This year the Aldriches came to celebrate Thanksgiving with us. I'm not sure if there's any such thing as friends feeling like family more than the Aldriches do for us. All those years in North Carolina when we were all separated from our families during the holidays could be painful - but we had each other to help soothe those pains and as the years progressed we started realizing that celebrating Thanksgiving together as friends has beautiful benefits.
The day before Thanksgiving, I realized that I was going to need more butter, so we sent the men out to do some shopping.
And they came back with gobs of butter. We laughed and made it work when my recipe called for 2 little tablespoons from that chunk.
Daniela was a big help this Thanksgiving. She jumped right into the kitchen and tried her hand at a homemade blueberry pie. It ended up so, so delicious!
Thanksgiving day, we got to work setting the tables and the little ones got to work coloring pictures and writing little messages on post it notes that ended up running down the center of the table.
And Brian is a fantastic kitchen helper. Sometimes I catch him in the kitchen juggling several dishes spread over the stove, in the oven, on the counters, in the fridge... he whips in and out of their needs like a pro, smiling all the while, and I think to myself, 'This man should cook for us more often.'
Finally after two days of prep, it was time to eat. I know it's probably pretty sacrilegious to snap a picture during a prayer, but that little Timothy praying with the picture of Christ in the background made my heart burst a bit.
After the first round of food, we went outside to take advantage of the gorgeous weather and to play under the pastel sunset.
The kids played round after round after round of basketball, and Daniela found her joy on the razor.
It was a most magical night filled with happy feelings of love and friendship.
And then after we had sufficiently digested our food, we went back in to snag a little piece of every pie.
These children are so beautiful. You know how sometimes you come across a picture and can't stop staring at it? This one does that for me.
Later that night, we all hopped into the car and traveled into Henderson to score some Black Friday Deals. Mostly it was for Daniela to experience something new and weird.
And then we went to the new Pixar movie, Coco. Delightful and so thought provoking! It made me want to learn all about my ancestors and spend some real time with them.
The Thanksgiving festivities finally came to an end and we turned our attention to Christmas. One of my favorite things to do is to make a hot chocolate bar with several different kinds of hot chocolate, turn on the Christmas music, and decorate.
This year we introduced Daniela into those traditions. Her heart was tender as she thought about her own family and the traditions they were all celebrating without her. I wrapped her in hug after hug and soon she started to embrace the evening.
The last night in November, we pulled out all the candy and made candy chains to help the kids count down the days until Christmas. We let Daniela stay up and help us make them and it was the first night we saw some true 'Dani'. She hopped and skipped and danced through the kitchen and I realized that this was all going to work out for her after all.
We love her so much and are so happy to have her with us.