The week before Thanksgiving, several of us in the family volunteered to help stuff bags for the Turkey Trot and roll t-shirts for registration in support of Families Fighting Blindness. It was a Tuesday morning, so most of our kids were in school. Those down from college were able to help out and Steve’s sister who was visiting was able to bring her kids. I brought my two youngest (obviously not my most helpful children!) who admired the dog that was there and played in the sand in the volleyball court. With so many helping hands – it didn’t take long. It wasn’t a grand act of service, but service nonetheless.
I wished that all the cousins could’ve been there to help out, my older kids especially. Not because we needed more hands, but I wanted them to see that there is much more to Lucy’s foundation than just walking on Thanksgiving morning. I want them to see all the people that are giving their time and talents to not only Lucy’s charity but to the other charity that benefits from the Turkey Trot, AZ Brainfood.
While we were stuffing bags there was a legion of people behind us prepping food to deliver to all the area schools to send home with kids in need. It’s a big process. Donations to buy food. People who pack the food. People who load up the food in their cars and deliver it. They do this every single week. And they do it out of the goodness of their hearts. That’s what I want my kids to see. Service without anything in return. It’s even benefitial for me to witness and take part in – such a powerful reminder of all the good that’s taking place behind closed doors. People’s hearts are good.
After spend a couple hours at the turkey trot we returned home in order to prepare food for our Thanksgiving feast. Steve’s family is not small and every gathering takes a lot of man-hours just to provide food for that many people. Although I wasn’t cooking an entire meal, I still found myself in the kitchen for several hours as I’m sure everyone providing food did.
Steve’s brother hosted this year and they’ve got the ideal set-up to handle 50 people and still make it feel intimate. There was a system. The littlest kids dished up and ate first.
We were able to help them and assist them while the next age category cycled through and then the teenagers.
By the time the adults were ready to eat, our youngest were done and ready to go play which left Steve and I to enjoy a nice relaxing dinner surrounded by family. Everyone delighted in their favorite dish. I’m personally a rolls and stuffing fan. However, there were a good number of people who couldn’t stop talking about the yams. There was something for everyone.
While enjoying our adult time, we each wrote what we were grateful for on a leaf and everyone tried guessing who wrote it. Some were easy to guess. Others took some time and then required an explanation. I shared that I’m grateful for my hands; that they work and function as they should. My hands are crucial to my work and the things I enjoy doing. I often take for granted that they do exactly what I want them to do, when I want them to do it, without pain or difficulty. Oh, how I love and appreciate my hands and all they allow me to do.
After dinner, there was pickleball, football, napping, relaxing, talking and prepping ourselves for the largest display of desserts one should ever witness! Extended family stopped by for desserts and before long there was over 70 people under one roof (and in one backyard). It was exactly what we love about Thanksgiving – family.
Grateful we live close enough to enjoy their company on more than just holidays!
Our family Thanksgiving turkey trot has changed greatly over the years. We used to gather as a family at a local school with fake racing bibs and an unmarked route.
My brother-in-law started a turkey trot in his community to benefit our nieces foundation and we went from running at a school to running at a retention basin. And once the retention basin just wasn’t big enough the trot was moved to a large mall. Each year it grows and more people participate which creates more awareness for the two charities they raise money for.
Similar to last year, I was heavily involved this year with the trot. From logos and posters, to backgrounds and shirts, I was vested. And it’s such a payday to attend the event and see it all come together.
Lucy’s (our niece) foundation received an overhaul and they rolled out the new name, “Families Fighting Blindness” complete with Lucy’s signature red glasses. The family sported new t-shirts to create awareness and we wore them with pride in her support.
My family isn’t much for running but we did the family fun run (one mile walk) so we could justify an extra roll (or two) later on that day.
Nothing says lets run like donuts and churros! And the kids enjoyed both!
Hunter enjoyed the snow machine they had blowing near the finish line. It’s as close as he’s going to get to snow for a while!
The whole group! Getting them all in a picture at one time was quite the accomplishment. Having to gather them from the play area, the churro stand and everywhere in between took determination. Out of the nine kids in the family, this picture is just missing one sister whose car broke down on her way to Arizona and one brother who was celebrating with his family back in Wisconsin. That’s quite the support system.
As part of the Families Fighting Blindness booth – my brothers-in-law built a large wall for people to share what they were grateful for and people were happy to share their thoughts. Hunter made sure to make his mark and there was little surprise in his gratitude. My only question is if they’re ranked! I have a hard time believing he ranked family above legos!
It was a fun morning. We gathered for a great cause and we enjoyed being there together and being surrounded by so many others who share a passion for service and giving back.
Several years ago I made a “Be Grateful” banner out of wood. I loved it so much but there was one small problem – I made it out of pine and that thing was heavy. It tore many Command strips off the wall! This year I reprised the project and made it out of thin underlayment – plywood.
I had Home Depot cut the plywood into strips and I used the miter saw to cut the triangles. Working with plywood like this can be a bit tricky and it leaves plenty of splinters. One side has a much nicer finish after the cutting process – I stained that side.
The other side, which wasn’t so nice, got a couple coats of chalkboard paint.
I debated how I should put the letters on: hand paint, vinyl letters, burning with a hand tool or a foam stamp. I went the easy route and what was readily available to me. I then carefully painted the edges with a metallic gold paint.
It hangs on the entertainment center with two small command strips and so far the weight hasn’t been a problem. Not only that but the wood tones look much better than the painted white “be grateful” banner I previously did.
I always dread taking Halloween down because the decorations are so fun and interesting – and then we move on to Thanksgiving decorations which are a little dull for my liking. But we decorate nonetheless to remind us what season we’re in. (When really every fiber in my being wants red and green to throw up all over the house…but I’ll wait until it’s socially acceptable – but not a minute later!)
Here’s some turkey love from some of our creations over the years. Just goes to show not all Thanksgiving decor has to be boring!