For Theo's first birthday, Jenn and Sanyo threw him a fun birthday party with the best theme (one that brought back so much nostalgia): "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" (by Eric Carle). It was perfect for Theo, because just like the caterpillar in the book, Theo loves to eat food! I loved how Jenn had prepared all the foods from the picture book with matching illustrations printed and displayed next to them. Joanne made so many colorful cookies that also looked exactly like the ones from the book (they looked too good to eat!). Jean painted a photo backdrop for the kids (and adults!) to stick their faces behind so they looked like caterpillars eating various foods (lollipop, slice of cherry pie, sausage, and cupcake). Everything was so creative & fun! After enjoying some tacos, Clay and I had a great time relaxing by the pool as we watched all the kids swim and Jack jump through the floaties (made us feel a little like we were at Sea World lol). Theo was so good during the cake cutting as he took photos with his mommy & daddy and all his grandparents. By the time we finished taking family photos, he was so ready to dig into his homemade blueberry smash cake that Jenn made just for him. "The Very Hungry Theo" sign next to him was way too fitting. Happy 1st birthday, Theo! Can't believe how much you've grown since the last time I photographed you when you were just one day old!
Celebrated Mia turning 1 year old with a Mermaid-themed birthday party! Clay and I helped make some simple seaweed skewers using some green sour belts on the morning of. All of the under-the-sea-themed foods that everyone prepared came together so well: mermaid mac 'n' cheese, octopus hot dogs, crab croissant sandwiches, starfish sandwiches, hermit crab strawberries, dolphin fruit cups (the dolphins were eating gold fish crackers), oyster & pearl madeleine cookies, grape kelp skewers, and colorful coral reef veggie tray. Everything on the table looked so good, especially with Joanne's teal & purple mermaid cake and assorted mermaid sugar cookies. Of course, the birthday girl looked cuter than ever that afternoon in her new mermaid outfit that Jenny found for her. Mia's grandma Jean made the most amazing photo booth backdrop for the occasion. Such clever use of streamers for seaweed and swimming pool noodles for a vibrant coral reef! Mia was the perfect little pearl to be placed on that light blue oyster. Had a lot of fun capturing her waving around her dinglehopper! Happy 1st birthday Mia! In your first year of life, we've hardly ever seen you cry, fuss, or get stranger danger. You are one of the sweetest babies that your Uncle Clay and I love to hold (and party on the dance floor with at weddings).
At the beginning of June, our dear friends from Seattle, Eric, Lovina, Billy, and Saili came to visit us! Our plan was to spend the weekend exploring California's wine country together. I had only been wine tasting in Napa once before with Clay's coworkers 5 years ago and neither of us had thought of going back. But after this weekend, I finally understood why Napa is such a popular attraction! I didn't know the area could be so fun before this trip took place.
Anyway, here is a recap of what happened. Billy booked the Sonoma Farmhouse for us to stay for two nights. The 6 of us had one video chat session to figure out how we wanted to spend our time. Everyone contributed an idea for an activity to do or a restaurant to book (good idea, Billy!). We arrived on a Friday night after picking up Eric & Lovina straight from SFO and basically had a day and a half to do everything before we had to leave on Sunday afternoon.
Saturday, we grabbed brunch at The Fremont Diner, where we enjoyed an American breakfast and their photo booth. Our first winery of the day was Domaine Carneros, which specialized in sparkling wine. Afterwards, we rushed over to Napa Valley Bike Tours, where we had reserved tandem bikes that would get us to our second winery, St. Supery, on St. Helena Highway in Rutherford. Off we went on our bikes in grueling 97 degree weather, hoping to make it to our next wine tasting on time! Little did we know that Eric & Lovina's tandem would soon suffer a broken bike chain that would call for a bike replacement halfway there. Luckily, we were able to wait in the shade and didn't have to wait too long. We were also very lucky that St. Supery was still willing to accommodate a bunch of late, sweaty, and out-of-breath bikers. Our tasting ended up being such a delightful experience that the Sus and the Yans decided to buy bottles to bring home, and Billy & Saili ended up becoming members! Last stop of the day was dinner at Ad Hoc, Thomas Keller's restaurant in Yountville. Our family-style dinner of American comfort food was very delicious and too satisfying. Clay had more than enough cheese to eat and Billy got so full from all the various carbs that he became the opposite of hangry. After dinner, we returned home to shower and nap so we could have energy for an evening of back-to-back games: A Fake Artist Goes to New York, Wizard, and In Kahoots. Always down to learn new games!
Sunday, we checked out of the farmhouse and spent the morning walking around Sonoma Plaza. Some of us grabbed coffee at Basque Boulangerie Cafe and some bought chocolates to bring home from Wine Country Chocolates. Everyone enjoyed sausage flights at Hare & Hatter Sausage Emporium (such a brilliant take on the charcuterie board). Of course, after all that, we still had room for our lunch at The Girl and the Fig. Even though my pancakes a la mode came out super late, I still enjoyed them very much (along with the milk & cookies that Eric & Lovina ordered to share). Last stop of the weekend was Gundlach Bundschu Winery, where Eric had booked a wine tasting & cave tour for us! Wow, we really did do a lot in a very short amount of time. All in all, it was a very memorable weekend with the best company. Looking forward to being reunited with everyone again soon.
I truly could not have imagined a more wonderful afternoon with the most dearest girls that God has placed in my life. I have so much gratitude for my amazing bridesmaids and lovely girl friends for throwing me the ultimate alice in wonderland shower! Everything was more than I could ever have dreamed of: all the crazily creative decorations, the extraordinary wonderland-themed table centerpiece, the homemade photo booth props + backdrop, the delightful afternoon tea party, the fun and fitting bites to eat (those purple cupcakes!), the games with just the right amount of silly (Alice Coop!), the once-in-a-lifetime experience of playing backyard croquet with flamingos, the generous gifts and cards, the much-needed prayer in the form of a beautiful fabric bunting, and most of all...just being surrounded by so many of my favorite faces. I was so tremendously blessed by the presence of each and every one of my lady friends who have done so well to encourage me in my relationship with Clay the past 3+ years and to share in all my excitement for this next stage of married life with him.
Also, a BIG thank you to my talented photographer friend, Ronnie, for helping me capture my experience in wonderland! You can see more of her wonderful photography work here! :)
Just capturing as I go.