Friday, March 24, 2017

Wine Country- Part II

Day 2 started out grabbing breakfast at Bouchon Bakery (another Thomas Kellar restaurant).  Just a FYI, staying in Yountville was a foodie lover's dream come true.  Not enough time to fit in all the food we wanted to try!  Anyway, French croissants and macaroons were on our list to grab before starting our day.





We hired a driver from Wine Country Drivers for our trip and had a GREAT experience.  We knew we didn't want to worry about doing tastings and driving, so getting a driving was a must for us.  

We started our day at Amizetta Winery.  Oh, my, goodness!!!  This winery was ah-mazing.  It was out in the middle of nowhere and settled up on a hillside.  The views were incredible from this winery.

We received a private tour by the family and learned about hillside wineries.  Fun fact- some of the steepest hillsides located on this winery are up to 60% slope.  By current regulations, nothing can be over 30%...thus, since this was grandfathered-in, this winery has some of the steepest land for the grapes to grow.  And you know what they say, stressed grapes are the best grapes.


We also got to tour Amizetta's barrel aging cave.  One of the things I found most interesting (#1 was trying different grapes from the different appellations) was trying wine from different barrels.  The ones we tried while on our trip were either French Oak or American Oak.  Very interesting the differences.  



We LOVED our experience at Amizetta.  May have been our favorite!  Maybe because of the views, maybe because it was a private tour, maybe because it was our first one, or maybe because it was family owned and ran....who knows!  It will forever stay with us.  If we ever join a wine club, it would be with Amizetta!

Next, we left to go to another hillside winery, Burgess Cellars.  We became familiar with Burgess from a restaurant we frequent when we go on vacation in Florida.  The bartender we always request let us know about this gem of a wine.  This was Derek's only request for which winery we go to and I am SO glad we did.



  


Again, the views were so incredible.  We were so lucky to have another private tasting...I still don't know how we got so lucky this day!  The person who was hosting our tasting experience, pulled 9 wines for us to try!!!  Yeah- there were lots of water and snack breaks lol.  I remember at one point thinking we had to be close to done and looked at our list and we were only have way through.

We were able to ask so many questions and learn a lot about this wine.  Fun Fact- all of these tastings were 100% straight varietals...meaning, every wine we tried (beside 1) were 100% cabernet, or 100% syrah, 100% merlot, etc. etc.  This was the coolest way to try wine!  Most of the time you are tasting a blend technically.  For example, you only need 75% of cabernet grapes in a wine to call it a cabernet even though 25% of the wine contains other grapes.  So, you could really figure out which elements you preferred in each grape.

If this didn't tie with our favorite winery...it came in at a close second!



It was now break time.  We made a pit stop at Gott's Roadside for a burger and fries!

We were (again) the only ones not enjoying an adult beverage with lunch....we needed a break, ha!


Our last stop for the day (with the driver) was Groth Vineyard & Winery

Groth is that beautiful pink looking building located on the valley floor.  While our tasting experience here was fabulous because we learned so much...the wines were very young and very hard to drink.  The grapes used in this winery are located on the estate/valley floor.  It was incredibly interesting to hear how they stressed the grapes themselves since they do not have hillsides to rely on for this.  We must have seemed disinterested in the wine because they finally started pulling out their library wines (a term we learned that meant an older vintage) which then tasted REALLY good, ha!

From there we said goodbye to our driver and headed over to a wine shop across the street from our hotel.  Wine Country Connection ended up being our best friend!  It is an adorable wine shop that featured 75+ different wines to try.  This was exactly what we were looking for.  We met the owner (and then the next day, the master sommelier who was also a business partner) and tried wines that evening.  2 hours flew by and before we knew it (and before we knew how much wine we drank!) it was dinner time.  We had dinner that evening at Redd which was absolutely fabulous.  We shared the glazed pork belly, and I had the gnocchi and Derek had the sashimi.  We brought a bottle of wine to drink with dinner.  As you can imagine if you are tallying up how much we had to to drink at that point, we barely touched that wine, ha!

As with the first night, we were ready for bed...and it was only 8pm (California time that is) :)

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Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Wine Country- Part I

I cannot wait to recap this vacation!! Derek and I were so ready to get away for a few days.  It honestly was last minute (last minute for us anyway) and that was perfect so we didn't have to wait too long for the trip to come.  Neither of us had ever been to California so we were ready to explore.



We arrived in San Francisco, grabbed our rental car, and took off towards Napa.  Derek convinced me to drive over the Golden Gate Bridge (I was hesitant because it was 39 minutes out of our way...I like to stay on schedule :) ).  I'm so glad he convinced me....as everybody mentions, the Golden Gate Bridge is not golden.  Even though I've heard this many times, I was so surprised by the color.  It was super grand and beautiful to see!


As soon as we started hitting Sonoma county, I couldn't wait to get out of the car to take pictures!  It was so beautiful and reminded me of our Italy trip.  AND PS- we had the PERFECT weather the whole time we were there.  It was pouring buckets before arriving and I guess after we left.  I could not get enough of the blue skies, green land, and vineyards :)


We were starved by the time we got into Yountville, the small town we were staying.  We stopped at R+D Kitchen to grab lunch (it was 4pm our time and we only had breakfast that morning).  I had the best salad of my life...mango, avocado, tomato, thai noodles, and filet mignon.  So, so good!  Derek and I looked around and noticed we were the only ones not enjoying an adult beverage...it was 1pm..we knew we were going to love this place :)  However, because of the long flight, coffee was in- order first!


We then checked in to the Villagio Inn...this is hands down the nicest accommodations we have ever experienced.  The rooms were gorgeous!  

We left to do our first tasting...Schramsberg, which is a sparkling wine vineyards.  We wanted to start our tastings with sparkling.  Plus, we heard great things about their cave tour.



None of these pictures do this justice, but basically these vineyards are way high up on a hill.  You have to drive on a teeny-tiny road to get there.



These photos are inside the cave...you can see the original pic marks from the axes used to make these tunnels in the last 1800s.  It was amazing to hear and see the history!  Schramsberg is known as America's most prestigious sparkling wine.  The wine was used in the Nixon's administration and since been used at state functions by every U.S. Presidential administration since.


I can't even begin to tell you how much we learned on this tour (or trip!), but one of the coolest thing I learned about was the art of Riddling.  This is the process of consolidating the sediment so they are able to then remove it (the sediment).  The bottles are turned so many degrees at certain points of the day for WEEKS.  At the very end, the sediment is trapped in the neck of the bottle, which is then removed.  Most sparkling wine producers use a machine to do this.  Schramsberg still does it by hand!  They have thousands of bottles to turn....4 or so people (I forget their titles) can do these so fast and get everything done in just a few hours.  Ah-mazing!




The cave tour ended with an adorable tasting.  We really liked two bottles during the tasting...of course they were the most expensive :)  Derek and I have found a bottle of champagne that we really like and is way more affordable, so we left here empty handed.  We were filled with knowledge though :)



Right after our tasting, we left for our mud bath.  If you're wondering why we would ever want to do this...I don't have a good answer for you lol.  Calistoga is known for their natural mineral springs and mud baths.  I thought, when in Rome.  Derek on the other hand, thought I was crazy but kept his mouth shut like a good husband :)  Honestly, I was wondering what I got us into too when we arrived.  However, the experience was very pleasantly surprising.  You literally submerge yourself in this hot mud.  It is so awkward to get in these baths because there are hot coils on the bottom to heat the mud.  So, you have to put your butt in first since you are not able to stand up.  I couldn't stop laughing trying to get in this thing!  Once you are in there and get over the whole notion...it was very easy to relax.  Even though we were only in the mud for 10 minutes or so, when getting out, I felt like I had a full body massage.  EXTREMELY relaxing.  A hot spring bath and cool down nap followed.

That evening we had dinner at Ad Hoc (a Thomas Kellar restaurant).  I guess we missed Fried Chicken night (it was the next night and the locals favorite), but we were completely underwhelmed by this restaurant.  In fact, this was our least favorite meal of the whole trip.  PLUS, after that mud bath, our bodies were so spent (not to mention the cross country flight), and all I wanted to do was crawl in bed and sleep!  We needed some rest for our coming days tasting all the red wine!...Part II coming soon

Friday, February 17, 2017

Leni- 9 Months



Clothes- We are in 12 months and 18 MONTHS (what?!?!)  The 18 mo. sleepers are a little big and her legs/feet get a little lost in the clothes when crawling around; however, the rest of the clothes fit best in 18 mo.



Health- Pretty healthy over here.  Charlie girl caught a bad bug this past month and mom had the flu so we were so happy little Leni Bean stayed healthy throughout everything!



Diet- Still on Similac Supplementation.  We are still at 4 bottles this month.  We tried switching one bottle to a sippy-cup and Leni wanted nothing to do with it.  Good thing she drinks water out of a sippy-cup or else I would be freaking out!

We are still doing 7 ounces in each bottle.

Solid foods are going great.  Leni has always enjoyed table food more than pureed baby food.  I steamed sweet potatoes and we tried avocado pieces this month.


Crying- this was another fun month :)  Leni is completely involved in everything BUT baby toys.  Sometimes, this brought crying if she fell or big sissy took something out of her hands.  Other than that, Leni is a happy happy baby girl!



Sleep- great month on sleep!  Nothing new to report here.  She is still taking 2 naps and 1 cat nap a day.  She lays down at 9:30 and 1:00 for her naps.  If we are home, Leni will take a cat nap around 5:15.  However, if we are out and about, she stays up for it all!

Bedtime is around 7:00/7:15 and then she is up at 7:30am.


Likes- Leni loves to be around everybody.  If she is left in a room by herself, she gets sad and lets us know.  Leni particularly loves the dog dishes, ahhhh!  Every time we set her down, Leni goes after the dog dishes.  Leni also loves to stand.

Disklikes- being left alone, held/sitting in one place for too long.  She loves to get down and explore.




Milestones- Leni started saying Dada this month.  Let me tell you....everything is Dada.  We think she says Hi when she waves.  Waving has been happening a lot too.  Leni army crawls everywhere!!! She has gotten pretty fast at it too.  She can also sit up from a laying position now.

This month, we've notice the eyes go from a blue to brown :(  Guess Mommy will not be having a blue-eyed baby after all.  Leni's outline of her eyes are still incredibly blue, so everything reflects blue.  But I'm braced for the whole thing turning brown soon, ha!




Other Thoughts- Little Leni, your personality and brain has expanded so much this past month.  I remember this time-period so vividly with your sister, and your daddy and I are obsessed with this age!  You are so much fun and love to stand and bounce every second of the day.  Once your little legs get tired, you are down on the floor exploring.  This month, you've become so amazed with your surroundings.  If we take you to a new place, you never seem to tire or get bored.  We love your smiles, kisses, and cuddles.


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Friday, February 3, 2017

Great Wolf Lodge

A couple weeks ago, we took off work and took the girls to Great Wolf Lodge.  This is something that has always been on our list of to-do's.  We always heard such good things so we were excited to try it out.  This was little Leni's first night in a hotel too :)

We checked in and could not wait to get to the water park.  But first, a picture with the wolf ears on the bunk beds was priority!




There is something about little babies and bathing suits.  Charlie wore this exact suit at the ocean the first year we went.  Ah, memories!


The waterpark was SO much fun!  There was an area for little kids, wave pool, lazy river, tons of water slides, and then a splash park area.  Charlie really enjoyed the wave pool and slides.  Leni loved the wave pool as well and sitting/standing at the shallow end and having the waves come up and hit her legs.

That night after dinner, there is a story time for the kids.  It was very interactive and Charlie had such a great time.  She didn't want to sit with Derek and I and situated herself with all the kids sitting on the floor.


It was past Leni Beans bedtime so she was passed out on me while Charlie got to meet some of the characters.



Charlie picked out some HUGE wolf slippers that I could not get over.  Seriously, look at these things.  Sofunny!


The girls slept so great that night.  Charlie did awesome with her undies (also a first time wearing undies at night in a foreign place), yay!  As soon as Charlie woke up, she wanted to head straight to the water park.


Derek and I had so much fun with the girls on our little stay-cation!  And how cool is it that the Lodge is located right here in Cincinnati?!  Charlie went down all the big water slides that she was allowed on.  Derek and I were talking that this was the first time since having children that we got to experience more adult-type of fun with our kids because we got to go down all the big slides with Charlie.  It is so fun to see your kids experience the zoo, etc. but there is also something about getting to have adult-like fun with your kids.

We will definitely be heading back soon!







Friday, January 27, 2017

My First LulaRoe

Everybody has seen the LulaRoe shops on Facebook, right?  Well, I guess I'm late to the party because I had never tried the clothes.  My friend Monica (shop LulaRoe with Monica Montes) let me try out some of the clothes.  I've heard the most amazing things about the leggings so I was excited to get my hands on a pair.  I also grabbed a shirt and dress to try.  Overall, the fit and softness of the materials are outstanding!


These are the leggings I chose.  They run OS and super stretchy.  Blue I thought would be a fun color and would deviate a little bit from my normal black.  These leggings are so comfortable!  They are incredibly soft.  Only thing for me is they run a little short.


Next up is the Randy 3/4 sleeve shirt.  I ordered an XS and as you can see, it runs a bit bigger.  However, I love the length!  I have a long torso and hate when shirts are so short on me.  This fit perfectly and I know I will wear this a lot in the spring/fall.



Last is the Amelia dress.  Now, this is definitely not something I would normally pick out.  However, I'm obsessed with army green so I thought I would give it a try.  Just like the other two items, the material is soooooo soft.  I loved the way it felt on.  I wore it out to dinner with Derek one night and actually received two compliments on it!  I look forward to wearing this dress for many different occasions....very easy to dress up or down.


Overall, my experience with LulaRoe was extremely positive.  I think their clothes are so soft and fit very well.  Monica is awesome to work with and I love looking at her outfits she pairs together :)  She is your hook-up for all things LulaRoe!

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Leni- 8 Months



Clothes
12 months all the way!




Health
Leni caught another cold this month but it was pretty mild.  Besides a runny nose, it came and went with no other problems.



Diet
I finished up pumping about half way through this month, hooray!!! Leni continued on with Similac Supplementation and didn't skip a beat.  We are still at 4 bottles/day: 3- 7 ounce bottles and the last bottle has 8 ounces.  

Solid foods are still going strong.  Some days Leni chows down and other days, she doesn't seem too interested.  Picking up yogurt bites and puffs kept her entertained when going out to eat this month.  Leni is also a pro at the straw sippy cup now.




Crying
This was such a fun month with little to no crying involved!  Leni has started using her voice, aka, yelling when needing something rather than crying.  




Sleep
Another awesome month of sleep!  Leni goes down anywhere from 7:05-7:20 and we get her up every morning at 7:30am.  Leni takes 3 naps a day: 9:30-11:00 and 1:00-3:00.  The catnap is still going strong and starts around 5:15.





Likes
This month was the month that switched from playing with her own toys to everything else in the house.  Leni is on the move so she only plays with her own toys for a little bit.  Then it is on to all her sister's toys :)


Dislikes
Leni hates when she is left alone in a room.  She yells for somebody to come back and keep her company.


Milestones
Army crawling started this month.  She is quite slow at it right now and can get to places faster by rolling.  The pincher grasp also started getting much better this month.



Other Thoughts
Just as with Charlie, this was the start of everything clicking together!  We have started hearing more sounds than just babbling (no words yet though!), wanting to be picked back up after being sat down, and enjoying meal time with the family.  We know we are on the brink of our little baby losing that babyness soon so we are trying to enjoy every second of these months.  This month was so enjoyable and full of laughs.  Charlie and Leni have started spending more play time together and it is so fun to see.