Thankful to be Home

Hendricks Family Take 5700 miles, 12 hours, 4 podcasts, 2 half-listened-to audio books, a lot of U2 and one puking incident. It’s been a long day, but we’re finally back in the Twin Cities after three days in Kansas (and two on the road). Lexi did great, except for the whole not sleeping well Saturday night and throwing up on the ride home. But what parent hasn’t had to clean vomit out of a car seat? I remember throwing up myself in a car seat in our old Ford pickup and my dad having to clean it up. What goes around comes around, so to speak.

It’s no secret that I love going to Kansas, and this trip was no different. We were able to spend a lot of time with family. My immediate family–my parents, my brother and his wife and daughter and my wife and daughter–were all together for the first time since my niece, Charlotte, was born. The girls had a blast together and when Lexi woke up on Friday and my brother and company had taken off, the first thing Lexi said was “Charlotte?” It took a few hours to convince her that Charlotte and Uncle Rick and Aunt Limor had gone home. And then to convince her that they had gone to their own house, and not our house.

We also saw the extended family that was around, cousins and second cousins and aunts and uncles and grandparents.

Scanning Family Pics
I geeked out on the family history, as usual. But this time I got smart and packed my scanner in the car so I could scan pictures there instead of transporting them across the country. I came home with 2 GB of photos, about 500 files in all–which is a few hundred pictures borrowed from my mom’s camera (I usually try to steal her camera’s memory card and pilfer her pictures–apparently I don’t take enough) as well as a few hundred scans from the scanner, each consisting of 3-5 snapshots. Some of the scanned pics are from my family growing up, but a large chunk are ancient family photos from my grandmother that go back to the turn of the century. It’ll probably take me months to go through everything, crop them, upload them and label them. But that’s OK.

Family History Jackpot
We also took my Uncle Junior (actually my great-uncle) out south of Raymond where he showed us where him and my grandpa were born and raised. There were two locations south of Raymond, one that had only a cement foundation remaining and another that had no trace of a house, but a few outbuildings were still there. We also saw where my great-great-grandfather had lived when he first came to Kansas to homestead. There was nothing left there, just a stand of trees. I videotaped some of my Uncle Junior’s stories, and if I can pry the files from my camera (it’s being stubborn) we’ll have a family history jackpot.

Being Thankful
At Thanksgiving dinner Alaina–my cousin’s daughter and adorable cutie/borderline ham (she posed like a pro for the second cousin’s picture)–produced a turkey centerpiece and passed out turkey feather slips of paper. She asked us to write down what we were thankful for and then we all shared our answers. It would have been awkward and forced coming from an adult, but it was perfect coming from a child.

Family was the number one response, along with several mentions of health. Colton, Alaina’s younger brother and boy through and through, was thankful for tractors and trucks, Lexi was thankful for bagels and cheese and I was thankful for jell-o. While my answer wasn’t the most serious (though I love the redhots and applesauce jell-o recipe), I appreciated the opportunity to think about what I was thankful for. The holiday usually comes in such a blur that I never have a chance to give it much thought.

We do have so much to be thankful for. My aunt included electricity in her list, and while it seemed kind of eccentric at the time (this from the gelatin desert fan), we’d be pretty sunk without electricity. You wouldn’t be reading this and I couldn’t share it.

And yes, the adoption blogging certainly sputtered this week. Sorry about that, but I just couldn’t tear myself away from hanging out with family (or at least photographed family) to prattle on about adoption. Some of you are probably glad for the break.

We did get to break the adoption news to a few family members who hadn’t heard that we were planning to adopt (yes, as baffling as it sounds, not everybody reads my blog, something I find both obvious and shocking at the same time). It’s surprising how launching into the same explanations again and again doesn’t get old. I suppose it’s just like a pregnancy and answering all the standard questions. You’re too excited and joyful to be bothered by repeating yourself over and over.

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