On Tuesday night, the college boys arrived home late after a long rainy drive from Ohio! They appreciated the welcome home signs that Declan and Brendan left out for them as well as the homemade chocolate chip cookies :)
On Wednesday, some of us had half-days of school/work and others had Stay at Home Learning days. Phil made a yummy pot roast dinner and the big kids went bowling. I started the cinnamon rolls for the following morning, which came out delicious as that recipe always does.
We ran our own Turkey Trot and then headed up to my sister's house for Thanksgiving about an hour away. Everybody brings a few dishes, this year we brought Pesto Meatballs, a Cranberry Pecan Kale salad and a Feta, Corn and Black Bean dip with fritos. My brother-in-law cooked the turkey sous vide and while I don't like turkey, everybody agreed it was delicious and tasted like pork.
Almost my whole side of the family was there, minus my oldest brother's family so there were 32 of us and an intense game of Ultimate Tic Tac Toe happened on that paper tablecloth after dessert was served.
I grabbed my family to get a photo outside:
|Maggie is officially taller than me
|My hearts that reside at Franciscan
On Black Friday, we always decorate the house for Christmas! I asked Phil to take the tree out on Thanksgiving night and we had Forced Family Fluffing to prepare for decorating the next day. Nobody ever wants to fluff the tree once they see all the ornaments, so this was a good idea and one I'll need to remember! Phil worked outside with JP and Eamon to clean up the yard and set up the lights out there, and I had the rest of the minions helping me inside :)
That afternoon we went and took Christmas Card photos while everyone was home, and I even ordered the cards right away. We had Shepherd's Pie for dinner (using the leftover pot roast gravy) and then had the kids sit in the living room...
Darian, Andrew's girlfriend, was there too and had to suffer through our family events, but she is a great sport and blends right in! We told the kids that we were not buying any Christmas presents this year, but they could look in their stockings for a surprise. They quickly figured out:
It was supposed to say:
Same dif and they were sooooo excited:
We haven't been on a "real" vacation in 13 years and everybody worked so hard to get the Ice Cream Cottage up and running this year that we wanted to have a fun week together in the off-season. Plus who knows how long we all have together just the nine of us?!? You can give me all of your Florida tips (we're not doing the Disney thing - going to Seaworld, Discovery Cove, and Aquatica instead - but we are staying in Orlando).
On Saturday we had a basketball practice, some kids went shopping, we all went to Mass and then had dinner and played games with friends until way too late, but it was worth it!
JP and Andrew and their cousin left at 3 am on Sunday and arrived back on campus at 1:30 pm with a great no-issues trip. Our day was spent with a volleyball team tryout for Maggie and a piano lesson for Xander and bike rides and dog walks and football-watching and that was about it! We truly enjoyed the family-filled weekend and I am so thankful to have them all home together as I know this time is fleeting.
This week starts winter sports tryouts for the high-schoolers and our lives are about to get crazy busy again, with basketball practices 6 days a week (2 teams but only one court so 2 different practice times each day for Eamon and Maggie) and swim team 4 days a week for Xander and weekly practices and games for the little two guys as well as a volleyball league on Sundays for Maggie. Send a chauffeur :)