This year was the 'family year' for Thanksgiving, as Nate's family calls it, meaning the year that everyone has Thanksgiving in Mesquite, Nevada, with Nate's grandparents, the Wurstens, instead of staying home or visiting the in-laws.
We left Tuesday morning to drive the 400 or so miles to Mesquite. It should have taken about 7 hours. Instead, it took nine. One of the reasons it took so long was the traffic at Hoover Dam.
It's always been a tradition of ours to make up as many 'dam' jokes as we can while traveling over Hoover Dam - you know, stuff about how the whole 'dam experience' wouldn't take so long if there weren't so many 'dam tourists' and so much 'dam traffic'. I never really thought the kids were listening or even understood what we were doing until we'd passed the dam this time and Zachary blurted out,
"Mom, you're a 'dam good driver'!
That's my boy.
Nate's extended family has gotten so large that they hold Thanksgiving dinner in the church cultural hall. 40 people were expected this year.
Nate walked around snapping photos of everyone, most of which turned out pretty crummy. He has a knack for taking pictures of people looking ticked off or having their eyes closed. This was the fourth or fifth picture of me, so I have a cheesy, strained smile going on.
Here's Zachary and Noah with Nate's grandparents. This was the second shot Nate took, so the kids started pulling faces.
Nate's grandparents had 12 great grandsons born in a row, and this is a picture of 3 of them that are fairly close in age - Corbin, in the red shirt, who turned 4 while we were up in Mesquite, Noah, who turned 5 in October, and Chase, who turned 5 in June. We found it amusing that Corbin is barely 4 and is so much taller than the other two. He is one tall kid!
Nate's family is very musically talented, so after Thanksgiving dinner, it's a tradition to have the family Christmas party where each family performs. Over the years we've heard many numbers from whichever children were having instrument or voice lessons, and for a while, there were even Wursten family band performances. The night always ends with Nate's grandfather, an award winning opera singer, performing 'O Holy Night' with his rich tenor voice.
Despite Nate's show choir experience, our family is never organized enough to have anything prepared, so this year, our boys got together with some of their cousins and sang the chorus to We Wish You a Merry Christmas. It was hard to get the four of them to stand still long enough to do it.
This is a photo from the party two years ago when Noah, who was barely 3 at the time, was standing on the table blurting out his own rendition of Jingle Bells. (He's not shy, in case you wondered.) I love that his cousin Caitlin, who's standing behind Colin (the boy in the green and blue striped shirt) can clearly be seen covering her ears!
One of these years we're going to prepare our own nice little musical number. I promise.
And, because it just wouldn't be a traditional Wursten family Thanksgiving dinner without a big old platter of celery with peanut butter and processed cheese, I made sure to snap a photo during the festivities (and to have proof in case no one believes me!). Click here to read about the delightful tradition.
We had lots of fun this year and want to thank everyone for the great trip we had. It was a wonderful Thanksgiving, and we know we are blessed!