Saturday, December 03, 2011

Thanksgiving in Mesa

This year we decided to make a road trip to SUNNY Mesa Arizona to celebrate Thanksgiving with many extended family members!  We left on Tuesday night November 22, 2011 around 8:00 PM.  We made a pit stop to southern Utah to rest for a couple hours.  Then we were back on the road at 5:00 AM on Wednesday morning. We took the Las Vegas and Hoover Dam route down to Arizona!  We sure enjoyed seeing the desert, cactus plants, and flowers along the way!  Here are the many wonderful family members, which we spent the long FUN holiday weekend with! 
The five Free siblings (John, Elizabeth, Matt, Dave, and Joe) out of eight total with their spouses were in Mesa this year.   Oh how fun it would be to have EVERYONE gathered in once place!!! Below are the many grandchildren.

We spent Thanksgiving with Dave/Kristin, Joe/Dave, Elizabeth/Ben, Grandpa/Grandma Free, Matt/Chiaki, and many nieces, nephews, and a couple furry friends (Bella and Nutmeg).  We had around 45 people at Thanksgiving dinner.
After stuffing our faces, we gathered in a large living area and sang a couple hymns and Christmas songs with the family.  Anna put hair wraps in the girl's hair.  We are so grateful for our wonderful loving family!  
Instead of "Black Friday"shopping, several family members got up early and went to the Mesa Temple.  The youth did baptisms while the adults did endowments and sealings.  By the way, it was big sister's first time doing baptisms for the dead.  It was a beautiful experience for me because I brought down some names of my ancestors.  I felt like we accomplished a lot of temple work because of the effort of many family members!
As for our Iron Chef Family Cook off, we divided into three groups. The secret ingredients were the following: bell peppers, mango, Italian sausage, butternut squash, zucchini, yellow squash, and chocolate chips.  We had to use all the ingredients by making an appetizer, entree, and dessert. 
John and I were on Team Smith.  We met at Jeff and Melinda Smiths (our niece and nephew).  
We made the following:  Bow-tie vegetable sausage with alfredo sauce, butternut squash/ sausage potatoes, mango salsa, and strawberry cheese cake crepes with melted chocolate. 
My niece Aisling made a YouTube of all our delicious food!!!
On Saturday November 26, 2011, we went to a baby shower at Brett and Aisling's house for Keli Silva who is having a boy in February.  We played some games, ate some finger foods, and awwwwwed over her new baby things!
While the girls were at the baby shower, the men and boys had a blast in the desert shooting guns and riding mini bikes.
On Saturday night, we went to Sekai Sushi with Matt, Chiaki, Dave, Kristin, Joe, Diana, Elizabeth, and Ben. Since Matt and Chiaki are sushi experts, they ordered for us!  The sushi was AMAZING!  I tried octopus for the first time! We had a fun time talking with each other and trying out sushi.  The eel was my favorite!  After dinner, we got some  Mesa Frozen Yogurt for dessert!  We shared a lot of stories, smiles, and laughter!  What a fabulous group date!
We went to sacrament meeting with Dave's family, changed our clothes, packed the car, and went home.  We took the Flagstaff route home.  It was a long 12 hour drive home due to slow traffic near car accidents and many potty breaks!  We were so happy to be able to spend Thanksgiving with the Arizona Free families!  We cannot wait to visit them again in the future!

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