JonJon, Julian and their Uncle Mark.
Laughing on the way back from the Cheesecake Factory.
Mom and Dad's back yard.
My kids with cousin Emily!
Build A Bear fun!
Okay, I need to write this all down before I forget any of it happened.
Saturday morning 7am we pack up the van. We leave at 9:00.. ish... Nick drives until around 11am and I take over, we stop just north of Six Flags at a Carl's Jr for lunch, then we keep driving and stop at a Panda Express in Stockton/Lodi for dinner. Nick drives through the night and we arrive at my parent's house in Oregon at 7am. We hand over the kids and mom and Becca take over while Nick and I nap. Sunday night, my stomach not feeling so well but I manage to play a fun charade type game with all the adults in the house (Thanks BECCA!). Monday, still not feeling so well but we go to the mall where we eat lunch (I had a gyro- but I think its pronounced YEE ROH). Then my mom has the best day of her life! She bought each of her grandkids a Build a Bear. The kids have a BLAST! Nick snuck away from the bear store to buy Julian a lego set from the Lego store across the hall for his birthday! We also went to see the Portland Temple, which was closed so Sarah took our pictures on a nice piece of land next to the Temple. We also went to the local Harley Davidson dealership where Nick bought a souvenier t shirt and drools over the leather jackets. We then stopped by Costco and got Julian a birthday cake because it was his 7th (man I am OLD) birthday! We went back to the house, I made home made mac and cheese for the family and we have Julian a party. Cake and presents and in a rush we tell him the rest of his birthday day is to be spent having a movie night with his uncle Mark and aunt Jessica and Carmen while the adults leave them alone for two hours--- Mom, Dad, Sarah, Mike, Becca, Nick and I snuck out to watch "Inception." Wait, was Becca there or was I dreaming... hahaha. Such a good movie! So on Tuesday Nick and I went to lunch at the Sage. When Im at home, far away from Oregon, I crave their Marinated Mushroom salad dressing. Then Nick and I stopped by the hospital to visit my cousin Christina. She is dying of cancer. She is in her 30s and had two pre teen children. It was very sad to see her so sick. Even more sad than the fact she is dying is that her father and brothers havent gone to visit her. Her sister visited once, for an hour. My mom and grandparents visit her often so they are the rays of sunshine in her life. Then we went to my grandma and grandpa's house. We rode four wheelers, the kids rode miniature donkeys (burritos!) and we bbq'd some burgers. Then Nick and I headed out early to go watch the movie "Salt." It was probably a good movie but NO movie seems good after watching "Inception." Wednesday was my birthday! I woke up at 7am bright and early to be ready by 8 to go with Mom, Sarah, Becca, Jessica and Carmen to go get pedicures. We went to this awesomely cute spa and got pedicures and for my birthay present from Nick, he arranged for me to get a massage. I'd never had a real massage before, it was pretty relaxing. When I went back in to the pedicure area Carmen was green.... Becca and I rushed her back to my mom's house. Half way there Carmen threw up on her seat. I handed her off to Nick, cleaned up the vomit from the van and rushed back to pick up the rest of the ladies from the spa. Then we went to Panera for lunch and then to a mall, then another mall. Becca bought me sunglasses, Sarah bought me a wallet and a bag hook and Mom bought me a shirt and earrings. Then we met up at the Cheesecake Factory with Nick, Elias, Dad, Ryan and Justin. It was so good! Awkward when they came to sing to me, but good. Sarah, Justin, Becca, Nick and I had some good laughs on the drive back to Mom's afterward. On Thursday Carmen was still sick, so was my mom. Horrible sick. I helped take care of the kids and cleaned the kitchen. I think this may have been the day that Nick took the kids to see "Despicable Me." Not a whole lot going on Thursday because Carmen was sick. Friday we got up early and went to the beach. It was a lot of fun! The kids had fun playin in and eating the sand, the older kids climbed the big sand hill, Nick loved going out on the boat and when we were done at the beach we ate fresh crab then headed to the Tillamook Cheese factory. We bought cheeses, beef sticks and ice cream. The whole way to and from the beach Nick did a lot of talking about how much fun those roads woud be to drive on his motorcycle. We got back, showered everyone, started some laundry and then just hung out on the couch. Bryan Adams stopped by. Saturday morning, everyone thought we were going to leave but SURPRISE! We decided not to leave until night. We went to the park, my parents had all their grandkids together at the park and we took some cute pictures, then we went to the upper park to play some tennis. After that we left the two little boys at the house and Dad took the rest of us to pick blueberries. Free, all we could pick blueberries. Nick and I picked 15 quarts between us. They filled 4 gallon size bags. We only fit 3 into our ice chest. We also packed up crabs and fish to take with us. Then Dad took us all to Izzy's for all we could eat pizza and ribs. It was good to eat and be super full before bed time because once we said our goodbyes and left I, for the first time in my adult life, was able to sleep a night in the van. Nick drove throught the night and at 6am I took over and drove while he slept, handing the wheel back over to him somewhere in Southern California. We got home at around 6pm. The timing was perfect! We unloaded our stuff, got everyone ready for bed and we all were able to sleep at the same time, unlike previous years where we left Saturday morning, arriving home Sunday morning only to have one of us be able to sleep while the other stayed up with the kids. Not so smart. This trip, smart. On Monday we slept in, got some groceries and Nick rode his motorcycle. I miss my family. I am still waiting for the time the Lord reveals to us where we are supposed to settle, whether it be here or Oregon or somewhere else, I am just waiting to feel that feeling of, "This is where we are supposed to live" so for the time being, we live far away from my family. I miss my sisters so much. They are my best friends and no one understands me like they do. I had an awesome vacation. Melissa and Amanda werent there. Melissa was in Mexico visiting Gaby, Amanda is on her mission in Guatemala and just tonight Ryan opened his mission call, he reports September 29 to the MTC and will be serving in Lansing, Michigan. I love Ryan! I am very excited for him. On a heavier note.... this morning was the kids' Meet the Teacher day at school and we visited Julian's new classroom, then Carmen's. It hit me when I ran my hand across her name tag on her cubby that she is going to be in school and I almost started getting choked up but then I reminded myself that it's time, she's ready.