Well, I didn't see, I was doing the kissing you see, but more on that later in this post.

So last I typed you heard all about the first part of my little trip to WV, now for the fun parts, the PARTIES!

to get large amounts of ice for a party at a store where there are men in camouflage and trucks.Saturday was the big 50th anniversary party for my aunt & uncle. I could tell you this long story about getting ice for drinks, but I'll leave you with this thought...I will, from now on, ONLY stop (At least if I'm somewhere I consider the south.) I learned my lesson. Those are the places where you can walk in with your cute black jeans, great little top and wonderful boots; purchase your 22 lb. bag of ice and have at least 2 men offer to help you get it into your vehicle and ice chest. Now, one of my cousins says it doesn't hurt if you're driving a truck and have some curves to fill out said cute black jeans and top and smile nicely, but I think that's pretty much beside the point. I'm no model, nor do I have the perfect body, so I don't think it has anything to do with looks. I really think it's more about the whole letting men, act like, well, men. (If you want to think further on this subject of "real men" I refer you to this post about the latest People list of sexiest men, and this post about women, or this one. All written by one of my new favorite authors on her blog, which I also highly recommend as daily reading.)

So, I averted an ice catastrophe and finally made it to the party, which was pretty much in full swing when I arrived. Well, except for the fact that no one had heard from the caterer and no one seemed to have a number for her and some people were a little on the hungry side what with it being 1:30 in the afternoon and they apparently hadn't played Scarlett and had a little snack before going to the party. No fears, the caterer arrived and had everything in order and much eating happened. One of my cousins (technically my 2nd cousin once removed if you want to get really specific) has a beautiful and talented wife who makes cakes for parties and weddings. My aunt had Becky make the cake for the party and it was beautiful as you can see for yourself.What you can't tell is that both layers are in the shape of a heart. (The significance is fairly obvious, but also their last name is "Hart".) What you may not be able to tell is there was a candle in a holder between the layers. Also, it tasted as wonderful as it looked. One layer was chocolate and one was a white cake, both were excellent and moist and downright yummy! Becky can make my wedding cake anytime, well, first I have to get engaged....actually first I should probably have a "boyfriend". But it's not about me, it's about my aunt & uncle.
And here they are right before the cake was cut. Aren't they adorable?!?! As if that wasn't cute enough take a look at this....Yep, they danced together and were just too cute. The band was good and I think all in all everyone had a fantastic time.

I didn't take a lot of pictures. I mainly took some time to sit and talk with cousins that I don't get to see that often. And when I say cousins I mainly mean of the 2nd and further variety. However, my cousin Becky (not of the cake fame but a different Becky) got a picture that I want a copy of and when I get it I may post it. She took a picture of me and my cousins Dennis and Damon. Both are wonderful men and I don't get to see them that often. For those who don't come from huge extended families like I do, I can't imagine not having all these people in my life. Not that I talk to them all the time or see them as much as I'd like, but when we do all get together it's so much fun. Not to mention there's usually food, music and sometimes drink involved! Oh and lots of telling of stories, family stories. Those are the best.This is a picture of all the "Thompson" cousins at the party. (You can click on the picture to hopefully see a little larger version.) Some of the cousin's spouses and significant other's made it in the picture, while others did not, namely my father is missing.

Saturday was a great success so that left the Christmas party on Sunday. Sunday's party was for my uncle Jim's brothers and sisters and their spouses and SO's. Let me first say that my uncle has 11 siblings, of which 10 were in attendance on Sat. while 9 made it on Sunday. That's a fairly large group and they aren't too shy. They like to get together and talk and have a good time, which I think is wonderful. The best part of the night was this...Yep, that's me, kissing the big guy himself, Santa! I bet you all didn't know we were so close. Doesn't he look fantastic? Of course my mother was not to be outdone and this is what the result was...
She's such a crazy woman!
I think she left poor Santa a bit dazed. But then again, he's kind of used to her brand of craziness, so maybe he was just feeling a bit tired.

Santa was there to hand out the presents and help us all with the ornament exchange. As usual he did a fantastic job with giving out things. Kind of a warm up for the big night later this month.

So, that was the trip. We started home Monday morning with snow spitting at us and lots of high winds which caused us to go a little slower then normal and mean we spent the night on the way home. Well, that and I wasn't feeling all that wonderful and was to tired to keep going.

I am so glad we were able to go up for the party. It isn't everyday that someone can celebrate 50 years of marriage and still look at each other the way they do. Sometimes people ask why I'm still single. Most of the time I give them the kind of answer my grandmother would have called "smart", namely, "Because no one ever asked me to marry them." While that's true, there is also the other part of me that acknowledges the fact that I have been holding out for the kind of relationship my parents and my aunt & uncle have. Both haven't always agreed on everything, nor would they tell you that they have had it particularly easy. However, they all have worked hard to keep their relationships what most people today would call "healthy". For them that didn't mean they took vacations alone without their children. In fact, more often then not my aunt and my mother would take us kids on vacation while my uncle and my dad worked. Many a summer we all went on vacation together that way. For them it was about their family and each other and giving time to all of those things. And perhaps that's why I'm still single, because I've never found a man who shares those types of values. Not that I don't think they exist, I'm fairly certain there are still some out there like my father and uncle. Apparently I just haven't met the right one. But it was amazing to celebrate not just 50 years of marriage, but 50 years of their life together, moving around, family and all the things that go into being married.
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