Monday, January 1, 2018

Thanksgiving: Double the Family, Double the Fun

This past Thanksgiving (still playing catch-up here...) we flew out to Utah to visit both the Temus side and the Merrill side for Thanksgiving. It was an extra special Thanksgiving because shortly afterwards my folks would leave for their 18-month self-reliance mission for our church. They were going to Ghana. For that reason the whole Temus clan got together to celebrate Thanksgiving and give big farewell hugs to Papa and Ama. After my Dad retired in June (on my birthday :) ) my parent's rented the house and drove to Alaska for the summer with their 5th-wheel. After that they drove back down to finish the last section of the Continental Divide. (Congrats Dad!!!) They drove around a bit after that and ended up at Sarah's where we all gathered for Thanksgiving. We flew in late Saturday night and church was at 9am the next morning. Needless to say it was a bit crazy but we got there. I thought Charlie was going to talk Ama's ear off on the walk back to Sarah's place after church.

One of the days before Thanksgiving we went to the aquarium in Sandy. It is a really neat place and the kids all seemed to enjoy it. Charlie liked the divers talk as they were in the shark tank and he loved that he got to see his favorite animal; the Pacific Mimic Octopus. Jane and I both had fun watching the penguins shoot through the water and flop on the rocks, though Jane was ready to go see other things before I was.
 There was a two-story room with a variety of creatures from South America. There were a few frogs that the kids were having fun climbing on and I pulled out my camera to get a few pictures. Jane wasn't going to have it. Ben was willing to smile at least.

 Bedtime stories. Poor Grant was super sad when Liz's kids left and he had no cousins to sleep in his room with him.

We had planned on leaving Molly at home with our neighbors. The closer it got to our departure date the harder it got for me to think about leaving her behind. So we paid extra, bought a soft-sided pet carrier and brought her along.

She and Frankie bonded over their shared love of sun spots.

 Hannah is a fan of them as well. (Let's face it, who doesn't love a good sun spot especially on a chilly day?)

 It wouldn't be Thanksgiving in Utah without the Branch's annual gingerbread village! This year's theme was Wonders of the World.
Jane and Charlie stuck with the classics and decorated houses to add to the "village."

 Ben carefully decorated the Great Pyramid for Christmas.

 Keith and I took on the Grand Canyon. Keith had the idea to add the rock strata, I included a side stream, Sarah made rafts, kayaks, and a drunk intertuber, and Liz recreated Lava Falls in incredible detail. Complete with Devil's Anvil above it, Tequila Beach (complete with celebratory gummy bear) below it, and Sarah's drunk intertuber tipped over right in the middle (see the bottom of the life saver?).

 Paul made the Christ statue that stands over Rio, Brazil. Alex and Zach worked on the leaning tower of Piza, complete with gummy bears attempting it pull it back up straight. Joe and Jessica, with technical assistance from Dad, worked on Mt Everest. As always, it was a whole lot of fun.

Thanksgiving day was the one day that we knew that we would all be there so plans had been made to have Sarah's friend take a few pictures of the whole family.
 Next to where we parked in the canyon there were lots of fun boulders to climb.
Some of the pictures were taken in a dry river bed that had lots of fun rocks. Charlie was bummed when we told him we couldn't take them home for his rock collection.
Considering the size of Sarah's kitchen, and the size of the group, Thanksgiving dinner went off without a hitch (except for lighting the marshmallows on fire, again.).
Liz's super cute turkey veggie tray.
 After Thanksgiving dinner we played games, worked on puzzles, and watched movies. Good relaxing family time. The next morning everyone left to various places except for Mom and Dad. They took the kids on a bike ride around the neighborhood while Keith and I finished loading the car (we had borrowed Grandpa Joe's). When they came back we hugged, waved good-bye and wished them all the best on their next grand adventure.

After leaving Sarah's house we drove to Orem to spend a week with Granny B and Grandpa Joe and to have another Thanksgiving on Saturday! Granny B put Charlie and Jane to work making sure there were no bad cranberries. They took their job very seriously.

 Granny B surprised Charlie with a huge jar of green olives. He was so excited! We hardly made a dent in it though so I bet they still have that jar of olives.

 Grandma Lowe came over and had Thanksgiving dinner with us on Saturday. She played several rounds of canasta with her grand sons and seemed to really enjoy herself. It was really great to have her there. Also pictured here is Sandra. At the time she was Shawn's girlfriend but as of New Year's Eve she has become his fiancee! I really had a great time getting to know her for the short time we were there.

I'm so happy for them!

 Charlie and Jane always have fun rediscovering treasures in the Grandma's toy/book/game closet!

 The kids also opened their Christmas presents from Granny B and Grandpa Joe while we were there. One of them was play-doh food set. They kept everyone full with soups, pasta, salads, and more. It was like a play-doh version of Olive Garden!

I couldn't bear the thought of leaving Utah again without getting up to the mountains. All ideas and plans of hiking up in the canyons wouldn't work out for one reason or another so Monday morning we went up to the foothills just near the mouth of Provo Canyon.  
 Granny B took care of the kids so it was just Grandpa Joe, Keith and me. It felt great to be moving outside even if just for a little while and just above the city. Grandpa Joe looked for birds while Keith and I played around with the new camera we had just purchased on a Black Friday deal. It was rejuvenating.
Sadly all good things come to an end and so Wednesday morning we packed up and headed to the airport. But what a wonderful Thanksgiving trip we had and how great it is to have so much family to be thankful for!


Alicia said...

I love that picture of you with the mountain in the background! Lovely lovely.

Marti Temus said...

Thanks for the memories Katie, it was a sweet, wonderful time!! And yes, I love the picture of you with the mountain in the background also!

branches 'n' twigs said...

A thanksgiving to be very thankful for! We third the comment about loving the picture of you with the mountain in the background too! <3