Our Planksgiving-Thanksgiving Weekend

Jun 29, 2016

Our Thanksgiving weekend was a good one, though less traditional than ever! T and I arrived in town early, early Tuesday morning, with my parents, Tressie and Matt arriving about 24 hours later. We spent Wednesday preparing for our "Planksgiving" feast that would take place later Wednesday evening in order to accommodate my brother in law's work schedule. A trip to Costco was in order for a few last minute items and we stopped to try on cute sweaters while we were there.

Wednesday evening we gathered. My family, Bruce's family, some friends from Bruce's department and our next door neighbors. We feasted on ribs (smoked by our neighbor), crab, shrimp, biscuits, salad and potatoes, not to mention a plethora of desserts. Everything was absolutely amazing and we ate until we were beyond stuffed. My favourite part of the meal was the adorable turkey place cards the girls had made to decorate the table. 

We all woke bright and early on actual Thanksgiving morning to watch Bruce and his friends from the PD play their annual Thanksgiving football game. We brought the puppies along and they had a great time playing while the rest of us watched the game and socialized. 

After the game, we went to Roy & Amy's house for brunch. While we were there, Tressie and the girls tried out some living room AcroYoga and Baby Shark Bait got festive with his headwear. 

Thanksgiving night, my family and Bruce's family (minus my brother in law) gathered once again for dutch oven beef stew, cooked in our fire pit. Another amazing meal, after which we had a little impromptu birthday celebration for Uncle Matt-Stache. Complete with fake mustaches all around. 

On Friday, we all went to see The Good Dinosaur, then browsed the shops at the mall. When we got home, we had just enough time to run over to my favourite waterfall so I could snap a few pictures of Tressie and Matt. As we were climbing into the car to head to the waterfall, my parents were just pulling in from the mall. I made them pose together for a quick photo and got my most favourite picture of them ever! Definitely a photo I will treasure always. 

Saturday morning my family all headed out. T and Horatio had a long drive back home and Matt had to be back in SLC for work on Sunday. We said our goodbyes then spent the rest of our weekend adjusting to our new family member... though honestly, it wasn't much of an adjustment at all. Other than remembering not to leave toys out where she could chew them... 

Saturday night we finished off our Planksgiving-Thanksgiving celebration with our annual holiday show. We took the kiddos to see the Phoenix Symphony's Pixar in Concert. We weren't quite sure what to expect, but knew there would be music from the scores of various Pixar films, with images projected onto a screen. We hoped it would be a bit like the Animation Academy at Disneyland. Well, the performance far exceeded any expectations we had. It was phenomenal. The music was amazing, the video clips were spot on with the music and my four hooligans were on their best behaviour. Even Man Cub was completely captivated. It wasn't our traditional Christmas themed performance, but it was amazing and I am so glad we went! I always love attending the Symphony.

Kevin The Bird

Jun 26, 2016

Shark Bait and I had been home from our whirlwind weekend in San Francisco just a little more than 24 hours when another whirlwind came our way. This time, in the form of a sweet 4 month old Border Collie/Blue Heeler/Brittany Spaniel mix that Man Cub affectionately named Kevin the Bird. 

My sister and her husband had gotten Kevin when she was about two months old. They called her Cleo and they loved her so much. But. Cleo/Kevin is a very high energy breed which was hard for two students living in an apartment. Tressie mentioned to me the possibility of us adopting Kevin as Man Cub was desperate for a puppy. Bruce and I talked about it and even though we weren't necessarily looking to get a dog anytime soon, adopting Cleo felt right so we said yes. 

Tressie and Matt brought her down to Arizona for Thanksgiving and Man Cub took to her right away (and the two have been pretty inseparable ever since). Man Cub really wanted to name his puppy Kevin the Bird, after the bird on UP, and since Kevin the Bird from UP ended up being a girl, I thought the name worked. Ü I know Tressie and Matt miss having her around, but we are so grateful to them for bringing Kevin into our lives. It can be tough having a puppy who is only 2 days younger than our baby, but she is a lot of fun and loves the kiddos so much. She is most definitely a loved member of our family. 

San Francisco Whirlwind

The weekend before Thanksgiving, Shark Bait and I took a whirlwind trip to San Francisco to see my brother T. He was going to drive to Phoenix for Thanksgiving and wanted a road trip buddy. I LOVE road trips, so he flew me up to see him for 36 hours, then the Monday before Thanksgiving we made the 12, turned 17, hour drive to my house. 

The flight to SF was uneventful. Shark Bait was a dream travel partner, as always. We were both excited to land and see T and meet his new puppy, a 10 week old Newfie named Horatio. Horatio and Shark Bait became fast friends and spent a lot of time together in the back seat of T's car over the next few days. 

When we first arrived, T told me he was going to take me to my favourite place. Having never been to SF before, I wasn't quite sure what he meant, so I jokingly said "the temple!". He grinned and told me that yes, he was going to take me to see the Oakland temple. We went by his work first so he could show me around and we could get a picture of Shark Bait in the Hyrule Kingdom (aka- Link) room. We then went out for real ramen. I have always equated ramen to the 10 cent noodle packs you buy at the grocery store. I was pleasantly surprised to find that actual ramen is much tastier. Then it was time for the temple! Shark Bait and I wandered the grounds and enjoyed the beautiful view of the city below. We touched the Oakland temple and took a picture to show the other kiddos. We then went to Alameda for some Tuckers ice cream. Eggnog for T and butter pecan for me, after which we headed to T's apartment where he spoiled Shark Bait with pressies from his recent trip to England and we binge watched iZombie. 

Sunday morning T walked Shark Bait and I to church where I really enjoyed the Sacrament service I attended. One speaker in particular really struck a cord with me. He talked about the importance of discipleship and how it is often said that we are the average of the 5 people we spend the most time with. I completely expected him to say that we need to be spending enough time with Heavenly Father and Jesus to include Them in that average. Instead, he talked about surrounding ourselves with good people who help lift us up. Definitely an important concept, but what I took away from the talk was the importance of spending as much time as possible with my Heavenly Father and His Son, so that I can be as much like them as possible. 

After church, T showed me around town. He took me to see the Golden Gate Bridge (which Shark Bait slept through!) and we had Gorilla Barbecue for lunch. It was amazing. The best barbecue I've ever had, and I make some pretty darn good barbecue myself. I'm dying to eat there again. Then we drove along the coast a bit and stopped in Half Moon Bay to watch the sun begin to set. We ran a couple of errands on the way home to be sure we were ready to leave the next day, then ate pizza for dinner and watched... you got it, more iZombie. And Shark Bait continued to be his usual, happy self the entire time. Especially when I let him sit up like a big boy in his stroller. 

Monday morning we set out on our epic road trip.  We said goodbye to T's cute street with all it's historic houses and got the boys comfy in the back seat. The drive should typically take about 12 hours, but we stretched it out to a nice 17. We stopped about an hour out and had lunch with some old friends of mine who had moved home to the Bay Area after living in Phoenix for several years for school. It was so nice to catch up with them a bit. Then we hit the LA traffic and stopped for dinner in Pasadena. Never mind all the stops for Horatio to go potty or Shark Bait to eat. Lesson learned- driving with a new puppy and a small infant really adds to the travel time! But regardless of all the stops, we had a great trip and I loved the chance to spend time with my brother and talk his ear off for 17 hours straight! I had an absolutely lovely visit with him and would do it again in a heart beat.

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