Tomorrow this room is going to be packed.... We have family coming in town for the day. Dinner at 2:30. Today, once I finish up here with my work (those last minute ads get you every time!), I'll be ironing some tablecloths and napkins and making little wine glass tags.
I'm not stressing this year. It's dinner! With family! And, since Mr. Pink is smoking a turkey and we're bringing in a ham, I just have to worry about some side dishes.
I recently picked up Joanne's book, Living Simply. (Thank you, sweetie, for writing such a thoughtful, engaging book. I have a few friends who are getting copies for Christmas!) I could go on about how it felt like I was sitting down with a girlfriend. Or how it helped me lighten up on a particularly grumpy afternoon. Or how fun it was to read about a shared love for Anne of Green Gables and Little House. Or how it is another stepping stone helping me to define my own path back to God. (Oh, how I want something that feels real to me, and not just a routine obligation! ...but I digress.)
The reason I mention her book is that one of the chapters I love is about 'Company Dinner.' I won't spoil it for you, but I do agree with her. Having a signature crowd-pleasing dinner you can prepare with confidence is a good idea. She kindly shared hers, complete with recipes. Joanne, if you're reading this, your carrots and green salad are making it on to my Thanksgiving table this year! I tried them a couple weeks ago and they were delicious. Even my husband, who does not eat veggies except for broccoli and asparagus, loved the carrots.
As a kid, I remember thinking that Thanksgiving was an okay holiday. We got to eat some good food and see family, but it wasn't a huge spectacular like Easter or Halloween or Christmas. Oh, I have good memories. We were military and didn't always live near extended family, so when I did get to spend a day or two with my cousins it was wonderful and fun. There is a very funny videotape (on BetaMAX!) of us dressed up like rockstars, putting on a fully staged lip-synched 'Rock Concert' in our backyard one year. I cannot watch that without using my inhaler, I laugh so hard. It was like, 1983, and I was in the 5th grade. Good times.
Now I'm 35. I have two kids and a wonderful husband and silly dog. We are so blessed to have all of our family (mostly) healthy and close. We have lots of friends and good jobs and a very comfortable life. We don't overschedule ourselves or try to keep up with the Joneses. We have plans -- big and little -- for the future. We talk and share and love each other. Almost every night we sit down to dinner together as a family. (Sometimes it's over canned soup and grilled cheese, but hey, who's counting?) It's not perfect, but it's darn close. Thankful.
My oldest daughter wants to make dessert this year. I am so excited for her. She is planning to make my pumpkin-pecan pie and a brownie pudding cake recipe that she found on her own. She normally travels to her dad's house in CA for the holiday, but is spending it home with us for the first time in 5 years. I cannot convey in words how much this means to me. Plus, we're going to buy the new Hairspray DVD! (We went on a date this summer to see the movie and loved it. We came home dancing. And she went as Penny Pingleton for Halloween.)
Little Fidget is planning to wear her new frock and help in the entertainment department. At 20 months she is quite the dancer. And hostess/greeter person. She knows no stranger. 'hi! Hi! HIIIII!"
So the house behind the picket fence is settling in for the holiday. Wherever you are, whoever you are with, and whatever you do, I hope that you find yourself celebrating the little wonderful things in life that make it so special.
With love and many blessings,