Monday, January 31, 2011


In October, everyone in the DeGraff clan was able to be in Sacramento to attend a special event. Yasmin was getting sealed (mormon jargon) in the temple for time and all eternity to her parents and siblings. It was a beautiful, emotional day and so nice to be there with everyone in the family. Knowing that we can live together with our families FOREVER is one of the greatest blessings in my life.

Here's the entire group with 14 grandkids and two buns in the oven. (heather and me)


Time with family is time well spent. I love to see my kids with their cousins! The older ones take care of the younger ones, and the younger ones absolutely love the attention!

We went back to the pumpkin patch for another round of fun!


Lucy was OBSESSED with the goats. She preyed mostly on the helpless baby goats. She'd grab them, then squeeze them in her tight grip so they couldn't escape, sometimes only managing to trap them by their hind legs as they went for a get-away. It's no wonder they were eating her ears off.

Friday, January 7, 2011

One of us is so athletic!

Right after we moved to Sacramento, Troy swam in a race from the famous Alcatraz Island to the shores of the San Fransisco Bay. This probably ranks second to skydiving on my list of things I'd NEVER do! The thought of jumping into the frigid open waters of the shark infested ocean is not my idea of adventure. Needless to say, I was the one up with nervous diarrhea the night before the big race.

He did great and was happy to report there were no shark sightings!

Funny side note, the three competitors all vying for 1st place came into the bay neck and neck. They were swimming so fast and with such intensity, that they were barely breathing. As a result, two of them swam smack dab into a boat parked in the bay! Whoopsie daisy!


Halloween 2010

I tend to be a bit controlling. I am the oldest child and I like to be the boss.

I tell Troy how he should and shouldn't be driving. (course, I wonder if that is just a WIFE thing?)
I like to give people advice.
It's hard for me to give people assignments when planning an event because in my mind I have planned out exactly how it should turn out!
Sometimes I change Lucy's Sunday outfits if I don't like the choice Troy has made for her.

Yes, I have issues.

Well, this year for Halloween it was really hard for me to let go of control. First off, my kids are getting too old for the family costume themes (which I love). Believe it or not, they actually have a mind of their own and wanted to make their own choices on costumes. So I let go and allowed Jack to request Batman and Lucy, little orphan Annie. We gathered the costumes. Batman was borrowed from a friend. For Annie, I actually thought I would be able to sew something spectacular. I don't sew...remember?

About a week before Halloween, I looked at my pile of red fabric and realized my shotty sewing skills were not going to miraculously whip up an Annie dress for Lucy. So we scrapped that idea and dug out an old hand-me-down from the costume box for her second choice....Snow White.

Jack on the other hand changed his mind on costumes DAILY. When we got down that costume box he laid eyes on his last year's family theme costume of DINO (which looked very juvenile for his size 6 body). He loved it. The memories came flowing back! He put that thing on and for 4 days didn't take it off. Because he looked kinda silly in this too-small, pink, puffy, high-watered Dino costume, I tried to convince him that Batman would be better. Batman is tough. Batman doesn't wear pink. Batman hates high-waters! But no. He was set on Dino. He even wrote part of his name on Dino's tag. Nothing I said was going to convince him otherwise. I kept telling myself, "What do you care? Just let go. Control, be gone."

Well Halloween came. I still tried some last minute persuasive techniques for the Batman costume, but no. Jack was Dino and Lucy was Snow White. And they were so happy!

Seeing the two of them dance around was evidence to me that some, no most, of the things I try to control are better left untouched. I will always look back at oversized Jack in his undersized pink dinosaur costume with the claw feet dangling at mid-calf and just laugh!


Carving pumpkins with cousins.
Jack is clearly not sure about those pumpkin guts!


Tuesday, January 4, 2011

pumpkin patch

There are two things I remember about the pumpkin patch this year: Nachos with drippy, golden cheese sauce & freshly squeezed lemonade, easy on the sugar, heavy on the lemons (it would have been impossible to overdo the "sour factor"). This is because I was newly pregnant and miserably sick. These are the two things that sounded particularly delicious even though they made a reappearance in the parking lot shortly after being digested.

Other than that, the kids had a blast. They also enjoyed fattening, sugary confections along with barn slides, sunflower mazes, pig races, flower patches, cow feedings and helping select the largest pumpkin we've brought home to date. It must have weighed 200 pounds!


Laboring in Lake Tahoe

Yes, I do realize it's January and I'm just now getting around to blogging. I have a lot of catching up to do. In fact, these pictures are from WAY back in September when we went up to Tahoe to watch the Labor Day fireworks show. Other such events that have been so neglected around here might include Halloween, the Fall season in general, Thanksgiving, first days of preschool, etc. Maybe I'll make it to Christmas blogging by this coming Valentines! At any rate, I'm going to try to be a better blogger.

So here's Labor Day in Tahoe:

We got so lucky to meet some people that gave us tickets to a private beach to watch the show! It was right in front of the barge where the fireworks were let off. We messed around until dark, then cozied up on our blanket to enjoy the show! Jack drew an excellent picture of the whole event that I should post later. I love his artwork!


Apple Overload

Here in the foothills of Sacramento, there is a place called Apple Hill. It's exactly what it sounds like....a bunch of apple orchards/farms all in one place! During the Fall season the place can get packed with weekend tourists and families, so we opted for a weekday outing with the kids and some friends! I remember going here as a kid and so naturally, I wanted my kids to experience it.

We enjoyed spotting fish in the pond, playing with the ducks, eating apple fritters, apple donuts, and caramallows (homemade caramel with a marshmallow in the middle), picking our own apples, swinging from the tire swing, and playing with friends!

The apple picking was the group highlight. The kids loved it so much and the moms didn't really have the heart to stop them! Which is why we all came home with well over 10 pounds of apples each. We made applesauce and apple crisp with ours!