Monday, December 5, 2011

Turkey Day done RIGHT!

Thanksgiving is a holiday all about gathering the family together, stuffing your faces, and then falling asleep from being so full... or so I thought!  Little did I know that in Josh's family, the day is jam packed with activity from start to finish.  This year we decided to head to North Carolina and spend the holiday at his mom's house, and I have to say that it might just become our tradition.  Don't get me wrong... my family throws a fabulous Thanksgiving and my mom can whip up a meal with the best of them, but his family traditions surrounding this day were all new and exciting for me and the kids.  Many things are the same as they are staples of the day: cooking, the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade, football, the annual nap, and of course the food!  But this year's agenda included all of this PLUS a hay ride (complete with Christmas carols, cider, and a champagne toast) and a bonfire (with s'mores of course!).  Being the holiday freak that I am, I was in heaven!  Although I don't have pictures of everything (the hayride hilarity is on my mother-in-law's camera... I'll have to get those!), here are some good ones from our trip east:

Jake loved riding on the tractor with "Grandy"!  

Uncle Sam and his niece, Skye.  Sam spent the entire weekend with one of the two babies in his arms. 

Food preparation was definitely a group effort... there is no such thing as too many cooks in the kitchen here!

 Did I mention that there were NINE dessert choices?  Just one more reason to love my momma-in-law!

Uncle Jay and Uncle Ben... I believe this was taken during a debate about proper deviled egg filling procedures.

Lilly literally slept ALL. DAY. LONG.  Too much excitement I guess!

The weather was nice enough that we could eat outside on the back porch.  It was a perfect fall day!

Poor Jakie didn't feel good all day.  We came home only to find out that our kiddo had a touch of pink eye and an ear infection, but he was pretty miserable for the last half of our trip.

Lilly sleeping.  AGAIN.  But she loves her Aunt Ginny (Skye's mama). 

The boys and the babes.  So sweet!

Naptime is SO much better with someone to cuddle with.  Jake was extra cuddly since he wasn't feeling well! 

Uncle Josh's favorite niece!  Oh how I love her!

Trading secrets.... they're best friends already!

On Friday we hiked around the property... again, we could not have asked for better weather!

Jake has mastered the art of tackling.  It's good when it's me or Daddy... not so good when it's another child.  Whoops!

Hugs for mommy and baby sister (who loves the Moby wrap now that I finally figured out how to use it!). Oh how I love my sweet babies!

The neighbors have horses that we visited daily... again, I was in heaven!

A back porch + a swing bed + 60 degree weather + a blanket + Lilly cuddles =

Poor guy was all tuckered out from all the fun, but still managed a half-smile for the camera. 

We had such a great time and we were definitely sad to pack up the car and head back on Saturday.  Driving home through the mountains gave us the perfect opportunity though to stop and find a tree.  I grew up with a fake tree and have only had a real one since Josh and I got married.  In Illinois, there are places to chop down your own tree everywhere, so I am spoiled and will not have it any other way now!  No trees from a tent for this gal!  The stop was a welcome time to stretch our legs and enjoy the fresh mountain air for a bit.  Plus, the tree we found is pretty perfect (and made it all the way back to Kentucky in one piece)!

 I love old barns... this one was perfect.

Isn't she a beaut?

And the views!  It was worth a stop just for the scenery! 

We still had about 5 hours ahead of us with the tree on our car... thanks to these guys, the tree stayed in place! 

As a family, we definitely needed and cherished the time off to spend together... a little down time if you will.  Here lately we've been running around like crazy and it was a nice break to reconnect and recharge.  And as I celebrated the holiday, I certainly reflected on our life's many blessings.  It's not perfect by any means, but I am overwhelmed with gratitude when I think of where my life has taken me at this point.  I am thankful for so many things... for a husband who loves me unconditionally even though there are plenty of things that drive him crazy.... for an active, goofball of a son who can literally drive me to tears and have me laughing hysterically in a matter of seconds... for a beautiful, healthy baby girl who wants to be cuddled all the time... for parents who have been married for 40 years now and would drop everything they are doing if we called and told them we needed them... to live so close to my sisters and their families now and for all the time we get to spend together... for in-laws that have taken me in as one of their own... for more friends than a gal could ask for... and most importantly, for knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt that I am loved and saved by grace by Jesus Christ, despite the fact that I do not even come close to deserving it, even on my best day.  My list could go on and on, so it is sad that sometimes I forget these things and have to be reminded.  I hope that in the coming year I take more time to just sit still for a moment and really cherish and enjoy these blessings and to be thankful each and every day.

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