Friday, December 16, 2016

Holiday Prep and Thanksgiving

 Over the years, our family has participated in various service projects for Christmas. We've always rung the bell for the Salvation Army, we have donated boxes to Samaritan's Purse: Operation Christmas Child, we do sub for Santa. This year we tried something new. Rachel told us about this organization called "Feed My Starving Children" that has mobile pack sites that come to Utah. They pack food for children who are malnourished in different parts of the world. We met up with the Millers in Ogden at Washington Heights Church. We were given hair nets (Ella's very favorite part, haha), and were assigned to different tables to various spots on the assembly line.
 It was an electric atmosphere! They had music playing (loudly!), people who would speak to everyone and encourage cheering, singing, and dancing. Micah was home feeling pretty miserable, so he missed out. But he would have loved it. Look at that smile on Colin's face. Serving feels good!
 Grant and Theron having fun:
 Ella, Matthew, and Chad were at a table together. Matthew was working hard with Chad on the contraption that seals the filled bags. Ella had a system down to load up the boxes with 36 food bags.
 Outside once we finished. It only took just over an hour to get it all done. There were a couple thousand people there volunteering. It was a massive effort and I've never had so much fun packing food. I'd love to do it again next year--this time with Micah!
 On Thanksgiving day, we were greeted by this sight at our front door.
 Thanksgiving was lovely and not too stressful. Mom and Dad came up a day early so Mom could help me with all the preparations. Rachel brought her sweet potato dish, mashed potatoes, and Martinelli's. Mom made stuffing (enough for an army) and pies. The turkey was scrumptious. There was plenty. I cooked a second turkey that afternoon so we would have plenty for the rest of the time.

 Rachel read some passages out of her Thanksgiving book, which made the day special. Then we went around the table and said what we were thankful for.

 Everyone spent the night. We had eggs, orange rolls, bacon, and hot chocolate for breakfast. An intense game of dodge ball ensued at the gym of the church. The Bells, Agueros, and Badgers joined us. After we returned, we pulled out all of the gingerbread houses. Mom had bought tons of extra candy for decorating. Colin and Micah's strategy was to pile on as much candy as possible for eating later-ha!
 Our ward had a nice Christmas dinner was yummy. The ward missionaries (the Molises and Leshes) were in charge. They had Santa and Mrs. Claus come, which was exciting! Colin got these two cute pictures of Matthew when he was talking to Santa.

 These three cuties: Beth Nicholls, Himaya Brandley, and Matthew were such awesome helpers at the end of the party. They cleaned the floor like crazy.

 Kyle Harris and Matthew got their bball on:
My father is quite literally a picture-taking fiend. It's his unsolicited, self-assigned, full-time job when he comes to family gatherings. He sends a bunch of them to me. These are ones he took of each of the kids:

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