Every Thanksgiving our family packs up the car to the brim, including the huge rocket box on the top of the car, and we head to Thousand Oaks to spend it with Chris’ parents (The Domestics).  The Domestics always have the house prepared for us and welcome all of us with open arms. . . and there are a lot of us.  The weather is always a beautiful mid-70s every single Thanksgiving, which allows us to be outside in summer-like weather during November.

Ava is known for sending out random emails.  They are far and few between, but they are always interesting.  A few days before leaving for Southern California, Ava sent this email off to The Domestics.  This is what it said:

Dear grandma and papa,

I am really looking forward to going to your house for thanksgiving dinner. And I am also really looking forward to seeing all of my cousins. Most of my cousins are really nice. Right now I will name as much cousins as I can. Coal,Brody,Briana,Sophia,Colin,Shanon,Alex,Ryan,and Daniele. Those are all the cousins that I can name right now. And even if there is more I love them all. Even if they are really mean,I still love them.

Love you,

Ava Rose Woolsey

This email circulated through the family like wildfire and was appreciated by family members young and old for its brutal honesty and loving tone.

With the kids getting older, this trip is getting easier and more fun each year.  This year we had a few really great plans that I would highly recommend.

For Christmas presents this year, The Domestics decided to buy the girls American Girl Dolls and then the ladies would have lunch with the dolls at the store.  The little girls were thrilled even though they didn’t even really know how awesome the American Girl Doll experience would be.  Ava decided that she isn’t into dolls (never has been) and said she would rather go on a hike with the boys.  Sherri, Elsa, Violet and I headed out to get the dolls at the American Girl doll store in Los Angeles.  We picked out dolls and then of course Violet had to have the horse for the doll to ride and Elsa had to have a ballerina outfit and a kitty for her doll.  I loaded up on stuff for Christmas.  The store is a girl utopia.  Sherri and I agreed that if they had American Girl Doll when we were young we would’ve been in heaven.

Checking out the dolls
Elsa with her doll Briana
Violet with her doll Daniele

We lunched with the girls and their new dolls in the café at the American Girl Doll store.  The dolls had their own high chairs and cups and saucers that the servers would fill up with lemonade.  As it turns out, Violet and Elsa’s dolls were very thirsty.  We were served a four course lunch that was really good.

The entire American Girl Doll experience cost hundreds of dollars, but was worth it.

While the girls were buying dolls and lunching, the boys and Ava were hiking and building an airplane from scratch.  Preston is not known for his attention span, yet he spent hours sawing, nailing, and screwing this plane together.  As we sat at Thanksgiving dinner, Preston told Papa (who had worked very hard making plans to build this plane with Preston) that Papa was his best buddy.  I love that he had such gratitude about building the airplane.

Last night the four adults went to Chris and my favorite place in Westlake for dinner – Tuscany.  We were engaged in a heavy discussion at dinner about death and religion.  Sherri came back from the bathroom and said that she is pretty sure that Martin Sheen is eating dinner a couple of tables down from us.  We confirmed our suspicion with the server.

The four of us were a few bottles of wine down the hatch and I decided it would be a great idea to introduce myself to Mr. Sheen.  Everyone thought this was a great idea.  I was asked what I would say to Mr. Sheen.  I decided I would say “I love your work!  I have loved everything from Apocalypse Now to The Way. May I take a picture with you?” This introduction received table approval.  We dissected what we liked about it.

I took a final swig of my wine and made my way over to the table with Sherri trailing behind me.  I wrapped my arms around Mr. Sheen and he looked up at me with such surprise.  I said, “I don’t want to interrupt your dinner, but I want to let you know that I am a big fan of your work! Everything from Apococipse now . . .”  I tried a few times to say Apocalypse the correct way but I was slurring and stuttering and it just would not come out the right way.  I corrected the situation by moving on to “and I just loved The Way.”  Mr. Sheen said, “that’s funny because we were just talking about The Way!”  “Well, it was a fantastic movie,” I said.  “May I take a picture with you?”  He said “of course”.  Sherri was ready to go with her iPhone and snapped the picture below.  I thanked him and proceeded to the restroom.  I had so much fun that I decided that there will never be another celebrity that gets by me without a picture with me.

Me and Martin

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving.

Until next time, the mothership is signing off.

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American Girl Dolls, Martin Sheen Encounters and other Thanksgiving Fun

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