My brother is so amazingly blessed! He has this beautiful red-headed daughter... (with a beautiful red-headed wife)
these two crazy little look-a-likes...and he lives on the OREGON COAST.
Some people are the luckiest. Guess I am one of them though because we got to go and visit and share in his blessings. Grampa Bruno, Grandpa and Grandma came all the way from Arizona and we hung out all weekend.
Saw a whale right around here in Depoe Bay. Definitely a recommended go-to spot!
We took Aida both nights and she was just the sweetest little pumpkin. We all just loved having her hang with us!
Since it was the last weekend before school starts we decided to take Highway 101 all the way up the coast. Our first stop.. Pacific City.
I could have stopped here and maybe never left.
Tillamook Cheese Factory was one stop. Super crowded but there is something about factories that is so fascinating to me!! Then we saw some Paddle Boats in Seaside and had to pull over to climb in. Not as easy as it looks - but we paddled our hearts out.
The whole trip took about 10 hours. 5 hours over the normal time. But we bonded and made memories and that is what matters, right?
It has been a year since our move from Arizona. I can't convey how happy I am that we made the move. There has been no moment ever of regret. Sometimes you just got to jump in and go for it!!
P.S. Some people are just "too cool" for life vests. But I wasn't going to chance it. Willing to be the lame adult on the river in a life vest.
When I think of Vegas, I think of this very Handsome Man...alone!
But this trip was to celebrate Jarett and Kris's 10 year Anniversary and we brought the whole crew. They LOVED every minute of it (except for the crowds and waiting in line!) We all bought cute new dresses and enjoyed getting all pretty.
The primping didn't stop there. We celebrated in the President's suite of the MGM Grand Hotel and the girls enjoyed all the mirrors and beatifying themselves.
Even Miss Lilly tried to get in on the action with the cousins.
These two crazies thought the whole things was for them. Sparkling Cider, riding elevators, beautiful clothes - all up their DIVA alley.
And to be together again? What could be more perfect?
FINALLY, I was able to get this man all to myself when the adults went out. Nothing better then being on his arm. I would let him lead me anywhere!
Anywhere is actually where we went. We walked and walked and walked. I clocked over 8 miles in one day. The girls never complained. I guess there was just too much to see.
The last day was a little emotional. We loved the trip and are so glad we made it. Even if just for a Madee hug!
Happy Birthday - a little late but, fashionably, of course! In true Audrey style we planned a fun-filled party for you this year. It was Oh-la-la Paris theme and we started out with the girls meeting us at the Bella Dolche Salon for Mani/Pedi's.
The girls you invited were all so sweet and I think they felt very pampered. I can tell by watching you that you make sure every girl knows that pampering is important. The easiest way I know to lift your spirit is to head right into the bathroom. A quick beauty routine and you are all good!
The party didn't stop there. We headed back to the house for a Paris themed dinner of Croissant sandwiches, French fries, and fruit.
You enjoy a good planned out event. No surprises for you. Why take a chance when you can pre-plan and have everything orchestrated the way you want it to go? (I might have encouraged this...)
You are a diva through and through. I know you are getting old and I should treat you as such. But really it is so hard when I am trying to have a serious conversation with you and you are doing pirouettes around the kitchen table. Don't stop though- dance your way through life. I know it brings you joy!
I look at you at 11 years old and I just can't believe what a beautiful young girl I am raising. You are gracious and kind to everyone you meet. You are convicted about loving Jesus and making sure people know that he is part of who you are. Sometimes you worry and can be a little obsessive but I hope you learn to how to cope with those feelings and that you always know where to turn when life becomes too much for you.
We love you so much, little bean! Happy Birthday ~ Love, Mom
Couple of pictures from our trip to the Olympic National Park.
It looks like a picture out of a movie... (Twilight anyone?) Not sure if my snapshots do it justice though.
On our way to the Sol Duc Hot Springs.
Carissa seems to find the closest downed tree and climb to the end of it at every opportunity.
One stop was in front of a HUGE Sitka Spruce true. This one is said to be over 500 years old. We were imagining the centuries of people that may have walked by.
The Hoh Rainforest was another destination. Love the moss growing over the old phone booth. Crazy but it rains over 241 inches in the rainforest a year. To put that in perspective, Phoenix gets about 7" a year and Seattle gets 32". The day we were there it was so sunny we got sunburned.
(I continue to believe strongly God has a great sense of humor!)
Grandma turned six-two on this trip. Happy we could share the day with her.
This year I am off by about a month posting you a letter. But I just know you understand, because, well you are just that kind of girl. You notice the people around you and you adapt to your circumstances. So thank you for letting us change plans on you and then change plans again! In case you don't remember the first MAJOR thing that got in the way was this house!!
Yes, we bought a house 4 days before your birthday and it is so wonderful and perfect. I see us living her for a long time. (Like more then our 3 year average!)
While we were moving some of the things over one night there were some packages on the doorstep. A big beanbag all your own from Grandma and Twilight Sparkle from your cousins. You were in heaven. People know what you like!
Since our moving happened to be right in the middle of your birthday you had to wait just a tad bit longer for your party. Uncle Jake came to help so we took a moving break and went to a Mariner's game. You loved it!
We had awesome seats! It was so easy to watch the game and I think you really got it. You were counting strikes and watching the guy on 2nd try to steal a base. When it comes to learning something new you are all in!
Finally...we were all settled in and you had two of your best friends over for a camp out birthday party. We made dream catchers and decorated flashlights.
You guys made crazy faces and played in the tent. We ended the night with yummy s'mores.
You would think we could relax after that. But not so fast... Recital time was the following weekend. You and your sister rocked it at the dance recital. You are a beautiful, graceful girl and a joy to watch on stage. You learned so much this year and get to move up to Ballet II next year!
Finally, we had the last day of school. You goofed off with your crazy best friends and I felt so proud of you. My sweet, now 8 year old, 3rd Grader!! You are starting to memorize your multiplication facts and read and read and read.
After all that though, Mommy needed a break, so you jumped in the RV with Grandma and she took you and your sister to the Olympic National Park.
Even though school is out for the summer it didn't mean you weren't going to learn anymore. You dove right in to the Junior Ranger Program and completed the whole booklet. When we meet you up there for the weekend I saw you get sworn in at the ranger station. You wore the badge proudly and I began to wonder just what you might become in this lifetime. The possibilities are endless!!
Sometimes, at birthdays I get a little sad that my "Kissa" is getting so big. But this year I feel differently for some reason. I can see great changes in you and am so proud of all you are becoming. I love chatting with you and hearing your insight.
You might be the youngest of our family but you will never be the least. We love you so much Carissa Grace! Love, Mom