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Merry Thanksgiving!

Merry Thanksgiving!

Since we are about halfway between Thanksgiving and Christmas, it seems appropriate to write about both at once!  This year that is particularly easy, since we were able to celebrate two holidays in one day with Than’s family.

(Editorial note: since I didn’t take any pictures that day, I am using these photos from our family art project instead.  Pretend this is one of those kid’s picture books where the words say one thing but the illustrations tell a different story…)
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We headed over to Than’s parents’ house Thanksgiving morning with a car full of gifts, food, and excited kids.  Fortunately it is a short drive!!  The Macy’s parade was in full swing and the stockings were already overflowing by the time Than’s brother and sister-in-law joined us, having made a much longer trek through the snow. All the cousins were sure happy to see each other!!  This year we had the exciting benefit of having more kids than adults, so there was lots going on everywhere.  A giant block house with giggling girls and stuffed animals inside, toy cars racing, delicious smells, talking grown-ups, and everything adding up to some joyous mayhem.
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Eventually lunch made it on the table with plenty of delicious food to go around.  We were thankful, to be sure!  Then clean-up, and finally time to open all the little treasures in the stockings.  Back to the dining room for dessert, then on to more Christmas with our family gift exchange.
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Holiday formalities finished, we spent the rest of the afternoon enjoying the gifts so thoughtfully given.  There were new games to be played, new toys to be tested, and new gloves to take out into the snowy backyard.  All in all it was a wonderfully full day shared with people we care about.

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Thanks, Baylor clan, for working together to create a Merry Thanksgiving!

Thankful in November or January

Thankful in November or January

We were thankful to have the fun of hosting Thanksgiving dinner at our house, with Than’s parents and his brother’s family here to celebrate with us.  It is delightful to watch the cousins at play, and to see how much they enjoy each other as they grow.

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We traded the traditional turkey in for herb roasted pork loin this year, but it was accompanied by the usual complement of favorite side dishes, including Matt and Kimi’s homemade rolls and homemade pies from Jan.  Delish!

A fun feature this year was the color-your-own-place tablecloth, providing amusement to kids and grownups alike as the day progressed.  I promised the kids I would photograph it (much better than keeping it!) so here it is, a before and after…

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Food, games, laughter, family–a good day of celebrating God’s blessings.

Catching Up–Thanksgiving

Catching Up–Thanksgiving

Has it really been Thanksgiving since I’ve posted anything more than a random quote?!!  Sorry, faithful readers!  One part basement remodel plus one part holiday season plus one part technical difficulties equals no blog posts, I guess.  All of that has been resolved, however, and I’ll look forward to updating you in future posts.  For now, however, let me just give you a glimpse of our trip to Houston for Thanksgiving.  It looks like I only took photos once or twice while we were there, so I’ll intersperse the “not pictured events” between the pictured ones 🙂

Kaye and Bryan kindly made room for their house to be invaded by our family of four and my brother Nathan, squeezing us all in quite nicely.  It was particularly nice to have Nate there with us, and the first time the siblings had done anything together sans parents.  Strange to be without mom and dad, but delightful to build our relationships together.

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The cousins did great together, filling the space with adventure, laughter, lots of flying balloons (OK, Uncle Than may have helped with that) and a fleet of paper airplanes (enter Uncle Bryan’s expertise).  I love being with my nieces and nephews as they grow, getting to know their different habits and personalities.  Some super special kids live in Texas!!

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It was wet and chilly during the first part of our visit, but we managed to squeeze in plenty of backyard soccer during the second half.  Rayce is a whiz with that ball!

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Kaye outdid herself in feeding the hordes.  Hopefully she will share some recipes–my kids experienced crab for the first time, we had a stuffed shrimp that was incredible, and Than was even persuaded to share the classic pecan pie Kaye whipped up for him.

 

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Thanksgiving Day itself proceeded in fairly traditional fashion.  Nate had to leave for the airport early in the morning, we enjoyed an encouraging service at Kaye and Bryan’s church, and we got to watch the parade and the National Dog Show while dinner was prepared.  There was much to be thankful for around our table.

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As a perfect Christmas gift, Than sent Kaye and me out shopping one morning.  We enjoyed several hours of sister time, had money to spend, and ended up with some new craft supplies and a treasure trove of Kaye-approved fashionista clothes for me.  So exciting to feel remotely trendy when I get dressed!

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We also enjoyed a getaway one day to see our good friends who live nearby.  Their new baby was only a few weeks old, so we enjoyed meeting him and catching up on all the news.  I snuck away for morning coffee with my dear friend, and managed to squeeze in a trip to Trader Joe’s with her too.  Fun!

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All in all we enjoyed a delightfully relaxing week of playtime, games, movies, and kids. Nathan and Katya even seemed to enjoy most of the long two-day car rides each way!  (The mom-magic-bag still has a few tricks up its sleeve…)

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!

A Litany of Thanksgiving, from the Book of Common Prayer

Let us give thanks to God our Father for all his gifts so freely bestowed upon us.

For the beauty and wonder of your creation, in earth and sky and sea.  We thank you, Lord.

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For all that is gracious in the lives of men and women, revealing the image of Christ, we thank you, Lord.

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For our daily food and drink, our homes and families, and our friends, we thank you, Lord.

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For minds to think, and hearts to love, and hands to serve, we thank you, Lord.

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For health and strength to work, and leisure to rest and play, we thank you, Lord.

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For the brave and courageous, who are patient in suffering and faithful in adversity, we thank you, Lord.

For all valiant seekers after truth, liberty, and justice, we thank you, Lord.

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For the communion of saints, in all times and places, we thank you, Lord.

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Above all, we give you thanks for the great mercies and promises given to us in Christ Jesus our Lord; 

To him be praise and glory, with you, O Father, and the Holy Spirit, now and for ever. Amen.

(Thanks to the What’s in the Bible blog for bringing this prayer to my attention.)

St. Louis at Thanksgiving

St. Louis at Thanksgiving

This Thanksgiving we had the pleasure of spending the week in St. Louis with my grandparents (who live there) and my dad (who was visiting too!)  There are tons and tons of photos, so scroll quickly if you wish through some of the highlights… Got to the airport early, so there was no rushing around and plenty of time to ride the train all the way to the end of the line and then back to our terminal.  Uneventful flight and a warm welcome from our taxi service! First day there we headed straight for the Arch, arriving early to beat the crowds and enjoy this St. Louis landmark.  Nathan was particularly excited, having just studied pioneers and the Oregon Trail in school.

The view from the top, so much to look at.  We took our time, then headed down fast when a noisy school group filled up the space!  The museum at the bottom is very well put together and had something to interest everyone, even in a group as varied as ours.

After lunch (and some re-planning) we ended up at the wild bird sanctuary, a funny little gem hidden away near Bonzo and Pappy’s house.  We saw 11 bald eagles and lots of other hawks, owls, and even an armadillo–all animals rescued by or dropped off at the shelter, unable to survive in the wild.

Since our host’s kitchen was in mid remodel, we enjoyed a wide variety of meals out during our visit–Chinese, Mexican, Italian, and some very tasty sandwich shops.  Thanksgiving was at my aunt and uncle’s house, a well organized and delicious feast for our talkative and interesting family.  The best part for the kids was my aunt’s well-appointed basement–as a former kindergarten teacher, she has it set up for just about any kind of creative play a kid could want!  We were grateful for all the generous hospitality we were shown during our visit.

Other highlights included riding on the carousel at Faust Park (reports are mixed on whose horse won the race), exploring the drainage ditch behind Bonzo and Pappy’s house, playing with their assortment of antique toys, washing dishes in the bathroom sink, baking the first ever pie in the new oven, and times for the kids to play with my cousin’s daughter while the grown ups got to talk.

The City Museum was probably the most memorable stop on our trip, but it deserves its own post so you’ll have to visit back for that one!

Our final stop before heading home was a morning at the Botanic Gardens to enjoy their holiday flower show complete with model trains.  A power outage made the visit even more exciting, but we eventually got to see everything working, vote on our favorite wreaths from the wreath display, and enjoy lunch at the garden restaurant.

After a busy week of traveling, sight-seeing, conversing, playing, and catching up with family it was finally time to head for home.   Our plane ended up being delayed for a few hours, but fortunately a creative daddy and a camera made for some good airport amusement–what else to do, but play “Photograph the Dog” all over the terminal?!!

We were welcomed back to Denver by our other faithful taxi service, enjoyed a late lunch together, and then gladly ended up at home with tired children and lots of good memories.

We are thankful for so many things, and for so many people who worked to make our trip smooth and successful, but we especially want to thank Bonzo and Pappy for their hospitality, their good ideas of things to do, and their care for each of us.  Don’t worry, we’ll come back!!

Rewind #3

Rewind #3

Obviously the Thanksgiving holiday has been central to our recent past activities!  We began our traditional thankful chain several weeks ago and enjoyed reviewing it on Thanksgiving day (while waiting for our dinner to finish cooking…)

We will continue adding links to the chain throughout the Christmas season.

We started the day with the Macy’s parade, and then enjoyed a quiet afternoon before our evening dinner.  Thanksgiving was also mom and dad’s 32nd anniversary so mom shared her roses and we used their wedding photos to decorate our Thanksgiving table.

We had a Thanksgiving meal earlier in the week with my adult Sunday school class at church, and I made a turkey for that, so our actual Thanksgiving menu was a roasted apple and walnut salad, marinated pork loin, traditional bread stuffing, broccoliflower with garlic and lemon, and cranberry pecan cake with whipped cream for dessert.  Not perfectly traditional, but a perfect fit for us!

The day after Thanksgiving is our Christmas decorating day and it was fun to have mom and dad here to be in on the action.  With kids who are old enough to be helpful and four adults, we made short work of the seasonal decor change!  I’ll may post some more decor photos later, but here are the kids diving into the Christmas tree ornaments…

I just love this time of year!!!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!

We’re busy having a great Thanksgiving holiday with Grandma and Grandpa, so there will be lots more posts later, but for now we wish you a Happy Thanksgiving!  God is so good, and we are so grateful.

Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving

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Our Thanksgiving morning began with Nathan waking up at 7:00 and anxiously waiting for the start of the parade, two hours later!  We all enjoy watching the Macy’s parade–even Katya liked some of the floats, balloons, and music.  I ran up and down the stairs, cooking and watching.  We left just before the end of the parade to travel the 7 blocks to Than’s parents’ house.  We sure needed the van, though–two crock pots, two casserole dishes, 5 chairs, and who knows what else had to make it there, along with the 4 of us.  We were warmly welcomed by the rest of the assembled family and sat down to enjoy the meal together.  Nathan and Katya especially liked playing with their cousins, Abi and Eli.  Nathan shared the story of the first Thanksgiving with anyone who would listen, thanks to the help of a Thanksgiving bead necklace we had made the night before.  After naptimes for the little ones (and adults wishing they had naptimes…) we walked to the nearby park to enjoy the sunny Denver day.  Poppy pulled most of the kids in his big yellow wagon.

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It was particularly special for me, since I used to walk to that park after Thanksgiving dinner at my grandma’s house when I was little.  Small world!  Fresh air was good for everyone and there is nothing quite like watching kids play.  (OK, there is also nothing quite like watching grown-ups play.  Have you ever seen Than go down a curly slide headfirst?!!)  After a classic dinner of lunch leftovers, we each headed our separate ways with cars full of some combination of carefully packaged leftovers, tired or crabby kids, and memories of time well spent.  It was a happy Thanksgving!

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Gratitude Chain

Gratitude Chain

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We started our gratitude chain this week.  We made one last year, so maybe it will become a family tradition!  On each paper link we write something we’re thankful for.  We start sometime before Thanksgiving, to practice being thankful.  We continue through the month of December, to connect Thanksgiving with Christmas in a visual as well as conceptual way.  There are lots of reasons to say thank-you in December, and it is fun to watch the chain grow all the way to the floor and beyond.  Last year we had to loop it all the way around the door frame!  Sometimes Nathan draws a picture to go with the words we write down for him.  We also encourage guests in our home to add their thanks to the chain.  It is fun to see what everyone says, and a good ongoing reminder to give thanks.

Gratitude Chain

Gratitude Chain

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We started our gratitude chain this week.  We made one last year, so maybe it will become a family tradition!  On each paper link we write something we’re thankful for.  We start sometime before Thanksgiving, to practice being thankful.  We continue through the month of December, to connect Thanksgiving with Christmas in a visual as well as conceptual way.  There are lots of reasons to say thank-you in December, and it is fun to watch the chain grow all the way to the floor and beyond.  Last year we had to loop it all the way around the door frame!  Sometimes Nathan draws a picture to go with the words we write down for him.  We also encourage guests in our home to add their thanks to the chain.  It is fun to see what everyone says, and a good ongoing reminder to give thanks.