While Lu worked her tail off finishing out her sophomore year, I loved seeing all the BeReals and family text pictures and messages coming through as everyone started to converge in Newport. It was to be our first three-generation family reunion and we were all pretty dang excited!

Elle and Carson were in L.A. already for their first externship that was just ending. Max and Abby decided it was time for Murphy’s first trip. And Claire and Grace weren’t going to let that party happen without them.

Dave decided he’d better join the big kids early too. Because hey, did I mention baby Murphy would be there? 🙂

Elle and Carson got to meet Murphy for the first time and I’m pretty sure it was love at first sight.

Elle and Carson holding baby Murphy
Kids biking together

Lu and I were pretty excited to get there to join them.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, there is nothing like having your WHOLE family together for those special, special days. Especially when you are all spread out. There is something about watching family relationships grow that is just so happy.

Baby Murphy Love

There was a LOT of love going on for Baby Murphy, as you’ll see throughout this post, but let’s take a little look at that gem of a girl:

…and the love of those siblings.

Murphy surrounded by people who love her

(She doesn’t look overly pleased about all that love in that last one…ha!)

We also showered love on our newest paddle-boarder Lucy.

She hadn’t shown off her new skills to her siblings yet and they were pretty proud.

Paddle boarding with Lucy

Tinfoil Dinners on the Beach Fail

We whipped up some tinfoil dinners (our tradition is to cook them over a little bonfire on the beach):

Making tinfoil dinners

This takes a lot of work, so we were pretty deflated after we got the supplies packed up and headed over to find no fire pits available. Dang!

Sunset on the beach with family
Sunset at Newport Beach

But we ended up baking those dinners in the oven on Sunday which worked just fine (no pits available that night either).

eating tinfoil dinners that were baked in the oven

We even made our s’mores over our gas stove and they were a pretty good prelude to our game night:

Making a s'more over the stove
Game night with the faimly

There is no shortage of Murphy-love.

We are living in a Murphy world I tell you.

Oh my goodness we all could not get enough of that baby. Even when she was fussy I loved that every one of those girls (well, except Lucy, Lu still has some warming up to do…), fought over holding her the whole time, fussy or not.

Everyone had theories as to how to calm her down, no one was bothered a bit by the crying. Even Lucy, who gets bugged when babies make a peep anywhere near her, didn’t seem phased.

It was so fun to tote her around, we were pretty delighted about that girl.

Taking Walks in California is the Best

Went on some walks taking on the glory of California greenery:

These two were pretty incredible to share their four-week old baby so much, and to just roll with all that commotion. They are some of the best, most natural parents I’ve seen!

Lots of Duffy Rides

It was a little on the chilly side so we took lots of Duffy rides as you can see.

All the kids but Lucy waiting on the boat dock with Murphy
Lucy and Grace on the boat

All seven kids on the right below (hooray!), and grandparents with Baby Murph on the left:

We took care of Murphy so Max and Abby could have a little beach date:

Max and Abby on the beach

Claire waiting for her to wake up:

Claire waiting for Murphy to wake up

Since baking cookies is my love language, we whipped some up I think every single night.

Shawni, Grace and Elle baking cookies

I put the recipe for our new favorites on the blog because boy howdy, they are good. Did you know you can add marshmallows too to make them into “s’mores cookies”? That was a good discovery I have to say.

Basking in the Sunsets

There is nothing like taking in a good sunset in my opinion. I love that my family adores it as much as I do.

Watching the sunset

We were so happy to have these two since Memorial Day weekend fit so nicely into their externship rotation.

(They are now in Palo Alto and really loving it there!)

A Little Jaunt to Balboa Island

kids with extra friends and cousins on the Duffy
Max holding Baby Murphy in a strap-on carrier

Cousin visits after church (these two are working in California for the summer).

Grace with two cousins

A big game night with my sister Saydi’s family who was there, and also Dave’s cousin Kara’s family:

Game night with extended family

We pulled together some family pictures since we didn’t know when we’ll all be together again with Claire leaving on study abroad, then a mission.

It was a crazy comedy of errors trying to get out there to the beach with a fussy baby, scrimping together funny coordinating outfits from the wrinkly things everyone brought, running to catch the light and a couple clothes-changes on the beach. Ha!

Max and Abby kissing Murphy

There was one little snippet of the sun peeking out where we got to take Murphy out for her first beach experience.

One last quick stop for acai bowls (our favorite), before Elle and Carson headed off on their next adventure:

And one little mother-daughter date with Saydi and Em…and game night too after Elle and Carson had to take off:

Had to fit on one more morning paddle-board with these women I love too:


Everyone little by little packed up and headed out. Back home to our own corners of life. But oh! how grateful I am for this:

TIME. There is nothing like TIME to just be together. I love this family of mine more than I can ever say.

I look at them and wonder how in the world I ever got so lucky.

All the family together

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  1. That last photo you posted of the family is an absolute gem. Candid, fun, and lovely. You’ll have to use that for your Christmas card for sure.

    1. I agree! One of the very best family pictures I’ve ever seen. I love casual pictures like this – we did one in the snow between Christmas and New Years 18 months ago.

  2. OK love your family, especially Baby Murphy. Adorbs!!

    But let’s not skip over the fact that you have a few pictures with THE ORIGINAL FROZEN BANANA STAND in the background!! Any good fan of Arrested Development will appreciate that so much!

    “There’s always money in the banana stand…”

  3. This is just so fun!!! And how brave of Max and Abby! Did they fly or drive? I’m not sure which would be more doable with a 4week old!

  4. A few things I just have to comment on – and a question…
    1. You are spot on – Abby is the most natural mother that I have ever seen (from pics you’ve posted) and the absolute cutest!!
    2. I LOVE the way Claire looks at Murphy – her expressions reflect exactly how I felt looking at my own children and grandchildren when they were babies – so I know that feeling! You can feel her emotions through the pictures.
    3. Agree with the comments above regarding that last pic – it’s perfection!
    4. Question – can you provide any recommendations/links on where you stay when you’re in So Cal? Are they Airbnb, VRBO,? Thank you!

    1. Aw thank you Valerie! Such nice things. Abby really is a natural and Claire thinks she might shrivel up and die without Murphy while she’s serving her mission! Thank goodness for FaceTime. We have a time share in Newport that we love so much so we stay there when we go.

  5. You know, I was just feeling overwhelmed by the hustle to pack & travel for my own family reunion. Food, what to pack, who to care for home pets, etc. I seriously wondered out loud if we should even go. I read this post the morning of our trip and just felt EXCITEMENT. Travel will always be difficult with little ones, but it’s the destination that’s the goal. Very excited to spend time with my extended family <3 <3

    Also; I LOVE how casual and happy your family seems in these photos! Real smiles, goofy smiles, faces shining all around. So happy you all got that time together! <3

  6. Your family reunions look so relaxed and fun, and little Murphy is so cute!

    I do have a question – will Claire have to take out her second hoop earrings before she goes on vacation or have the church rules slacked up a bit and she’s allowed to wear them as a missionary?

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