Every other year, we celebrate "Alternative Thanksgiving" - on the years that Michele's family celebrates the holiday with Michael's side of the family. Two years ago, we went to "Hole in the Wall BBQ" - and enjoyed not only the food but the atmosphere and how efficient we could get in and out. So, that's where we planned to go this year. Leona wasn't in attendance this year (as she usually is on "Alternative Thanksgiving") - we chose to forgo our disappointment in her not being with us knowing she was down in Medford with Mary Beth, Alex, and Andie making the girls' holiday by being with them.
The morning began in one of those euphoric "All is Well" moods. John and I were up before the kids and he put on another Hallmark movie, "The Case for Christmas" (I've dvr'd a ton of these movies, they are coming in handy!) - and it was so nice. I looked through the ads at my own pace and set up a possible gameplan for the evening ahead. The kids joined us - and by 10:15, we were dressed up and out of the house so that we'd be among the first to be seated at the 11am opening of the restaurant.
While waiting, we posed for some family snapshots:
(Sheesh, Steph, could your smile be any bigger?)
Brayden begged John to have him sit on his lap - I love the look Brayden has for John in this pic.
Just as soon as we were seated, Mom and Dad showed up.
"Alternative Thanksgiving" felt like running for Fast Passes at Disneyland this year. We had it all planned out with tickets purchased to hustle on over to Cinemark for the 11:55 showing of "Rise of the Guardians". It afforded little time to eat dinner, but it turned out just fine. Here's a pic of the kids and John racing towards the back entry of the cinema. (That will encourage the Thanksgiving meal to settle in a hurry!)
Our movie choice, "Rise of the Guardians". I thought it was a lot of fun. I walked away happy and was captivated through the entire movie. It's not going to replace "The Santa Claus" movies as a holiday favorite, nor will it beat out our last "Alternative Thanksgiving" movie, "Tangled", but it was definitely a thumbs up - a TON better than last year's holiday cartoon, "Arthur Christmas"!!!
Mom and John sharing a laugh before the movie started. Not shown here, the tub of popcorn. What does it say about me that I was looking more forward to eating that than I was the Thanksgiving meal?
After the movie, we returned to our house and indulged in the apple and pumpkin pies. Originally, we had planned for Kenjon to join us after his practice ended at 2:00 (hence the very early meal and movie times), but as it turned out, his dad, Gary, surprised him by showing up to spend the holiday with him. Again, we curbed our disappointment with his absence knowing he was happy with family.
Mom and Dad took off about an hour and a half later so Mom could prepare for the all-nighter we had ahead and John and Brayden could get ready for their trip to Woodburn. Phase II of the Thanksgiving experience was about to begin.