Happy Birthday Grampa!

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Momday night we celebrated my Dad's birthday at my parents house. They just finished their big kitchen remodel and spruced up the side area (bye bye trampoline yard!) with a garden path and a fountain. It all looks awesome!!

My dad got live lobsters for a family feed - what a treat! Tiny was terrified but Francie was fearless πŸ˜‰ I think the rubber bands helped. 

Nothing better than Emmy double trouble! Cousins in pink 

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Jannie's new love bird swing - for two or three ladies (and matching summer dresses, thanks Lisa Fuerst!!)

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Tiny was so proud of herself 

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Kids table set - nobody does it better than Jannie!

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Not thrilled that they are moving but Grampary keeps her safe 

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And Uncle Jerry let's them tease him all day long

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Cutest couple around serving up their crew of kids - we are pretty lucky!

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Memorial Day dinner - summer is here

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Big kids table

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And ice cream cake to celebrate Grampa - we love you Dad!!

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Always fun at Jannie and Grampa's house!! That flagstone better hold up to one zillion tricycle laps around the fountain in the next few years!

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A Few More of Cousin Campout

I love that I get to keep reliving our awesome cousin campout weekend at the Ranch through Andrea's amazing photos! Here are a few more of the B&W series she shot of the kids. I love that our styles are so different - I capture half-baked mostly-iPhone attempts at documenting everything that happened and she expertly captures the spirits and soul of the kids and the weekend. Thank you Andrea!

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Easter on The Ranch

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We spent Easter Sunday on the ranch together with just our little family - a rare event coming from big families on both sides! We had intended to go to Easter mass in Fort Jones - even stopped by Saturday to check the time at the adorable little church in town! - but after a late night at the neighbors the girls were all sound asleep at 9am and seemed ambitious to get up, fed, dressed and have pleasant church goers ;)

but the Easter bunny still found us!

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and then we had an egg hunt up behind the house

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my Ukrainian egg attempts. Not winning any awards here ;)

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the girls found them and hid them all again 

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JJ in her finest Easter ranch wardrobe

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her curls are the best after she actually has a shampoo ;)

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and this kid made fast friends with a pet Lizard - carrying it around everywhere and insisted on bringing it home in a Tupperware habitat with straws for air holes. #sorrylizard

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and there were many lizard shows. JJ was Francie's loyal assistant (just don't ask her to hold the lizard)

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I love my view from the cozy couch in this little cabin :) happy Easter!

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and another reason to celebrate - the end of Lent means Heff and I can drink our road trip Diet Cokes again, woohoo! ;)

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65 years of Memories

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yesterday was jannie's 65th birthday! To honor what a special person she is and how many people's lives she has truly touched we asked friends and family from past and present to write her a letter of memories. I didn't expect we'd get all the way to 65... But we got that and more!!

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alicia saw this idea on a blog and helped me, collecting vintage Etsy envelopes and stamping each one... And adding her calligraphy hand to pretty it up!

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people got so creative!! There were long letters and old photos and songs and stories... Even a full book of the story of their friendship!

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it was really fun to actually get MAIL in a mailbox 

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Jannie is so blessed with so many wonderful friends who took time out of their busy lives to do this. Thank you friends! We love you Jannie!

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Red Bluff for Mark's 40th

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We had an awesome weekend up in Red Bluff to celebrate Uncle Mark (aka Uncle Clarky or Hot Dog) turning 40! We planned a pig roast at our house in the Bay Area but it was a hard weekend for Opa/Tom to travel so everyone rallied up north for a weekend of family food and fun. What else is there!?

Friday drive up to Red Bluff - 

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Sprinter arrival - takes a beating on road trips!

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new IKEA kids ware for Oma. and Beer Camp brews for the adults.

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crazy kids - dress up upon arrival everytime

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wow JJ. Not sure what to say about this outfit. Just don't hail a cab to the Palamino Room.

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Smily Tess (who was up sick all night coughing and feverish!) 

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cozy cousins fireside

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5 sister-in-laws and 5 baby girls on hip. #howweroll

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showtime. (or kid jail?)

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Morning buddies JJ and OD. With a cattle stick thing.

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orange slices for snack. not just for soccer teams.

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heff brought good red wine from his friend and told his siblings not to chug it. Oma joked she only got a thimble. haha.

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why so mad J? (backwards inside out pants)

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and then... the pig roast!

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cracklin'

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and pheasant phun. Good huntin' Heff.

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Homemade bagels by Uncle Mark Sunday morning. YUM.

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and kid chaos.

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my big girl in the barn

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and Tiny snoozing in the crib finally. Gheto fixed by Heff. Hand me down cribs just don't last! :)

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Maisie - Today IS Awesome.

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Brothers. (Heff looks short next to these giants! but he was on a slope :)

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love the different reactions to de-feathering the bird.

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HAPPY 40th HOT DOG!

Crazy town + Scarlett = the best kinda crazy!

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We love our crazy life with these four girlies! Our house is usually loud, messy chaotic and... crazy. Just the way I love it! And we get to add to the craziness by having adorable smily SCARLETT here everyday while Auntie Emand Uncle James are hard at work! Scarlett likes to socialize and so she comes to our house with her nanny to hang out with her cousins... it's a circus but we are so blessed to have cousin time everyday with this sweet girl. 

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Uncle James hung out in DTLA with us one day - babies in PLAY (when ABA was here too!) 

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and we joke Martin who runs Red Racer (and used to be the Bumble barista) looks just like James - only edgy :) here are the twins meeting in person for the first time after we told them both 100 times they look like each other.

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Spanish music class at PLAY - Tiny and Scar.

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and we all went up to Kinder assembly one Friday - I had Scarlett in the Ergo and Heff was holding Tiny for a minute, parents were very confused :) Scar loves her Emmy!

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Sweet girl! thanks for hanging out with us - and thanks Em and James for braving traffic to get the girls together everyday!! #cousinlove

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Black Butte Family Reunion 2013

We had a blast in Black Butte Oregon with allll the Heffs! Recap by iPhone photos...

First day walk to the fields for Olympics Field Day

competitors ready!

team purple (Tess was a huge help ;)

and after Olympics - a group swim! 7 uncles and 26 kids in the pool

and talent show preparations - I was so proud of the big girls who took the lead and practiced by themselves all week

Tess my little Kangaroo and I checking on their progress one night :)

and Saturday Annual In-laws versus Out-laws softball game!

Opa Bob has a slide/bounce house he sets up between the houses - somehow after 4 years it's still standing

Ticket to Ride with Oma

Sweet Maggie was such a big help with Tess and by the end of the week Tess was jumping in her arms!

Dinner Sunday night at Pat and Tricia's cabin on the golf course - lots of family pic opportunities! Here are Oma and Opa with all 15 grandkids. Love all the expressions on this shot!

after dinner golf course play (sorry to the sand pit)

Talent show 2013!! The kids were so good! We had joke tellers, songs, card tricks, musical instrument playing, poems and a surprise skit by the adults too :)

iPhone family photo! (most of the BBR pics this year were iPhone - I am just going to own in and admit I am much preferring these lesser quality but REAL LIFE shots!! My big camera comes out occasionally, but I love what I can capture with my pocket cam :)

Tuesday morning horseback ride. DAD took them! what a guy

General store ice cream pop and chips stop

and then an afternoon trip into Bend to check out a barnwood supplier for The Alley - JJ approved (what is this pose)

lunch at Worthy Brewery - my cute husband! (kids were running around roughshot on the grass - it was a very relaxing family lunch!)

Wednesday Dad took these stinkers fishing!

fiesty one! love their faces

cleaning the fish at home

Craig and Andrea made a cool puppet show theater and did a show for the kids - they were into it

sleepy baby heading home - with toys piled on her by big sis

Easter at Jannie and Grampa's

We went over to Jannie and Grampa's for Easter afternoon for lots of fun with cousins.

Francie with her buddies Caroline and Brooke

and it isn't a party til Jannie brings out the Cascarones!

I got to demonstrate the crackin egg technique on Drew- good sport Drewby!

Mimi practicing

sister smash!

Emmy let Tessa "pretend" to get her :)

Wine and confetti - happy UJ

Beautiful Emmy and her buddy Tiny Tess

Jannie and her girls! (just missing Scarlet James!)

and then it was egg cracking contest time (a Greek Easter tradition we adopted! Last egg end to crack wins)

Line up

last ones standing - Jerry and Heff...

Jerry wins!

basking in the glory -

... but notice quiet little Maisie in the corner...

Maisie still had an uncracked egg! (questionable if she cracked with anyone ;)

Jerry ready to take her down - (no a godfather would never do that...)

and it's MAISIE for the win!!

pretty happy about it

and then on to pizza making

if anyone in the family will want to be in the restaurant business - it's this one. (don't worry, we'll tell her to wise up)

pass the baby time

and trike rides

aw such a sad face for cousin kate!

the teenage boy cousins - Luke, James and Drew are very patient with the baby girls!

and where's crazy J been in these pictures? Oh there she is :)

HAPPY EASTER 2013!

Canada Ice Fishing

We had an awesome adventure to Banff Canada the first week in March! We had some airline miles to burn and a free week so we scouted around and picked Banff (ok I admit I it wasn't the poolside pina colada trip I was imagining - but my husband won) We invited Oma, Jannie and Grampa to join us - four kids, ten adults hands = real vacation! I have so many pictures so breaking it up - here are the photos from our full day of ice fishing out on a frozen lake in Calgary - quite the adventure!

plane ride was pretty easy, less than 3 hours! But on a small plane with 2 and 2 seats on each side so we were all spread out. It took us about 45 minutes to print our boarding passes and get an infant pass too. Turns out it causes some problems when 5 of 9 travelers are named MarySomething Heffernan! Don't even get me started on customs...

we started out the drive from Calgary airport to Banff with two Suburbans for all of us and all of our gear. We took JJ and Tess - the grandparent mobile had the big girls

Backree on the other sled

what a tourist

some of the scenery

We drove out about an hour to go ice fishing! The girls were so excited. I had been cooped up in the hotel the first two days while the crowd took the big girls skiing but Tess and I decided to brave the cold and adventure out for some fun. I was so proud of Jannie and her willingness to do this crazy stuff with the girls too! (Not that she hasn't always been adventurous- but the great outdoors Heffernan style is pushing it!)

Grampa and JJ - ready to rock the long trail down to the lake. Looks just like pictures of holding me and my siblings bundled up in the snow - except in color ;)

trekking

Jannie and Grampa - the guide taught us to say WHISKEY when we smile! :)

the girls and the bait hitching a ride

Brian and Oma - the expert fishers!

I swear Tess is in there somewhere

OUT in the middle of a frozen lake. Took me a bit to get used to this...

we found our ice hut

the lone boys

and the girls inside the hut - don't worry the ice holes were only 6 inches wide

we let the girls and the grandmas fish for while in the hut - it was a little crowded!

here fishy fishy

Dad didn't last long without a fishing pole in his hand

Tess says "what the heck are we doing out here mom? the hotel was so warm!"

FIRST FISH! Didn't take long!

purty. JJ was not a fan

Grampa warmed up Tiny so I could have a turn (didn't catch anything, I never do!)

Jannie didn't either - we are not the fisherwomen I guess. Left that to Oma and Heff and Grampa!

but we made sure grampa got a turn - just like the old days on the Lake Tahoe pier!

the girls ventured off to make a fresh hole in the ice with the guide

Happy girls

very happy dad

they have the patience I don't

Jannie is bundled up in that ice hut with a heater and JJ - smart girls!

Tess and I just kept busy taking selfies of ourselves and watching the fishing. She's thrilled ;)

hot chocolate break while dad mans the pole

Maisie back for more action

Jannie and her girls

Maisie was so proud of the "rainbow" she made in the snow

and snow angels

OMA caught this fish - Jannie held it for a photo and when I Instagramed this pic she got all the fish-catching credit - just to set the record straight Jannie wants to make sure everyone knows this was Oma's fish!

yum yum

not giving up - she wanted to stay there all day

so pretty

lunch time!

Family photo

and that's a wrap - back to the hotel for afternoon cocktails!!!

Cousin Visit

We had a great visit from the LA cousins a couple weekends ago. Isabel, Thomas and Ilona got lots of time to play in the creek, build forts, walk downtown and help pick the girls up at school. We had dinner one night with Mark and Clara and the girls were back to their mischief! They somehow emptied the contents of their organized closet (my dot system!) onto the floor and jumped on it. Aunt Mary was not very happy :) but it was great for the kids to have so much time to play together! We love all the cousin time we can get.

creek play

building a fairy fort (we strung twine up and stuck branches and sticks in between them - I might have gotten into this as much as they did :)

Maisie having some Maisie time

Thomas and a walking stick

big girls hard at work

snack break picnic

little T

little woodland creatures

Maisie and Izzy

JJ on the teeter-totter

love the girls laughing together in the background - and Crazy J face of course ;)

Emmy and Tess having a moment

lessons in physics

Big girl JJ throwing rocks

and then... the ice cream truck showed up! (Emmy has him trained to make a special loop by our house everyday :)

i mean what's better than Dora and Tweety "ice cream" that's been sitting in a truck getting freezer burn for who-know-how-many-years?

oh and Sponge Bob

the our nice neighbor invited us to come pick some Meyer Lemons from his abundant tree. Yes please!

they had visions of a lemonade stand. I had visions of a Sidecar ;)

lemonade won...

Thomas is a silly one!

BFF's - since birth!

eatin' all the M&M's

love my big girl

and super jealous of her four arms ;)

wait a minute....

cute trick ladies

they were in rare form

out from behind the camera - rare unless Andrea is there! Me and Ilona

and cute with her momma

walking downtown

Bumble/151/PLAY visits

this was them trying to "clean up" THE BIG MESS. I guess I stopped being mad long enough to take a photo :)

bedtime stories

and school pick up Tuesday morning!

family photo op

thanks for the fun visit guys!

we had way too much fun!