Tag Archives: family

Divorce doesn’t always suck

27 Dec

I know some of you may read this and think that I am crazy.  And no, I have never been divorced but my parents did when I was in kindergarten/first grade.  A lot of people don’t believe in divorce and I’m not saying to proactively get a divorce because your outcome may not come out like mine but without divorce in my family I would have never been blessed with my amazing step parents and their families.

You see, my parents both lost their parents either before I was born or when I was an infant so I really never had grandparents and my Aunt and Uncle both lived across the country.  We made trips to go see them and are close with them but we are extremely lucky if we get to see them once a year.  I don’t ever remember my parents fighting but I also don’t remember them together.  It was as simple as that.  I have great memories with my mom as a child and great memories with my dad.  Both great parents they just didn’t really work as a team.

After their split, they had dated a few people to my brother and my disliking.  That wasn’t the best but when my mom found my stepdad, Darrin, and my dad found my stepmom, Vicki, we knew that these were the perfect additions to all of our lives.  They really contribute so much love and happiness to our family and I’ve always considered them family and not “step parents” per se.  It’s great also because my entire family gets along!  We all go to big events together like my brother’s wedding and his award ceremony and anything that we can all share.  Because of this, every Christmas is amazing getting to see everyone in our growing family 🙂

We always go to my dad and Vicki’s for Christmas Eve and this year we decided to go to the gun range for some non-traditional fun.

The Livermore Gun Club.

You have to sit in these short stations.  I’d never seen a range like this before.  Whenever I’ve gone shooting, it was skeet where you can stand.

My brother is an excellent marksman from his military training.

My dad and brother setting up our target frame.

My dad.

Vicki trying to squat down to see the target since the opening of the station is pretty short.

Me and my dad 🙂

Me shooting.  This shotgun was no joke.  I’ve shot 12 gauges before but we were shooting slugs and it had much more of a kick than I was used to.

My dad and Vicki ❤

My brother and my dad.

Of course it turned into some sort of contest at which I have to say my brother and dad draw.  They were both great shots but our target was so far it was hard to tell who hit what.  We then headed home for some soup and a lighter lunch to hold us over until we went over to Nan’s (Vicki’s mom).

We all have a big dinner and then gather around to exchange gifts and catch up on life.  This is all “inherited” family through Vicki and I feel so lucky to say that now because of her and Darrin (my stepdad), I have a HUGE family!

My dad and I looking at his new ornament.  We get a new ornament every year and I can’t wait to display all my ornaments some day when I can have a large tree of my own!

My brother and Liz got to come home and be silly for a few days.  It was beyond nice to see them since they are stationed in Texas at the moment.

Nan’s Christmas tree.

Christmas breakfast at my dad and Vicki’s… This was an AMAZING french toast casserole!

Vicki could be the next Martha Stewart.

After breakfast, we head over to my mom and Darrin’s for gift exchanging and brunch.

We all sit by the tree and exchange our presents.  We also wad up our wrapping paper scraps and see who can make it in the fireplace from the farthest haha.  This year, Liz was the winner!

My brother’s new prized possession?  A remote control helicopter that he was trying to fly over the cat…

My Christmas was so wonderful and the only complaint I have is that I didn’t have enough time with everyone.  The holidays come and go but quality time is priceless.  I know divorce situations do not turn out like this for everyone and I feel extremely blessed by my situation.  Yes, juggling isn’t always the easiest due to the amount of hours in the day, but there is never any tugging or un-fair requests.  Divorce isn’t always the best option for everyone but in my parent’s case, it couldn’t have brought any more positive people into my life.  My parents didn’t meet their matches right away but when they did it was instant.

I hope everyone else had a wonderful holiday as well!  Now I must pack and I’m off to the UP for New Years, I can’t wait :)!

It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas! 5 Reasons why I’m so excited for the Holiday season

8 Nov

OK, OK.  I know it’s not even Thanksgiving, which I am also VERY excited for, but with the time change and all the new exciting lights out in the city, it’s really getting me prepared for a wonderful holiday!  There are so many reasons why I enjoy this time of year but here are 5 to get me started:

1. Gingerbread!

(photo cred)

I love gingerbread cookies, gingerbread with icing, gingerbread teas/coffees, gingerbread scented candles and pretty much gingerbread everything.  There’s something so nice about being snuggled up inside the warm house with gingerbread around.

2. Decorations!

(photo cred)

San Francisco turns all of the large financial district buildings into large presents.  At least that’s what I see when I look at them 🙂  The lights are so beautiful.  I also love driving around all of the suburban neighborhoods and looking at the Christmas decorations.

3. Snow!

(photo cred)

Although we don’t get snow where I live, this is the time of year when I know snow is falling in all of the mountain towns.  The resorts will fill up and it’s time to go snowboarding.  I usually make a trip out to Michigan around Christmas where Ian’s family is and spend time in the snow with them.  It’s always so beautiful to experience snow around the holidays.  Last year it snowed on New Year’s Eve in Michigan and it was beautiful!

4. Quality Time!

(photo cred)

I know, I’m a total family person.  I love getting to spend quality time with my friends and family on the few extra days off of work.  It’s so nice to just share stories and catch up on life.

5. The Movies!!!

I feel like every family has their tradition of what movies they watch around the holidays.  I LOVE holiday movies so much.

A Christmas Story has always been our staple.  I love the scene where Ralphy’s brother is trapped in his snow one-sy.

Progressively over the years, Elf has become more of a staple.  It’s just so hilarious I can’t even point out one of my favorite parts.  Will Ferrel does such a great job of bringing the jolliness in this movie.

Christmas time is one of my favorites and I’m going to enjoy every moment of this upcoming season 🙂

Flashback Friday – Summer Sundays

14 Oct

Whenever there is downtime on a Sunday my family can always manage to pull it together for a Sunday get together.  Since I am lucky enough to have two amazing families (parents both re-married to whom I believe are their soul mates), there can be anyone dropping in on a family day.  This past summer of Sundays a few of us were able to gather at my mom and step dad’s for a fabulous dinner and valuable time spent together!

I love getting to see our dogs.  They are my family’s dogs and since I have a small place of my own now and I’m gone all the time, I can’t have my own yet.  It wouldn’t be fair to the animal but I still get to see our dogs when I head to my parents.

Of course, if we are anywhere near the pool Sierra can’t resist but show off her swimming and retrieving skills.  It’s rather entertaining.  However, she has tunnel vision for the pool.  Once she jumps in, it’s so hard to get her out unless Darrin calls to her.  She is very loyal to him 🙂

The sweet girl, Sammy.  She has been aging the past few years but still tries to keep up with Sierra.  You just can’t help but smile at this face.

We spend many days out by the pool and many nights in the hot tub.  I love being in water especially on nice summer days and nights!

Backyard flowers.

And there are always good treats around!  My mom is a terrific baker.

I thought I would post about this today because the weather has been so beautiful and Ian’s family is coming into town tonight :).  We are going to have a dinner all together at my mom and Darrin’s this Saturday where my dad and Vicki can also join us!  It’s going to be so nice to get to spend quality time with everyone and just enjoy a delicious meal all together.  I can’t wait!

This will be one of the first that my brother and his wife, Liz, unfortunately won’t be able to attend.  We will miss them greatly but can’t wait to see them next month.  They had to move to Texas so my brother could continue his pilot school training.



Flashback Friday!

23 Sep

I used to be an avid home movie maker (which I still do I just haven’t posted any videos in a long time BUT working on putting some of the newer, better stuff up!).  Below is a short video I made of flying over the Great Barrier Reef in Australia from Cannes to Dunk Island.  It’s not the most exciting video I’ve ever made but the shots of the water are so blue, I just want to go back to Australia now!  It gets much more entertaining half way through with my brother’s antics.  I have some pretty hilarious and embarassing content for my new idea of “Flashback Fridays.”  It’s OK I can definitely have a good laugh at some of my past projects so feel free to as well as I post them 🙂

Oh and the part where my brother talks about swimming with a shark… that really happened minus his exaggerations 🙂  We ran into one while snorkeling on the reef!

I made a video introducing my family to the world over the course of our two weeks in Australia together and I have to say that one is pretty funny.  I’ll post that one next Friday!

More wedding photos

18 Sep

 Here’s Ian and I at my brother’s wedding:

The wedding was one of the most beautiful settings I’ve seen on Lake Tahoe.  Not to mention I had the best date to accompany me 🙂

Big group shot with Darrin’s entire family.

My nephew Luke and Nicole ❤

Love him, he’s the cutest little boy

The happy newlyweds and my mom.  It was truly a great wedding and I wish we could do it all over again!

Some things are growing really fast

23 Aug

A few weekends ago my family had a huge summer BBQ to celebrate my brother’s summer birthday, most recently.  The ‘kids’ of the family are all summer babies so it’s easiest for us to get together all at once and just enjoy each others company.  Vicki, of course, pulled off an AMAZING summer soiree.

Vicki made bbq chicken breast, grilled asparagus, summer salad, watermelon slices, and amazing potatoes.

Someone also out enjoying the summer was Big Al, the family heirloom.

Here’s my brother and his fiance Liz watching this wondrous animal.

He’s getting HUGE!  Here’s perspective next to an ever-so-classy beer : )

You can’t forget my nephew, Luke.  He has become quite the water baby and of course made himself at home in a small turtle swimming pool.

Nicole and Luke 🙂

My step brother Tyler always making something delicious on the bbq!

I love getting to see all my family.  We all live within an hour drive of each other but get so busy in this crazy world that it’s nice to plan down time together.  I appreciate any family time I can get 🙂

The cutest baby nephew in the world is about to turn one!

13 May

My first baby nephew, whom I just adore, is turning one this weekend or at least celebrating his first year of life.  It’s amazing to see a life form and what an amazing thing.  I can’t wait to see him this weekend 🙂

I just love him 🙂

Stories and captions to come!

3 May

Wow, what can I say except for life has been flying by lately.  I have been sadly too busy to update this every night but am back in action :)!  Last weekend was full of fun and adventure as is always when I have my funner, if that’s even a word, half by my side.  Ian has been here for a week now and I’m loving every second of it!  We have been making the most of our time together and here are some photos to document our adventures.

We took the Richmond bridge over to Stinson beach on Saturday to hang with Ian’s cousins which was a blast.  The weather couldn’t have been better and I love getting to go to the beach whenever possible.

Cruising in Ian’s car with the top off.  His car is so fun and the fact that it’s a convertible just ads to the amazing summer feeling.

The view of Stinson Beach coming down from HWY 1.  I actually have many of this same photo from all of the drives he and I have taken together on this amazing coastal highway.

One of the cute shops on the strip right in front of the beach.  I just love all the fun decorations in beach towns 🙂

Walking down to the beach.

Here are Ian’s cousins Jamie and Damon playing frisbee.

Here are Ian’s cousins Courtney and Jamie as we are about to BBQ.  It was so nice getting to catch up with them and enjoy the sunshine together!

Damon, the master barbeque cook!  Funny story, this flame actually singed the hairs on Ian’s stomach in an instant.   He was trying to cook a hot dog and the flame just caught his hairs with the wind.

On Sunday, I had a horse show with little Zing.  The weather was unbelievably warm on this day.

This was one of our two tests that we rode.

Here we are finished walking out of the arena.  He was quite the naughty horse in this show.  He behaved himself really well but just pooped out in the heat.  We have to work on building a little more endurance for the next one.

Here are Maggie and Jamie from my barn.  They are two amazing riders and are always so helpful!  Don’t know what I’d do without such great friends in my horse world 🙂

I was definitely a tad sweaty after our rides but so happy to have Ian, my parents and my friends at the show!

My parents also endured the heat to watch the show 🙂

Afterward being in the sun all morning at the horse show we decided to relax by my parents pool.  Of course the dogs wanted to join, too.

Spring Love

11 Apr

This weekend my step brother got married at the most beautiful venue.  The bride and her family/friends also creatively made a large percentage of all the wedding decorations.  As always, I was snapping photos.

Here was the venue.  On the property there were a few houses like this but this specific one was where their reception was held.

I always love getting to catch up with family.  Here’s three generations together (my step mom, my step-sister in law, and my nephew).  My nephew is seriously the happiest, sweetest baby.  His name is Luke and he was such a trooper staying up through the entire reception laughing and playing.

The floral arrangements they made themselves!  Such a great idea, the bride wanted to make her own bouquet and they also made all of the center pieces and other bouquets.

The reception area.

The bride and groom leaving the altar.

The groomsmen and groom before the wedding.

Just the cutest!

Brothers, although my lens wasn’t all the way clean at this point and I wish the photo was a tad clearer.

The real photographers 🙂

Bride and Groom 🙂

Jackson, my step cousins baby who is also such an amazingly good baby.  And soooo cute, Jackson and Luke kill me with their cuteness.

First dance ❤

Father/Daughter dance!

Mother/Son dance!

The delicious cake!

Dad and I 🙂

Sooo many more pictures still, will upload more tomorrow night.