Thursday, November 15, 2012

Sisters' Retreat - Napa Valley

How in the world did I get lucky enough to be born into the same family with these women, my very best friends?

We had an amazing get-away weekend in the Bay Area. Thanks to our amazing mom for making it all possible and to Charity for planning a perfect itinerary of culinary perfection, gorgeous scenery and lots of excellent talk time in the area she has made her own.Here's a little list we kept of all the fun things we did together so we wouldn't forget anything. I"ll let the photos and half-sentences tell the story. What a deal (my mom's favorite phrase).

* Meeting up with mom in SLC, flying with her to Phoenix to pick up Shawni, flying together to San Jose; Flood of memories landing in San Jose - all my kids were born there - such huge parts of my life happened there in so many ways...

* Good talks headed to San Fran from San Jose in traffic to meet up with Saydi (who got in a bit earlier) and Charity (who was preparing for a big party) while eating too many pistachios

* Burma Superstar restaurant with Shawni, Saydi and mom while Char did her party - great, unique flavors and we didn't talk about anything at all (not) as requested by Charity who hated the thought of missing anything but had this party planned from long ago (wow, was it ever a crazy long thread of emails finding a weekend that at least sort of worked for all five of us!)

* Police at Charity's beach party when we went to pick her up - illegal location for their bonfire apparently - living on the edge, that girl; very briefly meeting some of Charity's friends while the police stood over us, closing down the parking lot where we were.

* Laughing til we bawled about stuff like "sneaking down the hall" since mom was worried we were illegally putting 5 people in a 4-person hotel room and the random sign in the hall that said circus animals and marching bands weren't allowed in the hotel "quiet zone"

* Beautiful run by the bay on Saturday morning with Saydi and Charity

* Axis cafe for breakfast...delish eggs Benedict; Cool graffiti wall nearby (photo at beginning of post)

* Over breakfast, discussion of article about "teach these souls to fly" from mom...all in tears; talking about how motherhood so beautifully helps us raise ourselves as we raise our children...

* Golden Gate Bridge photo stop - gorgeousness. I can never get enough of that bridge.

* Drive to Napa through hills of vineyards glinting in the slanted sun; Listening to Carla Bruni singing in French

* Bottega in Yountville (Napa area) for delicious fancy lunch - butternut rissoto and beet and fig ravioli among other wonderful stuff

* Bike ride (16 miles) with 7 trillion stops for photos in breathtaking fields

* Stopping at picturesque Oakville grocery for baked goods

* Exploring little lanes full of beautiful foliage; Returned the bikes just after sunset

Gorgeous old Inglenook Winery

* Macaroons from Bouchant bakery in little courtyard strung with lights talking about our biggest worries

* Talking about our biggest happies back at the hotel

* Morning church at a local ward - lovely testimonies shared - we can all be the answers that each other needs as we follow the Spirit.

* Talking about the book, "The Book of Mormon Girl" on a terrace at a hotel with gorgeous views; discussing what we love about our church and how grateful we are for the way our parents explained things to us

* Talk of how we use the Atonement in our lives while basking in the sun down on lower patio of the hotel

* One more stop at Oakville grocery for ice cream and fleur de sel chocolate chip and tasty ginger cookies

* Driving to the Hess Gallery at the Hess Winery through super windy and beautiful roads

* Enjoying very cool art together (molten rocks and stained melted snow, this amazing free-standing wall of carefully placed twigs)

* Wandering through the near-by monastery

* Finding this view at the other side of the monastery and taking tons of photos of the foliage and grapes; collecting leaves


* Collecting gorgeous leaves

* Singing "For the Beauty of the Earth" while watching the sunset from a perfect perch by an old monastery

For the beauty of the earth
For the beauty of the skies
For the love which from our birth
Over and around us lies
Lord of all, to thee we raise
This our hymn of grateful praise

(I always sing this with my kids when we're enjoying the beauty of nature and turns out Saydi does the same...)

* Cindy's Backstreet Kitchen for dinner (delicious curry chicken salad and loco chicken, seared tuna and skirt steak)

* Making a podcast back at the hotel, brainstorming ideas for extra gratitude and joy this Thanksgiving season. It's HERE if you want to listen to it.

* Up early to grab breakfast and sit in traffic (having great conversations) trying to get to the airport

* Seeing Charity's office and meeting her co-workers before saying goodbye to her and getting the the airport just on time

* Making resolutions together about really living our priorities, doing first things first, limiting computer time, and thereby finding more joy and less stress in our lives. We'll all be following up on each other!

Oh how I love these ladies!!!


FairFamilyMom said...

Oh my gosh, this looks like so much fun. I hope on my little budget I can come up with amazing little reunion ideas....thanks for inspiring me! Love, Nancy Fairchild

Rachelle said...

What a great trip! I enjoyed the podcast too, some super ideas. I am grateful for you Saren!!

Eyrealm said...

Did we have fun or what???

anna said...

Wonderful tradition. Saren, I like your bangs! Are you glad you did that?

SupaFlowaPowa said...

that's so sweet! I wish I had a sister or three. Thanks for sharing your fun trip. You guys are wonderful!

shawni said...

What a deal is right. This makes me miss you guys so much!!


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