A little bit of summer here and there.

I hate to complain about the Bay Area, because it is pretty much perfect. But, I have to admit, this has been the lamest summer, weather wise, thus far. I am talking fog every single day. And, not the nice morning fog that makes you relax in the morning and slowly wake up to the day. I am talking about fog all day every day. I feel like I might as well move back to Oregon in the winter (but have it be like that all year round). Grey is becoming my not so favorite color.

Luckily for Tom, Neko and me we were able to take a long vacation a couple of weeks ago. We had straight sun for 2 whole weeks! I actually got a little red on my cheeks. It felt nice to feel the warmth of the sun. For the first week of our trip we visited with my side of the family in Utah. There were nephews galore, food, drinks, hikes, cousins, brothers, sisters, dads, moms, lots of stuff!

Sam and Braden even found time to go on a date.
Neko likes to feel the wind of her face.
Olivia, Paige, Dylan, Braden

Tennyson is always ready to clean.

For the second week Tom and I visited with his parents at their new cabin in Southern Colorado. They have an awesome plot of land with a 360 degree view. I helped out around the house when I could (they just had a frame and a toilet when we arrived), but spent most of my time laying on the deck watching the clouds role in and out of my view.

The view from the deck of the cabin.

Needless to say, it was hard to adjust when we returned. Back to phones, computers, traffic, people, etc. But, it has been a few weeks and I think I am back into the swing.

Another month has come and gone…

sophia and her baby blue eyes close up

Well, I know that most of you are probably thinking the same thing, but man oh man is time flying right now!

November came and went. It was full of working, tutoring, purse making and much, much more!

For the past 10 days or so, Tom and I vacationed in Fairbanks, Alaska and hung out with his family. Emily, Tom’s sister, just had a beautiful baby girl, so we spent a great deal of time oogling over her (:

a baby girl takes a nap on her uncles chest

There was a “birth”day party for Sophia, with a delicious cake that even had the number zero on it!

detail shot of a strawberry birthday cake

Coco got a bit jealous each time attention was poured over Sophia, so I made sure she got a little time in the spotlight.

dog walking towards to camera

Thanksgiving was full of yummy dishes made by all. Buck took care of some of the traditional items, Sue made a cool looking jello-mold that was filled with yummy-ness.

carving a turkey

family hanging out in the kitchen

Mike made salmon with pasta, Tom made samosas and green bean casserole. Emily made bananas fosters ice cream and I made pumpkin cheesecake, pecan pie and sweet potato pie.

We had enough food to survive for months! Eating leftovers the next day while still in my pajamas was the best part (:

Although it was 30 below when Tom and I arrived it warmed up to a bit above zero, so we took advantage and took a couple of walks in the snow.

lauren holding coco the dog in the middle of alaska snow

I also had a wonderful photo session with Emily, Mike and Sophia. Below are two of my favorite photographs. Very photogenic family!

sophia and her baby blue eyes close up

a man and wife kissing while holding their newborn baby girl

father holding his baby girl on his arm

GlobeTrotters U.S.A

a family standing in front of the yellowstone sign

Tom and I have been really lucky this summer in terms of getting to see our family.

Getting married was one excuse and we all know how fun that was. Since then, Tom and I have been to Wyoming, Catalina Island, and Michigan to see our family.

Cody, WY

We visited with the Ushers, Foxes and Calls. We all stayed in a huge cabin just outside of Yellowstone. Amazing views! On our first day we saw a Mama Moose with two of her youngsters. One the last day we saw the Papa Moose! What a sight that was. Grandma Usher had not met her two youngest great-grandchildren, so that was a treat for her. It was awesome to have all of us all together in one space. We drove down some excellent roads, ate some delicious meals and laughed a lot!


Catalina Island, CA

This was a quick trip, but worth it. Tom and I met up with Mom and Dad, Taylor, Maggie, and Tennyson, Daniel, Sam and Braden and Betsy and Dylan to relax and hang out. That we did. We toured around the city of Avalon for about half a day, then got ice cream and walked around the harbor. Braden and Dylan got to play in the sand for a couple of hours. Constant entertainment for me.
Grand Rapids, MI

Both of Tom’s Grandparents (on his Mom’s side) turned 80 this year! There was a family reunion organized to get everyone together to celebrate. I met Tom’s Grandmother, Lorraine, for the first time. We discovered where Tom gets his sarcastic edge (: Got to see Grandpa Bill again–always a treat. Emily and Mike made the trip, so we got to see her preggerbelly which is always fun. Also met Aunt Barb, Cousins Justin and Karen, Uncles Pat and Jim and some other folks from around the way. We learned how to play a game called “CornHole” Addictive and fun!

The same weekend we went to Michigan we took a day trip to Denver to see Matt and Liz get hitched! We only got to stay a few hours, but I’m glad we did. Had some great conversations, got to see the two love birds say “I do!” and hang with Gabe and Katie for some fun times!

Matt and Liz's Wedding

Along with traveling non-stop, Tom and I have also been enjoying the fruits of Tom’s labor. Our garden has been pretty darn successful considering the crazy weather we’ve had this summer. We’ve eaten fresh salads, used our herbs for chicken, and are awaiting our tomatoes that are just starting to turn red!

two white bowls filled with spinach tomatoes and dressing