Family Day Fun with Gifts.com

gifts.com - may hats of a mom blogger

gifts.com - may hats of a mom blogger

gifts.com - may hats of a mom blogger

gifts.com - may hats of a mom blogger

gifts.com - may hats of a mom blogger

gifts.com - may hats of a mom blogger

gifts.com - may hats of a mom blogger

gifts.com - may hats of a mom blogger
gifts.com - may hats of a mom blogger

gifts.com - may hats of a mom blogger

gifts.com - may hats of a mom blogger

gifts.com - may hats of a mom blogger

Last night we ditched our plans and had a wonderful family picnic outside. In celebration of Family Day today, it was important to step away from the homework, iPhones, TV shows, laundry, swim/gym/soccer practice and just be still, together. ¬†We were excited to partner with Gifts.com to celebrate this initiative. They sent us this amazing farmer’s market gift basket by Cherry Farms Foods.

Colton immediately gravitated toward the candies and Nolan instinctively took all of the fruit and hoarded it like baseballs. Kelsey ate all of the sea salt caramel cookies (can you blame her?) and Ryan and I just indulged in this amazing Phoenix weather. We hope you too take time out of your busy schedules to celebrate Family Day today. Do a board game. Go for a walk. Whatever floats your boat as long as you’re doing it together.

*Thank you to Gifts.com for providing great family gifts (here) to inspire families to reconnect.

Oh, and I got half of a braid in her hair! That was a huge win. She never lets me braid her hair. Half is better than nothing, so it appears we are making some progress over here.

toddler hair - phoenix mom blog

Napa Valley Blues, Greens and Merlots

silver oak napa valley blogger

silver oak napa valley bloggersilver oak napa valley blogger

You may recognize this water tower from the Silver Oak logo – it’s not a functioning tower any more, but it sure looks nice! We visited Silver Oak Vineyards on day two. One of my sorority sisters gave me a bottle of Silver Oak Merlot for my bridal shower (over 8 years ago!) and we drank it on our first wedding anniversary. Silver Oak has been a special wine of ours ever since.

silver oak napa valley blogger
silver oak napa valley blogger

silver oak napa valley blogger

silver oak napa valley blogger

Can you believe their wine was $6 per bottle when it first debuted in the ’70’s … and that was considered expensive! Most wine was being sold under a dollar. I loved this bit of history during our winery tour. For $30 per person, you can do a signature tasting & tour – they also throw in complimentary wine glasses.

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silver oak napa valley blogger

silver oak

silver oak napa valley blogger
silver oak napa valley blogger
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After Silver Oak we didn’t have any plans until late afternoon. Sometimes that’s the best part of vacation, right? Throwing out any form of a schedule and just ‘going’. That’s so hard of me to do since I’m such a Type A personality, but I’m so glad we did it because we found the most amazing restaurant, Farmstead. We heard it was one of only a few REAL farm-to-table restaurants in the U.S. Either way, we are certain they are to blame for our 6lb weight gain this trip.

Farmstead Napa Valley Travel Blogger
I mean … just look at Ryan’s Pulled Pork sandwich! This is the kind of stuff you order here. You don’t come to Farmstead to get a salad. Although, I’m sure that’s good too.

Farmstead Napa Valley Travel Blogger

Farmstead Napa Valley Travel Blogger

Like my purple lipstick? That’s called Cabernet and it was all over my teeth too. Who cares. We’re in Napa!

farmstead napa valley travel blogger

Farmstead Napa Valley Travel Blogger
farmstead napa valley restaurants
If I could do it again, I would come back at sunset – I can only imagine how romantic it is at night with all of the lights and live music outdoors. The Farmstead property and on-site market was so charming! So much so that I turned to Ryan and told him, “THIS is what I want our home to feel like.” Yep. I have been officially inspired to re-do our house and our backyard to feel like the Farmstead. You know, minor details.

farmstead napa valley restaurants

farmstead napa valley restaurants

napa valley travel mom blogger

napa valley travel mom blogger

napa valley travel mom blogger
napa valley travel mom blogger

A little game of horseshoes, some local caramel and we were on our way to our next stop, Caymus Vineyards. 

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caymus vineyards

By this time the heels had come off, the flats were on and the purple/ Merlot stained smile was in full effect. Our next stop was Frog’s Leap Vineyards. The wine wasn’t our favorite, but the view, the vibe, the people … their dog, Abbie, all of those other factors made this one of the best places we visited! They gave us a complimentary Sauvignon blanc and some apple butter from their garden for our Anniversary. The best way to end a day of tasting!

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frogs leap napa mom blogger

frogs leap napa mom blogger

frogs leap napa mom blogger
Forget for a moment that this is the cutest vineyard ever, with the most relaxing vibe, but then throw in Abbie – the owners dog. She is the cutest, raggiest thing and I may have been following her around yelling her name more than once. I mean … look at her. When she finally sat down and curled up at my feet, I almost lost it with excitement.

frogs leap vineyards in napa valley blog

frogs leap napa valley

frogs leap napa mom blogger

frogs leap

frogs leap napa mom blogger

frogs leap napa valley
And then – this is every husband’s dream – I made Ryan wear their vineyard hats. These hats are reserved for people on tours to shade them from the sun … but, I really think they’re reserved for moments when you’ve had a little too much to drink and you want to look amazing while walking around. Right, Ryan? He. Looks. Ridiculous. I was literally crying, I was laughing so hard.

frogs leap napa valley

frogs leap chickens

frogs leap napa mom blogger

Now, who wants to watch all three of our kids so we can make this an annual thing. ūüôā Seriously, one of the best vacations I have had (have I said that enough?). If you haven’t been to Napa, you should make the trip. It’s remarkable how beautiful nature can be.

Our first day in Napa Valley!

If you get the opportunity to date your husband, I highly recommend it. I had THE best time with Ryan celebrating our anniversary. The grandparents (thank the Lord for them!) watched all three of our kids while we lived it up … together. Everything we did was amazing – it was the wine, the food, but mostly the great company. I laughed more than I have in a long time. I actually forgot how funny my husband is. I really can’t stress this enough: Date your spouse! Here are a few stories from our first day in Napa.

We started the day at Bouchon Bakery. It’s Thomas Keller’s bakery and it did not disappoint. We were only stopping in for coffee, but when we saw all of the pastries lined up we couldn’t resist. You know when you wake up on day two and say, “Let’s go back!” that it’s a great bakery. Worth the visit if you’re in the area.

Bouchon Bakery

Bouchon Bakery

Bouchon Bakery

If you’re wondering, the coffee (aka the reason we came) was great too! Next stop: Duckhorn Vineyards. It was our first winery and it was the best start to the day. We showed up at 10am on a Monday and had the place to ourselves for the first hour. We were greeted with a private table on their porch (it felt like we were being invited into someone’s house) and indulged in great wine, good music and amazing views.

The vineyard cat, Kitter, was a highlight for us. She followed us around as we explored the vineyard and then perched herself onto the chair next to us. Our host for the day (James) was so welcoming. We spent about 2 hours here, just sipping wine, enjoying the breeze, chatting, laughing, and walking around the vineyard.

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Did you read the sign? We parked right next to this tree. As we were walking back to the car we read that this is the tree they make wine cork from. It was super “spongey” and cool to see up close.

Napa Valley Vineyards

After Duckhorn, we visited Dean and DeLuca to grab sandwiches and snacks for lunch. This place was awesome! You can pick up meats, cheeses and crackers for a day of tasting – along with cute gifts for friends back home.

Dean and Deluca Napa Valley

Dean and Deluca Napa

Dean and Deluca Napa

Dean and Deluca Napa
Dean and Deluca Napa

You’re not supposed to do this (so .. shhhh!) but we took our lunch across the street to V. Sattui and had a picnic lunch on their lawn. Someone told me this place wasn’t worth the trip, but I disagree. The grounds were beautiful and they had so many picnic tables, making it the perfect spot for a picnic lunch. You just aren’t supposed to bring outside food in because they have their own grocery shop inside (we didn’t know that until we got there). I fell in love with the rose bushes here – take a look at how beautiful they were.

napa valley mom blogger

napa valley mom blogger

napa valley mom blogger

napa valley mom blogger

Now, for the best views of the day! After lunch, we went to Joseph Phelps for another wine tasting. As we drove up the long windy, road we knew we were in for something great. We stepped into their winery and the huge oak barrels, cozy interior design and sophisticated ambiance made for a totally different experience than Duckhorn.

We learned a lot about their wine and even got to taste Backus – a super rare wine typically reserved for wine club members only due to its very limited supply. Insignia was one of my favorite wines and one that I may have to find back in Arizona. Except it’s about $200 per bottle. That’s okay, right honey? I could hear him gulp after I told him, “Wow! I really love this one.”

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Joseph Phelps

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joseph phelps

How handsome is he? I’m super lucky.

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joseph phelps mom blogger
Can you believe these views? We stayed here for about two hours and the only reason we left was to get some downtime back at the hotel before dinner. I highly recommend this winery (although it’s $75 for a tasting, per person) it was worth it. Speaking of dinner, GO TO BOTTEGA. Seriously. Go. It was the best Italian food we have had in a long time. Not to mention, half way through dinner Ryan slipped me a new Tiffany necklace for our anniversary. I’m telling you … this vacation was magic!

After dinner, we walked to the local market because I forgot to pack my toothbrush (I ALWAYS forget to pack my toothbrush) and on our way back we stopped at Bistro Jeanty – super small, French bistro in the town of Yountville. We sat on this little table outside, as we waited for our Uber, listening to the most amazing music. It felt like we were in Paris.

bottega in napa valley - mom blogger

bottega in napa valley - mom blogger

This one elderly couple walked out of the restaurant as we were sitting outside. The wife took one look us – I imagine we looked weird holding a brown paper sack (my toothbrush) – and raised her hands in the air and shouted, “This is why I love this town!!!” I’m not really sure what that meant, or how many cocktails she had, but I would like to think it was because this city evokes love and joy in everyone.

Napa Valley: The Westin and Oxbow Market

My husband and I just got back from three days in Napa Valley for our anniversary! If you are looking for a new vacation spot and want some place full of beautiful scenery, amazing food, great wine (and lots of it!) then Napa Valley is for you. We saw so much and are still relishing in excitement from the trip.

Napa Valley Westin Hotel

Westin Napa Resorts

 

We stayed at the Westin Verasa Napa resort. They were so good to us; they upgraded us to a one-bedroom suite upon arrival (that never happens!) and had complimentary tapas and wine every night. The resort is located within walking distance to downtown Napa Valley and the Oxbow Market, and sits along the Napa River.

Napa Valley Mom Blogger

After checking into our hotel, we walked over to the Market for dinner.¬†We ate at Kitchen Door (the pizza is fabulous) and indulged in an old-school double scoop of ice cream at¬†Three Twins Ice Cream. We explored the many different vendors in the Market and then enjoyed a super relaxing walk back to the hotel. It was the perfect start to a vacation we’ll never forget.

Here are some photos of us exploring the Oxbow Market, and of our view walking back to the resort.

Napa Valley Mom Blogger

Napa Valley Mom Blogger

Napa Valley Mom Blogger 4

 

Napa Valley Mom Blogger

Napa Valley

Napa Valley Mom Blogger

Napa Valley Mom Blogger

Napa Valley Mom Blogger

Napa Valley Mom Blogger

Napa Valley Mom Blogger
Napa Valley Mom Blogger

Napa Valley Mom Blogger
Napa Valley Mom Blogger

Napa Valley Mom Blogger
Napa Valley Mom Blogger

Napa Valley Mom Blogger

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Napa Valley Mom Blogger 2

Napa Valley Mom Blogger 1

Napa Valley Mom Blogger

I was putting the lens cap back on my camera when I accidentally snapped this picture and yet, it’s my favorite photo from the night. See my camera strap in the way? Me either. I’m just focusing on the moment too. ūüôā

Nolan’s First St. Patrick’s Day

When you’re the baby of the family, not a moment goes by where someone isn’t poking, tickling, cuddling, squeezing or loving on you. Tonight was no exception. It was Nolan’s first St. Patrick’s Day and while I was snapping a photo of the crew, the kids did this.

phoenix mom blogger

I don’t know what it is about Nolan, but he is just so cuddly. Maybe it’s because he’s my baby and I just can’t get enough. When I was pregnant with him, I would sneak away from parties & events and have quiet moments with him. Usually, I would sneak out onto a porch and just sit, rub my belly,¬†and talk to him without distraction.¬†Now that he is born I am keeping this tradition alive. I call it our little “sneak aways.” During dinner tonight, we had a “sneak away” and Ryan caught us having a special moment.

phoenix mom blogger

phoenix mom blogger

Such a big sister!

This morning, Kelsey came to me and said, “Mom, if you get me a bottle, I can do it so you can get dressed.” It was the sweetest thing. She is such a big sister and loves her little brothers so much. I live for these moments. (Nolan is 7 weeks old today!)

many hats mom blog

Pictures, lately.

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I actually thought I would have more time on my hands than I do. Being on maternity leave, I had all of these grand plans to redecorate the house, practice my photography, learn graphic design, get my Christmas shopping done (ha!). But really, in between nursing, napping, doctor’s appointments and snuggling with my little baby every chance I get, I haven’t had¬†the energy.

That said, I have had some mini accomplishments. I’ve cooked and baked, I bought Kelsey her much-requested Malifecent Halloween kids costume, got to every doctor’s appointment on time (a win!), enjoyed morning sunrises with Nolan and a warm cup of coffee, managed to grocery shop with a newborn, and I’m working with Kelsey’s school to help plan their Kindergarten fall party. Doesn’t sound like much … but truth is, I need to be okay with taking it easy.

I tend to¬†forget how many days (weeks?) your body needs to heal itself from delivery. I’m still recovering from labor and need to come to terms¬†with the fact that not every day is going to be filled with “things to do.” Also, it’s day 13. Thirteen, Steph. Less than 2 weeks since I delivered this 10lb miracle.

I am really¬†enjoying this precious time at home with my babe.¬†Time I’ll never get back. Time I’m so grateful for. Time to heal. Time to bond. And time to just sit back, relax and enjoy this incredible ride. Aaaand if that means¬†filling my day with baby kisses, Sex & the City reruns, naps, pumping sessions and more time invested washing baby bottles than washing my hair, so be it!

Baby Boy Celebratory Breakfast

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We had a bright, baby boy brunch at Scottsdale’s¬†Morning Squeeze this morning! My co-workers and I gathered around for iced coffee, Eggs Benedict, omelets, strawberry crepes and double chocolate ganache¬†cake! Yes, cake at 9am.

You see, sometimes your co-workers turn into great friends and that’s the case with mine. My Starwood marketing family truly outdid themselves this morning as we celebrated the upcoming arrival of baby Nolan and my colleague, Nancy’s soon-to-be son.

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Two cakes for two babies on the way! We have to give credit where credit is due. Andrea is our resident baker. Isn’t she amazing? She did Dayna’s baby shower cake too (seen here) and even came prepared with to-go boxes! Not joking. I literally took home half of this cake. I may have already dabbled in a second piece. Shh.

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They gifted us soft¬†swaddle blankets, the cutest honest diapers, and a little somethin’ somethin’ just for mom. Hello, Nordstrom. The most important part was we were all together. It’s actually pretty amazing that I’ve celebrated all three kids with this group. 7 years at a company and some of these ladies have seen me through all of these babies.

I have 13 days until my due date. The panic is starting to sink in a bit – are you ever ready? Even if this is my third child, there’s really no good way to prepare yourself for a new human to come into your life. However, I think I’m as ready as I’ll ever be. And moments like this one just make it feel more real.

Thank you, thank you, thank you to Dayna, Melissa, Andrea(s), Allison, Brittany, Nancy, Dani, Kristina, Tania, Heidi, Meagan, Jill and Karla. You really know how to make a girl feel blessed. Nolan is a lucky little guy.