We began the Thanksgiving holiday with a pantry, fridge, and freezer busting at the seams. Our shelves had never been so stocked. I took Tuesday off of work, solely so I could go grocery shopping, and it took Ryan’s help (exasperated sighs and all) and two full shopping carts. Then I spent hours organizing the groceries and using a lot of creativity to cram them all into our extremely limited space. But it was worth every single second.
As the weekend progressed and each meal was prepared, the pantry became roomier. The fridge became easier to work with. While I rejoiced that there was breathing room at last, I also became sad. Because with every meal that was cooked, we were that much closer to everyone leaving and to the weekend being over.
And I can’t speak for the entire family, but I was having a really good time. :-)
This was the first time in six years that our entire family on my mom’s side had been together in the same place at the same time. It was heavenly…
My brother Justin and his wife Alyson drove through the night and arrived around 7 a.m. on Wednesday. We had lots of time with Will and Jack, my 15-month-old twin nephews. My parents flew in that morning as well, so soon we were all together!
I thought I had baby-proofed pretty well, but I guess I’m out of practice, and I missed some spots! And unlike our dog, baby gates don’t deter little boys! They turned the DirecTV box off, on, off, on, off, on, all weekend long. :-)
Justin pointed out that, staying true to the story, Super Girl (Kara) and Super Man (Kal -El) really were cousins! Yes, we’re not too ashamed to admit that we’re a family of nerds. ;-)
On Thanksgiving morning, we got up early and worked together to create the meal.
After tripling the stuffing recipe, it still didn’t seem to be quite enough, so we quickly octupled (?) it.
Ryan and Justin had a separate little project going on for Turkey #2. We were experimenting with deep frying.
We thought that if anything was a fire hazard, it was our flaming pot of oil in the backyard. But no.
While Mammaw and the grandkids were on a walk…
the fire happened in our oven with Turkey #1:
Unfortunately, I don’t have an actual picture of the fire because I was busy diving into the flames to SAVE THE TURKEY!!!
Thank you, Alyson and Daddy, for knowing how to put out a fire quickly. Thank you for saving our house!
Alyson and my dad cleaned up the oven, and we transfered the turkey to a different dish, and Justin and Ryan aired out the house, and soon we were back to normal, peeling our potatoes and waiting for our company to arrive.
It was a lovely day, so we lined up most of the food outside. My aunt pitched in and made the casseroles.
Family arrived just in time! We had 25 for dinner and then 4 more came later that afternoon…
We did it!
Kids ate upstairs, and adults ate downstairs.
That evening, when all 29 of us were there, we did our traditional Christmas white elephant gift exchange:
And then we gathered at the hotel for family portraits. My uncle used his amazing camera. This is my entire family, minus my grandpa.
My parents with their grandkids:
My grandma with her six grandchildren:
The next day was the Nebraska football game, and we were right where you would expect. And yes, there was Rotel dip.
The cousins played on the trampoline for most of the weekend…
My mom and her siblings started singing around the piano on Friday afternoon, which was really fun…
The Korell Family Singers, just like in the days of old. I promised I wouldn’t post a video, so just imagine four-part harmony to just about any old hymn. :-)
On Saturday, everyone started leaving, and it was really hard to keep my emotions in check. And poor Ryley -- whenever she sees ME crying, she starts crying too. It had been such a perfect weekend and family time. We all actually like each other, which we know is rare, and we are grateful.
Around noon, all that was left were my parents, brother, Aly, and the twins, so we had some family fun at our local nursery, which was having a festive open house:
We returned to the house and played some board games…
But before long, it was time to say goodbye to all of them too. It was really rough!!! Ryley went on and on (through heavy sobbing) about how she didn’t spend enough time with her Mammaw and Pappaw, how much she just loves those boys, etc., etc., etc.
We just chilled on Sunday. It was a quiet and sad day. We had looked forward to Thanksgiving for so long that we were really feeling the letdown. We recovered our house and put up our Christmas tree, but it’s still been hard. Ryley still has a whine in her voice three days later.
The house is empty.
Thanksgiving is done.
The pantry is re-stocked.
Now Christmas can come!