I have to say that Thanksgiving was a fun time this year. It was just Michelle and her three girls for dinner (along with Joe, Lisa and I) so it didn’t have to be a huge production. And, since Michelle actually had to work until 1:00 (and they live an hour and a half away), I didn’t have to get up at the butt-crack of dawn to get the turkey in the oven.

In fact, I didn’t get up until almost nine o’clock! But, we had the turkey in the oven by 10:30 and had some time to relax before the kids came up.

Wednesday Lisa and I made dessert and actually baked the squash ahead of time. I put together a cherry pie and two chocolate pudding pies. Lisa was going to make a pumpkin pie but decided that buying one at the local grocery store was the way to go, since she’s the only one who eats it in this house. She did, however, make some chocolate chip zucchini cookies from some of the zucchini she had chopped up out of our garden (and froze). We also thawed out a small loaf of zucchini bread that she had made and frozen a couple of months ago, as well as some of the homemade applesauce we put up a month or so ago.

Later Wednesday night, once we had everything done, we were sitting here relaxing when Simba came bounding up the stairs from the family room. Lisa noticed immediately that he had something in his mouth. He walked the middle of the room, sat down, and dropped the mouse, which promptly skittered off under the recliner where Idgie was laying. Of course, that got her attention quite nicely so, while Simba tried to reacquire his prey, Idgie pranced about excitedly watching to see what was happening. We heard a little squeak and Simba returned to the middle of the room with the mouse. This time when he dropped it, it just lay there. Lisa grabbed a paper napkin and picked it up by its tail and tossed it outside. Simba spent the next few minutes searching for it, sure he’d find it cowering under something. *blech* I figure that, since we took the carpeting out of the family room downstairs, that most likely has exposed a couple of chinks in the foundation where the little bastard came in (and likely some of his friends). Of course, we installed a laminate floor down there but still need to do the edges. I’m sure we’ll find where they are coming in but, for the time being, we have two EXCELLENT mousers in the house so they shouldn’t be able to get too comfortable. *shudder*

It was agreed that dinner would be between 4 and 5 and, frankly, I don’t even know what time we sat down to eat. The kids really seem to love Thanksgiving food and there was certainly plenty of it. Besides turkey and mashed potatoes we had green and yellow beans from our garden, as well as one butternut squash and one acorn squash from our garden. A tossed salad and dinner rolls rounded things out. I only had to buy two dozen rolls this year, since Joe was the only male eating dinner with us. Our general rule of thumb for those particular rules is one dozen per “Y” chromosome and one dozen for the rest of us.

100_2431Vanessa will be 14 in February — the oldest of my grandchildren.  This is “Mommy Dearest” trying to coax her to smile for the camera. It’s funny, Vanessa at 14 is as tall as her mother and certainly has a bit more growing to do. Her father is quite tall, almost 6 feet as I remember. She’s a good kid with a smoothie problem but has indicated that she’s seeking help for the smoothie problem. A twelve step smoothie program, I suppose. She’s on the honor roll at school and thinks that she wants to go into forensic science.

100_2429AnaLeise (or Annie as we call her) will be 10 in March. She’s always had her grandmother wrapped pretty tightly around her little finger. Annie is constantly in trouble — not because she’s bad but because she just sort of seems to always be around when something goes wrong. Personally, I think she gets blamed for a lot more than she’s responsible for. Vanessa announced that Annie is “…two points away from failing social studies,” which Mom explains is because “…she can’t keep her mouth shut.” I’m thinking this little nut didn’t fall far from the tree.

100_2430Cherlyn (Cher) is the talker. That child’s mouth starts the second she wakes up and doesn’t stop until she falls asleep at night. She’s a precocious child and has a tendency to talk down to adults. At almost 8 years, she has a wisdom which belies her age. She seems like a little old lady, having walked life’s long roads, trapped inside a little girl’s body. But every now and then you see a flash of the child that’s there. But you can feed this kid a line of bull and she’ll swallow it each and every time!

100_2428Michelle is my oldest — 32 this year. She’s walked some roads — the kinds of roads no parent wants to see their daughter walk. She’s found herself in the gutter and has clawed her way out more than once. She’s the kind of person who lands on her feet and, if she falls, picks herself right back up. She has grit. You don’t see that in many women. And she’s not afraid to face life, no matter what hand she’s dealt. Michelle has a lot of body art — tattoos. Full arm length, back, belly — a lot of tattoos. But what’s hard for her is that people don’t see her, only her tattoos which I have to admit are beautiful. Even her father has looked down his nose at her because of them. But I see my daughter — she is NOT her tattoos.

100_2427And this is my Joe. He turned 25 this year. Joe attends college full-time and works full-time. I don’t see much of him these days as he’s always on the run out the door for either class, work, or to see his girlfriend. He rarely has a day where he doesn’t have to be somewhere but on the days that he does, he can put Howard Hughes to shame, especially during the 2 month period that he’s laid off seasonally. As long as he isn’t urinating in jars and leaving them lined up along the edge of the room, I guess I can tolerate him being a recluse.

100_2432Both of the girls love their baby brother. Michelle, as a little girl, always “mothered” him. At the age of 7 I remember her insisting that SHE could change his diapers (as long as they were just wet) and so we let her. She read to him, did “interpretive dance” routines with him, colored with him — he was a sort of “pet” for her. Linda was pretty harsh to him during his early teen years (when she was at an age where it wasn’t cool to like your parents or siblings) but thankfully grew out of that and took a real shine to him. Joe’s a good guy, he’s a good sport, and loves his sisters right back.

Finally, just a couple of shots of the family still at the table after dinner. Hope you had warm and happy family holiday. We sure did!