This year we literally traveled over the river (Tellico) and through the woods to spend Thanksgiving with my family at my parents' home in Tellico Village, outside of Knoxville. They moved there a few years ago, after they retired, figuring that since we were in Kentucky and my brothers were settled in Ohio and Knoxville, they didn't need to stick around Middle Tennessee for their kids' sake. Oops. Here we are! Seriously, though, it is the perfect place for them, and they are having a grand time. It's a retirement-oriented community, and just about everybody there is new to the area, so they have all kinds of clubs and activities -- we say that it's like college without the classes. Nice. They go to "Walk and Talk," and bike about a million miles a day. My parents are on a planning committee for the Muddy Boots Club (the hiking group), and they even hosted a wine-tasting a couple of weeks ago. Those of you who knew my parents when I was growing up can pick your jaws up off the floor now. (FYI for the rest of you - they weren't very social back then.) So it's really cute, and we make fun of them all the time for living in an old people's community, albeit a very active old people's community. Like I said, it's perfect for them, busy old farts that they are. And they have a nice big-ish house and a community playground (not to mention the boat in the summer!), so it was perfect for our crazy family gathering.
It was blessed chaos. Here's a glimpse:
If you didn't figure, that video was taken just after we had opened presents. Becca was given the Speas family traditional gift: the big red Radio Flyer wagon. Each family gets one when the oldest child is deemed big enough to use it. It's a big hit. It's seriously the best wagon ever, complete with seatbelts and not one, but two cupholders per passenger. Sweet. Becca and Lucy Kate (the Knoxville cousin in Becca's cohort - who turns 1 this week!) had to try it out immediately, with a little help from Shelby and Riley. Take a look:
And because there is no sitting around the house in Tellico Village, we took a Speas family adventure to Bald River Falls in Cherokee National Forest. I have to admit, it was pretty cool, and everyone seemed to have a good time. We even lugged the babies up to the top of the falls, scurrying after the big kids -- and Grandma and Granddaddy, who left us all in the dust, of course.
And, yes, I hear you sister preemie moms gasping...it was a total germfest. But totally worth it. This is the only time my whole family gets together all year long (and we still weren't quite whole without Uncle Doug!), and we skipped last year but decided that it was worth the risk this year. Of the 6 cousins, only 2 were visibly symptomatic, which isn't too bad, considering the time of year and the age of the kids. Apparently it was enough for Becca and I to get sick, though. We're both hacking and drippy, but so far there have been no fevers, so we're icky but not scary sick. Let's hope it stays that way! Even if we stay icky for a while, there is no replacing the memories we made...getting put "under arrested" by Taylor, cuddling with sweet Shelby, cracking up at witty Emma, helping Lego phenom Donald build and build and build, getting beat (legitimately!) at Disney Scene It by the brilliant Riley, and watching Lucy Kate bowl over Becca time and again (love the helmet!). So, so, so fun. Definitely worth a few days of sniffles.