For the past 5 Thanksgiving Holidays, we have traveled over to Southeastern Idaho to spend Thanksgiving with extended family. This year, because we didn't take a summer family vacation, we decided we really needed some alone time with our kids so we chose to do a mini Thanksgiving vacation with just our family instead. We missed seeing grandparents, and Aunts and Uncles and cousins, but it turned out to be just what our family needed.
We booked a cabin for a few days closeby in Garden Valley. The girls were big helpers to me the day before. I taught Rachel how to make apple pie, and here she is making the crust. This crust recipe is the same one that my mom used and taught me how to make when I was about Rachey's age.
She was so worried that she'd "mess up" the pretty fluted edges. I told her to relax and have fun with it, that pie dough was a lot like play dough...only you were SUPPOSED to eat it and it was a lot less salty! She laughed at that, and stopped worrying about her edges.
She even did the little apple shape that I have done on my pies ever since Andy and I were married. I don't think my kids would know what to do with an apple pie that didn't have an apple shape on the crust. She did a beautiful job and the pie was yummy!
And since no one in my family really likes pumpkin pie all that much, we do pumpkin rolls instead. Brooklynn was my big helper with these. Here she is starting the second batch. We love these so much that we have to do two each year. Yummy.
Here is her finished product. A big yummy pumpkin roll filled with cinnamon cream cheese goodness. It was so fun to have these two help me this year in the kitchen! I am looking forward to many years ahead with all five of my daughters baking with me in the kitchen.
We arrived at the cabin early Wednesday evening, and first thing the kids wanted to do was hop into the private pool just out the back patio doors. It was lightly snowing...and it was the coolest thing to be out swimming in a hot pool in the mountains in the middle of a snow storm!
Rachey and Brooklynn having fun on one of the loungers. There was also a drift of snow closeby the pool, and the kids had a few snowball fights in and around the pool. Weird.
All of the kids except for Emma got in that night. It was so fun to see them out there playing, while Andy and I unpacked and then relaxed.
Lainah was in the pool more than anyone during those four days. She would swim, come in and eat...and then go swim some more. She is a little fishy that's for sure!
Lainah and Addy shared a bed, and when I went in to tuck them in, I found them like this. Lainah was reading with a flashlight, while Addy was watching Spirit on my phone...all snuggled up together. It was too sweet. This cabin also had a pool house that had a bunch of games in it and a tv and couches. Taylor, Rachel, Brooklynn, and Matthew hung out in there quite a bit watching movies and playing games together. We let all of the bedtime rules go, and let the kids just enjoy being together without schedules, or deadlines, or bedtimes...etc. It was awesome.
Andy and I enjoyed the pool too. I really couldn't get over the fact that it was November and snowing, and we were lounging around in a pool.
And here we all are gathered around for our Thanksgiving feast.
There was a Mancala game there that was missing about half of the marbles...but no worries...the kids used our M&Ms instead. It reminded me of a trip to my Uncle Terry and Aunt Debbie's cabin once as a kid,when my cousins and I were playing a game with M&Ms too. Fun times.
Emma was snuggled by one person, and then passed on to the next. She enjoyed all of the attention from everyone...and it was especially cute to see her cuddling up to big brother Matthew.
Here's all of us silly girlies (minus Emma) in the pool!
The kids also played a lot of Jenga. Matthew and Brooklynn found a quiet spot in the pantry.
And I taught them how to play "Go Fish." Grandpa Thuernagle,who didn't allow face cards in his home, was probably making a fuss up in heaven when he saw what his grandchildren were doing!
Andy doesn't get a lot of time to read, but I noticed during these four days that his nose was in a book a lot of the time! It was so great to see him be able to sit down and truly relax.
And the great part about having older kids like Taylor and Rachel, is that Andy and I were able to take some quiet walks alone, and spend time in the pool together while they "babysat." We didn't have cell phone coverage while we were up there which actually made it even better. I noticed how it was difficult for the first day to be without internet and texting and phone calls...but then it just felt completely liberating and I saw how our entire family relaxed. Why don't we do this more often? This year, with Emma there, I also felt a completeness that I haven't felt before. I felt at peace and so content. As I looked around the table at all of our children, and then as mine and Andy's eyes met...I just felt so very thankful for all that we had and knew that the greatest blessings we had were gathered right there around the table. Our family.
Saturday morning, as we packed up to leave, we piled all of the pool towels in the designated corner of the laundry room. The hamper was stuffed full, and it was mounded over. That's a lot of towels for 4 days! The pool was well-used!
And here is the gang, full of enough good memories and good times to carry us through until our next little getaway!
Happy Thanksgiving 2014!