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We used to visit our grandparents all the time when we were little. For quite some time, they lived just 20 minutes away from our home in Los Gatos. Emily and I loved to spend the night there and ride horses, run wild with their two dogs (which we called our own) and have Grandpa Ralph read us the tale of Little Hiawatha before jumping into the trundle bed at night.

When we got a bit older, they moved up to Quincy, California (with a brief stint near the Delta in-between). It was heaven. We couldn’t wait until summer, when we could spend a week in the bright mountain sunshine, riding horses to the river, diving into snow-melt swimming holes and swinging wildly from rope swings in the oak trees.

Of course, the inevitable happened. We got even older, and life caught up with us. College, boyfriends, work and city living made it more and more difficult to make the drive up to Quincy. But I missed it — and my grandparents — dearly. So last weekend, my sister and I snagged my mom’s car and made the tricky 4 hour trek through the winding Feather River Canyon up to Quincy.

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I loved coming up here in the summer, but Fall is definitely the most beautiful time of year in Quincy. All of the black oak trees turn the most brilliant shades of gold, orange and red.

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On Saturday, my grandparents took us on a walk near their house, where they take Dakota (their adorable mini-Aussie) every day.

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The ground was littered with little gems of gold leaves from the trees.

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Two of Dakota’s friends came too: Cedar, the chocolate lab who loves to hold rocks and branches in her mouth, and Trooper, the ranch dog from down the street.

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After our walk, we let Grandpa Ralph off the hook from hanging out with the ladies, and went to downtown Quincy. I was snapping pictures left and right — it looks like a dream. I kept on thinking about Star Hollow (the town from Gilmore Girls) (I know, I’m a dork).

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Really though — we don’t get colors like this in the Bay Area.

6We went and popped in to the Quincy Museum, which was kind of amazing. They’ve restored an old house from the early 19th century to its original condition. It was quite a trip seeing all the crazy mechanisms (we were dying over the clothes washing situation — what a nightmare) you needed to get through daily life back then.

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My grandparents have collected some of the most amazing things over the years. My grandma’s walls are covered with her own (beautiful) artwork, photos of her parents and drawings by us. I loved this little wall of my grandpa’s collections in the garage, too. 

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After dinner on Saturday (and some red wine), we ambled down to the saloon at the nearby ranch for a nightcap. My sister and I both got whiskey gingers, and my grandpa got a red eye. Both felt very appropriate considering our surroundings. 

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I’d been looking forward to this trip for a while, but it’s funny, I didn’t realize how much I missed my grandparents (and Quincy) until I got there. Both are full of so many fond memories, and feel so comforting to me. I already can’t wait to go back.

Grandma, let’s go for a trail ride next time, okay?

xo

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12 Photos of Christmas

(I know, I know. It’s the second week of January. But better late than never, right?)

xo

1. Yearly Scrabble game at Mom’s IMG_3366

2. Prosciutto wrapped pear + grape saladIMG_3368

3. Mom’s antipasti plateIMG_3347

4. Our stockings that we’ve all had since we were babies. IMG_3383

5. Standard. IMG_3359

6. Seth playing with his food (pre-cooking, of course). IMG_3363

7. Isn’t my sister beautiful?IMG_3360

8. Post-present mess at Dad’s. IMG_3391

9. Miso warming up by the fireplace. IMG_3388

10. Salad + our favorite photo of Papa. He looked so much like Seth! IMG_3394

11. Potato gratin waiting to be served. IMG_3399

12. Beef tenderloin, my dad’s traditional Christmas meal, right out of the oven. IMG_3398

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This Thanksgiving, I’m grateful for my grandparents.

My grandfather passed away this week.

My Nana and Papa were the epitome of class — always impeccably dressed, put together and presented. Even in his 90s, Papa still had the most amazing shoe and sock combinations. His shirt was always tucked in. His hair was always combed, his face always clean-shaven.

They had the best taste too — every single one of us, from my dad to Seth, got that incredible attention to detail from them.

I should write more about both of them. I want to write more. But I’m still not sure what to say. I’m still soaking up memories. I still haven’t allowed myself to grieve yet — I’m still just floating above the surface.

But for now, I’m grateful that I had such wonderful grandparents for such a significant part of my life. And I’m thankful for the two amazing grandparents that are still a part of my life every day.

Love you always.

xo

“This country has more wealth than any nation, but that’s not what makes us rich. We have the most powerful military in history, but that’s not what makes us strong. Our university, our culture are all the envy of the world, but that’s not what keeps the world coming to our shores. What makes America exceptional are the bonds that hold together the most diverse nation on earth.

….

“I believe we can seize this future together because we are not as divided as our politics suggests. We’re not as cynical as the pundits believe. We are greater than the sum of our individual ambitions, and we remain more than a collection of red states and blue states. We are and forever will be the United States of America.”

Today was a good day. A day where I fell in love with my country. 
God Bless America. 

My first Oregon football game was overwhelming, to say the least.

I don’t think I had never been in a crowd with that many people before (except maybe that one time in high school when I went to a Cher and the Village People concert). It was cold — I had missed out on the warmer games because I had no idea where Autzen even was until the end of Fall term — and I was seriously underdressed. My cheap moccasins were soaked and I shivered under my sweatshirt as the crowd swept me across the bridge and towards the stadium. I still didn’t like beer at that point, so I sipped a nauseating mix of Diet Coke and vanilla vodka out of a water bottle.

Clutching friends’ hands in front and behind me, we rushed up the stairs and into Autzen. “Oh!” was all I had time to say before I was nudged into the last remaining nook on the top row of the student section. All I could see were the endless rows of green and yellow before me, dark rain clouds gathering overhead and a sliver of that brightly lit field.

I’m no sports fan, but that day I became a college football convert. I’ve read that for many people, sporting events are as close to a religious experience as they’ll ever have. I’m a churchgoing girl, but I believe in Oregon Football too. Standing so close to so many people, all rooting for the same thing can’t help but make you a little emotional.

This Saturday, for the first time in 3 years, I’m headed back to Eugene. I’ll revisit old stomping grounds, and spend most of the weekend reminiscing about games past.

Autzen still gives me butterflies in my chest. I can’t wait to get to the stadium and yell “O!” 

An Oregon engagement party:

I‘ve gone up to Oregon quite a few times the past month, but this trip was extra special. I flew in late Friday night for my best friend Gretchen’s engagement party at her parent’s home in Salem.

It was one of those great summer evenings that you can only experience at the end of an Oregon summer. Hot (but not too hot!) during the day,  and slightly chilly (but not too chilly!) at night. 

Gretchen’s fiancé does all sorts of amazing work for Rogue, so there was plenty of good beer on hand. The Parnold Almer made for some seriously confusing conversation around beer 3.

The family pug, Sir Pugsley, got a special Oregon Ducks bandana for game day.

Bridesmaids! Minus two. (Missed you Katie and Court!)

Groomsmen! (Minus two as well)

A lovely champagne toast from Gretchen’s mother. I awkwardly finished my glass in one gulp. 

This wedding has been the perfect excuse to see old, much-loved friends on a more regular basis.

We all ate way too much delicious food, cooked by both families, under a clear sky and laughed until we cried over random college memories. As the sun started to set, family members started to clear out and only the wedding party was left. Once the stars came out, what had started as a lovely family event quickly turned into an amazingly rowdy dance party (which I’ll refrain from posting photos of — you’re welcome Mike) that offered the perfect glimpse of the fun we have to look forward to during the next 7 months.

I didn’t think I could be happier for these two. But spending so many afternoons with them in their sweet Portland apartment (with their even sweeter kitties) over the past month reminded me of how absolutely perfect they are for each other.

xo