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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

giving thanks

Thanksgiving break was a muchly needed dose of family time- for us as our family of 4 and with each of our families.   We were on Beals for the Carver Thanksgiving Wednesday through Friday and there was lots of good quality time spent cooking together, laughing, and playing cards.
 
I learned how to play Rook and I was hooked.  The day after Thanksgiving, while all the children played happily upstairs, we all sat around and played Rook: me, Sandi, both her sisters and her parents.  We have never had a chance to do that before because one of us always had a crying child on our laps.  If you've never played, find someone to teach you. It is SO fun.
 
And of course, there was lots of eating.  If I were to be graded on my re-entry into eating I would get a D- at best.  When Sandi broke her fast a couple of days before me, she filled up on a tablespoon of sunflower seeds.  I sat down the evening of day 6 and ate some baked potato, aparagus, brussel sprouts and a lobster.  And then I had some ice cream later on.  I wasn't too full and it certainly didn't seem like I had not been eating.  I broke the fast like a marathoner busting the ribbon with her chest. 
 
The next two days I ate with the moderation of a sumo wrestler.  I was never really hungry and ate whenever I had the opportunity and/or I was no longer "too" full to fit more.  I'm not even sure that I ate way too much or if it was just too much for my body coming off the fast.  Either way, I wasn't very kind to my body in favor of one more sliver or pumpkin pie.  I'm not proud of it.  I'm just telling it like it was.  (I'm fasting again this week.  My blood will be drawn in 3 short weeks and I'm really hoping for an improvement despite last week's shenanigans.)
 
It was too beautiful to resist.
 
 
Patti puts on Thanksgiving dinner at night (for the fisherman and for those driving from far).  This year she had these electric warmers for all the veggies and that was a huge help in keeping everything from getting cold while you put it out.  Patti makes a meal that could fed 25 with the grace and calm of an experienced chef.  I all but take notes when I watch her unruffled manner and hope to have even a quarter of the poise she does.  I mean, she can make Thanksgiving dinner and take a break to color with Maya and make bead bracelets with Brevan.
 
As usual, clean-up consisted of dishing leftovers into pie crusts that get put in the freezer for the coveted pot pies.   

(Ella had done Sandi's hair for her in a braid. Isn't it beautiful?)


 
Brevan and Makenna came to spend the day with us Saturday while Kristi went on her annual Christmas shopping trip.  Sandi was gone studying so the kids and I kept busy with rollerskating, a Christmas movie, lots of games, a dance party and a very brave trip to the grocery store with 4 kids.  I'm pretty sure Hannaford should give out medals to deserving moms and if they did I would have been in the running for it that day.   Four kids and a busy store.  Phew. 
 
Favorite Makenna quotes from the day:  when she wanted to get out of the grocery cart and I told her no (after having just told Maya no) she stared me down and said, "My mom would let me get out."  I also couldn't get enough of hearing her sing/shout ALL day: "PIZZA! Said the lady with the alligator purse!" after Maya taught her the song.
 
Sandi came home in the late afternoon so we could do some Christmas decorating.  All day long the kids kept asking, "Is it time to decorate for Christmas?"  I adore this amount of holiday enthusiasm.


They were SO excited to put the snow on the village.


Lights stapled to the woodwork casting a cozy ambiance during the holiday season?  Yup, that's just how we do it.
 
We had four kids trying to unpack the breakable figurines.  They were holding up lights and asking us to plug them in.  Ella found a stuffed reindeer and immediately made it a house out of pillows on the couch.  There was paper everywhere and Celine Dion's high soprano was bringing in the holiday cheer on Pandora.  I had been alone with the kids for 8 hours.  Then Brev asked if he could have some paper and scissors to make snowflakes.  I really don't like to say no to kids wanting to be creative and soon bits of paper were also all over the floor. 
I poured myself a glass of wine and tries to surrender to the chaos.  The kids were amazing and I enjoyed my time with them so much.  And I fell into bed in a heap of exhaustion that night.
 

 The next day my family was coming for Thanksgiving.  My sister and I have a very workable, equitable thing going on around family get togethers.  For holidays we flip flop houses and we each take half the load so it is never too much for either of us.  When she comes to my house, or me to hers, we just grab a cutting board and get to work.  Often when my sister is in my kitchen, I will go to look for the peeler I was using and I can't find it because she has already washed it and put it away. 

Ella was very excited to help out with trifle which I copied from Ange's adaptation to make it into a pumpkin trifle.  I love the site that it came from because she has so many ideas for delicious, lighter food.  (To change, I basically added a can of pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and allspice to the cream cheese layer and I dipped the Vienna fingers in cocoa instead of coffee.)

 
 
There is nothing like having your family sit around your table and using all the tin foil in your house to keep all the food you loving made as hot as possible.


The trifle was a big hit and everyone kept trying to get into it.

Brian, my favorite recent addition to our family.

 
It would be impossible for our girls to love their cousins more.


Maya and Braeden


Michaela and Ella
 Adopting the tradition from our Beals family, the post Thanksgiving meal on my side now also involves the making of the pot pies.  Toferky pot pie in our case.



Blueberry glaze pie for Kathryn's birthday.

 
This Thanksgiving I was resoundingly grateful for family.  Age has shown me how irreplaceable these bonds are.  We are so very blessed to have so much love and goodness in our lives within our families and the friends that are like family to us. 

And, despite the Tofery jokes, I wouldn't trade a one of them.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Beautiful family! Looks like you had a GREAT thanksgiving!