I know, I know...this is late. But we had a busy weekend that included two trips to Buffalo, a lot of decorating, a long day at the mall, and a ton of refereeing the kids. I'm tired. Blogging just didn't make it to the top of the list. I'll try to rectify that now...
1) Two great families to spend Thanksgiving with - It was just us and my parents, but we had a lovely dinner there. We had a good crew of family and a few friends on Craig's side, and I always enjoy when we go around the table and share what we're thankful for. It's just nice to have two families to spend the day with, despite the rushing it often involves, and to have minimal-to-no drama all around. Rare, I'd have to think! And honestly, I don't want to have to pick or choose one side or the other, as it ends up not being fair to anyone. Someone's always going to miss someone, and who needs that on Thanksgiving? Any rushing is well worth having time with both, in my opinion.
2) Two fantastic meals - The meal at my parents' is obviously sentimental to me, as it's the Thanksgiving dinner I grew up with, give or take an item or two. It is the holiday equivalent of comfort food! On the other hand, with such a large crew of eaters and contributors, the meal with Craig's family ends up being quite the magnificent feast. Lots of very good cooks makes for a gut-busting meal! Despite pacing myself at my parents' and restraining myself a bit with Craig's family, I still ended up painfully stuffed. Small pieces of three of the four pies didn't help! But man, both meals were so good!
3) A job to come back to today - When we went around the table at Craig's family's dinner, I said that I was thankful that after the year started so badly with losing my job, I feel so blessed to have a new job that put me in an even better position than before. It's pretty amazing how well that worked out. The bonus was not totally dreading coming into work today, since I knew I had plenty to do and one fun-ish project (to a data geek, anyway) to work on.
4) 45 Years - Saturday was my parents' 45th wedding anniversary. That is totally mind-blowing, in so many ways. Number one, my parents do not seem old enough to be married for that long! I still laugh when I look at my grandparents' 40th anniversary party photos and think how old they looked, but they were pretty much the same ages as my parents. My parents' 40th doesn't seem that long ago, and it scares me to think the 50th could get here with that same speed! I remember my grandparents' 50th vividly, by the way, as I was almost 14 at the time. Hard to believe it's almost my parents' turn!
5) Life and Health - Yesterday we took our second trip to Buffalo because one of Craig's cousins (not a first cousin--but part of the family we see every year or two when they have family picnics) passed away on Wednesday. He was in his early 50s and had been battling cancer for a while. We knew neither of us could pull off the funeral today, so we felt it was important to make it to the funeral home. We loaded the kids in late afternoon yesterday and had a relatively pleasant drive there and back, considering the short timeframe. I credit the caffeine I drank on the way there for making it easier. Anyway, my point is that despite the health scares we've seen in our families over the past couple years, the core of our family has remained mostly intact. Yes, we lost Craig's uncle far too young this time last year and his Nana a while before that, but when I think of how much worse it could be with open heart surgeries for both of our fathers and so many aging relatives, I feel pretty grateful for what we still have. I know we have harder years ahead, so I'm just trying to savor this time as much as I can.
6) Decorations - As much as I hate hauling out bins from the crawl space and trying to find spots for all of my seasonal decorations, I suppose I wouldn't have it any other way. I'd say that about 95% of my Christmas decorations have a story--maybe they were a gift, maybe they were among the items I retrieved after my grandmothers passed away, maybe they were bought when I was newly on my own and had only a handful of decorations, or maybe they were made by my kids...or even me. So many memories. I felt bad yesterday, actually, since I had to toss a decoration that was a gift from my grandma. Over the years she bought a ton of stuff at the Hallmark store (including my massive collection of Keepsake ornaments), and she acquired a number of plush music making items. I'd had this snowman at a piano for years. He'd lost his body movement a few years ago, but the music and lights still worked. Yesterday when I tried to turn him on, he just didn't work. I changed the batteries to no avail, and then I noticed that the on-off switch was broken. It had lost its resistance and just didn't seem to function. There was no way to dig in and fix him, and I'm not going to donate something that simply doesn't work, so I had no choice but to let it go. I took a picture first, just to remember. Even though the decorating can be exhausting, it makes me happy. It makes my house feel like Christmas even when the rest of my Christmas cheer is lacking.
7) "Dirty Blueberries" - Carter has definitely been showing more signs of the terrible twos lately. He talks back, hits, and throws a pretty good tantrum now and then. Sometimes we wonder how much he's picked up from watching Jacob, or if he sees it at daycare, or if he's just acting his age. Even still, I know that sweet kid is in there, because he still gives hugs and says "I love you" and says some of the sweetest things ever. One of my favorites is when I ask him to do something--clean up, hand me something, etc.--and he says, "Of course I can, Mommy!" So sweet. Our latest thing is that he's been calling kisses on the cheek "blueberries". I have no idea where it came from, if it's a take on blowing raspberries or something like that, but he gives us blueberries--perfect little puckered pecks on the cheek. And then he took it up a notch and got sillier, saying that one that he gave Craig was a "dirty blueberry"! He thinks it's pretty clever and we just laugh. But as long as he's giving kisses, we won't be picky!
8) Another three-day work week - I'll admit it was probably easier to come into work today knowing that I only have to get through three days (again). Jacob has a half day Thursday and a full day off Friday, and since Craig will be crazy busy leading up to the first Knighthawks preseason game, it was my turn to be home. I am trying to keep him out of daycare at all costs, since I know he's not really comfortable there anymore and I'm still planning on trying to get Carter out of there when he transitions to the three-year-old room. I think we're just ready for a fresh start, particularly when I realized I had no desire to go to the Thanksgiving feast there because I simply didn't feel close to any of the staff or the families. It doesn't feel like family there anymore, outside of Carter's current teachers. Sad but true. So, with no daycare to fall back on right now, staying home is a good opportunity to spend some extra time with Jacob. We'll see how the parent-teacher conference goes on Thursday, though!
9) Lacrosse - I touched on this one recently, but I love Jacob's passion for lacrosse and I love the version of him that comes out when he gets to play. It's so easy to see his talent emerging, and I love that there's something in this world that he loves so much. Considering he doesn't seem to like me or Carter or reading or school or my cooking, sometimes it seems like he doesn't like anything. But he loves his dad, he loves his Legos and Playmobil guys, he loves sports video games, and and he loves lacrosse most of all, I think. Of course, the double-edged sword is that this time of year lacrosse takes Craig away from us far more often, but it's also what keeps him gainfully employed, so I guess we'll let it slide ;-)
10) Christmas music - The end of Thanksgiving means that my block on Christmas music comes to an end. I try to avoid it beforehand, but once Thanksgiving passes, I'm all in. I think it relates to how radio stations used to start playing it Thanksgiving night. I want to give Thanksgiving its due, but after that, we only have one solid month to enjoy it so I try to maximize that time. I honestly love Christmas music because it's either happy or quite blatantly about Jesus, and I can use plenty of that in my life. It's publicly accepted to sing about Christ at this time of year, which is sort of unique and cool. I need to hear "O Holy Night" to remind me to approach this season with reverence, and "Silent Night" to remind me to step back and take it all in. I need some "Jingle Bells" to make Carter laugh, and "All I Want For Christmas" to remind me of one of my very favorite movies, Love Actually. I just love the music, the lights, the decorations, and the random fun this time of year. It brightens up random days, and who doesn't need a little of that?
So, that's a little snapshot of what I'm thankful for right now. Hope you had a good Thanksgiving! Hard to believe December is upon us...