I got out our "good camera." (It's not all that good but better than my phone.) I charged the battery, I packed it in my suitcase and then I didn't think of it again and didn't take one solitary picture.
Marianne said, "What about your blog?!?"
We were going to go to Nevada on Wednesday but this is the busiest time of year for Adam and he didn't get away from work as early as he would have liked. Also there was snow snow and more snow in Nevada. We instead went on Thanksgiving morning.
It's nice to be so close.
We had a lovely drive in Sweet Allis. Seat heat was activated all around and we listened to good music and chatted and road trips are my favorite.
We pulled into snowy Starr Valley in the late morning and were met with hugs and delicious smells. There were 37 for dinner. My mom is amazing. Seven of the group were not related but more than welcome. Somehow there's always room and there's always enough food. Since there was so much snow, there was a lot of playing outside by the cousins and lost gloves and wet socks and the most enormous pile of coats and boots you've ever seen. We all just avoided the biggest puddles of melting snow and I reflected on how much easier situations like that can be when your youngest is nearly 13.
So the dinner was spectacular, everything was delicious. After a Herculean dish washing session we had a talent show. Emma and I played our ukuleles. (I borrowed John Candy, a.k.a. Braeden's Hawaiian shirt, which I think enhanced the performance--does everyone name their Hawaiian shirts? Because he also has a Hawaiian shirt named Penny Candy.) There were all kinds of talents displayed by all the nieces and nephews and I can't even tell you my favorite. At one point, Emma looked over at Savannah and said, "I think I'm going to die of cuteness."
It's a very real danger when Savannah is around...or any of those kids. I loved it.
My parents dispensed generous Christmas presents in the form of checks to the adults and then we reconvened for Nauvoo Bingo. You haven't played bingo until you've played Nauvoo Bingo which is an invention of my mother's. Enoch is the popular bingo caller. He takes his sweet time and adds commentary and refuses to move to a central location if the people on the far end of the table (Olivia) can't hear. Those two have kind of been going at it their entire lives but I'm pretty sure they would run into a burning building for each other without thinking twice.
There were prizes in careful categories so everyone knew they'd be getting what they wanted. There was also a fair amount of manipulating packages to ascertain contents before unwrapping. (I know how to recognize Bath and Body Works soap pumps.) Mark got a pair of wool socks that are apparently "the best thing he's ever put on his feet." You've never seen anyone so thrilled with socks. It was all a success except for the fact that every little boy got a car that made a lot of noise.
It was about that time my dad suggested we move Thanksgiving to July or maybe August so all the kids could play outside.
Since no one was remotely hungry yet, we pulled out all the food again and ate some more. It was just so delicious we had to make room.
I stayed up way too late visiting with my parents and Ammon and Melanee once all was quiet.
Friday morning my mom and I hung out with Cormac and Azure while everyone else was still asleep. I sort of miss those early mornings with young kids. It's a nice time of day.
Next was the Ladies' Holiday Brunch at Olivia's which is a highlight of the holidays for me now that I can go. Everything was beautiful and the food was amazing. What I love most is the fabulous sisterhood reigning supreme. My mom, sisters, (which includes the beloved sisters-in-law) and the darling girls eight and older make the group. Two years running, there have been a lot of tears shed. I don't know. Maybe it's something in the quiche? More likely, we are talking about real things in a completely safe place with women we love.
Katie wasn't there but she called and we put the phone on speaker as we answered the questions Olivia posed about our year that just passed, what we were looking forward to in the new year and a Christmas memory. Then Katie gave her answers and she was crying too.
I guess we can't blame the quiche after all....
Before she hung up, Katie said she was glad she got to be there for the crying part. What can I say? It's a bonding experience.
We pulled Mark in from the snow and his intense cousin time (they were apparently fighting mutant wolves which sounded slightly better than the night before when it had been ISIS they were after) and we headed back to Utah.
We stopped in Salt Lake City at my grandma's and helped decorate her house for Christmas which tied a nice bow on the whole affair. I love my grandma and I love Christmas decorations so it was a win win for me.
What I'm most thankful for this season? My family, a beautiful world, the perspective the Gospel of Jesus Christ provides.
And heated seats.