Boom, Boom

I hope everyone had a fun and safe 4th! I always feel like summer officially starts after the 4th. W WA weather can be so unpredictable, and it doesn’t really get summer nice and stay summer nice until after the 4th. Although today it’s low 70’s and overcast, so clearly I don’t know what I’m talking about.

Chalk art – Mark Yeatman

Our 4th was spent at my Aunt and Uncle’s vineyard in E WA, and it was very summer hot over there. They were hosting a family reunion the Sat after the 4th, which means they were going to miss out on time to work in the vineyard. We opted to help out by staying the week, work in the vineyard in the mornings, and spend the afternoon’s staying cool and prepping for the reunion.


Ready to sparkle and shine!

I love helping out in the vineyard. Growing grapes is no joke, it takes a lot of work! I’ve planted and harvested and done a lot of the tasks between planting and harvesting. I learn something new every time, and it just makes me appreciate every bottle of wine I open that much more. It also makes me appreciate crop workers. It’s hard work, and it’s not work I’d want to do regularly. I’m thankful there are those that are willing to do it.


Most of the pics from the week are not of people. I really only snapped a few random pics here and there. The rest of the time my phone was the DJ for the festivities, and I was way more focused on spending time with people I love, and don’t get to see often, than on taking all the pics/having my phone in my hand.

Took a break from the vineyard to see Grandpa and swim the afternoon away. His horse Peaches is such a sweet girl!


The family reunion was the thing I was looking forward too the most this summer. It made my heart happy to see Sky having fun with her cousins and experience sleeping in a tent for the first time. She loved it, and I’m thankful her older cousins included her in the fun (so thankful some were willing to drive 12 hours to be there!). Now I feel like any fun I have the rest of summer is a bonus. And, we have plenty of fun left to have!

The first grape vine long before there was a vineyard. Not wine grapes, but I like to take credit since it was a gift from us. 🙂 


Gifford Vineyard Harvest 2017

I’m only a month late sharing this, but better late than never right. The first weekend in Oct Mark and I headed over to E WA to help my Aunt and Uncle with their grape harvest.


We were so thankful that good friends offered to let Sky spend the weekend with them back home which freed Mark and I up to be able to work in the vineyard without trying to keep an eye on Sky. Bonus…we could sneak in a little date night dinner on the way over. I love our kiddo, but it was kind of fun making the trip over just the two of us.

Highly recommend Zesta Cucina if you find yourself hungry in Yakima…really good food!

Anyway, we were so excited to be able to help with the first official harvest at Gifford Vineyard. We’ve seen the transformation from family home to vineyard, we helped plant the very grapes we were going to harvest, and have spent several weekends over the last few years helping out around the vineyard. It finally felt like all the hard work was paying off…literally they had a check in hand at the end of the day!

Harvesting is a lot more fun than planting. It’s still work, and it’s still a long, full day, but a lot easier on the body than planting, or cutting grow tubes off! We were so lucky to have a beautiful day with sunny, cooler weather and it just felt like a celebration all day long.


I have a whole new appreciation for all the work that goes into a bottle of wine, and I’m only talking about the growing part…I’m sure there is a ton of work on the wine making side of things as well. Thank goodness there are those out there willing to put in the hard work so that us winos can enjoy a good bottle of vino! 🙂


There was a little oops loading the truck, one of the containers dumped off the tractor while lifting it and we ended up with a pile of grapes in the driveway…we had fun stomping around in them after!
Wine makes, wine growers, and signed, paid for contract! Over 3 tons of grapes picked, and loaded!


Very satisfying work indeed. And, since Sky wasn’t there with us we brought some grapes back with us so she could stomp them, so fun!

Cheers to a successful harvest!



Road Tripping With A 5 Year Old

As parents you spend some time wondering if you’re getting “it” right, hoping you are, but knowing there is something you are going to mess up. You just hope the mess up’s aren’t too terrible or long lasting.

One of the things I know we got right, like totally nailed it…road tripping! We love to travel, and while we will totally fly, float, or rail whenever needed we also love jumping in the car, and driving. Stopping whenever we see something interesting, turning down dirt roads, and a lot of times taking the scenic route versus the fastest route.

First pit stop to spend the night & burn energy at my aunt and uncles. She ran laps around the house!

A few weekends ago Sky and I took off across WA and then dropped down into to OR to eventually arrive in Wallowa Lake. It was a whirlwind trip to say the least with 4 days in a row of 3 1/2 to 5 1/2 hours of driving. Some of it very familiar road (to my aunt & uncles vineyard for our first stop going, and last stop coming home) and some of it not familiar at all, completely trusting GPS through mountain passes and back-country roads.

Lunch stop the second day on the road, was a lovely view and an energy burn!

While exhausting to be in the car that many hours for 4 days (not to mention how sore my hips were from all the sitting) it was certainly fun being on the road with Sky.

She is so good at reading her books, coloring, playing games and having conversations with her toys, singing along to the radio (even if she picked up the annoying, yet hysterical, habit of changing words in the song to make it funny…thank you daddy for sharing your talent :-/) to asking complex meaning of life type of questions. As she gets older she’s spending more time looking out the window, commenting on the beauty of what she’s seeing, and asking to stop and take pictures along the way.

The viewpoint.

There was some truly beautiful scenery to look at, especially through the mountain pass we took (still don’t know the name of it, but I’m sure I could figure it out with some digging) and we even found a nice viewpoint to stop and have lunch.

Me and my Dad….the reason I was in Wallowa Lake.

One of the things we have found to be helpful while traveling is figuring in an hour, or more depending on the trip and things we know we want to see along the way, to the drive time. We typically like to keep our hours on the road to 5 or 6 max, so an hour or so of that isn’t actual driving time, it’s lunch/play time. That break in driving is key for Sky, and honestly for Mark and I as well. (Having said that Sky and I drove from our house to my aunt and uncles without stopping (and it took an extra 1.5 hours due to construction) I don’t remember the last time we drove straight through like that. We were on a roll I guess).

This guy crashed the wedding and tried to get into the house!

Wallow Lake, OR you may be asking…well it was for my Dad’s wedding, and Sky had an important date to be the flower girl. It was a beautiful setting for a lovely wedding, and Sky loved being the flower girl!

Joyfully tossing roses!

I wish my Dad and Johanna nothing but love and happiness for years to come!

The happy couple!

Now, to make the trip back and actually stay for a week or so, with Mark and Sky, and enjoy the lake, hiking, and beauty that is Wallowa Lake, OR!

My cousin Nathan, Me, Dad, Johanna, her son, Nathans two kiddos and Sky.
First time as a “wedding photographer” and last. Was happy to do it, used my phone for all of it, but would not want to do that for a living. Too much pressure!
Sky had so much fun meeting her cousins and playing with them!
So thankful to connect with family that I don’t get to see all that often.

P.S. A few tips:

-Fill up the tank before hitting the road. I found myself in the middle of nowhere WA, in need of gas with no idea where I was or when the next gas station would be. Was a tense hour of driving to say the least.

-Pack a small cooler with food and drinks. Even if you decide to stop at eat at a restaurant along the way, it’s nice to have the food on hand when you find a lovely park or spot to stop and play, and the food will keep if you end up eating out instead.

-Headphones for the kiddo’s electronic device. Sky has a LeapPad with some alphabet and number games on it, and those darn songs get stuck in my head. With her headphones on she can play the games & I can listen to my music and everyone is happy.

-Keep wet wipes and TP in the car…any wide spot in the road, or bush, works when a bathroom break is needed and you are miles/hours from a potty.

-When it’s been a long day bribery is totally an option. I hold that in reserve for the last hour or so and as long as Sky refrains from asking “are we there yet” or “how much longer” then she gets whatever it is I settle on. Sometimes ice cream, sometimes it’s a new toy or coloring book (that I have purchased ahead of time to hold in reserve to use as needed).



Fun on the 4th

We were lucky enough to spend our 4th at my Aunt and Uncles Vineyard in E WA, otherwise known as the hot side of the state. We’re almost always assured of hot sunny weather over there. Thankfully it was lovely, but not too hot (although we were not the ones working in the vineyard either), the perfect amount of sun and heat to enjoy it, but not be miserable.

Growing wine!


I’m so thankful we were able to help out a little (mostly in the kitchen cooking…my happy place) while still having plenty of time to relax and enjoy wine, and a good book in the sun.



Sky loved it, running around the vineyard, checking the chickens for eggs, and even supervising in the vineyard a bit. She loves it there, and loves helping out!




Now in typical PNW style we are post July 4th and enjoying gray sky’s and liquid sunshine. Seriously…let’s go back to E WA!



I can’t wait for our next visit to see how the vineyard looks. It changes so much from visit to visit, so exciting!

Little Supervisor! 

Spring at Gifford Vineyard


We were lucky enough to spend the first day of Spring at my aunt and uncles vineyard. we were actually over there for my class at Walter Clore, which I will post about tomorrow, but we still found plenty of time to enjoy family, the vineyard, and Spring!

Sky was so excited to have time with Grandma, Grandpa, and Aunt Candy and Uncle Paul. There isn’t a day that she doesn’t ask when/if she is going to get to see the above mentioned people. She loves them all so much, and I think the vineyard is growing on her as well. She asked me the other day if she could have her own vineyard some day. I told her as long as she makes wine we like then yes. 🙂

One of my favorite things about E WA (aside from it being wine country) is that no matter the time of year and temps outside it’s usually always sunny. Very few grey (winter/depressing) days over there. It’s so much easier to feel happy over there with all the sun (and wine).


I love our periodic visits because the changes in the vineyard are so apparent to us. The vines are growing, those grow tubes are moving on up as the vines get taller and taller. So exciting!

Sky was particularly excited about Uncle Paul’s new vineyard vehicle!

Uncle Paul


That hard hat was Sky’s Great Grandpa’s hard hat from when he worked at Hanford, I love that she picked that one out for herself. He would have gotten such a kick out of sassy little girl.

Notice her droopy eyes…she went to bed with a cold Saturday night, woke up Sunday full blown, full on miserably sick. Made for a long drive home for her. Thank goodness she slept for a lot of it, but we’re still home sick today. Hoping she feels better by Friday for school.

We’re going back over in April to help with more planting, and hopefully sneak in some Spring Barrel fun as well!