November 26, 2005

Blessed Thanksgiving!

This post is two days after the fact, but we wanted to wish everyone a belated happy Thanksgiving from our family to yours! We had an absolutely wonderful day. We started our week emphasizing thankfulness with the children...Charis helped Rhonda and me trace and cut out construction-paper leaves, and each night at dinner we would all write something on a leaf that we were thankful for. Then we taped the leaves to the pantry doors, near the verse Charis wrote for handwriting practice, Psalm 105:1, "Thank the Lord for all the glorious things He does." The kids looked forward to putting more leaves on the doors each day, and I think it will become an annual tradition at our house!

On Wednesday Ted got to come home around 10:30 in the morning to pick us all up and take us back to the squadron for their Thanksgiving lunch. They did the whole deal, with multiple turkeys and hams, etc.! People brought in dishes, and it was quite a spread. There are a lot of young, single airmen who can't afford to go home for both Thanksgiving and Christmas, so this WAS Thanksgiving for many of them. We enjoyed our food and a tour of the TTF (threat training facility) afterward, in which the kids went wild and crazy climbing on tanks, trucks, helicopters, etc.! So, if you ever come to visit Las Vegas, you can take a tour with Ted and see such things for yourself!

On Thanksgiving Day we hosted our friends Brad and Dana and their children Matthew and Gracie. It was fun to share the cooking, and we enjoyed turkey and gravy, rolls, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin cheesecake courtesy of their family, and we contributed a ham, cheesy potatoes, butternut squash puree (a new recipe, and definitely a keeper!), and an apple pie. YUM! We spent time in prayer beforehand and then dug right in! The R's were planning to leave for California later in the day, so we ate around noon, and just after they left it was time for naps (for the kids) and a relaxing afternoon cheering on the Denver Broncos--woohoo!

After a very light dinner, Rhonda, Ted and I took the kids to the Magical Forest, sponsored by Opportunity Village, a Nevada charity. If you go to the web site you can view a video of some of the activities. But anyway, it was a beautiful night, not too cold at all, and the children really enjoyed the amazing displays of trees, lights, and decorations. Since Thanksgiving was opening night, it was actually not too crowded, so we got tickets for the carousel and re-used them (with permission!) for a total of 3 rides! I think that was definitely the kids' favorite part, though the walk through the "Forest" itself was also a lot of fun.
Having seen candles blown out on my birthday cake and at the Thanksgiving table, Arden apparently assumed that the Christmas lights were also meant to be blown out, and he spent quite a bit of time trying to do just that as soon as we stepped inside the forest! It was very cute to watch him huffing and puffing and then turning to us with a puzzled look to say, "Blow it out!" Once he realized his efforts were in vain, he turned his attention to every spherical ornament or decoration on the entire campus. He is obsessed with balls, and he found plenty to keep him happy!

On Friday the fun continued. Ted's Uncle Rande and Aunt Jo had driven from Montana to Las Vegas on Thanksgiving Day and crashed at a hotel that evening, so they came over to our place for breakfast on Friday. Then we loaded everyone up and drove down to the Strip. We saw the white tiger and "rain forest" at the Mirage and had lunch at Planet Hollywood (NOT our first choice, but unfortunately, there was a 90-minute wait for the Cheesecake Factory. We also watched the fountains at the Bellagio again, but this was the kids' first time to see them. It was neat, because the song this time was "O Holy Night." Interesting to hear THAT song in the middle of Sin City!!

After much walking around and seeing the sights, it was time to come home. We enjoyed dinner (yummy leftovers!), then put the kids to bed early and learned how to play 5-handed Pinochle! It was a great way to end the week.

Rhonda flew home this morning, and we are now winding down from all the festivities. I've done some Christmas shopping online and am getting excited for the holiday season!

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