Monday, February 17, 2014

Kids and Serendipity ~January 2014

The Mama Bear and her Cubbies
Laura and Jennifer

Last year in January Laura came out here for her birthday.  Jen joined us.  It was a wonderful mother/daughter time.  This year Laura called me after Christmas to see if she could do it again! Was she kidding? Then Jen joined in and Grampa agreed to do Grampa Camp with Jen's girls in Utah and a tradition was born. 

 Doesn't two years in a row constitute a tradition?  I sure hope so.  So we got to see Chris and Laura and Jennifer by January's end.  Something we sure were not planning on and something that was pure gold serendipity and a great way to begin 2014!

Jim and Chris
I know I just posted this picture earlier 
in the month but just wanted to add it in again.  

We only got to see Chris for about 24 hours while he was here teaching a class at Stanford.  But we'll take whatever we can get.  Time alone with him is a very rare and special occurrence.   These pictures are about as current as it gets with our nuclear family.  Such an exciting January!  You know you are not quite over the empty nest syndrome when this reunion of the five of us with the month caused so much joy and a yearning for the good ole days when they were little.

One day before Jim left for Utah and Laura and I were here, we all went to SF and visited the Palace of the Legion of Honor. It is all a blur now but I know we saw something good among their exhibits.  Outside it was so overcast when we came out of the museum and the fog came barreling in. It was fascinating to see it over take the whole area in just a short time.  At first it was just sitting on the water and then it swooped right over us.  Burr!  But not before I got the shot of the little houses on the hill to the west.  We visited various places that day and then took her to dinner at a really authentic Italian Pizzeria in the Mission District where they had almost perfect Margherita Pizza just like Naples.  And just down the street, our favorite ice cream shop (Bi-Rite) for salted carmel cones.

The Ferry Building at Night

The girls had more time than Chris and that was really special.  Laura was here 9 days and Jen 5 and then I went back to Utah with her for 8 days.   We seemed to live in the James M. tradition and ran all over the place.  Why do we do that when we just want to relax and hang out?  Their Dad has gotten under our skin apparently!  But we did some of that just hanging out too.

 Jim left on Tuesday and Laura went with me to the Library for several hours while I worked.  The next day Jen arrived and we got together with the girls' Aunt Gail and we all had lunch at Uncle Yu's in Lafayette and then on to Berkeley.  One of my favorite things we did was go to a funky old theater in Berkeley and see The Book Thief.  I absolutely loved that movie.  Definitely in my top all time 20 favorites.

The Elmwood

We also went to some of our favorite restaurants and shopped around some.  We did a day trip to San Francisco and then also one to Napa just like last year.  We went to the De Young and saw the Bulgari Exhibit featuring lots of precious jewels worn by Elizabeth Taylor in her life time.  The lovely thing about having an annual pass to the museums is you can just pop in and see one exhibit and not feel like you have to stay for hours.  We go back often.  Georgia O'Keefe awaits us on our next return.

We also went to the Ferry Building a real favorite 
for both the girls and me too.  
It is the quintessential San Francisco experience~so fun.  
The weather was spectacular, clear and cool.

The Delights of the Ferry Building!
We love to go early when it is not crowded.
That is the secret to no lines and no 
crowds no matter where you are.

Love this sign for some unknown reason!

So many Valentine selections everywhere!

The Best of The Best!

Mushrooms of every variety to
 please the palate and the eye!

We saw this copper bowl and I really love copper.
I picked it up and turned it over...
a mere $450.00.  Umm, no, just plain no!
It was so heavy.

After that we drove north to Pt Reyes Station.  It is a fun little town up on the coast.  This area of CA is known for its cheese makers and The Cowgirl Cheese Factory and Creamery is there.  It is so great to watch them make the cheese and then taste it and bring some home.

The Gourmet Cheese Shop

You can watch through the window 
as they make the cheese.

The offerings!

 And they have a "to die for" ladies accessories shop there that we love.  And we found a cool thrift shop in town as well.  I found this item I had been looking at for $60.00 and passed by in a fancy shop and found it there for $4.50.  Cha-ching!  Sold to the only bidder.  :-)

 It was actually Laura's birthday that day so we had some fun doing things that she chose.  One of them was to return to a restaurant, The Salt Water, that we had gone to the last year but it was closed during the week.  So we found another place in Inverness, had a nice dinner and then headed home.

Happy Birthday, Lou Lou!  36!!
This time Mom got the presents!

Dessert~we shared it!

The next day we went to Napa~an Epicurean Mecca. We took Jim's mom with us for some granddaughter time.  We had to be home by 4:00 so we went fairly early and did some galavanting around an old brick warehouse turned shopping plaza called 1870 in Yountville.  We always like to go there when we are in the area.  This time did not disappoint.  Lots of fun things to see and do.

We planned a lunch at Mustard's which we normally love, but that day was Chinese New Year and it was packed and noisy.  Not good for either of the Grandmothers when it came to hearing the conversation. But Grandma was gracious and made the best of it.

Both of our girls are excellent cooks and excited about all of that.  I catch the fever when I am with them but as soon as they disappear the kitchen magic fairy dust goes with them.  But it is fun to watch them get excited over some truffle salt or crystalized sugar in all the colors of the rainbow for their fancy cupcakes.

Dean and Deluca's in Napa is the Gourmet's haven and delight.  Here are some of the photos I took while they shopped around and a couple from Mustard's Bar and Grill as well.

Poppies outside Mustard's in January.

Looking out from Mustard's. 
 Check out how dry the hills look.
This is how it is in the summer!

Sumptuous Black Berries

Colorful lemons and limes.

I love these bottles for olive oil.

These dishes are very pricey.  
Love to look at them but 
they will not be coming home
anytime soon!


Gourmet Designer Cakes!

Freshly Baked Breads

The Macaroons~all flavors!

Well, we had lots of fun adventures through out their time here.  One thing I wanted to do was get some professional photos done of us because none of us really like getting our pictures taken so we avoid it.  But I feel it's necessary for us to get some pictures of ourselves at least once a decade together, so I asked one of our ward members that does professional work to come over and take some for us.  I know the girls were just humoring me and probably hating every minute of it.  But it was fun and funny and goofy and I think some of them turned out pretty well.  Liz Hopkins is amazing and talented!  So here are a few I liked.

Just us!

A little hug for our girls!

As much as they protest...
They appear to be enjoying the experience.
Love these girls for putting up with me!
And just plain making me happy to be their mother.

This whole time was not just about food...
but it kinda seems like it doesn't it?


Sister Susie Says said...

Two years in a row! Fantastic to see family and have so much fun too!

FOG! Yes, I remember fog! We have it occasionally, ha! One time (years ago) we were at Disney and witness a dense fog that came about to the point you couldn't see the top of Cinderella's Castle! The cold did follow! I had to go into the souvenir shop and buy a sweatshirt!

I'll have to check Netflix and see if they have "The Book Thief."

Seeing Elizabeth Taylor's picture takes me back to yesteryear!

Early is for sure! (Especially when going to Wal-Mart! Ha!) I'm glad that was so for the Ferry Building!

Jimney Crickets! I can't believe they would have a bowl costing that much where just anyone could pick it up! I guess the weight would deter the wrong people from doing the wrong thing!!

Cheese, it just isn't like it used to be in the grocery! I like aged cheese that crumbles when you try to cut it! I bet Cowgirl Creamery had delicious cheese!
Cha-ching is right!

The Salt Water, did they make taffy? (Joke) I won't joke about Mustard's!

I enjoyed all of your photos, especially the pricey dishes! I had to take a second look after reading below it, I thought they were paper, then I saw the sheen on the plate.

I am so glad I don't live that close to a bakery!!! :-O

I am so happy you had such a wonderful time! It makes it all the more joyful when you can spend it with family!
Love to you all, Susie

Nellie's Cozy place said...

Morning Bonnie,
I am sooooooo happy to hear that you got this special time with your girls again this year, and I do hope it will be a tradition from now on.
Sounds like yall had a great time together and loved the pictures of you girls together, all very cute.....and the apples don't fall far from the tree cause
they sure looks a lot like their Mom.
Also enjoyed all the photos from the places you visited. I will have to look for that movie....
we just watches les Miserables
last weekend, cause I remembered you said you really liked it.
It was good, a bit different I have to say...........not used to everything being sung! lol

Well, get some rest, I would suspect you might need

Love and Blessings hon,