Man, we had the craziest Thanksgiving week. It was fun beyond imagination, but I am kind of glad it is over. I think ideally I could have a few weeks to recoup, and then I wish I could do it all over again...but that is not going to happen. Here's the recap.
Kenna and Dan both were done with classes at noon on the Thursday before Thanksgiving. After days and day of packing, cleaning, planning, grocery shopping, etc., we piled into the family car and set off for our first stop: Orland, CA. Why? Because my wonderful friend's parents live there and invited us to stay a night there instead of paying for a hotel. We had an amazing time, and we only wish we could have spent a week there! They were perfect hosts, made even better because they are grandparents without any grandkids nearby and they didn't get annoyed by anything my kids did! Plus, they knew all the tricks--they had ice cream cones waiting (and a high chair), a whole toy closet, and lots of love and fun.
Friday around 11:00 am we got back in the car and went all the way to Oregon, where my dear Grandma lives. This is the place I spent EVERY summer. In this town I took white rafting trips, crossed covered bridges, tended a vegetable garden, helped my grandfather work on his airplane, played endless hours of soccer, and spent too many wonderful moments with grandparents and great grandparents to begin to count. It is the town of my summer childhood memories, and I associate it with sun, fun, and joy.
We checked into our hotel--grandma got us a wonderful 2 room suite for the week, thanks grandma!--and then headed over to see Grandma and Paul. We had a delightful dinner with them, and although Grandma was not feeling her best, she was so excited to see the kids and read to them.
The rest of the week we did, well, not much. A whole lot of relaxing, sleeping, and strolling through the park and along the river were just what we needed. We saw Grandma for a few hours each day, and then mom and dad came up and we had our Thanksgiving Dinner on Wednesday. It was a wondeful week, we are so thankful to have been able to spend good, quality and quantity time with Grandma!
On Thanksgiving day, we got up at 3:00 am and were on the road before 4:00. Dan drove and the kids and I slept, and we managed to not stop until 8:00 am in Willows, CA. Then we stopped at Harris Ranch at Noon, and made it home before 3:00. What? How is that even possible? I tell you, I have no idea. I graded essays most of the day, and Dan did ALL of the driving. The kids were absolutely fantastic. And although I did have to pull out every trick I had brought, they never got bad. Wahoo!
At 6:00 on the same day we got back into the car and went to the mountains. We spent two packed, fun filled days there with all the Russell clan and our "cousins" from San Diego. All together we had 23 people at dinner on Friday!!!! We didn't take a picture with aboslutely everyone, so I picked this one because it shows the fun and craziness of the weekend.
We came home Saturday night, went to first service on Sunday (Shameless plug for Pastor Brian Howard--check out copperhillchurch.org and listen to his sermons. His sermons are Biblical, convicting, and downright good), and had a surprise lunch with Tim and his girlfriend Ellen, and her mom who is the most wonderful church secretary ever. (She was our church secretary in Arrowhead, can you tell?)
All in all we logged close to 2,000 miles, saw 20 something people, and got very, very tired. But, it was fun and I can't wait for next Thanksgiving...maybe we will do it all over again.