Thanksgiving in Oregon

Our Thanksgiving holiday in Oregon was absolutely perfect (except for the hour we spent on the side of the highway when we ran out of gas). Although it was a short trip, it felt long as we spent each day soaking it up with family.

We arrived in Gresham on Wednesday afternoon and soon after the Vances, Caudles and S & T Lewises caame over for Isaac's 7th birthday party. We played lots of air hockey games until dinner.
Poor Bronson had an assignment due that night so took any chance he could to finish it. Not easy around 15ish grandkids but he didn't complain.

Thursday morning (I still can't believe I forgot about the Macy's parade!), we made our dishes for the Thanksgiving meal and started setting up Christmas decorations. Mom made a killer sweet potato casserole that easily won favorite dish -- even though there was no competition. Everyone couldn't get enough of it. I made Lion House Rolls (and so did Sydney!) and yes that was a competition. We must have done something right, because they tasted identical. After enjoying our meal, the boys played football at the park, the girls talked home renovation designs, and then we convened again for pie. After pie we had a short program where we said what we were grateful for, the grandkids performed, and mom recited "The Living Christ," which she memorized recently (even down the order of the Apostles who signed it!). After the program we watched "Instruments of War," on BYUTv.
We used my grandma Smith's china

 Earlier in the week, I spent all day Tuesday at work listening to the Dave Ramsey podcast (literally binge-listened for 7 hours) and was hooked. So on Wednesday I spent the whole driving reading the book, "Total Money Makeover,"ahhh... definitely poor planning on my part to read that right before Black Friday. As we did our shopping Friday, I kept having this Dave Ramsey little voice in my head say, "can you afford that? Do you really need it?" Luckily, I'm really good about ignoring sound advice and I still bought plenty to make my shopaholic heart happy.

We came home and finished the Christmas decorations and packed up for Astoria. The rest of the family were off to the Temple to do baptisms with the older grandkids and we made our way for Astoria.

We arrived in time for dinner, and watched a movie. Saturday we walked around Downtown Astoria (that place is cute -- but very tiny.) We saw the same people over and over again. The Gardner's win fastest family photo ever - as we pulled the outfits together in 4 mins and took the picture in 2 mins with a tripod. We set up Christmas decorations (which is secretly my favorite thing to do -- for now at least!). And watched some BYU basketball and football throughout the day.

Michelle recently had their family home video VHS tapes digitized on the computer and I'm ... whats the right word, freaking out inside. I love family home videos! And I'm not mad at all that Bronson is the oldest and by default has the most footage dedicated to him. It's been so fun to watch.

The big news of the week -- we got me a new camera! It was a combined effort of Birthday money, work bonus, and selling my old camera to help fund this one. I am LOVING it. All my family home video documenting dreams are coming true. I put together this 3 minute video of our Thanksgiving with my family. The song is from the LDS youth album this year -- which I secretly have really enjoyed the past couple of years.

Sunday -- the day we were all dreading. The day we headed back to Utah. It is so hard inside to leave family and go back to reality. I think that shows how great our family is. I feel so lucky we come from the roots we do. It's not that I don't love home with Bronson, its just an awesome feeling to be all together. Okay, I think we all relate. It didn't help that we got up at 6am and drove from 7am to midnight. I wouldn't necessarily advise it -- but it was worth it. 


I love the house at Christmas time!

the hallmark tree. 

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