Archive for the ‘Family Fun’ Category

Oh, California

Oh, California. There are so many things that I could say about you. So, so many things.

IMG_68952 weeks in California after being in a small town for the last year is much like being slapped in the face with a large fish. It will boggle your mind for a moment and then confuse the hell out of you. Stop lights? 4 grocery stores in a 2 mile vicinity? Jamba Juice? Starbucks? WHAT IS THIS PLACE!?

IMG_6897I felt super out of place until my dad placed the keys of his large truck in my hand & I had some country music blaring…then it was on like Donkey Kong.

IMG_6976California is such an incredible place to visit. Really. You’d need more than two weeks there to really appreciate it, but I tried my best. Mornings were spent on runs to the beach, sometimes conning my bestie into joining me (Starbucks is the best bribe ever), and afternoons were spent at the beach. What else? We roadtripped to Vegas, tanned, drank more beer than I can even fathom, had girls nights, ate Mexican food, visited a fire station (because I’m 5 years old), admired the local sights & ate our faces off at my parents house. There’s more, but at the risk of damaging my so far pristine reputation (cough, cough), I’ll temporarily forget about it.

10407912_10203050300991977_5796460345515208341_nMiss one eyed Moxie entertained us to no end, especially my 2 year old cousin who is completely enamored with her.

2014-07-21_0002She’s also obsessed with my dad. How adorable are they together!?

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I know I’m completely jumping around here, but there was so much that happened. I turned 25 while I was there (really the actual reason for the trip) & had such an amazing day. It was the first time in 5 years the Fireman hasn’t been with me, but also the first in 5 years that I’ve been with Amy & the rest of my family in California. Win win. We had dinner at the Cliffs in Laguna Beach…literally right on the water. This was the view from dinner. Also, some amazing mojitos & a great live band that entertained us.

10469702_10203050297151881_2409113498966650876_nWe also made the unfortunate mistake of parking about a mile away, on a hill, while all wearing 5 inch heels. Brains do not run in the family, as it turns out.

10410171_10203050301511990_7520663775698132449_nBeing in California for my birthday also meant that I’d be able to participate in my beloved July Fourth shenanigans, including a parade full of Shriners, bands, & hot shirtless guys walking around. Wait, what?

IMG_6997Vegas was…well, Vegas. We spent less than a day there & my, oh my, was it a day. Pool, walking the strip, insane sandwiches at 430 am & delicious vodka tonics.

2014-07-21_0006And dressing like hookers Vegas. Can’t forget that.

IMG_6999And jumping on the beds. Our dad taught us well.

IMG_6995IMG_7011Our uncle overnight us 14 (14!) lobsters, which we tortured the dog with.

2014-07-21_0007But really. Ain’t nobody got time for that.

2014-07-21_0001If you visit my parents, you will receive a large drink within 10 minutes of your arrival. Those few weeks, they were homemade mojitos (literally, I can’t even describe how incredible they were). This man is the master of the mojito. And the lobster. And the ribs. And the macaroni salad.

2014-07-21_0004Also, apparently massive hair runs in the family. Noted.

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These 3 girls were just THE best to let me stay with them for the whole 2 weeks.

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So basically, in summary, California was awesome. Liver pickling, but awesome, nonetheless. Let me rally for a year or so & I’ll be back!

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Friday Four

Well, not only is it Friday the 13th & a full moon, but it’s also my baby sister’s birthday. Explains a lot, really.

It’s also been pouring buckets non stop since 8 am (and when I say pouring buckets, it’s not my usual hyperbolic state, it is literally pouring). I don’t remember ever seeing this much constant rain outside of a hurricane. It’s a lovely day to curl up on the couch with a book and a cup of tea.

Which is basically what I’m doing, since I’m at work.

But here’s the real star of the show:

View More: http://mariesamsanchez.pass.us/gillenwater201223 years old, Bec. Holy crap. I feel like it was yesterday that I knocked out your two front teeth (accidentally, of course). How did you go from my little towheaded shadow to 23 in a blink of an eye? You’re one of the funniest people I know, the sweetest & you have the most in your face attitude of anyone I’ve ever met. Mom says you came out with an attitude and I think you’ve been fine tuning it for 23 years. You’re a spectacular teacher (even if your kids drive you nuts most days) & I can’t wait to see what you will do in the future! You’re my little sister and my confidant; my biggest pain the ass & you’ve got my back. So cheers, Becca on surviving 23 years, and 4 Friday the 13th birthdays. We’ll drink some wine when I get home! Love you.

Have a great weekend, y’all!

[Picture via MarieSam Sanchez Photography]

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Friday Four

Guys, last weekend. BLEW. MY. MIND. Remember how on Friday I posted about my BFF’s birthday and then mentioned I had a project up my sleeve? 2013-11-01 21.07.17Surprise! I secretly flew out to California for the weekend (48 hours in a state with a 3 hour time difference plus daylight savings does not a happy body make). My sister and I have kept this secret since August, and I was SO EXCITED to finally make it happen! Despite the fact that it took me 18 hours to get there (2 delayed flights, 2 missed flights, flying into LAX after a shooting, accident on the freeway…basically anything you can think of, it happened), it was so worth the surprise. Since I ended up arriving 6.5 hours later than I was supposed to, we went straight to the bar where Amy was celebrating her birthday to surprise her, and then went to my parents house early the next morning to surprise them! So. Much. Fun. I live for this kind of stuff!! So, without further ado, here are my top 4 favorite moments from last weekend:

1. Surprising Amy. Y’all, she was blown away. In all the years I’ve been doing this, this one was definitely the most gratifying of all. Best birthday present ever.

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2. Surprising my parents! My sister wandered in a 8am on Saturday under the pretense of being bored (I literally had to drag her out of bed to go over, so you can imagine that my mom wasn’t buying it). I then walked in and surprised her, and when my dad came downstairs, I can tell you the last thing he expected was me standing in the kitchen asking about breakfast. Spoiler alert: he made an enormous breakfast. It had been almost a year since we’d seen each other, so a visit was long overdue.

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3. Two of Amy’s friends from college were also visiting, whom I’ve known for about 5 years (gosh, has it been that long? Love those girls!), so we did the whole LA thing…starting off with shopping at Rodeo Drive, obviously (Tiffany’s…amazing), followed by wandering West Hollywood, cocktails at the Abbey, and then the requisite LA traffic, of course. Oh, and the Cheesecake Factory’s Ceasar salad is to die for; also it’s your body weight in salad. You’ve been warned.

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4. Can I round up the whole 48 hours as one of my favorite things? Ok, good. We packed SO MUCH STUFF into two days, which was amazing. We went to LA, walked the wetlands in the morning, went shopping at Ikea, had an enormous family dinner on the last night (9 girls who loved my dad’s food. He was in heaven.), and even managed to squeeze in some couch and wine time. Seriously, one of the best weekends of my year.

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I can’t wait until I get to back in July for my birthday! Counting the days down. Oh, and I got to wear tank tops and shorts the whole time I was there. The Fireman said it snowed while I was gone; I cried a little bit inside when I walked out of Logan into 40 degrees. I am so thankful for my family and friends who live in great locations that I get to visit :). Oh, and I plan on mastering the cocktail I had at the Abbey…be on the lookout for a recipe! Hope y’all have a good weekend!

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Our family reunion is in full swing! Today’s Friday Four encapsulates four reasons why this is my favorite week every other year:

1. Babies EVERYWHERE.

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This year we have 2 2 year olds who were mere fetuses last reunion, plus one new baby! As someone who has had baby fever approximately 79% of her life, this is what I consider heaven.

2. Our family kayak trip.

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30ish people. 3ish miles + half a lake. Cooler of beers. Ice cold water. Seriously, it’s the most fun thing of the whole weekend. Especially the end where we try to out paddle each other to shore. We’re not competitive or anything.

3. Enough food to feed an army.

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Literally not joking. We live on leftovers for days…which include lobsters, hamburgers, chicken, salads, rolls, cookies, etc. Best thing ever.

4. Family, duh.

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This is my generation, and since this picture 4 years ago, we’ve added at least 6 kids to it, not to mention at least 6 to the next generation. We’re like rabbits.

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Enjoy your weekend! This morning I’m hanging out with my main man! Today I’ll be lounging in the water with my babies and paddling down the river tomorrow!!!

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For years I’ve never understood the whole “ugh, it’s Monday again” thing; mostly because my Mondays were still my weekends. But yesterday, I was full on smacked in the face by the Monday blahs. Why? My BFF flew in for the week and spent the weekend with me, and you can’t pay for that kind of friendship. I spent the weekend drinking gallons of sangria, hanging out at the sandbar, swimming, tanning, and building sandcastles. Summer is here in force, y’all. Hence the Monday blahs.

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It doesn’t help when this is your view. It’s a shame we live somewhere so ugly.

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There was a lot of this (and that’s my if-shes-22-she’s-not-a-baby sister).

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And this ugly one. Remember her?

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And this lady. I adore her and wish she lived closer! This whole long distance relationship is hard, y’all :).

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Seriously. Because then we could take more of these pictures. Because we don’t have enough yet.

Blah. Work is so boring compared to being on the lake with my girls.

And with that, I’m off to DIY some stuff and finish up a wedding go to the lake.

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Happy Birthday!

Today is my baby sister’s 22nd birthday…which means that I am officially old. BUT, it gives me an excuse to chronicle her more formative years on this here little blog.

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Look at those little chubby bunny cheeks!!

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As you can tell, we had some sweet style. Aaaand she was still chubby.

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And she picked her nose nonchalantly. And she bit. Glad she’s out of that stage.

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She also shunned clothes for two years during the summer. Glad she’s out of THAT stage too.

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That’s when we entered the “pin stage,” as I remember it. I was terrified that I was going to get stuck EVERY TIME, but Becca was happy to wear whatever our Mom stuck on us. This was one of her favorites because Santa could dance. She’s a little special.

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This is just plain hilarious.

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And so is this. I WASN’T THE BITER, BEC. Stop giving me that look.

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Our little nugget was only 8 weeks old, and also a biter. Really runs in the family. Can’t wait to see what Bec’s kids look like.

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I have literally no words for this, except for: suspenders.

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Happy birthday, kid. You’re an adult, which is only slightly terrifying. I love you and can’t wait to celebrate with you this summer!!!

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Tomorrow is my Daddy’s 60th birthday & in honor of him, I thought I’d share four of my favorite pictures of him!

1. 1993 I think? You know, just chilling out in Newport Harbor with a glass of Chardonnay. Which has happened basically every weekend for as long as I can remember.

dad on the boat

2. 1994, in South Lake Tahoe. Still remains one of my favorite pictures of all time.

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3. 1965 (maybe. I’m totally spitballing.) But I totally see where I get my cheeseball smile from :).

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4. December 2012.

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Happy Birthday Daddy! Wish I could be there to help you blow all those candles out tomorrow. Love you!!

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Let’s just call this the “lost weekend,” shall we? In the beginning of December, my cousin Liz and I visited another cousin at the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. And while it sounds entirely wholesome, I would never encourage you to step foot onto a campus where all of the guys are in uniform. ALL. THE. TIME.

I mean, the yum factor was sky high.

Oh, and the architecture was cool too.

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My cousin gets to live HERE. He says the inside looks like a creepy dorm bathroom with old linoleum floors and bad fluorescent lighting, but WHO CARES?! It’s so darn pretty outside.

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And they have sunsets like this! I’d say bad lighting is worth it.

I am sad to say that I deleted the pictures of our original “hotel” (believe me when I say hotel was stretching it), because I am still fairly certain that our cousin had found a modern day Bates Motel and unwittingly checked us into it. Being the divas that we are (oh, and liking our organs INSIDE OUR BODIES where they belong instead of packed on ice in a cooler on the way to Mexico), we found a Sheraton. Not waking up covered in bed bug bites was divine.

Plus we were next to the mall. Liz likes being able to see the Nordstrom’s sign from her bed.

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Divalicious, amiright??

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For some reason, I appear to be approximately 7.5 months prego. Rest assured, this is not the case; I think I had a big lunch (I also suck at being in pictures, so I’m going to go with that as my Plan B. Hahaha, Plan B? Pregnant? Get it? Never mind).

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There we go. Not prego. And I think we found Liz in a basket somewhere, because she is clearly too pretty to be in our family. But she’s blonde and curses like a sailor, so…I guess she is related.

Oh, and I shouldn’t forget to mention our little clown car.

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For some reason when I reserved a car, I didn’t think that “compact” meant “only up to my boobs.” My bad, guys. I’ve gotta say though, if I lived in a city, I would totally buy this car. Fantastic gas mileage (we barely used half of a tank in a weekend), tons of room, and it WENT. Plus we managed to fit 5 people into it, including these 2 guys:

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Basically 5 people over 5′ 10″. Kind of impressive (and I’m including this picture because my sister likes to look at it; go figure).

You may notice that the Washington Monument has somehow sprung out of Liz’s head because, SURPRISE we decided to take a mini roadtrip to DC. dc

I adore DC. It is just such a beautiful city, and even though nothing has changed there in 23987897 years, I still always learn something when I’m there.

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We also stopped by the Newseum (if you haven’t gone yet, I’d suggest a stop there. AMAZING museum), but didn’t go in since we decided we didn’t want to get stabbed in the dark on the way back to the parking garage.

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I suppose that we’re both being fairly divalicious in this picture, but the light was FABULOUS so how could we not take advantage??

Other things that we did during our stay included but were not limited to:

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1. Getting hopelessly lost in Union Station (even with a map and a detailed phone call as to our cousins location),

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2. Eating quesadillas at 1 am,

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3. Getting lost in Annapolis and then almost getting squished in the drawbridge,

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4. And watching Ravens fireworks from the safety of our locked car in the Baltimore Greyhound bus station (not a place I’d go without a shank).

I mean look at their bathroom graffiti:

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I guess the cursive and pink pen count for some sort of class…

Here’s my conclusion: you should totally go to Annapolis. It’s such a charming city (and guys in uniform, HELLOOOOOO), and it’s so close to everything! I had such a blast that I can’t wait to go back and drink my weight in Starbucks. Oh, and rent a Mazda 2. And go to the Newseum. And DC. That is all.

(Not being perked to talk about the Mazda or the Newseum, they just rock my socks off, and I think they should rock yours off too.)

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Delaware.

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, my mom and I were on our way to Delaware for my aunts funeral. It was a beautiful weekend and there was so much love. HOWEVER, it took us 10 hours to get there…

Massachusetts…Connecticut…

New York…

New York…

New Jersey…Pennsylvania…

Delaware…and our DESTINATION!!

And almost here family…

I got to see people I haven’t seen in years! (Left: 2009, Right: 2012)

We’re a little strange.

My sister and I with our Momma…

Clearly my cousins boyfriend needs to learn how to take pictures…hintidy hint hint, Liz.

The best part of the whole weekend was the last night, where unbeknownst to my uncle, my cousins got ahold of some most excellent fireworks. My aunt LOVED fireworks, and it was so amazing.

It felt like Aunt Helen was there with us! It was such a fantastic weekend.

Psst – Don’t forget to check 365 Days of Photography for my daily picture.

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Since I’ve checked in. So sad. I’ve been busy! The one day that I don’t have to work ANY jobs has been packed.

Last weekend we went to the Fireman’s brothers house and hung out with his family. It has been AGES since I saw them, and it was so nice to finally just relax with his sister in law and nephew. We went swimming, played with their kitten, gossiped, etc. Such a nice break!

The Fireman took his nephews dirtbike out for a spin…it was like watching a monkey uncertainly ride a motorcycle. Sorry honey. It’s true.

I got to hang out with their newest little munchkin, Maggie. She’s so adorable its ridiculous.

Oh, and their older munchkin, Cody. Everytime I come over its like I’ve been gone for years. That kind of appreciation is so nice!

The Fireman and his brother were cutting trees down on their property so that they can build a sap house this summer. I’m so excited to watch the process and then make syrup next year!

This is my favorite nephew. He’s a total punk but I love him to death.

Did I mention that I love him lots?

What a beautiful, relaxing, happy family day. Sorry for the long blog-cation, but I needed the mental de-stressing!!!

Psst – Don’t forget to check 365 Days of Photography for my daily picture!

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