I absolutely love Thanksgiving and the opportunity to focus on all my many blessings. I realize that I am very blessed and can see God's influence in my life.
This year we decided to spend Thanksgiving with the Allreds and Garrards in Utah. It was a wonderful long weekend with lots of relaxing and seeing fabulous friends. Definitely worth the drive across windy, cold Wyoming.
We got there late Tuesday night, talked far too late, and then slept in a bit on Wednesday. Ken and Shane took Trevor and Reid out for a guys day. The boys had a blast while Rochelle and I prepped for the big day. That evening we got our turn to see a movie and do some last minute shopping -- I needed to stock up on the BIG containers of Stephen's hot chocolate! Then we picked up the boys and headed down to Provo to meet Mark and Malinda at Brick Oven. Yum!!!
Thursday was a pretty low key day while we prepared for the big meal. My mind kept thinking of my family and especially my brother Cyle. He was arriving home from serving in Iraq that afternoon. I was sad I couldn't be there to welcome him home and thank him for his service. Thanksgiving dinner was delicious and it was another treat to have Mark and Malinda come up for the evening with their kids. There are few things as wonderful as being with good friends.
Friday morning Rochelle and Shane were gracious enough to host breakfast for a big group of transplanted Colorado folks. We missed the Paynes (but emergency surgery is a pretty good excuse) and Apezteguias! Then the rest of the day was spent watching movies and napping as we prepared for the cold. We had decided to go up, meet the McNeals, and see the lights on Temple Square. It was beautiful, but super cold. Luckily, Rochelle is a genius and planned ahead, bring a thermos full of hot chocolate! I love being on Temple Square and it was perfect way to ring in the Christmas season!
On Saturday, we packed up and said goodbye to our dear friends and headed up to Salt Lake. One of our favorite professors from our BYU days, Dr. Doug Bush, was performing in an organ recital in the tabernacle. It was a wonderful recital and it was a special treat to be able to hug and talk with him a few moments.
We then headed around the Great Salt Lake to be with our friends Stephen and Ashlyn Garrard. We always have such a wonderful time with them! Ashlyn is an amazing hostess and Stephen is so much fun to sing with. (In fact, it was over about 20 years ago that Ken and Stephen met at a music camp at NAU and they have been friends ever since.) We played games, stayed up late talking, ate delicious meals, and even performed a musical number in their ward before we had to head home after lunch on Sunday.
It was a wonderful holiday and it was fantastic to spend it with friends that we love like family.