weird. my computer is being funny, and is only showing all the crazy lettering when i download pictures, so i will just do a little commentary first since i have no way of knowing which pictures are which.
anyway.... we had a very fun thanksgiving. we decided to go to california for thanksgiving this year so that we didn't have to worry about the 4 hour, white-knuckle drive through donner summit over christmas (like we did last year). turns out it was a good choice what with all the snow we're getting! anyway, as always, it was such a fun trip--and the girls did surprisingly well on the drive. wednesday was our first full day there, so we took advantage of it by visiting a family favorite: apple hill. have you ever been in a situation where you go somewhere and they have so many delicious treats that you have a hard time deciding what to get? apple hill is one of those place... from the apple donuts, to the carmel apples, to the fresh cider, and mile-high apple pies...they have something that is sure to please every pallet or, as is the case with me, the same pallet over and over:)
in addition to all of the yummies, apple hill has a lot of fun places to explore too. one of our favorites is kids inc. a small, family owned apple farm that even has a few animals. tilly did NOT like the chickens... but warmed up to the goat and pig. avery was completely fearless when it came to the whole thing... no surprise there:) later that evening we had a fun game night with family and friends...my family LOVES games.
the next day we had a yummy thanksgiving feast at my mom's house. we stuffed ourselves to the rafters, and kept that afternoon lazy...just as thanksgiving should be:) later that evening we also went to my uncle rich's house and snagged some of his famous BBQ turkey... that turkey alone is worth the 12 hr. drive...mmm...
early friday morning my mom, sister, friend that's like a sister, and i decided to jump on the crazy train and go black friday shopping. although it wasn't the most relaxing experience, it really wasn't as bad as i imagined it would be. plus, i was able to get a bunch of shopping done in one shot, and at a steal. not to mention the company of those three girls can make the craziest shopping experience extremely fun anyway. that night we did one big erickson family (my mom's side) thanksgiving bash. it was so fun to reconnect with aunts, uncles, and cousins. we had such a fun time. thanks to everyone who planned that event!
on saturday we met our friends robert and lucie in galt (halfway between us) for some pizza. i served with both of them on my mission (and no, they were not apostate missionaries:) and both of them became very dear friends of mine. lucie is from france, and it is always fun to see her and listen to her beautiful accent. we also got to see their little boy jonas, and meet their baby girl, lou, for the first time. we then went to davis to visit chrissie and jason's new digs. jason is going to graduate school in davis, and we had such a nice visit with them--davis was lovely. that evening mom, lindsey, and i made a quick trip to h&m--always a must.
on sunday my entire immediate family got together for family pictures. i haven't seen much but what i have seen turned out really cute (i.e. the new blog-header pic). a family friend, jennifer, was kind enough to shoot us that afternoon at a nearby park. more pictures to follow, i am sure.
it was such a fun trip... though i never feel like it's long enough, and it wasn't fun that my brother and i and the girls came home sick:(. going home is always a good reminder for me of what i have to be grateful for though. closest to the surface after such a trip is my gratitude for good friends and loving family. one thing that is hard about going home is how much worse dad's condition is each time. this time he looked and sounded, well, crazy. he has many different uncontrollable behaviors that occur regularly, and when i look at him, my heart just breaks for him--and for my mom. yes, i am grateful for family, and grateful to know that we can be together eternally, as our BEST selves.