Friends, Family, Wine

I don’t think there is a better way to spend a weekend than with family you love, friends that are family, yummy food, good wine, lot’s of sun, water, boats, and airplanes.

I have not been to the boat races (hydroplanes) in E WA in a very long time. I was trying to figure it out and the best guess is I was kid, like single digit to my age kid…so it’s been a very, very long time.

Gosh I had so much fun hanging out at the river all day, watching the air show and the boats race past. Friday is the “free” day. It’s the practice air show, and the time trials with only the last two races of the day being “real” races. Way less crowded for sure, and much more enjoyable for someone like me who doesn’t really enjoy crowds.

Going Friday freed up Saturday for winery hopping…my favorite thing! My other favorite thing…coming home to cooler weather. The plants and garden are very happy indeed.

 Red Solo Cup of goodness! 

 Michelle and Sky

 Brilliant idea…moving our chairs into the river! 

F16 overhead…was so cool! 

 Rose at Tucannon Cellers

 14 Hands Winery…their reserve wines are amazing! The above pic is not a reserve wine, I had already tasted & purchased when Michelle & the girls and I stopped in on the drive over a few days before. 

The adult part of the gang enjoying 14 Hands on Saturday. So nice to have kid free time for all of us! 

 The girls enjoying the water feature at 14 Hands Thursday on the drive over. 

 Out of order, but this is how much fun Sky had at the river watching the boats! 

 Big glasses…the theme of the weekend. 

 Treveri Cellars is on the way to my Aunt and Uncles…it’s my new favorite pit stop! Champagne cocktails for the win! 


Easily one of the most fun drives to E WA ever! Leaving early with the girls, and stopping along the way to enjoy ourselves was perhaps one of the best ideas ever. Not to mention all the entertainment coming out of the back seat with a Frozen sing along, and other fun and games. So much fun from start to finish. 
Thank you to Mark, Bob, and Michelle for sharing your pics!  

How To Plant A Vineyard – The Easy Way

There really is no easy way…but it’s not a bad idea to hope a friend or family member decides to plant one and you can go help, without being the one that puts in hour after hour, day after day, week after week, month after month, and hours of schooling to make it happen.

The truth is there is so much work that went in to getting things ready for a single day of planting that it’s impossible to share it all. I know that my aunt and uncle have been working until dark every day after work and sun up to sun down every weekend for months now.

Rows before anything was planted. 

What were they doing? Putting up row after row of wire and support poles to get ready for 1,250 vines to be planted. That was actually less than intended, but there was a problem at the nursery so only a portion of the vines arrived and were planted. Which, while not ideal actually worked out because in addition to planting all the vines we were able to help install the irrigation as well. We would not have gotten to that most likely if all the vines had arrived as originally planned.

That right there is where wine comes from. Sort of looks like a cranky twig sticking out of the ground. 

There are a lot of steps to planting. My aunt and uncle did as much as they could over the last few months. When Mark and I got there Friday evening we started putting the bamboo poles in. There is a measurement to follow so things line up as they should and every few feet you stick a pole in the ground, right up next to the wire that’s already been strung. 
Once the poles are in people know where the vines go and can start digging holes to put the vines in, which need to be right up next to the pole. The goal is to get everything as close to that bottom wire as possible because the irrigation tube (black tube on the ground in the above picture) will clip to the bottom wire and water the vines. As “we” finished putting the poles in place Saturday, others starting digging the holes at each bamboo pole, and after the holes were in a few people want along with arm fulls of vines and put a vine in each hole. The rest of us followed behind and started filling the holes back in. 
There were about 22 adults working in the vineyard, with my Mom and aunt in the kitchen literally cooking all day long to keep us all fed, and it took from about 7 am to 3 or 4 pm for the last vine to go in. The irrigation took a few more hours after that, and was finished up Sunday. At least I think it was, we headed for home before it was done, but it seemed to be well in hand. 

Row 8, vine 5…the vine that Sky planted. 🙂 If the wine from that vine taste sassy we know why!

After…all vines are in the ground. 

I was surprised at how little difference there was between starting and finishing. The vines are on one hand so cool, but on the other so not impressive. From a distance you couldn’t even tell that we had done anything really. 
But, we had. We worked all day in the sun and sand, and while it was hard work, it wasn’t particularly challenging. Dare I say it was even fun. We had fun visiting with everyone that showed up to help, and getting to know other people in my aunt and uncles life. 
There is a huge sense of accomplishment in working all day and being able to say I helped  plant a vineyard. And, it offered a small taste of what it’s like to work in a crop field. I have a first hand appreciation for those that work in crop fields assuring we can go to the grocery store and purchase fresh fruit, veggies, beer, wine, clothing etc. It’s hard work, some of it is much harder than what we did, and I’m thankful that there are those who are willing to do it. 
 Friday evening when I still thought I was having fun. Just kidding, it really was fun work the whole time. 

Gifford Vineyard Established 5/2/2015!

 Planting the first vine!

 Of course we had to toast with wine before planting the vines! 

 Michelle, Bob, me, aunt Candy

Uncle Paul with a bundle of vines.

 Grace (above) and Kiera (below) planting their vines with Bob and Michelle. 

By this point in the day the sand was seriously hot…I don’t know how that isn’t burning Kiera’s legs! 

I’m thankful we got to be part of it all, and got to see how the process works first hand. I’m excited for the day when it’s a vineyard full of lush green plants, and we can stroll through the rows admiring the grapes. 
We helped plant a vineyard…can’t get over it! Congratulations to Aunt Candy and Uncle Paul…you are vineyard owners! 
P.S. and now I get to go run a half through some vineyards! So excited for Saturday! 

There’s SUN in the PNW!

Something about the sunny, warm weather makes life feel so much more fun…like a vacation. Maybe it’s eating dinner outside in the evenings. Or taking cuddle breaks outside, and reading books or magazines while the dog lounges and Sky plays. Sipping a cool crisp white wine in the warm afternoon sun with my babe…maybe it’s all of it, but it just makes life feel more fun and relaxed. 
Evening adventures in the sun…looking out over the tracks in Steilacoom.

We are doing our best to enjoy this unseasonably nice sunny weather. I don’t know that it will be this way year after year, so I’m/we are making the most of it! 

I planted the first of many (more to come!) portable square foot gardens. This one is all about the herbs. It’s my first attempt so lets hope they grow!


I really thought Sky would be all about helping plant, but she wasn’t. There’s time though. Maybe vegetables will be more exciting for her. In the meantime her stuffed dog, Baby Bishop, is her constant companion. He goes everywhere with her, and if it’s something she can’t take him to he ends up riding in the car and keeping her company on the road. Bishop is still a daily conversation, and I’m thankful she has her stuffed Bishop look-a-like to help her through it.

 I totally benefit (or not depending on how snug the jeans are fitting) from Mark’s food allergies. All the cheese and bread parings to myself! 
Give her some pretzels and let her smell the wine and she’s good to go. 

The best part of all this sun is the spur of the moment walks that somehow turn into wine tasting! And, not just wine tasting, but chatting with the wine maker, who was in the tasting room that day, and tasting directly from the barrel. So good!

A wall of liquid goodness.

Sunglasses…adorable. And, she’s decided she doesn’t need the car seat any longer. Nice try Sky.

If I don’t post much, ok I already don’t post much so how about if I start posting even less, over the next few weeks it’s because I’m traveling a bit, and the down time I do have is spent soaking up all that sun with my munchkin! 

Dad and Daughter Birthday Weekend

Last weekend was the weekend between my Dad’s birthday and my birthday, so we made plans to drive to E WA and combine the birthday fun!

This is how I road trip!

This is how Sky road trips…with a smile on her face, a few books/toys at her side, and her favorite blanket that has seen better days.

Traveling with Sky has, thankfully, forced us to find fun stopping points along the way. It works well that my Mom lives at the half way point and makes a nice lunch/dinner (depending on the time of day) and play stop. 

And, when you have worked so hard at your swimming skills, and move on up to the next class, it calls for “I’m proud of you” gifts from Grandma!

Looking at this picture I’m realizing she may be too tall for her car seat. I need to check the specks and see if it’s time to move up to the next one. Growing so fast.
She was super sad about saying goodbye to Grandma and held onto the duck Grandma gave her the rest of the drive. She also scored new Roper boots (we love the feed store in Ellensburg…great kiddo boot selection and they always have sales!) that she is wearing non stop. Boots (real leather ones) for kids = brilliant because they outgrow them before they wear them out!
The rest of the weekend was full of good company, good wine, good food, and lot’s and lot’s of fun! I felt so spoiled not having to cook or do dishes the entire time. 🙂
Sky making pizza for all of us…she made my favorite Margarita, it’s also the type of pizza I eat for dinner the night before races.


She was so pleased with herself!

One of the things I enjoy most about being a parent is watching her with other people. Usually I’m the one helping her help me cook, or do laundry, or whatever. To sit back and actually pay attention to the looks of frustration and satisfaction, and see how much she enjoys doing big girl things is eye opening really.
 Gluten Free crust for the win…this was one good pizza!

After that it was all about the wine tasting! We had so much fun winery hopping. It was a beautiful day, windy but sunny, which gave Sky an opportunity to run around outside and burn energy as needed. She really is pretty great about coloring and visiting with any and everyone else in the winery, she’s fun to go tasting with actually.   

Birthday shoes! Apparently I needed them because I’ve worn them every day since getting them! 


It was so nice to sit out in the sun, getting our vitamin D, drinking reserve wines, and noshing on simple yet yummy snacks. My new favorite way to “shop” for wine to go with dinner…go wine tasting and pick it out that way! 
All too soon it was time to come home, but not before stopping in at my aunt and uncles to say a quick hello, and check out the progress in the vineyard. 
It’s hard to believe that in a few weeks we will be there planting vines, and this will be a full fledged vineyard! It’s going to be hard work, but I’m excited to be able to help!
Sky was not thrilled with all the goodbyes. She cried and cried after leaving Grandma, cried and cried after leaving Grandpa, and was down right pissed off after leaving my aunt and uncle. It took all of her favorite things, plus my special blanket (yes I have a special blanket that I travel with…can’t sleep without it) to calm her down enough to fall asleep, and give us a break from the tears. She just loves her family so much it breaks her little heart when we have to leave. 😦
All in all a great weekend celebrating birthdays! Happy Birthday to dad and me! 

Weekend Re-Cap / Life is Back to Normal

Happy Monday to everyone!  I hope it’s been a kind one!

I kind of feel a little pressure to get our life, house, errands etc back on track this week.  We have been gone every single weekend this month!  Two of those weekends were not planned either.  With all the unexpected travel I haven’t done “real” grocery shopping in a very long time.  Nor have I made dentists appointments, Dr. appointments, cleaned the house…you get the idea.  I have been doing the minimum to keep things going (unpacking doing laundry and repacking over and over) and getting my training runs done, and as a result it’s all caught up with us now.

I sort of love being home though and doing the normal every stuff, and it feels good to be getting back to normal and getting things done!  

I finally had time for a hair cut last week and boy oh boy was I over due!  It may not look a ton different, but the real beauty of this cut is when I let it air dry…it’s has the perfect, no effort beach waves cut into the style, so it looks amazing with zero effort!  (We won’t talk about the fact that I got rear ended again on the way to the hair cut…thankfully Sky and I are fine!  Thankfully it’s wasn’t more serious because they hit us and took off…karma…that’s all I have to say).

This is the blown out version of the below style/pic my stylist worked off of!  Once again El did an amazing job, and was able to take all the heavy stuff off thankfully!

I let it air dry camping, and it looks pretty great if I do say so myself!  El get’s all the credit, she’s the one that makes it look good!

Friday started with my last “real” run before race day.  I got up and got 8 miles in and felt great doing it!  This week I have two 3 mile runs planned and then I’m resting until Sat.  Saturday races feel strange to me, but it’s kinda nice to have Sunday to lay around and recover.

After that it was time for a weekend of camping on the coast.  It’s always dicey camping on the WA Coast even in the summer, but we got so lucky with clear sunny days and a slight breeze that was perfect for keeping it from getting to hot!

 Sky and I waited around for Mark to finish work for the day and she was so over the top excited when it was finally time to get to camping!  This girl loves camping!  Out of the blue, twice today, she has said “Thank you mommy for the camping”!

 Climbing trees!  
 We were so not prepared for her to play in the ocean, we had no extra clothes, nor did we have any of the dishes/silverware needed for lunch either, but we made it work and had a lovely lunch on the beach!

Watching the kiddos play in the waves, I could do this all day!

 The girls coloring in trailer.  It’s nice that each family has a trailer because the kids end up in one, usually ours since it’s smaller and less stuff to get into, and the adults can visit in the other one, but with both doors open and facing each other we always know what they are up to.
 She wakes up super cuddly when we are camping!

Who’s walking who?

Thankfully Michelle’s Mom came up to camp and watched the kiddo’s so we could sneak away for wine tasting and silliness at The Westport Winery.  If you are ever in the area check them out!  One of the few that let’s you wander the grounds at will, and they set up ton’s of outdoor seating, games, and entertainment to enjoy while strolling the vineyards drinking wine. 


The sunset was really amazing!

 My two favorite people taking a sunset walk. 

Sadly that glass of wine ended up getting kicked out of my hand, down the front of me, and (I have no idea how this happened) all down the inside as well.  I had wine in my belly button.  I was not a happy camper, mostly because I was worried about getting the wine out.  I ended up having to toss a few items, but the rest washed out with some Wine Away.  I learned that Wine Away needs to be a staple in the camping trailer, and not to drink and snuggle with a tired 3 year old at the same time.


Michelle and I enjoying the sunset.

This trip was timed perfectly!  This month has been crazy with travel, car issues, getting hit twice, Grandpa passing, the stress of trying to potty train a tot that want’s nothing to do with it yet must be potty trained before pre-school starts, being away from home every weekend (I really like being home!) among other things.  It all sort of hit me, and getting away with good friends for the weekend and just relaxing and having fun was exactly what I needed.  I feel recharged and ready to take on the rest of summer! 
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How do you recharge when life gets crazy?