Monday, December 7, 2009

Thanksgiving with Family

Now that we're in the midst of Christmas preparation--we spent the weekend in Puyallup celebrating our nephews' December birthdays and helping my sister and her husband decorate their tree and house for Christmas (in preparation for the birthday dinner Saturday night)--Thanksgiving seems like weeks ago!
We always go to my aunt and uncle's in Lake Oswego for Thanksgiving. I made a marionberry-ginger trifle as our contribution, and Mike's mum Olga made a waldorf salad. I love our extended family's holiday potluck traditions, because no one family has to do all the cooking...and the food is always wonderful!

It was a sparser group this year, because one of my aunts is undergoing very intense treatment for an aggressive melanoma recurrence. We were all acutely conscious of their whole family's absence.

My cousin's wife Lauren and her little boy Cayden (such a cutie!!)

Here's proof of how quickly those little babies grow up! (My little man in his three-piece suit)

Olga, Nick, and me

Olga with her own little boy! (and wife)

My Uncle Bill announcing that Mike was about to offer the prayer

Aunt Terry with her sweet grandson

Nick getting ready for dinner

Kieran at dinner--I gave up on getting him to dress up a little,
but he is wearing a new shirt, at least...

One of my favorite parts of Thanksgiving is that my Seattle aunt and uncle and their family usually make their annual visit to Oregon. Both Nadine and I were nannies for their daughters--and they were also in our wedding--so we feel a special closeness to them. The younger daughter, Elena, wasn't able to come this year unfortunately. But here is Anne and her boyfriend Brian, and Anne's adorable daughter Olivia.

Fawning over Cayden before he leaves for another dinner

Mom and my nephews Daniel and Garrett

My sister, mother-in-law, mom, and Seattle Aunt Judy

Nadine and her oldest son, Ryan

With Nadine and our cousin Kim

Mom, Nadine, and David

Mom and Ryan

Olga and Ryan

Nadine and David

So hard to believe I took care of her when she was a wee one! I told her on Thanksgiving that saying goodbye to her and Elena (I was a nanny for them the summers before and after I graduated from PLU) to go to Japan was one of the hardest things I ever did.

Anne, Brian, and Olivia

Nicholas pretending to go to sleep on a pile of coats

Some of the kids goofing off--Olivia only sees our boys once a year, but they always get along like a house on fire!

Our little family before departure
The next day we got up bright and early to go to the Macy's Holiday Parade in downtown Portland. Fortunately the rain held off...but MAN WAS IT COLD!!! I had bought two carafes earlier that week so I could take hot chocolate and chai to the parade. But one of them leaked chai all over the car! (Needless to say, it's going back to the store...and now our car smells like sour milk.)
Kieran at the parade

Chris marching in the parade--he's the one with the big drum on the left-hand side. It was a small group of kids this year, because a lot of people must have skipped school conferences and taken the whole week off. He enjoyed himself, but isn't it too bad he didn't choose a lighter instrument? :) Too late now--he is a true drummer at heart!
The rest of the weekend we hung out with Nadine and family. On Saturday she and I, Mom, and Olga had a women's day out, shopping at Bridgeport Village and having lunch at PF Chang's. Then Saturday night we had dinner at Mom and Dad's. Sunday night we went to our church's annual Advent Ethnic Dinner, always a great way to start off Advent and switch from Thanksgiving to thinking about Christmas. Olga left the following week. She was with us for a fast 3-1/2 weeks and got out and about a whole lot more than she did last year, when she was stranded in the house for 2 weeks.
We don't have our tree yet, but I've made good headway on my shopping, sent our photo card to the printers, drafted my section of our holiday letter, and am actively listening to Christmas music! I love this time of year!

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