tahoe, booked

Every summer, my family escapes to Tahoe for a week.  We join our dearest friends for fun on the beach.  Our biggest decision of the day is what time we will have a Golden Eagle (a blended orange drink with tequila, vodka, with a grand marnier floater).  It is a week’s worth of doing nothing, and I look forward to it the day we drive home.  Here’s to dreaming of summer, and a week at the beach.

starts now

The last entry was all about intentions.  This is about action.  Today was a day that would be considered most’s one week AFTER the new year.  The past two weeks have been too much to quantify as new, fresh and clean for this family.  It has been stressful, annoying, remarkable and sad.  Not quite my ideal new year start!

I achieved little to nothing in the first week of the new year, based on my last post.  And I am giving myself a pass.  Here is what I did do, which I am proud of.

  1. Last weekend, I was flown out by the new owner of TDM Salt Lake to celebrate the five year anniversary and new ownership.  I was so nervous that I begged my bestie here in Napa to go with me.  After growing some serious guts, I decided I would go on my own.  It was awesome.  I spent the first night with my bestie in SLC, laughing and eating and drinking all of our favorite things.  I taught a fun class to a packed house of my dearest friends and former students.  We ended with a mellow night in PJs at Lisa’s over lasagna and wine.  Just banner.
  2. We hosted G’s Dad at our house for the past six days.  He has the later stages of Parkinson’s Disease, not shaking, just terrible balance and very affected speech.  He has always been a talker and deal maker.  He can no longer tell you to get him a napkin.  It is heart breaking.
  3. School started today!  Everyone got out the door on time and with lunches, homework, etc.  Both kiddos were so thrilled to see their friends.  I was personally so happy to send them back, eager to learn and be social!
  4. Family Dinner Night started tonight.  It isn’t a 100% thing that we will do every night.  But for the nights it does work, we are all eating the same dinner.  Vegetable trying is a must.  Protein trying a huge bonus.  There were few tears and both got a treat!  Shocking what everyone will do while around a table.

I also purchased a “D” charm in man-made opal to hang around my neck.  I love it so very much.  For whatever reason, it has given me clarity and focus.  So much so, I went to TDM Napa today for a great class with Christie.  I cleaned house and made a good dinner for our whole family.  Weez painted, H finished his homework.  It was an ideal night at the Christo’s.  Finally, I feel that we can start 2017 as a family.  Kind of a relief, with a huge dose of JOY.

end of summer + beginning again

In an effort to re-kick-start the kick-start of the start of my blog, I would like to wax about the end of summer and what that means to me.  Summer ended, yesterday, really.  That was it.  School is officially in session, full-time.  Both kids are on the same schedule finally, which makes life so much easier.  With the Olympics ending and football season beginning, I crave cooler temperatures and hearty food.  Knowing as I do, there are always a few sneaker days between now and Halloween where it is absolutely smoking hot. October in general is always warmer than anyone wants.  But to get my mind prepared, a slow transition must begin.

I fight internally; feeling like I should ignore the corn and heirloom tomatoes and load up on squash and braising meats.  I keep reaching for my boots and plaids, when really the JCrew city shorts should still be at first grab.  Iced tea to hot tea.  Cajun Shrimp nails to Malaga Wine.  The sun is at that angle, where you know change is upon us.  The problem is that change happens so quickly, there is really never a time to soak it in, moment by moment like I would like.

What helps to make the transition an acceptable one for me is to plan.  Bring out the calendar and start marking things up all the way to December.  To plan things strategically so that there are milestones and earmarks.  Getting organized by day, week month and balance of the year helps tremendously.  Yesterday I planned the week’s worth of meals, and I have even planned a few breakfast bites, so there is no room for that blank stare.  When my fridge is stocked with things that have a purpose, I am happy.  Nothing is more disappointing than looking at a fridge full to the brim with nothing I want or can use.  The freezer also has options for quick meals post-baseball when we get home late.  Sundays we have implemented “Everyone Eats the Same” which probably sounds ridiculous to most families.  But Sunday we all come up with the menu, sit together, and eat what’s on our plate.  It is a step for us.  Don’t judge.

Today, I ordered a leopard print dress.  I am drinking more water. I am lowering my dose of crazy pills.  Lamb shanks are braising for dinner, but I am serving them with a cool couscous salad.  It is a start, and I think I am ready.

this is happening

Sometimes you just have to pull the trigger.  After overthinking it completely, truly, overthinking a silly little break, and thanks to my Mom for giving me the final encouragement, I booked our Spring Break trip…to Disneyland!  My Mom had been asking if I could go with her to her Uncle’s birthday party in Los Angeles.  Her uncle is the last of her Mom’s living sibling, so it is kind of a big deal.  Trying to figure out how to include the kids and make this into a trip, it became obvious that I needed to get serious.  With a little internet trolling and quick thinking, it all came together for what might be a really fun vacation.

We are staying at the Grand Californian for two nights.  It has been a bit of a crash course, and I am so grateful to my friends that have been to Disneyland enough to steer me in the right direction(s).  Who knew there is a real science to planning your time at Disney?  We had to stay at the Grand because the hotel is literally in the park.  With my Mom joining us, we needed easy entry and a spot to rest that wasn’t miles away.  It will also allow us to take advantage of the Magic Hour and experience the most popular rides before the real crowds arrive.  Apparently, there is a very nice pool at the hotel and the weather is supposed to be spectacular.

Mr. Christensen isn’t saying a peep about the trip, matter of fact, he doesn’t even want to talk about it.  I am hoping the spirit of Disney will take over once we arrive and that he will end up having a wonderful time.  Thank goodness for ESPN Zone and beer all over California Adventure.  It will make a big difference!  Considering what I do for a living, the planner in me is out in full force.  I am trying to decide what shoes to bring and what clothes to wear.  I have the kids figured out, I think.  As much as I hate Crocs, several websites note them as a favorite choice for kids.

I am so excited, I almost feel like a kid again.  Thanks, Mom, for putting the wheels on our Spring Break!

spring break

Every year, I have the same battle: internally, externally, personally, professionally.  What should we do for Spring Break?  This silly war happens with all the other breaks as well, in the winter, and the entire summer.  I am a planner.  It is part of my actual job to be very well versed in the sequence of events for every single day – from grand to routine.  When it comes to my own life, I just sit in limbo, going over all the possibilities and never pull the trigger on anything until it is too late.

Here’s where I am currently: my friends all have elaborate vacations on the books, to Mexico or to Malibu.  They are getting on planes and heading out.  It seems like everyone I know was in or is in Sayulita, which looks swoon worthy.  Our Spring Break is earlier than most, taking place the week before Easter.  We don’t have a week in April, since Easter falls in March this year.  Both Greg and I are working hard on projects professionally, so taking time off right now isn’t the best idea.

The hardest part is that we have options.  We tried to reserve a condo in Palm Springs that we bought at our school auction last year, but it is already booked.  This year, I bought Disneyland tickets at the same auction (last weekend) that are already burning a hole in my pocket.  The house we rented in Sea Ranch has a great buy four get the fifth and sixth nights free deal going on, which sounds tempting, minus the curvy drive there.  Finally, we live in a spectacular place that a lot of the world visits during these types of breaks!  I have an awesome “in” at the California Academy of Sciences, which could be a great day experience.  Last, two of my very best friends live in Scottsdale and their doors are wide open.

So here I sit, with the break just a week away and we have no plans.  It is eating me alive. Flash to next Friday, when it really sinks in and I might just be a puddle.  That’s all. Thanks for listening.

birthday, baby

This little bunny turned six today.  If you read my old blog, you would know she didn’t arrive until 5:45 p.m. on March 1.  It was a Monday when she was born, and it was a scheduled event.   I walked back to the operating room all on my own at 40 weeks.  I crawled up and laid on the table, I had my arms strapped down, my freshly washed hair shoved into a cap, I was completely naked from the waist down.  The anesthesiologist told me to breathe – he said he couldn’t give me a spinal with my hear rate that high.  So turned to G, and we talked about something silly like June, our cat.  The music started to play.  Dream Girl. A few minutes passed, I calmed, and before I knew it, E-Weezer made her debut.  Plump. Red.  Loud. With so much hair.

Here’s the thing.  She is just like that. Effortless. She is her own self with little coaching.  She needed no help arriving, other than a little lift, and she has always been stare-worthy.  Thankfully now it is because of her gorgeous looks and not because of her furry back.  She is still my dreamer and my sweet love bird.  I cannot imagine life without Le Weez.  Happy birthday, girl.  Momma will love you forever.

new in the hood

We live in the Silverado Country Club community.  Most of my life, the club has been a part of it.. Because of the proximity, we dine at the Grill a lot, grab cocktails in the Mansion bar, if I am out of Moroccan Oil, I will run up to the spa and get some.  For months, the club has been advertising this new cafe that was coming to the grounds.  It was supposed to open last fall before the big golf tournament.  Like most things, there were delays and I was convinced it would never come to fruition.  The club really does need a little casual spot for people to grab coffee without a waiter, or the usual formality.  It is a big resort in addition to a country club, and I think they are finally starting to realize that.

Last Thursday was the soft opening of the Market & Bakery.  We of course had the art show to attend at rival Napa Valley Country Club, so we missed it.  I promised the kids we would go check it out on the weekend.  Since the weather was nice enough, we hopped on our bikes and cruised over to the new spot.  It is perfectly placed in the center of the grounds.  It has red awnings that dot the familiar white siding that’s on all of the other buildings.  There is a fire pit, tables with lots of chairs, and built in heaters hanging from the patio columns.  Inside, there’s a typical counter where you can order.  They have breads, pastries and cookies from Bouchon Bakery.  You can order specialty coffees made to order.  They have pre-wrapped sandwiches and salads that looked yummy.  Plus, there’s an actual market.  Chilled wines, craft beers, artisanal cheeses, charcuterie, nuts, ships, crackers plus nice tequila and vodka!  They have Napa logo gear, the tasteful kind.  I was so impressed.

We sat outside and enjoyed the surroundings.  H ate his pain au raisin quickly, Weez dismantled her muffin.  The coffee was strong and hot.  To have this option when wine reserves are low, or when dinner just needs a bag of pasta…this market could really become an asset.  When otherwise I would have to get in the car and schlep to Whole Foods.  Same goes for the morning.  On the weekends, we might scoot down to Model or Starbucks.  Why bother when we can ride our bikes to an even better spot!  I am so thrilled the Market & Bakery are open.  Good job, Silverado!


month of love round-up

I haven’t done a real list of love yet on this silly bog.  Here it goes, before the month is over.

  • DREAMS: I have the funniest, most bizarre dreams.  They are so real, and last for so long, I often times reflect throughout the week what was real and what was in my dreams.  Funny the people your mind allows into those unconscious moments.
  • FAMILY: Being close to family is just amazing.  We can travel an hour and be with our closest in age family.  Up the street is my own mom.  We are lucky and love it.
  • FRIENDS: My tribe has continued to swell, however the additions fit in like they have always been a part of the fabric.  My Napa friends are just irreplaceable.  30 years ago if you would have guessed that all of these folks would be my tribe, I would have laughed.  Stay classy, Napa.
  • CARE: Between my nails, my hair, let’s go spray tan, my chiropractor (aka my Love Bomb), the Dailey, even the folks at Whole Foods have my back.
  • FOOD: between the high hat sumo mandarins, and the driscoll strawberries, the bounty has been unreal.  While at our best Auntie’s house, she made us overnight oats with all kinds of amazingness.  We have tried to copy.  Still working.
  • PETS:  June is the most lovey dovey cat these days.  She is old, that’s true.  Every morning you can count on a snuggle that is tough to get away from.  Max, the cat at Auntie and Uncles is still such a gem in our minds.  Take a look.  Huge love.
  • RANDOM NOTES: I love my job.  I love the new WHO WHAT WEAR line at Target.  I love what I bought at Coast Carmel.  I love Church Key wine.  I love having a blog again.


weekend redux

This past weekend was a bit of a tradition, transformed.  When we lived in Utah, our dear friends Eddie, Katie and their daughter Taylor would come to visit us.  We would ski and dine around.  The kids would have a ball day and night.  It became our tradition.  We were so thankful and excited for their visit each year during President’s Day weekend, coming all the way to Utah to be with us.  Shift to now.  We obviously don’t live in Utah any longer.  So we’ve adjusted to California.  Instead, now we go to Carmel for the Pro-Am at Pebble Beach; the boys walk the course while the girls spa.  We meet up later for dinner and fun.

This year, much like last year, the weather was unbelievable.  Sunshine and warmth abound.  My spa time with Katie was so fantastic; the best salad with prawns, a glass of wine, peanut fruit bars before our massages.  We sat in the fireplace room at Casa Palmero until we needed to meet the boys back at Katie’s place in town.  There, we had a true cocktail hour with her parents – cheese straws and vodka tonics.  Dinner was wonderful and the revelry after, even better.  The Hog’s Breath (an essential part of the tradition) was packed with all kinds of fun folks from the tournament.  It was a blast.

You are probably asking, where were the kids in all of this?  Good question.  We dropped them off at G’s brother’s house in Morgan Hill Friday night.  They recently purchased a compound of sorts that has land for miles, including an old, funky house they are making their own, plus tractors and bugs and lizards.  Oh, and a 25lbs cat named Max.  They never looked back when we left.

Memories were made by all.  This is what life is made of.  See next post for further weekend details…

saturday spring

I had not washed my hair in four days.  It was one day too long.  My head itched from all the dry shampoo settling into my scalp.  Taking the situation seriously, I grabbed the apple cider vinegar and headed into the shower.  The sour solution would be the only way to get my head clean.  So I dumped a liter on my head and let it soak.  It burned a little.

After my full scrubbing, I filed my toenails and oiled myself.  Sitting with wet hair and staring out to the sunshine filled day, I asked G if he wanted to go for a hike.  Rather than responding to my question with an answer, he did what he normally does and answered my question with a question.  “You want to go out into the wild with your freshly showered self and do what?”  Things didn’t appear to be going the way I had hoped, but I was determined to get outside and do something.  It was 65 and sunny.  Come on.

I got the kids dressed and loaded into the car.  Greg reluctantly followed us out the door and had his backpack, which meant he was serious.  I had to quickly scan google for a place that was not only close but not that difficult since the kids weren’t really into my idea either.  Snap to Skyline Wilderness Park.  South and east of our house, it is a whole series of trails.  You pay to get inside, park, and head out to the trail head.  Immediately the conversation shifted to mountain lions, wild pigs and poop – all of the things you are warned about before heading into the open.

We hiked for about two and a half hours.  At times it was up hill and Eloise howled about the intense hunger she was experiencing, how her feet weren’t working and how she was scared of the “trees parts.”  Harry told endless stories, both fictional and embellished.  We passed lots of people.  I had no idea how awesome this place was.  On our way down the Buckeye Trail, an older legit hiker (walking sticks, tick protector leg things, beekeeper hat) pointed out the tips of the Golden Gate Bridge to us.  After some squinting, there was the red spire poking out of the fog far out into the distance.

I took another shower.  This time without the acid wash.  It was a good day.