Giving Thanks for Family

We woke up to Thanksgiving in a hotel this year!  Not exactly traditional but we embraced the adventure and made the most of it!  I did mourn missing out on the parade with my coffee and pjs, but that's ok, next year :)  After breakfast we got ready and made a special visit to a Nursing home so we could see Trav's precious Granny.  
I'm so thankful we were able to do this, seeing his Granny was one of our top priorities in getting to Texas.  We don't know how long we'll have with her and yet we had such a sweet time talking to her and catching her up again.  
It was also a treat to have so many of her family members streaming in to love on her! I know she loved in the moment, although she likely didn't remember it soon after we all left. 
Granny has now been able to meet each one of kids when they were babies, which is a precious memory to have!
These are from our last trip to Abilene, when Carter was about 5 months old and Ava was just shy of 2! 
 So cute!
Life has changed for all of us just 4 years later.  
Ava especially was happy to see her Great-Granny!
After our visit it was apparent that we needed to get some wiggles out and thankfully it was a sunny day in the 60's!  We won't see the 60's in Minnesota for quite some time so we took fully advantage of the local park!
Ava had Papa talked into doing some underdogs in no time!

And Carter just ran wild from thing to thing..., until I spotted him!
We were bundled up watching it snow last year so this was a nice treat!

After they played for a long time, we booked it back to the hotel to get a little cleaned up for our big meal. 
So fun to introduce Walker to his Aunt Katy!
We ate at the hotel buffet, which was very nice!  They served like 800 people or something that day...I don't think I'm wrong in that estimate, I swear that's what they said, but don't hold me to that! Ha! It was nice to totally escape any cooking or cleaning up this year  :) 
Happy Thanksgiving from the Armstrongs! 
This little turkey did great on his first Thanksgiving! 
The kiddos swam in the afternoon and we gathered that night with everybody at the hotel, laughing and telling stories, eating some more, playing was perfect! So nice to enjoy that time together and really great that we were all at the same hotel together.  
The next morning we all made another visit to see Granny.  How fun for her to be surrounded by so many of her family members! This is only a fraction of all of us, but it was so fun to see her again. 
I love this picture, 4 generations together!  Walker had just fallen asleep and was already strapped in his car seat, but I love her hand on his head.  This is a keeper for sure!
Super fun for us to see two of our favorite college students and their Mom, Nancy. 
We'll be cheering for Chris (#49) next year when he's playing for West Texas A&M! 
Ava, Lily and Henry were taking over the craft room in no time! Ha ha!
And proudly displaying their art work on the fridge!
After we visited for awhile, we all went to the Abilene Zoo to spend the afternoon. 

Look how little these two were the last time we visited this zoo??
 This is Carter, by the way, do you see Walker in him??
Our favorite thing at this zoo last time, was feeding the giraffes on this bridge!  Wouldn't you know that days before we got there, they tore this exhibit down in order to re-design it??  SO SAD!!  
Andrew was my hero and took over the stroller duties for Walker! 
We didn't have room for our big infant stroller in the van, so we had to pack the umbrella one and we weren't totally sure how Walker would do in it.  Thankfully he was the most bundled up of all of us and he stayed pretty cozy in there!
Admiring the reptile house, which still gives me the creeps thinking about it!
Lots and lots of flamingos...

Immediately Carter zero-ed in on the little train that goes around the zoo.  From the second he saw it, he couldn't wait to get on it!

Walker's first time at the Zoo!

Love these two!
Although it was windy, it was a beautiful day to walk around and be together. 
I've seen prettier zoos in my life, but they had animals and in the end, that what the kids care about the most! 

Feeding the ducks kept everyone entertained for awhile...

Carter and his cousin Henry were best buds that day!
Our nephew JT was taking it all in too! 
Love his little jacket...
...and those big blue eyes!

Ava and Lily were joined at the hip too, what a gift to have this time with cousins we don't get to see very often!


After much waiting, Carter did get that ride on the train!
And Walker did settle in for a nap too. 
Lucky for Carter, Papa was game for a ride and these 4 got to share a car together :) 

You're a good Grandpa, Ron!  I'm not sure how you squeezed in there! 
Lily had the magic touch with Walker.  Future babysitter! 
We are so thankful for this time with family and it so sweet to see the next generation of cousins growing up and making memories together too! 

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