Thanksgiving is a time to be grateful.
Grateful for the people in our lives. Grateful for our home and the food on the table. Grateful for those that are no longer with us and how much they meant to us. It can be difficult remembering our loved ones, wishing we had more time with them, but life is so much better for having them as long as we did.
This year, we didn’t have any guests or additional family members around our Thanksgiving table, it was just the four of us and that is always very special. My daughter drove in from Michigan. She had to be back at work on Friday so it was a very quick trip for her, but wonderful all the same. My son drove in from Ohio and was here for five days which seemed to fly by just as quickly as the day and a half that my daughter was here. It doesn’t really matter to me, I just love and savor the times that we are all together. The house feels full again, as it should be, and I feel complete. I’m so very, very thankful that they both were able to come home for the holiday.
Wednesday was baking day and I made two pies and some dog cookies. I used a dog cookie mix that I discovered last spring. I usually keep a couple of jars on hand to supplement our huge assortment of dog treats. Whenever I’m in the kitchen the dogs are close by. Now and then, I actually cook for them and since they are always optimistic about getting an extra nibble they are underfoot as much as possible. Winn is particularly eager in the kitchen, always alert and ready to pounce on anything that might drop.Somehow, they both knew that these cookies were for them and they watched my every move with anticipation. They knew that good things were coming and they simply needed to wait. They also thought it might help speed things along if they gave me a nudge now and then but their eager eyes usually do the trick.Once the cookies were done, I moved on to the pumpkin pies. I gave them both a taste of the cooked pumpkin, which they loved, and decided to offer the pot to them for one or two licks. I should have known that Winn would stick her whole head into the pot and come up with pumpkin all over her! I pulled it away, gave Maisie the chance for a lick and decided that was enough. They get dirty enough on their own, I certainly don’t need to add to their need for a bath.Thanksgiving morning we all (not including the dogs) participated in a 5K family fun run. We actually did a brisk walk since not all of us are runners. I had to do a fair amount of cajoling to get everyone to participate but they were up, dressed and ready to go at 8:15 just like I asked (despite my son’s raging hangover and my daughters aversion to races). It was bitterly cold but it was a very festive atmosphere. We were surrounded by families and it felt good (at least to my husband and I) to get some exercise before we sat down for a big meal.I thought it was a great way to start the day and we then went on to cook, watch football, take naps and eat one of our favorite meals of the year.
Thanksgiving weekend is also a time of another tradition, doing the final clean-up of the yard. Our backyard is dominated by three huge old oak trees. They provide a vast canopy which is wonderful in the summer because our house stays very cool, even on the hottest days, but that also means we have to deal with a thick carpet of leaves every fall. Those leaves are also the last to drop in the neighborhood so even though we would like to get the job done while the weather is still mild, it seems like the trees need a prolonged cold snap before the leaves will descend.The dogs were outside enjoying the cool weather while we did all of the work. It took several hours of blowing, raking and scooping but we got it most of it done with about 15 minutes to spare before the truck came down the alley to collect the bags. They come once a week so I was thrilled that we got all of the bags filled and taken away in the same day. After getting the leaves taken care of (before a big storm was due to roll in), I moved on to getting the front porch ready for the season. This involved cleaning out all of the baskets and pots, removing the furniture cushions, storing the small furniture under the deck and then hanging the Christmas decorations. I’m glad I was able to get all of that done while it was still relatively warm out, the temperature was due to drop along with a big snow storm blowing through the area.
Sure enough, late Sunday night the snow started and when we all got up Monday there was a fresh, wet blanket of heavy white stuff to entertain Maisie and Winn. They are always so excited to go outside after a storm. They race around, plunge their faces into it and have expressions of pure joy on their faces. What a great way to end the Thanksgiving weekend and get into the holiday spirit!