Thursday, December 4, 2008


We drove to Chicago for Thanksgiving and a big Gration family reunion. It was my whole family, my dad's two sister's families (Kohls and Harberts), my grandparents plus the added spouses and grandkids. We had so much fun together. The Harberts are missionaries in Africa so we don't get to see them very often... plus its rare that all of us can get together at the same time. There were 24 of us and the only person missing was my cousin Alex who is in Kenya right now. We missed you, Al! All of us! :)
Aunt Barb, my mom and sister Katherine.
Harberts came over for dinner the first night.
My family stayed in this huge missionary guesthouse that Aunt Barb had reserved for us. We all had our own rooms and bathrooms, and it had a big kitchen so we could all eat together. It even had a big playroom for the kids so they were really happy!
Dave and I drying some dishes... not sure about the hat. :)
My brother Jonathan and his wife Julie.
Grandpa getting ready for the big meal at the Kohls house.
Yummy appetizers.
My dad and Natalie checking out the turkey decorations.
Look at all that delicious food!!
Aunt Judy managed to get us all around one table!
Brian and my brother DavidJesse teaching the kids to play piano.
The clean-up crew :)
We had so much fun just sitting around talking with each other.
George, Josh, and Jeff watching football in the basement.Brian, Uncle George and Uncle Scott
Grandpa and Dave having a special chat. Grandpa loves to make sure he connects with you about what's going on in your life.
Aunt Judy is an incredible pianist. Not the greatest pic but she played some of her latest for us. So beautiful!My grandparents were missionaries in Africa for many years and have spent their lives serving God to the fullest. They had a special time of sharing some of their stories and challenging us to live for God in whatever capacity that might be. It was a really neat part of Thanksgiving that we will all remember forever.
They had picked out a specific verse for each grandkid (or couple) and written us each personalized letters encouraging and challenging us in our lives. They pray for each one of us every single day. They are incredible people and we are so blessed to come from such a godly heritage! I know they can't check this, but we love you so much!!
They also had picked out curios from Africa for each of us. We got this Masai warrior and giraffe as a reminder of the evening.
Back in the kitchen for more food! :)
On Friday, we went back to the Kohls for Chicago deep dish pizza and more time together.

Katherine reading to Blake and Jesse reading to... Uncle Scott? (Natalie was sitting on her lap but we thought it looked funny. :)

On Saturday, every one came over to the house we were staying in for the day. Grandma with her only great-grandchildren.
Lunch time... looks like everyone was praying but I think they were just enjoying the food. :)
Outside playing croquet. Time to head home! We drove back through the night so the kids could sleep. It works out better for us that way... although it took most of the week to recover... especially since Brian went down to his parents that night for hunting this week. I'll post pictures of that soon. Brian got a buck and a doe and Bill got a doe so far. Be ready, some of the pics are pretty gruesome--not really but this whole hunting thing is new to me. :)


The Stallings Family said...

Where in the Chicago area? My mom is from Chicago. My grandmother lived in Downers Grove until she passed right before I was pregnant with Mallory. We have cousins around there and my aunt and uncle live in Naperville. We have been meaning to go see them ever since we have been over here. So your kids were the only kids there? I bet they loved that.....having ALL the attention! :) How's PC going? I have debating on if I am going to do it much longer. It just feels like no one cares anymore. I am trying to wait til the spring comes around and see.

Vicki & Bruce said...

How wonderful to have that strong Christian heritage! How meaningful to have grandparents who pray for you and encourage you spiritually! You are truly blessed!