Wednesday, October 9, 2013


A dear friend of ours was getting married in Sonoma, CA at a beautiful vineyard. Napa Valley is gorgeous this time of year and the produce stands every mile along the way made our heart smile.  We flew out with the boys and made it an action packed 4 days.

This is how our trip panned out:

Saturday - Flew to San Francisco via Atlanta, GA and a quick stop in Phoenix, AZ, drove to hotel, headed to the wedding in Sonoma, watched a beautiful ceremony, enjoyed delicious appetizers, chased the kids around, ate a yummy dinner, watched kids fall asleep while waiting for cake and dancing. Ooops, the combination with a late wedding and the time change knocked us out. We ended the celebration before we could really get our groove on but we were so happy to see Kristina & Nick get married!

Sunday - Drove to Truckee, CA right over Donner Pass which looked like a winter wonderland with the recent snowfall. Headed to Lake Tahoe for a "quick trip" noticing a ton of bike riders racing on the road (should have been a red flag), walked around Tahoe, tried to drive back to Truckee but got stuck in a 2 -3 hour long traffic jam (remember those bike racers? Yep it was an IRONMAN RACE), after much heartache we finally made it to Donner Pass to go rock climbing,  we met up with Chris & Sarah, then hit an amazing all-you-can-eat sushi restaurant in Reno, NV. Despite the horrendous few hours stuck in traffic, we ended on a high note...the sushi was outstanding!!

Monday - Breakfast in Truckee at the Squeeze Inn (famous for omelets which were the subject of a Bobby Flay "throwdown"), super fun day climbing at Donner Pass, drove to Sacramento to eat dinner at Zocalos. The boys discovered IN-N-OUT Burgers and milkshakes so they were thrilled.

Note: Daddy discovered Zocalos while in Afghanistan. He would dream about tasty food back in the States and research restaurants on Google, YouTube etc. He came across Zocalos chef, Ryan Rose, who made a video on how he makes our beloved Cochinita Pibil (Mexican pork dish). Daddy was determined to go try it if we were ever in Sacramento so this was a must stop place. After watching Shaquille O'Neal and a few other famous basketball players come into the restaurant, we asked to meet the chef. Ryan was so flattered to hear Daddy's story. It was so cool to see them meet and I know it meant a lot to both of them. It was also pretty cool to see Shaq...that is one big man!! But the best part, we discovered a new dish! Their pork carnitas tacos were AMAZING and unlike anything we have ever had before.

Tuesday - We woke up early and drove into San Francisco to hit the market and tracked down some food trucks for lunch. We found some but nothing off the charts, we were a little disappointed. Looks like we need to hit Washington D.C. or New York! We then headed to the airport to take a 4+ hour flight back to Atlanta and get mentally prepared for another 5 hour long drive home. We did make it safely back home at 2am and were all extremely tired the next morning. It was worth it!

So, do you see a theme here? Yes, FOOD! We are total foodies now. Daddy is a new guy when it comes to food and we both seek out cool new tasty cuisine everywhere we go now. It's been so much fun and we have truly made some amazing discoveries.  Here at home, we have perfected some darn good dishes AND we love to share!!

Anyways, here are the photos I did get of our trip. They, by no means capture all of our adventures we squeezed into our four days and I do regret not getting a photo of us all dressed up for the wedding. Maybe we could stage a photo for good the memory books. Here you go, enjoy!
View looking out from inside the vineyard building, Sebastiani Vineyards and Winery. The air was so cool, crisp and dry!

Daddy ran into a Col he knew back at the USAF Academy so that was fun and unexpected.

The wedding was a late one, it stared about 6pm and was moved indoors because of the cold weather.  These are the rose petals waiting for the bride and groom.

Daddy and Lucas waiting patiently.
Axel was also very patient. We sure do have great kids!
All these guys ready for the ladies to come in.

Nancy, the Maid of Honor.

Flower girls.

Kristina and her Dad walking in.

Blurry photo but you get the point. She looked gorgeous!

The vows.

Her brother married them and did a great job!

Happy couple!

The rings!

The kiss!

The newly weds! Congratulations Kristina & Nick!!

We took a little tour while the photographers did their part. Here's the cake!

It was beautiful and the room was just perfect for her special evening.

The boys were amazed at how big the barrels were Mommy & Daddy.

Our little pyro (Lucas) was in candle heaven. He entertained himself with these little candles literally for hours.

Axel got an earful on fire and magic.  However, he loves Lucas and they have become such good friends. It was great they had each other because there were only a few kids attending.

Beautiful Orchids in water for table decorations.

Axel attacking his salad while dreaming of cake. Lucas trying to avoid his salad and dreaming of candles.

You can barley see them, but Kristina and Nick walked in via the staircase by the huge barrel. Great entrance!

That was all she wrote for this trooper. He barely made it through dinner then fell asleep in my arms. No cake, no dancing but lots of rest. We felt bad that he missed the exciting parts of the wedding celebration. He was very disappointed and totally confused the next morning on why we didn't' stay at the wedding. Poor boy. We reassured him that he didn't miss much, that Lucas had also fallen asleep and that we had many more cool adventures planned. He seemed OK with that.

Mommy & Daddy stayed up for the cake and a little dancing before we turned into pumpkins.
Snow on Donner Pass!
I love this photo! It's a sight we just don't see down here in Florida, ever! Mountains and snow, what a treat it was!

Here Daddy is trying to figure out where all the climbs are and if the snow will melt lending to climbable conditions.

The boys and I checked out the view.

And we made some mini snowmen.

I say "we" however, it was Mommy who was the only brave one to get her hands cold to actually make the snowmen. :)
Lake Tahoe
It was a gorgeous day and the air was crisp and cool.

Kind of funny that we checked out the boats while there...

that's something we could do everyday here if we wanted.

I guess it's all just so different when the water is surrounded by mountains.
Donner Pass offers a lot of climbing in a stunning setting.
Daddy taking a look at this step wall.

We couldn't get enough of the view.

At one point, we took the boys to a little high point to check out more views.

This is looking back at the climbing crag.  You can barely see someone climbing and a red shirt below.

Soaking it in!

I love these trees. So fun and full of character.

Here you can see the old pass along with the railroad track along the mountain side.

We headed back to the crag, it was a little cold on top of our little mountain.
Next day, more beautiful weather and enough climbs to keep everyone happy.
Daddy near the top of this cool crack.

The boys loved playing at the base.

Mommy making her way up the crack. I haven't had to do a hand jam in a long time!

Daddy up top while Chris belays.

Chris is Daddy's buddy from high school who now lives out in California.

His wife, Sarah, enjoying the last moments of the sunshine.

The boys earned a little phone time.

I loved that we had to bundle up because it was cold.
We had the best time and it was a trip everyone needed. Sometimes it's hard to imagine FALL or THE  MOUNTAINS or SNOW or CLIMBING WITHOUT A 5 HOUR DRIVE while living here in Florida. We are mountain peeps for sure and can't wait until we move back out west.

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Above Photo: Downtown Portland Oregon Bike Ride

The Danger Zone needed a little update to include not only LUCAS DANGER, but also his little brother...AXEL ADVENTURE!

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