Friday, April 30, 2010

My Problem With REI

The problem that I have with REI is a lot like the problem I have with The Container Store: everything is just too darn cool and opens a world of possibilities.

Couldn't I bike farther, faster and better in that helmet? Couldn't I sleep just a little more comfortably in that down, cozy sleeping bag iF I EVER went camping? Wouldn't I work out more if I had those pants?

The answer in NO NO NO. But for some reason, a part of my brain that I rarely use engages in that store and I transform into a hike going, safari taking, marathon running figment of my imagination. The better person that is hidden deep at the bottom of me that will never come out.

Transfer the situation to one of my children and we have a BIG problem. An over $800 problem. Here is the story...

John is going on a week-long trip with his 8th grade class. They are flying on an airplane with their teacher to regions unknown to me. Yes, it is still in the continental United States, and No, I am not worried, But, for some reason REI sets off all of my parental instincts.

John NEEDS a new ultra warm fleece, what if he gets cold at night? He NEEDS a high tech flashlight, what if he's somewhere in the dark? He NEEDS gore tex rain pants, what if it rains? I am his mommy and I won't be there and I want him to have everything he NEEDS, right?

I was almost embarrassed at check out. My cart was overflowing with advanced designed adventure gear, my heart was pounding, and my visa card was smoking. I could tell from the gal behind the counter, that this was everyday business for her. Nothing out of the ordinary here...she apparently sees neurotic mothers every day.

This is the same problem I have in The Container Store...won't my life be just a little easier and a little more perfect with that shoe storage system? Won't I sleep just a little lighter knowing John has a satellite tracking GPS, you know, he might get lost...

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

It's Not Too Late

Birk wants to be a veterinarian. Every birthday party invitation for the last 3 years has stated: No gifts, please, but you may bring a donation for the animals at the Humane Society if you'd like. Literally, she has raised over a thousand dollars for our local shelter.

She is working extra hard at math and science in her 2nd grade classroom, so that she is prepared for veterinary school. She is constantly chattering about her favorite Pet Vet chapter book series by Laurie Halse Anderson. Birk can rattle off her website in a hot second.

Last week, Birk asked me what I wanted to be when I was a little girl. I told her, in fact, that I myself had wanted to be a vet. Of course, she wanted to know what in my life had led me astray and I had no good answer.

Yesterday, I was in the kitchen doing dishes. Enter Birk:

BIRK: Mom, you know, it's never too late to realize you dream.
ME: What dream is that, honey?
BIRK: Your dream of becoming a vet of course!
ME: Well, I'm not sure...
BIRK: Mom! You are never too old to go back to school. We (meaning the kids) can help around the house more and you can realize your dream of becoming a vet.
ME: (speechless)

That's the kind of kid Birk is.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Cottage Update

Here are a few shots:

Big changes, waiting for the most current pics and will update you when I get them.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Greetings From California 4/20 Spring Edition

Greetings Friends,

It's been another busy week at our house. My dad arrived from Michigan on Thursday--his mission? To watch four kids overnight for the weekend. It seemed liked asking for Mission Impossible, why would he ever agree to do this, one of the kids not even being his own grandchild? But he did, and he was fantastic.

The kids had the best time, and so did George and I. Our mission was to head to Lambert Bridge Winery with our friends, Pam and Scott. We had bid on this auction item and year ago, and finally the stars and the schedules aligned and we were headed to Healdsburg.

Lambert Bridge Winery is a small, family owened winery in Northern California. They generously donated two nights in the cutest wine country cottage, a tour, tasting and a gourmet private, candle lit dinner in their barrel room.

We arrived late on Friday and had dinner at Cyrus. It was basically a four hour dinner--we were all in a food and wine coma after they rolled us out the front door well after midnight. The food and service there is outstanding, it is always a treat, and an experience.

Saturday we went back to a favorite spa spot called Akoia Day Spa for two hour stone massages. We then lunched on the square and returned to our cottage to rest up for dinner.

Our evening began with a tour of the beautiful gardens at Lambert Bridge with appetizers and pourings of their Sauvignon Blanc and Viogner. What a gorgeous setting! All of the flowers were blooming for spring and the sun was lowering into the hills in a golden lit sunset.

Dinner was a feast with candles and delicious food from our private chef for the evening, Renaud. He described hand picking the mushrooms, blending the spices from exotic locals, and incorporating the fantastic wines into his recipes. Tony, our host, entertained us with stories and a bevy of wine knowledge.

Two wines were poured with every course and expertly matched. We once again found ourselves in that very same wine coma that had been massaged out of us earlier in the day. We ended the evening by the fire. We were all completely relaxed and slept like cats.

The next day we headed for Sonoma County and Graton, for a little brunch and a visit to our very favorite winery, Merry Edwards. She is the queen of Pinot Noir, if you have yet to be introducted to her. We chatted with Ken, tasted some delicious new releases, and then were on our way back home.

We arrived home to happy kids. Now we are hanging with my dad. George travelled to Toronto and Ottawa and is due back on Friday. We are all digging into the week.

Hope all is well with you all,
Cheers, Deb

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Monday, April 12, 2010

Smart Moms at Disneyland

Most people asked us WHY we would stay at Disneyland for six days. The answer was simple, we got the stay three nights get two nights free bargain. It really was a bargain, right? Considering it cost us easily $70 plus per meal. This does not include extra impulse purchase expenses and just being plain worn down by begging.

The number one thing that made our trip bearable: time outs for the moms (and dads, too). If you take a moment of quiet away from the maddening crowds, it can make the happiest place on Earth a little happier.

Have a magical day!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

5 Things You Couldn't Pay Me To Do At Disneyland, so far...

1. Go in the hot tub with 24 kids & parents--picture swim diapers.
2. Wait 75 minutes in line for ANY ride.
3. Work as the guy or gal who yells "No stopping keep moving along!"
4. Wear an Alice in Wonderland Johnny Depp Mad Hatter's Hat.
5. Sit & save a spot on the curb 3 hours before the parade even begins.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Jumping into the Weekend

We are officially on spring break and gearing up for some family time, friend time and down time. Happy weekend to you all, and the happiest of Easters, if you're celebrating!