I currently have several posts to catch up on, but I decided I had better do a post all about our Thanksgiving this year before too much time slips away.
My siblings and I all live in a different state than my parents, so we all travel a good bit to visit them. Because of this, we all alternate which holidays we spend with my parents. This year, the rotation dictated that we all spend Thanksgiving with our in-laws and Christmas with my parents. Well, due to being pregnant with twins (and I'll be about 33 weeks along by Christmas), Chris and I would not have been able to make it for Christmas. My parents only live about 3 hours away, but we knew that my doctor would not want me going that far at that stage in the game. Plus, after going that far for Thanksgiving, I don't think I could have handled it anyway!
So, it was suggested that we all switch holidays this year and get together for Thanksgiving instead of Christmas. This worked out great for us as my in-laws only live about 40 minutes away, so I'm hopeful that I'll be able to go there for Christmas. Plus, even if I can't go, Chris can still take the kids. It ended up working out for everyone else as well, and I am so grateful for everyone's willingness to change things up for me.
Since we knew that we wouldn't be getting together for Christmas, we also decided to combine our Thanksgiving and Christmas into one big holiday. My Granny was also able to join us this year - and she turns the big 80 in December - so in addition to celebrating Thanksgiving AND Christmas, we also had a smallish birthday party for her! We sure know to pack it all in :-).
My family and I decided to head up to my parents' house on Wednesday afternoon before Thanksgiving Day. Granny was already there (had been for about a week), and I knew that it would be easier on me to not travel on the same day that we cooked a big meal for Thanksgiving. We had a nice evening, then got up Thursday morning and began the meal preparations. I had slept terribly the night before, so I was pretty slow to get going on Thanksgiving Day, but such is life right now.
My brother and his family and my sister and her family all arrived between about 11:00am and noon on Thanksgiving Day. My kids are always SO excited to see their cousins!
Brenson and Kaylee
Brianna, JT, and Chloe Jo
JT is Brianna's favorite for sure!
We finished our yummy meal at about 2:00pm, did a quick clean-up, then decided to open Christmas presents. This is traditionally how we do things on Christmas, so it was kind of what the kiddos were expecting. Plus, my parents love to give gifts and they don't want to wait, either!
Shawna and Jeremy (my brother)
Russ, Lisa (my sis), and Chloe Jo
Dad, Mom, and Granny
My little (growing) family
My sister told the Bs to touch my belly for the photo :-)
Generally, when we open Christmas gifts, my Mom will hand out one gift to all the grandkids, then they will open together. Then, she'll give a gift to all the adult girls and we will open together, then the adult boys, etc.
Chloe Jo, Granny, and Brianna (love this pic!)
Miss Kay :-)
Brianna got this skirt from "Santa" so of course she had to put it on right then. It's funny to me that's she's wearing her turkey shirt in our "Christmas" photos!
Brenson was being a bit of a stink about letting me take his photo, so I told him, "Just give me one good one, and I'll leave you alone." This is what I got, haha!
G-Jo made the three littles hooded towels for Christmas. They LOVE their hooded towels (seriously, they are the best). Brianna thought it was HILARIOUS when Uncle Jeremy put it on!
My nephew JT (who was participating in No-Shave November) put Bren in this box and carried him around. You can see from the look on Bren's face that this was certainly an approved activity!
Then, JT got in the box and Bren tried to lift him. This did not end well for the box, ha!
For the past five years - after we finish opening gifts - I lay out all the wrapping paper and have the kids lay on it to take their photo. This is one of my favorite photos from each year. This year, JT got into position quickly, and my dad decided to join him on the floor. So, my brother also joined in and it resulted in this little gem:
Love, love, love this one!!!
After gift opening, we put Brenson down for a nap while the rest of us relaxed a bit. After he got up from nap, my parents had a project planned in my dad's workshop (my dad is a very talented carpenter and furniture maker). Dad had cut all the parts to these cute birdhouses, and Mom and Dad had gotten each of the grandkids their own mini-hammer and apron.
Kaylee was excited to pound something!
My Dad even let those grandkids who wanted to use the drill press. He is very careful (as you can see, Bren is wearing safety glasses) so I didn't mind this a bit.
Chris and Russ were also out there to help with crowd control. It was so cute because inside the house all we could hear was the pound, pound, pound of little hammers :-).
Brenson took this whole process very seriously. Look at that face!
Brianna sticks her tongue out like this when she is concentrating. Chris does the exact same thing :-).
Brianna was so proud of the finished product.
Bren was too . . .even though this isn't the most flattering photo of him.
Each of the three littles got a small apron like this one along with their mini-hammer. The bigger kids got waist-only adult aprons with their little hammers.
We didn't take a group photo that day, but we were sure to get one on Saturday before several of us left to go home.
Aren't the birdhouses so cute? I think we'll paint ours before putting them outside.
This is a good time to talk a bit about our sleeping arrangements. My parents have a four bedroom house . . . one master, two bedrooms set up as spare rooms, and an office that has a futon. So, each family generally has a room and a bed and it works out just fine. However, since my Granny was there this time, she had one of the bedrooms (which is great . . . we love having her there!). That left one family without a bedroom or a bed. In the past, Chris and I have taken one for the team and slept on an air mattress in the living room. Not ideal for sure, but we made it work. However, with being pregnant this year, there was no way I could do that. We decided that we would get a hotel room for Thursday night and Friday night - and the best part? We would leave the kiddos at Mom and Dad's house!!! I know this will sound crazy to some of you, but since having Brianna, we've never had a kid-free night. Not even once. The first time we both left Brianna was to go to the hospital to have Brenson, and we have never both been away from Brenson at the same time. To say we were pretty excited is an understatement!
Brenson was a bit nervous about this arrangement, but he ended up doing just fine! Brianna was thrilled to be staying without Mom and Dad! And, Chris and I got some peace and quiet and a really good night's rest. It was great!
After getting back to the house on Friday morning, several of us did a project together. JT was Bren's helper.
Granny and I were excited for the project!
This is a great photo of Granny and Kaylee!
Chloe Jo wouldn't look at me . . . silly girl!
Our project was making chocolate Christmas trees out of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups (of varying sizes), frosting, and sprinkles.
The final result was pretty cute (although mine was sprinkle-less).
We had leftovers for lunch on Friday, then a low-key afternoon. Both of my kids went down for a nap, and I rested for about an hour while they did. It was nice!
After a nice dinner of pork loin and the fixings on Friday evening, we celebrated my Granny's upcoming 80th birthday. I have a cousin that lives just about 45 minutes from where my parents live. His parents (my Mom's sister and husband), as well as one of his brothers and family, were all in town visiting for Thanksgiving. So, my Mom invited them over to celebrate with us, and I think we ended up having close to 30 people there for finger foods, cake, and a few gifts.
I didn't actually eat any of the cake, but I heard it was good!
Lookin' good for 80 years old!
I almost didn't include this photo as it's not exactly flattering of me, but I am pregnant with twins. And huge.
We mostly gave Granny cards for her birthday, but she did have a few gifts as well.
My cousin and his wife have a little girl who is right between Chloe Jo and Brianna in age. We have seen them about once a year since the girls were born, and they always play so well together. In fact, we have stayed at their house a few times while in town (they live in the same city as my Granny) for various events. This night was no exception. Chloe Jo and Brianna were happy to have Alexis there, and they spent a lot of time doing her hair for her :-).
Alexis just laid there and let them brush and brush. It was so cute!
Aren't they dolls?!? Love this photo!!!
Chris and I stayed in a hotel again Friday night, then met back up with everyone on Saturday morning. Saturday for lunch, we headed to the local Mexican restaurant to get a bit of a break from cooking and cleaning (and traditional holiday food). Brianna adores JT and just about smothers him most of the time. Just look at her face!
After lunch, we headed back to Mom and Dad's to collect our things that were there and head home. This is a great photo of Kaylee and Brianna!
I realized I hadn't gotten a photo with Granny yet, so I had to get one of Granny, me, and the Twinbies!
We headed for home at about 1:00pm, and the drive seemed so long to me (although it isn't!). I was just really uncomfortable and SO worn out! I couldn't wait to stretch out on the couch when we got home (and I did!). I was even careful to not do too much while we were gone, but being out of town is just hard. It is kind of crazy to think that this was our last trip before the Twinbies get here!
I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving as well!