However...the drive home. Was. Not. Fun. It was raining (of course, kind of the way things go here). Here is a glimpse from the drive up (which Chris drove):
Ok, I am slightly exaggerating--but only slightly. Next time, I will be taking the offer to sleep on any spare space and not set out for home at 7:45 pm, on a stormy night. Or, maybe I won't let Chris drink four glasses of wine so that HE can drive! (Although I really do think that whoever is with the strange family should be allowed to drink, y'know, just to make things more enjoyable!)
I am very glad that I wasn't aware how crappy the drive would be though; at least I got to have fun at dinner without it hanging over my head! I hadn't seen my cousins for a quite awhile and they're all getting so OLD! (I am the oldest, on both sides of the family, so it makes me feel old to see Siraj as a JUNIOR in college, and Jamal almost graduating high school, and Naseem almost driving, and Lizzie as such a pretty, mature, young woman). Don's nephew brought his three-year-old daughter, so there was even a new friend for Danny and Isaac.
Reema and Don cooked an excellent dinner (I think the other Michelle had quite a hand in several of the dishes, as well); Don even did cornbread stuffing, so I was in heaven. I think Chris was very happy to have a ham, too, alongside the turkey.
I don't know how they'll all feel about their pictures being on the blog, but since everyone is adults, and no one is engaged in any compromising behavior, I'm going to post some pictures. :) I will probably leave out Danny and Isaac's little friend though; I have some really cute pictures, but I don't want to post pics of other people's kids w/o their consent--I wish I would have thought to ask before we left. But then I feel like a bit of a dork: "Hey, can I put your pictures on my blog?!" Um, yeah...
A disclaimer before the pictures: Danny took many. He's gotten pretty good with the camera, and I thought he might be able to get more candid pics, as little and unobtrusive as he is, but I ended up with lots of pictures of the chandelier, some white flowers, and a vase full of Christmas balls, not to mention the angle (think a 3 foot person taking pictures vs. a 5 1/2 foot person taking them...). Maybe I'll hang on to the camera during the Christmas festivities.
Danny and Isaac chasing Bosco, Reema and Don's mini-schnauzer, around the dining room table. You can see the boys' little blurry heads on the opposite side of the table. They did this for the first hour we were there, then intermittently throughout the night.
The kitchen: Reema rooting around in the fridge; Don carving the ham; Chris pouring glass of wine #2. Josh, the other Michelle's boyfriend, is wayyyyyy in the background.
My cousin Lizzie and the boys. I can't sing Lizzie's praises enough, she is the most wonderful 13-year-old I've ever met. The boys love her, too...if only she lived closer and could babysit :)
Already taking pictures of himself!
Me, Liz and my grandma. Wait, she's Liz's grandma, too!
Josh and Siraj...and Bosco, of course! The boys (Reema's boys, that is) were up playing video games a good portion of the night, so I don't have many pictures of them, which is a bummer. Siraj looks so much like Dad, though you probably can't see it too well, here.
Great-grandma loading up the dessert plate, of course! The first thing she did when we got there (at 2 pm, mind you) was feed Danny a rice krispie treat.
Remember, Danny took the picture! It would actually be great if Jamal's head weren't chopped off. Michelle had the idea of taking the pictures on the stairs, "just like they do for prom!" So there were quite a few sets taken...
All the cousins...Grandma, you must be so proud :)
Hmmm...Grandma probably should stand in the front!
Uh-oh, what'd I miss?! Danny caught Chris in the act.
Happy thanksgiving! (You may see this on our Christmas card, if I manage to send them out this year, that is.) I hope everyone had a wonderful day with lots of friends and family and food! I would list everything I'm thankful for, but...I think the blog and pictures probably give you a pretty good hint!