Birthday Weekend in Napa


Dave and I were so looking forward to our weekend away to celebrate my 34th birthday and it didn't disappoint. We knew we only had a few days and had debated going somewhere like Scottsdale or Palm Springs, but decided on Napa Valley. We're so lucky it has 'it all' and is less than 2 hours away.



I told Dave that if we were keeping it close to home, I still wanted to make it a full weekend, meaning I wanted to leave first thing Friday and come back Sunday night. That's just what we did, stopping at the outlets on the way up before having lunch at Sam's Social Club in Calistoga. Spotty service, but the food was excellent. I had a delicious grilled cheese with corn soup and salad. Dave got a tasty steak and barley salad. The fries were so good too.



We headed to Solage next and our room was ready so we changed and had some time at the pool. It was hot that day, almost 90, but such a nice change from city weather. That night we went to Harvest Table at the Harvest Inn, which just opened in May. Again, the service was off, maybe they're still working out the kinks. We also weren't into the atmosphere -- too bright and loud for what we were expecting. We were seated inside though and the outside seating atmosphere appeared better. The food was really good, though some of the starter portions were very small, especially at $18 a plate. We started with shrimp and grits, as well as octopus, and then shared the chicken for two over truffle risotto. Nothing caught our eye for dessert.

 

Saturday morning, we took advantage of the bikes at the resort and rode a few blocks over to downtown Calistoga and around the vineyards a bit.


An hour later we came back and ate brunch at the resort. This may have been my favorite meal, duck confit hash! Loved it. The food at Solbar at the hotel is so good.



We went to the pool for a bit before changing to go wine tasting. Originally we started driving to Robert Sinskey, a place we discovered on our last visit that is now has one of Dave's favorite wines, but decided it was too far for that day and pulled over to check our options. We ended up at Failla, which typically requires an appointment, but the timing was perfect and we were able to join a small group. It was an excellent tasting and turns out to be a great winery off the beaten path.

After the tasting we went back to the hotel for a 2-hour spa treatment -- couples' massage and their signature mud treatment. So relaxing! We took our time in the mineral pools, steam room and outdoor showers before getting ready for dinner at Solage.

Dinner was great, there were a few blips in service regarding our Champagne and wine, but nothing major. I had pork belly to start and Dave had a deconstructed Cobb Salad. Then for the main, I had the steak, which was excellent, and Dave had lamb. To finish, we shared a chocolate cake and then headed inside for an after-dinner drink.


Sunday morning we shared a small breakfast at the hotel before heading to the mineral pools for a bit. Then we got all ready for the wedding we were going to later, just putting on different clothes. We headed down to St. Helena for lunch at Farmstead. They were the only ones all weekend who noted that it was my birthday and started our meal with two glasses of Champagne. The cheese and ham platter were excellent, but my dish, the eggs benedict, was really disappointing. I didn't even finish it, which is rare for me! Dave had the burger and thought it was interesting, but not his favorite. Great setting and pretty good service.

Finally, we headed to Sinskey for a wine tasting and Dave loaded up the car with his favorite. We weren't sure of the timing to get down to San Jose for the wedding but definitely didn't want to be late, so left with plenty of time. We had time to kill so stopped at the mall. Dave got a foot massage and they stained the bottom of his pants with massage oil! What a pain. He had to go over to Nordstrom to get new pants as those were the ones he was wearing to wedding.

So we ended our weekend away at Sang's wedding in San Jose. It was a lot of fun to go to a traditional Vietnamese wedding.


We are so lucky to have my parents nearby and willing to watch the boys, and this time Linda decided to fly out so she and my mom could do the long weekend together. They had a blast! My mom texted me that the boys' halos were shining -- they were on their best behavior all weekend. Love to hear that!

All commentary from Linda:

I arrived on Thursday 9/24 and you were waiting for me at the door with such BIG smiles!!!  And both of you helped me carry my stuff into the house...such big boys:)   We played for a little while and when daddy came home William, George and Ma took a little walk.  You are such talkers now...narrating our adventure with stories and observations.  And we loved the tunnel...hearing our voices echo is so much fun!  Then we played outside while Daddy made the best ribs and Mommy made delicious Pumpkin bread!  Yum!  You really LOVE ribs...and we all had a picnic outside which was good since it is hard to eat ribs without getting sauce all over :)    But that's what bath time is for...and you had fun showing Ma how you sing and wash your hair and your body by yourself while daddy sings and you guys even join in "Tequila"!!!  You also love the shower and it then it was time to get out because we were all getting a little wet!





Friday morning we went to China Beach.  What a cool place to play in the surf and sand.  We sang songs with our teacher at the top of the hill then walked down about 100 stairs to the beach.  As soon as you guys saw the water we knew we were going to get wet!  We met some divers at the top of the hill and they told us to enjoy the water but to hold hands and be very careful because the surf and the waves were strong.  And we did!  But do you ever love the water!  I loved the giggles and the sheer joy you shared with Ma when a big wave approached and then roared into shore.  The bigger the wave the better.  We could even stand on the rocks and the big waves would get us.  So much fun in the sunshine!  You played with your friends on the climbing rocks and then it was time for a story and lunch.  After about two hours it was time to leave and we listened to a story and puppets on the beach and sang our good-by song when we got to the top of the stairs.  What a GREAT morning!




You were so good for Ma and Dede at nap time and nighttime.  Right to bed after many "bookies".  No crying or tears.  Such good boys.  That afternoon we went to the baseball park for a little while and played in the sand and with some cups and a teapot we found.  You are really good at playing on your own and using your imagination.  Dede and I just sat close by and watched you and marveled how well you play together.  You are so lucky to be twins!  You have a best friend and a brother and a playmate all the time!  Awesome!   That night Dede was reading a book about a mother duck and her little ducklings getting lost.  I walked in to see George's lip quivering and suggested that Dede switch books...too late...George's tender feelings got the best of him and he was a little sad...but William jumped up, ran to get one of George's favorite plush toys and said "Don't worry George...Mama duck will find her babies."  So sweet.  And with that, George was feeling better and ready for bed.  Dede and I would take turns sitting in your room till you were asleep...just to be close and comforting.  It was so cute to hear George's little moan - grrrrrrrr - just before he goes off to dreamland.  Very sweet.

Saturday we had a lazy morning watching Paw Patrol and playing trains while Dede had some time to read and prepare for her class.  Ma loves this time with you.  I just want to soak it all in and try to save it for times when I am home in Cincinnati. Then we went for a walk with Dede to the market to get a cake mix  so we could make a chocolate cake for mommy's birthday and go to the hardware store and look at all the Halloween masks and then to the bagel store for a "hot dog bagel"




Making the cake with you guys was really fun.  Of course we had to taste the cake mix and it was hard trying to keep you from tasting the batter once the eggs were mixed in :)  After nap, when the cake had cooled it was time to put the icing on...well while Dede and I were getting the icing and the sprinkles William and George decided to have a spoonful of cake right out of the pan!!!  What fun!!!!  Then icing and sprinkles...we can hardly wait to eat this delicious treat!  When we went to the baseball park this afternoon, we took our scooters.  You are really fast!!!   At bath time George noticed the boo boo on Williams ankle from scratching it on a rock.  George was so sympathetic and insisted on giving William's ankle a kiss in the tub.  Of course both William and George had to have bandaids when we got out of the tub.  All better!  Sunday was the Academy of Science and we loved to dance like butterflies and birds with our shadows on the screen.  We danced with several groups...but we were always the center of attention because both George and especially William have music in their little bodies.  Just moving and dancing to the beat. Swaying our heads and spinning in circles.  What fun. and William's roar when we saw the Lion echoed throughout the entire museum!!!  Good lungs William.  We had our lunch on the terrace and played outside for a while before returning home to finish lunch on our new picnic table and then head in for a nap.


Jessica came over Sunday night and helped with dinner and bath time..Dede said goodby and left for her meeting...so it was just us. Such a special time.  Reading books.  Snuggling in our jammies.  and settling down to sleep...or so Ma thought.  Then I hear George at the door calling for Ma.  It seems William had a little more energy to use up before sleeping so he took off his sleepy wrap and was running around the room...Ma came ...we all hugged again ...got in our beds and went to sleep.  Daddy and Mommy will be home tonight.  Sweet dreams my little California boys.  Ma loves you so much!    Then Monday morning was here and Ma had to fly home to see grandpa and Zach and Lizzy.  I had such a good time with you, the weather was perfect, you were perfect angels, and I had so much fun with Dede.  It is always sad to go and I always get tears when I see your little faces smiling and your little waves to Ma from the window as the car pulls away.  You are Ma's special boys.  Can't wait to see you in Florida.

William...Never stop telling stories.  They are the best.  You are such a joy to be around. I love your happy attitude and big smile. Love you so much and can't wait to see you in Florida! 
George...Never stop using your imagination.  You are such a smart boy. You have such an such eye for detail.  I love your hugs and your thoughtful  stories.  Love you so much and can't wait to swim with you at the beach!

What a view from China Beach!

We're so grateful that a fun weekend away for us can also be so fun for the boys and the grandmas.


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