Wednesday, November 30, 2011

O, Christmas Tree!

Our "pre-lit" tree is no longer lit as of last year, so after nearly a week of dinkin' around, I finally got lights for it (600!) and we decorated it as a family tonight to the sounds of our dishnetwork "Holiday Pop" station (with which I was unexpectedly impressed--I heard Robbie Robertson and Tom Petty Christmas songs, among many others I've never heard but really liked tonight). Observe the results:The kids always pose with their bears...silly goslings.

Niles was SO ready for bed.

Slaying me with cuteness

Watching the Christmas Train...

...and so we welcome December (we even started reading Christmas stories a day early--tonight's selection was "Room for a Little One"--so pretty!). Hope you're feeling very merry, too!

Thanksgiving 2011

Uncle Sam & Aunt Elaine arrived on Monday 11/21, just in time to celebrate Addie's birthday with us. On Tuesday, we stayed out at the ranch house with them and they made us Navajo Tacos for dinner--YUM!!!

On Wednesday, we started cooking for Thanksgiving, and this came... Aunt Marti & Uncle Ralph sent flowers since they're in Ukraine this year--BEAUTIFUL!!!
Uncle Sam making soup for the Wednesday night travelers and Addie helping Aunt Elaine make bread.

YUM! We jsut finished off the last of the six loaves ;)

One of the turkeys--this one got brined and slow roasted; the other got deep fried

Late Wednesday night everyone arrived safely from Utah--Gram, Drews, Petersens, Laytons, and Elreys--HOORAY! Uncle Sam, Gram, and Mom relaxing.



Uncle Sam carving his turkey

Dishing up some amazing turkey meat

Darrin, Rich, and Uncle Matt watching the Yellowstone River roll by...

Gram & Laura--Lehmans arrived from Helena on Thursday morning

Mark, Lorelyn, Samantha, & Gabriel chill down stairs

Abby and Isabelle made the placecards

Sam & Kristen corraled the little boys down in the bunk room

Wee Gavin Layton, nearly 7 months old.

Can you believe these two are only 10 days apart?

Heidi & Jack are cousin pals!

Abby, Ally, Addie & Belle=Our Tweeners

The Big Kid Table

Lorelyn, Mark, Lyndi, & Gram at the "First generation" table

Me & My Niles

I can't stop laughing at his little pie face!

Niles with Aunt Laura--again with the pie face!

The amazing buffet!

Here's what we ate:


Gingerbread pita chips and apples with pumpkin dip

Raw Veggies with ranch dip

Main Meal

2 turkeys, one roasted, one fried

mashed russet potatoes

turkey stuffing

sweet potatoes

yellow squash casserole

green bean casserole

cranberry-orange slaw

gravy, rolls, & Martinelli's to drink

chocolate, pumpkin, and pecan pies with cream

pumpkin roll...

and all of it was pretty gourmet! Best TG dinner ever!

The Little Kids' Table

Owen, James, Heidi (Ben & Jack sat there, too)
Sam told me that Owen pushes up his shirt sleeves so he can look like Shaun the Sheep. I LOVE THAT!

More fine dining at the first and second generation tables

Kids Feasting!

Rich & Mike Melin are there in the background, with Sam, Darrin & Laura.

Looks like Uncle Matt is clearing his place.

After dinner and dishes, there were naps and football games and board games galore! Here's a huge gang of us in the basement playing a game.

Owen watched shows on the laptop



My Uncle Sam, Aunt Elaine, Uncel Matt, Aunt Lorelyn, and Samantha all had to leave Friday Morning. Everybody else just hung out all day. I came home to do some laundry, etc., and then we had a yummy pizza dinner, kids' dance party, and a white elephant gift exchange.

The Boathouse was the kids' clubhouse all weekend. They roasted marshmallows in the wood stove and had dance parties, drawing/coloring, card games, etc. Some of the uncles even got to fish...such a fun time!

Break dancing!

White Elephant Party!

Youngest to oldest, Owen went first

then James

Heidi got a poodle

Ben got slippers

Addie got a bear

Kristen, Sam, Laura, Darrin, & Jill watched

Gabe in an AWESOME wig from Sam

Sam got Aunt Debbie's singing hamster, but Laura soon stole it!


This group shot is from Friday morning before The Uncles left

(I missed it because I was battling a blizzard in town and I had Jill and several kids with me, and mom & Mark & Marshall were in bed, I think)

Another group shot with the dogs

Sam, Lorelyn, Me,Niles, and Uncle Matt

Aunt Elaine, Addie, Me & Niles

Addie, Uncle Sam, Me & Niles


Saturday we didn't take any pictures. Rich went to work on some log furniture at the ranch early in the day, but I stayed at my house with Isabelle, Addie, & Niles to clean up and get our Christmas decorations out. My brother Matt and his family arrived from Helena around noon. We went out to ranch at 2pm for Mexican lunch before Laura and Darrin headed back to Helena. We watched the Norwegian Christmas Story that night and just hung out. Then we went home and got ready for Sunday.

Postums, Laytons and Petersens came to church with us. Drews & Grandma Lyn headed home on Sunday morning. I did sharing time in Primary and Addie gave a talk. Then after church we headed out to the ranch for a pot roast dinner, a relaxing afternoon of games and naps.

The girls were all playing games at the breakfast table when we noticed we had an audience.

Eight deer just hung out by the fence for an hour, no big deal.

Later, we introduced our wee nieces and nephews to the magic of Rankin-Bass animation by watching the old "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer." We had a great time just hanging out downstairs letting our kids crack us up after the movie.

Niles took a nap right on my shoulder, pobrecito.

Kristen, Owen, Sam, Emily, Matt, Amie, & Jill

Addie & Emily love eachother-- Cutie Cousins!

Emily picked a winner!

We went back to my house Sunday night--Jill was staying with me--and watched some movies, folded clothes, and stayed up til 1am talking. Sam came to pick up Jill & her kids at 5:30am, then Matt & Amie left the ranch house that morning, too. *SIGH* The party was over and I was exhausted, but it was worth it. SO MUCH FUN! Can't wait to see my uncles again! We missed you, Auntie M! Hope everyone had a

Happy Thanksgiving!


Dear Loved Ones,                      This week has been a lot of work. Kids have been home sick with colds, Heidi was home on grievi...