Thursday, December 17, 2015

Turkey Day 2015


Giving Thanks 2015


Thanksgiving this year was super low key and absolutely lovely.

Normally I am 100% all about tradition, doing things exactly the same every time, (ask Cameron) BUT...this year we did something new...and it was awesome! 

Every year at Thanksgiving my mom's side of the family gets together at my Grandma Shirley's house and we have a meal and hang out into the evening. Last year at Christmas we realized that, sadly, due to my grandma's dementia it was really too much to have everyone at her house at once. It confuses and frustrates her. So we knew we had to do something new. My mom had the BRILLIANT plan of fixing up the workshop that my grandad built before he passed away and make it the party place! My parents, especially my mom, spent HOURS AND HOURS cleaning, organizing, and purging the workshop into a completely functioning party spot! YAY!  

Although it was a freezing day (yes, we're from California, so 40 IS FREEZING to us) so we built a fire in the wood burning stove and we had a cozy place to hang out and eat delicious food. 



I love this picture of Nathan and my sister, Tara. He loves his Auntie so much!
Per the usual we did a photo shoot before dinner. It was such a beautiful evening on the ranch. We are so blessed to live in this gorgeous place! 






I love my little family

Cousins pic!
After dinner we changed things up once again and, instead of making our usual gingerbread houses, we made CHRISTMAS WREATHS! I have been listening to Christmas music secretly for a month already, so I was rearing to go on the Christmas front! 

I must say, I was very impressed with Mike, my cousin Katie's boyfriend for participating in the wreath-making! And his was so sparkly! 

Tara, Mom, Me, Katie, Mike, Addie

The day after Thanksgiving we went on a walk on the Bob Jones Trail in Avila with my Griffith side of the family. I think this should be a permanent tradition. Such good times. I was especially grateful to get to see my cousin, Brent, and his wife Mette, who we haven't seen in nearly a year. I miss living close to them in San Diego. I love this picture of Aunt Lisa, mom, Joe and my dad, Me, Tiana (with brand new baby Noah), Matthew, and Tara, queen of the selfie:


We had such a lovely weekend and Nathan was in serious heaven playing with his cousins 24/7. He BAWLED AND BAWLED AND BAWLED when we left them. 

Ben, Adden, Nathan














There are so many boys in this family! Growing up with mostly girls in the family it makes me laugh that we have become a family full of boys! But they are all so handsome and I love them!


And so does their Grandma Kathy!


I love the holidays. I love my family. I am blessed. So blessed.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Despicable Me Halloween


Despicable Me Halloween 2015


A few months ago Nathan got a pretty bad cold. Normally he can't sit still for more than 5 minutes at a time, but he was so sick he was completely unlike himself. He literally just laid on the couch and couldn't move. Through this sickness sprouted a new obsession: Despicable Me. He watched it like 5 times the first day and once every day since then. So, needless to say it wasn't very hard to decide what this year's Halloween theme should be! 

Since Cameron goes along with most things as long as they aren't too crazy or embarrassing, and since we are living with my parents this year we had a decent size group to go with the theme!! Hot dog!

Here are pictures of our inspiration:

Gru, and Dr. Nefario with the Minions

Margo, Edith, and Agnes, the sisters


Dad-Dr, Nefario, Cameron-Gru, Me-Agnes, Nathan-Minion, Mom-Margo
 My dad's Dr. Nefario costume was a big hit and lots of people told him that his costume was their favorite of the whole night! I especially loved those big goggles. He definitely scared the bajeebies out of some little girls ;) Also, you can't tell, cause we didn't get any full body shots, but my mom actually had to sew her own plaid skirt for Margo since all of the ones we found online were more for a slutty Brittney Spears costume than for a modest grandma-type lady. Good things she's a legit seamstress and sewed it all in one sitting (while watching a Christmas movie!). And I made her Lorax shirt, since Margo is wearing a Lorax shirt in Despicable Me 1. I also LOVED Cameron's costume. He even shaved his beloved beard for me! My hero! (swoon) Also, the bald cap looks SO awesome, but poor Cameron was SUPER hot in it, since somehow California has decided to stay a million degrees this year in October. Sorry, Cameron!  




There's the skirt! :)



I really wised that we had another girl to come dress up as Edith, the middle sister, but since there were just the two of us girls, we had to do without. I still think we looked pretty cute! 



Nathan was thrilled to run around and try all of the games at our Ward's Trunk or Treat (even though they were all way too hard for his age...IE the Young Men had a shooting game where you had to shoot Nerf guns at moving targets). He was especially impressed with all of the treats he got! Every time someone gave him candy he exclaimed, "oh, wow!"

But, if Nathan could tell you I have no doubt he would say that the best part of the night was his pony ride! I have never seen him so pleased with himself. 



Since Nathan is still so little and doesn't know the difference Cameron and I have opted out of taking him real trick-or-treating this year. Nathan doesn't need a huge bag of candy, (and WE don't need a bag of candy sitting around tempting us!) and since he's too young to think we are the meanest parents ever for not taking him, we're skipping the trick-or-treating til next year. 

So, all-in-all our Halloween is over for the year. It was a fun one! I'm already scheming what we can dress up as next year and have "pinned" about a thousand ideas on Pinterest. Being a mom is the coolest. 

Happy Halloween everyone! 

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

If This is Torture, Chain Me to the Wall....


September 8-9, 2015

A few weeks ago Cameron, Nathan, and I met Cameron's brother, Austin's family at Disneyland! I have to preface this post by saying I actually DID have a good time. But it was 

so.
hot.

Like the kind of hot that makes you feel like you are in a third world country. The kind of hot where you are wet the second you walk out the door. No need for makeup, don't bother doing your hair. I kept having to remind myself I was at the happiest place on earth! This was NO third world country! 

We planned on meeting up with Austin and Jen on Tuesday and hanging out with them at the Disneyland Hotel (#ballers), but when we woke up on Tuesday morning, plans changed. We found Nathan and his bed COVERED in barf. I guess he must have woke up some time in the night, thrown up, then just gone back to sleep! Poor dude. We cleaned up, gave Nathan a bath and some breakfast and waited to see if he would throw up again. No problems, so we headed down to Disneyland anyway. On the way we decided that it probably wasn't a good idea to expose Austin and Jen's family to this possible bug, so we decided to steer clear of each other for the day. Around 5 Nathan was still feeling pretty good, so we went over to Disneyland for a few hours of family time. I know you're going to be sick of hearing this by now, but it was SO HOT. Even when the sun went down it was 90 degrees outside. But we still had fun! Here's our first pic on the Jungle Cruise:





Day 2 we braced ourselves for the heat-Hats, water, spray bottles, sunscreen, and of course, Disney shirts. 



Nathan was less than impressed with the characters, but he was fine as long as Cameron or I was holding him. Check out how hot and sweaty we were and this was LITERALLY the first thing we did that day. 10 am and a bazillion degrees.


REEEALLY not wanting to high-five Donald
 We finally met up with Austin, Jen, and Gianna at Toy Story Mania! We love that ride! I rode with Nathan because I don't do well with competition ;)

Nathan, Cameron, Jen and Gianna, Austin

Gianna and Jen ready for the ride!

Austin and Gianna becoming honorary green army men
Cameron and I took Gianna and Nathan on the Little Mermaid ride while Austin and Jen went on a "big person" ride. Here's G and I riding together:


Gianna totally got nervous when we saw Ursula and scooted towards me and held my arm until we left the area of Ursula's cave. It reminded me of when I went to Disneyland for the first time when I was 5 and I was the biggest WEENIE of all time. It's cool, Gianna, I understand #weenietwins

Cameron and Nathan's "shell":


Right before I took Nathan back to our hotel (only for him to refuse to sleep any longer after sleeping in the stroller on the way there...but THAT'S another story #momlife #mamaneededanap) I took him on the Monsters Inc ride. HE LOVED IT.


Here we are on Buzz Lightyear. I do NOT know why it says I got a score of zero, because I didn't! I swear!


Aladdin and the Genie! Both Nathan and Sadie were terrified of Genie. It was hilarious. Nathan kept looking back at him in terror. But we got a couple OK ones:




Our only group shot with everyone! Austin, Sadie, Jen, Susan, Gianna, Me, Nathan, Cameron on the Winnie the Pooh ride.


It was so dark, but this is probably my favorite picture of the day. I love this kid so much! 


So, even though it was disgustingly hot, it was fun to be there with family! I love it when Nathan gets to spend time with his cousins since have so many wonderful memories of my cousins growing up. I was lucky enough to be close in proximity and for NOW Nathan doesn't have that luxury, so we have to provide him opportunities! Plus, I love spending time with Austin and Jen.

Seriously, though, next September if anyone asks me if I want to go to Disneyland, I just might laugh in their face. #askmeagaininOctober

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Griffith Family Reunion-Sandy, Oregon 2015


Have you ever had a moment in your life where you wished you could slow time down so that you could just relish the glory of what you were experiencing? This past week I experienced a full week of these little gems while on vacation with my family. 
Every five or so years my dad's side of the family, the Griffith side, gets together for a family reunion. Every year is special in its own way, but this year was especially epic.
This year we went to my Aunt Debbie's house in Sandy, Oregon, just outside of Portland. I have to tell you, peps, I am 100 % California girl and I always will be, BUUUUT...I'm kindof obsessed with Oregon now. My aunt and uncle live on a beautiful 30 acre piece of property out in the country with a large pond, tons of gorgeous trees, GREEN grass, and it is within easy walking distance to the gorgeous Sandy River.

Day 1 we hiked to punchbowl falls. Oh my gosh, if I could take every single person in the world on this hike I would. Here's a great pic of the whole group at the trailhead:



Gentleman that he is, Cameron carried Nathan the whole hike (2 miles each way) which left me to reacquaint myself with my Nebraska cousins (meaning instead of not being able to breathe as I carried my heavy son up the incline, I was feelin' fine! ;))

Here's the view that greeted us upon our arrival:


Do you hear the angels singing? I did too. 

The water was a little cold, but once you got used to it, it was glorious. 

All I have to say is THANK GOODNESS my dad hates cold water, cause Grandad watched Nathan and a big group of us swam over and swam under and around the waterfall. (epic moment #1)

Addy, Callie, Brianna, Tara

Here's a great pic of my family hanging out in the water: (photo cred Uncle Joe)


We also jumped off the rocks on the other side of the river that looked like this: 




I asked Callie after she (reluctantly) jumped, 

"are you glad you did it?" 

Callie: "I'm glad it's over!"

My sentiments exactly.

Nathan played and played and played until we were about to head back from our day of fun and once we put him in the carrier his eyes rolled back in his head and he fell asleep. Sweet boy. 

 

Otherwise we spent a lot of time hanging out at the pond....


Nathan could have spent 24/7 on this rowboat hunting for salamanders. (Epic moment #2)

Isaac, Clayton, Adden, and Dad fishing at the pond


Hanging out in Dada's hammock



Of course one of MY favorite things was talk talk talk talking with these lovelies:

Aunt Laurie, Addy, Tara, Brianna, Callie, Aunt Debbie
Nathan LOOOOOOOVED being constantly entertained and surrounded by people. The twins (Isaac and Aaron, who are my cousins from Nebraska) became his go-to pals. 



Nathan was obsessed with these horses that bounced and sang:



Nathan also LOVED taking a ride on the tractor with his Great Uncle, Gary!


Nathan's favorite people in the world: COUSINS! 

Nathan, Adden, Desmond, and a headless Benny
Other epic moments of note:

-inner tubing down the Sandy River

-staying up late with my siblings and cousins laughing more than I have in a long time. 

-picking wild blackberries along the road and feeding them to my juice-covered son while he says, "yumm...yummm yuuuuummmm"

-reverse charades

-getting to know the Redding kids. They are all so wonderful. Especially you, BFF (you know who you are ;))

Picture day was a blast as always getting a large group of people to cooperate all at once:

Here are my grandparents, Dean and Donna, with their Great-Grandchildren (minus the 6.5 who couldn't come :()

Grandpa Dean with Nathan, Beckett, Desmond, Hobbes, Adden, Grandma Donna, and Benny-Matthew and Carrie, notice how Benny is doing a normal smile in this picture?! <sigh> becoming a man. 

Sisters, Sisters, there were never such devoted sisters

Girl cousins (minus a few)
Christina, Tara, Brianna, Callie, Addy

I love my fam-bam!

Carrie, Benny, Matthew, Adden, Tara, Dad, Mom, Cal, me, Nathan, Cameron
During our last family reunion in Oregon the twins were only 4 and Tara, Callie, Tiana, and I spent the whole week carting them around. So we had to reenact some of the pictures from 11 years ago....

Tara and Isaac-"You wouldn't know it, but I smile sometimes ;)"

Ross, you might like the twins the best, but you'll always be our favorite. 

Tara, Ross, Brianna
11 years ago we took this picture:


This year we took this one:


As my sister, Tara says, #proofwegetbetterwithage

LOVE THESE WOMEN!
My cute little fam. This picture melts my heart. I am so blessed. 


Sadly the week did eventually come to an end with my cousin Brendan's son, Hobbs' baptism. What a wonderful way to end the week. 

Here is Brendan, Jessica, and their kids after the baptism:


The ladies! 

  

I am so blessed to be part of such an amazing family with strong women and righteous men. What a wise father in heaven we have to place us in families to learn and grown and love. Every time I get together with family I am reminded how much fun everyone is! I wish so badly that we lived closer, but I am grateful for every moment full of laughter, chaos, joy , exhaustion, and peace we experienced together.