Thursday, November 26, 2015

Remembering Thanksgiving - At Home in Florida

It's hard to believe we've lived in Florida for 15 years now. That first year we had a great time traveling north for the Thanksgiving holiday, and we repeated the trip often, including this year. However, there were some years when that just didn't work. Thanksgiving in Florida is wonderful - nice and warm. If you haven't ever tried it, you should! No matter where you are, 
Happy Thanksgiving! 
We hope you have a wonderful day.

After sharing Thanksgiving dinner with friends (the Whitesel's and Thompson's), we spent the evening decorating the Christmas tree.
Awesome helpers!
All ready for December!

Kevin's family joined us in Florida this year. They arrived on Wednesday which gave us the perfect excuse to try out a local pizza parlor's extra large pizza. It's massive!
Games inside and out are always more fun with cousins!
The day after Thanksgiving we took a picnic to Clearwater Beach and had a marvelous time. We love Florida!
These beautiful girls are all grown up now!

This year it was the  Beckstrand's turn to come to Florida. Lots of pictures were taken!

We even got a picture of the Boy's Table and the Girl's Table, but not the Adult's Table.
 Friday we went to a beach on the Gulf Coast and enjoyed the water and a barbecue.

We remembered to get individual family pictures of everyone this year!
Time for the visitors to head back home.
Wayne had just started a new job and we needed every spare minute to get the house ready to sell, so there wasn't time to travel this year. We spent Thanksgiving morning laying tile in the bathroom. We were grateful that our wonderful friends, the Novak's, invited us to share their Thanksgiving dinner.
We didn't get our normal day after Thanksgiving activity either, because the laundry room floor needed to be tiled. However, we're grateful that we could do the work ourselves!

We didn't spend this Thanksgiving at home, but we didn't travel to Virginia, either. It was time for a visit back to Utah so that we could meet our newest grandson. You can read all about that vacation here and here and here and here and here and here and even here. It was a jam-packed trip!

We really like our tradition of heading to my parent's house in Virginia for Thanksgiving. However, last year plans for a cruise with Wayne's family didn't allow us to do both. Instead of having dinner with family, it was time once again to have it with friends. We thoroughly enjoyed having the Childer's and Jensen's share our Thanksgiving feast!

Monday, November 23, 2015

Remembering Thanksgiving - Trips to Virginia and/or North Carolina

Our first year in Florida we decided to take advantage of living in the same time zone as other family members and drove to Virginia to celebrate Thanksgiving. It was great to spend time with cousins!

Why didn't we get a picture of Louise's family??
You get a Thanksgiving-y picture, compliments of the elementary school.
Once school was out, we headed up to Virginia where we learned all about skinning a deer. Don't expect us to remember now even one thing of what we learned then!
Hello, Mr. Deer!
After a too-short visit, we headed off to North Carolina to spend Thanksgiving Day with those cousins. We earned our dinner by helping install a basketball hoop next to the driveway! Not pictured is the black eye Wayne got while playing football at the park. It was nice and noticeable for his first time conducting sacrament meeting that next Sunday.

The elementary school was still celebrating Thanksgiving!
This year we drove to Virginia and stayed for Thanksgiving Dinner. Do you suppose they started a card game to get out of doing dishes?
The day after Thanksgiving we decided to hike Mount Rogers - the highest point in Virginia. First we drove the hour or so west to Grayson Highlands State Park.
Beginning of the hike. You'll noticed we were prepared to be safe during hunting season!
There was quite a bit more ice and snow on the trail than we had anticipated.
That slowed us down quite a bit, so we made the decision to turn around to avoid hiking in the dark.
Fast hikers Wayne and Brad did make it to the peak, but they didn't take a camera with them. You can read about others who did here and here.
Mount Rogers, Virginia's highest point (not on a road)
This year's project in Virginia was installing a new mailbox. Since that turned out to be a one-person job (thank you, David!), Jeff helped Grandpa get a light working again.
Then it was time for a delicious pre-Thanksgiving ham dinner.

Michelle enjoyed being with her girl cousins!
The boys kept busy with games of all sorts.
After lots of hugs, it was time to drive on (back) to North Carolina to relax and have fun with a different set of cousins. Thanksgiving morning David participated in the annual Turkey Bowl and injured his knee. Not fun!
But he didn't let it stop him from tossing a football with his siblings later.
It's always great to get outside for a bit in the cool fall weather. We live in a beautiful world!
We can't forget that the "Green Hat" was part of this fun holiday trip.

We spent our whole weekend in Virginia this year, which meant that after the Thanksgiving festivities on Thursday, on Friday we started our quest to hike the entire New River Trail. It was cold! But that didn't stop our intrepid hikers. Even Holly got to join us for part of it, since it's a wheelchair-friendly trail.
For the first time in many, many years, four sisters were in the same room at the same time!

There wasn't time to hike more of the trail this year, because just like we did in 2002 and 2006, we visited both sides of the family.
North Carolina
I can't remember for sure when the North Carolina relatives moved to Texas, but it was probably around this time. So, at least for now, Virginia will be our final destination when we head north for Thanksgiving.
Guess who didn't like having her picture taken?
Aunt Holly collects Christmas lawn ornaments. She's pretty good at recruiting help from the younger generation to set them up each year.
The hikers for segment two of the New River Trail. What a great group!
Although chilly, it wasn't freezing like the time before. We were thankful for that!
You can read all about our trip this year right here. Lots of fun memories, including installing a door, deep-frying a turkey, and making progress on the New River Trail in addition to a delicious Thanksgiving feast.

We took advantage of having a child in the same time zone and stopped in Atlanta on our way to Virginia to pick up Brad and his family. Some fun memories of this trip include helping Holly address her Christmas cards, watching Brooke interact with her great-grandparents, and taking another cold hike along the New River. I guess one of these days I ought to give this trip its own blog post!
Tell me again why we're leaving the warmth of Florida!
She sends over 300 cards. That's a lot of work!
New River Trail - Segment Four
Brooke's always happy!
This trip is still in the future, but we're looking forward to visiting family in Virginia this week. We'll have to let you know if we finish the New River Trail or decide to split the last section into two pieces.
Happy Thanksgiving!