Thanksgiving 2013

The food.  The family.  It's no wonder this holiday is so amazing.  And let me just say thank you to my mom for hosting everyone, cooking pretty much everything on her own, and making sure everyone had a wonderful time in Maryland together!
It was Wes's first Thanksgiving, and we were all so glad that we got to share it with him!  Patti, Ed, Wes and Cole all arrived on a train around 11am, and were on a train back to NYC at 9pm that evening.  It was a quick visit for them, but made things very special for us :-)
We also had a few other additions to our Thanksgiving this year!  Joe, Jess and Gracie were going to join us!  With Grace not even a month old, it was a bit early for Joe and Jess to travel all the way to their respective parents, so they joined us!
And because Joe's brother Marc and family hadn't met Grace yet, they too joined us for Thanksgiving!  All of the kids running around, all of the adults keeping an eye out for them, and rotating who held which baby... everyone mingled a lot and had a great time!  It meant the moms didn't necessarily have to be super focused all the time, and I'm sure it was a nice break for them.

So there were a lot of cousins celebrating Thanksgiving together!  I took a ton of pictures, because babies, and ate way too much, so let's go through the pictures, shall we?
 Mom getting the mashed potatoes going, and Beth preparing her family's soup!
 Becky was making her applesauce at my request, so I helped peel apples!
Then Patti, Ed, Cole and Wes showed up!  Becky immediately grabbed Wes, who is seriously the happiest baby ever.  He is always smiling and laughing.  It is so fun!
 Joe, Jess, and Grace showed up soon after and we got a group picture of the crew there so far!
 Mom holding Grace.
Jess holding Wes.
 Patti and Wes!  Wes definitely has the Sheridan blue eyes.
 Matt and Wes!
 And Cole and Grampa went outside to ride around the "track" before food was ready.
 We convinced Cole it was time to park his bike in the station, and head inside to play in the warmth.
He played Battleship with Emmie, which really just means he puts the ships and pegs wherever he wants.
 Jess with her main girl Gracie, and me and Wes.
And then Marc and his family arrived!  Nikki was so excited to meet Grace, she got her baby fix on Thanksgiving :-)
 Her daughters Larsen and Pink were excited to meet their new cousin too!
Grace was just perfect all day, letting everyone hold her, and she was happy to sleep on everyone's shoulder.
Joe, Jess, Marc, his daughter Danielle, and Matt!  Matt was apparently imitating an infamous head-tilt that Joe apparently always used to do in pictures.
 There were a lot of kids playing everywhere!
Second cousins Cole and Larsen got along really well.  Larsen was very patient with him and was willing to follow him around the house all day.  Thanks, Larsen!
Matt holding Wes again.
 Danielle getting her turn to hold Grace.  These two are cousins!
 Larsen and Cole again, cheesin it up for me.
Pink, Cole, and Larsen particularly enjoyed taking a tour of the upstairs.  I'm sure my parents will be happy to see their bed being jumped on and me doing nothing to stop it :-)
I did manage to convince them that food was almost ready and that we should head downstairs to get ready, and it was perfect timing, because my mom was rounding everyone up to pray before the feast!
 We all stood hand in hand...
 ...even Grace!
And said the blessing and were thankful so many of us were able to celebrate together :-)

We then each grabbed our plates and I loaded mine up!  I had Beth's soup (kind of like an Italian Wedding-style soup, but made with chicken (or in this case fake chicken) instead of the meatballs), crescent rolls, roasted asparagus, scalloped corn, broccoli-vermicelli casserole, green bean casserole, turkey, applesauce, sweet potatoes, stuffing, and mashed potatoes!  Sheesh, this was a full plate, even trying to grab only a little bit of everything!
 I didn't have room for another round, but I was waiting for desserts now!  There was a kids table with Pink, Cole, and Larsen!
 Wes had his own thing going on at his high chair, lol
 The ladies, Grampa and JT were in this room, with the guys in the next room over!
 Topless baby!!
 Larsen playing with Wes :-)
Ok, this is our main Thanksgiving tradition.  Don't laugh.  My aunt and uncle gave my parents this wooden turkey lollipop stand one time many many years ago.  They were all celebrating together and it was their "host gift" to my parents.  They might have thought it was a total gag gift and wouldn't be brought out ever again, but I remember this thing at like every Thanksgiving, hahaha.  It started off with dum-dums displayed in it, then I remember a really good year when my dad drilled larger holes so that we could put tootsie pops and blowpops in there instead!  And now this, we have candy hot-glued onto lollipop sticks to make this an amazing centerpiece!  A little ridiculous, a little necessary.
 Dessert table!
 Walnut brownies with chocolate icing, M&M cookies, pumpkin pie, banana bread, pumpkin bread, candies, cranberry pie, applesauce, cupcakes, and the turkey centerpiece of candy!
 Becky showing off the cupcakes she decorated :-)
 Patti excited for the turkey of candy.
 Patti and Becky, the best sisters a photographer could ask for.
 Glasses cleaned.
 Flowers.
 Joe and Marc and their families!
 Nikki getting some more time with Grace :-)
There might have been several photo-shoots with my nephews.  I promise to show you way more of that later (the adorableness is too much I tell you!).  But after one of the photo-shoots with Wes, Patti put him down for his nap as is.  Grampa brought him downstairs to all of us and said "I believe Santa is up from his nap!".  Poor Santa couldn't even see!
We at least pulled his hat up for him :-)  And then Wes was just hanging out in a Santa suit for the evening!
We made sure to get a picture with all of the second cousins together!  Cole, Pink, Wes, JT, Larsen, Danielle, and Grace.
 Me holding Wes while he does a Zoolander face.
 And he loved dancing on the coffee table!  There's video to prove it, haha
Also, while I was holding him, he looked down, saw my hand, got really excited, and slowly grabbed it and dragged it into his mouth.  He nommed it and I could not stop laughing about it, lol
 Nom nom nom
And after trying his first solid foods recently (the traditional rice cereal mixed with formula/milk), Patti and Ed thought it would be perfect to let him try sweet potatoes as his first real solid food!  You can see the excitement already!
 Does he like them?
 That is a face that is excited about more sweet potatoes.
 Also these are faces that truly say "I love sweet potatoes"
After a lot of sweet potatoes all over (but I'd say an impressive amount made it into his mouth), Wes got a quick bath and was, as usual, a very happy baby!
Time for one more round of Battleship before it was time for everyone to leave.  Marc, Nikki and kids were heading back to their home in VA.  Joe, Jess and Grace headed home after a very successful first big event out!  And Patti, Ed, Cole and Wes got packed up and headed to the train station to head north.  Luckily their boys both fell asleep on the train ride back after a very fun and eventful day with their family.
It was exciting to have such a full house for Thanksgiving!  Especially since it meant some friends for Cole to run around with at our house for once :-)

And I don't have any pictures to prove it, but Uncle Rich, Aunt Janis, Ryan (with a broken collarbone) and Kathleen came by Thanksgiving night and spent the night at my parents place.  I got to see them in the morning when I came over after morning practice and we all got to catch up a bit then too :-)

Thank you Mom and Dad for hosting, thank you to everyone who traveled to Maryland to join in on the festivities, and thank you to everyone who endured me taking pictures all day of them.  Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

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