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



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!


and then we had an egg hunt up behind the house


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


the girls found them and hid them all again 


JJ in her finest Easter ranch wardrobe


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


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


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


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


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


Cousin Campout - Year 2!


We gathered up the troops to celebrate the spring birthdays again this year - at the ranch! Some of my favorite photos below but full post on the RANCH link! (still trying to figure out the best way to blog on this new one - I better get the hang of it soon :)

Happy kids after some fun in the mud - nothing like a tub bath!

Out on the creek with Uncle Mark - kids were clothes-less in 2 minutes

And lined up for sheep shearing!

After dinner camp fire for s'mores and sparklers

Sister-in-laws with sleeping babies hike

the best days ever.

some sassy girls on Heff's Troopy

ranch sassy girls.jpg

and one happy dad!

Red Bluff for Mark's 40th


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 - 


Sprinter arrival - takes a beating on road trips!


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


crazy kids - dress up upon arrival everytime


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


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


cozy cousins fireside


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


showtime. (or kid jail?)


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


orange slices for snack. not just for soccer teams.


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


why so mad J? (backwards inside out pants)


and then... the pig roast!




and pheasant phun. Good huntin' Heff.


Homemade bagels by Uncle Mark Sunday morning. YUM.


and kid chaos.


my big girl in the barn


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


Maisie - Today IS Awesome.


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


love the different reactions to de-feathering the bird.



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

Cousin Campout


Last weekend we all got together with the Heff siblings for the "1st Annual 36-hour Pizza Oven Party Campout Bash!" Sarah had suggested we celebrate all the spring birthdays together so we rounded the troops and gathered at our house for the weekend April 5-7. It's not easy to move this group so we decided to stay put, cook three meals a day in the piza oven and camp on the island in the backyard. We split up meal duties and cocktaiul duties (equally important) and let the kids run wild! 

That's some serious cousin love

Francie and Izzy - BFFs

line um up and make um play Simon Says to get a photo op :)

Simon Says stick your fingers in your ears. #workseverytime

these three boys gotta stick together

Jumping for joy

brothers on the BBQ

Friday Night Dinner


and breakfast Saturday morning

just like camping! (only not ;)


FOUR baby girls - the tail end of 15 cousins

Oldest three out of four (Ellie was busy cranking out potholders) Izzy, Kate and Francie

Ellie on the trike hauling kids

The island campout got moved to the grass in the backyar d- it had rained a bit and the creek was too high to risk crossing in the middle of the night for a potty break :)


lots of Dirt and Sunshine (or mud and cloudy weather but still...)


Craig's cocktail supplies and my pretty birthday flowers from my girls at work


Saturday mid-day trip to let the kids (and adults!) play at the arcade and check out The Makery - Oma and ALL her chicks!


White Ladies and Sidecars


Saturday Night pizza making! Jannie brought all the essentials


Matching PJ's from Aunt Kat and Oma!


Saturday afternoon run for more provisions (no kids, just needed empty stroller to haul the booze. totally normal)


The fire that burned for 3 days!


Sunday morning Mark made HOMEMADE bagels. From scratch. they were amazing!


Picnic in the front yard while the dads packed up the tents and cars - what a fun weekend!


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!

Christmas in Red Bluff 2012

As per usual - Christmas in Red Bluff was craziness! 15 cousins, 12 girls/3 boys, 13 of them 5 years old and under! We all stay under the same roof at Oma's house and it's just all kids all the time. And lots of really good food, lots of cocktails and beers and lots of fun. We also had a big birthday bash for Oma and Nana's 65th bday at Kat & Donald's new house on the 28th. We are so lucky to have such a big, crazy family - especially to celebrate holidays like these!

4 babies in 4 months

off on a river walk

Maureen's latest sidekick - baby Molly

Heff and JJ ready to explore

cousins looking for flat rocks

Izza and Francie on the island

big girls

JJ throwing rocks then wiping her dirty hands on Dad

Brian and a bunch of babies

overkill on my 1960's polaroid filter?! :)

Kat, Me and Maureen with our baby girls - more filter overkill.

not much love for the group photo request

big girls smile for me

heading back to the caravan of cars

carrying big rocks - Francie and I had a little life lesson work on the walk back. She claimed the rock was too heavy and kept cermoniuosly and dramatically dropping it. I told her "we do hard things" (thanks LIFE blog) and we talked about this each of the 23 times she dropped it. It was a long walk.

Tehama county is pretty even in it's dry, barren state

Family photo (thanks Andrea)

pick up tailgate cheese sticks

and another dinner feeding 30+

new additions get plates this year

crazy kids

love that stare down OD!

15 cousins

cute babies! all look like their dads

big sisters and little sisters

dinner at Kat & Donald's cute house for the twin's 65th birthday bash

We left the other 11 kids at Oma and Opa's with 3 babysitters and 4 extra large pizzas :) the babies were along for the ride

count um. 9 months oldest to 4 months youngest

Sidecars and a whole lotta binkies

great toasts to the birthday girls

a few pies

and after cake and Happy Birthday - Heff and I were off on a running start to grab the kids, pack up, drive 4 hours home, un-pack, re-pack and get on a 7am flight for our next adventure!!

Red Bluff Baptism

We were in Red Bluff last weekend for a double baptism/double birthday for the cousins! Lauren and Molly were baptized and it was Oliver's 2nd and Patrick's 4th birthday. Kat and Donald just moved into a beautiful new house in Red Bluff and we had the party there Saturday after mass (we missed mass after the the truck breakdown!) Then we all convened at Oma and Opa's house for the rest of the weekend for lots of hanging out with the whole gang. Always fun and crazy to get everyone together!

Big guy Oliver - happy 2 years! He got dirty to celebrate ;)

Izzy and Francie - the 5 year old buddies

Daddy and Tessa

Oliver showing JJ the dirt so she could join in

Ducky and OD

sleepy girl


Heff and his little mini-me

time for presents

love Kat's new house!

Maisie holding baby sis

couch of cousins

think they're tired?

the last litter of babies - all girs in 5 months!

Molly, Lauren, Ilona and Tessa

future BFF's

invasion of big sisters

speaking of big sisters

photo of all 15? yeah right

crazy JJ

Isabel getting some good ear rubs on Ilona (she loves ears, cold ones preferably she says!)

10 of 12 girls

back to Oma's for pizza and playing

Andrea brought her newborn baby props so we set up a photo shoot for Tess - lots of good helpers too although Tess was a squirmy thing

how not to look like a sweet, innocent newborn...

that's better :)

this too

Indian summer swimming fun

Andrea and Ilona

naptime on Oma's couch

love this picture of mom and her crazy girls!

my biggest and littlest

Tess and Ilona

locking arms!