When I prepare for trips I am pretty methodical on what I do.  Granted my methodology may not be the most infallible one out there, but it gets us by, most of the time.  The clothes were in a plastic tote (easier to carry around then clunky suitcases), I had things to keep the kids occupied for the long drive. otherwise there would have been chaos and a very frazzled mommy, and that is never good.

The drive was pretty uneventful, and rather quiet.  All three children kept busy with some form of electrical device, I fell asleep at one point, and my poor husband had to drive.  We arrived early, which is good.  Chase always needs time to acclimate to people he is unfamiliar with, and there would be plenty.  In the end a total of eighteen people mingled comfortably at my niece’s house.  Although my children where the only ones there under the age of twenty I was impressed with how much tolerance and love the adults showed my rambunctious group.

My husband is the youngest in his family, and we started our family much later then his siblings.  Our niece’s and nephews on his side of the family are all grown, and one niece is married.  I enjoyed talking with my niece’s mother in law (who were the only non-related couple other than spouses that were at our family dinner – but they felt like family), and watching my kids mix and mingle with their cousins, aunts and uncles.  In fact, it has been the first time in YEARS that we all got together – it was really wonderful for my Mother-in-law and Father-in-law.  My favorite part was standing behind the camera and capturing those special moments that the holidays engender.

I love capturing those moments with grandparents.

Dee lovin' on his Grandma

Dee lovin’ on his Grandma

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Dee and Grandpa in the pen!

Emma shows Grandpa how to use her tablet.

Emma shows Grandpa how to use her tablet.


Chase has always been a snuggle lover, and he found plenty of people to give him that sensory input he so craves.

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He was so excited to see Grandma that he had to get hugs as soon as she sat down.

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He almost toppled daddy onto the floor with this hug.

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He particularly gravitated towards his youngest cousin. She kept asking for hugs from him. I think she was drawn to him as well.


That was the juiciest turkey I have ever eaten, I can’t wait to try my hand at making one taste so fine!

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Emma is our reining princess, who loves to dance – I think she put on a show for us every hour on the hour.

"Want to see my new dance?"

“Want to see my new dance?”

After eating my niece got everyones attention.  She said that because this was such a special Thanksgiving she wanted to give some gifts out.  She handed out a gift bag to her parents, grandparents, sister, and in-laws.  I kind of thought that the moment was a bit odd, until I heard her sister say, “I think it is a picture frame.”  At that moment I knew what was happening.  And I was right!!!!! 

Four generations all on one couch!  The next generation is on the way.

Four generations all on one couch! The next generation is on the way.

My niece Sarah has always been a pretty young women, but for some reason when I walked into the house she just exuded confidence and poise, more then usual.  Not only that, but I think she was more beautiful on Thanksgiving Day then she was on her wedding day, and that was hard to beat – she was a gorgeous bride.  Once she made her announcement I understood.  I have always heard of the “pregnant glow” but have never seen it in action.  Now I have!!!!

To top the evening off we headed to our hotel, it was the first hotel we have stayed in with the kids.  Chase was a bit confused about “our new house” but we told him we were “borrowing” the room.  As soon as he heard there was a pool he accepted with gusto his new environment.  It was a nice way for the five of us to relax and unwind after a wonderful day with family.  Daddy and Chase fell asleep immediately upon going back to the room.  The other two kiddos and I spent time watching movies.  It was a great day.