Brice and I drove down to Richmond on Tuesday night and spent the night with his sister, her husband, and son. We spent most of our time the next day on preparations for the trip while we waited for our nephew to come home from school.
Amazingly enough, we managed to pack all five of us and our gear into the Expedition and leave that afternoon. (Just so we don't seem like a bunch of divas: the gear included a turkey fryer, lots of food and multiple coolers.) We took a nice scenic drive in an effort to avoid holiday traffic and really didn't have any problems.
We arrived for dinner Wednesday night (which we hoped would be good ;-) ), a lovely meal prepared by Brice's aunt of gumbo, salad, and bread. This was my first year helping with food and I had agreed to provide some of the desserts; so that night we had marshmallow brownies and haystacks. It was great to see everyone and it was my first time meeting my brother-in-law's girlfriend.
Thursday was a day of food prep mostly; I had pumpkin pies to assemble while my brother-in-law set out to save the day by taking over the making of one of our three turkeys. My other brother-in-law was frying the other two. The "grandchildren" played some games and generally just enjoyed one another's company. We enjoyed another fantastic Thanksgiving dinner that night.
Friday found me on the boat with Brice's parents, his brother and brother's girlfriend, his aunt, his sister, and of course, our fearless captain, his uncle (our host). We saw a great number of jellyfish in the water and were lucky enough to spot several dolphins as well! Another group went to do some shooting during the boat trip (Brice's youngest cousin is an accomplished hunter).
That night we enjoyed a fish fry along with homemade potato chips, macaroni and cheese, and s'mores cupcakes (by Brice's cousin). It was a great time around the fire pit in the backyard too where we roasted marshmallows--some for eating, some for sport :-).Saturday was a wildcard day for everyone. After the traditional family photo shoot (see below), a group took a boat ride to an island nearby, but Brice and stayed behind watching his alma mater play football, taking a nap, and a walk. I did some Christmas crafts that night before dinner with Brice's aunt, cousin, sister, and nephew. Everything turned out pretty well except for my angel that seemed to be a little more difficult to conquer. Having many more leftovers than we anticipated, we skipped the idea of a meal made by the "grandchildren" and kept eating what we already had. Turned out Brice's cousin and I really over-planned for desserts, too. Oh well--we learned for the next time.
My husband's family: his parents, brothers (plus one brother's girlfriend), us at the far right, and his sister standing with her husband and son.Our crew of five headed out the next morning (the trip to Richmond was only four hours or so, but we were still at least 8 hours from home, depending on traffic). It was a quiet drive back to Richmond with a little bit of traffic at the end. Our trip from there had plenty of traffic with which to contend, but our moods were lifted with a well-placed Bojangles' (we don't have any of these within less than three hours of us anymore).
All in all, it was a successful Thanksgiving. We have spent three Thanksgivings of the last four with the Cunningham extended family and I must say, they have really figured out how to do it. I consider it a real blessing to be a part of a family that has been able to endure through the years still celebrating with so many people included. Even now as the "grandchildren" are grown adults, they each still make such an effort to attend and they all really look forward to it.