di Rosa

The girls and I decided to take advantage of last few days of their Christmas break with a trip to the Sonoma region. We started the day at the di Rosa. When we arrived, we were told we could look only in the Gatehouse Gallery as a tour reservation was required to see the rest of the property. We were a little bummed but began looking around the gatehouse. A few minutes later, the attendant came over and told us some of the tour goers hadn't shown up and we were offered their spots! We hopped on the tour bus and drove up to the main gallery.

Artwork from the Gatehouse Gallery

The Main Gallery

As soon as you set foot in the main gallery, you're surrounded by works described by Rene di Rosa as "divinely regional, superbly parochial, wonderfully provincial, an absolute native glory. Considered the most significant holding of Bay Area art in the world, di Rosa houses more than 2,000 works of art by over 800 different artists. I wasn't sure what the girls would think about this type of art and so I was interested to hear their thoughts. Kids are so wonderfully honest and I tried to remember to appreciate that fact as Anna told the art docent that she thought the "Dry Lake Briefcase" piece wasn't that special. To her, it just looked like  a briefcase full of parched earth. We talked about the possible symbolism of it and after that Anna was busy looking for the meaning behind the work. Her favorite piece of all was the angel flying in circles over broken statuary at the exit of the gallery. She said it looked like there had been a war and the angel was flying over the fallen and taking the good souls back to heaven with her.


Fremont Diner

I read rave reviews about the Fremont Diner and so we thought we'd give it a try. When we pulled into the parking lot, it looked to be packed and I was worried we wouldn't get a seat. However, the line of people were waiting to order and sit outside in the picnic area and there were tables just waiting inside. We ordered an oyster po'boy, mac 'n cheese, and a grilled cheese sandwich. As it was so busy, it took the food a while to get there. To help hold us over until the food arrived, we ordered one biscuit to share between the three of us. I think the biscuit was my favorite part of the meal. It was delicious! The Fremont Diner is known for its southern cooking so I think next time I will have to try its cornbread and greens. There was also a fig appetizer on the menu that I can't seem to stop thinking about. Anna was excited to try a new drink called Bubble Up. It was similar to Sprite and the first time she's ever drank from a bottle. Some fun memories from my childhood are drinking Coca-Cola from a glass bottle. There was nothing quite like it.


Cornerstone Gardens


I saw a picture on a blog once of a couple standing in front of a tree covered in round blue Christmas ornaments. Although it may sound over the top, it was really spectacular. The tree was part of an installation at Cornerstone Gardens and after I saw it, I was convinced I needed to visit. After lunch, the girls and I stopped in only to learn that our tree had been cut down. We were so sad but still had fun checking out the other creative installations that were available to us. I'm sure the artists have a reason for naming their artwork as they do but I got a kick all day out of the names the girls gave to the sights we saw. The artist named it "Land I, Stone's Throw", but the girls called it "Fairy Holes". The artist named it "Garden Play", but the girls called it "Soccer Field". The artist named it "Earth Walk", but the girls called it "Pond in a Hole". The artists called it "Rise", but the girls called it "Tube Thingy". The artists called it "White Cloud" but the girls called it "Fairy Trees".

One of the last installations we visited was called "Red Lantern". The girls thought the "train tracks" were really neat. Apparently, a Sonoma Christmas tradition involves the lighting of the snowmen. Even though we were there a few days after Christmas, the snowmen were still standing. There was a fun path that you could take from a door in a field through the line of snowmen to reach Santa's sleigh. It would be nice to see them all lit up at night!


I have a new favorite store. It's called Artefact Design and Salvage and it is right by Cornerstone Gardens. Oh my goodness! Artefact and Anthropologie just do me in. It's not often you go into a store and decide you would just like to move in. I would happily set up a cot just to be surrounded by all of the eclectic wonder.



Everyone was beginning to run out of gas but it was determined that we had to find ice cream before we headed home. We drove into the main square of Sonoma and found a place to park. Sonoma is a very, very cute town and we would have loved to have had a chance to explore some more, if only we hadn't already had such a busy day. I loved getting the opportunity to spend the day with our girls. They're such sweethearts!


Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday to our sweet 3-year old! He had a big day with cake and presents and a trip to the "castle". He loves riding the train at the Sunsplash arcade in Roseville...his favorite thing to do. It was a great day with our little guy and we love him so much! Lots of love to you, dear Jacob!! XOXOXO!



Family Photos

Last year when I was putting together our family albums, I realized there wasn't a single decent photo of the 5 of us, not one.  We have one shot from the last day of the year taken by a passing stranger on the Golden Gate Bridge.  I decided I wasn't going to let that happen again this year.  I called my friend Alexandra Frankel to set up a session and I'm so happy I did.  If you've never met Alexandra, she's incredibly sweet, crazy creative, super talented, an amazing photographer and she always looks like she stepped out of a magazine!  She's also one of the most down to earth people you could ever meet, she's always smiling.  I think the world of her.  She did such an amazing job on our photos and we're so pleased.  We had SO many favorites, it's really been hard to pick.  To see more of our session, check out Alex's blog by clicking HERE!

Gingerbread House Competition

Granny and PawPaw always have so much fun competing against each other in their fishing and hunting. So, I thought they would enjoy a little friendly competition with the girls decorating gingerbread houses.   After we opened presents, I pulled out the kits and was surprised by how intent they were on winning. They formed teams, "The Grannies"...

and "The Deer Hunters" ...

and went to work. Check out the concentration on their faces.

PawPaw started to whisper because he was worried about their ideas being stolen and copied by the other team.

Doug was asked to be the judge and it's a good thing he was savvy enough to declare the competition a tie! The houses turned out so cute and I was very impressed with both teams.

Unfortunately, the houses didn't last long after the competition ended as our smallest family member made it his personal mission to eat them gumdrop by gumdrop.

All Aboard the Polar Express!

We were beyond excited to have PawPaw and Granny come out on the 9th of December to have an early Christmas with us and to see Anna perform in the Nutcracker. They could only be here from Friday through early Sunday morning so we had to fit in a ton of fun in a short amount of time. The kids had made "welcome" signs for the grandparents that they displayed at the airport. Granny loves High Hand Nursery and so we left the airport and headed for the gardens and lunch at the cafe. We were a bit early for our reservation and so we walked around a little bit. Jacob was preoccupied with the pond there....a bit too preoccupied. He tumbled right in and PawPaw saved him at the last minute, grabbing him by the collar and hauling him out. Needless to say, we had to skip lunch and head home for some dry clothes for the little guy.

After we dried the baby off and had a big bowl of chili with some cornbread, we headed off to the Polar Express in Sacramento. This was Jacob's first time on the train and the girls' second. Jacob has been obsessed with trains lately and so this was right up his alley! 

While we waited to board the train, we wandered around enjoying the train displays. Anna and Jacob made friends with the quartet that was there singing Christmas songs and Anna even got to say "Merry Christmas" over the microphone. Santa and Mrs. Claus were also there greeting everyone.

When it was time, we boarded the Kris Kringle car and left Sacramento on our way to the North Pole. Hot chocolate and cookies were served. We had our golden tickets punched and listened to the story "The Polar Express" by Chris Van Allsburg. When we finally reached the North Pole, we saw Santa and his elves. Santa boarded the train and passed sleigh bells out to everyone who still believed. It was a great night. After the train ride, we wandered through old Sacramento and came across the "Theater of Lights" with a reading of some excerpts from Mark Twain as well as a reading of "Twas the Night Before Christmas".

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