January 27, 2014

Our Winter Vacation

Gavin and I were super blessed to be able to take a whole two weeks off of work to travel to the west coast and spend a week with each of our families. We started our vacation off in California by visiting some breweries with Garret. Our first stop was at Russian River in Santa Rosa. At Russian River we were able to get a taster of every beer they had on draft and I even liked a few!

The bar at the brew pub

Garret and Gavin tasting beer

Gavin and Garret had been collecting rare and interesting beers from all over. They had collected 48 beers to try over the week that we were in Oakdale. There were a total of 13 adults there for Christmas and anywhere from 3 to 9 people trying the each different beer, so the twins weren't trying to drink 48 beers on their own in a week. It was a fun week for everyone to try a lot of new and different craft beer!

All the beer the twins had collected to try over Christmas

It was so nice in California that we often spent afternoons outside just enjoying the warm weather and sunshine. It was such a refreshing change from the weather in Nashville! Also you can see our sweet niece Harper in the picture below. We loved being able to spend more time with her playing and getting to cuddle with her.

Also I got to have aebleskivers (or ebleskivers) for the first time! They are a Danish type of pancake that Gavin's family have made for a long time. The inside ends up hollow and you can fill it with jam, jelly or Nutella (my personal favorite). They are really delicious! 

Making Aebleskivers

We also went to a local park by Gavin's parent's house that has a historic covered bridge to take some family pictures. The covered bridge was pretty and it is awesome that the bridge has been kept in tact over the year.

Inside the Covered Bridge

Gavin, his siblings and his parents

As is the normal at Sturgis family gatherings, we did some shooting! I have really grown to like shooting and always enjoy it.

Gavin shooting while his brother Andrew instructs

Another normal at Sturgis family gatherings is food, lots of really good food. 

The Tapas Spread

Dates wrapped with prosciutto and stuffed with cheese. Yummmmmm

Then soon it was Christmas morning!

All of the stockings waiting to be opened

Precious Harper sleeping beneath the Christmas Tree

Although the picture above was really cute Danica put Harper in her pretty Christmas dress and we had a little photo shoot.

Yep, she is cute!

We gave Garret a kettle to brew beer in!

Gavin gave me a tripod that went along with the DSLR camera he got me! I was a happy happy wife!

I gave Gavin a book written by the founder of Stone Brewing about brewing and cooking with beer.

I also enjoyed playing with my new camera!

Gavin and Garret decided to use all of Garret's Christmas presents and brew the first batch of Sturgis Bro's Beer!

R: Garret steeping the grains in the water. L: Gavin pouring in the malt extract.

Gavin and Garret pitching the yeast into the carboy.

The beer has now been bottled and Garret has tried the beer is good! We should be getting a couple of bottles soon. Gavin is really excited to try it soon.

We enjoyed our relaxing week in California with Gavin's family, but soon it was time to head North to Oregon. The first thing we did after getting into Portland was go to one of my cousin's wedding. We go to catch up with one of my other cousins and aunts and uncles.


The next morning we had our second Christmas morning with my parents and my Aunt Kay and Uncle Terry.

I wonder what was in that box?! Hint: Oregon Gear!

My parents gave us a bottle of the wine they made.

I had seen a photo of a dog positioned in front of Christmas trees or Christmas lights and I really wanted to try to recreate it. I personally think it turned out pretty well!

My Bailey dog posed supper well

We went to three breweries in Portland over a couple trips up there. The first trip we went to Deschutes Brewery and Cascade Brewing

I got to catch up with my roommate from UofO. She is actually going to come out for CMA Fest!

At the Deschutes Public House in Portland.

In California I had discovered that I liked sour beer and Cascade Brewing and Barrel House is a mecca for sour beer. I liked all but one or two of their beers. If you are ever in Portland I would 100% suggest that you visit Cascade even if you don't like beer!

Outside Cascade Brewing

 Another day we went up to Hair of the Dog Brewery. This was actually one of the breweries that the show Brew Dogs suggested visiting in Portland. Brew Dogs is a show about these Scottish men brewing beers in conjunction with different breweries across the country in crazy ways.

With my parents at Hair of the Dog.

Later that evening we met Lynn at Santiam Brewing in Salem. Gavin liked most of the beers at Santiam and I even liked a few too!

After Santiam we headed to a new growler fill and tap house place in West Salem. Overall, we got to try a lot of new and interesting beer while in Oregon.

One of the last days in Oregon we went over to the coast and it was one of the nicest winter days on the Oregon coast I have ever experienced.

The Newport Lighthouse Gavin and I toured

Oh, how I had missed the ocean.

The bridge in Newport is pretty cool.

We also visited the Rouge Brewery while in Newport and even went on a tour of the brewery.

The newest Rouge and VooDoo Donut beer being bottled

 The sunset that night was stunning over the ocean.

We also were able to visit with friends and enjoy resting and relaxing at home in Oregon. I was so so thankful that we were able to spend a week with each of our families and know that we were super blessed to be able to take that much time off from our jobs. We are already looking forward to the next time we can visit the West Coast and even next Christmas when we get to be with both of our families again.

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