after six years of being far, far away from family on thanksgiving (which to me, is the most extended family holiday of all), we made it count in 2021 by gathering with lots of family and having not only a big feast on thursday but also a huge party on friday! my niece and her husband, who had gotten married in a remote location with just only masked immediate family present in april 2020, got sealed in the gilbert arizona temple the day after thanksgiving. so all of my family members that live close-ish to arizona gathered to first give thanks and then to celebrate elle and carson’s eternal love (at an epic 80s dance party, to boot!). to add to the awesomeness of this family-awesomeness trip, we got to see ian’s parents, too! they are mission leaders in gilbert and we stayed at their house which is just about fifteen minutes from my sister shawni’s house (where all the thanksgiving and sealing festivities were).
the party started bright and early on thanksgiving morning, when we headed with grandma to the gilbert turkey trot. my sister shawni and her husband david helped to start this event and help to put it on every year. all proceeds of the ticket sales go to a couple of charities, one of which is dedicated to research around a rare genetic syndrome that shawni and dave’s daughter has. i’ve always wanted to go to participate in the turkey trot in support of my amazing niece lucy, and i was thrilled to finally be able to do that this year. grandma did the one mile fun run with ian, moses and gabriel, and i pushed the babies in the buggy for the 5k. ian’s aunt and uncle, who also live in gilbert, also came to the turkey trot! i was really grateful for my sisters’ help in pushing the babies because i realised as we were getting to the start line that it had a flat tire! it was hard work, but shared work! we got passed by most of my brother-in-laws, nieces and nephews.
it felt so good to be outside in the sunshine and moving our bodies and earning our turkey! and especially to support our lucy girl.
loved being with all these beloved people first thing thanksgiving morning. (also love that you can see my most beloved people in the background of this shot, haha.)
a reunion with my awesome niece claire! she wasn’t at our family reunion in the summer so it had been a long time!!
baby love and a gabriel face smeared with donut chocolate and smiling to be with his favourite cousin eliza (eliza is our babysitter in provo!):
a really happy morning (even though gabriel looks the opposite of happy in the photo below … and don’t miss moses unabashedly avoiding the camera and picking his nose hahah! and how about that fluffy baby hair?!)
after the trot it was on to thanksgiving dinner prep at shawni’s!
our little family got to bring some fun stuff for crafts for all the kids (i like that gabe chose to put four beaks on his turkey craft, ha!). we had a lot of people gathered for the feast – all of the eyres that came to arizona and all of carson’s (my niece’s husband) family that came for the sealing.
seating indoors and outdoors:
final preparations, and the grandest hostess, shawni, ready to invite everyone to line up for food!:
mmmmboy was that a great thanksgiving dinner. of course we had turkey with all the fixings every year in england, but it all just tasted better back in the usa 🙂 our babies got their first real taste of thanksgiving (last year they only got it all mixed together in my breastmilk, haha!).
soooo great to be with family on thanksgiving day, talking about what we are thankful for and just living what we are thankful for!
i asked my sister to snap some photos of us wrights all together on our first thanksgiving in america.
some loving on auggie afterwards:
later in the evening we had pie – looots of pie, with looots of people (over 100 when we added in my brother-in-law’s side of the family!).
we had a little pre-sealing program for elle and carson – some fun games and get-to-know-you stuff as the families of elle and carson mixed. ian took our kids home to bed so i’m sad he missed out on that but i’m so glad i was able to be there. the evening ended with a really raucous game (i can’t remember what it’s called, i wasn’t around when it started so i was just a spectator) which included a commitment by all players that whoever lost would jump, fully clothed, in the freezing cold pool. it was pretty exciting, haha.
the next morning was elle and carson’s sealing at the gilbert temple! i was so, so happy to be there. i’ve known wellesley jade since the day she was born (i was twelve years old and living with/helping my sister and brother-in-law with my nephew, their one year old), and she’s even my namesake (we share a middle name)! i’ve watched her grow up and have loved her, my first niece, fiercely for over two decades. it was such a joy to attend and support her at her sealing.
after the sealing it was on to party prep at shawni’s! elle and carson felt a little weird about having a traditional “wedding reception.” they’d been married for over a year! (weird pandemic world!) so they decided to throw an epic 80s prom dance party to celebrate their sealing! so we helped with fun decor …
… and also got to just spend some time hanging out with big cousins 😉 …
… and then got dressed and ready for the occasion. lots of hair crimping and teasing!! so fun to gather with my sisters and nieces in shawni’s bathroom and try to go back in time! and then my dad showed up with a pretty epic hairdo himself …
we set the tables with our decor creations and then the party started!
elle wore her mom’s wedding dress (shawni got married in the 90s, but early 90s … so it worked with a little pin job to floof the bottom 🙂 )
there was a super fun photobooth:
and a truly epic dance party. it was wild!!
prom queen and king were crowned…
how fun is this cake?!
some photos after most guests had gone … (including ian and the babies – he was so nice to take them home and put them to bed so i could stay – with the boys who got a pretty epic late night!)
my three married niece/nephews! and the prom queen with a few adoring aunts / cousins:
what. a. night. soooo much fun. a true celebration.
mo and gabes begged elle and carson to cut the cake (it had kind of been forgotten amongst all the dancing!) and got to have a slice before i took them back to grandma and grandpa’s to go to bed. they were pretty psyched.
what a couple of days!! so thankful, especially for eternal love!