Monday, December 9, 2013

Thanksgiving Memories

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( view outside the front window from my parents house---
I have so many fond memories from my childhood living in this home and 
playing in that front pasture with my three brothers and our childhood friends)

Finding Home by Mindy Gledhill - on Grooveshark

We enjoyed spending this Thanksgiving holiday with our family and friends in East Texas.  It's always so nice to be able to travel back to our hometown and spend some peaceful time in the country away from the hustle and bustle of city life.


Despite it usually being physically draining (and pretty expensive, too--oy!) for us to make this long trip (we live 10 hours away) with our three little ones in tow -- once we get there and are finally able to relax---it sure makes the headache of travel all worth it in the end.  

The kids had a great time playing with all of their cousins throughout the week and the hubby and I so enjoyed getting to spend some time with our parents, siblings and some childhood friends of ours that we haven't seen in so long.  My youngest brother, Jeff and his family traveled to Florida to be with his wife's family this year for the holidays--so we missed getting to spend time with them during the week.

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My dad had surgery to remove his gall bladder while we were in town --so bless his heart, he wasn't feeling optimal, but while he was recovering at home all week --he enjoyed everyone being in town and watching all the grandkids laugh and play together.

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We especially loved the cold, chilly weather in East Texas --where we live (in South Texas near the Mexico border)--it's usually hot and muggy for Thanksgiving...ugh!  So it was a nice change for us to ring in the holidays with much cooler temperatures and actually get to wear our scarves, coats, gloves that we usually keep stored away.

Below....the kids were mesmerized watching Uncle Brent begin winter preparations on my parent's pool...

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I relied this year on my dear mom and sisters-in-law to do most of the picture taking. It's become too tiresome to try and lug around my "big girl camera" and all the while chase around my 1 yr. old, 2 yr. old and very rambunctious 7-year old--argh!  So I was thankful that they took so many wonderful pictures of everyone while we were in town and shared them.

Instead of splitting this up into 2-3 posts (which honestly, I don't really have time to do...feeling pretty stressed right now with the holidays right around the corner and still so much to do) here's my smorgasbord of photos from our Thanksgiving this year....

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We loaded all the kiddos up one night while we were there and headed to Santaland with my brothers and their kids to see all the Christmas lights...the kids loved it!

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I so enjoyed getting to have lunch with two of my dearest childhood friends while I was in town...Milinda and Tabitha--love these ladies so much.  And my sis--in-law, Katherine, talked me into going out for some Black Friday shopping at Target--oh my goodness--what an experience!! I never go shopping on Black Friday--- the crowd and lines were crazy, but it was a lot of fun and we enjoyed some yummy Starbucks hot chocolate afterwards. 

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My great-grandmother, Oni Lee (we fondly called her "Big Mama") always gave us Christmas PJs each Christmas Eve when my brothers and I were little and so my parents (KiKi and Pops) have continued this tradition with their grandchildren.  They gave the kids their Christmas PJs a little early this year so we could snap a few photos of everyone together while we were all in town.  As you can imagine, there was quite a bit of drama trying to get the kids to all sit still for the pictures. 

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"The chickas"...

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The men-folk in theirs...

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My Aunt Karen along with her daughters, Laura and Rachel hosted our Thanksgiving meal this year.  We're super grateful that they were willing to pull this all together for everyone---it's so much work for them, I know---but always such a lovely family gathering.  It was a little sad to look around the room this year and not see Nanny (my grandmother) there...I miss her so---but I'm sure she was smiling down from heaven-- happy to see all of her loved ones together.  And knowing her---probably a littler pee'd off that she wasn't there to enjoy some of the yummy turkey and dressing with us. ;-)

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Jody and I were cracking up...
Taylor just so happened to discover while we were taking family pictures that she can
stick her finger up her nose!  And of course, she kept doing it for every picture we tried to take. Argh!! ;-)

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The day after Thanksgiving we headed to my in-law's to be with my hubby's family for their Thanksgiving meal and get-together.  I was feeling pretty crummy that day with a migraine headache, so I didn't get to enjoy it much, but the hubby and kids had so much fun spending the day with the Mask family.  They had a bonfire burning outside (which Noah always loves) and Noah and the hubby got to go down to the lake and throw the rod and reel a little together.

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As I was looking back through all these photos, I was thinking how thankful I am for the holiday's such a wonderful time of year.  They bring us together with our loved ones to enjoy each other's company and remind us of who we are and all those who have made such a difference in our lives over the years. It's a chance to reminisce with family about all you've experienced together over the years...the funny times (and not so fun times) and years of childhood memories shared together.  And then also for the new memories we create as we gather together each new holiday season---laughing, talking and joking around with one another.

I have such gratitude to my Heavenly Father for the family that I was born into --and-- for the sweet family I was blessed to married into.  I love each and every one of them so very much.  I'm grateful we had the opportunity to make this trip this year and spend time with our parents, aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters, cousins, in-laws and childhood friends.

This Thanksgiving and the memories we made with our family and friends were a tender reminder to me of what is most important in this life and where genuine happiness stems from.  It's not the material things of this world that bring true joy.... it's the simple gifts of family, dear friends, a loving home and our faith in the Savior that will bring us lasting happiness and true peace in this life.  


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