I had high expectations for Thanksgiving Day. I love my mom's side of the family and we haven't seen them in a long time. The kids were really looking forward to seeing Papa, my grandfather, and I knew that would be fun. The food is always delicious - I've never eaten anything that compares to the food from my mama's side of the family. Really, I just knew the whole day would be great.
And you know what?
The day exceeded all of my expectations.
My cousin Michael and his wife Susan hosted Thanksgiving at their home in Jacksonville. It was beautiful and it had a big backyard that the kids loved. Michael and Susan have 5 kids (the new baby is not in the picture) and my cousin Steven and his wife Angela have one child. My kids had a blast playing with all of them and it really made me wish we lived much closer so that they could play together more often!
They climbed trees, pushed each other around on a bike, and played soccer in the backyard. Turns out that Drew can really kick a soccer ball!
Abby and Amelia became fast friends. They were inseparable the entire day. Amelia was so sweet to my Abby and I just loved watching them play together. Here they are with Papa and Miss Juanita.
Abby has excitedly talked about seeing Papa for the past few weeks. At dinner she would say, "I can't wait to see MY Papa!" and Drew would correct her, "Abby, he's everyone's Papa."
She talked to him on the phone the other day at my mom's house. When we got home she told me she had talked to Papa about coming for Thanksgiving. She said, "He really can't hear mama, but, don't worry, he can see just fine!"
Clearly, they really enjoyed each other!
And Drew got to have some special time with HIS Papa too!
And, to round out all the Papa pictures, here is one of me with him. I can't believe the man is 87 years old. He seemed really healthy and happy. It was great to see him and to watch the kids with him. It really made me miss my Grandma though. She would have LOVED her great grandbabies!
Abby and Grams always have fun together. Perhaps now would be a good time to mention to the Internet that my mom has lost 45 pounds!! We are incredibly proud of her!
Daddy and the kids had fun playing together outside. It was such a beautiful day!
Me and Abby Grace...
Here are my siblings with Savannah. She is my cousin's daughter so I'm not sure if that makes us second cousins or first cousins once removed or if we are even really related at all. But, I do know that this year the spotlight was on Savannah.
Somehow she went from being a cute 12 year old who chased my brother around to a gorgeous 17 year old who is about to graduate from high school! None of us could believe the transformation, and every time I walked by her I would just shake my head and wonder where all the time has gone. Because, if she's all grown up then that just makes me old.
And here is my Mama with her babies. She looks pretty proud, don't you think?
The real kicker of the day was Grandma Pauline trying to convince me (and anyone else that would listen) of my untapped singing talent. She said, and I quote, "I've never heard anything like your voice. You have an instrument there, young lady. A fine instrument."
I insisted each and every time she cornered me (which was probably half a dozen times) that I really could not carry a tune to save my life. She was quite earnest in her plea with me to believe in myself and my dreams, and, of course, my fine instrument.
The likes of which she has never heard.
And I was scared to death that the sweet woman was going to force me to sing so she could prove her point. And that, dear friends, would have ruined a perfectly fine Thanksgiving day. So, I did what any other normal person would do and I hid out by the cheesecake. And because I was already there I decided I should probably just go ahead and have a piece.
Anyway, it's important to say that on this Thanksgiving I really am thankful for my family, my friends, my health, and all of the blessings in my life.
Mostly, however, I'm thankful that Grandma Pauline did not make me sing. Oh, how I'm thankful for that.