Monday, December 07, 2015

Thanksgiving Day the Wheeler Way

The problem with staying up too late is that after a certain point, it's easy to justify procrastinating bedtime even longer. After all, you're already going to be tired in the morning. What's the difference between tired and more tired?

Since my holiday "to do" list keeps lengthening, I'll go ahead and post some pictures from Thanksgiving, just so I can tick something thing off. I'll keep the text brief as a concession to the late hour. Forget the fact that it probably wouldn't be coherent anyway.

We spent this Thanksgiving in Cincinnati with the Wheeler family--not just the Justin, Brianna, and Ruby Wheeler family, but with Grandma and Grandpa and all the other siblings.  That's pretty impressive when you consider the fact that Christy and Ben are in California, Lance is in DC, and the rest of us fall somewhere in between.  I guess we all had so much fun seeing each other at our reunion in October that we just couldn't stay apart!

Here's Brianna with Baby Ruby.  She gets cuter and cuter every day!  (I was mainly talking about Ruby, but the same can be said for Brianna as well.)

Grandpa Charles seems pretty happy to have everyone gathered round.
Another picture of the pretty gal.  By the way, photo credits for many of these beautiful pictures go to Uncle Lance and his fancy schmancy new camera.
Mmmm, new toys.  Delicious!
A special day like Thanksgiving deserves some fancy nails.  Eli's toes are being painted in very manly blue and red stripes to match his sweater.
Here's Christy snuggling with our Annika.  Annie got so comfy that she fell right asleep in Christy's arms.
This Thanksgiving was extra special because Lance's DC BFF Kate joined us for the celebration.  (I'm really great at textspeak, LOL.)  Even though our family first met Kate this summer, it already feels like she's been a lifetime friend.
Here's Brianna working her delicious popover magic in the kitchen.

We took the kids outside for a bit to keep them out of the kitchen while dinner was being prepared.  The weather was so warm that Annika took her shoes off to explore Uncle Justin's new firepit.
Up, up, and away!  Uncles are the best.

The table is beautifully set and the house smells amazing...
Must be time to eat!  In addition to the traditional turkey, stuffing, and mashed potatoes, we had sweet potatoes a la Andrus, green bean casserole, cranberry jello, delicious brussel sprouts, and the tastiest kale salad with pears and roasted squash.  I'm drooling at the memory.

After dinner we headed outside for some truly original Thanksgiving entertainment.  Kate helped all the kids make some pretty phenomenal Thanksgiving hats, after which Brooklyn, Talia, and Eli went to town creating an original Thanksgiving pageant.
Here's Eli sailing the Mayflower across the ocean.

Of course, the pageant cast some less familiar characters as well.  Here's Kate holding "Turkita," the little turkey whose primary role was chewing her paper feathers.

Grandma Susie sure seems to be enjoying the show.

Looks like our Pilgrim Brianna has captured the Little Turkita.

Pilgrim Christy gives a massage.
Oh look, Christy's changed identity!

Brooklyn helps Turkita with the script.
The show must go on.
Hard to know what to say with such cuteness about.
As part of the production, Brooklyn sang "Colors of the Wind" quite beautifully.

This little guy's sure handsome.  Check out that missing tooth!
In this very original interpretation of the First Thanksgiving, two Pilgrim brothers were attempting to design an airplane.
The climax, however, was when the turkey meal (aka Uncle Lance) got chased all around the yard before finally being stuffed and perched on the Thanksgiving table.

Nice work with the show, ladies.

The cast.
You'd think that after so much fun, we wouldn't be able to handle anything else, but there was still the traditional Thanksgiving pinata. 

Here's Eli getting ready to swing.
Oh look, Eli, it's an Ohio State Buckeye!  Use those Jedi powers and take it out.

Needless to say, before the pies, our Thanksgiving was delightful.  I have lots of other fun pictures from our trip, but they will have to wait.  It's bedtime.

Saturday, December 05, 2015

Talia's Ninth Birthday

Three weeks ago, our sweet Talia Lily turned nine.  I figured I'd best hurry up and write about her special day before her older sister has a birthday and steals the thunder. 

Ever wonder why she's so sweet?

Unlike last year's mega-Harry Potter party, this year we had small celebration with just our family.  Even so, it was special to reserve time together just for celebrating our Talia.  On her Birthday-Eve, we all went out to dinner at Noodles, and then Jason took the big kids ice skating.  I think Talia was a bit nervous because Brooklyn broke her arm while ice skating on her ninth birthday.  Luckily everyone survived the evening in tact.

Such fun!  She's a good little skater.

Talia's actual birthday fell on a Sunday this year, so we went to church, then came home to open presents and spend the rest of the afternoon playing games and doing crafts together.

First on Talia's wishlist this year was an art kit.  Better be careful--Mom loves it enough to steal it for herself!

From a spirograph to beads, the presents were all perfect for our artsy gal.  An avid reader, she also received the entire Percy Jackson series.

For dinner, Talia requested tacos, with pineapple, of course.  And instead of cake, she asked her Daddy to bake one of his stellar apple pies.  He was only too happy to oblige.  We were all too busy tucking in to take a photo ahead of time, but here are the leftovers.

Talia, we hope you enjoyed your special day because you are one special gal.  We are  inspired by your determination as you give your very best in all that you do, whether in school, at church, in gymnastics, or with running.  Even more, we are inspired by your kindness and thoughtfulness as you interact with your family and friends.  Thanks for being such a bright light for us to follow.  We love you!