I know it's almost a week later, but I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving holiday!  I know we sure did.  Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday because it's the only time where I get more than one day off from work in a row (without having to use my vacation time).  Our office is closed both Thursday and Friday the week of Thanksgiving.  At Christmas, we only get Christmas day.  I enjoy the holiday for all the normal reasons, too - being with family, eating lots of good food, reflecting on all the things I have to be thankful for, yadda, yadda, yadda - but I really love me a four-day weekend too!  Our CEO even gave us an early dismissal on Wednesday, so it was kinda like a 4 1/2 day break.  For once, I almost had a teacher schedule! I will confess that I ended up putting my Christmas tree up that Wednesday night.  I know, I know.  I'm ashamed of myself too.  I'm a big advocate for giving Thanksgiving the attention it deserves and not letting Christmas stomp all over it, so I get annoyed with how early some Christmas decorations come out.  But since I found myself off work early and knew I wasn't hosting anyone the next day for Thanksgiving, I went ahead and drug all the boxes out.  Confession #2?  I only halfway decorated.  I'll tell you about that later...for now, let's focus on the subject at hand: Thanksgiving.

Thursday morning I got up early and went to work in the woodshop.  That's actually when I put the finishing touches on the red buffet.  It was nice to actually be productive and check something off my to-do list before stuffing my face full of food.  We always spend Thanksgiving day with my dad's side of the family, and this year was no exception.  It was my uncle's turn to host so all we had to do was show up!  Our family is rapidly growing and getting spread out, so unfortunately, there were quite a few folks missing this year.  We still had a nice meal and enjoyed each other's company.  The little kids enjoyed putting on their swimsuits and getting to play in the hot tub.  Sadly, I didn't have my camera so I don't have any pictures to show for this celebration.

My mom is one of just two children.  Up until a few years ago, we always spent Thanksgiving at my Grandmother's house.  My mom's sister's family would come too and we would all pile into the teeny tiny house and stay the night.  It was crowded, but I wouldn't have had it any other way!  Since my Memaw is not with us anymore, we alternate the holidays between my mom's house and my Aunt Kim's.  This year, it was my Aunt's turn to host Thanksgiving (so they'll come to my mom's house at Christmas).  Friday we all loaded up the cars and headed to their town.  With all of our different schedules, we left in shifts, but by the time dinner rolled around Friday night, everyone had arrived.

My mom and her sister, Kim.

There are lots of little kids on this side of my family, and I love watching them all play together.  My aunt has a big selection of dress-up clothes, and you better believe they pulled out every piece of it Friday night! 

Note: all the pictures in this post were taken by my sister-in-law, Erin.  All credit goes to her.

Parker spent most of the night as a cowboy with a coon hat on.

We tried hard to get pictures with all of them dressed up at the same time.  Easier said than done.  Here's an attempt at getting Carter (a Police Man, but really he's just holding handcuffs), Bren (a pretty Princess), Parker (the shirtless Cowboy), and Jett (a Cowboy, even though he's wearing an Indian shirt and a coon hat).

Brennie and Parkie.  Every coon-hat-wearin' cowboy needs a woman, and Parker chooses Bren.

The boys LOVED playing with the guns.  They apparently don't love any of us since they kept shooting us.

I think Bren was glad when Roanie finally showed up so she could have a Princess friend.

These two boys hit it right off!  It had been a year since they'd seen each other, but you wouldn't have known it.


My cousin Joel did most of the cooking for Friday night's meal.  He has a large fire pit at his house and spent the afternoon grilling chicken breasts and wings, pork tenderloin, bologna, pineapples, and vegetables.  It was all so yummy!

Doc and our kids were the last to arrive.  Doc didn't get the memo that this was a casual dinner...

Anna and Wyatt are at the age where they don't want to touch in photos.  It's a challenge just to get them this close to each other!

 After we stuffed ourselves silly, I sat with Anna and Gracie while they warmed up to each other.  It was their first time to really meet and, even though they are a couple years apart in age, by the end of the weekend they were best of friends.  In fact, Anna ended up leaving us and staying the night with Gracie at her house Friday night.  I feel like I should note that there was a makeup session that went along with the dress up.  Gracie doesn't wear purple eye shadow and hot pink blush on a regular basis.


Here are a few more snapshots from after dinner. 

My aunt prepared a nice, warm breakfast for those of us that stayed at her house.  The boys all woke up with some pretty sweet hairdos.

After breakfast we headed to my cousin Paige's house to ride horses.  Stay tuned - those pictures are next!