Friday, November 25, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011

As usual, the day started dark and early.  Since the time change my kids do not sleep past 6:30.  Let me rephrase that, since the time change PIPER does not sleep past 6:30.  Which means if Piper is up, Bryce is up. And if Bryce is up EVERYONE is up although Caroline might get another half hour in.  Seriously, when will her body adjust???

But, since I hadn't gone to bed late the night before, I was ready to go when they were and headed downstairs to get started on the monkey bread.  This was a good dish to make with the kids since I was able to split it up evenly - they each got to do a can of the biscuits.  I used a mix of brown and regular sugar and used real butter instead of margarine for the sauce.  (I'm kind of anti-margarine for cooking/baking these days.)  The kids LOVED it and man, did it ever make the house smell good first thing in the morning.  I thought it was decent and not as sweet as I expected based on how much sugar was in it.  I was also surprised it was not more gooey based on how much butter was in it too.  I might try another recipe next time but I don't have to because the kids adored it and ate the leftovers for breakfast today.

The kids were counting down to the parade and I started on the stuffing and then worked onto the sprouts.  Those 3 dishes ended up taking over 3 hours (along with time outs to do things for the kids) so I can't imagine cooking the entire meal myself.  We were ready to go right on time as I planned with the arrival of Santa in the parade being our cue.

When Santa came on screen, Bryce started yelling, "YAY, SANTA!"  Piper ran up to the TV and started squealing, "I love you Santa! I LOVE YOU SANTA!" and then made all kinds of kissing noises.  Caroline, on the other hand, rather loudly says, "Mommy, I think YOU bring all the presents.  Just tell me, okay?"  The younger two didn't seem very phased so I managed to get her alone and just told her that if she chooses not to believe that it's okay but she cannot talk about it to Bryce and Piper because they believe and they love believing.  I think she got my drift and she flippantly shrugged me off.

With that, we got the train back on track and headed out.  95 North was rough in many a patch and the ride to Jason's aunt's took longer than planned.  But we were still one of the first groups there and I had plenty of time to get my dishes into the oven.  Soon after, my ILs, Kelly/Jesse, and Jer/Julie arrived.

Dinner was truly a group effort with everyone contributing 2-3 dishes and all Jason's aunt had to do (aside from host!) was a turkey breast and her green bean casserole.  She has a great house for family get togethers and lots of nifty entertaining gadgets to hold all the food and keep it warm.  Jesse and Kelly brought a deep fried turkey and it was totally delicious.  I'm kind of torn on whether I like a brined bird or deep fried bird better now.

After dinner we took some family shots since it had been so long since Jason's dad's side had all been together. (Thank you handy dandy remote control for not making me rush into the frame!)

Then we got a shot of just Jason's immediate family:

Excuse Piper's lady-like pose
I reallllly had hoped maybe, just maybe we'd get a photo of just the 5 of us, but after all the shots we had to take to get these, the kids were DONE with photography.  I'm still on a quest for good holiday card photo.  I just need something to inspire me. Although I loved this shot from the day:

Piper had just taken her hair out of pigtails - hence, alien hair.

And here's Aunt Kelly and Piper doing what Piper knows better than to do...jump on furniture.  That's what aunts are for, right?

We left Jason's aunt's around 6pm planning to stop by my mom's for a visit since it's not too far from our house and we wanted to make sure we saw my grandmother who had come by for the day.  Because my siblings and I take turns with our family and spouse/significant other's family, this was the year that my mom didn't have any kids at her house for dinner.  Thankfully my dad's sister, BIL and my grandmother come so they aren't alone but I know that they'd be happily welcomed at my IL's celebration too.

My kids were so excited to be seeing both sides of the family in one day and rush in the house when we arrived.  Well, Piper didn't and parked herself on the front porch until my mom went out to get her.  She'd fallen asleep on the way there and was a bit grumpy.  My sister and her boyfriend, Will, were already there and my brother and Kelly arrived soon after.  We had a second round of desserts and he kids got to open their annual Hallmark Christmas ornament from my parents.  (My grandmother did the same for each of her grandchildren - I am the proud owner of some very rare Hallmark ornaments because she gave me some of the first in the series that they still produce!)  I love this tradition and my mom picks out such fitting ornaments for them each year.  This year Caroline got a Harry Potter themed ornament, Bryce a Darth Vader Lego ornament, and Piper a Minnie Mouse.  But she was a little upset because she really wanted Snow White - my mom felt terrible but they didn't have any Snow White ornaments this year.  (She was still in her post snooze funk too.)

After that, the kids went down in the basement with my mom, grandmother, aunt, and Kelly.  I soon found them with all four of the women wearing New Year's Eve crowns and the kids playing next to them. (I suspect the children had something to do with it.)

While the rest of us sat and watched the beginning of the Ravens game.  (I wasn't particularly interested/enthused but it was relaxing sitting on the couch and having adult conversations.)

We rounded the kids up around 9pm and all came home and fell into bed.  I felt pretty smart bringing leftover containers with us to both places and brought home a decent amount and selection of Thanksgiving yummies.  I was even more pleased with myself today when they provided lunch AND dinner.  No cooking, hooray!

It was a great day, one that I am thankful for in that I got to spend it with the most important people in my life.  This is probably why Thanksgiving is right up there as one of my favorite holidays.

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