Sunday, November 30, 2014

Thankful for Thanksgiving

I love Thanksgiving.  It is a joke among many that Christmas is creeping up on Thanksgiving.  My siblings even have  "Save Thanksgiving" shirts.  I'm proud to admit that I didn't scratch my Christmas itch and just had fun celebrating Thanksgiving.  It helps that Thanksgiving was at my house this year and that I'm pregnant so I can only concentrate on one thing at a time!
Well, it seemed like it would be a pretty daunting task to have almost 30 people over at my house, but my mother is Super Mom and makes preparing a giant meal for that many people seem super easy.  I tracked down tables and chairs thanks to people in my ward.  I also bought the 23 lb turkey.  It felt kind of crazy buying a turkey that is almost the same weight as my toddler!  Then I basically cleaned up my house the best I could before my family got here.
My mom, dad, Mel Mel, Will and their dog, Beckham arrived on Wednesday.  They stayed at our house.  Laila was SO excited for them to get here.  She kept talking about it- especially Beckham coming.  My mom and I went out grocery shopping which was quite packed but I think we did pretty good at getting in and out!
Turkey Thursday came nice and sunny!  The boys went and played in the ward Turkey Bowl football game.  My mom and I got started in the kitchen. (I really feel like it was my mom doing the work and me just trying to help any way I could.)  Thankfully, my aunt was making a ham and my cousins were doing the mashed potatoes and rolls so there wasn't much conflict with oven time.  We got the turkey in the oven right in time for it to be finished right at 2 PM- our target starting time.  Well, some time near the end, the oven somehow got turned off!  We got it turned back on when the oven had gone from 350 to 169 degrees!  Little scary, but the turkey turned out AMAZING!  So maybe we discovered a super awesome trick to cooking a turkey? Who knows.  Watch for it on Pinterest. HA!
Around 2 PM, my Grandma & Grandpa Cook got here with my Aunt Kelly and her husband John.  Then came my cousins, Tammy, Doug and Mary Ellen with their spouses and kids.  My Uncle Jeff also got here providing the last needed table!  It was pretty great to see 3/4 of my grandparents' kids at my house.  (My other uncle is serving a mission in Zimbabwe!) I had no idea if we would all fit, but everything turned out so well.  I really loved having my house filled to the brim with family!

^Tables all ready to go

^Food time! (& Michael's finger & reaching baby hands)

^Eating time!

^Our first Thanksgiving Regatta with handmade and decorated newspaper boats

^Getting the boats to the other side

^Sneaky selfies on the phone

^After dinner, we all got in our family circle to say what we are thankful for.

I'm definitely grateful to be apart of such a great family.  I'm thankful that we were able to get so many of us together.  Many were missing and missed, but I'm grateful for all those who did come. I am definitely blessed with many incredible family members.  
The next couple of days I got to spend with my little family along with my parents and two of my siblings.  We enjoyed lots of leftovers and the beautiful AZ weather.  The weekend was definitely a great reminder how "because I have been given much, I too must give."

Friday, November 7, 2014


Bless Utah for having UEA weekend.  Will had a baseball tournament in Phoenix so we got to have him, my dad, my mom, my Cook grandparents, and Mel Mel visit us for a weekend in October.  We were quite the group anywhere we went.  My grandparents are getting older in age and so getting in and out of cars is always a process for them.  Then we also had my mom who tore her ACL this summer hobbling out of the car.  THEN we also had Mel Mel who had a bad collision and miraculously only tore her MCL in her knee. So she was on crutches and a brace hobbling out of the car.  Add a pregnant waddler and some toddlers to the mix and we were quite the sight to see. Haha!  We enjoyed hanging out together and going to games.  We saw "Meet the Mormons" together and I really enjoyed it.  Highly recommend it. It was definitely a short visit, but I loved having them in our home.

^The Sushi eaters.  My sister in Japan is so proud

^PS We sure missed this girl! She comes home in one month! Huzzah! 

Autumn- For Real

Now that it's November, I can start being more positive about my opinion of Arizona.  But I have to tell ya, August and September are ROUGH!  (Especially with pregnancy hormones going.)  It's still REALLY hot here.  It kind of makes me ornery.  Fortunately for me, we planned a nice TWO week trip to Utah just when it's miserable in AZ.
Michael's brother reported home from his mission in Tacloban, Philippines.  It was so great to be able to see him home and hear his experiences.  Michael flew back to PHX for work while Laila and I got to enjoy RAIN and colder temperatures! We loved being able to see so many friends and family members.  There's never enough time to play with everyone as much as we want to, but we sure tried our best!  There are also many pictures that I forgot to take too!  But I hope you know how much I loved being able to visit with so many great people.

We also got to be in Utah for Michael's sister's wedding.  It was a beautiful day and we are excited for the new family!

The next day we started our trip back to AZ with a mini-vacation in St. George.  My dad and my Ostler grandparents met us there for dinner and then we quickly hustled over to Tuacahn to see "Little Mermaid."  We have so much fun seeing the shows there.  The next morning Michael went golfing with my dad and grandpa.  Laila and I played with Grandma and when the boys got back we hit the road again for AZ.

It was such a great trip.  Gave me the cool, Fall temperatures I needed to handle hot Phoenix for the rest of October.