Christmas Visit to Simi Valley to see ALL the family!

We decided to take a trip to Cali for the weekend to celebrate with the Willard side.  It was so much fun!!   It was so fun to see Chad & Lauren, Casey & Dana & their cute kiddos & of course Grandpa & Grandma.  It was worth the holiday traffic & busy airports we decided, though I don't know if we will do it again, standby that close to the holidays, well, lets just say I was too optimistic about getting home.  We are home though, safe & sound.

Friday we spent the better part of the morning and afternoon just letting the kids reconnect and play, play, play.  That is what they do best right?  They had such a great time!

Aunt Dana also had a great idea to take the girls to see...
They of course loved it, as did we.  It was fun to have an independent Princess with a great moral to the story.

For dinner that night Chad & Lauren introduced us to an Ethiopian Restaurant in LA called Messob.  I was so excited about this.  Ever since I saw the scene where Ben Stiller & Jennifer Aniston are eating dinner at and Ethiopian restaurant in the movie A long came Polly, I have been asking Jeff if we could do that to someday.  It looked fun.  Well, it was a lot of fun.  The food was good too, not something you would have all the time, I mean it was different of course but a really fun experience & some of the dishes were really good.  I didn't know how the girls would take to it, but the fact that they could eat with their hands was appealing to them.  I was very proud of them for trying it and enjoying it too. The staff there was wonderful & the environment very family friendly.  They were so cute with the kids and to all of us.  A very hospitable place. If I ever find one in SLC I would love to introduce our friends and family to it, it was fun.  If you are ever in LA, give it a try.  Thank you Chad and Lauren for a great dinner & a very fun night, we had a ball!
                              Jacqueline took this picture of Uncle Chad that night & I thought it was so cute.
ALSO...It was here, at dinner that we found out we are adding a new grandson/nephew to the family!!  YEAH!!!  Congratulations Chad & Lauren, we can hardly wait!!

After dinner that night we headed over to the Los Angeles Temple to see the lights. They are beautiful there too. Lots of fun colors and the grounds are so pretty. It was fun for the kids to see another temple outside of Utah.

After the temple Chad, Lauren Casey & Dana suggested a yummy Ice Cream sandwich place not to far away from the temple in Westwood called Diddy Reise.  I tell you it is the best deal in town.  If I remember right I think it was only $1.50 for these little guys.   It was a pretty fun place & I just loved the area it was in, looks like a fun place to shop & hang out.  A good treat for a perfect evening!

Saturday night we decided to take the kids to the mall since I backed out last minute on our boat parade, I wasn't feeling 100% & couldn't bear the 405 traffic again!  The Simi Valley Mall has "Snow" that falls magically from the sky in the evening.  The kids thought it was pretty cool.  We walked around, enjoyed the lights and sites & the kids danced & ran off a lot of steam.

It was great visiting with the family.


Thanksgiving 2009

We had the opportunity this year to go to St. George for Thanksgiving and celebrate Willard style! It was so much fun!  There were so many fun activities and things that we experienced for the first time together.  So, that said there are a zillion pictures to scroll through.

Thanksgiving Feast
While all of that is going on, the kids have a lot of time to play & catch up with their cousins, we are talking 1st, 2nd & some 3rd cousins too.  Grandpa & Grandma Willard have such a big family that you can imagine all the kids there.  This was the first year without them since their passing.  It was fun to hear stories about them that night that their kids told.  They have left an amazing legacy!

Then we ate & it was good!

The next day was full of fun family activities, a new adventure and traditions.
The Park 

Grandpa & Grandma took the girls to see the dinosaur track in St. George while we were there.  The girls LOVE dinosaurs still & though they would have LOVED to keep on coloring & drawing dinosaurs all afternoon, they did enjoy seeing those tracks and digging for fossils.  Thanks Grandpa & Grandma, Jeff & I thought it was pretty cool too.

This picture just makes me laugh thinking about it.  While Brady was digging with the girls Jillian found this "fossil" and will the most serious of tones & faces said to me & grandma, "I think, I think, I think, I think I found a dinosaur toe nail mommy!"  HILARIOUS!!!  I can see where it may look like a dinosaur toe nail.

Temple Lighting Ceremony
That night for an activity we met at the St. George Temple for their Christmas Lighting Ceremony.  We met up with Jeff's parents right after they turned on the lights.  We missed the devotional they had, but it was still fun to walk around as a family and take in the beauty & begin the holiday season with what it is all about.

Why is it SO hard to get a good, smiley picture these days with all 3 of them?  I mean, I am asking for good, not great!!  =)

That just about wrapped up our Willard family reunion.  That night though we did enjoy a delicious Canoli dinner made by Uncle Bob & Aunt Karen & family, yummy!!  It was a fabulous weekend.  Here are some last Misc. pics from the weekend.

Uncle Brady & Jilly

Jilly with Uncle Chad & Aunt Lauren

Those Willards sure know how to have fun!