(I don't really call it NorCal)
So here's the part we missed...
My brother fresh off the plane from Mexico
With his companion
and with my family.
We got there a week later.
My dad and my brother Tanner picked us up at the airport.
I didn't know Tanner was going to be there and it was so fun to see him again.
Really it was more exciting than I thought it would be
(and I mean that in a good way Tanner).
He got to meet Avery, rosy cheeked and all smiles from all the attention she was getting.
There was a lot of us.
The whole family, in fact.
10 adults, and 6 kids ranging in age from 0-6yrs.
Crazy. Messy. Loud. Chaotic. Overwhelming.
My kids loved every minute of it.
Here's the other half. (cuz half the grandkids are ours right now).
Ha! Really they are though.
The very next day was Paul's and Alex's birthday, and we started off the celebration by going to one of our favorite spots in the Bay Area, Fentons.
Crab Salad Sandwich
and the Black and Tan.
Best. Thing. Ever.
We sang to Alex (and we spared Paul)
and then they opened presents.
Alex always gives a great reaction.
And this year Paul did too!
After lunch we headed to San Francisco to check out the California Academy of Sciences.
We had to park a few miles away (for reals) and luckily it was a beautiful day in Golden Gate Park - because that turned out to be the highlight of the visit.
The place is awesome but we went on the wrong day. So crowded you couldn't hardly walk, see anything, or get into many of the exhibits.
Don't worry my mom handled that - she got rain check tickets for the place. And Paul scalped ours. (Turns out he's not a very good negotiator)
After a wild ride home from the city (for those of us in my dads truck anyways)
we had a bonfire in the backyard and roasted marshmallows.
Then it was time for cake and (more) ice cream.
This little 4-year old was in heaven.
The next day was my brothers homecoming talk in church.
SO glad we got to be there for that.
Even if Paul said Avery and I looked like we were going to a funeral.
After church we spent some time posing for family pics in my parents backyard.
Do you want to move to California yet?
Betcha do now.
Sunday night we headed to Carmel, an awesome little beach town where we stayed for a couple of days.
Monday we did some scenic driving along the coast and these were the kind of views we got.
Paul got directions to a place in Big Sur where we could take the kids hiking down to the beach.
On the way we encountered this "Hazardous River Crossing"
We scouted it out...
and gave Paul the go ahead to take my dads porsche right on through.
We all followed suit, with my brother Tanner hanging outside each and every vehicle that went through. (And it takes a lot of vehicles to transport all of us)
Same old Tanner : )
This was the "hike" to the beach.
Not much of a hike but we had lots of babies and toddlers in tow.
It was gorgeous.
And the beach was even better!
No one loves the beach more than this kid - he had the time of his life.
We all did really.
It was a perfect afternoon.
(except for the part where Tiff's bag almost got washed out to sea)
My "original" family
wow. we're all grown up.
Alex doing what she does best - hamming it up for the camera with her one-of-a-kind faces
All day Paul and I discussed possibly moving to California...
you would have too : )
Our last day in Carmel/Monterey Paul and I left early to stop and see our old college buddies in Palo Alto on the way home.
(Great to see you again Logan and Emily!)
The rest of the family headed to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Noah of course couldn't pass up an opportunity like that, so he joined them.
And served as their personal docent, identifying every kind of shark and fish accurately.
In fact, I didn't see much of Noah on this trip period. He loved being with his Grandma, Grandpa, Aunts, Uncles, and cousins.
As you can see.
Another highlight of the trip for me was getting together with my best friend and roommate from college, Sarah.
What are the chances that she would end up living in the same city as my parents???
I mean seriously, the girl is from Canada.
We met up for lunch one day with just our babies. It was perfect.
We got to do a lot more talking than we usually do when we get together with ALL our kids (there are 6 between the 2 of us now).
Thanks Sarah, love you and miss you so much already!
As you can imagine we ate spectacularly throughout the week.
But nothing topped our "adults only" dinner in San Francisco at The Waterbar.
The trip went by all too quickly
(although maybe not for my mom, who'd had way too many people in her house for some time now).
Thanks mom and dad, as usual, for making it all happen
and making it all wonderful.
(Cuz it's probably the last time it will ever happen, right John C?)
We love you!
Just look at what you've done...