Thanksgiving break…

We started our Thanksgiving break with flu shots for the whole family! Some were braver than other, but my lips are sealed! We’re hoping this helps even just a little bit in the fight against this year’s flu bug that is already taken Arizona by storm – 300% more cases confirmed than this time last year.

Thanksgiving break largely revolved around the Gilbert Turkey Trot – all the prep and then of course the actual race.

Steve’s brother hosted the family this year, a beautiful and intimate gathering of 62 people. 🙂 It really isn’t as chaotic and crazy as it sounds. Everyone brings food and family came over the day before to help set everything up. They have an ideal home to host such a gathering.

Its been a while since the whole gang has been together.

Sometimes in group pictures its hard to tell who is an original member of the family – here’s all nine of them. (and Annie on the far right was a trooper – she had a baby just days before but wasn’t about to miss out on the fun!)

Before the rain decided to make an appearance all the cousins enjoyed a friendly, yet rather competitive gave of wiffle ball. Young and old – they were all out there swinging for the fences.

After Thanksgiving day, we all kind of crashed in some regards. A lot of naps and sleeping kids (and adults!)

We got some time with Bob and Virginia over Thai food before they flew out on Friday.

Hunter arranged a turkey bowl with his friends and his fun was cut short when he caught Bennett’s head to his eye.

Saturday night we gathered as many siblings as we could and went to the final ASU game of the season. We started the season sweating to death in 110 degrees. We ended the season bundled up (layers upon layers and then blankets thrown on top) when it was 46 degrees out – we had a cold front move in and it was a late night game. Despite the cold (I had no idea they served hot chocolate in this stadium) we had a great time.

We ended the break by pulling out all the Christmas boxes and blanketing our home with green and red and more glitter than my vacuum knows how to pick up.

And then we blinked and it seems like Christmas is already here. That’s what happens when Thanksgiving is so late in November!

Gilbert Turkey Trot…

Years ago, I designed a logo for the Gilbert Turkey Trot. That opened a door to my continued involvement which seems to grow each year and for that I am grateful.

There is so much that goes into this event. Meetings upon meetings and a team of people invested in this cause. It is beautiful to watch so many countless hours poured in as a labor of love.

This year we started to get a little nervous a week before the race. Rain was in the forecast and it was looking ugly. We’ve never had to deal with rain and we weren’t sure what we would do. We prayed, ordered ponchos and prayed some more: We just needed a small window Thanksgiving morning!

The night before the race, the kids and I went and worked the packet pickup. And although heavy with clouds, not a drop of rain fell and the clouds parted for the most beautiful sunset.

Of course after everything was set up late that night, the rain came down. But the next morning the threatening clouds just hovered. The sun even peeked out of the clouds a few times. By some Thanksgiving miracle the forecast for absolute rain never came. It didn’t rain the whole time we were there, even through clean up. As the last couple people cleaning up drove away late that morning, the rain started to fall. It was a miracle.

Actually, that night, in that parking lot at the mall, a tornado touched down ripping out 20 trees and caused some building damage.

Even with threatening rain – we had the best turnout we’ve ever had and even more money was raised for AzBrainFood and Families Fighting. Blindness.

The family showed up from near and far – all of Steve’s siblings were together – and supported Lucy and her cause. Steve, Bennett, Cannon, Briggs and myself ran the one mile family run. Hunter stepped it up a notch and ran the 5K (thanks to soccer he’s in great shape) and Hallie conveniently missed both runs and ended up at the family booth helping with cousins.

We saw Steve’s brother and sister for the first time since their arrival and it made for a sweet reunion.

Steve, with all of his brothers and brothers-in-law. (Oddly enough in this picture they’re split evenly – four brothers-in-law on the left, four brothers on the right.) Eight of them in total and when they get together they laugh and laugh – they think they’re all pretty funny and their comedic timing is something else.

The gratitude wall is always my favorite every year. Its fun to read all that people are thankful for.

Even Briggs tagged the wall – with his own name – the only thing he really knows how to write.

Being in this place surrounded by so many family members wearing their white shirts with red glasses was a beautiful feeling. We are family but we are also a community and when all together, we’re quite the sight. Hallie and I were some of the last to leave and I looked around in amazement at the empty streets. They were crowded just an hour before and with an army of volunteers the whole thing was torn down in no time. My heart was full. And tired.

Thanksgiving week…

If I had to choose one picture to sum up our holiday week it would be this picture from the Turkey Trot:

Although not everyone made it in this picture (we did have two babies in the family born last week to add to the fun!) – it does represent the week we had with all of Steve’s siblings in town for Thanksgiving. They know how to gather, converse and play and there was never a dull moment. We found time to enjoy them as a group and we took opportunities to spend time with them individually as well.

I’m sure I’m not alone in saying this, but we’re rolling into December a little tired from the last week but we’re going to hit the ground running!!

Turkey Trot and Thanksgiving 2018…

Thanksgiving and the Turkey Trot go hand-in-hand in our family. Steve’s brother (and friends) started a little neighborhood turkey trot years ago to raise money for local charities. What started as a neighborhood gathering has grown to so much more. They’ve outgrown the neighborhood retention basin and the last couple years have been held at a local mall. It takes a lot of coordination and a lot of service hours to pull this off and I’m always impressed with how many people jump in to help.

There’s the evening before registration and packet pickup – last year Hallie joined me to help – this year Hallie was still in school so Hunter joined me and helped at registration.

Thanksgiving 2018

Thanksgiving 2018

Thanksgiving 2018

The morning of there’s lots of last minute to-dos. The roads are blocked off – food/water is picked up and fruit is cut – more registration takes place – signage is distributed and hung – sound system is checked – backdrop/stage is set up and then months of planning culminates in the firing of a cannon at the start line.

And we run/walk to support local kids who get food in their backpack for the weekend as well as a charity near and dear to our family – Families Fighting Blindness. We run for our niece who is losing her vision and other kids just like her who are hoping for a cure. We run with family and friends and complete strangers and it’s really quite amazing.

Thanksgiving 2018

Thanksgiving 2018

I sat at the finish line for a while photographing runners as the crossed the line and as I saw families running and crossing together I got a little emotional – I love that Thanksgiving brings people together. I loved seeing families helping and pushing each other along and laughing and joking in the process. I loved watching dads push kids in strollers and moms running behind their young independent runners. The atmosphere was joyful and unified. Such a great way to start out our morning (although exhausting in the same breath).

Thanksgiving 2018

Thanksgiving 2018

Thanksgiving 2018

Thanksgiving 2018

Thanksgiving 2018

Thanksgiving 2018

Thanksgiving 2018

Thanksgiving 2018

After clean up was complete, we made our way home and prepped for lunch with family. Steve decided to have a little taste test while the turkey was being carved. He approved! 😉

Thanksgiving 2018

The afternoon was spent in the backyard playing football – exactly as it should be in Steve’s perfect Thanksgiving world! I’m not sure who was happier about playing so long – Steve or Hunter. They stayed outside until the sun went down and you could no longer see the ball.

It was a really good day. I could hardly keep my eyes open at 9pm (which is highly unusual for me) but it was just as good as I had hoped.

Thanksgiving 2018

Thanksgiving 2018

Thanksgiving 2018

Thanksgiving 2018

Thanksgiving 2018

Thanksgiving 2018

Thanksgiving 2017…

These people are at the top of my Thanksgiving gratitude list. They make me crazy happy and they make me crazy…I could be cliche and say I wouldn’t want it any other way, but that would be lying because I could do without some of the whining and crying and be just fine! 🙂

Our Thanksgiving was a little smaller than it’s been in years past. Several of Steve’s siblings spent time with their in-laws in the area which meant we had a small-ish group of 28.

Thanksgiving 2017

Thanksgiving 2017

With the Turkey Trot in the morning, I did most of my food prep the day before to make sure I could fit it all in. The rolls were made and shaped into knots and then frozen the day before. Thursday morning I pulled them out of the freezer and let them rise before baking them just before heading over for dinner. Fresh rolls without the same day hassle = win.

I also made my mashed potatoes the day before. I was skeptical of the whole idea, but my friend who caters gave me a recipe to be made the day before and then put in the oven the day of. They were amazing and you would have never guessed they were made the day before. My friend did let me in on her little secret – a potato ricer (she prefers this electric version of the ricer.) I’m from Idaho, the land of potatoes, and I had no idea what a potato ricer was. But after using hers to make my potatoes, rest assured there will be a ricer in my kitchen! It fluffs the potatoes just right without over mixing them. It is a game changer!

Thanksgiving 2017

Thanksgiving 2017

Thanksgiving 2017

Briggs was entertained with this chocolate mousse cup for some time. Each dip of his spoon had just enough mousse for him to taste it but not enough to make a dent in his cup very quickly. I found him unattended enjoying this cup. My immediate reaction was – that shirt is going to be stained in no time. To my surprise, over a half hour later, there was no pudding on that shirt!

Thanksgiving 2017

Thanksgiving 2017

The adults had a corn hole tournament in which Steve and I found ourselves in the championship game. I’m still not sure how we lost, but I suppose its best not to beat  the people that are hosting you! We had a great time.

Thanksgiving 2017

Thanksgiving 2017

Thanksgiving 2017

We came home that night, threw on a Christmas movie and got to work decorating. My favorite season has officially arrived.

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