My younger sister, Art, just moved into her new home a few days before we arrived-- she was so generous to let us stay with her. I'm impressed with how much she got unpacked before we got there! It was a great place to stay and we felt so welcomed.
The new house that Rib and Jazz Hands moved into at the beginning of November was amazing, too. And the greenspaces both next to and across the street from the house were a perfect place for the kids to play. A perfect gathering place for our big group of 26.
They were so nice to have us all down for Rib's 40th birthday and Thanksgiving, but I'm pretty sure they're happy to be getting more settled into their houses now that we're gone!
Rib's birthday was on Tuesday, so we went to his house to hang out and celebrate as a family. Just a few minutes after we arrived, I threw on a mullet wig and challenged Edith to a tricycle race. Doesn't everyone do that?
Dinner was nice and relaxing and the taco bar was delicious! Happy Birthday, Rib!
After dinner, we got to work making Rib's 40th birthday wish a reality-- a family band to play at his birthday party the next night. Everyone gets together with their family and puts together a 12 song set list with 1 1/2 practices, right? So, so much fun to do. I wish we'd done it years ago.
We spent the day on Wednesday getting food and stuff ready for Rib's big 'Still Sporty at 40' birthday bash. Art and I hosted the big family dinner at her house and then we got all of the kids settled in with snacks and treats and a movie before we headed back to Rib's for the party and big gig. It was really a lot of fun. Not without glitches, of course, but a total blast. I'm so glad that my brother requested we do it. An evening without children, playing music with my siblings? I'll take it.
Thursday was Thanksgiving, of course. I made a batch of gluten free stuffing that morning and tossed it in the crockpot, then we headed over to Rib's after lunch and spent the day relaxing. After taking some family photos first, that is.
When I saw that Rophone and Plumbean were both dressed in green shirts, I insisted that we take a couples shot. :) Aren't they handsome fellas?
Before we lost momentum, I gathered my family in the backyard and had Art take a quick photo. I don't know why, but I love this candid shot of my girls. Maybe because it captures their personalities-- Ginger singing, Pen dancing, and Edith worrying that maybe I'm asking them to stand too close to the pool.
I decided to take advantage of the good light to shoot a few photos. I sure didn't have my camera out as much this trip-- probably because I was enjoying participating and relaxing. Definitely not a bad thing.
These three boys are so cute:
I love the relationship Ginger has with her cousin, The Genealogist.
Their interaction when she discovered he was standing on his tippy toes to seem taller really shows the affection they have for one another. I hope they'll be friends forever.
First, a covert stepping on the toes…
Then something a little more obvious and proactive…
Tippy toes and bunny ears!
I wanted to take a picture of Pen and Edith together, but one of them was more willing than the other. Still, I managed to get my shot.
Three lovely ladies:
I even went in search of the kids when they were out playing, putting my adult time aside for a moment. Huge risk, just in case it altered the course of things and I'd end up being required to parent! :)
Taking a breather:
I managed to capture this cute moment between cousins as I turned to go back to the house.
The kids spent their time together playing a lot of soccer and board games, riding scooters and bikes and, after darkness fell, they played Mission. That was Edith's favorite. The bigger kids were so nice to include her, and it made her day to be playing with them, in the dark, with no parents present. I was so happy to see the kids having such a good time together, and that they're getting old enough that the adults can have more fun together, too. We're entering a new era!
With all of us pitching in, Thanksgiving dinner rivaled the best I think I've ever had. So many good dishes. Definitely a food coma in the making.
Rophone was his normal wonderful self, helping Edith to stay focused and eat a good dinner so that I could hang and talk with my siblings. I took a few pictures during the meal, too.
It cracked us up to hear the kids at this table talking politics. For real.
I can't believe I forgot to take a picture of the adults! Bummer.
Rophone hung out with the men and all the kids at Rib's house on Friday so that Martha, Jazz Hands, and I could dive in at Art's house to help her unpack and organize a little more (Opera and Jules had left, or I'm sure they would have joined us!). I was so happy to help Art get to a more functional and relaxing point with her house-- it was the least I could do after she let our not-so-little family of 7 invade her space. She even let me build a couple of chairs! I love to use my hands, so it made my day.
On Friday night, Rophone and I managed to go out with our good friends Hoolio and Miner. Such great company. I wish we could manage to see them more often-- we'll have to see what we can do about that.
This vacation was such a blast. A mix of time having fun adventuring with just our family, great times with extended family, and a fantastic visit with friends. Can't get much better than that.