Thursday, April 10, 2014

nursery pictures

FINALLY, the nursery pictures!!

The view walking into my baby boy's room

Well, there you have it folks.  That's what his room looks like :)  His room is a mixture of new and old as well as lots of homemade items that are very special.  When my parents came a few weeks ago my mom was so wonderful and made his crib skirt, a valance for the window, cushion for the rocking chair, comforter for his crib and covered the lampshade in matching fabric!  She's extremely crafty and never ceases to amaze me!  

The little white dresser was in John's nursery when he was a baby and remained in his room for many years afterwards.  The beautiful blanket over the rocking chair was knit by John's Aunt Mary Ann, so sweet and truly a work of art and love.  The rocking chair was my grandma's.  When her first grandbaby was born she had it made (she's on the short side, like me) so it is specifically made for a petite person.  The bookshelf is from John's parent's house and the blank space above it on the wall is waiting for baby boy's beautiful cross stitching that John's mom is currently working on.  The prints above the crib were given to us as a Christmas gift from our dear friend, Alice.  His room is chock full of love and specialness!

There really isn't a theme because I didn't care to choose one, honestly.  I like to keep things classic so that they last for awhile.  Before we knew he was a he, I knew that I didn't want a purely pink or (Carolina) blue room.  I wanted to go with something a little more neutral but with a nod towards whatever gender the baby ended up being.  John actually thought up the green walls and I thought that navy and white accents would be perfect.  I really love how everything turned out in his nursery, I've already started sitting in there imagining the hours that I'll be spending in that little room over the coming years.  I can't wait to meet this sweet boy!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

maternity pictures

My parents visited a couple of weeks ago and while they were here we were able to slip in a maternity photo shoot!  Mom is amazing with a camera, hope y'all enjoy the pictures!  (These were taken at 35 weeks, tomorrow I'll be 37 weeks!)


Dixie was tired of taking pictures

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

update time

Holy cow, it's been almost a month since I posted last!  Time has been flying while we've been traveling, entertaining guests, fixing the house up, finishing the NURSERY, gathering every last little thing we might need for this new baby soon to arrive, working, and all the other day to day stuff going on around here.  So here's some updates...we'll start first with the shower my mom and sister threw for me in North Carolina (in February)!  Everything was so well planned, down to the last detail.  I felt incredibly blessed by all of the family and friends who took time out of their lives to come and celebrate our growing family.  My heart was (and still is) so full!  Here are some of the pictures from the event:

Banner that Katie made

Well wishes for the baby

Diaper cake made by Mom and Katie

 The spread

From another angle

cupcakes from my favorite Goldsboro bakery, Mickey's!

Beautiful fruit wreath made by Chef Katie

Cute little booties made by Mom and Katie.  Mints made by Aunt Cissy.

Best friend forever, Ginny :)

Sadly, the only picture I have of me and Mom on the day of the shower

And the only picture I have of me and Katie on the day of the shower

Lots of cute outfits for our boy!

 College and high school friends!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

day 34: Pacific Coast Highway and Redwood National Park

Today we were awakened by someone loading their boat into the ocean - about 20 feet from our tent.  It's not every day that you can say that.  So we broke camp, paid our camp fee and got on the road.  The woman who owned the campground recommended sticky buns from Two Fish Bakery, 25 minutes down the road so we held off on our granola bars and waited for breakfast.  Delicious sticky buns, indeed!  One of the best pastries I've ever eaten!  I'm so glad we drove there and got them.  We both got a treat for later because everything in the bakery looked so wonderful. 

 Our campsite on the beach

Another view from out campsite

We continued to drive CA Hwy 1 (Pacific Coast Highway) for a long time.  What a gorgeous drive!  The ocean to your left and mountains and forests to your right. We stopped at a few places along the way to take pictures.  We ended the PCH drive by stopping by the "World Famous Drive-Thru Tree".  It was pretty cool to be able to drive through a huge tree.  I think the name of it was Chandelier Tree. 

View of the Pacific Coast

John and the Pacific coast

There were tons of cows grazing near the coast

The Drive-Thru Tree

Once we were done with our tourist attraction we started to head towards Redwood National Park.  We opted to take the scenic alternative, The Avenue of the Giants, to get there.  It's basically a road that runs parallel to Highway 101 but there are tons of huge Redwoods lining the road.  Gorgeous!  It is unreal how huge these trees are!  John continued to drive and we ended up at Redwood National Park, the visitor's center was very clean and well taken care of.  I noticed that everything was more coastal than I had imagined this part of CA to be.  When I think Redwood I think big trees, not big trees and right by the coast, but it was, so that was really cool.  We told the ranger we really only had time to drive through the park, not stop a lot, so he recommended some especially scenic routes and we were on our way!

Me standing next to the bottom of a Redwood tree

An old touring bus made out of a Redwood. This bus was used by people to tour around the country so they could promote national parks.

Look at the van at the bottom of the picture for a reference to how huge the tree is!

Just me and a Redwood tree

A view from a scenic route in Redwood NP

Some people were whale watching from this view point, we looked but didn't see any

What a beautiful park!  I mean, they've all been beautiful but the trees were just so magnificent and enormous!  It was much more lush than we'd expected.  Plants were everywhere, all over the park floor - undergrowth and whatnot.  There were times it reminded us of forests in TN and others it just looked downright tropical.  It was so beautiful, we were really happy we chose to go through this park.  Then the last drive through the park was a section called Jedidiah Smith State Park (Redwood is a combination of national and state parks, and little towns are mingled in throughout - unlike the other parks we visited).  When we got to Jedidiah it was like we had entered another world, or a movie set at the very least.  You drive down an unpaved, basically one lane road.  And we thought we had seen lush earlier, this was like 10 times more lush, it looked like a tropical rainforest!  John joked that we were in Jurassic Park but it really looked like it, it was incredible!  We took a lot of pictures of the trees, one where we held hands and the tree was still wider than the span of our arms.  Another, we practically crawled and stood in the trunk of one tree.  So beautiful. 

 Our car in Jedidiah State Park/Jurassic Park

The tree was still wider

John inside a tree

This is a panoramic shot standing between two Redwoods, it spans the base of one tree all the way up and over to the base of the other tree

We were very happy we took that drive, it adds a whole other dimension to the park.  After that we were done in Redwood and it was on to Oregon!  Basically we just drove in the direction of Crater Lake, got to our hotel and checked in for the night.  We'd been up since 6:45 a.m. so come 10:30 p.m. we were pretty exhausted!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

day 33: Napa Valley

We started the day by going to Mumm Napa, a winery that uses robots during the bottling process.  We took the free tour at 10:00 but sadly they weren't bottling at the time so we didn't get to see the robot in action.  We were both disappointed.  Mumm is the only winery in Napa that makes only sparkling wine.

Wine barrels at Mumm Napa

Lots of bottles of wine fermenting in those cages

After Mumm, we headed over to B.R. Cohn Winery, which is owned by Bruce Cohn, the manager of The Doobie Brothers.  The tasting room is lined with platinum albums and pictures of the band.  All the wine was delicious!  They also make olive oil, mustards and tapenades.  So tasty!  We really enjoyed trying all of the different things they make.

Then we drove over to Benziger Winery, which I've seen sold in grocery and liquor stores so I knew it would be a larger winery.  Even thought it was larger it was set up so quaint and cute.  It was really pretty walking through their grounds.  They offer a cheese tasting in addition to wine tastings so we added that on.  And good thing we did, that cheese was so tasty and it tasted even better paired with the wines!  Our server was a really nice guy who was very interested and jealous of our road trip.  We enjoyed chatting with him.

Then we went to Robert Mondavi, another large winery.  The grounds were immaculate, they were clearly inspired by Spanish architecture.  We took a tour and learned a lot about the history and wine making process.  Mondavi was one of the first wineries to open up to the public for tours.  They also had a cave like cellar which was neat to tour and cool seeing as it was over 100 degrees most of the day.  We really enjoyed Mondavi :)

 The grounds at Robert Mondavi

More views at Mondavi

The last tour/tasting on our list was Sterling Vineyards, yet another large winery and distributed across the nation.  This one was neat because an aerial tram takes you from the vineyards up to the winery on top of a steep hill.  The wine was good and it was a nice self-guided tour.  Beautiful grounds!  They had a lot of sheep on the grounds which we saw on the way down, very interesting.

 Riding the aerial tram at Sterling

Looking out over Sterling's grounds on the tram

View of Sterling from the winery

After Sterling we drove to Francis Ford Coppola Winery for dinner.  What a beautiful place!  Very large and very Italian.  The restaurant was cool and the food was great!  I had pasta with Italian sausage (made there), broccoli rabe and a creamy sauce, delicious!  John had "habit forming" spare ribs.  We wanted to buy the sauce they used for the ribs but it wasn't for sale (also made on site and very tasty).  I had to buy a bottle of wine before we left, so we decided on a Malbec.  The service here was excellent, we really enjoyed our experience.

Us at Francis Ford Coppola after dinner

The entrance to Francis Ford Coppola

We then began the drive to Bodega Bay, a little place on Highway 1.  We wanted to stay somewhere and drive most of Highway 1 (or Pacific Coast Highway) during the next day.  After driving for awhile and running into many full campsites we found one that had space on the beach.  Perfect!  We were exhausted.  So after setting up camp and taking some pictures of the stars we went to sleep.

Us driving along the PCH

the Pacific Coast

Beautiful view

Incredible view of the stars from our campsite on the beach

More stars :)