An action-packed Thanksgiving break in our house.

We kicked things off Wednesday by heading to the post office to submit passport applications for all three girls. We are going to Mexico next spring break and wanted to give their applications plenty of time to percolate through the system. We double, triple, quadruple checked that everything was in order, talked to a couple friends who had gone through the process recently, and arrived thoroughly prepared…only to discover the post office now takes reservations for the passport window and they were booked solid for the day. We got there early, and they told us if we wanted to hang out they’d try to squeeze us in. We gave that a shot, as there were only two groups in front of us, but before the first family got processed two more came in and we gave up. So much for planning ahead!

Off to a couple stores to do last-minute shopping for Thanksgiving dinner and then it was back home to wrap up cleaning/straightening the house to get ready for the big day. One of the girls’ big Christmas presents was delivered that afternoon. In a rather large box. With a sticker listing the box’s contents. Somehow the girls didn’t see it as it sat at the front door until I could sneak it up to the attic. Honestly, I’m not sure why I’m trying to act like their gifts don’t come from Amazon, Target, Pottery Barn, etc like everything else we get them. One of us has to keep up appearances, I guess.

Last year I let L watch the Cheers “Thanksgiving Orphans” episode with me on Thanksgiving eve. As I recalled, she didn’t seem to really understand why I laughed so much, although she did enjoy the food fight. So this year I went back to my old system of waiting until the girls went to bed to watch it. I drank a little too much bourbon and laughed a lot, just like I have for the past 31 Thanksgivings.

The next morning L asked me, “Are you going to watch the show with the food fight?” She was disappointed when I said I had watched it the night before. I guess she’ll join me again in 2018!

On to food prep. We were hosting, but it was about the smallest possible group we can have in our local family: only six adults plus our girls and two one-year-olds. I handled the turkey, corn casserole, and made Giada’s stuffing/dressing. When I put the bird in, I thought something looked different about it. When it was time to carve it, I asked my sister-in-law who is a chef take the knife. She started carving, paused, and wondered why it wasn’t cutting like she expected. That’s when she realized I had cooked the bird upside-down. She said that was actually a good thing, as it kept the breast in all the juices and fat, which kept it moist[1] and tender. Fortunately the bird turned out great, so I decided that will be my thing going forward, and will refer to it as my Famous Upside-Down Turkey.

We had a fine meal, and I once again bemoaned the fact that my minor stomach issues prevent me from eating nearly as much as I used to. Seriously I can’t even go back for mid-evening leftovers anymore. That just meant more food for the weekend.

Friday is decoration day in our house. I stepped outside in the frosty morning to begin putting up lights while S worked a half-day. Within an hour I was chucking my jacket aside and wiping sweat from my brow as it turned into a beautiful, warm, fall day. Weird. Usually I’m freezing on decoration days. Once S got home we headed out for the purchasing of the tree and got the inside decorations taken care of. We ended up with a very handsome tree once again.

Saturday was another prep day as C was having two friends over for a sleepover. It was a Harry Potter-themed sleepover, as the girls would be watching the Freeform marathon of the Potter movies while doing some Potter-related crafts and playing games. C decorated the basement so it was filled with references to the books and movies. She’s very creative and did a fantastic job. The nice thing about having 11-year-olds over for a sleepover is you just kind of turn them loose. We only saw them when they came up for pizza. Now we did hear them plenty. They were still going strong at 12:30 when I finally fell asleep. We heard Sunday morning that C and one of her friends made it until 3:00 before passing out.

Oh, and we squeezed in taking a picture for the Christmas card Saturday afternoon, too. This has always been a problem in our family. Each year at least one kid doesn’t want to cooperate. S and I are usually yelling at them to knock it off/stop pouting/stop whining/leave your sister alone the entire time. Somehow we always end up with a decent pic. But, man, this year was an especially big struggle. I won’t out which kid was the biggest problem but I took the fewest pics I’ve ever taken because there was a complete meltdown after about 10 minutes. Fortunately one of the pictures was good enough to work, although neither of us think it is one of our best.

Sunday was clean-up, chill-out day.

The girls got an extra hour added onto break as I made an appointment first thing this morning to knock out the passports. The lady at the post office was really nice, rushed everything through so they could get to school quickly, and the forms are off to Chicago for processing.

Just before sitting down to put this together, I whipped up a batch of cookie dough so C can make the first Christmas cookies of the year after school today.

The holiday season has begun!

  1. You’re welcome.  ↩