It was a giant party here in the desert all week leading up to Thanksgiving, and after too.
Every one of Dave's siblings was in town. All nine of them.
This is how [at least part of] the room looks when everyone's together:
We had Dave's sister and her family staying with us for the first few days so we were back and forth with cousins, cousin sleep-overs, Turkey Trot prep all wrapped up together. Here we are feeding the kids pizza one night before the adults headed out on a date:
And here we are late, late one night, basking in the opportunity to catch up one-on-one with this family we love.
This was a week that all bedtimes were thrown to the wind. Which made for a little tricky early-morning scripture-study-get-ready-for-school.
Another random gathering...
Through all the fun, I was kind of freaking out a little bit about getting Max's Christmas package sent off to Taiwan. One night I stopped everything and at least cut out his Christmas tree.
We had all the cousins write little notes to him as ornaments.
Then we packed it as full as we could of some little things for he and his companion.
Claire was a big helper I tell you!
I hope with all my heart it will get to him in time! His Thanksgiving one didn't get there and that makes me so sad...there's a growing hole in my heart for him this holiday season, miss him so much!
But I digress again...
We hosted Thanksgiving this year, which gave us a good excuse to try to finish a few things on our house before the big day. We have lived here over two years after all...
We had a table made for our front entry, which I went to check on a whole bunch of times because these guys wanted to make it perfect for us. They are the best. Here it is one day when they wanted me to tell them which stain I liked best on those front drawers...
Here's the spot where it was going:
...and here we are after we finally got it:
We also got things framed and finally done on our walls. I'll have to do a whole post about some of these things some time, because there is some good meaning to some of them and I'm really particular about what we hang on our walls (see this old post HERE and a follow-up HERE), but for now I'll just say we love this friend who insisted on coming over to help us get things hung.
We also finally put up some pictures in the game room. Here they are laid out on the floor as I tried to figure out the right placing...
We also got this game room wall ready for our family wallpaper which we've been working on for almost a year.
My brother is the best and came to help us put up our piano light...
Here's the finished product which I love, but I think we need to get some extension rods to get it a little lower...any great designers out there who have advice on that let me know!
So the day before Thanksgiving the wallpaper was hung, the table was delivered, the light was installed, this couch finally came...
...all as we were working on all the other prep work...
Our beautiful napkin ironers:
My cousin/dear friend is so awesome at decorating and she brought all this great stuff for us to decorate the tables with:
Amidst all this, Elle came home.
Yes, she wasn't going to come, but Dave and I looked at each other after she left that first time and confessed that we needed to find a way to get her back. Life is so interesting when kids leave home. You just don't know when you're going to get them back, so we figure we better take advantage of every time we can get her. A mission or study abroad may make her unable to be here for the Turkey Trot and all the hoopla next year so we were so grateful to have her, especially since we couldn't have Max.
We loved soaking her up for the few minutes we actually got her at home.
This "quad squad" was all in town (cousins), so they sure lived it up together:
And she loved getting a chance to catch up with friends too..here they are talking to other "Hawaiian" friends:
She loves that place so much she can hardly stand it.
Right from the airport we dropped her off with the cousins to go on a hike:
Meanwhile the rest of us were at Brainfood getting all the t-shirts ready for the Turkey Trot...
As we were working outside these cute girls were inside packing up food for the kids that Brainfood serves:
Everyone helped at bib pick up/registration all afternoon and evening the night before:
Claire did an "ad" for her newspaper class getting ready for the big run:
And I spent a while trying to get our Families Fighting Blindness back into shape in between table prep:
After a few hours of sleep we headed over to the Turkey Trot and I wrote all about that yesterday.
As soon as we were done at the Turkey Trot we raced over to see my new little teeny nephew who was born just in time for Thanksgiving. Grace had gone home with someone else so she missed out, but I wasn't going to let one more moment pass before I held that sweetie pie. My brother and his wife had their baby within a couple hours of this one. How crazy is that? Gave me a serious case of IWAN to see the little videos and pictures come through to us.
Yes, we had every one of Dave's siblings there in town, but one made an early exit from all the hoopla to give birth to the sweetest little guy!
I'll post about Thanksgiving dinner/dessert/evening tomorrow, but I'm posting the aftermath of everything here too so I can have it all in one spot.
On Friday we got up and played some tennis.
Dave and Elle played against his cousin and his daughter...
Elle and Grace also played against Zoe and Claire which was a pretty sweet match I must say.
Although Lucy was swimming with Zoe's little brothers (in ice cold water!) she claimed she needed a tennis shot as well :)
Oh boy, so much more to write but this is long enough and so I'll wrap it up by saying we said goodbye to our friends on Saturday night, and dropped off Elle at the airport on Sunday afternoon (sad day!) and then we got to work on CHRISTMAS.
Our tradition is to watch Elf as we put up Christmas decorations...some were more distracted by that than others. Ha!
That was quite a week and I don't think I've ever been as exhausted in my whole life as I was when Dave and I settled in to bed that night. We are still trying to recover a little from all that hoopla, but December feels so good so far. Maybe it's the #LIGHTtheWORLD thing we are loving so much!