Monday, November 30, 2015

Bruns' Fall Recap

With Thanksgiving behind us and Christmas full steam ahead, I wanted to recap all the fun things we did this fall. I've blogged about a lot of amazing highlights like Vegas and Napa, but lots of other little stuff occurred and I don't want to miss those memories.

Like my other seasonal recaps, we'll do this pictorially.

All of sudden, these two enjoy playing with each other. Not just in the same room. 

Cars are a big source of unity in our house. Look how Oscar lined them all up!

Fall mean FOOTBALL. Here's Oscar rooting for the nailbiting Bronco's with Papa Chuck.

The joys of a box 

Fall is a time of so many birthdays in our family. This one was celebrating Jameson and Uncle Greg

The fall weather in Texas is typically unbeatable (as long as it's not raining). We take advantage of lots of park time and inviting friends to play. Dylan and Walt are hilarious!

Friday, November 27, 2015

Thanksgiving 2015

For the first time, Chris and I hosted Thanksgiving at our house. We were very excited to do this because it meant both his family and our family would be together for the holiday.  We also wanted an excuse to use our newly remodeled kitchen!

I can't even begin to explain how great the day was. In fact, it was so good that I didn't take but two pictures!  Chris and his dad owned the turkey. I made sure we had utensils and drinks (and a bonus side dish and egg-free dessert) and everyone else brought something. I'm a big fan of the potluck method. It reduces the burden on the host and everyone feels like they contributed.

I actually wish that I had a story to tell about something going wrong, because those usually end up being the things you laugh about. I got nothing.

I think in total we had 14 adults and 4 kids - so it was a pretty packed house. Just the way I like it!  The kids got to run around and even play outside a bit in the rain (it wasn't cold yet).  The food was perfection and the company couldn't be beat. Football was on TV  and the wine was flowing. I was so giddy with content that I sat on our couch the Friday after and just relished in how GOOD things are! We have so little to complain about. In short, we are very thankful :)

Monday, November 9, 2015

Napa 2015

Turns out, we've spent a lot of hours and minutes in the air this year. Between my job, which sends me to California about once a month, and just a lot of travel opportunities, we were on the go much of 2015.

So, when I realized my company's user conference was in downtown San Francisco in early November, I thought -- why not tack on a quick trip to Napa?!  Chris and I were both a little hesitant because we HAD done a ton of travel this year.  But, we also know that opportunities to get away don't always present themselves and other than our own hesitation, there wasn't a glaring reason why we shouldn't go. A few phone calls to grandparents and we were booked!

What made the trip even better is we got to buddy up with two of our couple friends. Our friends Jason and Brandi (Jason also works at Guidewire, so he liked my logic) and Stori and Richard joined us for fun.

Chris met me in San Fran on Wed evening. We hung out with my work colleagues, then got up early Thursday morning and hopped in our Camaro convertible (WHAT?).  Hey, traveling a lot allows for accumulation of travel points!

We ate lunch at Gott's Roadside for a greasy and delicious hamburger (even for a Texas girl!)  Then we drove towards Calistoga where we had an amazing private tasting of the Spire Collection. Then we drove up Spring Mountain and had a great tasting with some gorgeous mountain scenery at Pride Wines.  We ended the evening in St. Helena at a lovely restaurant (aren't they all amazing??) called LMR Farmstead.  We stayed in a lovely little cottage like hotel called Villagio

Our super fun group! (It was a little bright out)
The girls :) Love them both!
From the Spire Collection tasting room. Grapes for days!

Sunset on Spring Mountain at Pride Wines

Seriously - you can't make this scenery up!

The next day was a full day. But not before Chris got a little work done. The day before he got a call from his agent that he was selected to be the voice for Indian Motorcycles.  The catch - they needed it recorded the next day! So a mobile recording unit came to our hotel room and Chris recorded while I got ready (quietly) in the bathroom.

We hired a driver since we wanted to squish as many wineries in as we possibly could. While a bit pricey (we got stuck in a 2-hour back up which made the price tag extra steep), it was totally worth it. Another great tip (that was passed along from Stori) was to have our conceirge set up the tastings.  Turns out, we got a free or discounted tasting at all these places.  We hit up:

Darioush was the epitome of opulence, but still amazingly gorgeous

There was a slight mix up with our tasting reservation so we got a tour of the Darious property. Simply gorgeous. 

At Alpha and Omega, we through a bunch of money at our driver and he got us sandwiches from Dean and Deluca (my fave!). This day was beyond perfect. I'm not sure the sky could have been bluer.

I wish we would have captured the tasting room at Hall Wines. It's floor too ceiling glass windows with no panes.  This picture makes me happy :)

We ended this night with dinner in Yountville (where we were staying) at Hurley's.  After drinking all day, we didn't have much left in us, so walked our full bellies back to our room.

On Saturday, it was just Chris and I.  We decided to make a quick stop into Sonoma before heading back to the airport. Lucky for us, one of the Hall Wines (Walt Wines) has a tasting room in Sonoma, so we got to enjoy some of that.

We spotted the shipping carts and absolutely wanted one. They give you anything if you join the wine club! :)
It was a very quick trip, but just the right amount of time to taste a bunch of wine, eat a ton of great food, and spend some time with great friends. We highly recommend taking friends to Napa. It's great to compare wines with other people, but most importantly, when you're a little buzzed at the end of the day, you have someone to share it with!

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Halloween 2015

We had another fun year of trick or treating.  I'm still thankful that the boys aren't into scary costumes, but apparently they are stuck on super heroes. I guess I should be happy by this.  My only rule was they had to be different super heroes than last year.

We have such an incredible neighborhood. I've talked about it before, but it's truly great. We had a block party before we gathered all the kiddos up to hike through the neighborhood. This year, Oscar made it for the long haul.

Batman (aka Walt) was VERY into his character.

My little super heroes. Walt not breaking character and Oscar cheesing it up.

The block party! Look at little Chewy. Best costume ever!

All packed up and ready to get some candy!

Oscar's been working out, so he can cheat with some candy. 

Taking a quick break to assess the loot and maybe try something.

I still get anxiety over Halloween because of the peanut factor (with Valentine's a close 2nd), but Walt has gotten very good at asking if anything given to him has peanuts. He'll even ask if a piece of bread has peanuts in it.  I'm thankful he's so aware of this!  Luckily, no little super heroes were harmed during candy gathering and we had a very successful Halloween!