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"
-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
|Carrie, Benny, Matthew, Adden, Tara, Dad, Mom, Cal, me, Nathan, Cameron|
|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|
This year we took this one:
As my sister, Tara says, #proofwegetbetterwithage
|LOVE THESE WOMEN!|
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:
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.