11.27.15 | THANKSGIVING 2015

it's been a wonderfully slow, relaxing day after thanksgiving morning for us, despite having to get up and take justin to work today. i've submitted the december order for landon's scholastic books (i'm really excited to get these ones back next month!) and the kids are playing quietly together, which is amazing!

our day was so busy yesterday and yet, super relaxing and fun. we had three stops to make this year, we're lucky that our immediate families live in town, so we had some pretty full bellies by the end of the night, hah!

the first stop was to have an early lunch with my dad and grandma at the nursing home. it's a tradition for us to go there every thanksgiving and i'm incredibly grateful we got to do it another year. i don't know how many years are left for this tradition but i feel blessed to have been able to do it this year. i'm also grateful for the staff who work the holidays so the residents can have a warm, yummy, thanksgiving meal. and it IS always yummy.

after lunch and a little time spent in grandma's room with the kids climbing all over my dad, we headed for another grandma and grandpa's house. this year, my aunt kelli flew up from california with all of her boys and her boyfriend. it was so great to see them all! i think the last time all of us cousins were together i was in middle school or early high school? it's crazy to think that. of course the parents had to get a pictures of us all, which i'm grateful for, even if my little brother isn't smiling. c; it was wonderful spending a few hours with them (i wish we had more time)!

our last stop of the evening was to have dinner with justin's family. i don't know how i was able to eat another plate of food! (to recap: we ate at 11:15, 3:30 and 5ish.) i didn't even have room for dessert. :c we're going back this afternoon/evening to get leftovers and you better believe i'm gonna be eating a piece of pie! 

while taking that picture up there, i couldn't help but think about the fact that one of us was missing. it's always hard when you lose a loved one so early in life and the holidays are no exception. in fact, i feel like it just emphasizes that they're no longer there. holidays are centered around family so much that to not have a key part of that family there is incredibly difficult. i think about my brother constantly, not just around the holidays, and am looking forward to the day when we will get to see him (and everyone else we miss) again. 

i hope your thanksgiving was filled with love, family, friends and delicious food, just like ours! hooray for the holiday season and finally being able to decorate for christmas and listen to christmas music! 


 ok so october! at the beginning of october, all of my dad's sisters and their spouses, and my grandma's sister and her husband, came to visit from all over the place for a little mini-reunion. i love it so much whenever any of my aunts visit but having them all here at the same time is just wonderful. i feel happiest when i am with my family and i am so incredibly grateful for each and every relationship i have with them. i've got the best aunts around (and uncles!), don't let anyone tell you differently! c;

we all got together several times to eat with my grandma, who is in a nursing home and isn't quite well enough to go out places so we all come to here, had a big get together out at my dad's house for bbq chicken, corn on the cob, apple salad and great conversation. they all went out to the coast for a couple of nights and on their last day there, i decided to drive myself and the kids out to meet them for lunch at the chowder bowl and a little play time on the beach with grandpa dave. i really wish that a visit to the coast didn't entail beanies, warm jackets, long pants and rain boots. wouldn't it be lovely to just go play on the beach and actually be able to touch the water without freezing?! i know i'd love it.

anyway, the reunion was a great start to our october! the last two pictures are just of my kiddos who obviously didn't get enough sleep the night before one of these nights we visited family, hah!


after landon's first day of school, we decided to let him choose where we should eat lunch. he, of course, chose taco bell. you know you eat fast food too much when your kid can tell you the name of all the major chains by looking at their sign. anyway, he chose taco bell and while eating our food, which claire refused to do because she likes to be difficult these days, justin and the kids decided to make a bunch of silly faces. 

i love them so. 


on to september! so, you already know that justin and i went on a tiny vacay to vegas in september but what you may not know is we also had a weekend getaway to eagle crest with justin's side of the family to celebrate my mother-in-law's birthday. we rented a cabin for the weekend and it was so cozy there (the master bath had a large soaker tub and i definitely soaked the first night). we made the mistake of trying to get claire and landon to sleep in the same room together, in bunk beds. at one point when telling claire she needed to go to sleep in her big bed, landon said to me "mom, claire is being a bad girl and i just wanna sleep. she's too loud."  so the first night i was up with claire FOREVER just trying to get her to go to sleep in bed with me after we realized the bunk beds were a disaster. by the next night we had it figured out, thankfully. 

we took  our time getting ready on saturday morning and then ventured to the south side of bend to visit the high desert museum. if you're ever in bend and you haven't been before (even if you have), you need to go. i think it's awesome. they've got an otter exhibit, porcupines, a desert cat of some sort (i know, i'm horrible), they had a raccoon the time before but sadly she had passed by this visit, birds of prey (like bald eagles!!), owls, horses, and tons of little squirrels running free all over the place. i just find it fascinating. throughout the day they do little presentations and we sat in on one about snakes. landon and i even got to touch one of them! they have a huge play area outside for kids, a fun play area inside, a rotating exhibit, a native american exhibit, and just a bunch of fun, interesting things. gosh, i can't say enough good things about it. so please, do yourself a favor and visit!

 the next morning we had to leave so packing everything up and getting out on time is always a chore, i feel. we did it though and even managed to have time for the kids to have a dip in the kiddie pool before we left. we drove into bend for lunch before we decided to head home for the day. when our little family went to bend earlier in the summer for justin's work, we ate at a yummy pizza place, pacific pizza and brew, so i suggested we eat there again this trip. again, it didn't disappoint.  we've only eaten the combo pizza but golly, i'd order it again in a heartbeat. if you aren't in the mood for pizza, i'd suggest the cobb salad. it has smoked steelhead and chicken and i promise, you won't regret it (if you like smoked fish, that is).

let me tell ya, i'm liking bend more and more every time we visit. 
^^this was the morning after claire stayed up 'til midnight or so the night before. i had to tae a picture of it. c;


in august, we also went to one of my very favorite things to do in summer - the state fair! last year we went with my sister courtney and her boyfriend charlie, but this year my dad came with us. well, i guess we actually went with him because he drove and bought our entrance. although, he got lucky because we went on the first day and got there pretty early and apparently our tickets were only $.50 a piece! you better believe we're going every year on the first day from now on. 

so, we had a good 'ole time. landon rode his first roller coaster (which about gave me a heart attack because i'm that mom) and looked straight up terrified the first time around the track but loosened up after that. claire was still too short to ride any actual rides this year, bummer! next year baby girl, next year. she did get to play a fishing game though and won a huge stuffed snake. that snake will be the death of me, i tell ya. and the kids both got to ride a pony so that was flipping adorable!

now, y'all know how i love me some hot weather - summer is my favorite, but we were ill-prepared for this little excursion. all the weather apps indicated some humidity, but not too much, it wasn't going to get too terribly hot because the sun wasn't going to be out at all and there might even be a slight chance of rain. that didn't happen. it was blazing hot. the sun was blaring down on us the entire time. i wore jeans (because i'm an IDIOT) and ankle booties and holy crap, i thought i was going to die. i'm just happy i put my hair up in milkmaid braids because i probably would have cut it all off if i had worn it down that day. no joke, i was drenched in sweat by the time we left for home. lovely picture i'm painting for you, right?!

despite the fact that we were all pretty miserable, we had a really good time. i can't wait for next year!

^^don't let claire's face fool you, she was thoroughly enjoying that strawberry lemonade. she did NOT want to share it with anyone. landon and i both got a snow cone, in honor of uncle charlie. c;