Matt and I have an enormous amount to be thankful for. The only things I'll bother to mention, though, are our children and each other. Even though we decided not to shell out the dough for a trip home (saving that for an extra-long Christmas visit), we had a wonderful Thanksgiving in Arlington. I made the extra special effort to dress up the kids even though 75% of the time they were bedecked it was just the four of us.
Well, Karol was dressed up. Pat's 'dress up' clothes are so restricting, I gave him a break. But he did sport a nice "Baby's First Thanksgiving" bib.
Matt spent the entire day - from 7am until 4pm - in the kitchen. Our new apartment has a phenomenal kitchen compared to the tiny set up in our place in Silver Spring, and Matt really enjoyed flexing his culinary muscles. He didn't have to go it alone though - our college buddy, Dan Wanke, stayed in town (for the same reasons we did - he's from Wisconsin); we were thrilled to have him over and he helped Matt with all the side dishes, of which there were many.
Besides an incredibly juicy, flavorful, delicious turkey, we had creamed corn, green beans, mashed potatoes and gravy, creamed spinach, chestnut stuffing, traditional stuffing, apple-topped sweet potatoes and traditional sweet potatoes (my personal Thanksgiving fave). Matt, did I miss anything? Dan brought over two pumpkin pies (I just polished off the leftovers of that while typing this, actually), I made a rather bland pumpkin bisque and a family recipe Irish coffee cake and Matt's friend Cherub brought an Indian dish (thankfully for me not too spicy!) as well.
We had a full house this Thanksgiving, since we had the honor of hosting Dan and three of Matt's friends from GWU-Anand, Ritwik and Cherub. They are from India, so not surprisingly they can't make the trip home either (and I thought we lived too far from home!). My favorite part of having friends over is seeing the interaction they have with Karol and Patrick. Karol used to be a frequent visitor to group meetings, classes, and the like, if I was on military duty, if someone was sick or if childcare fell through, so Karol is especially familiar with the GW MBA class of 2010. I love that she is comfortable playing and talking to Matt's classmates and that they are open to playing "Uncle" to K&P every now and then. And they loves the extra attention, of course!
Dan & Pat
Cherub & Karol
Ritwik & Pat
Anand & Karol
The next day we hit the Black Friday sales! I know what you're thinking, "Black Friday sales with two kids, is she nuts?" Actually, we didn't really start our shopping until after 8, and the craziness is pretty much quelled by then. We hit Target, Staples, and Guitar Center, all of which were only a little livelier than normal. Best Buy was the only place we went with any Black Friday rush left, so Matt dropped me off at the door and I grabbed what we needed while he drove around with the kids.
After that, we went to Uncle Joe and Aunt Judy's house at Karol's insistence. She absolutely loves going over there, especially when she gets to brush Dusty and give him treats!
The next day, Matt and Karol wanted to check out all the new decorations at the mall and maybe get some of our own for the apartment, so we spent all day at Springfield Mall and Tyson's Corner. The kids were both so good the whole day through (hint, hint, St. Nick) and we all had a great time. We crossed a few people off our gift list, got some cute new Christmas shirts for Patrick, and Mommy got a couple things from her new favorite store, New York & Company. Everyone except Matt has their Christmas socks for Louisville Christmas, which I'm told is a necessity. We'll have to pick up some for Daddy today.
So after a pretty packed long weekend, this Sunday we are chilling at home, writing letters to Santa, and maybe taking a long walk before Mass this evening. We are getting really excited for Advent and Christmas, and looking forward to a week and a half in Indiana. Next on the holiday to-do list: get a Christmas tree! I have no idea where we'll put it though!
I can't even count the many ways God has blessed us this year. I just pray that our good fortune continues and that we keep growing together as a family.
Happy holidays to everyone and we can't wait to see you at Christmas!
"Hold still and smile!"