Littles

Insider Tips on Great Photo Sessions

AydenPhoenix_2013_Jul-6951

Look at that precious little face above!  Isn’t he darling?  That’s my friend Gus’ son and he is just as precious in person as he is in that adorable photograph.  He’s a lucky little boy because his dad is an expert photographer, so he’s going to have loads of photos that are just as cute as this one.  What a well-documented life this little guy will have!  Gus is a dear friend of ours from our church in San Francisco, Reality, and has photographed our family numerous times – from baby photos of our first son to the birth of our second son to birthday parties and holiday cards in between, we LOVE having Gus photograph our family.  In fact, you’ll see some of the ones he has taken of us in the full post!  I’m always a little overwhelmed by the process of coordinating outfits for all four of us that blend well in color, but aren’t too matchy-matchy and in picking a cool location for our photos and getting the littles’ naps and meals coordinated just right so that he has happy and well-rested subjects to shoot.   (more…)

Gorilla BBQ

Blog-4962

Being a Texas gal, BBQ is definitely something that I miss here in California.  There’s nothing quite like sitting outside on the patio at Goode Company with old school country music playing, Shiner in hand, enjoying one of their chopped brisket sandwiches on jalapeño bread with extra sauce for dipping.  Seriously.  My mouth is watering just thinking about it.  Pure Texas.

So when my friend Dave Lomas told me that there is good BBQ within driving distance of SF, we had to check it out.  Down in Pacifica, there’s a place called Gorilla BBQ.  It’s basically located in an old trailer on the side of the highway and they sell their BBQ until they run out.  And then they close.  The first time we tried to go (around 4pm on a Saturday after the kids’ naps,) they were sold out.  Bummer.  (Don’t feel too badly for us – we made the most of it with a sunset picnic on the beach down in Pacifica.) (more…)

There’s Power In No Plans

all

Today is a guest blog post by my friend Bethany Factor.  She’s one incredible and creative mama and she has some fabulously fun ideas to share and a great perspective-altering video as well…

Bethany is a mom of four kids 5 years old and younger. She recently launched a website called ThumbWar to help make you a better mother, father, spouse and employee. Her website is the perfect combination of personal assistant and best friend. She has created Houston’s largest parent rated activity and camp network. ThumbWar “battles boredom.” She is currently working on adding Houston’s largest parent rated pediatrician and pediatric dentist network. She is always interested in franchisees as well. (more…)

Carmel Valley Ranch: Part 2

Blog-8227

On our first morning during our visit to Carmel Valley Ranch we relaxed in our luxurious room (complete with a fireplace!) and enjoyed the enormous balcony overlooking the mountains and vineyards.  The hubs and I relaxed on the comfy chairs and watched the littles blow bubbles to their hearts’ content. It was such a nice, relaxing morning.

The food at Carmel Valley Ranch is outstanding.  We had breakfast, lunch and dinner at the resort over the course of our stay and all were delish.  And the restaurant is so kid friendly.  It was really nice to have a nice meal, but also have our littles be more than welcome there.  In fact, at one point, our oldest boy (who is just under three) started to get a bit fidgety and the next thing I knew, the hostess was bringing him a cool little magnet game to play with to entertain him. (more…)

Carmel Valley Ranch

Blog-2311

This weekend, during our Summer of Fun, we took a mini-vacation to Carmel Valley Ranch.  What an incredible place!  Seriously.  This place is absolutely amazing.  Set in the Santa Lucia mountains.  The resorts boasts amazing golf, gorgeous hiking trails, a vineyard, tennis, two beautiful pools, a splash pad for the littles, a bocce ball court, yoga and many activity options. And that is to say nothing of the incredibly luxurious accomodations.  They are simply divine!  Nestled in the mountains, you absolutely cannot find a bad view in this place.  Lavender and vineyards abound, making this a wonderful place to relax…and play.  And did I mention the food?  Yum. (more…)

Domaine Carneros

Blog-3016

For four years now, every time we drive to the wine country, as we are cruising down 12 on our way to Sonoma or Napa, I point out the grand chateau that sits prominently on the side of the road.  I always marvel at the architecture of it and tell hubs that we need to stop there “sometime soon.”  He always agrees.  Yet, we’re usually headed somewhere specific and by the time we are driving back by it on the way home, either we are tired or the kids are asleep in the car. . . or both.

Recently, however, we made a point to stop in and we are SO glad that we did.  What a neat spot!  The chateau is the home of Domaine Carneros Winery, which is owned by the Taittinger family.  It’s not the small, offbeat vineyard that we usually love visiting or a quaint family-run one that feels like you’ve been to a friend’s home, but it is still a really great visit, nonetheless. (more…)

French Blue

Blog-4038

In the heart of St. Helena on the quaint little Main Street lies one of the cutest restaurants I’ve ever visited.  We discovered it nearly a year ago, just after it opened, and French Blue has quickly become a favorite spot of ours.  The ambiance is serene and inviting, the tables (and banquets!) are beyond comfortable, the space is cozy, complete with a fireplace, and the staff is incredibly friendly.  They are always so kind to us even as we traipse in with two kids aged two and under.  The maitre d’ is the nicest man and always offers to take our kids for a few moments and show them the kitchen and walk them around the restaurant to give us “a quick twenty minute date” (in his words.)  I mean, are you kidding me?  What a treasure this man is! (And our kiddos love him…well, that and parading around the restaurant with patrons fawning all over them!)  When we walk in, several of the staff recognize us and come to say hello.  That is more a testament to how sweet they are than to how often we frequent the place.  We have taken several friends (and their little ones!) to the restaurant and every one of them has told us that it will now be a regular spot for them.  It’s that good – and that cute. (more…)

Failla Winery

Blog-2848

This weekend, we drove up from the city to the Wine Country with some dear friends. Their son Riley is the same age as our oldest and the boys are good friends, which means they are thrilled to play together while we adults taste wine. The kids get sunshine, fresh air and space to run around and we get to taste yummy vino – everyone wins!

Today, we started off our morning at Failla. Hubs and I hadn’t yet heard of this winery, but we are so thankful that our friends clued us in. It is fantastic! The tastings are (more…)

More Fun in the Wine Country (Mother’s Day, Part Two)

Blog-0378

Last week, I gave you all the details on our fun picnic in the wine country for Mother’s Day.  Today, I want to fill you in on the rest of our fabulously relaxing and fun day!

After our picnic at Rombauer, we drove over to Paraduxx, which is an adorable little winery on the Silverado Trail.  It is owned by the same couple that started Duckhorn Vineyards. Paraduxx has some really good wines and a really gorgeous outdoor backyard space in which to drink them.  They have several “living room” like stations with outdoor couches and coffee tables set up next to the vineyards and also some fun little tables on a porch and some grassy areas for letting the kids run.   (more…)

A Picnic in the Wine Country (Mother’s Day, Part I)

MDay2013-9802

One major perk of living in the Bay Area is that we can easily hop in the car and head to a really cool destination for the day.  When we return, it always feels like we’ve had a little mini vacation and it’s always so refreshing to get out of the city for a bit.  Sunday was one of those days…

This morning, we made some lattes at home and then piled in the car and drove up to the wine country.  It was cool but sunny in the city, but as we drove across the bridge, we could see “Karl” the fog rolling in.  We couldn’t even see the water, much less the iconic orange towers as we drove across the bridge, which is always such a crazy feeling (and our two year old was baffled and kept asking us where the bridge had gone – try explaining that!)  Just on the other side of the bridge, though, it was hot and sunny (another reason to get of the city once in a while!)  We drove up to St. Helena, which is one of our favorite little towns and went into Dean and Deluca to do our shopping. (more…)