Parades, Pumpkin Pie, & Pictures

Oh heyy, guess who hasn't posted in forever?

(That'd be me...)

BUT for perfectly good reasons: I went home for Thanksgiving :)

Isn't my house so cute & fall-ish?

In my family, Thanksgiving means waking up just in time to go downstairs & crawl into bed with mom to watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in our pajamas :) I just love that parade. I've watched it every year, except for the one year my sisters & I were grounded from watching it because nobody would confess to plastering a nearly-impossible-to-remove sticker on our bathroom wall.

We later learned that our three year old cousin did the damage. Good thing we're not bitter about it or anything...

The second Santa Claus appears on the screen (signaling the end of the parade), my entire family jumps in the car & makes the annual two mile trek to my grandparents' house for Thanksgiving lunch... complete with deep fried turkey:

Every year, Grandma seems to miss the memo that there are only ten people in our family and cooks for a small army of three thousand. Needless to say, the food-induced coma kicks in shortly after said feast, and the afternoon is well-balanced between napping in the middle of Grandma's living room floor (yes, on the floor) and decorating the Christmas tree. Let's be honest: I opted for the nap this year---and my claimed spot in front of the sliding glass door has never felt better :)

The routine has changed a little over the years, but this Thanksgiving wasn't about "routine" at all. This Thanksgiving was simply about... giving thanks (imagine that!). Specifically: giving thanks for the current health of a grandpa who was in critical condition/emergency surgery a year ago due to a traumatic brain injury & spent the following three months in the hospital.

And giving thanks for a family that been joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer (Romans 12:12) during one of the more difficult years of their life, as well as a God who heals and comforts :)

I'm also super thankful that this was my 4th and FINAL Thanksgiving without Zach - 90% done with this deployment!

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The adventures of Thanksgiving break would not be complete without a series of sister "calendar pictures."

The year my youngest sister was born, my mom began creating a calendar with a picture of the three of us for each month to give to our grandparents every Christmas. Obviously we were cuter back in 1995, plus we all lived in the same house, so it was super easy to get 12 pictures during the course of a year to use for the upcoming calendar. (Well, 9 -- we each get our birthday month to ourselves.)

But now we live in three different cities and the sibling pics are few & far between. Solution? Take all the pictures during Thanksgiving break, obviously :)

"All The Things" meme - my absolute favorite

Rumor has it that 2012 will be the last ever published Haynes sister calendar because... let's face it: we're not as cute as we were back in 1995 :) (Don't be sad - we're thrilled! We had a good 17 year run, and all good things have to come to an end eventually.)

In honor of the occasion, we suggested doing a flashback calendar (as a way to get out of taking pictures) -- but alas, no such luck. Our second suggestion of a ridiculously awkward outtakes calendar was also vetoed, but still provided some classic shots for your viewing enjoyment:

I'm sure we'll all have kids ten years from now and subject them to the outrageous fun that is calendar pictures.

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Last bit of news in the sister photo department: we were able to convince mom to forgo the dreaded awfulness that is stuffy studio portraits for Christmas cards and be responsible for our own Christmas picture. It may be too soon to tell, but I'll go ahead & say that they're borderline epic.

So epic, in fact, that you only get a sneak peek. You're dying for more, I know.
It's okay... only FOUR weeks until Christmas :)