Thanksgiving and Christmas are my two favorite holidays/times of year. Giving thanks and just...well...giving makes me so happy and warm and in the "spirit". Well yes, can't forget all the delicious FOOD that come along with the festivities...

But most important of all the above is God, first and foremost, to thank Him for blessing us with each other and the food on the table..then there's our Families that we are 2nd most thankful for. I got to see two people on Thanksgiving day that I was so thankful to get to see...one was my half sister, Brandi, (she would kill me to know I shared this photo of her..but its the only one I got on MY camera so here it is)...
She has spent the last year in Louisville (about 2-2.5 hours from us) at a Rehab center where she has completed a one year program and is doing incredibly well and I couldn't be any prouder of her..I love her so much and was so glad she got to come share this holiday with us, in a 'good' way and we got to catch up on so many things. She is a wonderful woman and is so strong and courageous. I only hope to be if I ever have to be as strong as she has had to be.

The next person was my Aunt, she lives in Topeka, Kansas and we are very close. We talk a LOT on the phone and she does so much for me. She made me a HUGE recipe scrapbook that had to have taken SO long to make and put together...also has sewed me curtains and pillowcases and brought me comforters and lamps and all kinds of goodies for our home and things for our little Dillon. She is a special lady..
She only got to stay a few hours but a few is better than none :) I was very glad to see her...and not only did she come but her daughter, my cousin, came along and this is the first time she had visited in....oh my goodness I don't know how many years. Several. I remember playing with her and my sister and her brother when they would all come in as a family when they were younger. Now she (Danielle) is 25 (Im 22) and her older brother is around 27 and married and lives in Kansas City. Here is a photo of her loveliness :)
She's the teeniest little thing on the planet. She's about five foot and 100 pounds maybe? Wears a size 0..always have...oh how envious I am..although I'm sure I'd look hideous that small with my build...to each his own and love thine self.

My Mother put together a DELICIOUS meal, as always, she is the one who taught me how to work magic in the kitchen..and I LOVE using all of her holiday recipes each year...I wish I could've gotten more group shots of everyone actually expecting and posing for shots but it was a madhouse and we were all hungry. My Dad was out with my husband DEER HUNTING..since deer season coincides with Thanksgiving here so all us girls ate before they even got out of the woods :) But here is my Momma scrambling around getting things in order..
She and my Dad I'm really thankful for. They have helped us out SO much in the last few years and I know they would do anything for their daughters (All four of us). They are truly special..

Also my little sissy can't be left out! She helps out SO much with Dillon believe it or not for a 7 year old. He adores her and fights with her as well..but in the end they love each other..Auntie to nephew.
She is something else and can have an attitude at times but WHO DOESN'T?? Especially us women..we have to stick together right! I love her so much..also not pictured this day was my younger sister Brittany..she is my best friend..18 months younger than me and we went from fighting like cats and dogs growing up to being the best of friends..Funny how that works eh? But I'm thankful for her as well..she had to work of course till 5 on Thanksgiving day..but we still got to see her and her husband Clay.

Here are some food shots for ya if you must see our delectable goodies..
This is the most famous and popular dish in the "Gamble" household...(Gamble was my maiden name)...it is broccoli casserole and consists of Ritz Crackers, butter, Velveeta Cheese and boiled broccoli. It is simply mouth watering and delicious and if I could possibly wrap up and piece and send it to all of you I would :)

This is the spread we had:
Among these dishes are ham, turkey, dressing, baked beans, broccoli casserole and deviled eggs...and there were numerous desserts too that are not pictured. Pecan pie, banana pudding and banana split pie are a few..and of course the ever important cheesecake. It was quite a meal and so delicious...can I say it like for the 14th time.. DELICIOUS!

Little monkey and his Auntie sat at the 'kid's' table and ate their meals..Dillon was so cute in his sweater vest and khakis..and he enjoyed the meal too ...
I couldn't begin to tell you how thankful I am for him and my husband. They are my world..absolutely and positively. I'd do anything for them and anything to protect them for this crazy world. They make everyday worth it and whenever I'm down they pick me up and are my sunshine when skies are grey. God has truly outdone Himself when He gave these two to me. I love them dearly.

After we enjoyed visiting and conversing and eating at my Moms we ventured off to my husband's Mom's and step-Dad's home. There we visited with them and Jon's sister, brother in law and our niece, Savannah. I am thankful for all of them because unlike anyone else they've made me feel so welcome and accepted despite anything that may be a shortcoming of mine. They've been there for me and supported me and helped me and given advice all along the way and have loved me for who I am. We're realists and love each other's company and I am thankful to have extended family like that.
My husband (left) and his brother in law, Eddie!

This is my husband's sister, Amanda (left) and her husband Eddie and our niece Savannah! Aren't they a lovely little family?! :-D (Besides the fact that Edward BLINKED! LOL)

And lastly a picture of 'the girls'. You're going to have to excuse me..(far left)..It had been raining on my pin straight hair (which is naturally curly) and I have a t-shirt and sweats on and a big ole stress pimple that was clearing up on my cheek and my chunkiness is always present HAH! But in the photo is me, my husband's mother and his sister before we all headed out and went our separate ways!

So there you have it..my Thanksgiving pretty much summed up in photos, although I wish I had more and some of people I didn't get the opportunity to photograph. Thanksgiving is about truly stepping back and lookin at your life and seeing and acknowledging what you have to be thankful for. I know that life is crazy and changes day to day and I am thankful for every breath I take and every day God has given me on this Earth to enjoy the everyday things we all don't get the privilege to enjoy..and I know I'm lucky and everyone has their own blessings to be thankful for. I love my family with all my heart...I have changed tremendously in the past several months.

God has taken me places I've never been before and taught me more patience and serenity and peacefulness than I've ever known in my entire life. I have come to learn things are the way they are for a reason. People come in and out of your life for a reason and that patience is a virtue and anger doesn't solve anything, gossip is nasty and to never, EVER...ever..look down on someone. We don't know each other's stories so who are we to judge?. I'm thankful for Him opening my eyes and teaching me to be the real "Natalie" that has always been here but never got to surface. My friends and family have helped me through this and I believe and have faith with all my heart in God and his plans for me. So I will sign off...and hopefully will return to the challenges I so dearly love to enter soon.

I have been so busy..obviously with so many things and it isn't looking to slow down yet. My son's 2nd birthday party is this Saturday (Dec. 4th) ((But his ACTUAL birthday is the 7th, next Tuesday)) .. and then I have the Toys for Tots drive at a local shop the next weekend. Photos with Santa! I'm so glad to be able to do something I love for a good cause and give a child a Christmas! I know that every child deserves something on Christmas..my child has too much stuff honestly after we went black Friday shopping at midnight at Toys R Us then the next day at KMart..but we are able to give him that and again, I'm thankful to God..

So I hope you all had just as great a Thanksgiving as I did, and you continue to be thankful for your blessings year-round, and not just his holiday. Have a wonderful week and stay warm!

4 Lovely Reader(s) Said:

Dina @ 4 Lettre Words said...

Such a lovely group! I know you had a wonderful time.

Shari said...

Awwww.. what a wonderful look inside your extended family. I love being able to put a face with a name. Well, not that I know (or have seen) everyone's names.. but ya know.. Mom is a reoccurring name. :D Anyways. What a lovely family post. I smile the entire way threw the read.

Good Luck with the Toy for Tots drive. I am so proud of you and the achievements you have reached.

Keep clickin' my friend

Tara said...

Great post! Happy Birthday to your son. 2 is big doings! He is so cute. Good Luck with the Toys for tots drive...that is so wonderful.

Natalie said...

Thanks to all of you. It is really an honor for me to participate in this drive. And yes, my family is just amazing ! I love them all to pieces! :-D

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