Thursday, December 23, 2010

Family Time

Thanksgiving has always been a big holiday for my family. But in the last few years we have traded the hassle and cost of holiday travel for a trip to the east coast in June when we can enjoy warm weather and the beach. So as we geared up for a low key thanksgiving when my Aunt Donna got an idea? Why not go to Rae and Justin's for a quiet relaxing thanksgiving? We welcomed the company and before we knew it we were making plans for 17--if we could not go to thanksgiving, the Astions were coming to us. Thrilled to host this important event, my Grandfather starting to plan. By mid- October he had a four page excel sheet of dishes, grocery lists, preparation dates, menu items, and discussions of serving dishes. Having had many thanksgivings of bread and potatoes I managed to squeeze in a pasta dish, a salad, and some vegetarian stuffing--the rest remained the same. I am not sure how long the menu has been the same but I know it is at least 34 years (with exception of the jello mold substitute).

To ensure there was enough preparation time my Grandparents gave themselves a week in Washington before thanksgiving With the sacred thanksgiving polyester, brown and orange table cloth in tow, my Grandparents left sunny Florida for the Pacific Northwest. 

Nan and Pop arrived in Washington and the weather instantly changed. Our forty degree rain turned to frozen tundra conditions with several snow storms, roads of ice, and temperatures in the single digits. To make a long crazy story short, my cousin Jamie got sick (so Mike F and Shana spend thanksgiving in Portland), my girls got a case of hand, foot and mouth (a bumpy contagious condition that forced my Uncle Mike and Aunt Jen to cancel-- the snow would have deterred them if they had not). Aunt Donna made the monster trip with Gena and Ella in tow and my Mom would not have missed it for the world.

After days of cooking, juggling the girls, dealing with a frozen washing machine, and transporting everyone in sub-teen conditions (the very temperatures my grandparents tried to avoid by moving to Florida), Thanksgiving morning arrived and so did a major snow storm. Since our roads do not get plowed (it never snows here) we trouble shooted how to get my grandparents to our house, or if we should pack the food and bring it to their hotel room. Finally, Justin deiced to pick them up in the Subaru. After sliding a 50 yards down our road the car stopped and I helped my frozen grandmother (earmuffs, thermal underwear, and all) into the house. Donna made it out with her girls, we provided the sleds, and thanksgiving was a go. All and all it was a great visit. It is so nice to have my family spend time with the girls. Since everyone has left, the temperatures have returned to the 40s, all the snow melted, rained resumed, and we have another great thanksgiving story. Thank you for everyone who made the long, cold, journey to our corner of the world.

Addy in her apron helping with the cooking

Morgan getting in a bath after cooking all day

Amy and Kate playing with the girls 

Addy's first experience with snow

Morgan is alittle hesitant 

The girls are really into books and they got everyone to read to them 

Great Nana reading 
 Great Papa reading 

Even Gena took a shift

Nana taking her reading shift 

If no one was reading to them, they read to each other - its really cute

And after alot of reading, Nana insisted we return to cooking, 
so she showed the girls how to make the famous Adele Astion sour cream coffee cake

The view from our door thanksgiving morning

Everyone dressed for the holiday, 
hoping the rest of the family would be able to make it out of their hotel rooms 
(Addy seemed worried she would have to eat all the cranberry meatballs)

Morgie and Mom (note the table cloth in the background)

Turkey carving lessons

 Me and my Nana

Addy thanking the chef
Post meal sledding

Addy was unsure at first but really got into it

Morgan was less impressed

Gena loved it 

A big thanks to Donna who volunteered to photograph the event 

Lavern is always up for play in the snow

The girls liked up hill just as much as down 

 So sweet

A Family Thanksgiving (minus a few important members)

Morgan seemed sad to see everyone leave

And Addy did some serious meditation.