Thanksgiving 2012--The Bajillion Picture Post

When I think of holidays, I immediately think of  Christmas, Easter, and Thanksgiving.  I know there are more, but those are the ones that I associate with family celebrations.  There haven't been too many of any of those three holidays in the past 17 years that haven't been celebrated with extended family.  Last year we had Thanksgiving all by ourselves, but that wasn't by choice, it was more or less because we weren't doing a very good job of going more than a half hour in between someone throwing up!   The idea of celebrating  with our intimate little (OK...fairly big) family is often enticing, but gathering with the rest of everyone always comes out the winner, because quite honestly, it just wouldn't feel right--it wouldn't feel complete without the rest of some part of our family. 

This year being no different, we set off at 5 am on Wednesday morning and headed west.  The trip is a familiar one, considering I have been making it for 22 years now.  Same stretch of interstate, same stretches of highway.  It's lovely leaving so early because the kids go back to sleep and it is quiet and just right for adult conversation.
I tried something new this trip...we usually pack a cooler with food for the journey.  This time, I made a pot of oatmeal and packed it in individual soup containers, all packed into a cooler bag.  The result?  Three hours down the road, piping hot oatmeal which we garnished with fruit, nuts and chocolate chips.  Yum!  (Side-note:  I've been making steel cut oats because they're better, better for you and for some strange reason the kids who don't like oatmeal actualy like it fixed like this.  Here is likely the reason why:  once cooked and the liquid is reduced, I add coconut oil, vanilla, almond milk and honey and then let everyone top with what they want--bananas, berries, nuts and seeds and of course chocolate--my new favorite part of oatmeal.  :)  So easy and so yummy.  We WILL do this again. 
We are on a rotation for Thanksgiving and Christmas that is no less than perfect right now because the rest of my paternal extended family is on the same rotation, so we've been fortuneate enough to all be together yearly for the last five or so years. 

The weather was a balmy 82 degrees when we arrived on Wednesday afternoon...good volleyball weather. 

The boys took in a little trap shooting...but got shown up by a girl!  Annie get your gun!!

 Taller than his uncle now, but is he stronger???

Grandma taught Mathilda how to bind the quilt that she made. 

There is a reason that the kitchen is the heart of the home...look at the focus happening here!

Afternoon entertainment.  Sorry dad...your phone just isn't smart!  (They weren't really all on their phones, we just thought it would be funny!)

Pre-nap challenges:
We are a...

Marble stacking...

Marshmallow sucking...

Nut stacking

 Tower building

 Cookie wearing

Candy-cane-packing kind of crazy family!

The annual front yard football game

 Warmer and quieter inside...

This pose never gets old.
 Worn out! 

Annie brought a bunch of her old t-shirts to make a quilt with...

It didn't take long to reduce the pile to this:

And look what we did with the sleeves!!

Love meals around the table.  Eating together is priceless.

Post-thanksgiving branding day...

LOVE FAMILY!  Happy Thanksgiving!