Thursday, November 23, 2017

Pig Hats and Wizard of Oz?

It's no doubt this family is feeling a few pressures. This is our first big holiday without Mom G - even if we usually just had calls. Mom T is fighting metastasized cancer. We're missing family members on the outside (outside of AK for you lower 49ers). Some of us are under or unemployed. We're facing up to the reality of a degenerative disease in our immediate midst....and yet....we're THANKFUL.  We are called to be people of gratitude, thankful IN all things - not necessarily FOR all things.  Today, and throughout the year, we  look to choose joy, to cultivate hearts of humble gratitude, and to bring him glory for what he will do IN the hard situations as we choose to thankfully trust Him. We love Thanksgiving. Today was, "practically perfect." We are missing one Gherkin and are looking forward to her joining us on 27 December.  Michael and I were talking and we think the last time we had this many Gherkins around the table on Thanksgiving was our assignment at Goodfellow AFB - 2005 - 2009. 
 We love our Co-Co. Krista experienced her first Black Friday on Thursday with Walmart today.

Jared and Larissa
(Note the barefoot print in the snow!!) These two got our migration started. The boys had talked about moving back for years. Michael and I had considered it, but were being wise and looking at less expensive places where our retirement dollar would stretch further, and we wanted to be somewhere "central" to all the Gherkins. When these two moved up after their wasn't long until Josiah was planning on moving up. We realized if we moved up we'd have 60% of the Gherkins in one locale. We began planning. Then BreZaak and CoRielle decided to join us...and now 90% of the Gherkins are here.  It's been an amazing year!

Larissa, Arielle and Bennett, Stacia 
 Everyone was here and it was time to start - but first a word on Thankfulness from Michael.
Cy, Cory, Arielle, Jamin, Michael, Nolan, Stacia

Michael, Nolan, Stacia, Alex, Izaak, Bella, Jared, Larissa 

Bennett's first family devo 

Even Yuuki is attentive

Gideon must check on Bella and Daddy
Bre, Gideon, Izaak, Bella, Jared and Larissa

The Table - set with China and Goblets from Mom T
Hello, Bella. 

Gideon has decided Jamin is o.k. 

Gramps and his boy....there are some similarities. 

Sleeping seems to be contagious  - working on a campaign and in property management

Bennett and Cory 

While Jared, Cory and Bennett caught some zzzzssss....we moved on to the traditional after dinner games!
Risk - Alex won 
Farkle - Michael won 
 Gideon has his first boy crush on Auntie Riss

After Farkle, CoRielle, Bre and Gideon went home.  Some of us moved on to our annual viewing of the Wizard of Oz, This led to the best line of the day. Larissa observed,  "Pig hats for birthday and Wizard of Oz on Thanksgiving, why?" ::snort::
Via Google Images
This is an old Gherkin tradition from Michael's childhood. Back in the day before cable and streaming, we were at the mercy of network TV.  Every Thanksgiving evening, during Michael's childhood,  they'd run the Wizard of Oz. My family didn't watch it - the witches were held suspect. Michael grew up watching it yearly. It's fun to watch it together - and discuss all the trivia that has since come out about the making of the movie.

Risk ended about the same time as the Wizard....and the guys and Larissa headed back home. It was a practically perfect day.
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Meme from Alaska Memes

Thanksgiving Prep and Fun

Stacia and I began cooking and prepping on Wednesday. Our goal was to be able to have fun and relax a bit more on Thursday, while still having the big dinner it turns into when all chime in with favorites. LOL  By the end of the day we were well into the cooking list. We were too busy to take photos - but the plan worked. Late this morning we were out of things to cook and added Deviled Eggs to the menu. It is so much fun to have a partner in the kitchen and I'm thrilled Stacia has taken an interest in cooking and baking. Good for all to know how to feed themselves.

We even had time for the a bit of Thanksgiving fun BEFORE dinner. We have a little sledding "hill" - not much of a hill -  but it's fun.  Stacia tries to get the boys out to play in the snow daily. It happens once or twice a week. We have little saucers. We've been talking about getting a couple of toboggans etc... Josiah and Jamin came over early today. They had scoped out the trail head of Matanuska Peak Trail and thought it would be fun to sled down. I was mildly alarmed - but what can go wrong with two such responsible Gherkins on watch? The younger three and Cory headed out with them. All promised not to break any mention was made of sleds.

The meal was under control, the house cleaned and our part empty....Michael put on some Kenny G, filled a couple of glasses with Sparkling Cider and we enjoyed a moment - or two - complete with selfie.

Arielle came up and asked if we could hold Bennett! Of course. She apologized for intruding on our "date moment," but moments with grandblessings are our number 2 favorite thing.

Meanwhile the others were sledding....yes, it is a good, steep hill. I'm not sure it was meant to be traversed on sleds...but I knew it was going to happen the first time I hiked up it. I didn't know it would happen this early in our life in the shadow of the mountain. I envisioned sleds or snowboards - so I was close. I, however, kept those thoughts to myself.
Alex - climbing to the top 

Great place for a pause 
 It's a climb without the snow - I'm sure they were dreaming of fun on the way down! 
Stacia, Cy and Cory
Josiah and Jamin went down first. They decided it may be too fast.....

Nolan, however, was chasing them down the mountain before they could communicate their findings. 

 Cory got to the bottom, reached around and grabbed his sled only to find it was in pieces. 
 They rode it all the way into the ditch
Stacia pondering how she got in this situation 

It warms my heart that the brothers went to all the trouble of buying toboggans and scouting out a sledding spot near our home, so Stacia could have her sledding day.  I think we need to continue to look for something between our backyard and this suicide hill.....though you can't beat the isolation of sliding down the hill in the midst of the woods vs a sledding hill filled with sledders.