Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A Pennsylvania Thanksgiving

And I'm not just saying that because I can't think of a Thanksgivingish title that I haven't already used before, although that is true too.  But because it's a big deal that, for the first time in our married life, we went "home" for Thanksgiving.  I know, I didn't believe it at first either.  But it's true.  Our first Thanksgiving Jon had just returned from 2 months underway and didn't feel like traveling, so my family came to us in our Original Love Nest.  Our second Thanksgiving Jon was working those crazy shifts and couldn't take off, so my family came again.  By now they were more than willing to make a tradition of 70 degree beach walks after a huge dinner ... and tree hunting at the creepy neighbors lot.  So it was an easy decision to have them back again for Year 3, aided by the fact that we had a 7 week old and weren't getting much sleep in those days.  And since Jon didn't feel like making the 8 hour drive twice in one month with a one year old last year, it was only natural to reunite once more at the beach for our final Virginia thanksgiving and tree choosing.  But enough about Virginia, the beach, and the creepy neighbor that sold Christmas trees.  Yes, I miss even him ... and the nasty stuffed animals he tied to the trees in his yard.  I digress.


Now that I think about it, this title is a bit misleading since we actually drove to New Jersey to have Thanksgiving dinner with Jon's mom's family. This is the family that usually gets together the week before Christmas, but won't be this year.  The family that all met up at the Lake House this summer for Nana's 80th birthday party.  This is the BIG family that is a bit hard to keep up with, but loads of fun all the same.

Photo Credit:  Bonnie Wells
Rumor has it little Jude takes after his Aunt Julie and cousin Maddy.  Do you see the resemblance?
And you know what made the day even extra special this year?  It snowed!  Not a blizzard or anything, but enough to dust the car and enough to send Jack running to the window and more than enough to deem the day "Jude's First Snow."  It was perfect.

Another highlight of our trip was the Christmas tree hunt.  The real kind, where you actually have to take a saw and cut down the tree yourself.  Okay, well I suppose there are even more hardcore people out there who go into a real forest and cut down a wild tree, which sounds incredibly appealing to me, but not exactly do-able currently.  So we settled for a tree farm and some $20 firs. 

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I have fond memories of the whole family, including our dog Cody, tromping around our favorite tree farm, studying each and every tree, fingers bent into a triangle to ensure symmetically shaped branches, arguing over who's pick is better, fighting over who got to pick last year's tree and who's turn it is to pick it this year, hands and feet numb from hours in the cold, finally settling one one just so we can get back into the car.  Then we'd set it up in the house,  crank up the Christmas music, string on the lights, mentally separate the tree into 3 sections, and each of us kids would hang our ornaments in "our spot."  Then we'd stand back, admire our handiwork and exclaim it was the best tree ever.  And some years we'd come back down the stairs the next morning and find the tree laid out on the floor with a few broken Christmas ornaments around it.  And I may have cried once or twice over a broken ornament, but that's all in the past now.

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This is the present, and this year Jack was along to lend a hand.

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It was bitter cold, Jude was hungry and staying in the warm car, and Jack was approaching naptime.  Needless to say, we're all adults now and there wasn't much arguing over the tree this year.  But I will say, for the record, that I thought the final pick was a touch "too perfect." 

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It also helped that since all us kids live on our own now we can pick our own trees, regardless of anyone else's opinion.  So we did.  Well, they did.  Jon and I and our little brood will be going out this weekend to a local farm to get our family's tree.

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And Jack helped.  We all appreciated the cheap labor.

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We had a second Thanksgiving dinner with Jon's other grandparents, who came in from New York.

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Our family just keeps growing, and Jack was thrilled to officially be a part of "the kids' table."  And just in case you haven't noticed, there's a whole lotta boys in this family.  I'm definitely feeling the pressure to produce offspring of the female variety the next time around, but hey, there's only so much a girl can do!

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We also took advantage of time in our home church to FINALLY get Jude dedicated.  This was a long time coming, but our little guy was all too happy to oblige.  He thoroughly enjoyed the event.  And I have no doubt that given the opportunity, he would have gladly grabbed the mic and MC'd the ceremony himself.

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He looked positively dapper in his outfit Marmie and Poppa bought him for Christmas.  It was too cute to leave wrapped up until the 25th, and the occasion was a perfect excuse to don the gay apparel (my husband is going to love that line).

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And I would be remiss not to mention one final highlight of our holiday - Jack's new buddy "Bellagio" the cat.  I would just like to publically commend this poor creature for putting up with my sons for 5 days.  I'm not a cat person, but seriously, I've never seen a more easy-going pet in my life.  Jack chased him in circles, dragged him around by the tail, carried him upside down, and hunted him throughout the house with a high-pitched "Kiiiitttty!!  Kiiiitttttyyyy-caaaat!" and yet he never once scratched or attacked back.  I just hope there was no permanent damage.

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And Jack wasn't the only one smitten with Bellagio.  Jude thought he was the most hilarious thing he'd ever seen.  Like the best "Touch-and-Feel" book, only ten times better!  And lest you think our eldest is the one doing all the roughin' around ... I fear our little guy has been picking up on his brother's manhandling habits.  *sigh*  It may be awhile before we add a pet to this family.

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2 comments:

Teva said...

I think I know the creepy neighbor you are talking about. Is it the guy on Shore Drive in the red house. We used to get our Christmas tree from him growing up.

J9 said...

Haha oh yes, one and the same!

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