Monday, December 8, 2014

Our Family Thanksgivings and a Special Birthday 2014

This was a very special Thanksgiving for my family this year.  My Grandfather turned 90 years old the day before, so we threw him a big party with the whole family.

Ben designed the invitation and matching banner.

We rented the activities room at the assisted living home where my grandparents live and held the party on Thanksgiving Day.  My mom went all out buying table cloths for all the tables, bringing her silverware - so we wouldn't have to use plastic, and making beautiful center pieces!

Because it was Thanksgiving we of course had pumpkin pie!

My aunt created this beautiful floral arrangement!

This was very special for my Grandma, she doesn't get to see her great-grandchildren very often.

And I love love love seeing them too!

My Mom and Dad (on the left) sat down with out guest of honor and my Aunt Mickie and Uncle Jim (on the right).  Both guys are sons of the birthday boy!

Now its time for some cousins!  Wait, my mom snuck in there - she looks so young I bet you thought she was one of the "kids"!

We knew there was no way we'd be able to cook and bring ALL the food, so my parents/aunt & uncle were smart, they got the whole meal from Marie Calendars and then my mom stuck it all in her serving ware!  Mmmm it was so good too!

We had some super cute little eaters!

I know I told you there was pie, but we couldn't skip having a birthday cake on such a special birthday!

As part of the special activities we went to the "movie room" and watched a special slideshow my mom created of my Grandpa's life.  It was so special and fun to see all the old photos!

There was also balloon fighting!

And cousin playtime!

And of course we weren't going to miss this perfect chance to get a family picture!  We had only one crier!

The next day we were off on a long drive to Santa Cruz to visit my Uncle Ken and his special girlfriend Donna.  She is an awesome party thrower - and just like my Aunt Diane she LOVES Thanksgiving!

She has a beautiful house up in the mountains near the beach.

Because there were so many people coming (all of Donna's family too) she organized us into tribes.  There were four: Earth, Water, Wind and Fire.  Each person was given a bag with instructions on who was in their tribe, their tasks for helping out and feathers - one to wear and more to give away to people you were thankful for.

Here's our awesome hostess explaining things to her nephew.

My cousin Spring made this awesome eggplant dip (I don't normally like eggplant but I liked this)!

The cousins loved seeing each other!  

In your burlap bag you were given a headband to wear your feathers in.  Everyone looked awesome with their feathers!

This was such a great time for the families to get to know each other!  Here we have one of Donna's sons Zach meeting my Uncle Ken's son Zach and his girlfriend.

The weather was very wet, but that didn't stop everyone for spending time outside!

Or from being silly!

It was just the perfect excuse to play with umbrellas!

To stick with the theme the girls made corn husk dolls.

My day was complete when these two showed up!  I love my cousin Auburn and her sweet little one Maggie soooooo much!

It's too funny, no matter where we have Thanksgiving my dad always ends up cutting the turkey!

As the sun went down the room really began to glow.

I love that this side of my family plays guitar and sings, it's so wonderful to sit back and enjoy!  Thanks cousin Gabe!

The original plans were to have everyone eat outside, but with the weather Donna had the unique challenge of squeezing 30 people into her house for a formal dinner!  She did it quite well!

Then my Uncle Ken sang us a beautiful Thanksgiving song!

There were LOTS of little ones running around and finding mischief, Isaac here seems to be well managed for the moment (till he escapes, hahaha)!

We had a wonderful spread of homemade food!

Then it was time to kick back and enjoy each other's company!

Our next visit can't come too soon!  I cherish every time I get to see my family and I hope you do too! These are the best memories and I'm so thankful to have such wonderful family on both sides to get to spend my holidays with!

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