This year's Thanksgiving celebration was similar but different.
We skipped our traditional Turkey Trot 5K in favor of sleeping in. At first I was bummed we didn't sign up for the race; I love the fresh air and adrenaline rush on a holiday morning. Instead, we woke up before the kids, brewed a big pot of coffee, and tucked in to a warm puffed pancake and a pile of applewood bacon. It was awesome.
This year I tried some new recipes for pecan bars and Parker House rolls, instead of baking pies. Normally around lunch time on Thanksgiving Day, I'd be covered in flour with a sink full of dishes, shoving pies into the oven with fingers crossed that the crust wouldn't burn. This year, with all of my baking done a day in advance, I was able to to take an extra long shower while Meg napped and Russ hit balls at the driving range with the big girls. Everybody won.
My parents host the feast every year for 15-20 guests. Usually by 3 o'clock we're in a frenzy: too many cooks in the kitchen, all jockeying for space in her single oven, flinging open windows to let in some fresh air, and remembering too late that "we forgot to bake the mac 'n cheese!!" This year the turkey finished early on the barbecue, and most of the side dishes were prepared in advance and would be re-heated for the feast. A few folks worked on whisking the gravy, assembling the salad, and not burning the mac 'n cheese (Sara saved it just in time). The rest of us were able to stroll in, pour a yummy beverage, and get comfy on the couch.
Since we became parents six years ago, I've grown accustomed to feeding and entertaining one toddler after another during the holiday meal. This means I rarely sit down to eat like a normal person, and instead I'll graze from the buffet and maybe stuff a roll in my face on the go. This year, I was able to sit at the adult table and enjoy my entire meal without tending to one kiddo or another. Big props to the World's Best Aunties (and Casey!) for sitting next to my kiddos and bribing Megan with pomegranate seeds to keep her in her high chair.
When I finally climbed into bed last night, I counted my blessings. I'm ashamed at how rarely I consciously do this. My challenges are few, but they are so distracting to a grateful perspective. I want to be better about finding gratitude in unlikely places.
The early morning wake-up call...means I get to drink my coffee now.
The mountain of laundry...means we have lots of warm clothes.
The endless chauffeuring...means my kids are social, active, and getting an education.
The constant interruptions for help getting paper/crayons/that book on the top shelf/someone to play with...means the kids are being creative and learning new things.
The noisy hallways and messy floor...means our house is full of life.
The dilemma about what to cook for dinner...means we have food in our kitchen and the luxury to choose it.
The exhaustion at the end of the day...means I am alive!