After overcoming early setbacks, we ended up hosting a pretty great Thanksgiving, if I do say so myself. The first family arrived on Wednesday, and I dropped off the last guest late Saturday, so we turned it into a pagan festival, and we were pretty exhausted by the end, but it was all fun.
Food-wise, Cute W’s turkey was fabulous, as expected, and his mashed potatoes were particularly delicious, even though he was stymied by a wife who bought an incorrect and insufficient supply of potatoes, requiring one last grocery run. My green beans and broccoli-stuffed tomatoes could have used a bit more cooking, while the stuffing suffered from a bit too much time staying warm in the slow cooker, but my vegetarian gravy was a triumph, if I do say so myself. Next time I’d double the chocolate mousse recipe. We also picked up a pecan pie from Grandma’s Pie Shop. It was our first time getting anything there, and I thought it was really good. Cute W picked up the pie, and when he came home he couldn’t stop talking about the stacks upon stacks of pies all over the place, making me wish I’d gone myself and him wish that he’d taken a photo.
The girls got plenty of awesome cousin play time, Cute W played many, many games, and I enjoyed my favorite combo, wine and chit-chat. We weren’t quite sure what we’d do on Friday, but we ended up getting an impromptu visit from my cousin and his family. They’d been on the West Coast for about a decade, so the grown-ups had last seen our kids as babies and toddlers, and now those kids are grown and they brought their own babies and toddlers. Of course we grown-ups looked exactly the same, probably better, but all those kiddos were evidence that plenty of time had passed. It was great to have some extended family around, since our Thanksgiving meal group was only a dozen, which is quite a modest number for our family.
On Saturday we said our goodbyes and began piles of laundry and consolidated leftovers and fell asleep early. We needed our rest, because at our house, the Christmas season was starting promptly on Sunday.
On Sunday morning we picked up bagels at Breugger’s and headed to Bob’s Trees to bag us an evergreen. After several days of broad hints from J, Holly the Elf also reappeared on Sunday morning bearing a CD in her little plush arms that’s another family essential for the cut-your-own-tree process, John Denver & The Muppets’ A Christmas Together. We found our tree with minimal hand-wringing and drama, then Cute W and J took turns sawing it down so speedily that it was a new family record. In previous years we’d linger, checking out deer or Santa or shopping the kissing balls or buying some hot chocolate, but the kids are now officially over all that. The essentials now: bagels, Muppets, tree, and home again.
Then it was a busy day of groceries, cookie-baking, soup-making and digging out decorations. J was particularly funny because she knows where everything goes, so she was all business, getting that little needlepoint Santa mounted in the downstairs bathroom and hanging the bell wreath on the door, then negotiating with M over who would get which stocking hanger this year (we have a tree, a snowman, a reindeer, and a “Noel,” and each year there are strong opinions on who should get what).
By late evening we were completely exhausted, but luckily Cute W managed to stay awake long enough to see the entire dramatic Broncos game. The rest of us made do with highlights in the morning. I still need to make a wreath, but I’m feeling slightly ahead of schedule, holiday-wise, which feels pretty good.