Monday, December 9, 2013

~Thanksmas, 2013~

We visit Northern Indiana every Thanksgiving ... my "original" home.
This time, we were met with snowy weather- lake effect, of course.
What a special, white, Thanksgiving day!!   :)
 The white house is where I lived from age 6 until I left for college. The house with the ramp is where my grandparents lived, and where my Uncle Joe & Aunt Marcia now live.
 We arrived, and picked up where we left off, "So good to see you ... my how the kids have grown ..."

we enjoyed Thanksgiving lunch, and then the boys washed grandma's dishes.
 ...  the kids anticipated playing outdoors in the snow!  :)
 The boys made a snow fort, while Ashlyn built this snowman all by herself.
 "When I was a child, I played in the snow in this same backyard!" I said.
I remembered how we had so much snow, we could make tunnels, similar to snow igloo's.
That was then .... when I was much younger and the cold never fazed me!!  :)
Visiting my "original" home, often causes rounds of reminiscing ...
Here's a picture of my dad during his meat cutting days.   :)
Mom surprised me with a book she put together of my baby and childhood photos!
What a treasure- I love it!  :)  :)
 Black Friday, we visited my sister, Wendy, and her family!! 
They fixed us a nice lunch of beef noodles- yum! :)
 My niece, Katie, is a Freshman at St Mary's College ... and plays the piccolo in the Notre Dame marching band!
It was so fun "following" her experiences through Notre Dame's Football games (via Facebook), and am looking forward to next years games as well. :)   Way to go, Katie!!
 We had a great time visiting with Wendy, Troy & Katie!
Here's my sister, Wendy, holding Ashlyn :)
Below, Caleb tries to hide from camera's ...
... but we got him with cousin Katie.... then Antonin acted up.
Fun times!  :)  :)
After lunch at Wendy & Troy's, we met my brother, Joe, at a nearby Walgreens ....
so he could surprise us by taking us to a Notre Dame Volleyball game!  :)
Go Irish!! :)
 We were there early to get the good seats ... the seats where you get free stuff (like FREE McD gift cards)!!!  :)  My sister-in-law, Sarah, joined us when her shift ended (she's a nurse).
 Ashlyn with cousins Jenna & Becca
 Cousin Andrew with Antonin & Caleb
The kids also made posters to hold up and cheer with (not shown); the girls' poster said, "We want hot dogs".  :)
 Hotdogs are thrown out to people around the middle of the game, for every Notre Dame point. No, our group didn't get a hotdog- but we tried!   :)
After the game, we looked around a sports museum (very interesting) and then left to eat pizza!
It was the most delicious pizza we've ever had- Volcano pizza- I'd venture to say it's the best around!! []
Saturday was our family Thanksmas get-together!  :)
 Aunt Marcia & Uncle Joe opened their home up for the family get-together, even though they were away in Texas visiting their boys!! They even left a Christmas tree for us- very thoughtful of them. :) 
 It was good to see nephew Brandon again (the oldest grandchild)!!  He's working two jobs, and hoping to return to school someday. I'm proud of his hard work, and wish him the very best!!
We failed to get a group photo of the extended family this year ... but here are a few I took.
Joe & Sarah (my brother & Sis-in-law)
Troy & Wendy (My sister & Bro-in-law)
And ... Wendy & Troy's girls (minus Brooke)
Perhaps one reason no one thought to take a group photo, is because the kids were busy playing games and having a good time.  :)
 My Aunt Carolyn is in Hospice care, and was allowed to join our Thanksmas get-together. She doesn't respond much anymore, but has some alert moments. I was thankful she was able to join us, and that she seemed to understand where she was and who most of us were. :)   My mom and her sisters have been looking out for Aunt Carolyn for quite some time. Seeing unconditional love quietly acted out, without complaint, or bragging ... is not only deeply convicting, but also quite moving. I think the highlight of our visit was that Aunt Carolyn could be with us- possibly her last Thanksmas-?

 Oh yes- I can't forget to mention the Birthday girls in the family.
Besides Aunt Carolyn (yes, we sang to her, too!) ...
Cousin Jenna & Ashlyn have December Birthdays, one year apart.
They were very excited, and couldn't *wait* to be sung to, eat cake (even though we were all completely stuffed turkey's), and open their birthday goodies.
 They are the "babies" of the family ... but aren't babies anymore!
~What a sweet time, with more memories made~
I have a very special family in Indiana, if I do say so myself~  :)

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