Sunday, November 4, 2012

a [lengthy] post on our napa vacay.

a couple of weeks ago, my little family ventured on our second family vacation. that is, if we don't count any of our indiana visits. our first vacation was to florida right after owen's first birthday. this vacation was to california, and we had a 2.5 year old in tow.

our first night was spent in dublin, california to pay a visit to colby's numba one, and his beautiful wife. it just so happened that there was extra incentive to visit in the form of an almost 2 month old of sweet baby girl cuteness that is their newest addition!

travel to california was a breeze, realtively compared to our way home. we took full advantage of the fact that we pay for a seat for owen by setting up his own little station and freeing our laps and personal space for our own leisure. 

we were a tad bit concerned about the time change from crossing time zones. this meant that at 7:30 PM when our tot would otherwise be curled up in bed drifting off to sleep, we would actually be out to dinner in crowded restaurants visiting with people we haven't seen in months.

luckily for us, the hour commute from the airport to dublin was a perfect opportunity for owen to nap and rejuvenate for our first night out.

the next morning, we joined them for brunch where i dominated a plate of fruity crepes, and got some pumpkin chocolate chip cookies to go. (which later became my breakfast on our long commute back to the airport a few days later.) before we hit the road for san francisco, we made a necessary stop at a local park for our deserving little guy who had endured >24 hours of being cooped up in cars, airplanes, restaurant booths, and hotel rooms. (partly because i knew the remainder of his day would include more car rides, restaurant booths, strollers, and hotel rooms.)

we then headed into the city, my favorite big city. it was a foggy day, if you can imagine that, and quite misty as we neared the water at fisherman's wharf. we didn't stick around long, due to the misty air, but enough time to show owen the sea lions & mosey through the boardwalk.

next up, ghirardelli square. i had the most amazing giant mug of hot cocoa at the ghirardelli caffe, where we met up with the koontz families and my mom and eddie. the boys chose ice cream sundaes (which were also giant) as their treat, and owen enjoyed being reunited with grandma & the attention from gavin.

on our next stretch, we saw some pirate ships, which owen enjoyed.. but our next stop would go down as owen's favorite part of his vacation, next to seeing his grandma.

A CABLE CAR RIDE! ("keeble car" as pronounced by owen) we waited in a ridiculously long line which gave all of the babies a chance to get out of their strollers and run wild, be mesmerized by the street performers, and dance to the live music playing down the street to keep warm. when we finally boarded, owen could not contain his excitement - audibly gasping, screeching, and excitedly waving and pointing as we rode along. love moments like that - my grin was just as big.

after our ride which lasted into the night, we lost our boy to sleep as we headed out for a late night (10 PM kansas time! eep!) dinner where i fulfilled my 4-year long craving for some pumpkin curry after tasting in during our last visit.

after what seemed to be an even longer day the the prior, we then crossed the golden gate bridge and headed southward to our final california destination: napa. we traveled through wine country in the dark & fog with heavy eyes until we finally arrived. then, after a brief moment of panic when told they were out of pack-n-plays, they righted their wrong by borrowing from a neighboring hotel. ah, BED.

the sun rose in beautiful napa and gave us a gorgeous weekend to enjoy the beauty of wine country. we set out on our own excursion to find a winery to tour, sample wines. you know, we were in napa. our first stop, after being recommended by 3 different parties, was robert mondavi winery. their grounds were beautiful and so picturesque.

they offered a short tour that was kid-friendly, which started our day right with some wine sampling at 10:00 AM. (hey, that's noon in KC. and five o'clock somewhere else.) when in napa..

we found ourselves at a familiar joint for lunch, and one of my kansas city favorites, dean & deluca. although, their patio had a much more scenic view than our leawood location. we headed back to our hotel to encourage naptime, but he did anything but nap. we surrendered defeat, then headed to winery numero dos with the pierce family. next up, andretti winery, owned by mario andretti. 

we tried for a photo op. but this is pretty much how photo ops go with two 2.5 year olds.

owen certainly enjoyed running into his playmate, lucy. and running with his playmate, too. meanwhile, i had to forfeit most of my wine samplings while i chased him around. colby didn't mind picking up my slack.

while the pierce family had to cut out early for flower girl duties, we stuck around to enjoy the atmosphere, and the sunset in the vineyards & tour their grounds a little more thoroughly. have i mentioned how beautiful this place was?

as it turns out, a saturday night in october in napa requires dinner reservations. even at a little pizza joint. so we found ourselves at this quaint little gem called chipotle. oh well. it was a perfect opportunity for us to retire for an early night after another busy day with no nap.

for our final day, we made good use of our time by venturing out for one last winery. castello di amorosa. a winery & a castle: a win-win for owen and colby&i.

we first got to tour through the castle before we ended in a dungeon wine bar for our samples. this one was especially cute because owen was served a class of white grape juice while we sampled our wines. colby made friends with our server and scored some extra samplings - namely one from their premier line. YUM.

more spectacular views. and an overall neat atmosphere. owen loved the castle, and was asking to go back on our drive back to the hotel. 

we stopped for lunch at dean & deluca, round two, where i met up with my dear (and long lost) friend, lindsay, who has recently made this region her permanent home. who'd have thought we'd be meeting for lunch under these circumstances - in the state of california where life has brought her, while i was vacationing with my husband and son - when we met 11 years ago at payless bakery.

then, the finale to our vacation, and the reason for booking the trip to begin with: the koontz-seltman wedding. we dressed to impress, then headed to the culinary institute of america campus to begin the wedding festivities.

look how dapper my handsome little guy was. and uber preppy, no?

my handsome date & i cheesing it up while waiting on the ceremony to begin.

i'm positive she is the cutest flower girl ever. it's no secret that i love that little lucy!


here comes the bride! the impeccable and lovely bride. so perfect.

it was a small and intimate affair. the details were lovely. rachel looked incredible, as did her groom. owen was invited from the kid room to have a gourmet CIA dinner before sending him back for bedtime while the celebration continued. the food was incredible, as you can imagine. and the wine also delicious. i so enjoyed being together with the girls, my extended family, and my table with my mom, uncle bruce & eddie, and my groom. it was a perfect ending to an amazing weekend.

some reception details. love.

a monday morning drive into the city is hell. a monday morning drive into the city in the rain & fog is worse. an hour drive turned to 2.5 to discover shortly before our airport arrival that we have a flight delay is frustrating. (cue pumpkin chocolate chip cookie breakfast!) that delay was going to cause us to miss our connecting flight, so we had to rebook via phone to a later flight. when we finally arrived to our southwest terminal, it turns out we weren't the only ones flying out of SFO that morning. that line was to check our bags, and it took another 2.5 hours to get through. do you know how long 2.5 hours of standing in line with a 2.5 year old is? have i said 2.5 enough in the paragraph?

we did eventually make it home. there's something about travel that makes you so ready to be home.

we had the best time. we fit so much into this long weekend, and feel so happy to have been able to see family & friends and celebrate with rachel and ted. vacations rule.

these photos were all taken with my iPhone. i probably have a few more i could share from my real camera, and hope to share those soon. but i think i've provided more than enough to hold you over. ;-)


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