Turkey Days

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No travel for us for Thanksgiving this year, and so far, we’ve made the most of every minute! On Turkey Day, we went to see the movie Coco (so cute!) then came home to rest and cook our first “just us” family Thanksgiving dinner. We pulled out the “back home” recipes, and I made green bean casserole and mashed potatoes with the kids while Bart made a delicious turkey (after panicking that it wasn’t going to thaw out on time – it did!)

After sharing what we’re thankful for at dinner, we watched A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving (good grief…) and I convinced Ella to sing Albuquerque Turkey at the table with her BatGirl cape and her handmade turkey puppet:

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On Friday morning, we headed down to Newport Beach to rent an electric boat with our friends Karin & Luis and their delightful children. With a picnic lunch, sparkling apple cider, Uno cards, coloring books, a pink Disney Princess life vest and nonstop banter, we enjoyed a beautiful ride in 76 degree weather, just as Thanksgiving should be – WARM!

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Friday night we had Thanksgiving dinner round two, with our friends Marshall and Rebecca, both of whom have family in the midwest (but not here). We made MORE southern food, including homemade mac & cheese and sweet potato soufflé, then Zoe set the table and made drink menus, just for the occasion.

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Yes, that is a drinking turkey. After dinner we watched How the Grinch Stole Christmas and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and put the kids to bed.

And guess what we did this morning? That’s right. We got our Christmas tree. I’m obsessed about having a tree and can’t believe we waited an entire day after Thanksgiving to get one (though, if we were traveling, it could have been longer!)

I’m such a nerd that I HAVE TO have a Douglas Fir, the one that smells great and looks like the trees I had when I grew up, real ones, most often that we cut down ourselves. Unfortunately, there’s a tree shortage this year (so sad) and between that and the early date of Thankgiving (Douglas doesn’t last as long), we would have had to wait a week until the Douglas firs show up… I don’t have that sort of time!

So my kind husband took us to two more tree lots to find my fir to no avail. And for the first time ever, we have a Noble fir – but from an awesome lot that gives all their proceeds to children’s charities. Beautiful tree (so pretty it looks fake to me) but no incredible Christmas tree smell… Bart keeps saying “we can buy the smell”, but I just can’t imagine it would be the same. We’ll see how that goes. It’s probably a sign when they don’t actually SELL that at the tree lot (if it were so amazing, it’d be for sale, right?)

Our friends Holly & Amanda and their cutie little girl Addison came over for leftovers and helped us decorate the tree. Nothing like kids cramming ornaments haphazardly all over the tree (Ella mostly near the bottom, not bothering to try and reach up…) The resulting effect looks like Christmas should look: Messy.

And to top it off (ha!), I filmed Daddy helping the kids put the star on top of the tree, as I’ve done for many years, ever since Zoe was big enough to be lifted up there. For better or worse, this was the first year that Ella “got it” and of course BOTH girls wanted to be “the one” to put the star up top. Poor Bart.

To make it fair, I let Zoe choose if she wanted to go FIRST or LAST. She of course picked FIRST. Until she heard me explain to Ella what was going to happen: “So Zoe will put the star up first, then we’ll take it down so you can put it up there, and we’ll leave it up.” Ella was IN! Instantly Zoe decided SHE wanted to go last. HA! But choices have consequences, and so, she went first:

ZOE (ALMOST) TOP(PLE)S THE TREE

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My husband is clearly a saint – she weighs around 50 pounds! Up next…

ELLA NARROWLY MAKES THE STAR STICK

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In between it all we’ve connected with our families and friends through calls, texts and video. Not the same as being there, but SO THANKFUL to have so many amazing friends and family to be THANKFUL for! Equally thankful to have had a Turkey Day at home, as a small family. Tonight, we’re heading to the LA Zoo for the Christmas Lights – and we have a whole day tomorrow to see what else we can get into for Thanksgiving.

At the beginning of Coco (before the movie), there’s a short called Olaf’s Frozen Adventure where Anna and Elsa are trying to find their holiday “traditions”. While I know travel and options make most holiday traditions a challenge to maintain, I can only hope we will always be surrounded by friends and family – by any means necessary – and I wish for everyone the same incredible feeling of good fortune I feel today. That’s a tradition I can get behind. We have SO MUCH to be thankful for!

Happy Thanksgiving!

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