Thursday, August 28, 2014

An Apple A Day

One of my favorite things to do when I visit home is to take a trip to the Avila Valley Barn to look through all the fresh fruits and veggies, cuddle with the baby goats and peruse the endless array of baked goods. The pies and cobblers are delicious, but the handheld olallieberry turnovers takes top honors in my book!


Something I've never done in all my prior visits, however, is take a hayride out to the fields where you can pick your own produce. So I was excited to go apple picking with my cousins when they suggested it as our final adventure of the weekend! And it ended up only costing a buck apiece! Total bargain.

We all piled onto the hay-covered trailer (though it took some maneuvering to get this prego on board!) and settled in to enjoyed the short ride out to the fields nearby. It was bumpy and dusty but Pa/Uncle Dave kept us laughing the whole way. Once we made it out to the apple orchard, they gave us bags and set us loose! We were free to roam throughout the field in search of the perfect fruit, then hitch a ride back with the next tractor.



Hayley and Brian teamed up to reach some apples none of the rest of us could get to, while Pa encouraged "creative" use of apples in photos (all deemed too scandalous for this blog). Oh Pa. It was crazy hot, but we had a really fun time and filled our bags quickly, then the tractor came back for us right as we were heading back to the road. Perfect timing. Thanks for a fun afternoon and a new experience in my own backyard!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The Gang's All Here

It was quite a wild weekend at the Stephenson Ranch during my last visit, what with members from both sides of the family pouring in to the central coast from all over California, bringing the visitor count to a whopping 22.5 folks (Baby C counts for something, right?). So we prepped wood for a bonfire, laid out the bags set from my wedding, fired up the bbq pits (all three of them!) and invited everyone to make whatever specialty they pleased.


Uncle Dave started things off right with spicy linguica paired with a very sharp cheddar, while Uncle Mark and Aunt Debbie whipped up some of their famous smashed potatoes - first steamed, then buttered and baked, topped with either bacon or artichokes and cheese. YUM. Rounded out the meal with a giant pork tenderloin and some grilled veggies. Auntie Carole took care of dessert with two bomb dot com cakes - a super moist lemon icebox cake with cool whip topping and a dense chocolate cake with caramel chocolate swirl frosting. In. Sane.

Ryan put together a Family Bags Tournament and presided over the elimination rounds 
with an air of authority commensurate with that of a yacht club president.

After several thrilling opening rounds, favorites Michelle and Uncle Mark came face to face with unexpected power players Leigh and Artie the One Man Party (that technique! where did they come up with it?!).  In a nailbiting final round (18-17, 18-18, 18-19!!), M&M snagged the coveted title when Artie inadvertently sank a 3-point beanbag to put his team over the maximum allowable number of points.  Congrats to Mark and Shell!  Talk of a Christmas rematch tournament and demands of partner re-drafts (it was fair and square, sorry KK and Lis) are already in the works.  

Thank you to my wonderful extended family for a remarkably fun weekend. You fill my heart to the brim, and make me more excited than ever to bring a new little ragamuffin into this silly, loving mix.

Monday, August 25, 2014

29 Weeks

 Baby C is on vacation!


We are in Cape May, New Jersey, this week!  Rented a beach house with our friends, the Spero's, in a quiet little town we knew very little about beforehand, but has turned out to be a tiny piece of heaven. It's so pretty and calm and relaxing. We are having an amazing time, walking along the beach in the mornings, tennis for the dads during naptime and local excursions in the afternoon. Baby is wiggling up a storm, very active throughout the day now (and most of the night, too). Looking forward to putting our feet up and getting lots of rest this week.

Gearing up for thuglife parenthood.

 Exploring the shore.

 Still got it!

 Have a happy week! xoxo

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Baby Shower

My dear friends Andrea and Kady threw the sweetest baby shower while I was home in Nipomo!


Andrea and her husband just recently purchased a new house in Nipomo, quite close to my parents, and the afternoon soiree was held in her brand new backyard. Uber creative Kady, who used to design the floor and window displays at Anthropologie, handled d├ęcor so naturally it was classic and gorgeous (just like her).


My sweet cousins made the trek up from LA and out to the coast from Fresno for the weekend.

It was so fun to have members from both sides of the family all hanging out together. 

Little Tanner was helpful with opening Baby C's thoughtful cards and beautiful gifts. And my friend Cheyann, whom I've known since junior high school, was the surprise talent of the day - she handmade the soft orange blanket below (satin edges!) and crocheted an adorable pair of teeny, tiny white booties.


The Dunn's passed along the tradition of dress-up and make-believe, gifting us a favorite Halloween costume from several years back - a Chewbacca suit Hayley sported at two years old when big brother was Luke.

And it wouldn't be a party without a sneaky selfie from baby sister, now would it?

It was a beautiful afternoon and I was riddled with emotion. Thank you so much to the wonderful women in my life for all of your encouragement and guidance. It's been a bit strange to go through this pregnancy mostly isolated (at least physically) from my family and friends back in California. This familial, touching weekend was a much-needed time for me. I so very much appreciate you all coming to share in this fun day, as well as the care and support you've constantly shown through letters, texts and email. I love you ladies dearly.