Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Life Off the Vine

Posted by Beck

JP has been so immersed in pruning that we have spent very little quality time together as a family. We decided a change of scenery was in order and headed out of town last Monday. I had decided to turn the President's day holiday into a four-day weekend, and since JP worked on Saturday he had Tuesday off, so we decided to take advantage of weekday rates and make an overnight visit to Monterey.

We made the requisite stop at Casa de Fruta along the way. (Casa de Fruta is a very popular stop near the junction of Highways 152 and 156. They sell dried fruit and nuts in the main shop and also feature a wine shop, a deli and a candy store. They have a playground, a carousel, old farm equipment and a train. It's great for families!) Funny, as many times as JP and I made the trip to Monterey in our 10 years of dating/marriage before LJ, we never once stopped at Casa de Fruta. We always talked about it, but never committed. Post-baby, we now make the stop almost every single time. This time we rode the train. LJ was in heaven!


We made it to the coast just in time to hit the tail end of the holiday crowds.

After shrimp salads at the Fish Hopper and some sand play we headed to our ocean front hotel. Almost immediately JP got sick. We don't know if it was food poisoning or a touch of the flu, but either way he was down for the count the rest of the afternoon and evening.


LJ and I headed down to the beach by the hotel and played for awhile. LJ was pretty firm on not going near the "ah-sho," (ocean) but he did enjoy the sand. After that he and I headed over to the mall for a Pizza My Heart date. By  the time we got back to our room JP was feeling much better and we hunkered down to enjoy the big screen TV and crappy cable shows we don't get at home. (Big Foot Hunters, anyone?)



After a sporadic night's sleep sharing a bed with LJ (who ended up on the floor three times), we had a delightful breakfast overlooking the ocean and headed to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. My Aunt gave us a membership last year, so we have tried to enjoy the luxury of free passes as much as possible!





Every time we would talk about seeing sharks, LJ's eyes would get really big, his whole body would shake and he would suck in his breath several times. It was all very dramatic, so I'm not sure if he was really frightened by the idea or if the whole act was just for show. Regardless, he wore his shark shirt for the occasion and seemed to handle all sightings without issue.




The sunfish is my favorite. He's just so weird looking!




It was a beautiful day by the "ah-sho." We ended our trip with another oceanfront meal; lunch at El Torito. We hopped in the car to head home and didn't even make it to the freeway before LJ was sound asleep in the backseat. We wore the little guy out.


It was a much-needed, restful family getaway. I'm so glad we were able to do it!



Now it's back to cleaning up the vineyard and taking care of things on the homefront!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Thanks (Your Name Here)



Right before Christmas a box appeared on our porch addressed to "'P'  Family Vineyard."  Inside was a spectacular gift! A horse swing made out of tires. It was shipped straight from the vendor and no packing slip was included.

I intended to follow up with the vendor and see if they would tell me who purchased the swing, but never got around to it. We had a hunch who it was from, so I just operated under the assumption that we were right. JP finally followed up with that person last week and discovered that she DIDN'T send the gift.


So now we have this awesome swing for LJ and no one to thank for it!

Thank you anonymous horse swing gifter! We don't know if you meant to be anonymous and we're sorry for taking so long to publicly acknowledge your gift. Hopefully you'll read this and know we received it and that we love it!

THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

A Glimpse of our House

I've been wanting to show you a few of the furniture projects we worked on when we first moved out here. We were on a Craigslist/yard sale kick for a while and started refurbishing used furniture. I plan to write a future post on my love for Craigslist and show you just how many "gently used" items we have in our house. It's almost embarrasing, really. Basically, I have decided I will rarely buy "new" furniture ever again. In my world "new" always means "assembly-required" and I'd prefer to spend less money for something that's gently used and already put together for me.

I had been waiting until I could properly "stage" the family room and take a photo of the dresser, but since someone actually lives here, that's never going to happen.  So, I figured I'd just show you how things really are.

Dresser:


LJ singing along with The Laurie Berkner Band. If you have small children, check her out on youtube. He LOVES them. "We are the Dinosaurs" is a good place to start.
This dresser was $30 on Craigslist. The original plan was to put it in our master bedroom. After shifting some other furniture around, we decided this would work best as a DVD/CD storage unit in the family room. JP painted it red. We painted the inside of a few of the drawers. In hindsight I wouldn't do that - it made them sticky and harder to open. Someday I may switch out the knobs, but they'll do for now.

Vintage Desk:

(Clearly staged this photo. Way back in October. I don't think the surfaces have been that tidy since.)


This desk was originally a child's vanity. I spotted it as we were driving by a  yard sale in our old neighborhood. At $10, it was a steal and the perfect "craft/writing" desk for my formal living room. It has been rarely used as a craft desk and is usually more of a catchall, but I have high hopes for future use. JP painted it this terrific aqua color - it was leftover paint from one of our original attempts at a family room paint color and pretty darn close to the Tiffany blue color that I love so much. I bought the new white/gold knobs and we were in business.



(Looking at this photo, the fact that the baskets in the yellow hutch all match kind of amazes me.)

This chair is a work in progress. Purchased at a yard sale for $1, I am halfway through recovering it with this fun yellow and white fabric. I love it!

Canvas:

Before:


JP found this canvas for FREE on craiglist! He brought it home and we brainstormed what to do with it. We had a big empty wall in our master bedroom just screaming for decoration. I suggested the uber-trendy chevron stripe pattern and we used whatever coordinating paint colors we had on hand from the rest of our home improvement projects. It's not quite what I had in mind, but it makes the room less bare and makes me feel a bit more up to speed on current design trends. :)

After:

I'm glad I was finally able to show you some of these little projects!

Next up:  We're in the process of changing LJ's room and moving him into his "big boy bed." I wanted to wait until he was climbing out of his crib regularly to make the switch and sadly, that time is now. Fingers crossed for limited interruption in sleep schedule!

Maybe when we finish that project I'll give you a grand tour!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

"Lov'In" the Vine Life


Long time no talk friends! Winter is supposed to be a "slow" time for farmers, but since JP decided to undertake the pruning of the vineyard himself, we've been non-stop for the last couple of months. Corporate life during the week, farm life on the weekend. More on this process later, but here's a look at some of the naked vines. All dressed (down) and ready for spring!



 
It's been awhile since I did a "photo shoot" with LJ and I've been dying to take his Valentine's pictures for the last couple weeks! We finally ventured out on Sunday morning and got the job done. (This process was a lot easier when he wasn't mobile.)


This time I brought toys to keep his attention and we tromped down to the end of the property, which I realized I have greatly under utilized!



 My subject was a trooper, but he was more interested in climbing than posing.




I still managed to get a couple "keepers" though.



We had one tense moment when Elmo took a header onto the neighboring property.



Mommy used her Macgyver skills and managed to save the day!





Turkey in the straw








I just love this boy! In fact, we get to spend the morning together! I think some heart shaped pancakes may be in our future!

Happy Valentine's Day!