The holiday season is well underway, and with it the cold weather has finally arrived. In my previous blog post I bragged about how warm and sunny Atlanta weather has been throughout October and well into November. That appears to be a thing of the past now as dark clouds and rain have settled in for the past 3 days. Since heading back to Atlanta after our long Thanksgiving holiday spent in Northern KY, Drew and I haven’t seen a single ray of sunshine. In fact, during both the drives to and from my parent’s house, it rained the entire time. I know, I asked for colder, more “holiday-ish” weather…well, we definitely got it.
Our visit to Kentucky over Thanksgiving was absolutely wonderful-it was nice to take a few extra days off of work to spend more quality time with Mom and Dad. We arrived late last Tuesday night after the rain and traffic turned a 6 ½ hour drive into 8. I spent the majority of Wednesday in the kitchen with Mom, cooking and baking up a storm. I made the infamous chocolate ganache praline cake that we’ve had for several years now. It’s so rich and decadent that we only have it once a year, but it’s one of the foods I look forward to most on Thanksgiving Day. That night, some of the family came into town and Mom made Uncle Doug’s lasagna recipe. it’s something I’d love to make for Drew and I sometime, but I have a sinking feeling it’ll never be quite as good! Since several people had never had crème brule before, Mom made that for dessert. Everyone got a real kick out of Dad breaking out his huge Home Depot blow torch to crystallize the sugar topping. A little overkill, you might say, but it sure does the trick!
Thursday morning Drew and I awoke to the smell of breakfast casserole and homemade cinnamon buns wafting upstairs from the kitchen. As we do every year, all the kids (I don’t know why I still call us that, we’re all a lot older than that) helped Uncle Doug prepare the fruit salad. Another one of our traditions that I look forward to every year is the deep-fried turkey. It’s always fun to watch the men stand outside on the deck freezing, crowded around the deep fryer vat. I, however, prefer to stay inside where it’s nice and toasty! Some other Thanksgiving traditions I cherish are the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, the annual newspaper turkey coloring contest, and the football games on TV.
This Thanksgiving, I felt incredibly blessed as I stood around the table, filled to the edges with food, with the people that I love. This year has easily been the biggest of my 22 years–I graduated from college, got married, moved to a big city, and got my first real world job. Drew and I have so much to be thankful for, and even though we know this, sometimes it’s easier to complain about the things that aren’t going right. Starting today, I’m challenging us (and everyone for that matter) to spend the rest of this holiday season to think of something new that they’re thankful for each and every day. Sure I may be a few days late since Thanksgiving has already come and gone, but we shouldn’t bottle up our thankfulness for one day out of the year. It may sound hard to think of something different each time but I’m sure it’ll amaze us when we realize just how blessed we really are.
Our Thanksgiving meal was delicious and as usual, we all ate too much. The great thing about cooking copious amounts of food for Thanksgiving lunch is that we get to have it for several days afterward. Anything we skipped out trying on Thursday (purely on accident or because we didn’t have enough room on our plates) gets eaten over the next few days. I’d probably get sick of Thanksgiving food eventually, but those are the kind of leftovers I’m all too happy to eat! The rest of the weekend was pretty laid back and relaxing, exactly what Drew and I needed. No Black Friday shoppers here-Mom and I went to a morning spin class while Drew went for a run. Hearing about all the chaos that went on throughout the day confirmed that I’ll never be one of those people sleep in a tent outside Best Buy days ahead of time. Mom and I went out shopping for a few things Saturday afternoon while Drew was in Lexington running a 5K with a few of his friends. We still scored quite a few deals, and best of all, didn’t have to fight our way through the crowds in the process.
Our drive home was much like the drive to Kentucky: rainy and slow-moving. It took us what felt like forever to reach Knoxville, which is just about the halfway point. We hit traffic every few miles after that and ended up stopping to get gas and a bite to eat after realizing there was no way we’d make it home in time for dinner. When we finally pulled in to our apartment garage right at 11 PM, we literally started whooping for joy and giving each other high-fives. We halfway emptied the car, dumping everything in the middle of the living room floor and going straight to bed.
I’m not going to lie, it was extremely hard arriving at work yesterday after almost a week off. I’m settling back into the groove today, mostly because I know in just a few short weeks, we’ll be traveling again for all the Christmas festivities with both sides of the family. We still have a lot to do before then though-this weekend we’re putting up stockings and decorating our tree! We also have quite a bit of gift shopping and baking to do. I think one of the best things about the holiday season is all the buildup and anticipation in the weeks leading up to it (and the Christmas movie marathons on TV—because you can never watch A Christmas Story too many times). Everyone just seems so cheerful, and even though it’s dull and gloomy outside, I feel warmth in my heart. The lobby in my work building has decorated a giant Christmas tree, and I’ve past several coworkers’ desks who had Christmas music playing from their computers. More than anything though, I’m looking forward to celebrating our first Christmas as newlyweds!