I’m a few days late on writing about Thanksgiving, but I think it could be seen as cheating to head on into the Christmas season without at least giving credit to the wonderful week! And since it’s 5 am, and I’ve been dealing with a sleepless toddler, tossing and turning, then dealing with a sleepless toddler again, I figure I may as well make good use of my time and be constructive.
At the moment, Ellie Graye is lying in her crib yelling, “MOmmmmmy! MOmmmmmy. Ellie no is sleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeping! COME!” I’m in my bed thinking, “JUST BE QUIET AND SLEEEEEEEEEEEP.” She’s pretty good at this whole endurance pleading. She’s breaking me down! Maybe I should just go grab a sippy cup of milk and give in! But I diverse….
Best Friends make everything better! With the holiday came my two best friends – Renee and Gina. Renee arrived first, and spent a couple days hanging out before she headed to Bend to celebrate with her family. We had a blast together, as usual, and it was a much needed recharge for me. There’s something about how our conversation flows and how we understand so many unspoken things that adds a happy energy to the day. I think for other people in the room it might get a little overwhelming as we both seem to speak over each other most of the time! Still – a great visit from the Nay-Ners.
Renee left Tuesday morning, and Gina arrived late Tuesday. Gina brings such a calming energy wherever she goes. She’s such an incredibly beautiful, nurturing, loving person – and whenever she’s near me, I feel more calm, more secure, and – for lack of a better word – softer (like my rough edges disappear). Having her in the house made me so darn happy. Wednesday I cooked the majority of the day, and even though she was working – just having her sitting in the kitchen made everything better. There’s something about her that brings out an odd sweetness about me! Ellie Graye loved her, too. In fact, when we dropped Gina off at the airport on Saturday, Ellie cried, “No! No Gina go to airport! Gina come home!!!!” That’s about how I felt. I have to admit, I shed a few tears watching her go.
I miss you girls already – SOOOOOOO much!
My First Turkey. Yes, you read that right: I made my first turkey ever this year. I have no idea how in the world I have hosted Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners so frequently, but always managed to pass the bird-duty onto someone else! Well, actually, I do know how it has happened – it’s that Jake always ended up doing it. I’d cover the appetizers, sides, desserts, and presentation while he’d focus solely on the turkey. This year, since we were a rather large group, we decided to make TWO birds instead of one big 30 pounder. Jake smoked one and I roasted the other. How’d it turn out? Well, I’ll be honest, it wasn’t my proudest moment. I will say, however, that it tasted fabulous and the gravy was to die for, but – um….”falling off the bone” isn’t supposed to be how people describe a Thanksgiving turkey. Hee hee. I didn’t even have to carve it! I wouldn’t change a thing about the flavor though, and Jake’s smoked turkey was just perfect – so it all worked out!
Corn Husk Napkin Rings. I always try to add a little something handmade to my table decor, and this year I made my own napkin rings. After cooking corn cobs in their husks, I used the cardboard from a paper towel roll, wrapping the husks loosely around them. After punching two holes in the husks, I secured them with a small piece of ribbon. I then let them sit in a warm, dry part of the house for several days until they held their form. To add some color, I slipped a fall leaf into each ring – the color was just what it needed. They were so easy and adorable, I just might make them every year!
Miracles at the Table. If you go take a closer look at that first photo of the place settings – you’ll notice that the name tag reads “Phyllis.” Phyllis, as most of you have learned, is my mother-in-law who has been incredibly ill since September. I don’t know if any of us ever allowed ourselves to dream of her sitting down with us for Thanksgiving dinner – we have been thrilled just having her out of the hospital and in a nursing facility. To have her seated at the head of the table, holding Jeffrey’s hand, smiling at the warmth and love that was at that table made every darn minute of preparation worth it. The joy that her presence brought to the festivities is indescribable, and to see her smiling and chatting and visiting with everyone was truly incredible. For me, this is what I’m grateful for: a mother-in-law that’s an incredible example of tenacious strength, dedication to her goals, and amazing love for her husband, son, and granddaughter…and all of that overflows to me as well as everyone around her. Pretty darn amazing, if you ask me.