed them up, put them in one of my oval bakers, spread some brown sugar over the top, and popped it in the oven for a few minutes...Wala!...Carrot Souffle!)

Dessert: Kahlua Cake
We sang twice...Connor loved that!

Jeff's parents came.

Gram was here too.

It also just so happened that my cousin was in from Texas. So, she and my aunt and uncle joined us as well.

And look who's pulling himself up now?!?!

It was such a nice evening.


But totally worth it to see the smiles on 2 of my Favorite Guys' faces!

Happy Birthday Guys!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Gingerbread Build 2011

We are in full swing holiday mode!
Starting off with our traditional Gingerbread House Building at Bunga's house.

Ummm...I believe by the looks of the boys in both of these pictures...they have candy in their mouths, not just on their houses!

Dom got really creative and used the foil from a chocolate candy to recreate light shining through the back window of his cool!

This was the first year that Connor and Cale were really able to do their houses by themselves...
they had so much fun!

Bunga spoils us and has all the houses put together ahead of time.
We bring all our Halloween candy and some newly collected holiday candy together.
(This is the last time Halloween candy is seen in our house for the year.
If the kids ask...we used it all on the houses!)

Here's the front of my house this year...

Our neighborhood.... :)

I LOVE that my MIL started this tradition. We almost always do it the weekend after Thanksgiving and take them home to enjoy for the whole month of December.

I would like to say that Emma Kate was interested in helping...
But every time I looked around, she had her cheeks full of some unknown substance and chocolate in the corners of her mouth...or her hand was reaching as high up on the table as she possible could reach it in hopes of finding another yummy treat...
Oh Boy! There's only so much a mom can do!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Thanksgiving Break In Pictures

A few mornings in which we didn't have to be at any particular destination at and particular time!

This causes some sparks of creativity with Emma Kate's baby stroller and Libby's leash...

Playtime with the cousins...

The transfer of a cold from Corben to Emma...

A sleepy afternoon...

A very special visit from a life-long friend who now lives in Georgia...
We got our daughters together for their very first playdate!

And some more vegging with Daddy in the morning...

Dom was either sleeping, doing homework, or off somewhere most of the vacation.
:) For Him
:( For Me

Oh, he did venture out to People's Park in Berkeley with a Christian Club from school to distribute food to the homeless. (A true-letting-go-experience for Mom!) 

Goodbye Vacation...3 weeks to go until the next one...LOVE this time of the year!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Giving Thanks in Shingle Springs

"Can I drive?!?! Can I drive?!?!"
These are the words I hear almost every time we get ready to leave the house.
Dominic wants to take advantage of every opportunity he can...
And Thanksgiving was no different.
Our day started off nice and leisurely as we got ready to head up to Shingle Springs (to Jeff's Aunt and Uncle's house) about 20 minutes East of Sacramento.

Well Dom did get his driving in...2 1/2 hours of lots of traffic driving...that is.

But we did finally get there. A little different than last year...last year the weather was beautiful!
Cold...but clear!
This year...a constant drizzle.
Just enough to be annoying and make me want to protect my camera lense.

The kids got to enjoy swinging from the big oak tree again!
Connor and Cale are pro's this year :)

Uncle Jeff was a good sport!

We had a lot more play time inside...

Emmy fell in love with their baby...she cried when we had to leave it behind :(

Aunt Becki got in on some play time too.

Yeah!! Back outside!

We lasted for a while outside until Emma Kate stepped right out of her rain boot and insisted on walking around outside in the her soggy socks. Not happening!

So inside for hot apple cider and dry socks we went!

Brother and sister...LOVE this pic! 

Dom and "Bunga..."
(Check out Dom's haircut!!)

One of the coolest parts about Thanksgiving this year was that the kids and I got to meet Jeff's Aunt Anne (Mary's sister.)

Aunt Anne lives in England and even Jeff hasn't even seen her in over 20 years.
We got a call several weeks ago informing us that she and her husband were going to be joining us this year for Thanksgiving.

It was quite interesting to meet her and see Mary with her sister.
I was surprised to see that they look very much alike!
(Any pictures I have ever seen of her are from many many years ago.)

Here's a picture of my MIL with her brother and sister...

It's interesting how the Holy Spirit moves through us...
Even though this was our year (in rotation) to spend with my family, I really felt compelled to mix it up and spend another year with Jeff's...this was long before finding out that Aunt Anne was coming.

And as it turns out, if we would have gone with the norm...we would have totally missed out on meeting her.
Who knows if we'll ever get to see her again...
However, thoughts of a trip to Europe are swirling in my mind...hmmm...

Overall it was a really nice day...filled with some gritted teeth on the road, lots of family, good food, and
yummm...lots of pie!

So much to be thankful for.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Sonoma With My Hubby

Ever been to the Wine Country in the Fall?
If not...GO! It is simply beautiful!

This past Saturday Jeff and I left the kids with his parents and took off for a night in Sonoma, CA.
Next week is Jeff's birthday and every year I try to plan a get-away. It never seems to work out since it's such a busy time of year.
This year, however, I planned ahead, spent a lot of time on Trip Advisor...and off we went.

I found a beautiful B&B to stay at...The Victorian Garden Inn. If given the choice, I typically like the "fancy pancy" hotels, as Jeff calls them.
Jeff, however, loves all things antique.
Since we were going in celebration of his birthday...I obliged...and so glad I did!

Here's J outside our room...The Woodcutter's Cottage.

The Main House.

Plenty of wood burning logs to get us through a very chilly night!

Here's the inside of our cottage, right next to the Water Tower...

The attention to detail at the Inn was so amazing. The Inn Keeper was more than sweet and accomodating.
If I'm not careful, I may switch over from my "Fancy Pancy" preferences!

After settling in, we walked to "The Square."
(Only 2 blocks from the B&B.)

We got some mocha's from Basque Boulangerie, which I already knew was amazing from my girl's trip this past Summer, we walked, shopped, took pictures, and  talked.
With no interuptions. Just us.
We even laughed!

Anytime we come across a small local pub, and no children are present...we have to stop for a drink :)

Murphy's was really fun!

After walking our feet off, we hopped in the car and headed for dinner...
Breakaway Cafe.
(Which I had been to before with some girlfriends as well.)
They have a burger there called "The Beltane."
If you ever go...try it!

After dinner we headed back to our room. It was a very rainy night and perfect for staying in.
It was so nice to re-connect with my hubby.
It is very easy to get caught up in the every day "stuff," that sometimes we start to feel like "Business Partners" rather than husband and wife.

The next morning we had a special delivery...

Ahhh! Breakfast in!

And then we headed home...
Last looks at the Vineyards on the way...

Absolutely gorgeous! Even on a cloudy day.
We have so much to be thankful for...trips like this help remind us of that.
And even though we take off for time alone and we talk about the kids a lot of the time...
we decided that's ok!
We created those kids together.
They're pretty awesome.
And it's not very often that we get the time alone to talk about them!

Happy Birthday Honey!