Tag Archives: grandma

San Diego Day Trip (or The Backgammon Witch)

I was down in San Diego for a day trip not too long ago, but I was able to do another day trip down there this past weekend. I’m glad I’m able to go down there more often because my grandma is in San Diego. She understands that I can’t be there all the time, but I know that she appreciates it when I’m able to get down there too.

This time, my parents were in San Diego for the week visiting my grandma (unlike last time when their trip was for the surgery I was supposed to have) and they had been doing a lot of fun stuff. I couldn’t visit during the week because of my schedule, but I was able to take time off on Saturday so I could spend a few hours down there with everyone.

I’m glad I took the time off work because there were so many accidents on the freeway on the drive down. It usually takes me 2 hours to get there, but this time it was 3 hours. If I hadn’t gotten the time off work, I only would have had an hour or so with my family before I had to go back to LA.

Once I got there, my parents and I went out for lunch. Originally my grandma was possibly going to come with us, but it was easier for her to eat lunch at home. So the 3 of us (plus the dog) went out for a casual lunch at a Greek restaurant just around the corner from where my grandma lives. It was nice getting to catch my parents up on some of the stuff happening in my life and what I’m trying to plan to do coming up. I was hoping to get to Tahoe sometime soon, but I don’t think that will be happening until the winter now.

After our lunch, we headed up to my grandma’s apartment. It was nice to see her at her place since I hadn’t been up there in a while (when I was there last time, I waited in my car while my dad got her). Her apartment is really nice and has some of my favorite pictures of our family on her desk and tv table. And it also has her backgammon set.

My grandparents used to play backgammon every single day. My grandpa would always say that my grandma is a witch because she could always get double sixes or whatever roll she needed at the time she needed it. She would win most of the time and it was so funny seeing my grandpa get frustrated that she always got lucky with the dice.

I don’t know how much backgammon my grandma has played since my grandpa passed away. But my parents had told me that while they’ve been on this trip they have been playing backgammon with her. And it’s like she never stopped playing! She’s just as good as she always has been and she still has all her witch powers. My dad took this photo from the day before I was there of my grandma right after she won a game against my mom.

I love that expression on her face! You can tell how proud she is that she can still kick my mom’s butt in backgammon. And while I was there, my mom and grandma played some more.

This time, my grandma wasn’t as lucky with the dice (and she kept saying how badly she was playing) so my mom was lucky and was able to win a game. But seeing my grandma so happy doing something that I’ve seen her do my entire life made me so happy. My grandparents had taught all their grandkids how to play backgammon, but it’s been a while since I’ve played. But I think I’ll need to brush up on my skills because I have a feeling we will be playing a lot at Thanksgiving this year.

After visiting with my grandma, we went back to the place my parents were staying at. My parents’ friends were going to be coming over to hang out with them and I was going to visit with them as well. A lot of the conversation was about medical stuff (that’s the case a lot of the time around my family) and clearly Tucker was pretty bored by all the talk.

I stayed for about an hour with everyone and then headed out when they were all walking down to the beach. I have a friend who recently moved to San Diego and I was going to have dinner with him and his sister before heading back up to LA. It was a pretty chill dinner and was a nice way to feel like I did have a bit of a mini-vacation with my day trip down to San Diego. Usually I’m down and back so quickly that it doesn’t feel like I did much more than drive a lot.

On my drive back up, I happened to time it out perfectly and was driving past Disneyland just as the fireworks were going off. It was actually a better view from the freeway than what we had by the castle the last time we were there! Seeing the fireworks made me miss Disneyland a bit, but it’s only about another month before I can go back with my pass.

While my trip down to San Diego wasn’t that much longer than the time it took me to drive there and back, it was still a nice break from LA. I don’t think I’ll be down there again before Thanksgiving, but you never know. I’m lucky that it’s not too far for me to get there and that I can easily do it as a day trip.

San Diego Day (or Some More Family Time)

When I thought I was having surgery, the plan was to recover in LA with my parents for about a week and then head to San Diego to recover for almost another week. We wanted to make sure that I had enough time with help from my parents before they left (and obviously if I needed help longer we would have figured something out). Once the surgery was cancelled, my parents’ trip stayed the same but I didn’t go with them to San Diego right away. I decided to work so I didn’t have to use up the hours I had banked from work and then just went to San Diego for the day.

I’m pretty used to going to San Diego just for the day. It’s a bit of a drive, but not too unbearable. Plus, this was going to be a great opportunity for me to take my new car on a longer drive for the first time. The drive down was pretty easy (although I’ve figured out some new things that I want to see about getting for my car) and I was at my parents’ rental house right when they wanted me to get there.

As soon as I arrived, my dad and I went to get my grandma from her place. It’s much easier for her to get into my car than my mom’s since mine is lower to the ground. Plus that gave me extra time with my grandma. When we got her in my car and started to drive to the rental house, she realized that she left her sunglasses in her walker which was in my trunk. Fortunately, I have some random sunglasses in my car for just this occasion. I handed a pair to my grandma and I think she looked pretty amazing in the red sunglasses I had!

Once we got back to the rental house, most of the time we spent as a family was watching old home movies. My mom has turned most of our home movies into DVDs and it’s pretty fun to watch them. A lot of them are from family vacations and I’m glad that we have the videos since I was a teenager and don’t remember the trips as well as I’d like to. But I do still remember some of the really random moments from the trips like when we were in the amazon 17 years ago and I caught a piranha.

I posted that photo online and some of my friends commented that I look the same, but I think I look much older now. Or maybe I just looked really old when I was 16/17!

And as usual when I go down to San Diego to be with my family, my mom cooked an amazing dinner for us. There was a nice little outdoor eating area at the rental house and it was perfect weather for all of us to sit outside and enjoy a relaxing and delicious dinner.

And I know that my grandma really appreciates me coming to visit, even if it is only for a few hours. She seemed so happy with us all being together and I know that she had a great time. I thought maybe seeing some of the home movies would make her sad because my grandpa is in them, but that didn’t bother her. She didn’t remember everything that we did for each trip, but when there was stuff she did remember she seemed to light up and have funny stories to share about that part of the trip.

I didn’t get to spent too much time in San Diego because I had to be back in LA at a reasonable hour. I ended up spending about 5 hours there (and the total drive time round trip was about 4 hours), but it was totally worth it. I don’t get to see my grandma that often and I know I need to see her more. If I hadn’t gone to San Diego this time, I don’t know when I would have seen her again. Maybe at Thanksgiving but the last time I saw her was Thanksgiving and I would hate for an entire year to pass without a visit.

I know I need to make more of an effort to go to San Diego to see my grandma. It’s not that bad of a trip and just going out to lunch or dinner with her seems to make a huge difference in her day. I just need to work out when I can get down there again before Thanksgiving!

A Day In San Diego (or Celebrating An Anniversary And A Birthday)

Even though I was out pretty late this past Saturday night, I got up early on Sunday morning so I could head out for the day. My parents were down in San Diego visiting my grandma and this past Sunday was their 34th anniversary! So since they were so close to me, I drove down so I could spend the day with them (and with my grandma and aunt).

Growing up, it was pretty cool that my parents’ anniversary was only 2 days before my birthday because we could celebrate them together or back to back. But I don’t think I’ve seen my parents on their anniversary since I moved to LA so this was a pretty special treat! Plus, as I joked to them, we all saved money on stamps not having to mail cards to each other.

My drive down was pretty uneventful (thankfully) and I got there just around lunch time. My parents had found an apartment to rent for the weekend so we had a nice place to hang out for the day. It was pretty close to where my grandma lives so my aunt was going to pick her up and bring her over to be with us. But before they got there, I got some time with my parents and the dog.

I know I just saw my parents 2 weeks ago, but it was really nice getting to see them. And I hadn’t seen Tucker since April and he seems to have gotten bigger since then! My grandma and aunt were supposed to arrive about 30 minutes after I got there, so my parents and I went for a walk in the neighborhood where they were staying so I could stretch my legs and the dog could get some energy out.

Tucker

It was a nice day for a walk and I loved being right next to the ocean. And of course Tucker loved getting to check out all the other dogs that were out on their lunchtime walk.

Right after we got back to where my parents were staying, my grandma and aunt showed up. We all hung out outside enjoying some food (I brought leftovers from the night before) and catching up with each other. I hadn’t seen my grandma or aunt for a while, so it was good to get to see them again (I won’t see either again until Thanksgiving but that’s not too long from now).

We all gave my parents their anniversary cards and they opened them and shared them with everyone. My parents do homemade cards for each other and we got to see what cards they made this year. And then I opened my birthday cards (I only opened the ones from my parents, grandma, and aunt since I didn’t bring the others with me) and shared them with everyone as well.

After opening cards (and thanking my grandma for my birthday check that will help me fix some more stuff on my car), we just spent the afternoon relaxing and enjoying time as a family together. I’ve really come to appreciate the quiet time I get to spend with my family since so many times when we are together it is for an event and things are a bit crazy and hectic. Just being with each other is a nice change.

My mom cooked dinner that night (it’s easy and usually better than going out) and we had a pretty early dinner since my parents knew I didn’t want to drive back too late. My dad, aunt, and I discussed how we might have even more family joining us this year for our Thanksgiving morning workout at Orangetheory and we are pretty excited about that. It should be a fun workout (as always) and I’m so happy that we started this new tradition with the family.

After dinner we spent a little bit more time together and then it was time for my aunt to drive my grandma back home. After they left, I stuck around a bit longer because my parents were giving me their leftovers from what they had cooked that weekend in San Diego (I’ve been eating their leftovers all week!). They also had some stuff for me to take back home (mainly donations to take to My Friends Place) so they helped me pack up my car.

I should be seeing my parents again in October (I’m hoping to make it to Tahoe since it’s been a while since I’ve been out there) so it’s not going to be too long before I get to hang out with them again. And as I said, Thanksgiving is coming quickly and I know I’ll be with them for a few days then as well.

Overall, I’m so happy that my parents just happened to be in San Diego on their anniversary so I got to spend the day with them. It was a nice way to spend the day and since I’m used to driving to San Diego just for the day, it wasn’t bad to drive down and back within a few hours. And even though it wasn’t my birthday, it still felt like I got to celebrate my birthday with them which is something that hasn’t happened since I turned 18. Hopefully we can celebrate their anniversary and my birthday together before another 15 years pass.

The Roadrunner (or More Memories In My House)

For several years, I’ve been getting things of my grandparents’ to put into my house.

This started when my grandparents were selling their house and moving to their apartment. They had to do a big downsizing and lots of things were given to various family members. While I didn’t really get any pieces of furniture, I got some cool things from my grandpa’s office. That never felt weird because since they were downsizing, they chose to give those things away. And none of the things I got had significant memories to me because they were mainly things from my grandpa’s office (I wasn’t in his office that often in their house).

Then after my grandpa died, I got more things that belonged to my grandparents because my grandma was moving from the apartment she shared with my grandpa into a smaller apartment.

Some of the things I got then were sent to me by my parents (like the mattress from the guest room) and were selected for me. Some things were things that I specifically asked to get to keep (like the martini swords I got). And some things were things that I saw right before the old apartment was closed up when I went to lunch with my grandma and aunt. Everything that nobody had claimed was in the living room and I was allowed to select anything that I thought was cool and wanted to keep. I took a couple of things, but again they weren’t really things that had specific memories for me.

When I went down to San Diego for Thanksgiving, I knew I’d be bringing back the bear made from my grandpa’s sweaters. The bears had been shipped to my parents’ house, so I didn’t get to pick mine out until Thanksgiving. But I wasn’t expecting to take anything else home with me.

But when I was hanging out with my parents the night I arrived, I saw two painting from my grandparents’ house sitting in the rental house. I asked my mom why they were there, and she said that they were taking them back to their house because they had previously been stored.

One painting I’m not sure where it was in my grandparents’ house. But the other painting was very familiar to me. It used to be in the kitchen eating area of my grandparents’ house. I always called it “The Roadrunner” because it reminded me of the roadrunner in the cartoons. I think my brother and cousins might have called it that as well, but I’m not too sure.

I told my mom that I’d like to have The Roadrunner one day because I’ve always loved that painting. My parents then decided that they really didn’t have a place for The Roadrunner to be in their house, so I could take the painting home with me when I drove back to LA (thank goodness I have a decent sized car).

The day after I got back to LA, my parents came to my house for the afternoon. They were driving up to Santa Barbara to see my brother and sister-in-law and made a stop by me to have lunch, see my house, and help me do projects in my house. Fortunately, almost all the projects in my house were already done (I installed the a/c without my dad being there). But my parents did help me hang The Roadrunner in my living room.

New Decorations

Right below The Roadrunner is the acrylic chair I got from my grandparents’ apartment (it was my grandma’s makeup vanity chair in there) and on the chair is my bear.

I love having these things in my house, but it is a bit odd having The Roadrunner in there. I have thousands of memories of that hanging in my grandparents’ kitchen and even though I haven’t seen it in that space in years the memories are still strong. I’m almost doing double takes every time I pass it because it doesn’t feel quite right yet that it’s with me and not with my grandma.

It’s weird that this painting is the first thing that made me feel like I’m stealing something from my grandparents (which is not the case at all) and nothing else I’ve gotten has had anything but positive feelings. It might be because of all of the memories attached or it might be because it’s the most obvious thing in my house that I’ve gotten.

I know that the weird feeling will hopefully go away soon and I will only have the feeling of gratefulness that my family let me have this painting in my house because it is special to me. And I can create new memories with The Roadrunner now.

Another San Diego Day Trip (or 3 Generations and A Dog)

I went down to San Diego for the day this past Sunday. Obviously, I went to visit my grandma. But my parents and dog were also there so I wanted to see them all too!

The last time I was down there was when my grandma had just moved into her new place and the apartment that she and my grandpa shared was still being cleaned out. So I didn’t spend a ton of time in the new room or with my grandma (I was busy helping my aunt organize things and get things set aside for me). But now, the old apartment isn’t my grandma’s anymore and she’s totally in her new space. I love where she lives now. While it is small, it’s really cute and all the things that my grandma needs are in there.

The original plan for the day was for me to get there before noon and we’d spend most of the day at my grandma’s place until we went out to dinner. But when I arrived, my dad met me at the valet stand and told me that all the air conditioning in the building was broken. We are going through quite a heat wave here, so without air conditioning my grandma’s room was pretty unbearable. So we spent about an hour at a little mini dog park across the street so Tucker could stretch out (it was too hot to run) and we could enjoy some shade and a little breeze.

When it was time for my grandma’s lunch, I went into the lunch room and sat with her while my parents stayed back with the dog (he can’t be in the lunch room). My grandma isn’t nearly as chatty and social as she was in the past, but we were able to have some nice conversations. I showed her lots of pictures on Facebook that my cousins, brother, and I have posted lately (she doesn’t have a computer so she doesn’t get to see those pictures). She liked seeing the pictures from my birthday and the one’s my cousin posts of her kids.

After lunch, we hung out in my grandma’s room for a little while since the air conditioning was working again, but then my parents and I left so she could rest and we could go to the hotel where my parents were staying.

When it was just me and my parents, we talked about a lot of random stuff. I’m hoping to get out to Tahoe this winter since I never made it out this summer. So we discussed some possible dates for me to meet them there. My dad had some iPhone and iPad questions so I took care of those for him (that’s how I “pay” him for my house repairs). And of course, we played with Tucker who is still a very silly puppy.

My parents, my grandma, and I went to dinner at Ruth’s Chris. I had never been there before (or according to my parents I might have been when I was little), but it was a really nice dinner. We were celebrating my parents’ anniversary so there was a special page in the menu for them.

Ruth's Chris Menu

We also sat inside right at the window so we had a pretty amazing view of the sunset.

San Diego Sunset

My mom, dad, and I all ordered one of the special 4 course meals (which was cheaper than a steak on its own) and it was really yummy! My dad and I shared some of our food and he gave me his leftovers to eat for lunch the next day. Since our 4 course specials came with dessert, they added a nice touch to my parents’ desserts.

Dessert

After dinner we took my grandma home and I said goodbye to her. Then I went back to my parents’ hotel (where my car was) and said goodbye to my parents and dog. As of right now, I don’t know if I’ll see them before Thanksgiving. So it might be goodbye for a while.

On my drive back home, I did have one really fun treat. I was driving by Disneyland when they were shooting the fireworks off! The fireworks are shot off so close to the freeway that you can watch them while you are driving without having to take your eyes off of the road. That helped to break up the driving.

Fortunately, I’m so used to doing this drive in the same day that it’s not a big deal to me anymore. I’m not sure if I’ll make it down to San Diego again before we are all there for Thanksgiving, but I’m really going to try.

San Diego Beach Lunch (or Having Some Of My Grandparents’ Things In My House)

I hadn’t seen my grandma in a few weeks, so I knew it was time to get back down to San Diego to see her. Also, my grandma is downsizing to a smaller apartment in the community that she and my grandpa moved to about 3 years ago so I’m inheriting some things that won’t fit in the new apartment. I already have my mattress and my parents brought me a few things, but there was a box that didn’t fit into my parents’ car as well as some other things that my parents wanted me to look at.

So I decided to head down to San Diego on Sunday to visit with my grandma as well as get the things that were waiting for me there.

I was pretty lucky and made it down to San Diego in just under 2 hours, so I was at my grandma’s place a bit earlier than I planned. The plan for the day was for my grandma, my Aunt Nancy, and I to go to lunch and then my aunt and I would go to the old apartment on our own. Shortly after I arrived, my aunt got there and we headed in the car to go to lunch.

We went to Poseidon in Del Mar which was right on the beach. There was a bit of a wait for a table, so we sat outside and enjoyed the beach from the sidewalk (I didn’t want to get sandy).

With Grandma

After about 15 minutes, a table on the patio was ready for us. It wasn’t right at the edge overlooking the beach, but we could still see the beach and water from our table.

San Diego Lunch

Lunch was pretty good. We had a long wait for our meal. It took them over an hour to bring our food to us and tables who were seated 15 or 20 minutes after us got their food first, but they were very apologetic about it and comped one of the entrees. I had gotten so hungry that when they brought my sandwich I started eating it right away without taking a photo (sorry). But I had a very nice turkey sandwich.

When we got back to my grandma’s apartment, I said goodbye to my grandma and my aunt and I headed back to the old apartment. My Aunt Cindy had warned me that I might be upset because the apartment looked empty and weird, but shockingly it didn’t bother me. I think I had prepared myself for it to look worse, so it wasn’t as bad as I expected it to be.

The box that my parents had left for me was there and my aunt asked me to go around the apartment to see if there was anything else that I wanted to keep. All the stuff that was left in the apartment was going to be donated to charity, so I could take whatever I wanted.

It felt a little weird and almost like stealing from my grandparents, but I knew that if I didn’t take stuff, nobody in my family would have it. So I found a couple of things that I wanted like a purse, some quartz bookends, a lucite vanity chair, napkin rings, and a vase. And my aunt had found my grandparents’ copy of my parents’ wedding album along with their wedding invitation so I got that as well.

I also had brought my gardening shears and a plastic bag for a specific project. My grandparents had some amazing succulent plants on their balcony and because the planters they were in were so heavy, they were just going to be thrown out. But if you cut a succulent and let it dry a little, you can plant it and it will grow. So I cut a bunch of pieces and will be planting half for me and half for my parents.

Succulent Clippings

By then, it was after 3pm and I wanted to head home. So we got a luggage cart from the concierge at the building and I brought down the things I was bringing home.

New Things

My drive home was a bit longer than my drive down, but it was still uneventful. And as soon as I got home I unpacked the box that my parents had packed and sealed for me. There were a couple of things that I knew they were giving me (like new sheets and some of my grandparents’ serving platters), but there was one thing that was so special to me.

I’ve mentioned my grandpa’s love of martinis and how he got me to love martinis as well. And a few years ago I got him hooked on blue cheese olives. My grandpa always used these really cool swords to keep his olives in his martinis and I always thought that that was the most amazing thing. So when my parents had asked me if there was anything from my grandparents’ apartment that I wanted that my grandma wasn’t taking to her new apartment, the only thing I could think of was those swords. Those were in the sealed box along with the last jar of olives from the case that I brought my grandpa last year.

Martini Swords and Olives

Those swords are so special to me. I have them on display in my dining room now and they make me smile when I walk past them. While I’ve gotten lots of cool stuff from my grandparents’ old apartment, those swords are the most sentimental to me.

I’m still finding places for some of the other things that I brought back with me, but I’m so grateful that I have things that remind me of my grandparents in my house now. I don’t get to see my grandma as often as I’d like (the 4 hour round trip makes it tough to do too many day trips), but having some of their things in  my house makes me feel closer to my grandma and helps me not miss her as much.

A Couple Of Days In San Diego (or Trying To Focus On The Good And Not The Sad)

I just spent the past few days in San Diego with my family. My parents, aunt, and uncle got down there on Thursday. But they wanted to have a few days with my grandma on their own first. So I came down on Sunday (my brother flew down that day too). And I was there through Tuesday.

I wanted to bring some food down with me for the family, but my mom was cooking a ton. So I mentioned a few things that I could make that would be good for any meal, and my mom thought that my blueberry banana bread would be perfect (plus, my grandpa loved it).

Blueberry Banana Bread

I’ve made that recipe so many times but this had to be my best batch ever.

Obviously it was a very sad time for my family. We had to do some of the not so fun tasks you have to do when someone passes away. I tried to help out as much as I could, but most of it was being done by my mom and uncle (my aunt who is their sibling wasn’t able to get back to San Diego until Tuesday).

We spent some time remembering some of the funny stories about my grandpa. But we didn’t do a ton of that because it always seemed to make someone sad.

My brother got my grandma to play him in several games of backgammon.

Ross and Grandma Backgammon

My grandma kicks butt at backgammon. Ever since I was little my grandpa would say that grandma must be a witch because she can get double sixes every time that she needs them.

My brother played as tough as he could. But my grandma won 6 games and Ross only won 3.

We also tried to enjoy spending time with the dog. Since my parents had to get down to San Diego quickly, they couldn’t arrange for a dog sitter. So Tucker spent a lot of time with us being his usual goofy self. I think he especially loved having my brother and I in the same hotel room as my parents (it was a two bedroom hotel room). And he loved my bedding.

Sleeping Tucker

We also heard some amazing stories from other residents and some employees of the building that my grandparents live in. Everyone had such nice things to say about my grandpa. Everyone seemed so shocked about him passing away because even just the day before he was his usual feisty self.

In the mailroom of the building they live in, they posted a wonderful photo of my grandpa. Nobody in my family had ever seen that photo before, so I asked the concierge of their building where the photo came from. It turns out that they took it when my grandparents moved in a few years ago. They asked if we wanted the photo and I said yes. And my uncle scanned it in so we could all have it.

Grandpa (from Vi)

I wish that I could have stayed down there longer, but my aunts, uncle, and parents will be there for the rest of the week. And my parents will probably be down again in another week or two. I’ll probably go down there again then.

For now, it’s time for me to get back to my normal life. That’s what my grandpa would want me to do. He probably would have hated that I wrote the post on Tuesday about him. He didn’t like having a fuss made for him.

So it’s back to my day job, my workouts, and hopefully some auditions.

First Half Of Thanksgiving (or Hanukkah Gifts And Birthdays)

Thanksgiving this year was held in San Diego. That’s where my grandparents live, and it’s easier for the rest of us to travel to them than for them to travel to another location. I only had Thanksgiving Day off from my box office job, but I had shortened hours the day before and after. So I figured I could work from the house that my mom rented for us and spend a couple of days with my family.

I started my drive right after my work shift ended on Tuesday. It should have been just before rush hour started, but the traffic was horrible the second I got onto the freeway.

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What should have been a 2 hour drive ended up being over 4 hours (I have a history of that drive taking a long time). But I was better for me to be stuck in traffic but making progress than to be sitting at home waiting for the traffic to die down.

When I got to the rental house, my parents were there along with my grandparents and my aunt and uncle (my aunt, uncle, and cousin were also staying at the rental house with us). My brother arrived shortly after (he flew in to San Diego but my sister-in-law had to stay in San Francisco and work). We spent some time catching up as a family and then my aunt and uncle drove my grandparents back to their place.

While it was just my parents and my brother, I decided that it was the perfect time to give them the Hanukkah presents I brought with me. My brother got a gift that was from me, my parents, and my sister-in-law and my dad got a gift that was from me, my mom, my brother, and my sister-in-law. They both got awesome (and pricey) gifts so they were group gifts.

For my dad, we all chipped in and got him a custom chair and foot rest that is made from old skis. It’s being made right now and hopefully my dad will get it sometime this month. It’s going to be for Tahoe, and my mom had to do some spy work and measuring to make sure it would fit there. But it will and I can’t wait until it’s delivered so my dad can enjoy it!

And for my brother, we all chipped in and got him a GoPro. He loves to do videos while he is snowboarding and he usually makes my dad film him. But this way, he can do the videos himself. And from the look on his face when he opened the gift, I think he loves it.

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As for my mom, I got her a gift certificate for Shutterfly. She’s going to be getting a new iPhone soon and she likes to make custom photo cases. I would have loved to have made a case for her, but I don’t know what phone she is getting. So this way, when she upgrades her phone, she can make the case that she wants.

After presents, we sat around and relaxed. I was trying to hang out with Tucker, but clearly he was missing my brother more than me and I was getting ignored.

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I don’t mind too much. Ross gets to see Tucker pretty often where as I have only seen him a handful of times.

The next day was a relaxing family day. My cousin Adam arrived in San Diego and all of us spent most of the day hanging around the house and enjoying the view.

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I had to work in the morning, but I set up my laptop and phone in the kitchen so I could still be a part of the conversation. Fortunately, it was a very quiet day at work. We also made a quick trip to the dog park for Tucker to burn off some of his energy.

That evening had such a wonderful sunset and we were spoiled with an amazing view.

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And once the sun was down, it was time for us to head out to dinner. We celebrate my grandma’s birthday on the evening before Thanksgiving. We went to an Italian restaurant that we go to as a family often as they have a private room that is the perfect size for us.

At the restaurant, my other aunt and my cousin and her family were there. It was great to see my cousin, her husband, and her 3 kids again. I hadn’t seen them since last year and all of her kids are so much bigger! I got to sit next to her son, Dalton, at dinner. And he kept me pretty entertained with all of his stories and craziness.

And of course, there was cake for my grandma.

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After dinner, we headed back to the rental house so we could get some sleep to be ready for Thanksgiving the next day. I can’t wait to share with you tomorrow how Thanksgiving went. It really has become one of my favorite family memories ever.

A Belated Mother’s Day Post (or The Awesome Women In My Family)

I know that Mother’s Day was almost a week ago, but I wanted to write a post about it anyway.

Growing up, I’m sure my dad always made sure that my brother and I did awesome things for our mom on Mother’s Day. Once I moved to LA to go to college, I know I always sent a card to my mom, my grandma, and my great-aunt (the closest person to a grandma on my dad’s side).

After college for a couple of years, I had a pretty set Mother’s Day weekend tradition. My parents would come down here on the Friday before. Then on Saturday morning, my mom would drive to San Diego to go to my grandparent’s house while my dad and I did the Revlon Run/Walk 5K. After my dad and I finished the 5K, we would get into my car and head down to San Diego to join the rest of the family. We would go to dinner on Saturday night to celebrate Mother’s Day. Then on Sunday, I would go up to Laguna Hills to celebrate with my Great-Aunt Shirley (my dad’s aunt).

This tradition really maximized who I got to spend Mother’s Day with. Sadly, a few years ago, my Great-Aunt Shirley passed away.

After that, my Mother’s Day traveling pretty much ended. Last year I went down to San Diego because my parents were down there, but that was a trip that just happened to fall on Mother’s Day.

But just because I didn’t see my mom or my grandma on Mother’s Day doesn’t mean that I didn’t celebrate them.

I think you all know by now how incredible my mom is. She’s kicked so much butt in the past year that I wonder if I could be that awesome in my entire lifetime.

And my grandma is pretty amazing too. She and I get to talk on the phone pretty much every week, and she’s always excited to hear about what adventures I’ve had since we last talked. Sadly, life is pretty much work, work, and more work these days, but she still loves to hear about it. She’s done very well since her fall last year and is possibly stronger now then she was before.

I got to talk to both my mom and grandma this past Sunday. Of course, I sent them both cards. And hopefully I’ll get to see both of them soon. I’m hoping to pick a day to go down to San Diego to see my grandparents this summer and I’m currently planning a trip to Tahoe to see my parents in the next month or so.

But even though I don’t get to see my mom and grandma a lot, I’m sure that they know I love them and appreciate them every day (not just on Mother’s Day).

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This picture was taken in 2007 at my grandparent’s 60th wedding anniversary. It was also taken when I was at my thinnest I’ve ever been as an adult.

Grandma’s Birthday Dinner (or One Of Our Thanksgiving Traditions)

I’ll do my recap of my Thanksgiving on Monday, but first, I’m going to share with you my Wednesday.

Ever since I can remember, my family has celebrated my grandma’s birthday along with Thanksgiving. For years, we would go out on Friday night to a nice dinner, but recently we’ve switched that to be on Wednesday night.

So after a kind of crazy drive to San Diego (it took me twice as long to get there because of so many car accidents on the road), I went over to my grandparent’s place to meet up with them before dinner.

The dinner was at The Godfather restaurant. We’ve had my grandma’s birthday dinner there in the past, and I like it because my family gets a private room (we kind of need to with so many of us being there including some noisy little kids).

As soon as my cousin’s son Dalton saw me, he came running over. Dalton and I have a special bond. Ever since we met for the first time, we’ve been super close. And I love him just as much as he loves me. Of course, I made sure that he was going to sit right next to me. I don’t get to see him too often, so when I do I want to make sure I get as much time with him as possible.

Dinner was good. The food was as good as I remember it (I’m glad that I forgot to eat breakfast and lunch on Wednesday because there was a ton of food). And the conversation was fun too.

This year is a little weird for me because I’m the only person from my immediate family at Thanksgiving. My brother has missed it before, but my parents have always been there. But with my mom having chemo on Wednesdays, there wasn’t really a way for my parents to drive down (and now with the dog’s cancer it would be difficult to have him here too). As soon as dinner was done, I called my mom to fill her in on what happened, who said what, and if any big family announcements were made (my cousin has announced her engagement and pregnancies at Thanksgiving dinner in the past).

Even though it kind of stinks to stay at a hotel alone, I’m so grateful that I spend my Thanksgiving with my extended family. We have 4 generations at Thanksgiving now and I know that something that a lot of people can’t say. I’m also grateful for the fun Thanksgiving traditions my family has, especially celebrating my grandma’s birthday.