Archive | husband

Here’s to Romantic Getaways to Wine Country and Mountains!

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Falkner Winery

Pretty much every time Elliott and I try to leave the house, plans change at the last minute and we forget some critical piece of attire and nothing is quite as we expected… and usually we end up having a pretty good time anyway. I’m guessing most of you can relate on some level, being human and all. ;)

This past weekend is the perfect example. Elliott had been invited to speak to veterinary students at UC-Davis, and his parents were in town, and so we were planning a getaway to Davis (cool college town) and Napa (wine!) for just the two of us.

But then UC-Davis postponed the event, and we were left with a four-day weekend and nothing to do.

In true Garber style, we made no new plans until the day of, and then decided… let’s stay closer to San Diego but go away anyway!

So Elliott booked us a room for the night, we put our kids down for naps, packed our bags, hugged Elliott’s parents, and set off for wine country.

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Ponte Vineyard (left) and South Coast (right)

An hour later, we drove into one of Southern California’s wine regions, located just outside Temecula, CA. The vineyards were clustered together, some within walking distance of each other, so we got to visit seven (!) while we were there. I was writing an article about them for eCoronado, so it made sense to visit as many as we could, even if we didn’t drink wine at all of them.

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The tasting room at Ponte Vineyard.

For the record, our favorite was Ponte Vineyard, pictured above. The facility includes an outdoor restaurant, beautiful tasting room, and a inn (rated by TripAdvisor as the 13th best hotel in America!), and the property is surrounded by picturesque vineyards. King Family Vineyards in Crozet, VA, will forever be my favorite vineyard of all time, but Ponte might be second.

Other favorites included Falkner Winery (for the view and wines), Callaway Winery (for the restaurant and wines), and South Coast Winery Resort & Spa (for the grounds and picnic foods).

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I promise Elliott is wearing pants!

Later that afternoon we checked into our “hotel” for the night, an AirBnB rental. We were renting an RV! I haven’t stayed in an RV since I was about eight years old, so this was totally fun. The RV is parked beside the owner’s ranch house, future fruit orchard, and large petting zoo with an alpaca, dwarf goat, three miniature horses, and about 100 chickens. The owner also runs her own chocolate business, and I might have been very excited about the chocolates she left in our fridge. We were very happy.

becca-garber-getaway-san-diego-temecula-wine-idyllwild-4 The next afternoon we decided to extend our stay (thank you, grandparents!) and head up to the sleepy mountain town of Idyllwild. Don’t you just love that name? Idyllwild… stay awhile…

IMG_7653 Once again, our accommodations were simple, rustic, and suited us perfectly. Also this is one of my favorite things in the world: watching my husband build us a fire!

IMG_7577 In the morning we discovered the most amazing cafe: Idyllwild Bake Shop & Brew. The atmosphere is warm and friendly, enhanced by the young proprietor sporting flannel and a big beard, and his wife making all their baked goods from scratch in the back. We bought breakfast, lunch, and afternoon coffees there!

becca-garber-getaway-san-diego-temecula-wine-idyllwild-2 Elliott was eager to go on a hike before heading home, but we had packed for wine-tasting, not serious hiking. (Can you say “last-minute planners”?!) In the end, we opted for the easiest local trail (Deer Springs) and hiked a total of 6.5 miles in the quiet, piney forest.

Elliott took this photo at the mid-point of our hike after we ate our Idyllwild Bake Shop sandwiches. This kind of tired is the best kind of tired!

becca-garber-getaway-san-diego-temecula-wine-idyllwild-1 The two days away were so refreshing to both of us. We spent a lot of time in quiet togetherness, not necessarily talking or not talking, but just abiding. Savoring peaceful unity in our time alone together.

And a big thank you again to Elliott’s amazing parents! We could never have relaxed or stayed away so long without knowing our kids were in such capable hands. We returned to them much better parents than when we left!

34 :: in hiking, husband, marriage, pretty places, travel

He was deployed… but now he’s HOME!!!

becca-garber-deployment-home-2 There’s a good explanation for the radio silence around here…

… Elliott came home from deployment!

becca-garber-deployment-home-3 We welcomed him back last Wednesday, and it was such a joyous day. There’s just nothing like that day your husband comes home. I stood there in a dress he loves, hugging the children and saying, “Daddy’s coming any minute! Can you see him? Where is he?” We held our crumpled “Welcome Home!!!” signs and looked and looked until finally, at last, there he was! Alive and well and hugging them and kissing me and the waiting is over and he’s home.

becca-garber-deployment-home-4 Elliott was “only” gone for just over a month — a mere blip in the military world we live in. Around here, servicemembers are routinely gone for deployments that last six months (or longer). I was hugging and texting friends that very day whose husbands are where Elliott was or are going there soon.

But a month is a month, and the Middle East is the Middle East, and he’s home and safe and there’s nothing like it! I feel only gratitude and relief when I look at these happy, everyday photos that are dated March 4, 2015… meaning he’s home and the deployment is done and we are together again.

becca-garber-deployment-home5 I’ll be back soon with some photos from our wonderful weekend, where we did everything we possibly could to enjoy Elliott’s return and friends and beautiful Southern California.

I also have some more honest — and maybe controversial — thoughts about how this deployment was actually good for us, but those notes need more editing first. Can time apart be a good thing in a marriage? What do you think? I’ll share those thoughts soon.

In the meantime, we’re so glad he’s home!!!

21 :: in Army, deployment, family, husband

our romantic night away in Paris

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It was 8:30 pm. I shut the bedroom door behind my sleepy children, wishing them a quick trip to dreamland.

We were exhausted. That whole day we had walked, biked, and waited in interminable lines around Versailles, wrangling tiny children the entire time. My eyes met Elliott’s and we laughed wearily. Not exactly a great — or an early — start to a romantic getaway in Paris.

About 15 minutes later, we’d hastily packed a bag, and Elliott had made a reservation at a French restaurant near our hotel. “Their earliest opening was at 10pm, so I guess we’ll have time to make it!” After hugging Elliott’s parents goodnight, we stepped out into the darkening streets, hand-in-hand, willing ourselves to find new energy for this much-anticipated evening.

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By the time we stepped off the Metro and looked up at our beautiful hotel, I was finding a new spring in my step. We walked into the magnificent lobby, catching our breath at the marble table covered with a hundred orchid plants.

The receptionist at the desk welcomed us graciously, but I felt like she could see right through my grubby street clothes and knew I didn’t belong there. I have two sleeping babies two miles away, and I bought my jeans on clearance at H&M. She seemed as delighted to see us as the next guest, though, and I relaxed. After thanking us for using our free hotel stay at their hotel (smooth one, Elliott), she informed us she’d upgraded our room. Sweet!

Upstairs, we walked into a gorgeous gold-and-red room with soft jazz playing on the TV. A table was laid with chocolate dipped strawberries, and a bottle of champagne sat chilling in a silver bucket.

“What’s all this?!” I asked in astonishment as I picked up the card. “‘Welcome, Mr. and Mrs. Garber, and thank you for celebrating your anniversary with us.’ But our anniversary was in January!”

“Oh,” Elliott said sheepishly, “they asked me if we were celebrating anything when I made the reservation, so I said our marriage. I mean… we’re always celebrating it, right?”

He popped the champagne cork and poured a glass for his smitten-all-over-again wife.

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After a few glasses of bubbly and a bit of sprucing, we stepped out into the Parisian night to find our restaurant. We’d decided to eat a real French meal, since our room was free and we have been eating mostly croissants since arriving in Paris. The little restaurant was tiny and cozy. Polite staff slipped about silently on the thick carpet, and the only English I heard came from a cheery Scotsman regaling his table with stories.

It was the first Michelin-starred restaurant we’d ever eaten in, and it was also the most expensive meal we’d ever shared; Elliott still won’t tell me how much it cost. I felt wildly out of place again, since I was wearing a dress from Liz Lange Maternity. I know, I know! I’m not pregnant and haven’t been for a year and a half, but it happened to be in my closet and was black and had probably the deepest neckline of anything I own, which is kind of what I was going for on a romantic evening out with my husband, so… if the dress fits…!

The meal was like nothing we’d ever experienced before. For their tasting menu, they brought one tiny dish after another, each exquisitely presented, vibrantly flavorful, and paired with a select wine. There was foie gras soup drizzled with lime, melting Parmesan cheese sandwiched between paper-thin crackers, a quail’s egg with mango cream in place of the yolk, and ravioli made from thin strips of pineapple.

Slowly the restaurant cleared out, and at 1 am there was only one other group — a quiet table of French friends — still in the restaurant. We noticed them settle their bill, but then they stayed at their table, chatting and sipping wine until they saw we were finished. When we stood to go, they also rose and got their coats. I was touched by what I can only assume was a gesture of kindness. Since they were having a good time, they didn’t want us to be awkwardly left alone in the restaurant or to rush through our dessert. I hope I remember to do that sometime for a young couple out on the date of their lives.

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We woke on Easter Sunday morning, and I opened the curtains onto a perfect Parisian scene. We waffled between meeting our family at church for the Easter service or lingering at the hotel for a few more hours, eating a leisurely French breakfast at the cafe downstairs, and slowly exploring the neighborhood. We chose the former, which was very responsible of us, and our children’s radiant faces when they saw us made our hearts melt.

In retrospect, though, I wish we’d stayed for those few more hours. What we were enjoying was more than a romantic getaway in Paris; it was time with our very best friend. Friendship. Genuine, sweet friendship with the one person we love most in the world, the one we chose over all others and who chose us back!

While parenting small children, it’s easy to get lost in the rhythms and routines of everyday life, filled with blessings and bills and boo-boos. What we had for those few hours in Paris was uninterrupted time to just be us, Elliott and Becca, the young couple who fell in love in Boston, who skied on the weekends together, who sought out obscure ethnic restaurants, who got married in a snowstorm. We’re still those young people deep inside, plus the complexity and depth and beauty and humility of being parents of two children. When those little children grow up and move away, we want to still be best friends holding hands.

Remembering this — with champagne and strawberries if possible! — will help us keep reaching for each other in love and friendship as the years go by.

Do you agree? I’d love to hear stories of your getaways — romantic or disastrous or otherwise!

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See our other two getaways here and here!

11 :: in husband, Paris, thoughts

Where We’re Headed Next: San Diego!!!

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I think it’s time for an official “what happens after Sicily?” update around here! My husband Elliott wrote a blog post this week about our next move, and there are a lot of juicy details in that about rejections and deliberations that lead to our final decision: after we leave Sicily in July, we’re headed to the beaches and bustle of San Diego, California!

Some of you might remember this post about the difficult decision we were making between D.C. and San Diego. Most of our family lives in D.C., and we lived there as newlyweds. After this summer, Elliott had been planning to get out of the military and find work in the D.C. area so we could spend more time with them for a year or two.

However, somewhat out of the blue in December, the Army offered him a dream job. Would he be interested in filling a new position that just opened up for a veterinarian with the Naval Special Warfare Command, home of the SEALs?

For more than 10 years, Elliott had dreamed of a job like this: a chance to work with the elite of the world’s military, to care for their working dogs, and maybe even to work with their dolphins and sea lions. His eyes lit up whenever he talked about it. We both couldn’t imagine how he could turn this down.

After lots of conversations with family and lots of time on our knees, we decided to take the job!

One of the things we’re most excited about is the location of Elliott’s new base: the beautiful peninsula of Coronado just off the coast of San Diego. I’ve only been to SD twice on quick visits, but both times included an obligatory trip to Coronado to admire its long white beaches, darling cottages, picturesque shops, and famous hotel.

Working in Coronado will be amazing, but living there would be a dream come true. Unfortunately, Coronado housing is proving to be a bit of a problem. (Anyone who knows Coronado has a wry smile on their face right now.) The rental market is extremely competitive, and so even though Elliott has been super proactive about looking for a home, so far we’re still on the hunt.

Another option we’re prayerfully considering is living in a completely different part of the city, closer to the church we’ll probably attend. There are a lot of unknowns, so it’s hard to make such lifestyle-determining decisions from thousands of miles away. If you’re the praying kind, we’d appreciate your prayers!

We’ll leave Sicily in July, visit family along the way, and arrive in California the first week of August. But as I type this, there are brownies in the oven, and still-sandy swimsuits drying outside, and Jonathan and Erika — our latest visitors — are sharing the couch with Elliott. There is absolutely no sign that we have less than three months left in this beautiful home in Italy.

I’m excited about what lies ahead, but for now . . . the kitchen timer is going off, and I’m ready for hot brownies with our guests. Let’s savor “making room in Sicily” for a little longer!

29 :: in Army, Coronado, husband, military life

bits and bobs

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It’s a blustery January day here in Sicily, and my laundry is snapping dangerously in the breeze outside. I might have to use a few more clothespins to make sure some pajamas and socks don’t blow away!

It’s been a quiet week, and there isn’t too much to share, so I thought I’d just give you a picture of the little sweater I’m knitting for Gil. After heaps of craft fairs during the holiday season, I am ready to stop making things to sell to other people and start making things for my own family! Right now I’m working on this little striped sweater for Gil. It’s made entirely from extra fine merino Italian yarn that I purchased here in Sicily, which knits up beautifully.

Besides knitting, I got this new book at the library yesterday, and now all I want to do is read it. Did you know Robert Galbraith is J.K. Rowling’s pseudonym? Elliott teasingly asked me if I was interested in the book before I found out that she wrote it. I’m not sure. But it does make it that much more intriguing!

And finally… today is our fourth wedding anniversary! Four years. It still somehow seems so short considering all we’ve packed into it: buying a house, a year-long deployment, a move to Italy, losing my sister, and welcoming two children. Our married years have been busy. We couldn’t have imagined all those things — some blessings, some challenges — when we wed on that snowy Saturday four years ago. Perhaps it was a good thing we didn’t know because we both might have thought twice about walking down the aisle! I’m grateful these things were hidden from us and that instead we were given each other — flawed but faithful — to walk into those challenges together.

You’re my best friend, Elliott, and I love you!

P.S. Some wedding photos here!

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17 :: in home sweet home, husband, knitting business

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