I am JUST feeling recovered from Thanksgiving. (I am praying that if we grow our own family that it will not be as nuts as it is when we have other kids visit. It can't be. Whimper.) We hosted my sister, her wife, their two kids 3+ and 8 months, and my brother-in-law for the extended long weekend. We added our fabulous neighbors for actual Thanksgiving dinner, as well as a few brunches. (We needed help consuming all the salty smoked fish imported from the City for the holiday.)
Nephew C will be 4 in March, and has a more/ differently developed style of play than my kids. They were eager to jump on his bandwagon once they figured out it meant digging for fossils in the yard, fighting off savage pirates from the relative safety of the swing set tower (with many friendly whale sightings, a.k.a. our dogs ranging around the yard, um, ocean) and much chasing. Pequita and Monito really got into their baby cousin R. At 8 months, she is just starting to pull herself up to stand and is a bundle of adorable fun.
I am grateful for a quiet house again, but boy, all my dreams of having cousins close in age to frolic with my kids is coming true and is just amazing. Our kids are going to grow up with a close-knit group to bask in, rely on, and play with.
Monito, embracing his 'shooter gun'. He learned about them from cousin C in August, and has been waiting until C arrived to play it again. (We are in the halcyon age where I can say things like, "Oh, sweetie, we don't play with guns unless C is here. You'll have to wait until Thanksgiving to shoot," and he COMPLIES.)
We let all the kids sleep in the nursery together, and bedtime went well, all things considered. Cousin C and Monito mostly dropped off on command, and Pequita wasn't awake any later than her usual 9:45ish. We watch less TV when C is here so it was especially important for Monito to watch Pop! before bed. Cousin C taught them both to make nests out of their beanbag and pregnancy pillows upon which to hatch baby dinosaurs.
My family is no slouch at cooking. Sister-in-law S is a vegetarian, so we had an entirely veg meal except for the turkey. My sister whipped up baked squash stuffed with vegetarian sausage, sweet potatoes made with coconut milk (my new favorite food) and Homestead Mama created ginger peas. I was responsible for the turkey, which is why I awoke from napping with the kids having not basted it or checked it for its final 3 hours - BIG turkey no-no. It was ok, actually delicious, and the gravy, ever elusive for me, was finally sublime. With almost no pictures of adults, and none of the amazing, gorgeous, 26-lb turkey, I offer a picture of the Thanksgiving craft we employed to keep the kids entertained so we could finish eating. I drew a big tree and hung it on the wall, and wrote things the kids were thankful for on hastily-made leaf-cut post-it notes. They loved sticking them on the tree. Monito colored a little, too.
The day after, I made homemade noodles and the kids cut out shapes with small cookie cutters that we then added to the big turkey soup. We do this a lot throughout the year, and it is always fun.