I got some flack from Patrick over the fact that I haven’t updated in a while. I’ve simply been really busy at work… doing work. And when I’d get home from work, the last thing I wanted to do was sit in front of a computer for a couple more hours. Well, here you go Pat… it’s a long one…
 
Our holiday weekend was a whirwind of driving, weather, food and family. I did my best to get to work earlier than normal on Wednesday so I could leave early. Those of you who know me, and know that my brain doesn’t function normally in the morning would be impressed to know that I got to my desk at 7am. I beelined out of there at 1pm and dashed home, ready to hit the road. Bill and I debated playing the standby game on one of the busiest travel days of the year. We’ve done it in the past with success, but didn’t want to deal with it this year. Getting to the Bay Area wouldn’t have been as much of a problem as getting home on Sunday. So we opted to drive.
 
Word got out to Bill’s family that we were driving up on Wednesday, so we picked up his aunt, uncle and cousin from their friend’s house in Arcadia. It was well after 3pm when we got back on the road and inched our way out of LA county. It took almost three hours to get to the other side of Grapevine. It was agonizing in the rain. A few moments of comedy brightened our trip: a large man on a small Harley wearing soaking-wet jeans, a bulging-at-the-seams raincoat and loafers with no socks wove his way in between cars in the pouring rain.
 
When we finally got past Grapevine, we were able to pick up speed. There was still a significantly higher number of cars on the road, but we still made decent time. We passed the time listening to XM comedy, the top 100 hits from the 90s, and trying to see what was on the DVD player of almost every minivan we passed… lots of Pixar films. We stopped for dinner at In-N-Out Burger at about the halfway point. We pulled into Bill’s cousin’s house in San Ramon to drop off our passengers at 11:30pm. We joked that neither of us had ever been so happy to see Livermore once we descended from Altamont Pass. We stopped at Safeway to pick up a few things and went to bed well past midnight. It was a long and grueling day, but we were happy to have a four-day weekend ahead of us.
 
Thursday morning we had planned to have breakfast with James, Kristen and Logan… then realized that our normal breakfast places were going to be closed for the holiday. Thankfully, Bill pointed out that “Chinese restaurants don’t close for holidays” and a local dim sum place was open and having a holiday special: all items were $2.50. The dim sum place is adjacent to the Ranch 99 supermarket in Newark and good enough that we’ve eaten there many times. It’s not the best dim sum around, but it wasn’t crowded and is a short walk from Bill’s parents house. It’s fun taking Logan to dim sum as we’re teaching him the Chinese names for many items. The only one he remembers right now is the steamed pork bun, or cha siu bao. And, of course, his pronunciation is adorable and makes the waitstaff giggle.

After lunch, Bill, Kristen, Logan and I walked back to Bill’s parents’ house. Logan thoroughly enjoyed watching the Roomba as it vacuumed around the living room.

 

Thanksgiving this year ended up very different from previous years. The original plan was for Bill and me to host it for the first time at our house. But, because of work schedules, none of my siblings were going to be able to come down for the weekend. That plan was nixed and we began plans to combine Thanksgiving with Sara’s family. Because of the large group, no one’s house was going to be large enough. So Sara’s dad, Lou got permission to use a room at the elementary school where Sara works in Redwood City.

We arrived just after two and were greeted with friends and family, some we knew already, some were new faces.

Logan spent a little time playing on the playground. Because of the recent rain, it was tricky as James had to catch him on the slide before he reached the bottom… where water had puddled.

Sara workin’ the camera.

Back in the kitchen, Mom and Bill were busy carving up the turkey and getting a lot of the food ready to be served.

James is grinning like he stole some turkey…

A few stick around to …uh … supervise.

Goofing off with Dad. It was nice to not be the one taking photos this time around. And Michael was happy to have is camera back.

This is a good illustration of what it’s like to have a conversation with Patrick… lots of strained necks. I have no idea what we were talking about, but it seems to look important.

They had the table(s) set and looking lovely.

There was an incredible amount of food and a somewhat odd variety. Sara’s family makes gumbo every year for Thanksgiving, so we had that with cheese biscuits along with our normal Thanksgiving fare. Turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, two kinds of dressing, macaroni and cheese, gravy, crudités, cranberry sauce, and a variety of casseroles and salads.

Sara’s brother Chris bringing out some dressing.

Mark brought a couple of bottles of his pinot noir and zinfandel. Both were delicious.

Jan showing off her bowl of gumbo. It was very tasty!

Noel sneaking through the buffet line.

We didn’t have a highchair or a booster seat for Logan, so he was passed from lap to lap and ate off of all our plates… not a good practice, I know. But it wasn’t a normal day.

My turn!

Mmmm, gravy.

Sara’s sister Ashtyn and her cousin,_______. (I can’t remember his name!!!, Michael help me!)

There was WAY too much food and Sara’s mom, Debbie was happily handing our to-go boxes to everyone.

Dessert was also impressive with pumpkin pie, pumpkin cake, pumpkin squares, pumpkin cheesecake… and a dark chocolate fountain. Everything was delicious!

Would have been nice to have a photo of the other desserts…

Logan enjoyed playing with Sara’s seven-year-old brother Noel.

It’s really funny when Noel forgets that Logan is only two… Logan is currently answering pretty much every question that he doesn’t want to answer with, “yeah.” And I think it was confusing Noel a bit.

They both had fun chasing each other anyway.

Sara’s cousin was strumming his guitar.

At one point Logan said that Sara’s cousin was “scary”. It was pretty funny. Here everyone is telling Logan that he’s nice and not scary.

 

Sara workin’ the camera again…

Later in the afternoon Mark brought out a bottle of the rosé that he’s been “working on”. (Not sure what the right term would be.) This is the same rosé that we crushed a few months ago and will be served at Michael and Sara’s wedding. We’re thinking of calling it Blushing Bride Rosé… what do you think?

It’s a gorgeous dark pink, and was delicious! I’m currently brainstorming ideas for the wine label. Any ideas?

Dad and Grandma

Jackie and Arthur

Mike and Sara

Around 5:30, Bill and I, along with James, Kristen and Logan, had to leave. We had another Thanksgiving to attend at Bill’s mom’s house. Because of the timing of the day’s events, James and Kristen opted to have Logan skip his nap. He did amazingly well until about 5:30 when he conked out in the car.

 

They dropped Bill and me off at his parents’ house and we geared up for Thanksgiving Part II where Laikwan had a house full of guests.

Laikwan in the middle in red. Her youngest sister on the far right. Mark’s younger brother and his wife on the far left. Their son Jack is currently stationed in Pensacola, FL in the Navy. He’s training to become a flight engineer which is one of the steps to becoming a pilot. It was a bummer that he couldn’t make it home for Thanksgiving. Apparently he had a ton of studying to do.

Two more of Bill’s uncles.

Bill’s cousin and his family. They drove in from San Francisco, we hadn’t seen them since our wedding.

Bill’s cousin’s daughter. She’s five and has quite a dominant personality. It’s hilarious to us, but I’m sure not easy on her parents.

Bill’s mom is a great cook, but turkey isn’t her specialty. She’s made some mistakes in the past when making turkey (one year it was finished early, so she left it in the oven on low heat for a couple of hours and it dried out!) and has reluctantly agreed to let Bill take over the turkey roasting responsibility. Bill was happy to oblige as he’s had some success in following Alton Brown’s recipe for a brined turkey.

Laikwan instead focused on her steamed whole duck stuffed with glutenous sticky rice, sausage, mushrooms and lotus seeds. It’s a labor intensive dish and she doesn’t make it often. But it’s so delicious as the rice soaks up much of the duck’s flavor. Apparently no one else in her family makes the dish, so when word spreads that she’s making it, everyone comes running.

The spread… we had turkey, roasted sweet potatoes, baked ham, garlic bread, salad, and the steamed duck. Bill likes to joke about how in his family, the turkey dark meat is the first to disappear. In my family, it’s the white meat.

The remnants of the duck… I couldn’t get a shot before everyone dug in.

He was too full!

She had about twenty-five guests for dinner including cousins and friends from out of town. It’s the largest crowd I’ve seen at her house for Thanksgiving. I honestly didn’t eat much, I was still full from dinner #1. I had some duck and a few bites of Bill’s turkey (which was amazing!) …and that was it. I slept well from my food induced coma.

 

Friday morning Jackie had to be at work at 5:30am. I felt pity on her, so Kristen and I visited her at the mall around lunchtime. We walked around the mall not really intending to buy anything. It was definitely crowded, but not crazy like other places around the country. Because of the Black Friday hours, Jackie was done at two, so the three of us had lunch at Panera in Fremont. Kristen thoroughly enjoyed spending the day having grown-up conversations, while Bill, James and Logan spent the afternoon watching TV and napping. Jackie was on-call that evening for her second job as a server/trainer at BJ’s Brewhouse; a restaurant that just opened across from NewPark Mall. If she didn’t get a call by 5:30pm, she would have the night off. As 5:30 approached, she was counting down the minutes. At 5:31 she cheered and we called BJ’s to get our names on the list for dinner. Arthur joined us at the restaurant and we had a nice meal with some very tasty food. The service was sub-par, but we gave the servers a little leeway. The restaurant has only been open for a few weeks and it was a very busy night. They still need to weed out the servers who can’t hack it.
 
 
 
Because we had such a different Thanksgiving this year than normal, a few of us still wanted our traditional, calmer Thanksgiving dinner. So, we had it on Saturday at Jan’s, Thanksgiving III. They roasted another turkey and we had a quiet dinner with lots of leftovers from two nights before. Mark’s daughter Sue joined us along with her boyfriend.
 
 
 
 
We’re looking at color swatches and deciding on colors for wedding invitations. They look like they were surprised by the camera.
 
 
Logan had fun and we all had fun playing with him.
 
 
Michael was trying some stuff out with his camera.
 
 
This cracked me up. Logan wanted to wear some chapstick… here I’m showing him how to purse his lips…
 
 
He hasn’t quite figured how to make that face. So funny.
 
Because the traffic was so bad when we drove up, Bill and I opted to drive home Saturday night instead of Sunday morning. We hit the road around 9:30pm and were blessed with nearly empty highways. Bill was actually able to use the cruise control this time. We stopped at the In-N-Out Burger again at the halfway point for a quick bathroom break and some french fries to snack on and got home at 3am.
 
It was a great weekend and we had a wonderful time.

 

 

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About wobetxela

Artist, mom, traveler, hiker, babywearer (for as long as they'll let me) and hobbyist photographer.
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5 Responses to

  1. christao408 says:

    Let me see if I have this correct: Patrick was giving you grief about not updating your blog?  Does he even have a blog?Looks like a fun trip to the Bay Area.  In that picture of Michael and Sara, his resemblance to his grandfather Tebow at that age is very striking.”Blushing Bride Rose” is a great name.

  2. oldpartner says:

    Okay, if Patrick is giving you grief, I hate to hear what he is saying about me since it has been well over a month since my last update.  My schedule has been extremely busy!  I’m getting involved in too many things!  It sounds like you had a wonderful time in the Bay Area.  Sorry we couldn’t be there to help you do all of that eating!  Maybe one year we can plan on doing that. 

  3. stebow says:

    Glad you and Bill could make the trek up to be with us. 

  4. jackietebow says:

    Sorry about the service at BJ’s…next time come and sit at my table and if will be so much better…hehe. Oh and Sara’s cousin’s name is Michael.

  5. jandsschultz says:

    Thanks for sharing, Alex.  It’s fun to be a part of the family time, even if through your blog.  I agree with Chris about Michael.  We will look up Grandpa’s picture in his army uniform, scan it,  and send it along.  The school setting was a great idea for dinner #1.

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