27 November 2011


Kids' table at GG's on Thanksgiving.

Liliana Grace

Jonah Allan

Kristina Faith

Lucy Elizabeth

Noël Joy

Levi Christopher

David and Majka

(Whoops! Missed getting Jenni and Matthew together. 
Update to come...)

After almost a week of family activity it is very quiet here this morning. CA and I are on our own after an early wake-up (3:45am) and driving both cars to O'Hare Airport for a 6:25am flight.

DM's family are on their way home to Orlando, while JE's family is unexpectedly in Cincinnati after three days in Central Illinois visiting GG and extended family. Cousins, cousins, and more cousins. Some of them middle-aged and older, but plenty of them just the right age.

Besides visiting great grandma (CA's mom), everyone (except Marielle) spent Friday dinner with my dad--their great grandpa. He raised 6 kids who in turn had a total of 13 offspring resulting in 26 great grandchildren, and counting... My sister and her husband (PM and MM) hosted a casual family evening at their home which included 7 of those grandkids and 15 of the great grandkids (14 of them 6 years and younger).

If you come from a large family, you need math skills to keep track!

This was the first time in almost two years that CA and my family were all together. In January 2010, NJ was a 2 week-old infant when we were in our home celebrating JE and KF's birthdays--31 and 2 years, respectively. Since DM's family resided in Bratislava, Slovakia until moving to Orlando in August and JE's family lives in Omaha, getting together was difficult.

But at GG's request, everyone traveled to her home in Eureka, including CA's sister's entire family of 5. We drove in or flew in from Orlando, Chicago, Denver, New Orleans, Kalamazoo, and Omaha. GG's retirement community offers two 2-bedroom cottages for rent and a 2-bedroom lodge (basement!), which turned out to be spacious and comfortable and only 2 minutes from GG's cottage.

So, we gathered... GG's two children, their spouses, 4 adult grandkids, 2 spouses, and an adult step-grandkid talked, laughed, cooked, ate, laughed, talked, ate and interacted with the 6 great grandkids--ages 6-1/2, 4-1/2, almost 4, 3-1/2, almost 2, and 4 months. Lots of personalities and loads of energy. And, everyone was well-behaved. Really. Shockingly so. It helped that the weather, while cloudy most of the time was temperate and so the little kids could run off some of that excess energy.

We ate traditional Thanksgiving food, including home-made apple and peach pies and GG's home-made noodles and dinner rolls. We'd planned to order-in for a meal or two, but between all of us there were plenty of food options--including homemade soups and cookies, and Thanksgiving leftovers. No one got a chance to be hungry.

GG's brother, sister, and nephew visited on Friday, spending hours reminiscing and sharing genealogy details--details 17 year-old Hannah was keen to uncover.

We enjoyed every moment of our time with our kids and their families and while DM's has gone, we are anticipating an unexpected few days mid-week with JE's family on their return from Cincinnati. That visit is motivating me to deck the halls in preparation. There's not much better than seeing the delight small children express when they are surprised by Christmas lights and decorations.

Noël helps bake apple pie.

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