Monday, November 30, 2009

Thanksgiving at the Benders

Each year, we celebrate Thanksgiving with the Bender family. It is a special treat to be able to be together as a family. There are 13 of us (14 soon!) and it is always a houseful of fun.

This year, we arrived on Wednesday night. After we put the little ones to bed, Lynne surprised Wesley and me with a Bender family shower for Philip. Everyone had brought presents for the little one and Wesley and I had a blast opening everything.

Shannon made Jackson a fleece train blanket when he was born. She asked Wesley what the theme was for Philip's nursery and Wesley said animals. She went to the store and picked out this animal print fleece which just happens to be the exact same design we are using for the room!! How great!

We opened our first monogrammed presents

Look at all the gifts we were showered with!

On Thursday, Lynne prepared a feast! We ate around 1:00 so that Paw-Paw could join us. Lynne's brother David and his wife Robin came into town and brought Paw-Paw over. We all enjoyed catching up with David and Robin and seeing Paw-Paw up and around.

Here is Lynne arranging all the Thanksgiving treats - cranberry apple bake, peas and cheese, dressing, smoked turkey....

Paw-Paw and 3 of his grandchildren

Jack and Lynne and her dad
There was a picture of Jack, Lynne, Robin, David and Paw Paw but I didn't end up with it :(

The Cumming Benders

Friday Wesley, Joel, Shannon, Ron and Jack got up early for Black Friday shopping. I took the year off and instead slept in and then met up with my friend Erin for coffee. It was so great catching up with her. Though we saw each other at Elizabeth's party, we didn't have time to really talk. I think we covered about everything in three hours at Starbucks!

Saturday, we had a lazy morning in our PJs and then headed to downtown Knoxville for the Festival of Trees. What a production! There were tons of beautifully decorated trees, musical performances, a carousel, crafts and Santa.

Jackson and Trent in their favorite spot - Grammy's lap reading a book!

Usually someone can be spotted at the kitchen table

Macey, Wesley and Jackson
Don't even start on how grown up Macey looks - when she walked in the door Wednesday night, I almost started crying...she is as tall as me! I can't believe I have how much has changed since I met this precious girl 11 years ago.

Jackson and his Da-Da

Macey and Ron

Ron and Shannon

Joel and Lynne

The crew enjoying breakfast

We attempted to get a group shot of the cousins in their matching Christmas PJs. This one turned out pretty good.

I had to include this reject which would have been good if Jackson hadn't found something else other than smiling to entertain him!

The cousins at the Festival of Trees

Jackson on the carousel

Jackson found the perfect lounging spot!

Our Christmas Card Photo
Wesley, Jackson and I had to leave Saturday afternoon to get home for a baptism at church. Our neighbor Sara asked Wesley to baptize her and of course, we didn't want to miss that! What a special way to end a holiday weekend.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Jackson is in a BIG big boy bed

As we start to prepare for Philip's arrival, we had to move Jackson out of his crib/toddler bed and into a real big boy bed. He was very excited that he would have a Big Big Boy bed like Mommy and Daddy.

We made the transition after the carpets were cleaned and so far all is good. I really think he likes his new room. We still need to get a bed skirt and comforter but that will come once the bed rails come down.

Look how little he looks in his new bed:

Monday, November 23, 2009

Our carpets are CLEAN!!!

For the past several years, Wesley and I have discussed either replacing our carpet or getting it professionally cleaned. We have a few large stains made by life and they were starting to get on my nerves.

After many wise Moms told me not to replace the carpet with a 2 year old around and another on the way, we decided to get them professionally cleaned. We were throwing around different options, when one of our dear friends offered his company's services as a thank you for something we had done for the church.

It was an unnecessary but GREATLY appreciated gift!

They came today and WOW! It looks like a different place! Take a look!

Our bedroom - please excuse the unmade bed!

Philip's room

Jackson's room

The family room

The dining room

Here is the main reason we needed our carpets cleaned. Soon after we moved in, we had a chocolate spill in our family room. It was a nasty stain that we could not get out...but the professionals could!



Sunday, November 22, 2009

A Cumming Thanksgiving

Tonight we celebrated Thanksgiving with friends from church. Kate and Ben graciously opened up their beautiful home to the group and we had a wonderful evening of food, food, more food, and fellowship!

Kate had two tables decorated - Here is the boys' table

And the girls' table. I didn't get a full shot of this table but instead focused on her centerpiece - Kate made each of us pumpkin bread and used that as her centerpiece. What a great idea - it looked and tasted great!

The cooks!
Kate, Priscilla, Katey, Ashley and Leanne

The girls were upstairs getting everything ready for dinner. The boys and kids were all downstairs playing - or so we thought! Ashley heard some noise and a few of the kids had wondered up to the third floor to play!

We got them down and went down to the basement to investigate. Guess we forgot to tell the boys to watch the kids! They were watching the game instead :-) Good thing all of our houses are kid friendly!!

What a spread!

After the kids ate - or nibbled - we turned on a movie so they could entertain themselves and the adults could continue eating!

I cooked a turkey!

Well, it’s official – I have now cooked my first turkey. Our group of friends from church got together tonight for a Thanksgiving dinner and I was in charge of the ham and turkey. I purchased a cooked ham from Publix but decided to tackle the turkey myself.

I defrosted the turkey yesterday and was hoping that Wesley and I would be able to cook it together after church. Evidently I didn’t share that plan with Wesley and he was gone all afternoon for work.

I put Jackson down for a nap and went to work. It wasn’t as hard to prepare the bird for the oven as I thought. My biggest concern was not cooking it all the way through so I set the oven for the max time and waited…actually, I feel asleep for a Sunday afternoon nap.

I awoke when the buzzer went off and the house smelled so good. I popped the thermometer in and it was done. The hardest part was getting the turkey from the pan to the rack to cool. I felt sure it was going to fall on the floor but it didn’t. I stole a taste and it tasted pretty good. YEAH!!

Since I needed to say I had cooked a turkey, I felt as though Wesley needed to say he had carved one. Once he got home, I put him to work. He did a great job of getting every last bite off the bird.

I believe our first turkey experience was a success!

One defrosted turkey ready to go!
I really didn't have a recipe. I figured I had seen enough Food Network Thanksgiving Specials to wing it! Good thing it worked out!

2 1/2 hours later the bird was done!

Wesley got every last bite off the turkey

Our platter of turkey

Monday, November 16, 2009

Weekend in Nashville

What a great weekend! On Thursday, my friend Kate and I packed up our boys and headed to Tennessee. Kate's husband, Ben, was out of town for the weekend and Wesley needed to paint around the house, so we decided to head to Nashville for some time with family.

On the agenda was Christmas Village. Kate had never been and I was excited for her to see this Nashville tradition. We had a great time looking at all the Christmas decorations and the adorable things out there for new little ones (Kate is expecting a boy too!)

In addition to Christmas Village, Jackson and I were able to catch up with some Nashville friends and family.

Jackson loves being in Nashville because he gets to play with his buddy, Rebekah. They are only 6 weeks apart, and love to be together. Thursday afternoon, Susan and I raked up the leaves in my parent's front yard and let them run through them. Not the smartest decision because all of us have allergies..whoops..but it was fun while it lasted!

Also, we were able to celebrate our little friend Elizabeth’s first birthday while we were in town. It was great to see Erin, Daniel, Elizabeth, and all her friends and family. Jackson and I were so glad to be invited to this celebration!

Jackson acted shy around the birthday girl - maybe he just doesn't know what to do with such a cutie around!

Daniel, Erin, and Elizabeth

Jackson made himself at home among the presents. His favorite - a giraffe pillow!

It was so good to see Erin!