We filled every inch of before and after Thanksgiving with some pretty great family togetherness, but that scarcely touched on the extended family togetherness for Thanksgiving itself.

Because this happened:

And this happened too:

And as I sat in the midst of all that Thanksgiving wonder and chaos, I marveled that I get to be related to that whole crew.

That they show up to support for the Turkey Trot year after year.

That they show up not only physically, but emotionally too.

I just love this village with all my heart.

This is the only picture I got of my in-laws this year, working their hearts out in the kitchen cooking those turkeys and whipping up the gravy like they do each year, and I love it so much:

I know it doesn’t seem like anything too special, but I love it as a symbol of how hard they work for their family. Often behind the scenes. Praying and loving and pondering on supporting and building in every way they can.

I loved thinking of my parents up in Utah performing that same kind of labor of love for much of my extended family up there.

Oh parenting is such a powerful force of good in the world. And so much of my gratitude this Thanksgiving goes to them and all the labors of love they have woven into the hearts and souls of their children.

I love them.

Ok, back to Thanksgiving.

The 2023 Annual Turkey Trot

Let’s talk about the Turkey Trot first.

For those new here who don’t know about the Turkey Trot, it is something that our friend and Dave put together years ago in our neighborhood retention basin. They decided to raise money for two local charities: BrainFood and Families Fighting Blindness (our organization). One hundred percent of the proceeds go directly to these two charities.

As the Turkey Trot grew each year they joined forces with what I like to call the “dream team.”

These guys and one amazing girl, (my sister-in-law) have maneuvered different avenues to accommodate more and more people each year. As I mentioned before, this was our biggest year yet with 5,500 runners (which means probably a couple thousand more supporting family members).

I wish I had a better picture of the start line…people crowded in from every direction as far as you could see waiting to start both the Fun Run and then the 5K.

Our crew did the 5K, and they look pretty happy about it:)

Medals at the finish line:

Love these cute friend supporters:

And so much family.

Sure missing Claire with her “cousin crew” on the left below.

I love that these cousins (Max and Paxton) both had baby girls within a month of each other. My favorite are their smiles in the picture on the left:

The “I Am Thankful For…” board is always a hit each year.

It starts like this:

…and ends like this:

Dave was the finish-line announcer this year (left below), and here’s Lucy with our new BBS friend on the right:

Oh how I loved having all these kids here!

And all this family too:

Murphy’s first Turkey Trot:

She looks a little confused about the whole situation 🙂

Max and his fellow volleyball/high school friend who happened to serve in the same mission in Taiwan too:

Lucy so wanted to help with the clean-up at the end.

Thanksgiving Dinner

Came home to prep for dinner…Max is showing how we all felt right about then…ha!

We got to talk to Claire for Thanksgiving which was such a gift to us since she was just starting to know which way was up with all the jet-lag and adjusting. Here the kids are asking her a million questions about how it’s going so far:

I was late figuring out table set-up this year with everything else going on, so I was a little bleary-eyed trying to gather all this stuff the night before in the midst of Survivor night and the turkey trot packet pick-up. But I must say I was pretty happy with how it turned out.

My friend let me borrow her candlestick holders and brought over a bunch of eucalyptus the night before that helped so much.

Gotta catch a few angles here…

But even “prettier” adorned with these people here to enjoy it and all the food everyone worked to help out with.

I didn’t get a picture of the other long table or the table with the nine little boys inside (darn it), but I did get the boys in their more natural habitat in the pool post-dinner:)

A bunch of the girls:

Our family with a huge hole missing Claire:

Finding old family movies that included cousins and all the memories on the left below, pies on the right below:

And Tommy’s birthday right on Thanksgiving:


And there you have it: how Thanksgiving went down in 2023.

More pre and post Thanksgiving festivities filling up yesterday’s post.

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  1. I have a question – I really love how you have so many people – family and friends – over for thanksgiving. Looks like lots of fun, and notably – LOTS of food.

    I know your in-laws do the turkey and gravy. You mention pies, sides, appetizers, etc – does everybody bring something? Do guests cook things in your kitchen? You don’t seem to do much, not even the set up. What foods do YOU actually cook for the meal?

  2. If possible please could you do a post on how to manage the Thanksgiving meal?

    Even tho we don’t celebrate it in the UK it would be useful on how you handle a dinner for that many people.

    How do you serve it so that everything is hot at the same time?

    I cooked the Christmas dinner for 4 of us a few years ago & it totally stressed me out. By the time it came to eating it I wasn’t hungry.

    What happens at Thanksgiving if some people aren’t hungry at the same time as everybody else? Can they eat later?

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