On a Friday night after work, Greg and I chased the sun out to the West Coast.
We landed first in Los Angeles, the city sprawl somehow feeling like home, even after being gone all these years.
We flew on to San Diego, where we surprised our Uber driver with two requests. The first was that he take us to Julian, California, a tiny town in the Cuyamaca Mountains.
And the second was that he stop at In-N-Out on the way!
It tasted just as glorious as we’d remembered!
We arrived in Julian well past midnight, quietly slipping into our airbnb so we didn’t wake up my brother, Josh, and my sister-in-law, Kate.
Still on East Coast time, I woke up the next morning to a silent house, with mountain views spreading out behind the floor-to-ceiling windows. It was one of the most peaceful mornings I’ve had in a long time.
Eventually everyone else woke up, and my parents, cousins and grandma stopped by too. Our house became the party house, just like I wanted!
And the party really got started when Matt created his own pie-eating contest!
But we were going to determine, once and for all, who makes the very best.
Matt was throughout in setting up his experiment, calling both companies to find out exactly how they recommend reheating their pies. And then once everything was piping hot, he excitedly cut slices and passed them around.
The clear favorite was the apple crumb pie from Julian Pie Company.
But some of my cousins thought that Mom’s pies had fresher apples for the filling. So if you can order an apple crumb pie from Mom’s, that may be the best one yet!
Full of pie, we got dressed and moved on to the main event of the weekend: my cousin Jamie’s wedding at Sacred Mountain Ranch!
My mom and 90-year-old grandmother were so cute as the flower girls!
And Jamie was beautiful, as always.
Afterwards the guests relaxed on the grass.
And played lawn games too.
As the sun got lower in the sky, Jamie and her husband, Josh (so many Joshs!), had their first dance.
We found a swing which was just begging to be photographed…
When I went through my pictures, this one made me laugh. It looks like Josh is pushing me off, but he was really trying to help keep me from tipping, I promise!
Matt and Trisha were a little more elegant in their swinging.
And then Greg had a fabulous idea. We’d always loved this shot from Josh and Kate’s engagement pictures, so we figured this was the perfect time to recreate it.
By the time the sun set behind the mountains, the party was in full swing.
Everyone is always surprised when I tell them how many of my cousins are getting married this year, and they usually offer some level of pity in their response.
But I’ve absolutely loved getting to spend so much time with my family, and wouldn’t trade it for anything!
The next day, I finally got to see downtown Julian.
It didn’t take long.
It’s the smallest town you’ve ever seen, with only 1,000 residents and one main road.
But it’s lined with quaint bakeries and shops.
And stocked with good used books.
And beer, so the basics are covered.
After picking up a few things, we piled into the back of Matt’s pickup truck and headed back to Sacred Mountain Ranch for the post-wedding festivities.
We ate a few breakfast tacos, Jamie’s favorite.
And had a few glasses of champagne too (also Jamie’s favorite).
Then the rest of the guests headed down to the pool for a pool day, while we sadly headed back to the airport.
Congratulations, Jamie and Josh!