What is the measure of a truly great family? After this week, I think I’ve finally figured it out. Okay, that’s not completely true. I have been aware of the pure awesome-ness that is my family and my in-laws, but spending our first holiday away from home really solidified their standing as Best Family Ever.

Drew and I knew we wanted to spend a longer period of time at home for Christmas, so we decided early on that we would not make the trip back to Iowa for Thanksgiving this year. Clue #1 we have great family? My mom, dad and two younger brothers volunteered to drive 12 hours to Wyoming just to spend Thanksgiving with us.

In case you’re keeping track, now all of our immediate family members have made it out to see us in Wyoming. And really, while I see the charm and excitement that lies within this state, I fully realize that it is not necessarily a #1 travel destination. But somehow, in the short (almost) five months we’ve been here, we’ve convinced 18 family members to come see us. If that doesn’t prove their awesome-ness, I don’t know what does.

Anyway, the Lilienthal Crew made the trek to Cheyenne last Friday and survived for a week in the Equality State (You bet I just looked that up, and found out that Wyoming was the first state to allow women to vote. The more you know, right?). Here’s a highlight of the shenanigans that took place.

If you know my mom at all, it should be no surprise that it took her approximately five seconds to decide that my entire house needed to be rearranged and painted. Within 24 hours of their arrival, she had my living room and dining room rearranged, two bedrooms painted and plans made for arranging decor throughout the rest of the house. I’m planning a home tour post soon, so you’ll get to see her handiwork then. Here’s a sneak peek:


Sunday we took a drive down to Fort Collins, Colorado for pizza and beer. We stuffed our bellies with Beau Jo’s pizza (if eating massive amounts of pizza crust and honey is wrong, I don’t want to be right), then went to check out New Belgium Brewing. We took advantage of 60 degree weather in November and sat outside and played Rolle Bolle.


Monday and Tuesday I had to work, but luckily I’m able to bring my work home with me. πŸ˜‰ Right now I’m nannying twin boys, so it was really nice to have eight extra hands to help me out for a couple days. I’m not sure who was entertaining who, but those two days included going for walks, taking a tour of the Wyoming State Capitol, playing with doggies, making forts, splashing in the sink, doing chemistry homework and a whole lot of craziness.


My little tiny brother Drew turned 20 while they were here, so we headed back to Fort Collins on Wednesday for the deliciousness that is Snooze Eatery and a guided tour of New Belgium Brewing. Yum!


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Thanksgiving Day was off to a rocky start when I couldn’t get the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on TV. The crisis was eventually averted and we caught the last half of the festivities including the most important part, the Radio City Rockettes. My mom and I proceeded to make entirely too much food for six people, the guys watched football, we ate pie, then officially transitioned to christmas season with the first of many viewings of Elf. It was relaxing and refreshing to spend an entire day talking, laughing and eating with five of my favorite people.

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Friday came too soon and the Lilienthal Crew headed back to Iowa. The good news is that we will see them again in three weeks for Christmas to repeat the fun and merriment that occurred in the past week. I can’t wait. The even better news is that weeks like this are a common occurrence in my family.

This year, I’m extra thankful that family is a priority. I’m thankful that even though the “kids” are grown up, we can still joke and play like little ones. I’m thankful that in the past year, my family has grown with marriage, and that I get to experience the holidays with another awesome family filled with wonderful people. This year has been filled with good news, and I’m extremely thankful for that.




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