Our first Thanksgiving on the East Coast provided us with a chance to spend the holiday with family! We LOOOOVE that we live (kind of) close to my sister, Jessica and her 6 kids, as well as her husband, Dave. We bought tickets on the very (un)fancy Megabus that leaves from 34th Street and drives the 3-4 hours to Baltimore. Riding on Megabus is never without its glitches, so I purposefully reserved seats for our family and paid a little extra to make sure we were all sitting together on the top of the double-decker buses. However, when we arrived at our pickup, there were only single-decker buses (making our top-deck seats wholly invalid). Because we arrived shortly before departure- I mean, sitting outside with 4 kids and all of their STUFF isn't the most enjoyable thing- most of the seats were taken already. Obviously, we expressed our reserved-seat confusion with their attendants, for which they could do nothing. We weren't feeling too comfortable with scattering our kids all over with strangers for 4 hours, so we told the attendants our concerns. They got on the bus and explained the situation to the customers and people shifted around and made space for all of us to sit together in two groups. Taylor and I sat close and Brian sat with the other 3. It worked out great and we were really grateful for people's understanding. We watched a movie and then once that was over, Taylor and I swapped telling each other what we were grateful for the remainder of the ride. It was a great start to a weekend filled with gratitude and family.
We arrived at the bus drop-off in Baltimore and unloaded all of our stuff onto the sidewalk and waited for Jessica to arrive to drive us the 30 minutes to their home in the suburbs. She came, we loaded up, and then left. The Sedgwicks live in a gorgeous part of Maryland, on a big piece of property with zip-lines, fire pits, trees to climb, woods to explore and hills to run down. We settled in and got stuff going for our big dinner while the kids played and we even snuck some initial zip-line runs in. We stayed up that night talking and then headed to bed. Brian was so tired that he fell asleep in his clothes and everything! He woke up the next morning, anxious to get ready for the day, and couldn't find his luggage anywhere. We looked and looked, to no avail. We figured that we must have somehow missed loading it into the car at the bus the day before so we drove quickly back and it was nowhere to be found. We made some calls to see if it had been picked up by any other busses or people and then realized that it must've been stolen. Luckily, Brian had his backpack with his nice camera and work laptop inside, so his luggage was filled with clothes and some medicine. We figured that if someone really wanted to track us down, they could have easily done it, but it never happened. Brian borrowed some clothes and other essentials for the weekend.
Their property is just amazing...and so are these two cute little girls who also happen to be the cabooses of each family.
Lots of time spent cuddling, relaxing and talking on these couches in their family room.
The kids spent most of their time playing with their cousins in the basement full of fun toys, outside in the woods and on the zip-line. No bored kids this weekend and plenty of space to spread out! Can't ask for much more! On Thanksgiving morning, the older kids and adults went on a gorgeous run nearby and then came home to cook/bake/eat. We made a delicious dinner, the kids made the cutest candy turkey favors and it was a really great evening. There was a little bit of football sprinkled in there as well as a nice talk about all of the things we were deeply grateful for.
The next day we went to see Moana as a family and did a little bit of shopping. The movie was great and one of Dave's nephews did some of the movie's illustrations, so that was a fun connection to see. That night we made a fire in their backyard and cooked s'mores. Dave also took the kids on tractor rides on their beautiful property. We made some more homemade rolls and ate leftover and watched Dave's favorite, "Man from Snowy River", which he said would change our lives. ;)
The next day we helped the Sedgwicks clean their ward building- which happened really fast with all of those extra hands! Afterwards, we went to their famous Amish Market and ate pastries and lunch to our heart's content...donuts, pretzels, hot dogs=yummy! We then picked up a Christmas tree and brought it home. While we decorated it, we drank hot chocolate and played music. Dave then hired all of the kids to pick up sticks in their backyard for 10 cents a pop and that kept them busy and motivated for a long time. That evening, the parents went to a really nice dinner downtown that was unique and delicious. We loved it, but mostly loved hanging out and talking! The next day, after church, we caught our Megabus back to NYC. It was a great Thanksgiving full of fun memories. Thanks Sedgwicks for hosting!