Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Christmas Shops Along The Way

We did not do a lot of shopping on our trip, in fact very little, but here are a few shots from some fun places. This trip was so not about shopping but when you are passing right know how I am. But, I do not like shopping with Jim because I know he doesn't get it resists, so I try hard to hold back! The gathering is a female phenomenon, so bewildering to most men. It's the Nest Building that never ends! (Not for me anyway!) It is not about acquisition, it is about creating a lovely home environment. For Jim it is the Sunday of the creation period but for me it is still Thursday!

This Shop was so Beautiful!
Everything was white, off white, and silver.
The pictures do not do it justice at all.
(Double click on photos for best results!)

It was full of these big trees and very striking

This was a little entry courtyard to the white and silver shop

This was some seriously pretty stuff.

This shop has a bizillion ornaments.
I bought one that is a Byzantine Madonna
that reminded me so much of our trip to Italy and all
the Byzantine art we saw there.

Here she is! We heart Italy!

~This one was just so posh and so festive~
It made me want to run home and
get out the Christmas decorations!

This vacation was about just relaxing, napping, dining out, being together and seeing the wonders of the natural beauty of the area. We did also go to see The Secret Life of Bees which we loved. I did buy one other thing which I could not resist. I tried but we had to go back to Oleama and get it, we were just barely down the road when we turned back. It was this book. I am in love with it.

This book is all about my parents' era, the 40's, the war, the clothes and the amazing shoes. It is fascinating reading as it covers a lot of the history of the 40's and how the rationing affected fashion during the war years and the pictures are fantastic! I have thought of my Mom and her five stylish sisters and my new friend, Deanna, from Texas as I have been reading through it. That was it in the shopping department.

The Get Away

Kicking Off The Christmas Season!

We're home! We had a fantastically wonderful time. I highly recommend this type of Get Away for every married couple at least twice a year, if not more. I know it is sometimes impractical if you have little ones but if you don't~there are no good excuses. I know it sounds selfish but I cherish the little time I get with my spouse alone!

We love the Bay Area so we didn't go far. We stayed at the Embassy Suites in San Rafael and it is just great. Of course you have a suite which we thoroughly enjoyed. We had a nice living room where we could watch movies on the cushy couch together . We also set up our lap top, a little pantry of snacks and fruits, etc. The hotel includes a cook to order beautiful breakfast each morning which saved us money. We also like that it is so centrally located to the places we love to go. We were blessed with an early check in~it was supposed to be 3:00 but we arrived at 10:30 and they let us in~ so it was like having the room an extra day!

The Atrium

The Lobby

The Rooms

The Christmas Decor Just Starting to Go Up!

We enjoy car travel once in a while as we can take whatever we want and we do pretty much load up the van. (It is similar to car camping.) Jim took his bike and his brand new Tom Tom. He calls her Susan because that is his favorite voice on the GPS. I call her "The Other Woman." Jim had been researching which one we wanted for awhile and actually did his first ever Black Friday Shopping while I packed and got ready. We were completely ready and out the door by 9:00 am on Friday.

The Learning Curve Kept "Us" Busy with the Other Woman
She is pretty amazing!

Susan was Looking Very Festive with My Scarf and a Pine Sprig From
The Lot Where We Went to Sniff Christmas Trees.
I decorate everything! It is a sickness!
(The evergreen sniffing was a lot of fun by the way!)

Saturday, November 29, 2008


Having a Great Time On Our Trip

Friday, November 28, 2008

You're Getting Up When??

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving in the Napa Valley

The day was wonderful as I am sure yours was too. Here are some of the photos for family far away~we missed you.

Picking Up Grandma Gloria

Grandma Tree in the Front of Her House

Grandma's Yard

Dad & Grandma

Jim and Bon

Napa Vineyard

Uncle Gary and Aunt Marilyn's Beautiful Street

Their Maple Tree

Around Their Yard

The Festive Porch

The Cozy Scene with the Posing Miss Mouse on the Chair

I am Loving the Lamp with the Black Shade on the Hearth
Very Dramatic and Pretty

I Just Love Their House!

Nick Brought Mara So We Finally Got to Meet Her
What a Beauty and Lovely Girl All Around.
She Has the Cutest Dimples!

The Brothers~ Uncle Steve, Uncle Gary, and Dad

Aunt Emily With Nick and Mara

The Absolutely Amazing Gourmet Chef, Aunt Marilyn
Erin's Friend, Jenna.
Erin and her Dad, Uncle Gary.
Uncle Tom and Aunt Jean stayed home with Auntie Jean Sick in Bed.
We Felt So Badly for Them And Us Because We Missed Them.

Alpha Pet ~ Lola

You have to double Click this photo~magazine worthy~she goes all out!

All the Food Was Amazing! Marilyn Rarely Cooks The
Same Thing Twice! !
She is One of Those Amazing People
That Just Loves Cooking.

She Prepares Things Like Ginger Flavored Whipped Cream,
Cranberry Compote With Pomegranate seeds in it, Pecan Tartlets

(Yeah, we're kind of the chips and Salsa Group at Our House so it Was Such a Treat! )

And Her Presentation is Always So Beautiful~
A Wonderful Time Was Had By All!
Thanks, Gar and Mare, for the Great Memories!

The Abundant Feast

The Blogger..And Now On to Our Get Away!
Ahhh...Don't Call us, We"ll Call You!
We're Outta Here!

Dad Strikes A Pose in His New Biking Shirt!

Giving Thanks To Our Creator

Country Living

Today we are thankful for the love of God in our lives, the beauty of the earth, the love for our family and friends, our freedoms, health, and all things lovely, praiseworthy or of good report.

We wish you a wonderful, happy-hearted day of thanks with those you love wherever you may be. And if you cannot all be together like our family cannot this year ~ feel the love anyway from a distance.

Special blessings to Jen and Lowell, Piper, Julia, Chloe and Hazel Jo, Chris and Missy, Connor, Aynslee, Zachary, Owen, Robert and Laura, Spencer and Rossie. Have a beautiful day and know that your parents and grandparents live and breathe more happily because of the love we have for each and all of you! And not just today but every single day! We love and miss you all!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

16 To 61 Happy Birthday, James!

There is something so fascinating about watching the life of another person up close and personal over decades. I also find it beyond amazing that you can find a cute guy at 16 and fall in love having absolutely no clue what you are getting into for the long haul. What can you possibly really know at that young age about yourself, let alone another person. All I can say is that I was really blessed to fall in love, date and marry a really exceptional person through no brilliance or foresight of my own! I am grateful for divine inspiration in that decision. I am so proud of you and all you are and have become and still have left to do in this life. It is wonderful to be with you and share it with you! Happy Birthday! You light up my life and are the best at all you do.

Grampa and Piper

Jim wanted to have Lee and his good buddy, Dave and his mom over for dinner tonight. I told him I would cook anything he wanted but turkey. Hmmm, this comes as no surprise to those who know him well, he picked the Holy Schmidt Soup! (This soup has gotten its name from this post, my personal nomination for the funniest post of the year!) He would eat this everyday if I let him. That is another story which I will definitely be est post of the year.)blogging about one day soon. But it is his birthday and he got to choose so that was what we had with salad, sour dough french bread and I even made a little cake~a ginger bread cake and it was pretty tasty. To our kids, he was very happy with his presents from you all. He loved all the letters from the grandkids and the biking shirt and the book on tape from our Italy kids. I gave him Jade East Obsession and three shirts. It was a fun little party.

So a big shout out to you, Jim Bob! Happy 61 more!

On a more serious note: I have seen God's hand in our journey together over and over again and am so grateful for all of his blessings so richly given to us in this life we have together. Happy Birthday Jim Bob! I love you, Babe, and wish you the very best always! Just yesterday I read this quote.

"You Cannot Turn Back the Clock But You Certainly Can Rewind It!"

If there was ever anyone that is good at the rewind~it is you! May your energy and enthusiasm for life stay with you forever. I am looking forward to celebrating your birthday tonight and throughout the long weekend. I love it that we get time off to be together every year around your birthday! There is so much to be thankful for now and always. Our future is bright!

Anyone else care to wish Jim a Happy Birthday today along with me?