For Thanksgiving this year we were able to travel up to where I am from. Last year was our "on" year for my family during Christmas, but with Blanche being born and then with me having surgery we weren't able to travel at all during the holidays. Not getting to see my family or Andrews on Thanksgiving and Christmas really made me appreciate the years we do get to.
The older I get the more I realize that every family is sort of crazy. Some are more than others. But I don't think we have to go into all of that. I told my brother after our Thanksgiving this year, "That was probably the best Thanksgiving we have had since we were little." He responded, "Thats because no one yelled at each other."
Come on, don't act like your family doesn't. Now that I am married and have my own family, I see why it can be a love/hate relationship. You know so much about each other. Most of the time there is so much to love. And a few things to hate. Andrew and I talk about how so much of the core of who we are as humans is relational. Honestly, I feel that if we realize the role relationships have in our lives, and see how often they can be so broken, it should lead us to Christ. This is where the Gospel makes the most sense to me. Jesus was a human. Who wanted a relationship. Who wanted to heal our relationships. That sounds beautiful and nothing like what a lot religious people fight about these days.
There is no way to deny that young children can make one stop and see the joy around them. Maybe it was such a good Thanksgiving because there were children once again. I love the happiness (and occasional crying) that surrounds them. Looking at the horse outside wouldn't have been anything big without Blanche's smile and my nephew Kyetin's urge to immediately become a cowboy. Kids do things like making your cousin Lucas do the robot with them. Children can somehow drain almost all energy from their parents, but pour it back into everyone else around them.
Andrew made beautiful rolls that we brought with us, and my Uncle Mike and Aunt Pam had done so much to open their home and create such a warm and lovely place to eat and visit. My Aunt Larissa also always brings a few yummy things and always has a craft or game of some sort. It was pretty comical for awhile because my Aunt Larissa insisted on still doing a craft when all of us kids were teenagers. We all joke that my brother finally got kicked out of doing crafts when he made a gingerbread crack house (yeah, you have to know my brother). But now, it all makes sense again, there are kids and it seems right to have a game or craft (not that I didn't secretly like still doing the craft). My Aunt Larissa had a game this year where we all write down what we are thankful for, but we didn't write who wrote it. Then she read them out loud and we all tried to guess. She later wrote the names besides them for memory sake, but the best one was probably my cousin Paige announcing she was having another baby. I also liked that my husband wrote, "Nine Pies". There really is a lot to be thankful for : )
Because we do a Thanksgiving with my mom's side and then my dad's, I figured I'd break up all the many pictures with two parts. This last week has seemed like a blur in some ways, but I think the thing I love most about taking pictures is that you capture so many moments, save the beautiful ones, and then those are the ones that you reflect back on and they become the most clear memories. Thats probably why people mostly talk about the good times when reflecting back upon the early years of having children. I have taken a fair share of crying pictures of Blanche, but this Thanksgiving I seemed to capture the moments that really showed the love my family has for each other. The top pictures by the way, were taken the day before Thanksgiving when my grandma was going to order pizza for us. Andrew, my brother, and I were watching Kyetin while my mom and sister worked. I told him it would be fun and that we'd have a pizza party. He asked if we could wear party hats. So of course, Austin made him the party hat of all party hats. With braided toilet paper ribbons hanging down.