Every two years, we spend Thanksgiving in Heaven. Not that I dont also enjoy our Thanksgivings in Utah with the Stoddards, but I'm a tiny bit partial to Thanksgivings spent in Thatcher. This was the first without my grandma so I was worried it wouldn't have the magic of past years. We missed her but it was a wonderful time and lived up to the very high expectations it has come to carry. Here's the run down: (pictures will come later)
Thursday morning: Rain. Lots of it. All morning. Such a beautiful rainstorm that we lost power. It could have been devastating to our food preparations had we not been in the home of the world's handiest and most prepared man, my step dad Dave. He plugged the house into a generator and we went right on with our business. They have the best "grand kid" house around. The kids build Lego's in the front room or play outside in the sand pile or bounce down the basement stairs on their bums while we work in the kitchen or read by the fire. It's all very pleasant.
Afternoon: We headed down to Grandpa Udall's to play and eat. The men in my family have spent several months building a zip line in my Grandpa's backyard.
It's about two stories tall and goes about 50 yards or so. VERY FUN! Grandpa also made a trailer to pull behind his riding mower. The little people love riding in "the train". We finally ate Thanksgiving dinner about 1:30pm. Delicious. We had left overs for the first time ever. We attribute that to my grandmother's absence. When she was in charge, she said 2 turkeys were enough for all 60 of us! Needless to say, we never had left overs. My aunts changed that this year. I think there might have been 6 glorious birds to go 'round.
Later: After dinner and pie, we played Boggle before heading to the high school for football. Normally, we all play but this year was really cold and sporadically rainy. Most of us sat in cars and watched the men, ages 16 and up... plus Cohen. He wanted to play so bad and would not stay in the car! There's really cute video of him bent over with his hands on his knees in the huddle. He'd just run whenever they ran and we could all hear him giggle from the sidelines. It was so cute.
5:30pm: We headed over to Aunt Suzette's baby grand piano for singing time. We love the hymns and Christmas music, especially the Hallelujah Chorus. Aunt Nona closed the evening with a prayer that vocalized what we were all feeling. Overflowing gratitude. Gratitude for each other, for our membership in the church, for our understanding of the gospel, for the time we had with our perfect Grandma and for all the lessons she taught us, and for our sweet but lonely Grandpa who hosted our lovely day.
Evening: Grandpa got us a hotel room that night at the brand new Hyatt. Cohen LOVED it, to say the least. He sat in bed, watching TV and sharing an apple with Elijah. We let them run down the long hallway and wipe-out on the soft carpet. We rode up and down the elevator. We gave them baths in the big tub.
At one point, Cohen threw open the curtains to the window and gasped, "Mom, I can see the whole town!" Very cute. Brad stayed in the hotel with our sleeping kids while I went with my cousins to play volleyball. Several of them played in high school and one even got a college scholarship. I'm terrible but they're nice to me. It was fun.
Friday morning: Jace woke up at 5:30 am. In my attempt to let Brad and Cohen sleep, Jace and I went on an early morning outing... to WAL-MART! (It's the only store in town!) We had breakfast at the hotel first so we didn't actually get there until closer to 7. I will NEVER be the person in line outside a store at 3 am the day after Thanksgiving! And shame on everyone who pushes in that line and tramples people just to save a few bucks. Disgusting.
9 am: The First Annual Udall Thanksgiving Marathon. It was only a mile but we wanted it to have a catchy name. Participates got to run through tape and wear a dollar store medal. Totally worth it. A few lucky runners got to see Brad running in his Speedo. It was "strategy", he says. Liz led us in a little post-run, pre-lunch yoga. Only the women folk participated. The men were out zip lining and talking about guns. Cohen rode a horse at some point during the day but I somehow missed it entirely. I forgot to monitor him on this trip. That's the great thing about a small town; minimal supervision required!
Afternoon: We checked out of the Hyatt and into Hotel Lindsay (my mom's). Grandpa treated my siblings, parents and I to delish Mexican food. Eating out with kids is such an experience. The two year olds spent a lot of time under the table, the 3 babies took turns crying, people around us didn't seem amused by my screeching niece BUT my green chili cheese crisp and diet Pepsi were all that mattered!
I'm always sad for Thanksgiving to be over. I will be so SO sad when my family decides that we are too big and we stop having Thanksgiving together. I hope that day never comes. Thatcher is home (with a big red heart drawn around it!)