Saturday, May 30, 2009

Pre-K Promotion

Yesterday was officially Grace's last day of Pre-Kindergarten. She gets to spend this summer at "Summer Camp" at the preschool and then on August 19th it is off to Kindergarten! Hard to believe she is big enough. Thursday night was her promotion ceremony.
The theme of the ceremony was "A Night on a Farm." The kids performed a poem of the same name and Grace got to be a hen. She was supposed to stand up and cluck when the hen was called. The first time she almost forgot, but recovered quickly. Another time she completely forgot, but was still very cute. The children also sang "If You Love Jesus, Moo Like a Cow" (one of Jason's favorites), "Great Big God," and "A Little Bit of Love Goes a Long, Long Way" (one of Grace's favorites). She loved singing each of the songs and doing the hand movements.
The pictures don't do justice, especially since they aren't quite in focus. We are so proud of her and know she will do well in Kindergarten.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

18 Months Old - Already!!!

I can't hardly believe that Cooper is 18 months old already. Time has flown by. It really hit me today just how old he is getting. This morning when I realized that he can string two and sometimes even three words together into phrases it made me think about how big he is. I still think of him as just learning how to run and just starting to use a fork, but in reality he has been walking since before his birthday (6 months ago!) and he has been eating solid food for longer than that.

Things Cooper currently loves:
  • Playing with trucks which he calls gaburbs (after Grampa's Gaburban (Yukon XL)) - he only really started playing with trucks in the last two or three weeks - he also likes to play with tractors
  • Water - he will run for the bathroom if you ask him if he wants to take a bath - sometimes the only way I can blow dry my hair in the morning is by letting him play in Jason's sink with a cup and some rubber duckies
  • His big sisters - especially Emma Jo his "little mama" - Emma Jo is great at helping him - Grace loves to play with Cooper, but sometimes there are screams and tears as they fight over the same toy
  • Balls, every shape and size - he loves to throw balls, carry balls and point out balls - this evening while he was fighting going to sleep he pointed out every "busball" in his room (made me start to think I shouldn't have decorated his room with so many baseballs)
  • Animals which he generically refers to as either Layas or Allies after the cat and dog at daycare
Body parts Cooper knows and can point out (but many times will refuse to do so on demand):

Teeth, Hair, Eyes, Ears, Belly (his favorite), Feet, Toes, Head

Pictures from Cooper's first 18 months:

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


Saturday was probably the most enjoyable day I've spent that I can remember. It was mainly due to these little people right here!
Thank you to everyone who made the long drive to share in such a great day! We love you all!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Gimme Five

We had a terrific day today! The weather was perfect, the wine was delicious, the company was fantastic. How nice to spend the day with family and friends in the fresh air on a fun project. The morning started off with a little fog and some "technical difficulties" but the fog burned off, the barrel started flowing and the day progressed. Everyone had a good time bottling the 2nd Gimme Five vintage. I'm already looking forward to the 3rd vintage (and maybe drinking the 2nd!).

Here are a few pictures from the day. These pictures are from my CoolPix, but Dad hired a photography student to be the "official" recorder of the day. I'll post some of those when I get them. There were some fantastic group shots that will need to be framed and displayed.

Gimme Five Bottling Party

Today is the 2nd annual Gimme Five bottling. Gimme Five is a family wine made from the grapes from Grampa's vineyard named after the five Pina grandchildren.

Here is a lookback at last year's 1st annual Gimme Five bottling.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Getting Excited

The excitement level is rising at our house. First for the upcoming Memorial Day weekend. The kids especially are looking forward to seeing not just one, but two sets of cousins! Justin and Riley should be arriving tonight from Oregon (with Stacy and Juancho). Emma and Grace just love them and can't wait to play with them. They only see each other a handful of times a year so this is a real treat. Then on Saturday, Mays and Dallas are going to be at Grammie and Grampa's. The girls are looking forward to introducing Justin and Riley to Mays and Dallas. Justin especially loves babies. Mays and Dallas can't be counted as babies anymore (since they are 2.5) but they sure are cute!
On Saturday the whole gang is heading to Pina Napa Valley to bottle our 2nd vintage of Gimme Five. Gimme Five is a family wine grown on Grampa's vineyard and named after the five Pina grandchildren. We've have a bottling party at the winery where everyone will get in on the action. There will be a little work, lots of food, wine and fun. Afterwards we'll all head back to Grammie's for swimming, more food, wine and fun.
Today Emma and I have the day off of work and school and it is already feeling like the weekend. In fact, it already feels like summer. Emma Jo only has one and a half weeks of school (6 days). I can't believe how fast this year as passed and I know the summer will fly even faster. I've been looking at my calendar and we literally have at least one thing scheduled for every weekend until school starts again at the end of August!
For now I'm going to try to slow down enjoy the weekend and enjoy having friends and family surrounding us. It might be a little chaotic tomorrow with 12+ kids swarming the winery and 10+ kids in the pool, but I'm going to try to enjoy every minute of it.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Hot, Hot, Hot

It was hot here this weekend! The thermometer in my car said it was in the 100s but the weatherman said it stayed in the 90s. Either way it was hot! The kids and I headed to Target early Saturday morning to by "cool" pjs for them. Cooper only had one pair of short pjs so he has been forced to sleep in a onesie a few nights last week. Although he is super cute in a onesie (especially with his belly sticking out), I really would prefer if he sleep in pajamas. Gracie picked out 3 new nightgowns, butterflies, princesses and peace signs. She loves the silky ones! Emma Jo is such a big girl that she choose boxer shorts and tank tops and 1 nightgown with cool frogs.
When we got home from Target the girls helped me get all of the fans out of the garage. We put one in each bedroom and Emma Jo even got a new one that clips onto her bed. Air conditioning sure would be nice, but the fans made a definite difference in the comfort of the house.
Sunday morning we woke up bright and early and Jason took the family the IHOP for breakfast before church. The kids loved the food and ate a ton! Cooper and Grace both chowed on eggs and Emma Jo finished off my French Toast. We were early enough that we got to go to Friedman Brothers and Target on our quest for an outdoor toybox to corral all of the outside balls. At church, I volunteered in the 4-5 year old's Sunday school class. It was very interesting and only a little chaotic.
After Cooper's nap, we headed up to Grammie and Grampa's for dinner and swimming. The pool was just the right temperature and everyone enjoyed it, even Grampa! Cooper John loves the water but thinks that he can swim without any help. He often pushes away from whomever is holding him and wants to swim alone. He always worries me. Grace loves to float in her floaty. She is very secure and can just hang out in the pool. Emma Jo is a fantastic swimmer and would spend hours in the pool if we allowed her to.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Random Picture Challenge

This week Britanny is again hosting a Random Picture Challenge over at 4 little men and girly twins. The picture of the week is the 18th picture from September 2008.
This is a picture of Emma Jo and Grace after one of Emma's soccer games.
It might have even been the first game last year.

It is so funny that this one came up since Jason just signed the girls up for soccer yesterday. Grace is so excited that she is finally old enough to play, just like her big sister. In order to play kids have to be 4 by July 31st. Last year she missed the cut-off by 2 days.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Gold Rush

I'm not sure who had more fun at the Gold Rush camp, Emma Jo or Jason. They arrived home safe and sound this afternoon and then bombarded me with stories about the trip. Jason shared lots of details while Emma Jo sang some new songs. The highlights of the trip as far as I can tell included: panning for gold (Emma Jo found a fleck), a Hoe-Down, hanging around the campfire, KP duty, and the general feel of the camp which was staffed by people who time travelled from 1849. Jason and Emma Jo agreed that the camp staff made the trip. They were just so funny. This was also Emma Jo's first time sleeping in a tent. She seemed to enjoy it, but Jason decided he is just too old to sleep on a mat on the ground.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day

I hope everyone had a great Mother's Day. I sure did. It started off the morning with breakfast (French Toast, Maple Sausage, and Coffee w/Whipped Cream!) in bed. Then we were off to church and the first day of the Farmer's Market. Lunch was Panda Express while Cooper took a little nap. Some laundry and errands in the middle of the day, then we headed up to Grammie and Grampa's. The kids enjoyed swimming and I enjoyed talking to my mom while having a glass of Champagne. Dinner was delicious and then it was time to head home. We read Charlotte's Web and discovered that a rotten egg can stink up a whole barn! Now everyone is tucked into bed.
We had a great weekend and I hope we're heading into an even greater week. Jason and Emma Jo head up to gold country tomorrow for a class over-night field trip. I pray that they have a great time and that the little kids and I have a good time at home. We'll miss Emma and papa, but I think it will be special for them to spend some time together.
Here are some pictures from the last couple of weeks.
Cooper John has discovered his pockets. He loves to stick his hands in his pockets. It is really cute when they get stuck!
Grace's preschool had Pajama Day during Spirit Week. Here she is standing next to the tile walls with her "Heavens Rejoice and Sing" tiles.
Cooper loves hats, any kind. He also loves to unload my kitchen cabinets any chance he gets.
The kids made me a Mother's Day cake yesterday afternoon in the sandbox.
I think Cooper is saying "You are #1 Mommy!"

Friday, May 8, 2009


It always amazes me when I hear wives griping about their husbands shortcomings. It happens everywhere. Wives complaining about how their husbands don't do enough around the house, don't spend enough time with the kids, don't appreciate everything the wife does for the family, etc, etc, etc. Women will complain to co-workers, sisters, friends, and even relative strangers, pretty much any other wife that might sympathize and understand, and most wives I've seen join in on the complaining. I'm not going to say that I've never complained about my husband, that I'm sure wouldn't be the truth, but in general I chose to celebrate all his good qualities. My husband cooks, cleans, shops, is a great father, loves me, and will do just about anything I ask of him, within reason. He is the man that I love and the man that I chose to spend the rest of my life with. We are partners committed to living this life together and raising our family together. I vowed to love, honor and respect him and I plan on keeping my vow. I feel that it would be very disrespectful to him and to our marriage to gripe about him to others. It would also be a major drain on my energy and mood. It is so much easier and has a better effect on my day to celebrate the good in my husband, my marriage and my life.
Last night at ballet the theme was how husbands have it so easy and don't understand how much work kids are in the morning. One of the moms was saying that, like Jason, her husband is up and out of the house before the kids are even awake in the morning. She is responsible for getting them up, dressed, fed and off to school and daycare before going to work. He has it "easy" because he can just hop out of bed, into the shower, throw on some clothes and leave for work by 4:30 or 5am and not worry about anyone but himself. I shared our story of how Jason and I came to an agreement when Emma Jo was very young that since I had to get her ready in the morning that a fair trade-off would be for him to prepare her lunch before he left. Making lunch was one thing he could do while she was still sleeping that would take one thing of my plate in the morning. For the past 9.5 years he had done that just about every morning. Every morning when I see the lunches lined up on the kitchen counter it is a reminder to me that we are a partnership, that we took the time to work out a solution together, that Jason was willing to listen to my needs and do what he could to make it easier on my and make this whole thing work. I shared our story with the moms at ballet and the one mom who was complaining said that she would never trust her husband to make a proper lunch for their daughter. I was struck with how sad that was. Sure Jason may not make the kinds of lunch I might have made, but at least he makes them. He loves our children just as much as I do and who am I to tell him how to raise or what to feed his child. I would be offended if someone judged my lunch-making skills so I most certainly am not going to judge his. Instead I'm going to be grateful that he took the time to make the lunch and enjoy the fact that I don't have to.
The other part of the conversation that keeps floating around my head is how "lucky" the mom thought her husband was because he got to leave the house at 5am and not have to deal with any children in the morning. I've felt that way before so I know exactly where she was coming from. Some days it is all I can do to get all three kids dressed, brushed, fed and out the door in the morning. Some days I wish that I could leave before they wake and only have to deal with myself. Then I try to see the flip side. The other day at work, my co-worker (a dad), was saying how much he loves taking his little girl to preschool. It cuts into his morning commute and always makes him worried that he will be late to work, but he related how it makes him feel so good to get to take her to school and share her excitement about the day. She gives him hugs and kisses and it is a special time for just the two of them. I realize that Jason may have peace and quiet in the morning, and misses out on the chaos, but he also misses out on hugs and kisses. He doesn't get to wave to Grace through the window of preschool each day. He doesn't get to tease Emma Jo that he is going to kiss her goodbye in front of her friends (but always relent and give a high-five instead). He doesn't even get to pick out the handsomest little big-boy clothes for Cooper and be amazed at how grownup he is getting each morning.
Sure, he may not always notice my new haircuts or bring home flowers, but he always loves me. He always loves our kids. He cooks and cleans. He helps with anything I ask of him and many things I don't. He is always trying. He's a great provider, listener and friend. He is my partner. I know that he will stand by my side through anything and will always boost me up. He will be my biggest fan and my sounding board and my shoulder to cry on. He may not be perfect, but neither am I.

Edited to Add: He did notice my new haircut and he did bring me flowers. I really do love this man.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Bedtime Stories

We have always read bedtime stories to the kids. It started when Emma Jo was about 1.5 years old and continues to this day. About a year ago Emma Jo started reading to herself before she went to bed. We continued to read aloud to Grace on the bottom bunk while Emma climbed unto the top bunk and read to herself. This past week we decided to change that routine. Emma and I decided that it would be nice to have a family bedtime story that we read out loud together. She picked our first book, Charlotte's Web. The first night it was just Emma Jo, Grace and me. All three of us climbed onto Mommy and Daddy's bed and Emma read the first chapter. It as nice. The 2nd night Cooper was already asleep, so Emma Jo, Grace, Mommy and Daddy cuddled on the bed while Mommy read the 2nd chapter. That was even nicer. Two nights ago Cooper was having nothing with sleeping so he got to join us on the bed too. It was great having the whole family together even though Cooper was doing a lot of moving and very little listening. Last night it was back to just the girls and while it was nice and relaxing, it definitely felt like we were missing someone. Hopefully this is a new tradition we can keep up.
By the way, everyone seems to be sleeping better, even Cooper fell fast asleep after the family story night.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

How to Pick a Lock

Did you know that when you Google "How to Pick a Lock" there are over 10 pages of choices that come up? Last night the girls and I found that out. At bedtime Emma Jo discovered that their bedroom door had inadvertently been locked. Grace had holed herself up in her room earlier in the evening as she worked diligently creating a Mother's Day masterpiece for me. In order to keep me from seeing her creation she locked the door. Unfortunately she locked it as she walked out of the room instead of hiding the artwork. Jason was busy putting Cooper to bed so the challenge of how to open the door fell squarely on my shoulders. I found a little screwdriver and stuck it in the hole and jiggled, nothing. I tried again, nothing. I tried several times and nothing happened. So, I convinced the girls that we could watch a little tv and try again when Cooper was asleep. Daddy is our go-to guy for fixing anything. I knew that he would be able to open the door. As the clock got closer to 8pm I knew that I had to do something. The girls turn to pumpkins at 8pm and it would not be pretty. I turned on the computer and Googled "How to Pick a Lock". I looked at several postings and they all pretty much agreed that you just need to stick a screwdriver or bobby pin in the hole and jiggle, so I tried again. On the 2nd try it popped open. The clock was only 7:55pm. Crisis averted.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

First Ever - Twomey Release Day!

We are so excited to be hosting the first ever Twomey Release Day today! Today marks the official celebration of our new Pinot Noir program. In 2007 we decided to begin producing appellation specific wines. Ben Cane, our newly hired Pinot winemaker, was tasked with finding the "best of the best". He search throughout Northern and Central California. Grapes were sourced from some of the most famous appellations and vineyards known for producing exceptional Pinot Noirs. Our end result was producing not only our traditional Russian River Pinot, sourced from our very own Westpin Vineyard, but also a limited quantity of Santa Baraba, Anderson Valley, and Sonoma Coast Pinot Noirs.
Today we will be releaseing each of these wines along with the 2007 Syrah and 2008 Sauvignon Blanc. Each of the wines will be paired with foods prepared by our Winery Chef. Everything is available to visitors for just $20 per person. We will also be tasting our 2005 Merlot.
We're a little disappointed by the rains which are promised for today, but we're still so excited about this very special event.
Hope you can come out an join us, I'll be at the Healdsburg winery all day.