Our neighbor girls decided to join the fun, too.
Whenever we start up a fire in the backyard, kids appear from nowhere!
These two were so sweet, with their artwork, and team-game-playin'.
It was relaxed, sweet, just like having my sister and her kids over.
The next day, we were off to Fred's dad and stepmom's house.
Yes, divorce always changes things. His parents divorced when he was 13, and it was a real mess. Very rough on him, and still seems to cause more pain than my parents' recent divorce.
Sometimes divorce makes things better (yes, I believe this)
and sometimes it simply makes them harder.
We celebrated with his Dad (right), two of his sisters, cousins & aunt and uncles, nieces and nephews, and even a random guy I didn't know (center.) It was relaxing, delicious, less dramatic than it's been in the past.
All good things.
Fred and I spent some time winding down in the guest/playroom with the little ones.
I love this Spanish alphabet puzzle!
They've had it for years...I think she said they got it from a yard sale?
Such a neat treasure!
We saw Fred's Mom the following day, but I was too distracted to take pictures. My bad.
(...but she doesn't like having her picture taken, so it's probably for the best!)
On Sunday (yes, we were going 5 for 5!!) we drove to my Mom's house, about an hour away. I've only been there twice, and actually had to mapquest the address.
It's a beautiful home, and she's done so much with it.
There were new traditions, to establish the new family situation.
My Mom served pork rather than turkey. She's always been a fan of bucking custom. ;)
We played cards rather than board games.
Relaxed, drank wine, watched movies, played outside.
Me, my Mom, sister Julie, sister Amy
Celebrating with four sets of parents isn't easy.
We tried to plan as early as possible to avoid overlaps.
We made a schedule and let everyone know what we would be doing. Every home had a day.
We made it a holiday weekend, rather than one insane day to zip around celebrating.
We tried to see everyone, but it's simply not always possible.
Fred isn't close to his stepbrothers and sisters, and they don't live around us,
so we rarely see them, even around the holidays.
We made it a priority to see parents and grandparents, sisters and brothers.
We made time for fun and relaxing.
Isn't my niece gorgeous? She's like a little fairy child!
And this precious little nephew of mine is so happy, so hilarious!
Ahh, and here's my girl. My teenager.
The amazing kid who studied geography when she was finished with her meal!
It's different now, but good. We saw this coming. We knew it was over.
And, honestly, I'm thankful.
It was less stressful this year than it's been in the past.
Both of my parents are happy.
Sometimes things fall apart so they can be put back together differently...better... healthier.
And I'm thankful for that. For the lives they have now, apart.
I'm thankful that Thanksgiving was truly full of thanks, on all sides.
I'm thankful that no one pulled us around; everyone was flexible.
I'm thankful that my children saw smiling, truly joyful grandparents, not underlying stress and drama.
I'm also thankful for all of my childhood memories of Thanksgiving, which were full of happiness.