Like every year, we spent Thanksgiving weekend with Mike’s family in Northern California. We drove and it’s soooo long with all the stops necessary to feed kids, go to the bathroom (Annie and a certain Diet Coke drinker had to stop often), get gas, etc. Arriving is such a relief.

My sister-in-law, Monica, and her family also stay with Mike’s parents, so it’s a full house. It’s great for Annie to have all that access to her cousins. Annie ran around with her two youngest cousins, and they completely entertained each other for hours.

entertaining each other!!

It was amazing! Annie had a blast, and James enjoyed undivided adult attention. Monica made our entire Thanksgiving dinner from scratch. It was DELICIOUS. She is now officially the family chef. I’m craving the pumpkin-apple soup she made, and need the recipe ASAP.

The day after Thanksgiving, we drove to Santa Cruz to meet up with our friends Victoria and Alexis and their kids. Mike and I hadn’t been to Santa Cruz in at least twenty years. It was a gorgeous drive through tree-covered mountains, and we had a wonderful time catching up with our friends while the kids played and watched the sea lions.

After we left our friends, we took the kids to the Santa Cruz Boardwalk. We thought Annie would enjoy some of the kiddie rides, but she was seriously pissed that we wouldn’t take her in the ocean.

I'm just gonna stand here and pout.

Eventually, she came around to playing some of the games, especially when she realized there were prizes to be won.

playin' games


We bought some tickets for the rides. Luckily, she was tall enough.

not exactly getting it

James and I waited while Mike and Annie went on the carousel:

watching for annie
He was very intent on spotting her.

Eventually, Annie spotted the Beach Swing ride, and went on it about three or four times. She was obsessed with it!

loves the beach swing

loves the beach swing

I love that she has no problem going on these sorts of rides by herself..

copter pilot

And of course, it wouldn’t be a trip to the Bay Area without a stop at Ghirardelli Square:


Annie was sad to say goodbye to everyone, but I reminded her that we’ll see them all again this weekend to celebrate Mike’s birthday! It’s hard to believe the most wonderful/crazy/jam-packed time of the year is upon us, but it’s already two days into December so I need to get on the stick. I’ve resolved to be relaxed about everything from decorating to shopping. I want everything to be special for the kids, but I also want to enjoy them enjoying everything. They’re only going to be this little once.

bed bugs