I know everyone is now in full on Christmas mode, but I'm still stuck on Thanksgiving. We did buy a tree for the apartment today, but haven't done any decorating. I've ordered cards but they're not in yet, and I've done very little shopping so Thanksgiving it is.
I'm not one of those people who can skip the holidays just because we're living an in-between sort of season right now. I want twinkle lights and cinnamon candles and I don't want turkey dinner in a restaurant. I'm not knocking that if it's your tradition, and if I need to have dinner in a restaurant to accomodate someone's travel or family situation, then sure I will do it, happily I might add. But that's not our tradition and holidays are a time my heart longs for the memory of childhood and the little things that mark the holidays as our own.
As you get older, or more specifically as your children get older, you have to adjust the picture you have in your head of how a holiday will actually look in real life. I get that, and I do keep my mind and heart focused on what's most important. That doesn't mean I won't try to have at least a smidgen of the traditions our families have enjoyed year after year as part of any new celebrations we embrace. It's going to require some creativity this Christmas, but I'm working on it.
Today though it's November, and November is a month set aside for counting our blessings and giving thanks so let's talk turkey.
Daughter2 and her boyfriend have been dating for some time now, but we've never met his family in person. We've never been in the same state at the same time (it's us remember), so this was the year we decided to be intentional in changing that. His parents invited us to spend Thanksgiving with their family in the Buckeye State, and we were happy to accept.
We drove up on Wednesday and enjoyed a casual dinner in their lovely home, followed by a whole weekend of lovely moments spent chatting, eating, and refreshing our ping pong skills. I used to have ping pong skills, but haven't played in such a long time and I'd forgotten how much I loved it.
I always think of my brother when I play ping pong. He used to play me a game most nights after dinner and he always beat me, even when he very sweetly played right handed (he's a lefty). Those games have a page in the scrapbook I keep in my head.
Also, I will go ahead and say what everyone is thinking. Yes my youngest looks like me. Exactly. If you saw a picture of me at her age you would swear it was her. Except I wasn't as fair haired back then. ahem.
Our Thanksgiving meal was delicious and very similar to what I would have prepared if we'd been at home. This made me happy because I don't like anyone to mess too much with the Thanksgiving menu. There was lots of football watching and a little Foosball playing and the weather was phenomenal so there was even a picture perfect evening spent beside an outdoor fire. I didn't take a lot of pictures because this was our first time in their home, and I try not to be obnoxious with my camera until you know me better.
Friday morning hubs and I met for coffee with friends from our Maryland days. These friends moved to Ohio right before we moved to England, but we've stayed in touch and Daughter2 and their Daughter1 are still great pals. We saw the mom and daughter in January at Daughter1's wedding, but there's not a lot of time for lengthy conversation at a wedding, so a coffee catch up was nice. Her hubs came too and we hadn't seen him in years, so that felt extra special.
Daughter2 and her boyfriend picked us up from our coffee date and drove us downtown to meet his family for lunch. We dined in a restaurant overlooking the river with a really pretty view of the city. After lunch we spent a few hours wandering through the Newport Aquarium on the Ky side of the river.
In case you can't tell Daughter2 loves the Aquarium.
She's something of a shark aficionado, not sure where that came from, but from the time she was very small she's had a keen interest in sharks. She's full of all kinds of knowledge and shark trivia which honestly is not a bad thing for a third grade teacher to have on tap.
In the Newport Aquarium you can touch a shark if you dare. You can also walk across the shark infested waters via a net bridge, which of course we did.
I'm pretty sure that's not as dangerous as I made it sound.
She was in her happy place here.
Before we went back to the house for dinner we made an ice cream stop at Graeters. I hear if you're in the Cincinnati area you must try Graeters and y'all know I'm a rule follower. People from Cincy always go on and on about the ice cream here, and I must say it lived up to its reputation. I had peppermint stick which was completely scrumptious and felt really festive too.
Friday evening we hung out at the house, had pizza, watched more football, and just generally made ourselves at home. We had such wonderful hosts and we thoroughly enjoyed our weekend in their home.
We drove back to SC on Saturday with a brief planned stop in TN to say hello to hubs parents. Daughter2 rode back with us since her boyfriend had a couple more days in Ohio, and it felt a little bit like the old days roadtripping with one of our girls curled up in the backseat. We don't have kids in the backseat too often anymore. Sniff.
Of course there was one more must-try dish before we left town-the iconic Skyline chili. It's hard to describe if you've never tasted it, but basically its a chili-ish dish served over spaghetti or atop a small hotdog called a coney, topped with lots of cheese and onions if you want, or just a whole lotta cheese.
Skyline doesn't taste exactly like traditional chili nor does it taste exactly like traditional spaghetti sauce. It's somewhere in between and it's good!
We had an uneventful drive home and I feel ready now to welcome the season of Advent. While it seems like so many people have had Christmas up and running in their homes for several weeks now, we're just getting started. That's how I like my holidays-one at a time.
I hope your Thanksgiving was full of blessings too!