Friday, December 16, 2011

Thanksgiving fun!

I know Thanksgiving was a couple of weeks ago now.... But I thought I'd share a few pictures from the holiday! (If you think this is late...I still have Halloween party pics and my parents' visit in October to share with you....)

As I said....we went down to SoCal for the holiday to spend it with the Dutton/Johansen crew. It was such a great weekend!! After battling some fun traffic in the Bay area after work...we made it to their house around 11pm and joined Scott, Connie, Scotty, Donna, and Ryan in the backyard around the fire pit. It's probably my favorite place to hang out at their house. I love sitting out there talking and drinking wine or hot tea. The floor by the fireplace in their garden room takes a close second though...great naps have been had there. :)

Anyway.....we had dinner around 4pm at Aunt Holly's house. We all did some cooking and everything turned out amazzzzing. Yummy it was good. After eating myself nearly miserable....Rachel brought out her pies. Oh man that apple pie was good. After I finished the ginormous piece Rachel cut for me, I kind of hated my life I was very full. Totally worth it. But I should mention here (because maybe he'll read this....) Kevin actually made the yummy apple pie I ate. Very impressive, he even braided (is that what you call it?) the crust on top and made it pretty. You might have some baking competition was that good. :)
This picture was not taken on Thanksgiving...but the week before at Michelle's baby shower, and it's cute so I'm putting it on here. :)

Kevin and Rachel

This picture makes me laugh...Donna's bein' a creeper.

Well isn't that precious.

Dut looks excited.

Mounds and mounds of food....

Chad and Connie :)

Yes Olivia and Zoie ate outside, while going back and forth from the hot tub. :)

I took a nap that night then got up with 3 other crazies to do some Black Friday midnight shopping. Donna, Rachel, Nicole, and I got to Macy's around 12:30am with 43,856,382,298 other peole. It was absolute madness. We were way out of our league for the first hour that we were there. I was not prepared for the amount of people I would have to be in close quarters with. Families of 10+ people were there together buying mounds of pots and pans and boots. Employees in the shoe department were literally wet with sweat...dripping on the size 7.5 leather boots the 589th person asked them to get. Infants and toddlers were there with their crazy ass parents. Now this one bothered me.... Seeing 2 year olds rubbing their eyes and looking miserable while their parents ran around like crazy people. For real? Someone stay home with the freakin' kid while the other acts like a crazy person in Macy's at 3am. Luckily...some stores inside the mall were open too so we left Macy's for a while and when we came back it had died down a lot and we were able to breathe once again. Target and Toys R Us came after that. Then bed. At 6am.
Here is the only picture I managed to snap on my phone while in Macy's during the madness....

Chad and I went out with some friends Friday night to our favorite little place and listened to our friend Matt sing. Of course he humored us by playing our song...Don't Stop Believin. I of course tried kissing Dave on the mouth and grab Matt's junk while on stage...both to no avail. And in case you're, I wasn't drunk those are just the things I try to do to my husband's friends. Duh.
I didn't take any pictures that night but for your are a few pictures of me harassing Dave.
He never wants to kiss me. :(

Prom pic.

"Go your head on momma's bosom."

Saturday we spent the morning walking around the OC Swap Meet....I love that place. It was like 80 degrees that afternoon. Maybe it's because I grew up in the midwest....but that shit is WEIRD in November. Not that I'm was awesome. :) And that night the whole family got together and walked around a neighborhood along the water in Newport Beach. Lots of houses had their lights up and even the ones who didn't had huge windows and lights on in the house so we could peek in their beautiful beach mansions. Don't mind if I do. :)

All together! Dutton/Johansen/Gillette crew :)

Autumn kept hiding and jumping out and scaring was cute.

Good one! cute. :)

Sunday we ate breakfast with the parents and headed over to the Laukat's to see friends before heading out. Well, that and there was football on so of course Chad needed to watch for an hour. I got some much needed kid/baby time with McKenna, Bella, and Ryan and then heard the greatest news ever from the Weaver's! Their baby girl got the all clear to head home from the hospital the following day! This little girl has had quite the journey so far. Allie is such a little fighter...coming into this world 13 weeks early and getting to go home with Mom and Dad 4 months later. And I can't imagine the ups and downs Mommy and Daddy Weaver have felt too. I think about their strength and courage a lot. :)
I only took one picture that day, so I added some sweet ones that I already had of those cute kids I was telling you about.....
McKenna cracks me up.

Bella....that smile. :)

Allie....growing so fast now!! Look at those sweet eyes! Can't wait to meet her! :)

Auntie Brooke is in her happy place in this picture.

Ryan....he hurts my heart he's so cute.

The drive home was pretty uneventful. Especially for me considering I slept nearly the entire way home! Hey, I had to catch up on my sleep from that crazy Black Friday!! Hope everyone had a great holiday too!!

6 days until we're in Missouri for Christmas!!!! xoxo

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

I have a lot to be thankful for. Life. Is. Good.

I'm thankful for so many things in my life but most of all I'm thankful for my family and friends. I love you all more than you know and more than I'll ever be able to express.

Very excited to be on our way to spend the holiday with these awesome people....

...and planning my food coma for tomorrow. Happy Turkey Day!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Sequoia National Park (Part 3 of 3)

Part 3 of our Sequoia National Park adventure will definitely not be as exciting as Part 2....(mostly because nothing will ever be as exciting as that craziness.)

It was around 9pm that night when we finished our wild caving trip. So we hiked back up to the car and drove an hour back to Billy's place. We definitely needed food and beers to discuss this crazy adventure. The funny thing about Billy (well there's actually a lot of funny things about Billy but that's because he's hilarious) is he has no idea how crazy some of the things he does is. (Wow great sentence, English minor.) His boring, every day activities are what "normal" people would consider to be crazy...impossible. Besides wild caving, Billy's other favorite activities include: kayaking (he once kayaked halfway across Missouri in a couple of days), rock climbing and slacklining.

Never heard of slacklining? Watch this video. It's basically tight rope walking that you can set up and take down anywhere. You have to have an insane amount of balance and focus. He does tricks on it. He picked this talent up after 24 hours of getting on, falling off, taking a step, falling off, trying, failing, trying, and failing. The dude just doesn't give up on something he wants to be good at. He brought it with him on a trip to our house and Chad and I could barely stand on it when holding on to people on either side of the line. (We did have a lot of fun trying though!) It's incredible watching what he can do on it...I wish I had a video of him to show you! point is that things that feel natural to him are not things that feel natural to most of the population....he's been like that for as long as I can remember. So we spent the rest of the night drinking beers and trying to tell Billy how crazy of an experience wild caving was. I think he got some good perspective on it after a while...mostly because we would NOT shut up about it. :) And I know he loved every minute of taking us wild caving for the first time...he loves introducing people to something he is passionate about. The good news is while Billy may not fully understand how gnarly most people think it is to crawl in super tight spaces in random holes underneath the ground like that...he does have complete respect for it. He never goes caving alone, he's prepared with at least 2 backup lights, someone knows about his trip, etc. And to answer the question you have in your head...he has had 1 moment of slight panic in a cave before, after getting a little turned around in one he had never been in.

You read it here....I'm waiting for the day he's on the National Geographic's happening some day.

The next morning Billy had to head back in to work so Chad and I got an early start to a couple of hikes Billy had recommended. (Chad even skipped out on watching the Giants game they had playing at the rec hall that morning to spend the whole day hiking through the woods with me. Sans football. He must love me A LOT.) :)

I can't remember the name of the first hike we went on. But it was beautiful when we got up there. It wasn't so much a hike as it was like doing the stair stepper. There was a million and one steps to go up to get to see this view.....

Definitely worth the steps.

See the road down there? 

It was sunny but cold that morning...

I like this view. :)

Cool mountain road in the park.

After taking in the view for a while we headed back down (oddly enough there wasn't an elevator) to drive to our next hike. We saw some cool things on our drive there....

I hate it when they don't clear the road of falling debris. :)

"Tunnel Log"

I took this from the sunroof after we went through it.

Then we found another fallen tree. It was rather large.

Just for some more perspective to show you how big that tree is. (Yes, I took out our license plate number...I can't have any crazies from the internets tracking me down.) :)
Then we got to our next spot, which was a 3.5 mile hike to Watchtower. It was a pretty big climb in elevation. We went from green grass and dirt in the beginning to snow covered everything at the end. It was a beautiful hike through the woods and the best part was only seeing 5 other people in the hours that we were there. We sat at the top for a while and ate the most delicious, juicy apple I've ever tasted. Okay so maybe it was because we were super hungry and low on energy when we got there...but still, it was awesome.

One of my absolute favorite things in this world is hiking with Chad. It's a great place for us to just be. We talk about everything and nothing at all. We laugh at each other. We make up games. I feel like I learn something new about him every time. I even love the not talking part of hiking with him. I love listening to the sounds around us and feeling very connected without feeling the need to fill the silence. I'm not sure how anyone could be in a place like this and not feel the connection to the Earth, life, the people you love, and a connection to something bigger than yourself. But maybe that's just me. :)

I spy a tiny you? :)

Cool curvy tree.

All of the fallen trees sitting in the sun were was pretty.

Close to the top. Lots of snow. 

Top of Watchtower.

I bet that stream down there is really flowing in the spring.

Not a bad place to stop for a rest.

Lovers. :)