For Thanksgiving, we did a crazy 15-hour road trip to Albuquerque, because as fate would have it, many of Ashley's relatives as well as Bud's and Josh's live there. It was a great chance for Josh to see his mom after two and a half years - and if he had waited any longer, he would probably never have lived it down! Aside from the harrowing drive, the trip worked out well. The kids loved seeing Grandma Kate, and our little family of four really enjoyed staying with her in the house where she is renting a room. The family she lives with is amazingly generous, and as an additional perk, they have the hugest, furriest, sweetest Japanese Akita that we all loved.
For Thanksgiving day itself, all of us joined Ashley's relatives at her uncle's mansion, snacking on delicious appetizers, feasting on turkey and all the trimmings, playing, talking, and singing. The impromtu talent show put on by her aunts, uncles, and cousins reminded me quite a lot of my own family reunions.
Albuquerque itself is incredibly beautiful, with scruffy desert plants adorning front lawns, natural sand-colored adobe buildings, and the majestic mountains looming to the east. Though the weather was chilly, the sun was smiling most of the time, and we managed a brief trip to the mountains to walk around. Unfortunately, we all came down with colds over Thanksgiving weekend, which prevented us from doing extended mountain walks, but at least we got to do something. Misha and Sebby had been asking to see the mountains, and Sebby had the cute (but mistaken) impression that we could simply walk right into the mountains from our house, though they were a good half-hour drive away. When we finally released the boys at the foot of the mountains, a block from where Josh's grandfather had lived, they took off up the mountain, two wayfarers making their way over the sandy, rocky, cactus-riddled slopes. They didn't want to stop, but the setting sun provided a natural reason to descend.
|Reunion with Grandma Kate|
|Grandma Kate with her sons and grandsons|
|The beautiful Akita was so friendly with the kids.|
|Bud and his Aunt Dora|
|Game night - Ashley and her nephews|
|Misha's new box robot :)|
|Roaming the streets of Kate's neighborhood, where Sebby wanted to keep walking until we reached those mountains in the distance.|
|Chicken tortilla soup night!|
|My handsome husband and me|
|Off to the Thanksgiving party!|
|Ashley at her aunt and uncle's|
|Brining out the food|
|Sebby going all out in the musical room|
|Let the feast begin!|
On our last full day, we visited the cemetery to look for the graves of Josh's grandparents and father. No one could remember precisely where they were, so we spread out and scanned the rows and rows of stones with interesting names and inscriptions, some covered with fallen leaves and some adorned with flowers. Misha was so proud to be the one who found the Kula graves.
Now for the beautiful mountain shots. Note the prickly pears, yucca, and (perhaps?) the cane cholla cacti.
|Snow at the bottom of the mountains.|
|Off they go!|