The Gudgel Family Advent Calendar, Day 10 — “Little Peanut”


“Zooey,” asked Sonja, immediately to my infant daughter’s right, “What would you like for Christmas?”

“More pasta!” came her emphatic reply.

In thinking about what I’m grateful for, I’m grateful for my daughter. Her childlike candor and headstrong demeanor make her both a challenge and a delight to be around, and as she accumulates words and phrases, her personality is beginning to shine through even more. She is so very determined in everything she does. I tell myself that this will take her far in life. I hope so.

Today was the annual wine tasting at The Winery. I talked my friend, Father Leffler, into going — it wasn’t difficult. He’s a delight, and we talk wine a lot. We got together and tried some wines, tasted, chatted a bit. It’s always fun for me to see him. Below are a few of the highlights from a day of tasting incredible wine:

The Chiefs had won, a close one in overtime. My fantasy team was struggling. Yesterday’s basketball victories were close to my heart. Wine was needed, also appreciated. Nevertheless I hurried home to see my kids. Sonja’s texts had informed me they were up from their nap and that our daughter was in the mood to cuddle.


I got downstairs and helped the kids watch the Loony Toons Christmas Carol. Daffy was Scrooge and, well, let’s just say it’s a familiar story and that the slapstick comedy didn’t add or detract much. Taz as the Ghost of Christmas Future was kind of fun. After that ended, Sonja went upstairs to make dinner and Titus and Zooey played. Once they were playing, I changed the channel over to football. Zooey sat in front of the television and yelled “Cheese!” for a while, then toddled off to play.


Sonja had made a really fantastic dinner. The green beans were crispy and light, the chicken tender, the pesto pasta… bizarre. I had chosen it at the store, and it was the biggest pasta I’ve ever seen. It was really tasty, though it did make me feel like I was in Alice in Wonderland. And the wine we paired with it was terrific.

Sonja and I have come to know Jon Emmerich of Silverado Vineyards fairly well over the years. A sharp guy who has the luxury of having common sense, he has been at Silverado three decades plus and uses his knowledge of the vines and terroir to his advantage. The 2017 Miller Ranch Sauvignon Blanc is a killer wine. While a lot of Sauv Blanc these days feels sharp, the acidity on this one is in balance with the fruits, giving it a more rounded feel. Notes of lemon rind, sea salt, and angel food cake make it unique and enjoyable.  It paired terrifically with the pesto, and carried over into the rest of our night, pairing well with bathing the kids and reading them bedtime stories as well.

Tonight, I’m thankful for many things. I’m thankful for my family, for food on our table, and for friends like Taylor Leffler and Dave at The Winery. Superfluous though it sounds, I’m thankful the Chiefs won, and thankful that my little daughter is so darn cute. From “More pasta!” to “More bears!” to “I saw cows!” and beyond, it’s a joy to watch her accumulate and use words. I’m thankful also for this coming week, and the potential for it to go smoothly.

Cheers to the things, and people, that make us happy in life,





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