28 November 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

We have so much to be grateful for. Life seems to continue more and more hectic and busy, but yet we are blessed with so many things. I have a wonderful wife and 5 beautiful children; the knowledge of God’s eternal plan for me and my family; a roof over our head and a good job; food to eat and clothes to wear; talents to develop and share; and friends with whom we are making wonderful memories.

This has been a great relaxing Thanksgiving weekend. It has been so nice to have the time off. I worked Monday and Tuesday and then had the rest of the week off. We spent a good portion of Wednesday cleaning the house and getting some of the Thanksgiving food prepared. Several families came over Wednesday night for a dessert night. We made peppermint ice cream pie with oreo cookie crust; others had pies, cookies, and donuts. There were a lot of kids, but they had so much fun together playing in the basement. We were even able to play a game of Apples to Apples with the adults.

Thursday morning we finished getting the food ready. We have several dishes we like to do each year: a jello salad with bananas, pineapple and cream; a fruit salad; a layered red onion, peas, bacon, and swiss cheese salad; and deviled (or as Steph’s mom says, “angeled”) eggs. We had the Macy’s parade on in the background and then did our traditional activities that Steph already posted about. Then it was time to go to our friends, the Houcks, for the Thanksgiving dinner. They have 8 kids, we had our 5, and there was another family with 3, plus the 6 adults. There were 2 turkeys and then all of the favorite dishes of each family. I think calling it a feast would be an understatement. We spent the afternoon in conversation, games, and movies.

Steph went out Friday morning to try for a Black Friday deal. We were planning on braving it as a family, but then were told by several to try and get the things we needed online so we could avoid the headache and lines. We looked online Thursday night and were able to find some great deals. I stayed home with the boys and did some reading on the new book, “Towers of Midnight” from my favorite fantasy series, “The Wheel of Time.” I actually spend a lot of time this weekend reading and finishing that book.

The fan in our bathroom went out this week, so while Steph was gone I figured out how to get it down. After she got back we ran some errands at Lowe’s to pick up a new fan motor, some fluorescent lights, a new cable for the garage door, and some Christmas lights to hang outside. Then we drove to a Christmas tree lot. We couldn’t remember how to get to the one we used last year, so just followed signs this time to a new one. It was cold and windy, but we were all bundled up warm. It even started to snow while we were out. This new place didn’t have as much selection as the previous one, and they didn’t give us a cart to bring the tree back in. So we had to walk it back ourselves, which was quite interesting, since by that time Courtland was tired and didn’t want to walk. Luckily, there was a nice family nearby that ended up helping me carry the tree while Steph carried Courtland. Regardless, we were able to find a tree we liked and got it home.

But then we met our next challenge: the tree trunk was too big for the Christmas tree stand. We sawed the bottom off a little higher up with our handsaw, but it was still too wide. Then I got the idea to try our miter saw. Steph was skeptical, but we were able to take off little pieces on each side and cut out a wedge small enough to fit in the stand. After dinner we got the boys bathed before putting them down for bed. Exhausted by the time we finished that, we spent the rest of the night relaxing. I was able to watch some fun college football games. Sadly, Boise State lost in overtime to Nevada, who played an awesome game, so their hopes for a good bowl game have been dashed.

Saturday morning Steph went to the temple in Palmyra. We had family pictures at JC Penney in the afternoon. We didn’t think about it being one of the busiest weekends of the year – the mall was crowded. But we have an amazing photographer and she was able to give us awesome pictures again (we will share those soon). Last night we got the Christmas tree decorated. Kolby and Eli helped me to get the lights strung on, and then the boys were so excited to get all the ornaments on. I love how the tree looks and we had so much fun doing that together.

Church was really nice today. The talks in sacrament meeting were on gratitude. Like I said at the beginning, we have so much to be grateful for. In Sunday school we studied the book of Ezekiel, focusing on the importance of leaders and teachers being good examples; how the prophet is a watchman on the tower to warn us of dangers; of the reality of the resurrection; of the restoration and gathering of the House of Israel, and of the coming forth of the Book of Mormon. In Priesthood we talked about some reasons for our living here on earth, including marrying and having a family that we work with to make an eternal family; and the importance of trials and adversity to help us learn and appreciate those things that make us happy.

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