Monday, December 5, 2011

Time to Give Thanks

Our Thanksgiving didn't go quite as we had planned this year. The boys, Daisy and I decided to join Josh in Tennessee for the short work week to check out a few more potential houses and also check out the apartment complex that Josh would be moving into this month. We were then planning to head back to Georgia to spend four restful days together at the house. It has been hard on Josh making the 5+ hour trek from TN back to GA every weekend to spend time with us, so we were looking forward to the break. Everything changed suddenly when I got the call on Monday morning from my mom that my Grandpa Frank had passed away Sunday night. Though it wasn't a complete surprise, as he hadn't been doing great since he had broken his hip and was staying in a nursing home, it was still not a phone call I wanted to get. The calling hours and funeral were set for Friday and Saturday, so with Josh working until Wednesday, we decided to go straight to Ohio once he was done. We made a pit stop at Josh's parents' house on Wednesday night to spend Thanksgiving Day with Josh's parents, his youngest brother, Aaron, and his daughter, Braelynn. That evening we made the drive farther north to my parents' house. It was a rough weekend to get through, but we had a beautiful military funeral for him, as he was a WWII veteran. It was nice to get to see all of my cousins, something I hadn't had the chance to do in years, though it wasn't the best circumstances. Here is a pic of all seven of us with our children. Not too bad for 11 little ones (eight of them 4 and under)! Apparently something fun was going on to the right since more than half of us are looking that direction! haha! Shout out to my sis for clothing my children. We didn't exactly have funeral attire with us, so thanks to cousin Jacob for letting the boys wear his old clothes!

Below are two of my favorite pictures I have of my Grandpa, from our wedding in 2005. Though you can't see his face, I love the expression on my face. You can tell he is giving me a hard time in the first picture, as he was known to do. In the next, you can see the emotion on my face, as I was so thankful that he was there to see me get married. At 83 years old at that time, you don't take anything for granted!

We spent Friday and Saturday with my family, then decided to make the trip home that evening. We had discovered on Wednesday night that Noah travels best at night, when he is sleeping! By the time we left it was getting late, so we decided to travel just part of the way, to the apartment in Tennessee. We got in late and got a few hours of sleep before waking up to travel the rest of the way home. The trip went well that evening with Noah sleeping almost the entire way. The rest of the trip home the next day was definitely not so pleasant. Sigh.

Josh had taken Monday off of work as a bereavement day and decided to take Tuesday off too since we still had so much we wanted to accomplish around the house that weekend. We decided to go ahead and make our Thanksgiving dinner on Monday since I had already purchased a turkey and all the fixings before we had left town the previous weekend. I started with the stuffing, preparing it the way my dad has always done it. It's a simple recipe, but when roasted inside the turkey, it tastes amazing and is always my favorite part of the Thanksgiving meal! You start be melting two sticks of butter in a big pan, then you chop up some onion and celery and cook this in the butter. Once these are tender, add in 3 cups of bread crumbs and coat them in the butter mixture. Put all of this into a big bowl and mix in 6 more cups of bread crumbs, sage, salt, pepper and thyme, coating everything evenly. This is then ready to be stuffed inside the turkey. I had purchased a small 8-pound turkey since it was just three of us that would be eating, so not all of the stuffing fit inside. I kept the turkey simple, just rubbing it with butter and seasoning it with salt and pepper. I roasted it in a bag, which I think keeps the meat nice and moist. In addition to the turkey and stuffing, I made a corn souffle (1 can corn, 1 can creamed corn, 1 box corn muffin mix, 2 eggs - mix and bake at 350 for 45 min), green bean casserole (directions can be found on the French Fried Onion container), mashed potatoes, gravy (using the turkey juices, flour and milk, of course!), and Josh's favorite, a pumpkin pie (directions on the pumpkin puree can for the filling and I make my crust like my Momma does, using flour, shortening, water and salt). I was quite busy in the kitchen that day! And yes, we eat on our fine china for Thanksgiving. It's fun and makes it feel even more special. :) Everything was delicious and given that there was enough food for a small army, we had leftovers for a week!

As we did last year, we decided to decorate the Christmas tree after eating our Thanksgiving dinner. With our living situation in limbo this year, we weren't originally sure if we were even going to put up a tree. Once it was decided we would move after Christmas though, we wanted to decorate our house here in Georgia one more time. It was fun this year, as Ethan understands a lot more than he did his previous two Christmases. He helped Daddy decorate the tree, which to him meant throwing the tinsel at the tree, haha! Awesome.

Oh well, in the end it looked nice. :)

Definitely one of the busier Thanksgiving weekends we have ever had. We have so much to be thankful for again this year...but especially for the addition of another adorable little guy to our clan and for a new job that will allow us to spend more time together as a family. We are incredibly fortunate that Josh continues to find many opportunities in this hard economic time. We will be especially thankful to all be living together again soon!

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