i woke up at 5:30 am this morning because i thought i heard elli...but apparently it was a phantom cry because when i walked in there she was all - hands in the air like you just don't care.

that's how she sleeps. both arms over her head like she's on a rollercoaster. good lord...she is the absolute cutest. anyway...

then i thought - welllll, i'll just write my thanksgiving recap post since i actually took pictures of our trip to california! and then i quickly forgot about that as i got sucked into the cyber monday madness.

does anyone else find themselves NOT getting deals and just shopping? it seems like everywhere i like to purchase from is only offering like...10% off. la-la-lame. (actually...i did score 30% off on a new kitchen for the gals that's going to blow. their. minds. pretty excited about that.) and now...i really just want to shop for myself. soooo...yeah. christmas spirit and all that.

but...we traveled to california this year (again) and visited my sister, her hubs, and their two adorable gals! that's five girl cousins. i'm scared for the noise level and shrieking and giggling in three years. we're going to just have to rent them a house of their own.

so...from idaho to northern california it's 9.5 hours...but with three little ladies in tow it took closer to 11 - which is SO not bad when you're praising jesus that they are the best little road trippers you've ever laid eyes on. we left the farm at 3:30 am thinking they would get into the car and sleep until 7am. yeah, that didn't happen. sawyer and kaye were awake until around 11 am when they finally decided to close their eyes and take a...45 minute nap. WHAT?! but regardless...we barely heard a peep out of them the entire trip down. maybe it was the 84 new movies we purchased them...or maybe it was the bottomless popcorn? whatever it was...it worked and we were in california by 1:30 pm.

i documented our trip down on instagram and received some questions about the early leave time. thoughts? you bet. even though the girls were awake on the way down...they were sleepy awake. zone out awake. i also didn't feel like i was stealing their day by making them ride in a car. (#momguilt) we pit-stopped at a few places so they could stretch their legs and we snacked them on popcorn, ham, crackers, a banana, and some cheese. i'm telling you...they couldn't have traveled better. it was a very unexpected home run.

on the way baaaaack we left around noon. this is not recommended. granted...we got to spend the morning visiting the farmer's market and the cousins played, but spending the entire day in the car and then not getting home until midnight? it makes for a long evening, irritable children, a hail mary trip to mcdonald's to let the girls burn off some energy around the play place, and then after a few winks when you finally do arrive home - morning comes way too fast.

my recommend? i prefer the super early morning departure. but back to thanksgiving!

the fellas took the little gals to the park and my sister and i popped champagne and prepared our favorite dishes - mashed potatoes with more butter and sour cream than you can shake a stick at, a slimmed down version of ruths chris sweet potatoes that i'm absolutely obsessed with. that pecan topping is sent from heaven. brussels sprouts, green beans, turkey breast! yes. so many yes-es. then, as soon as i forgot how much i ate at dinner i went ahead and put down my fair share of pumpkin pie with delicious homemade whipped cream. and then a little later i think i ate some ice cream...but i blacked out from my food coma. it's a blur.

and by blur...i really do mean a blur. the days are running together. there was lots of park time. some evening walks. kaye decided she's a rockstar on the bike and hit the pump track...a lot. then she decided she ONLY wanted to ride her bike the ENTIRE time we were there. we couldn't get her off that thing. i guess we know what we're getting her for christmas...considering he bike is about three years too small for her.

and since this is a blog and it should be documented - sawyer and reese are official frenemies. they love. they fight. they tolerate. they steal mashed potatoes together. it's what any good friendship is based on...food, specifically potatoes.

lizzie and elli...these two are three months apart and it's all the heart eyes. lizzie makes elli look teeny-tiny, but i'm sure elli will start closing the gap soon. they both seem so sweet now i can't imagine they'll ever not love each other.

kelli and i tried our hand at synchronized stroller jumps and clearly - fail. but hey...if anything we're consistent. we took this exact picture where we didn't leave the ground no fewer than three times. sisters through and through.

overall - family time is the best time. for some random, super unplanned reason we've spent the last four of five years in california for thanksgiving and i think it's a new unspoken tradition our family is going to continue. it may not always be california, but it's a great time for us to leave the farm for a few days after a harvest season that seems never-ending.

happiest launch to the holiday season! check back later this week for a DELICIOUS take on some ruths chris sweet potatoes. i've slimmed them down MASSIVELY and they are still amazing!

additional thanksgiving memories