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 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, 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 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 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 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.


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

12 months all the way!

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

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.

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.  

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.

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 :)

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

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.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

A Year in Review- 2016

I always love putting together this post because it is fun to look back at the year!  This one was a whirlwind with our little Leni being born and Charlie growing up so much this past year!  From birth-2 years, a child grows and develops so much.  However, from 2+, it is amazing how independent they get and become these kids who talk allthetime :)  She cracks us up multiple times a day!

This was the month we announced our 2nd pregnancy to the world!

February we were in the thick of potty-training.  The picture below was getting ice cream for FINALLY pooping in the potty.  Gosh, potty training is probably the biggest pain in the butt ever!  Charlie was a challenge.  After about a year, I'm happy to report we are in undies for nap time and about ready to switch to undies for bedtime.  NO MORE DIAPERS, what?! (well, for Charlie anyway...I only have to go through this all over again lol)

We got the opportunity to take Charlie to the circus for the first time!   I'm not sure who was more excited, me or her!  This was a huge memory for me as a child so I could not wait to take Charlie!  

April was a busy month!  Our second baby girl was due to arrive the next month, so we were trying to get in everything we could in the month of April!  BUT first, we needed to finish little Leni's nursery.  The process of getting the nursery ready was such a task....everything that could wrong did and more!  When it all finally came together it turned out beautiful!

We managed to sneak in a Reds game and catch a foul ball!

Oh, and I was busy growing a baby :)

We took Charlie to the conservatory for the first time to see the butterfly exhibit.

Last minute, I decided to do a mommy & me photo shoot.  I'm so.glad.i.did.  I absolutely love these photos!  I didn't get maternity pictures done so these serve that purpose.  Additionally, I love having these photos of just Charlie & me!

May go down in the books!  Derek turned 30 and we snuck in a celebration 1 WEEK before Leni was born.  We surprised him and had a very fun night out.

May 14th, Leni was born (11 days earlier!)

We had Leni's newborn photos done by the same photographer that did Charlie's.  I will always cherish these pictures!

The next 3 months were a complete whirlwind!  Trying to manage 2 children and figure out how to give attention to Charlie while recovering/feeling completely sleep deprived with a newborn.  The picture below sums up everything...we had a happy/content newborn, Charlie seemed pretty happy as well and did not notice any difference (she is the best big sister!), LuLu always tries to get in the experience, and then there is me, tired lol!

Derek and I continued with our date nights :)


We attended our first Cincinnati professional soccer game with friends

Spent a lot of time outdoors!  So different to have an infant during warm weather!

Watched our second baby girl grow up so fast and start giving us smiles

Had friends come down from Columbus for the weekend and had so much fun!

I went back to work (wow that maternity leave flew by!) this month!  I was ready as I was when I went back to work with Charlie.  This time was a little more challenging as trying to wear the working mom hat of a mother of two is different in some ways.  It helped that Derek and I had an exciting month planned for us!

We went to the Chris Stapleton/Hank Williams JR concert 

Got 3 month photos done for Miss Leni

We celebrated our 7th wedding anniversary!

We hosted my sister and her family for a fun week!

Had a fun night out on the pedal wagon

We took our first road trip with both girls to Athens.  Derek and I went to Country Night Lights Friday & Saturday and enjoyed seeing Jake Owen & Brett Eldridge. 

We also took our first overnight trip to Cleveland for an UFC fight!

Charlie started preschool!!

Solid foods!  Leni started this month and we found out that mashed potatoes were a big hit!

Leni also started sitting up and exploring the world in this whole new way!

We celebrated Halloween with two little bugs!

We got to see my brother and his family who came to Ohio to visit.

We took the girls to the pumpkin patch and other fun fall events

Charlie started swimming lessons


My girlfriends and I attended a wine event by Cincinnati Bacchanalian Society.  We hadn't been for years and had such a great time!

Took our annual family photos.  This served the purpose of Leni's 6 months, Charlie's 3 year, AND family photos!

Celebrated Charlie's 3rd birthday with a farm animal theme

Enjoyed Zoo Lights

We also attended another tasting event (our 3rd for the year!) at our local favorite wine bar/restaurant!


I got to take Charlie to her first ever movie at a movie theater.  We went and saw Sing!  Again, I don't know who was more excited..her or me :)

It was a warm warm Christmas this year!

We saw Santa many times this year

Had fun at our annual neighborhood Progressive Dinner

The girls enjoyed opening up their gifts from Santa!