Happy holidays! (<-- I always love the day each year when it becomes acceptable to greet random strangers with a "Happy Holidays!")
We made the trek up north early Thanksgiving morning, stopping twice to refuel the car and ourselves. Marshall did great, and it was our first trip where neither of us parents hung out in the back seat with him. Normally, we take turns sitting with Marshall, reading to him, playing games, singing songs, etc. This time, we decided to see how he would do on his own, and he was awesome! We need to give the kid more credit. He looked at some toys, "read" a book or two, slept about two hours, and chatted to himself quite a lot. I do think the two stops to let him stretch his legs and wander a bit helped, though.
Road trip snacks: Sprout pouches (I love the simple ingredient list), crunchy peas from Trader Joe's, sourdough bread, water.
Then we found ourselves at my parents' house for Thanksgiving! My brother and his wife were already there, and we got the turkey going right away. We made one in the oven (truly a team effort, as you can see)
and one on the BBQ (entirely my dad and brother). The BBQ one took longer than we expected, but was significantly more juicy and flavorful. But the oven turkey was awesome, too, so we felt pretty happy. Somehow we have no photos of the meal itself, but we had the two turkeys, stuffing, green bean casserole, crispy Brussels sprouts, a big salad, mashed potatoes, gravy, and cranTerries (Terry made cranberry sauce!). We ate well.
On Friday, we took a family outing to a nearby Christmas tree farm in lieu of our traditional journey to the Santa Cruz Mountains to cut down a tree. Unfortunately, pre-cut trees cost hundreds of dollars (my family likes big trees), so we didn't buy anything and just enjoyed the train, animals, and boutique shop. Chris and Ashley left that day to cut down a tree after all, so at least the tradition continued a bit (we felt it would be a little rough on Marshall to drive another three hours round trip with all the other driving we're doing this weekend).
(Gorgeous views, right?)
Feeding the goat!
Chris and Ashley seemed to have a good time playing together--er, with Marshall.
And we attempted some family photos.
Not so great.
(We did capture one that we're using for our Christmas card, so I'll share that once we've sent them.)
And late Friday afternoon, after we said goodbye to Chris and Ashley, my parents, Terry, Marshall, and I headed out for a long walk in the very chilly air. We covered four miles (Marshall was bundled in the stroller for most of it) and got to enjoy some gorgeous fall views!
(We don't get that in LA! Photo credit to Terry :-)
Saturday (after a pretty good night of sleep!), we played it close to home. Mom and I went out for some Christmas shopping--we aren't Black Friday shoppers, but the Saturday is perfectly quiet in most stores. We ordered pizza and enjoyed some beers during the (sad) UCLA-U$C game and drowned our sorrows in Thanksgiving leftovers afterward. We head out early tomorrow morning, so I'll stop there with our updates.
Another Thanksgiving on the books (Marshall's second!), and a wonderful one. It's fun to see how each year evolves; this year was our first in my parents' new house, and we didn't go to my aunt and uncle's house like we usually have in the past. It was Marshall's first trip up north for Thanksgiving, and we think it was the first time we've done a Thanksgiving with just us six adults (plus M). Traditions have given way to whatever works for that year, and I think we're all okay with that. I love watching our family grow and change, and I'm excited to see what's in store for the years to come!