Saturday, December 4, 2010

A Thanksgiving Houseful

 Prepping for Thanksgiving dinner: Kathy, Ed, Jeff, Myron, Karla
We had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend, which ended with Jacob’s farewell talk and our little house filled with about 30 warm bodies. Here’s a look back at our Thanksgiving celebration.

 Serving up the feast: Jeff, Dylan, Dana, Burke, Ross

Originally, my brother Darryl and his wife Tamera were planning to drive from their home in Missouri to join us. We were so excited to have them here! Unfortunately, just one week before they were due to leave, the transmission in their van went down, leaving the van stranded in their driveway. We are all so disappointed that they weren’t able to come.

 Thanksgiving table #1: Brianna, Karla, Gabby, Julien, Jacob, Sarah, Celesta, Mariah
My brother LeRoy, his wife Lori, and their kids Nate and Katie were also unable to join us due to LeRoy’s work schedule and the fact that they were hosting Lori’s family for Thanksgiving dinner, so we missed them, too.
 Thanksgiving table #2: Elyssa, Ross, Addison, Ed, Myron, Kathy, Karla

Karla’s family also had other plans for Thanksgiving Day. Many of her in-laws were traveling to Mesa from out-of-state to have a big family reunion for the holiday, and they could hardly miss such a major event. On the other hand, they wanted to be here for Jacob’s farewell talk on Sunday. So we decided to wait and have our family’s Thanksgiving dinner on Friday instead of Thursday this year.

 Thanksgiving table #3: Elsie, Emma, Hayden, Brinley, Jeff, Dana, Callie, Aiden, Marcus

On Thursday, I deep-cleaned my bedroom while Ed watched some football games and the kids prepared their rooms for the arrival of company. Jacob and Ed whipped up several apple and cherry pies while the 24-lb turkey thawed in the fridge. We couldn’t wait to spend the rest of the weekend with our loved ones!

 Pie time! (Burke, Myron, Kathy, Karla, Brianna, Celesta)

On Friday morning we were up early to start baking. Ed did all of our assigned cooking: turkey and stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, rolls, and a relish tray. Actually, my husband allowed me into the kitchen briefly to prepare the green bean casserole. Then at 2:00 we transported our portion of the feast to our church building, which I had reserved from 2:00 to 10:00 p.m. for our Thanksgiving celebration.

 My niece Gabby and her married sister Elyssa enjoy chocolate chip pumpkin cookies baked by Elyssa’s husband Ross.

We were soon joined there by Jeff and Dana and about two-thirds of their 13 children who were able to make it. (Two of their married kids and their spouses, Matt and Ashley and Jamison and Monica, now live in Texas, while another pair, Justin and Alisha, had to work. Micah was out-of-town.)

 Elyssa visits with her Grandpa Myron and Grandma Kathy (my dad and step-mom) after the feast.

Finally, Karla and her crew began to arrive from Mesa, and we began the feast! For about 6 hours we enjoyed good, home-cooked food and the good company of family. I love sharing stories and laughing at memories and all the warmth and fun that always happens at these gatherings.

 Ed’s enchiladas times 5 pans!

The fun didn’t stop there. Since everyone was staying over until Jacob’s talk on Sunday, we spent all Saturday together, too, with 30 of us crammed into my tiny little house. No one minded, though, because we love being together, even in close quarters.

 Four little girls eating on the kitchen floor (Jaycee, Brooke, Analyce, and Brinley)
Ed cooked up a storm all weekend. Everyone agreed that, with his mad cooking skills, Ed is a keeper! He spent hours on his feet to see that everyone was comfortably full following each meal, and I love him for his dedication to our gastronomical happiness!

 My great-nephew Jaren with his Aunt Gabby

We pursued a variety of activities, from playing with babies to enjoying long conversations, from playing board games and video games to watching DVDs, and from a walk around the nearby duck pond to a long hike along the Mogollon Rim Trail. My niece Elyssa and I had to forego the Rim hike, since we both came down with a stomach ailment. Luckily, I was better by bedtime, but poor Elyssa was sick until the next morning.

Jacob with his friend Sean

Jacob was excited to have his friend Sean come from Winslow to spend Saturday and Sunday with us. Jacob and Sean met while they worked at Camp Geronimo during the summers of 2007 and 2008, and they’ve been good friends ever since.

Kids around the coffee table: Celesta, Mariah, Genevieve, baby Max, Makayla, Jeremy

 Cousins Haley and Julien

 A full living room:
Sarah, baby Ian, Haley, Scott, Celesta, Genevieve, Cami, Julien, Brooke, Makayla, Jeremy, Hayden, Brianna, Elyssa

 Our great-niece Makayla shares Ed’s breakfast (after eating her own!) on Sunday morning.

Ed truly seemed to enjoy having a houseful of family. He’s getting to know my large extended family well. He’s especially fond of my young great-nieces and -nephews.  In particular, he adored sweet little Makayla, and made an offer to her dad, my nephew Jeremy, to trade our 3 kids for her! (Jeremy didn’t accept the offer.)

 Crowded kitchen after church: Sean, Jacob, Karla, Jeremy, Cami, Scott, Ed

On Sunday, after Jacob gave his talk and was set apart as a full-time missionary, everyone came back to our house for dinner. It was our final opportunity to be together until Christmas time, and we made the most of it.

Table packed with children: Brinley, Brooke, Jaren, Jaycee

We were sorry when everyone finally had to pack up their things and head back home. However, it was also time for us to load up and start our Utah journey with Jacob, moving on to our next adventure!

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