Thanksgiving Day, 2011

So the onset of our Thanksgiving holiday seems like eons ago.  Things got so busy, with so much coming and going and eating and happenings, that Hubs and I lost track of the days.  We had to consult the calendar and the sundial to try and determine if it was Black Friday, or time to get ready for church on Sunday morning.

We were never really clear.

It’s what happens when you go five straight days without consulting a clock.  It’s also what happens when you go three straight days in your yoga pants.  The days will simply get away from you while you’re wearing yoga pants.

Clearly, I speak from The Experience.

Sister and Sister’s Husband have had their paperwork on file for more than a year and a half to adopt a newborn baby.  Recently, they met with a seventeen-year-old, soon-to-give-birth girl on the other side of our state, and she asked them to take her baby when it was born.  The baby was due to arrive sometime in the middle of December, which made Hubs and I both EXTREMELY HAPPY, because Hubs’ ENTIRE FAMILY was born in the month of December.  December financially cripples us, what with all the birthday-ing and the Christmas-ing.  Not long ago, Hubs and his brothers made a pact that none of them would look at their wives in late February and early March, because otherwise we could end up with another December birthday party.  So yes.  Hubs and I were hopping up and down with all the excitement involved with Family Birthday #8 in December.  Because really?  Eight birthdays for IMMEDIATE FAMILY MEMBERS in the same month as Christmas?  Our checkbook hates THAT.

And then Sister got a call on Wednesday morning — NOVEMBER 23rd, PEOPLE! — that the baby was arriving, and sweet mercy!  Could they just drive as fast as they could across the state, because the pushing was about to happen?!  And that’s when Hubs and I looked at one another and grinned and yelled out, “NOVEMBER!!!”  Because Little H’s birthday gifts will be on the November paychecks, and that was a sweet bit of relief.

So yes.

Sister and her husband split town in a whirlwind of “Can you feed our salamander and dogs?” and “Here’s a raw turkey for you,” and “How many clean pairs of jeans should I pack?”  Sister, you see, was hosting Thanksgiving dinner at her house this year.

And then she didn’t, because Little H was on the way!

So on Thanksgiving morning, Hubs and the boy and I had a very quiet dinner with Mam and Pa.  Mam baked a ham, and we threw together some salads, and we said a blessing, and it was all very, very nice.  And then Hubs dashed across town for take-out from Starbucks, so that we could all have a little bit of hot heavenly goodness in a paper cup for dessert.

And that, my friends, was a perfect grand finale to a perfect little meal.

And then we piled ourselves into the Suburban and drove to Small Mountain Town, some twenty miles away, so that we could have dinner with Hubs’ family.

Because our Thanksgivings involve many dinners.

Hubs’ mama had every manner of carbohydrate on display in the kitchen, and we loaded our plates for the second time that day.

And, because it was where all the action and excitement and outrageous giggling was going on, I chose to sit at the kids’ table.  I’d like to say that I was entirely too mature to be there, but the honest truth is, I fit right in.  And y’all!  I had a blast hanging out with the kids and chatting with them, and finding out who has a girlfriend and who doesn’t, and what Barbie dolls are the hot ticket item for potential Christmas gifts.  (For the record, the iPad trumps a Barbie doll this year.  F.  Y.  I.)

I have no idea WHAT Cousin M is doing in that snapshot, or why his mouth looks like it belongs to a T-Rex, but I still love him to pieces.

After our second enormous meal of the day, the grownups retired to the living room to watch some football, because Hubs’ family is all!  About!  The football! And they are also all about the pumpkin throwing, because during commercials in the game, Cousin H would quickly flip the channel so that everyone could admire the squash catapults in Punkin Chunkin‘.  Hubs and his two brothers and their dad and fifteen-year-old Cousin H all pointed out the downfalls of every catapult that debuted on the show, and they all boldly announced how they’d win the entire contest with THEIR punkin’ chucker.

The one which they haven’t built, but which they all have a mental blueprint for in their heads.  Brother Joel was nominated as Team Captain.  Hubs’ sister, Aunt Pink, was elected as the Pumpkin Patch Overlord, because she has the greenest thumb in the family, so she will be growing pumpkins for her brothers to launch.

Oh, people.  We ARE that family.

And then the kids decided to venture outside for a snowball fight, because all that pumpkin chucking made them want to THROW SOMETHING AT SOMEONE!  Since we only had pumpkins in the shape of PIES, the kids were sent outside to launch snowballs at one another.

The boy and Cousin B put together their own Snow Chucker.  It involved Papa’s rake.

The boy balanced the rake on his shoulder, and Cousin B would load it with ammunition, which was a perfectly-formed snowball.  Punkin’ Chunkin’ was not wasted on these two boys.

Also… Hubs’ family does more than invent winning future pumpkin launching machines.  They can also bring ELECTRICITY, people, to ANY TREE in America, as evidenced by the above photo.  Do you have a tree in your front yard, where you sigh and say, “Gee!  I wish this tree had… you know!… a stinking OUTLET on it”?  I know some guys who could make that dream a reality for you.

After B had secured the snowball on the rake, the boy would flip it.

I think it’s very safe to say that the boy and Cousin B annihilated their enemies.  Cousins M, R and A were beaten down with the snowball catapult and forced to retreat, because the boy and B showed exactly zero-point-zero degrees of mercy on them.  The boy and B are also not afraid to hit a girl with a snowball.

Eventually hands were frozen, hair was wet, the sun had completely gone down, the temperature had dropped, and the boy and B had 784 successful hits to their opponents’ 6 well-placed snowballs.  Cousin M vocalized his complaints about being on a team of GIRLS, Cousin R voiced HER complaints about Cousin M’s complaints about girls, and Cousin A simply said, “I cannot feel my hands any more!  My fingers won’t move, they’re so cold!”

So they all went inside.

And then Sister sent a one-word text which simply said, “HOME!”

So Hubs and the boy and I piled into the Suburban again, because we had a new baby niece to go see.

I made the boy and his cousins, L and K, squeeze together with Little H for their FIRST picture together as a completed group of cousins.

We all fought over whose turn it was to hold Little H.

Unfortunately, once the boy laid claim to her, no one else got in ANY holding time.  The boy snuggled Little H.  He kissed her cheeks, he rubbed her hair, he held her fingers, and then he went home crying and asked, “Why couldn’t she be MY baby sister?!  I just love her so much, and I didn’t want to give her back!”

We told him that eventually Little H would begin to walk, and she’d steal his Lego pieces.  He simply sniffled and said, “Mom, girls don’t play with Legos!”

Regs and Rob came over to Sister’s house to see the new baby, too, on Thanksgiving night.  Of course, they brought Baby Hudson, who is so cute, I could bite his cheeks.  Hubs and I are incredibly fond of Hudson, because he makes us giggle.

And then, people, it was late.  It was time to give Little H back to Sister.  It was time to wave good-bye to Rob and Regs and even Hudson.  It was time to waddle out to the Suburban and regret every bite of mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie and stuffing we had eaten that day.

It was time to go home and be very, VERY thankful for our family.

And that, people, is how we spent our Thanksgiving this year.

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