When a family funeral and Thanksgiving land on the same weekend, you know you're in for a busy few days :) Thank you for all of your well wishes and kind thoughts. I appreciate knowing how much you care! It means a lot to me :)
Friday, early morning, we headed out to Cardston, Alberta to be with family and friends as we mourned the passing of our Grandmother, Louise Shipley. I say mourned because her personality and love will be missed, however it was also a celebration of a life well lived, and of the beautiful family heritage she created. She was very much a grandmother to me from the day I wed my husband - the first time I met her, she hugged me and kissed me full on the mouth! She was a very affectionate person and made everyone she came into contact with feel like they were the only person in the room - at least, that's how she made ME feel, especially when she would look at me, that knowing look that said more than a hundred words could have. She was a truly GOOD person, who led a GOOD life, and raised GOOD children. Such a person will be missed and will be loved forever. On the other hand, it's difficult to feel terribly sad when I know that she has been reunited with her sweetheart, who had passed 20 years earlier, as well as many other family members. What a sweet reunion that must have been! Peace be with you 'til we meet again!
And we enjoyed a reunion of our own, as my husband's cousins, Aunts, Uncles, nieces, nephews, and friends all visited and, truth be told, enjoyed themselves. I had a great laugh with my SIL, when, at dinner, one of the guests introduced themselves as "Louise Shipley" (though I'm sure she was saying - "Louise Shipley's.....". We couldn't help but laugh about how we'd all been "twinkled" and J's baby hadn't even woken up! (if that didn't make sense - don't worry about it, just move on....) By the way, I had a great time visiting with J and snuggling her new baby "A" all afternoon. She is SUCH A DOLL!!!
We spent one night in Cardston at a hotel where the girls had a great time swimming in the pool with daddy. I ventured as far as squeezing myself into a bathing suit, but the noise and craziness had me running full tilt for the hotel room before too long :)
After the funeral on Saturday, we then travelled to Calgary to spend a few days with my husband's parents and siblings. We stopped off to visit with my hubby's youngest brother and his very pregnant wife :) They are such a cute couple, and we are SO excited to welcome their new baby girl when she decides to make her appearance in the next few weeks. I especially loved saying "hi" to Scooter, our toy poodle puppy that they were nice enough to take off our hands when we moved. I was surprised he remembered us after all this time! D and E have a cute house that they've fixed up so nicely. I was really nice to visit with E and get to know her better - she's a doll, and D sure hit the jackpot with her! The best part about their union was seeing D being himself again. She brings out the best in him, it seems. Can't wait to meet baby!
Sunday was relatively quiet as most of the siblings were at their in-law's homes for Thanksgiving dinner. I stayed home with the two little ones as they decided it would be loads of fun to start throwing up all over themselves. Great timing!! I was happy I stayed, though, because I had the chance to have a great visit with my BIL who had lived in China for 5 1/2 years and I hadn't had a great chance to really get to know him until recently.This guy is 6'5" with red hair - he blended right in with the locals in China ;) I always knew he was brilliant (in the very literal sense of the word), and our conversation didn't disappoint. But beyond being smart, he is thoughtful - and yes, there is a difference. His pattern of thinking runs deep, much deeper than I usually allow myself to think - though I think having toddlers counts as an excuse. He will go far in life, no question. AND he's on the market, ladies!! LOL! It was so nice visiting with you, B!
Sunday evening, since we had some free time, we visited with MY two sisters in their homes, which was wonderful, but much too short. I can't wait to see them again in December when we come again for Christmas. I sure loved seeing them, though :)
We all got together for Thanksgiving on Monday, and we make quite the rowdy bunch when we get together. Actually, it's only noisy because of the sheer number of us :) 11 children under twelve and one on the way, 11 adults who ACT like children (well, maybe only a couple of them.. tee hee hee) and it makes for loads of laughs! :D
Monday morning we were tempted to leave as the kids had still been sick the day before. But, Monday morning came and everyone seemed to be feeling just fine. After Grandpa had played a nice game of chess with TJ, BB and B decided it was their turn. It cracked me up how B took it so seriously, really thinking out each move. BB was just trying to sit still until her turn! Needless to say, the game didn't last long before they went upstairs to join TJ in building with some K'Nex toys.
My husband, the amazing man he is, spent most of Monday morning washing his Mom's windows, inside and out! Now, just HOW to get him to do the same around here....hmmmmm ;)
Once everyone started arriving at home base (i.e. grandma's house), we piled in our vehicles (the grand kids piled in the back of grandpa's pick up truck with Aunt T as a chaperon) to drive around the corner for a fun half hour of photos - we don't ALL get together too often these days, so we were sure to get family photos (taken by myself, with the help of a C when I needed to be in the shots). It wasn't as crazy a time as I expected - all of the kids cooperated well, and we managed to get some nice shots, I think.
They are a very excitable family ....
We had the traditional delicious Thanksgiving meal, which I felt terrible for not contributing to in any way except my appetite, and setting the table. My MIL did so much for us over the course of the weekend. I felt especially terrible that my kids were puking everywhere. We did our best to clean it up, but I'm sure she still had to clean after we left :(
We visited with my husband's siblings while the kids all played surprisingly well together. I think growing up has calmed them down quite a bit. There weren't any fires to put out :) TJ was especially excited to see her cousin, S, and they played most of the day. My SIL, T, offered to have TJ sleep over Sunday evening, but with the younger ones coming down with the flu, we didn't think it would be a great idea. TJ was disappointed, but such is life. I appreciated T offering - she always treats my kids so nicely, and I love that about her.
Monday evening we visited with some great friends (Hi Mary!!) and my brother (Hi Aaron!) over some delicious turkey soup (yummo!). It was a busy and fulfilling day. We headed to bed and Lyndon and I visited for another couple of hours in bed. It was one of the nicest days I can remember.
Tuesday, we packed up the van and headed back home. We didn't get very far when we heard a horrible noise coming from the seat behind us and looked back to see our JJ covered head to toe in vomit. GRRRREAT! We pulled over and cleaned her up as best as we could, but enjoyed the wonderful smell the entire 7 hour drive back home. She couldn't have held it in until we got closer to home??? Come on now.... ;) Everyone seemed to have it out of their system by then, however, so all is well.
After being away for five days, there was a lot of business to take care of at home, but we tried to take it in stride. And now - I'm officially back - physically and mentally :) Which brings me to my GIVEAWAY!!!
TO celebrate 25,000 visitors to my blog, I'm giving away a $25 gift certificate to AMAZON.CA! One sweet dollar for every thousand visitors. I'm truly grateful for each of you - you build me up, make me laugh, make me cry (in a good way) and inspire me to do better and be better. THANK YOU!!
So, to enter, just leave a comment below! I'll draw a winner NEXT Friday (Oct.24), so good luck to everyone!!