Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The boys and I are all settled in here in California. Its hard to find the time to sit down and blog but I wanted to be sure to give all the details from our Thanksgiving. I never want to forget the details. It was perfect in every way! My Aunt and Uncle are the best hosts!

Our cruise director, I mean my cousin Kelly, had planned activities, meals, movies, and it was nice to have a basic outline of what was happening and yet it was flexible enough that it didn't feel like there was a lot of pressure. John was fantastic and really stepped it up taking care of the boys so I could spend time with my Mom and the girls.

We all arrived on Wednesday night to my Aunt Pam's and Uncle Rick's home is Palm Springs. We were able to rent the house directly next door from theirs. It was nice to all have a space to spread out and to ourselves, not to mention the fact that we had 2 kitchens for Thanksgiving! That first night we were able to put all the kids to bed and have a Bunco tournament - which was super fun! We especially had a good time when it came time for the prizes which we played like a white elephant exchange. Thanks Auntie - I LOVE my batteries!

Each year they do a Thanksgiving 5K. This year the race course was lame but it was fun nonetheless to go and get some exercise before the big feast. My Mom was a trooper and rode in the wheelchair for the run. I know that must have been really hard for her. Shes a mover and WOW she was one amazing power walker!

Some of the boys ran it and my cousin Peter came in with a time of 23 minutes! So impressive! John was a couple minutes behind at 25 minutes (also impressive babe!) but the poor guy couldn't stop coughing for hours :)

Then it was time for the Turkey Olympics! We had fun planning little events for the kids to compete in. 1st up was the Turkey eat where the kids had to move candy corn from one plate to another in their mouths with their hands behind their backs.

Caleb was our winner and was pretty stoked about it!
Then we had our Turkey trot where we tied their laces together and they had to use really little steps while racing.

We had a feather blowing contest and the last event was where our little turkeys had to stuff themselves! We made each of the kids put a red balloon between their chin and their chest for their turkey wattle and then they had to stuff as many balloons in their shirts as possible. Briggs may not have had the most balloons but he never once let go of his wattle and I think he was the only one!

Check out that dedication!

Not only did I have a few dishes to prepare for dinner but our garden's tomatoes finally decided to ripen therefore I got to can tomatoes on Thanksgiving day. Bummer. But luckily for me I had good company and so it was lovely. My Mom was there and then Peter came over and we got to catch up and talk about what was going on in his life. You know things like how he just won an Emmy! WOW! It was relaxed, laid back, and felt so comfortable and nice. Exactly the way a vacation is suppose to feel!

Dinner was elegant thanks to Kelly's beautiful decorations.

Even the kids table was decked out to the max!

There was a lot of anticipation for the meal!
Which is only natural when you have a turkey like this!Nice work Aunt Pam!

All of our feelings this year were very tender. The Thanksgiving prayer was beautiful and I loved this moment right after when my Dad, Mom, and Aunt hugged and held each other.

My Dad takes such good care of my Mom.
Its very endearing to watch.

Savannah and Auntie Grandma playing.

Nothing like a movie to let the food settle before pie!

I ended the day with a long soak and talk in the hot tub with Kelly. It was nice to catch up and talk about everything in our lives. Neither of us have sisters and we have always filled that void for each other. We have become even closer these last few years. When we went inside my Aunt Pam and Peter were still awake and we spent some time talking, crying, and attempting to come to grips with our new reality.

On Friday John and Brian headed out Black Friday shopping while I slept in from my late night. The girls got pedicures, the kids spent another full day in the pool, my Moms cousin Sharon visited and I found all sorts of skeletons in our families closet! :) The girls hit up Bed, Bath, and Beyond for the sales and then John and I cuddled up to Four Christmas. A perfect way to end the day!

Saturday the boys got up early to go golfing and I got to take care of my mom for the first time. I had never fed her through her feeding tube before and had only watched once. I was relived my Aunt, who is a nurse, was there to help walk me through it. Then I got to help my Mom shower, dress, do her hair and her makeup. I know its hard for her to need that much assistance but she does it all with a smile and her signature thumbs up. She is amazing! I gave her an early Christmas present on Thanksgiving. It was a necklace from the R House Couture shop that says, "I can do hard things." She wears it each day as a reminder of her strength and ability to handle this trial in her life.

After golf the kids did a craft with Grandma Silly making Santa's out of toilet paper rolls.
Or at least we will say the kids made them :)
After the craft the kids hit the swimming pool and I got to spend a little time with just my brothers lounging by the pool. It was nice to talk about all the things going on in our lives. They are the only ones that can feel what I feel right now and I'm grateful that we have each other. It was so nice to have 2 fully pool safe kids so that we didn't have to worry about them. The kids spent no less than 4 to 6 hours in the pool each day - which you need in order to perfect sweet moves like these!

I'm pretty sure that is the closest Caleb will ever come to walking on water :)

It would be neglectful to leave out that there was a lot of this going on all weekend long....

But since John was watching the kids while also watching football, I have nothing to complain about!

My Mom, Aunt Pam, Kelly, and I all sat down and started watching The Holiday and enjoying a little junk food. We were interrupted by the bitter reality that it was time to pack up and say goodbye to some families that were leaving. John and I stayed a little bit longer to meet Jenny, my Moms best friend from growing up who came with her husband for a visit.

Then it was over and John, the boys, and I were headed back to my parents house. My heart was heavy, sad, and full of longing as we drove away. One more milestone and event has passed. Thanksgiving will never be the same again. I hate when time becomes so tangible.

When we came home I set myself to the task of moving the boys and I in as much as possible so that it wouldn't feel like we were living out of suitcases for the next month. It was hard to say goodbye to John and Caleb. Caleb clung to me and even let me scoop him up and carry him to the car with his head hidden in my shoulder and neck. I couldn't help but cry! The next time I see my little boy he will be turning 7! Where does the time go? John and I had a long tight embrace and then they were off on their roughing it adventure while the boys and I starting settling into our new routines here.

I can not put words to how relieved and happy I am to be here! Its not easy trying to keep the boys entertained, relatively calm, and (hopefully) from destroying my Mom's Christmas decorations and house. It seems they have quadrupled in energy since coming here! I know I'm much more sensitive to the noise and energy they have. But seriously it seems our little boys especially have energy bursting out of them at every moment as if they are trying to release it before spontaneously combusting!

But the feeling of being here with my Mom and Dad right now doing the day to day things is worth it in every way! I'm so glad they have welcomed us here and are making it possible for me to come help, even if I come with a little baggage.

That is what I am most Thankful for this year. The chance to be here with both my Mom and Dad during this time. Funny that even now when I'm suppose to be here because my Mom "needs me" its really more me that needs to be here taking care of her.

I am thankful for one more Christmas season and the time to say goodbye. I think about what it would be like if my Mom had died suddenly and I become so much more grateful for this time. For every hard and sad thing we face there is a second side full of blessings that strengthens and sustains me.

We are blessed with love in our family.
And doubly blessed with laughter!


Megan said...

I am glad you are able to be there for your parents. I am also glad I am able to help. If you still want to call my friend who lost her mom, her name is Gina and her # is 229-0218 or 673-3629. Miss you here!!!

Grandma Caroline said...

Girly, you captured the whole Thanksgiving experience perfectly. I'm grateful you are too, you give me strength!

SLO Rober said...

Ditto Moms Comment. Best picture ever of the kids in the spa.

Our Family Est. 2005 said...

Love that last picture! Glad you had fun!

Abbie said...

Now that's what a Thanksgiving should look like! Swimming and all!