Thanksgiving was quite the weekend. With upwards of 30 people in the house, there was never a dull moment. Even doing the dishes wasn't too bad b/c there was always some one there to help or chat with. And boy were there dishes with 25 people SLEEPING in the house. haha.
My family got to Sheffield Lake at lunch time on Wednesday. Though I75 has a detour that takes us close to our first home. Ken was really sick and tired so I drove...and decided that we needed a detour to see our old neighborhood. Since the kids were 1, less than 1 and not even born yet, I don't think they remembered it...even though C* claimed that he remembered the playground. Our back yard had a fence that opened onto the subdivision common grounds. Walk around some trees and Voila! A play ground. That would be so nice to still have today. The owners have taken down the chain link fence and replaced it with wooden picket fencing...not white...wood colored. And the white shutters are now marroon. The house is still yellow and the mail box that Ken installed shortly before we moved is still there. hehe.
After eating some lunch at Granny and Papa's, I set to do a mound of dishes with the help of C&M to dry them.
Later Jordan and Hillary came...then the Christensens and late, late, late...the Kennedy family arrived to complete the siblings who could come home. (Boy did we miss Aunt Marissa and Uncle Hank...sniff, sniff!)
Everyone laugh and played the morning away while the turkey baked and the table was set. Jocelyn's inlaws came and brought a large set (2 dozen) of super great glasses. Boy, did we need them! Baby Autumn Frost was blessed by her Dad in the family room. During the blessing, Mom and I were trying to keep kids settled and the dog calm. Fortunately, Jocelyn said it was so peaceful and quiet! She missed Mom tossing town dog treats to Niko which clattered on the kitchen floor, me bumping my head on the kitchen light fixture and several cousins who were a little squirrely. Near the end of the prayer, Guy crawled under the legs and into the prayer circle. Such a sweet moment. So there are some bonuses to keeping your eyes open during a prayer! haha Afterwards...lots of pictures were taken. Only I didn't have my camera around. (Check back later for pictures!)
Then we hustled and bustled to get dinner on the table. Earlier, Ken graciously accompanied my Dad who had to drive nearly an hour to pick up my Mom's aged godparents. (Poor Dad had to drive them home again WITHOUT any company..ahem...Jordan!) Mom had planned the entire seating arrangement so that we had one dining area...that stretched from the dining room into the front room. But by putting tables together, we sat 26 or 28? people at "one" table.
The Feast was scrumptious with Turkey (of course), stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potates (ugh), cranberry salad (yours truly), cranberry jelly slices, green bean casserole (by J-bird), corn, peas (Mom's favorite), rolls (by Mom the primo baker), gravy to feed the massive "potato volcanoes," corn, I'm sure something else that I forgot...haha.
The men of the family did the dishes (Ken and Dad and I think Jordan)...yeah.
After digesting the food for a few minutes, out came the pies and deserts....haha. Pumpkin, peach, apple, striped delight, pumpkin turtle torte, and again, I'm sure I'm missing something. More digesting...
Then came the Annual Ornament. Each Thanksgiving, we make a Christmas Ornament. After several suggestions, my mom finally agreed to the domino ornaments. (Mostly I think she was just pooped out of planning to say no to me again! haha.) In retrospect, I should have limited the stamp options. But we all love children's ideas and work and excitement when "making" something new. So all is well that ends well...though it took a bit of time to emboss all those ornaments! Pam and Ken, BFF's to Mom and Dad, came to visit and make the ornaments too. We had a great time as people came crafting or left crafting or watched sports or snacked on more food! And as much as possible, we talked. And talked, and talked.
And, I really lost my voice. Not sick, since I was sick the week before. Though I'm sure that the illness caused this "no-voice" reaction. I felt perfectly wonderful. Just couldn't (and still can't) talk. (The down side was that Jocelyn deemed me too sick to hold Baby Autumn...boo hoo for real!)
Friday came and we said good bye to the Christensen grandparents. Poor Christy was trying to bond with Autumn while J was eager to get her to write in Autumn's journal. (family tradition) But Autumn was kissed and cuddled with and the journal was written in. And then they left.
As a large group, in 3 mini vans and a car, we met up at the mall...to see SANTA CLAUS as a group of 11 complete "coussies." Luckily, we got there first and I had my boys go talk to Santa before the herd of cousins arrived. Oh yeah, and we lucked out b/c there was no line either! The picture was pretty good...despite Scarlett's terrified crying and C*'s crazy/aweful faces. (Grrrrr.) I have been pretty lucky. I was able to be with Cara and Cody on his first visit to Santa. I remember Cara had this trick with the not quite 1 year old Cody ... to make him smile. She would sneeze. Ah--chooo! And he's smile. So a few fake sneezes and she got a good "first visit with Santa" pix! Last year we were with the Kennedy coussies and Santa too. There have been several years where we were able to get pix with Santa with our cousins.
Then Aunt Cara bought all the Kennedy and Barrett Kids time on these bungie/trampoline things in the middle of the mall. Ken of course missed the entire event b/c he wandered off from the group. Boo hoo. Cara took the last tumble. And Ken, not wanting me to be left out, paid for a turn for me. I was able to do several back flips but I just couldn't do forward flips. Admittedly, the next day I was a bit sore where the harness dug into my tummy. But not bad for a 35 year old mom!
Then we went to the Golden Corral for a big smorgasborg!
After that, we went bowling...on 3 lanes. E* had never been bowling and slipped past the foul line (several times) and fell...and fell hard. On one try, M* bowled her ball onto the next lane. (Luckily for us, the lanes were slow and one of the managers ran onto the lane to snag it before it crashed Papa's pins!) I let Guy bowl for me a few times. And Scarlett once. Although Guy's balls were slow, they managed to get down the lane. And once, with me bowling the 2nd ball, we even got a SPARE!
When we arrived home, my mom's aunt and uncle were waiting for us. So we were able to chat and play the Wii and eat more ... with them. Late on Friday, Jordan and Hillary left for home.
Saturday morning came ... more Wii time for the Kennedy kids. Papa put air in about 24 tires between all the cars. And then they were in the car...traveling back home to Indiana to see their Dad who is a doctor and couldnt' make it to Ohio for the weekend. The Christensens left shortly after that. Ken and I helped put away chairs and tables. Ken played the Wii with the kids while I cleaned up the house so that poor Mom wouldn't have to do so much after we all left.
Then we went to the mall...for no good reason. But I bet Dad wanted Ken's help for a gift for mom. So the men separated and Mom and I took the kids to a dollar store so they could buy gifts for one another. After bathroom breaks (two) and a little bit of playtime in the play area, we were off to the mall food court for a mini smorgasborg. We hit a couple of stores outside of the mall...and then we were back home...packing up the car. After Ken's quick nap...we were on our way...back to MI.
Luckily, I was able to find a sub to lead the music in church. And with Ken's terrible hacking and my lack of speech, we decided to recouporate at home instead of going to church on Sunday. (To which E* was exceptionally glad. B/c for him, Church is BORING and HORRIBLE and he dreads the day all week long. Seriously, he asks me every day, "How many days until Sunday?" because he doesnt' want to go. Poor thing!)
Sunday, we slept in. Ate a late brunch...and then took down the Turkey Day decorations. After a quick dusting, we DECORATED for Christmas. All we need now is a tree. Last year, My parents came up for a couple of days at Christmas time. Mom said my house looked bare of decorations. Well, if she came here now, she would be pleased to see the loveliness of Christmas bursting around the house. The kids were so excited to see the decorations. And each "knew" where an item SHOULD be placed. With the addition of furniture and decorations from the Lake House, there was some changes. But the house is abolutely glowing and happy.
Monday morning came and we discovered that The Elf had indeed arrived for the month preceeding Christmas. This year, he brought a LEGO ADVENT Calendar...much to the delight of the kids. C* has day 1, M* day two, E* Day 3...etc. Last night, during his prayer, E* prayed that he wouldn't cry in the morning when it wasn't his turn to open the Lego advent. Um...someone needs to teach that boy what is appropriate to pray for. Earlier at Granny's he prayed for all his brother's idiosyncracies! haha.
I think I must collect advent calendars b/c I have a lot. I think there are 6 out...with one more that needs to be fixed.
Well, again, I'll post pix later when I find them from Ken or Jocelyn or who ever is kind enough to email them to me. Now, I'm off to the elementary school. While I was typing this up, M* called to tell me she forgot her shoes. For one who doesn't like to be uncomfortable, she is not going to be happy until she gets out of those boots!