Weekend Snapshots: Pumpkin Overload and Auntie Ash

I pretty much had the best weekend ever. Let me lay it out for you.

After work on Friday, I picked up a little lady named Tori. I have considered her family from the beginning, even though our connection to one another is a far too complicated to be fully conveyed in a single breath. Needless to say, I inherited her when I took the Halter name, and she’s pretty much, well, awesome. Not to mention that the amount of laughing we did on 6-hour late night drive to San Diego could have fueled us passed the Mexican border and back again.

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Dinner was a pit stop in Santa Barbara to avoid traffic and to not avoid heaven in a seafood burrito from Los Arroyos off of State Street.

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Is 90 miles too far to drive for burritos on a regular basis?

A ridiculous drive could only end in more ridiculousness when we end up in the Gaslamp District with Tori’s hotel in full view but utterly inaccessible due to a canal and what seemed like hundreds of blocked off streets and “No Left Turn” signs. I dropped her off with her dad and finally rolled into my amazing step-sister’s and brother-in-law’s house around midnight. Within 30 minutes, I passed out despite the unbearable anticipation and excitement of what the morning would bring.

And of course the morning brought it with the adorable noises and delighted screams of a 15-month-old nephew enjoying waffles and bananas for breakfast in his high chair.

At 5:15 a.m.

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I already knew it was love when I met him for the first time last Christmas. What I didn’t realize was just how much power such a little man could hold over me. Exhibit A is the fact that he got me making up silly games pre-hair and makeup (and oof, there’s the picture above to prove it…).

The weekend following was a whirlwind that included…

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A dangerous amount of Pinteresting dotted by fits of sister-bonding over baking…

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Pumpkin White Chocolate Chip Muffins with a recipe via Culinary Concoctions by Peabody (via Pinterest, of course)…

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I love partaking in one of my favorite festivities of the season: pumpkin carving!

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…with an obvious gap in talent and capability between myself and the surgeon. No, seriously. Doug’s a Physician’s Assistant. He operates.

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And Saturday ended with meticulous separation of pumpkin guts and seeds for the roasting of one delicious snack.

Sunday was another early morning that transformed into a run with Jess on trails around a lake near her house. There was girl talk. There was wife talk. There was I-Can’t-Breathe-But-I’m-Still-Talking talk.

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And since my mom and stepdad (or Grandma and Papa depending on your personal situation in the family hierarchy) were walking the dog and the babe behind us, and lake usually equals ducks, we obviously had to partake in some duck watching post-run.

The whole trip was downright amazing. I’m pretty much overcome by all the love and family that surrounded me, and I never even questioned driving the 6 hours each way in the span of around 48 hours. It did, however, make for a very bittersweet, sad-happy Monday of daydreaming at my desk, knowing I’m so far away from some of the most important people in my life. I’m very recently beginning to understand the feeling of family – ironically, through the addition of new members resulting from the breakup if my traditional immediate family. Despite everything, it’s so beautiful to walk into the home of someone you didn’t know six or so years ago and truly feel like you belong. Life just seems that much more wonderful with so many loved ones around, and it’s hard to be away from them most of the time. It’s a good thing that every time I see them, I take a little more of them with me when I leave. Is it possible for your heart burst right out of your chest? Because looking back at pictures from the past few days, that’s about how I’m feeling.

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Especially when I see this sweet little face. He kills me.

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