We had a great Thanksgiving this year! It was spent with our British family and it was what I have always pictured in a Thanksgiving. First of all, we had our own family unit – me, the husband, Mei & Emily and we split up the kid duties and cooking duties, got up early early in the morning to start slaving away in the kitchen, making dish after dish of food and eventually, as it grew closer to the time we had planned to eat, all of our extended British family started coming over and getting the food to keep warm, re-heat or finish baking and set a L-O-N-G table for all of us to sit and enjoy this ornate, roast meal.
Over the sounds of serving spoons hitting the bottoms and sides of the emptying casserole dishes and forks and knives grinding against plates, the clatter and clamor of children hopping in and out of their chairs and running in and out of the room, we all held various conversations about the differences between American & British roast meals over the noises that are Thanksgiving.
Between the food and the company, the night was incredibly enjoyable and comforting as it ended with a silly round of Apples 2 Apples – a game they had never played before. By that time, all the kids were either rubbing their eyes and running out the last of their energy from the various bits of pie, ice cream and whipped cream they had consumed or had crashed in various positions, frozen in the middle of one action or another (you know, like looking like they only made it half way up the sofa before they fell asleep… the cute poses that you dash to get a picture of before re-positioning the child in what must certainly be a more comfortable position, at least for breathing – if not for sleeping).
This year was the first we spent just with family, instead of with a collection of friends, so we did all of the cooking, since we were familiar with the “traditional” dishes and that was alright by me! My hubby and I planned our wishlist of dishes for about two weeks and carefully shopped for it all – getting ever so excited about the impending meal. I tried a couple recipes that worked out really well and will certainly become staples each year, and had a couple that didn’t pan out quite as well (like the pumpkin pie… it could use some tweaking, or I could go back to the one we have made before that was perfectly delicious…), nevertheless, our family were quick to make claims to the leftovers and argue over portions, quickly wrapping things up to have the next day – all from families that have never really celebrated Thanksgiving or had a meal this absurdly over-abundant before.
It was a great Thanksgiving!
With all that said, I was so focused on making a great meal to share with our family that I didn’t want to bother with posting all those Thanksgiving recipes that circulate in the days before Thanksgiving. Most of us were busy making food for our own families or searching for that perfect recipe and that was fine by me! One of the traditions that I feel is special and fun to share are the things we are thankful for. For our British family, this was a great fun and we all had a silly thing and a more serious thing to be thankful for. After each person said what they were thankful for, it always seemed to spur a joke or conversation, so it was something that took most of the meal to hear what each person was thankful for – but it was more fun this way. It certainly made for light-hearted, entertaining conversation while the wine and sparkling cider flowed easily over a rather satisfying meal.
For my blog, I thought I would share ten things I am thankful for this year as a way to wrap up Thanksgiving weekend. This is something that I feel is overlooked in the hustle and bustle of the hoilday to make a perfect meal, remembering the things we are thankful for and appreciating all that we have, so without further ado….
- I am thankful for my husband. He is my cornerstone and while the past two years has held many emotional ups and downs as we “built” our family, we have managed to weather it all together and grow closer together.
- Mei! She is an exceptional child – well-behaved when she should be (mostly anyways), eager to learn and help me do everything I do and she certainly fills each day with plenty of cute and precious moments that I couldn’t do without!
- Emily! Even though she is still very new to the family, she has a wonderful personality and I enjoy each hug she gives me and every smile when she hasn’t seen me in awhile or wakes up each morning and you just know that your face is the best thing she has seen! The sheer recognition and excitement that registers on her face is simply the best thing! I can’t wait to see how she grows and how her personality develops further.
- Patella. Sometimes she is the last to get our attention, and as the oldest “child” she certainly sacrifices her time with us and space in the house, but she is always nearby, sitting and watching the front door from the kitchen while we cook (just in case someone should try to bother us or come for a visit) and keeping us company on cold nights by squeezing in with us on the sofa or in the bed. She is a very special part of our family.
- I am thankful for our British family. We will miss them when we have to leave. They have made living abroad a true adventure and really helped us to make a home here, watching our families grow together and raise our children together.
- I am thankful for my garden. It has brought us super-delicious food and brought our family together.
- I am thankful for my close friend that was willing to put up with all the stress that comes with a newborn, and helping us to settle into our new family, travelling from the States and staying with us for three months.
- I am thankful that I am no longer pregnant! It was hard to move around and have the energy to do things. I did however enjoy each day I was pregnant, feeling the kicks and little life that was so impatiently trying to grace us with her presence.
- I am thankful for blogs. Through the internet, I have made countless, fabulous friends, developed my skills in the kitchen and shared all of our obstacles and achievements, tears and laughs with.
- Lastly, I am thankful for the ability of food to bring comfort to people and to bring people together.
What are you thankful for this year?