…was a blast! We escaped the cold Utah weather for 10 days and went to our favorite place – Arizona!! Originally we were going there with my family to celebrate Thanksgiving but last minute they all decided not to go so we still went but celebrated with Brian’s family that lives down there. Brian’s parents also went down and his sister, Liz, and her family went too. So, we had 7 out of the 12 families down there.
Thanksgiving Day morning is the day of the Holmes Family Turkey Bowl – which is a huge extravaganza!! We had a draft about a month before to pick the teams and then each team had coaches, managers, owners etc. The night before we held an official press conference and the team jerseys were handed out. Then on Thursday morning we all went to watch the game. They all take it pretty seriously and even had us videotape the whole thing so they could watch it later! Tyler wanted to play and he was running around just kind of following Brian for a while. Then someone passed the ball to him and he ran the whole field and made a touchdown! It was so cute! All the guys were diving to tackle him – just missing him (on purpose) every time! He was soooo proud – beaming and grinning from ear to ear!! Then Matthew wanted to make a touchdown too so we gave him an extra ball and he ran the field to make his own touchdown!! So cute!
We all helped make a huge Thanksgiving dinner and we ate outside in Moe’s backyard. It was perfect weather!! The boys devoured their plates and we all just sat around talking and having fun. To top off a perfect day Brad and Sunny had their baby that morning! They named him William Harvey and he is adorable!!! It was so funny because she wasn’t having any contractions or any signs of labor and she wasn’t due for a couple of weeks. We were all saying that there is no way she would have him while we were there just because that is what we all wanted. Then on Wednesday night she started into labor out of nowhere and had him Thursday morning!! Perfect timing!!!

Thanksgiving is definitely one of my favorite holidays and it is Brian’s favorite! It is such a good time of year to be with family and to reflect and think about what we are grateful for and the things we have been blessed with throughout the past year. We have had some medical scares this year with Nathan, which have caused us to really think about how precious life is and how much we truly have. I know that I could never even create a complete list of all of our blessings because they really are infinite but here are some of the things we are grateful for right now:
* health – this is a big one for us this year
* happiness and the ability to have fun with each other
* the fact that we haven’t been without any of the things we need – a home, food, transportation etc.
* grandparents who cherish the boys and do so much for them
* the Pingree School and Tyler’s teachers
* the progress that Tyler has made in the past year
* the addition of baby Nathan to our family
* the priesthood
* brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins – all who love and support us
* the Gospel and all that it encompasses – the center and purpose for our lives
* all of the members of our ward who serve and put so much time into their callings
* the opportunity I have to be on the MM design team
* so many wonderful friends – some old, some new – and all that they mean to us
* Brian’s job and all that it has provided for us
and finally
* all of the little things that make each day so great – kisses and hugs, I love you’s from the boys, an unexpected phone call or email, good books, opportunities to learn and grow, good times
….lots and lots of good times.

We stayed in Arizona until the following Tuesday, hanging out and enjoying the weather for as long as we could. Then we flew home into the freezing cold snow – yuck!! It was good to be home though and Tyler was excited to get back to school to see his friends and his teachers. It was so cute – We were teaching the boys about Thanksgiving and then we were asking them what they were grateful for. On his own, Tyler said – my school, my friends and my teachers!!! So sweet.

The Thursday after we got home I had a Christmas party here with all of my friends from high school. We all still keep in touch and we try to get together every once in a while but we always do the annual Christmas party and gift exchange. It was so much fun – talking and laughing and catching up.
A lot of my friends have gone through some extremely tough times but everyone is happy and doing well. It makes me realize that everyone has their problems and that even though we all face hard times and trials – the grass really isn’t greener. It is easy to think that we are all alone and that we are the only ones carrying burdens but everybody has something and typically we can find some comfort in knowing that it could be worse. I really believe that we are given trials that we can handle and that they are for a purpose – to teach us something, to help us to grow.
Many people say that they can’t imagine going through some of what we have gone through or that they sympathize and think it must be so hard to have a child with Autism. And it is so funny because I look at their trials and think there is no way I would be able to handle what they are going through. Our trials are just normal for us and we just deal and get through it and theirs are the same for them. Anyway, I don’t know if this is making sense but what I am trying to say is that what I have learned from this group of friends is that we all have trials and that you can never judge others because you really don’t know what they are facing or dealing with.  And, despite the trials that we have and the things we are faced with, we are blessed!!!!

Here are some pictures from Thanksgiving: