Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. It is the time of year where I get to see my dad's side of the family. This year our gathering included 55 people... I actually think there were 57, as two people came in after we had said grace, but I am not sure. Either way, it was one of our biggest gatherings to date. Of course leading up to the gathering involved some traveling. Sis and the boys left NY Tuesday evening and got to my house around 10:30 or 11:00.
At my apartment, I have room for two cars to park in the driveway, but they have to park one behind the other. So I had parked on the road so that she could pull her car up the furthest, knowing we were going to be taking my truck to Dad & Betty's. I told Sis I was going to pull my truck up behind hers because I did not want to leave it on the street in case the plows came by. She was confused and asked why there would be plows. I told her that snow was starting around 2 in the morning and we were supposed to get 4-12 inches. She thought I was kidding.
When we woke up Wednesday morning we already had 3-4 inches of the white stuff on the ground. We packed up the truck and started our trip. The roads in my neighborhood were not cleared very well, but I wasn't worried, figuring that the highway would be better.
I was wrong. The highway was bad, really bad. The plows had barely been out so the part of the roads that were clear were from other travelers. This meant that there was really only one lane for travel. In some places the plows had done better, but the passing lane was still pretty slushy. Average speed for the trip... 35 miles per hour. In snow. With a full truck, including three brothers squished together in the back seat. The drive to see Dad usually takes just under three hours. Wednesday's drive... including a brief pit-stop for lunch took 6 hours. SIX HOURS! The worst parts or the highway were by the toll booths. The EZPass lanes were clear but the lane that I had to go in, to show my turnpike identification had not been plowed. I literally had to get through two foot snowbanks. At one place the car in front of us almost completely lost control of their car. It was crazy. By the time we got there I was relieved. The boys had said they were disappointed because they had not brought their snow gear. The snow was still coming down when we got to the lake, and I would say there was about 8-9 inches on the ground. It was nice to get out of the truck. The boys really wanted to play in the snow. Betty managed to find some clothes that were way too big for the boys, but would allow them to play in the snow... including some oversized boots.
This is a picture looking out over the lake, as much as I dislike snow, I have to admit it was pretty.
This is my sister, following her small temper tantrum dance about the snow. Given that smile, I think perhaps she was being dramatic.
These pictures are of the boys, bundled up in oversized gear:
Ben.. too cool to strike a pose...
Davin wanted to curl up in the spot where Betty's dog, Ebby, used to curl up. Ebby died this fall and it was cute that Davin wanted to be in her spot.
He may have been too cook to strike a pose...but not too cool for snow angels!
Thanksgiving Morning... My sister and her boys... Jack, far right, had not been cuddling, but wanted to be in the picture...
Because Betty was worried we would be underfed at Thanksgiving dinner, she got the boys to help her make us all waffles for breakfast... which were delicious!
Had to take a couple of pictures of the morning sun and the snow... I like that the lake is not frozen but that there is snow on the ground.
Jack wanted to throw some snow into the lake so I told him he should shovel off the deck...
Snow falling from he shovel.
The boys sending Thanksgiving greetings to their Dad.
On the ride to the place where we have Thanksgiving, the boys rode with me and Sis and Dad got some time together. Jack thought the sun was too bright... and asked to borrow a pair of my shades!
At the beginning of our meal, we all stood in circle ... because we had a lot of faces who had not been in a while we decided to have the branches of each family introduce themselves. It was a cool way to see how we are all related. (Yes, those are nametags!)
This is a picture of two of my aunts, on the left is Sharon, my Dad's sister in law, and Donna, my dad's sister.
This was just me trying to get a picture of everyone... it didn't work, but it's still pretty good.
We had claimed our spot at one of the three long tables!
My Dad and my sister and I... nice to get some family time! (And Sis thinks she is tall?!!)
Sis and her boys.
She can't help it... she loves me!
Whoa... upside down Ben!
Time to start the buffet line...
This is my Dad's sister, Sharon's family.
This is my Dad's brother, Wayne (who makes the home made ice cream!) and his wife Sharon (who makes the Indian pudding to go with the ice cream.)
And... the dessert table... I contributed the pumpkin rolls in the foreground.
This is a picture of the oldest person in attendance, my great undle Raymond who is 90, and his son Jerry.
Sis and her baby!
Dad and Jack... Out of the three boys, I see our side of the family in Jack the most...
Grampee and his boys.
This is my aunt Donna with her granddaughter and great grandson.
This is Ryker, 9 months old, the youngest person at our gathering.
I wanted a picture of my Aunt Donna and Sis because they remind me of each other at times.
Driving back to the lake, the boys were thrilled that in northern Maine the speed limit is 75. I was thrilled the roads were clear enough to go more than 35!
Betty had some craft supplies and the boys were excited to make some Christmas decorations.
Then it was time for some cribbage. Dad and I had taught Ben to play a couple of summers ago and he does well. He is a bit of an addict, however!
We got Sis in on the cribbage action too... let's just say I told the boys if they need help on their math homework they should call me.
Friday morning... Jack wanted to make another decoration...
Then it was time to decorate a cake... for Grampee's upcoming birthday.
We couldn't have a party without balloons...
Some of Betty's family stopped in and we managed to get a picture of all of us... Dad, Betty, Jacey, Me, Sis, and the boys...
Time to 'surprise' Grampee... by attacking him with balloons!
While this is a little blurry.. I love this picture... JOY!
That's a tall cake... with a couple of extra inches of sprinkles...
Betty and Jacey... newest members of our family.
This was the first holiday that we were all together as our new family... It means so much to me. I know it means a lot to everyone else as well.
On the way out of Betty's driveway... Jack asked if Dad and Betty would get married one day. Sis and I told him that we weren't sure, but that we knew that they would be together for a long time. Jack then asked us if he should call Betty Grammy... we told him that it was okay to think of Betty as one of his grandmothers, but that he had to ask her if it was okay first. He said, well I have never had to ask anyone if they wanted to be my grandmother. We told him that's because his other grandmothers had been stuck with him.. but it seems like Betty is making a choice to be with all of us... He decided, I think, that he will come up with some kind of name for Betty that is kind of like a grandmother name, but also has Betty in there somewhere... Jack really thinks a lot about family... all the boys do.
It was a great holiday weekend!