Sonoma 2017

We returned Sunday night from our Third Annual Sonoma Trip with a small group of our Stanford friends. It continues to be a wonderful tradition and something we look forward to each summer. If you have never been to wine country in CA before, I highly suggest doing it– beautiful vineyard views, hot dry weather, delicious farm-to-table-food, and of course… amazing local wine. Can life be any better? Thank you to our wonderful friends and hosts, Kimmers and Joe. Enjoy the photos — I want to go back now!

 

On our friend's property (100 acres!), they have many different houses / cabins spread out. We took over a cabin close to the main house and it was oh so cute (and yes, all four of us Natoris slept in the same bed for three nights!)

The guest house we stayed at on our friend’s property. We took over a cabin close to the main house and it was oh so cute (and all four of us Natoris slept in the same bed for three nights!)

The pool. We spent HOURS upon HOURS in the pool. The kids had the best time playing and goofing off together.

The pool. We spent HOURS upon HOURS in the pool. The kids had the best time playing and goofing off together.

And what is a country weekend without some playing time on the ATV? I must say that I kinda want one for NYC.....

And what is a country weekend without some playing time on the ATV? I must say that I kinda want one for NYC…..

Cheese o'clock, yes please.

Cheese o’clock, yes please.

Due to my marathon training, I spent every morning running along the vineyards. And there was no complaining (although one morning, I kept saying I had to go running, and Cruzzie said 'you choose to go, you don't have to go," so true. I got to go running. And in a beautiful scenery. No complaints.

Due to my marathon training, I spent every morning running along the vineyards. And there was no complaining (although one morning, I kept saying I had to go running, and Cruzzie said ‘you choose to go, you don’t have to go.” So true. I got to go running. And in a beautiful scenery. No complaints.)

This was the weekend for the majority of the time.

This was the weekend the majority of the time.

One day, we went to a winery with the 8 kids. But of course, we got in trouble with having a dog, kids playing soccer, me breaking one of the pretty decorative balls, and just being rowdy.....no shocker there.

One day, we went to a winery with the 8 kids. But of course, we got in trouble for having a dog off leash, kids playing soccer, and me breaking one of the pretty decorative balls by accident.  Whoops.

The winery was quite beautiful despite having snobby service. Lots of lavender....

The winery was beautiful. Lots of lavender….

All the veggies for the meals came from the backyard. We would literally just go with a basket and pick what we wanted. I made a simple kale salad, that apparently people loved and requested the next day (who knew?)

All the veggies for the meals came from the backyard. We would literally just go with a basket and pick what we wanted. I made a simple kale salad, that apparently people loved and requested the next day (who knew?)

Dinner made by Katie Daly -- the cornbread was the most insane delicous thing I have ever tasted, and don't you worry, I will post on blog as soon as she sends me the recipe (she had her 3rd kid five weeks ago, so has kind of a lot to do....oh and she is the co-founder of Johnnie-O, so she is way busier than most. And she is gorgeous and smart and sounds like an exchange student, but that is a story for a different time....

Dinner made by Katie Daly — the cornbread was the most insanely delicious thing I have ever tasted, and don’t you worry, I will post on blog as soon as she sends me the recipe (she had her 3rd kid five weeks ago, so has kind of a lot to do….oh and she is also a big exec at Johnnie-O, so she is way busier than most.)

I ate smores every single night and I am already craving one now.

We ate smores every single night.

Of course the property has its own tennis court (it literally has everything you can think of, including 7 kid motorcycles, which yes, were taken out for spins). We had the chance to have 2 hour lessons with a tennis pro, and it was the most fun I have had in a long time. I used to be a good tennis played, stopped playing 18 years ago, and just started up again this summer, and it is paying off!

Of course the property has its own tennis court (it literally has everything you can think of, including 7 kid motorcycles, which yes, were taken out for spins). I used to be a good tennis player, stopped playing 18 years ago, and just started up again this summer.  It is paying off!

We went out to dinner on Saturday night to a delicious restaurant, where we gorged on roasted vegetables and pizza. And yes, Ken and i matched with our yellow outfits!

We went out to dinner on Saturday night to Glen Ellen Star, where we gorged on roasted vegetables and pizza. And yes, Ken and I matched with our yellow outfits!

The hostess with the most.

The hostess with the mostess (and Ken).

We realized that the kids don't see stars a whole lot because in NYC, there are never any out, and in Oregon in the summer, it doesn't get dark till past 9:30 pm (which is way too late for them), so they have rarely seen stars in the sky....so we woke them up to see the beautiful sky. And yep, you are right, the next morning they had no recollection of it.

We realized that the kids don’t see stars a whole lot because in NYC, there are never any out, and in Oregon in the summer, it doesn’t get dark till past 9:30 pm (which is way too late for them)…. So we woke them up to see the beautiful sky.

Morning hike with the girls. I know we will always be life long friends.

Morning hike with the girls. Lifelong friends.

A special shout out to Paul Benjamin, who gets the MVP for the second year in a row. Paul is like a rent-an-awesome-dad-for-the-weekend who literally would play with the kids in the pool for 3 hours while we just sat and watched him. He engaged in every single game, made sure no one drowned, helped every kid up and out whenever they needed, and was just the most positive and fun rent-a-dad out there. Thank you, Paul Benj!

A special shout out to Paul Benjamin, who gets the MVP for the second year in a row. Paul is like a rent-an-awesome-dad-for-the-weekend who literally would play with the kids in the pool for 3 hours while we just sat and watched him. He engaged in every single game, made sure no one drowned, helped every kid up and out whenever they needed, and was just the most positive and fun rent-a-dad out there. Thank you, Paul Benj!

Leaving California, of course we had to stop at the In N Out, because no trip to CA is complete without a ball of grease and salt and fat, but oh so worth it.

Leaving California, of course we had to stop at the In N Out, because no trip to CA is complete without a ball of grease, salt and fat.

Buh-bye, California. We love you so much and can't wait to come back (in a months time).

Buh-bye, California. We love you so much and can’t wait to come back.

 

Thank you, Kimmers, for hosting such a fabulous weekend. Thank you, California, for capturing our hearts once again. We will be back.

Anika Yael Natori, aka, The Josie Girl

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Napa Weekend

On our final weekend on the West Coast (Best Coast), we went to Napa to celebrate our best friends’ joint 40th birthdays. It seems like there were a lot of California trips this summer (there were), but this one topped them all.  Just like we did 10 years prior for our friends’ wedding, we stayed at The Carneros Inn. Over the weekend, we had an incredible (INCREDIBLE) dinner at Ad Hoc, one of Thomas Keller’s restaurants, brunch at The Fremont Diner, and the party at The Barn at Cornerstone. Not only was it hog heaven food wise, but the weather, the company, and the experiences were all top notch. I already miss the ease of flying from Eugene to San Francisco, and all our West Coast friends….

 

White farm flowers.

White farm flowers.

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