Thursday, May 31, 2007

Happily Ever After

I guess Ben and I believe in dragging out our celebrations.....

Last Friday night we started the Anniversary Celebrations by eating at Texas de Brazil. (My meat-eating family would have been ashamed at the pitiful lack of meat I put away.) It was ALL wonderful but I think my favorite part was just the presentation of the Gouchos bringing all that meat to the table on skewers. Oh, and the "Salad" Bar was absolutely amazing!

After our dinner, Ben and I went to see Shrek the Third (hence the title to this post). It was just as good as the first two, but both of us were so tired after gourging ourselves at TdB that we should probably see it again soon.

For the Big To Do.... Ben and I went to the Wine Country in California. We decided we wanted more of the "authentic" winery style so we settled in West Sonoma County in the town of Guerneville, CA. While we were there we visited several wineries including, Korbel, Gary Farrel, Moshin, Rochiolo, Belvadere, Bella Wine Caves, Ferrari, Stryker, Kendall Jackson, and Iron Horse. We took a tour at Korbel since neither of us understood the difference in the process for making Champagne. We learned quite a bit and got to sip on some wonderful wines.

We arrived in Oakland, CA on Sunday and took the scenic drive up HWY CA-1 along the coast. We took our time and stopped frequently to enjoy all the different landscapes. California really does have it all: beachs, mountains, rolling plains. Whatever it is you love, CA's got it!

We stayed at a cabin resort called West Sonoma Inn in Guerneville, CA. Our room was wonderful with a private balcony and hot tub overlooking nearby vineyards and mountains. We were very surprised to find that the cabins had no air conditioning but soon found out why. The weather was PERFECT. It was cool (like 50 degrees cool) in the morning and the evenings and warmed up to a comfortable 75 degrees in the late afternoon. The room was equiped with a fireplace that was controlled by thermostat for those cool evenings.

We also had the priviledge to visit the Armstrong Redwood Forests. The first day we visited the reserve, we hiked along trails and enjoyed the majestic giants. We were so amazed that we returned a second time and drove along the pathway designed for cars. We wound our way to the top of a beautiful mountain and enjoyed looking down on the tree covered valley. Redwoods can be found throughout Sonoma County but a large majority were cut down in the early 1900's. So to enjoy the trees in their natual forest state, you have to visit a reserve such as Armstrong.

Another wonderful thing about Sonoma County... The Farmer's Markets. We were able to stop and pick up fresh fruits, veggies, and cheese to snack on throughout the day.

On our way home we stopped in San Francisco to visit Pier 39 and the Fisherman's Wharf. A trip to CA wouldn't be complete without a quick stop in San Fran. We didn't have enough time to really explore there but caught glimpses of the cable cars, the steep streets, and the Golden Gate Bridge. We can't wait for another trip to learn more about the city.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

My Sweet Mom

Mom recently visited Ben, Khaki, and Me from Lubbock. She and I celebrated together: We celebrated my Birthday and her Mother's Day while she was here. We had a great time catching up although we didn't have nearly enough time together. She helped me with some decorating ideas for the house and we caught a Rangers game before she left. Here are some pictures of our fun together:

This is the arrangement we put together for my entry way table that Ben got me for my Birthday.

Congrats Mark & Holly

Ben and I want to wish Congratulations to Holly & Mark on their recent engagement. We are so EXCITED for you guys and wish the absolute best and all the happiness you deserve. We love you both!

Blast of a Birthday

I turned the big 2 3 this year! The Birthday Celebrations lasted 2 FULL days. I took the day off from work and treated myself to Free Tanning and a Free Pedicure. I spent the whole day just relaxing and pampering myself. Then, that evening, Ben took me to The Melting Pot for gobs of good food. We had a delish cheese dip followed by every meat imaginable and then followed it up by dunking desserts in a peanut butter chocolate fondue. YUMMY! We had a wonderful time together.

The next day, the celebrations continued when we went to Scarborough Faire with the fam: Farron, Bobbie, Holly, Mark, and Britt. We spent the entire day just watching all the different shows (and people) and eating turkey legs. All of us girls bought ourselves floral head wreaths to get in the right frame of mind. We had so many RANDOM things happen that day. FIRST, Holly was picked out of the crowd during the jousting as a maiden in the show. THEN, I was nearly eaten alive by a squirrel while taking Family Photos. And THEN, Farron was called up on stage to be a central part in a Magic Show. It was definitely a day we'll remember.

I am so thankful to have so many family members close by, but I can't forget to mention all the others that live further away and helped make my Birthday special. THANKS to everyone who sent me cards and gifts. Thank you for making me feel so special and loved. I love you all very much and cannot wait to see you soon.