Saturday, November 30, 2013

TToT, Week 26

The Pilgrims made seven times more graves than huts.  No Americans have been more impoverished than these who, nevertheless, set aside a day of thanksgiving. 
 ~H.U. Westermayer
 
We've been home for one hour after a wonderful trip home to Ohio for the Thanksgiving festivities.  This list will be a piece of cake.
 
 
1.  I am thankful for the easiest drive ever.  Driving to Ohio on the day before Thanksgiving is always a toss up.  On a normal day, it takes approximately 6 hours to get from our house to COW's mom's house.  The day before Thanksgiving can take anywhere from 7-12 hours.  Between traffic coming out of Indianapolis and through Columbus, Ohio, plus any snowy weather they could be experiencing, the drive has been known to be horrible.  We packed the van to be prepared for a worst case scenario, but were thrilled to have the shortest drive we've ever had.  Not one traffic jam blocked our way, and all the snow from the previous day's storm was cleared off the road. 
 
2.  I am thankful for the hall where we hold the Thanksgiving feast.  We used to gather at my grandma's house, but as the family grew and she got older, it became too much.  The Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) hall is the perfect place.  There is plenty of room for the 50ish people, including a stage area for the many, many boys to wrestle and play without hurting any of the adults.  Plus, there is a huge oven for cooking/warming food, and a buffet area to serve it all up. 
 
3.  I am thankful for all the relatives who were able to make the trip.  Aunts, uncles, cousins, siblings, nieces, nephews, and parents made it.  Even my cousin who lives in Hilton Head made the trip with his kids.  Everyone had a great time catching up.
 
4.  I am thankful for my parents' ability to put the past behind them.  My parents were divorced more than 30 years ago.  It wasn't the prettiest of divorces.  We'll leave it at that.  However, over time, they have let it go.  To the point to where they actually enjoy each other's company again.  While it is my dad who hosts, and his family who we celebrate with, my mom is not only invited, but encouraged to come.  She is part of the family, playing cards and talking and laughing with the rest of us.  I am so grateful to my dad and stepmom for including her.  It makes our holidays so much better to be able to spend the day with both parents.
 
5.  I am thankful for my brother's surprise arrival.  Neither of my brothers were going to be able to make it to Ohio this year, but at the last minute my youngest brother's plans changed.  He and his family just showed up as we were getting ready to eat.  Gatherings are always more fun when my brother is there.  (Mom and Dad and any other relative reading this, DO NOT tell him this.  His ego is big enough as it is.)
 
6.  I am thankful for the time I have to spend with my grandma and her siblings.  One great-aunt and one great-uncle and one great-aunt-in-law (all in their late 70s/80s) are frequent attendees at my dad's gatherings.  I love spending time with them.  We mainly play Euchre, but my great-aunt and I have our own Scrabble time whenever I am in town.  I so enjoy listening to them talk about the old days, but talking about current things are just as good.  They all have me laughing whenever I see them.  My favorite line this week came after someone chided them for swearing in front of the kids.  They were upset that people accused them of swearing/cussing, and one great-aunt said, "It's a bull, and it's shit.  What else am I supposed to call it?  Bull poop?"   As my grandma was pointing out to just about everyone over the past couple months, this may be her last Thanksgiving.  (None of us believe her.)  I am going to take advantage of every chance I have to spend time with them.

7.  I am thankful for my snickerdoodle recipe.  I made a batch to take to Thanksgiving, and to say they were a hot item is an understatement.  People were actually fighting over them.  As in snatching them out of each other's hands, even after a bite had been taken.  These cookies are that good.  In the midst of it all, I found out where the recipe actually came from.  I had gotten it from my mom, but didn't know where she had gotten it.  On Thursday, I found out it came from my great-aunt's (of bullshit fame) mother-in-law.  I am so happy to know it's origins, and that it wasn't just out of a magazine my mom read.

8.  I am thankful for COW.   I know, I mention him in lots of lists.  But over the holidays, I am especially grateful.  We always stay with his mom when we go back home, as my family's houses are all booked up with out-of-state relatives.  Every single night we are home, every single year, COW will take the kids back to his mom's house, put them to bed, and stay with them while I stay at Grandma's or Dad's to spend time with my relatives.  I get to simply enjoy their company till all hours of the night, without having to worry about tired kids or an endless stream of "Mom! Mom! Mom!" 

9.  I am thankful for the quiet morning I had the day after Thanksgiving.  Each year, the NFL Hall of Fame has free admission for kids the day after Thanksgiving.  COW has been taking the boys every year for at least 6 years.  This was the first year all 5 boys were old enough to go.  They all left the house at 7:45, Buttercup had some quiet time with my mother-in-law, and I got to stay in bed reading a book until I felt like getting up.  It was fantastic.

10.  I am thankful for the chance to help our parents and my grandma.  While I love living in Indianapolis, I hate that I am so far away from our family.  My dad, COW's mom, and my grandma are the only ones who still live in Ohio.  There's not a lot we can do to help them when they need it.  When we are home, we try to do as much as we can.  We were able to help them get some heavy lifting and unloading and organizing and wallpaper stripping done while we were home.  I know they appreciate it, but I wish we could do more.

Well, that was the easiest list I've ever done.  I hope you all had a wonderful holiday (or a normal Thursday, for all my non-US friends) and safe travels.  Feel free to link in a post or let me know what made you happy this week in the comments.

Have a lovely day!

 
 



Ten Things of Thankful


 Your hosts

41 comments:

  1. Well you and yours had a very nice Thanksgiving. I'm happy about that. And your brother showed up just in time for dinner. Even better.

    Have a terrific day. ☺

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    1. We certainly did. I'm happy about it, too. :)

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  2. that is one huge group of people for Thanksgiving! I thought our family was big. I think the biggest one ever had was about 34 people.and what is it about elderly women who insist this you will be their last? If I had a nickel for every year my mother said the I have about 5 bucks which doesn't sound like much but it's a hell of a lot of nickels!

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    1. Ha! That is a lot of nickels. :) My grandma has been hinting at it for years, too. One year she kept getting on our case if we said something inappropriate and made her laugh. She's scold us and say, "Stop it! I'm getting close to dying, and I'm trying to get into heaven!"
      My grandma even sent a note to my mom, who was on the fence about going to Ohio this year. In the note, she said, "I would really like to see you. It will probably be my last one."
      Yes, we do draw a big crowd for Thanksgiving. No one wants to be the person who didn't make it to Grandma's last Thanksgiving. :)

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    2. My mom is now 85 but has been leaving what I refer to (with not a slight bit of sarcastic nostalgia) as the "Christmas Death Letter." It is a letter she leaves for me every year in her box of Christmas ornaments ... it opens..."If you're reading this I must be dead..." Yeah, it makes for a pretty great holiday experience! LOL.

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    3. Hahahaha!!! That is so funny, in a macabre sort of way.

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  3. Sounds like you guys had an awesome time!!! How wonderful! 50 people!!! WOW!!! Like a small wedding!

    So glad you are back safe and sound! Didn't really sink in about the holiday (since it's not one for us) and I was like an old Mother Hen and getting worried. Oish.

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    1. We had a great time, as usual. Yes, 52 people to be exact this year. Lots of loud, lots of laughing, lots of fun. You should see a wedding, when even more relatives come! :)

      Aw, you were worried about me?? Sorry I didn't warn you about my absence.

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  4. Awesome Things of happiness for your Thanksgiving post :)

    Glad you enjoyed the scrabble and the company and the lie-in (COW's such a star - kudos to him) and the chance to help out as you wanted to.

    It sounds as though you had a completely gorgeous, re-connecting, nurturing time, and good for you :D

    Thursday was...better left there, in the end!

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  5. Your grandma's comment about it possibly being her last Thanksgiving reminded me of the mother of a friend of mine. She had cancer, and used the "It's my last Christmas" line the year of her diagnosis. The next year, she had beaten the odds and was still alive, so she used the line again. The third year (if I'm remembering correctly), she got to be part of an experimental treatment program, and she made a complete recovery. She became a spokesman for the new treatment, and we'd hear her on radio commercials all the time. Her daughter said that no one fell for the "It's my last Christmas" line anymore!

    Glad you had such a wonderful week. Your great-aunt sounds like a real character!

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    1. Wow! What a story! What a great lady!
      My grandma doesn't have anything more than high blood pressure. And she's still living on her own. I'm guessing she'll still be around next year, but I'm still going to spend as much time in Ohio as I can, just in case.

      Thanks. My great-aunt is a hoot.

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  6. Wonderful things to be thankful for..this list truly embraces gratitude. Happy thanksgiving Christine!

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  7. Thank you, I had a lovely Thursday :). I'm glad your Thanksgiving was such a success!

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  8. sounds amazing… that many (related) people in one (large) room. and, it sounds, that by being 'not in someone's house' takes a lot of the set and preparation pressure away.

    …@zoe, you're saying that: a) your mother is 240 years old or 2) she has 200 nickels, right? (and people say we don't learn things in blogs!)

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    1. It mostly takes the pressure off my grandma. My dad and stepmom still do quite a bit to give the place a homey feel and get the turkey cooked. But, it does mean no one's house gets destroyed by the 11 boys running around. :)

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  9. You're so lucky that your folks can get along and be friends. It is a good situation. Glad you had such a great Thanksgiving!

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    1. It am most certainly fortunate to have parents who can finally get along so well. Makes the holidays even more special. Thanks!

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  10. Sounds like you had a great Thanksgiving. And how nice that your husband takes care of the kids so you can spend time with your relatives.
    I can relate to what you say about being thankful for being able to help out your parents and grandma. I also live some distance from where I grew up, and was very glad that I had made the trip in the summer and so was able to help out just before my dad died.

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    1. We did. It's a great system we have. My brother and his wife have the same arrangement. I will forever be grateful to my husband and sister-in-law for being so understanding about it.
      With my kids getting bigger, we can really get a lot done for them all in a short amount of time. It makes me happy to be able to do it for them.
      I'm sure your help was greatly appreciated. I'm guessing it was as good for you, though, as it was for them.

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  11. Sounds like such a wonderful gathering! I'm especially glad your parents could put their differences aside. Letting go is a beautiful thing.

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    1. I will forever be grateful to my parents for getting past their differences and giving us these wonderful chances to spend time all together.

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  12. Sounds like thanksgiving was awesome! I definitely enjoyed the read - it's mind boggling - 50 people in one place! I have a HUGE family, but there are so many different "little families" that we don't all gather in one place (yeah on my mom's side there are over 100 grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great grandchildren living). Whewee! Haha. Loved the read. :)

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    1. It really was. Thanksgiving is the big holiday in our family. Everyone does his best to get to town for it. Christmas is the holiday where everyone does their own thing and gets together with the in-laws. We are the only ones who head to Ohio for Christmas, and it's because my husband's mom is also there.
      Wow!! That is a huge family!
      Glad you liked it!

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  13. Love your list...but I'm still waiting for those Snickerdoodles. Anyone else out there gotten any of these allegedly-fabulous Snickerdoodles? True, while they are not chocolate I like a good Snickerdoodle...

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    1. I reckon you're gonna have to barter with Salted Caramel Pretzel Bark (hey, it's an excuse for you to have some too, right?)

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    2. Thank you, Lizzi! I don't recall ever being given any of that magical bark! I did post the recipe and said how easy they are to make... :)

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  14. That is such a great family tradition. My family has become smaller and more splintered with aunts and uncles concentrating on their on children and grands. We hardly ever get together like that any more. Congrats on such a great extended family gathering. Sounds like a wonderful time. I am glad you mother and father were able to put

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    1. their arguments aside and find a way to love you and family more.

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    2. I pray it continues after my grandma finally does pass. (As much as I joke, it's bound to happen some day.) I'd be really sad if everyone started to split off.

      It is always a good time when the family gets together. And I am grateful to my parents for allowing it to happen.

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  15. I love reading about family traditions! And I'm super thankful you got to stay in bed and read to your heart's desire. That makes me smile the most!!!

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    1. I love having family traditions! :) They are fun to read about, too.

      It was a lovely, unexpected morning of relaxation.

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  16. Sounds like you had a really lovely holiday! Renting a hall to house all of you is such a great idea. Also jealous that your parents tolerate one another and even enjoy being around each other! That makes such a huge difference!!

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    1. We did. No one got beat up in a parking lot and no one fell off of any beds. :)

      My dad certainly was brilliant in the moment he suggested getting the hall.

      My parents have come a long way over the past 30 years. It's been wonderful these last 10 or so.

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  17. What a lovely Thanksgiving all around! -- always nice when a family trip goes smoothly (because so many things CAN go wrong and often times you can get waylaid), people getting along, surprise visit -- just some really awesome awesomeness!

    I'm late to getting around to people's TToT --- I feel SO far behind! ;)

    I am making a goal (which I seldom do) to make your snickerdoodles for Christmas.

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    1. It really was. Very true! Can't tell you how many times things HAVE gone wrong in past years. We never let it take away the laughter completely, though.

      Kari, you don't have to visit everyone. It's rule #21.8. Only visit a couple if you don't have time. This is supposed to be FUN!!

      OH, make the cookies. Then tell me what you think.

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  18. I just love when the TToT list is easy as pie! Sounds like you had a wonderful holiday. And to #4 I say a big hooray to your parents. Divorce can be so difficult, but I've also seen it turn out well for all concerned when everyone gets along and can be together for the sake of all in the family. What a blessing!

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    1. Me, too!
      It truly is a blessing. Time and forgiving hearts can really change things.

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  19. How did I miss this post? I'm so behind! I don't have that big of a family, so I can't imagine such a gathering! The food must have been fantastic!

    I know what you mean about those pronouncements that "this may be my last _____." My mom does that sometimes now, and it really upsets me. I realize she's just being pragmatic, but I would like to stay in my bubble that has everyone living happily and healthfully forever.

    Can you come over and strip some wallpaper for me?

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Thank you for taking the time to tell me what you're thinking!