What a Thanksgiving it was. I've always dreamed of our first holiday season with a baby, and at various parts throughout this wonderfully long five days, I felt as though I was living in the middle of a Hallmark card. Of course it was filled with our usual learn-as-you-go parenting moments, complete with packing and un-packing baby bags, warming up cars, 'self-soothing' in the parking lot of Kwik Star, and a monstrous poo that filled the leg of a sleeper instead of the diaper itself, leading us to cut Cruz's onesie off instead of pulling it over his head. But weaved within these little moments of madness were the moments I've lived for. Those can't-catch-your-breath moments that leave you wishing life would always stay this way. And together, those moments of madness and moments of peace create the perfect quilt of life to wrap up in with a big mug of something steamy.
I think the long Thanksgiving weekend is one of my favorites of the entire year. Unlike the chaos that permeates around Christmastime, Thanksgiving is the perfect mix of traveling and hibernating. It's the thrills of the first holiday moments, decorating the tree, bundling up in my favorite boots and mittens, and wrapping that first present. It's the continuation of traditions we started as two, and the beginning of new now that we are three. Most of all, it's the feeling that comes with long weekends, where time seems to slow down a little, giving us the opportunity to breathe, relax, and enjoy all that is life.
...Enjoying the lights of the Christmas tree as we anxiously await for Beau to get home from work Wednesday night. Cruz is fascinated by the hundreds of lights that fill our living room right now. I'm starting to think this year-round Christmas tree is a good idea. He is enthralled with it and especially loves the way the lights dance on the glass of the window as we rock back and forth. We spend a lot of time swaying in front of the picture window....
...Enjoying a Wednesday night walk through the mall and an impromptu family dinner at Buffalo Wild Wings. Bottles, bibs, and chicken wings. A baby who loved the commotion and sat wide eyed as his parents started their five-day food binge. We squeezed orange slices into bottles of Blue Moon, passed Cruz back and forth across the table, and stashed all the individually-wrapped wet wipes in our diaper bag.
...Relaxing by our very first crackling fire of the season. Some baby bath time and a pair of cozy pajamas. Blankets piled in the middle of the living room floor. Some family time under the tree, too good for even our apprehensive cat to resist, and a movie I only half paid attention to while snapping picture after picture of a baby smiling at the Christmas tree.
...Enjoying a Thanksgiving Thursday of lots of family and lots of food. Puppy hats and heated seats, cappuchino, chocolate donuts, and dreams of seeing Macy's parade in person. Sneaking away for some quiet time to feed Cruz while the aromas of cranberry stuffing, butternut squash, and a roasted chicken make their way upstairs. Eating our first Thanksgiving dinner as a baby talks to us from the other room. Two great-grandparents, perfectly content holding their babies while the rest of their family eats first. Diapers changed on the living room floor, turkey pajamas crawling down the hall, and a 'Thanksgiving' present from Grandma. And finally, wrapping sleepy babies in snuggly car seats, kisses goodbye, and long car rides home.
...Enjoying Black Friday shopping that started a bit later than past years. Half-priced jeans, a few Christmas steals, and sacks that make their way to the hiding place upstairs as Beau taunts me with his usual threats. A radio station that plays Christmas music from Cruz's room and a Balsam Fir Wallflower that fills the entire house with the scents of real Christmas trees. A happy baby in an adorably stiff, over-sized snowsuit, a happy mama in a new pair of suede boots, and a spotlight that helps guide our way to Main Street for the Second Annual Holiday Hoopla. Watching the excitement of Santa's arrival from the windows of Soho, listening to the boom of fireworks as we sip martinis, dip sushi rolls in soy sauce, and rock babies to sleep. Getting a taste of raising toddlers as we watch Dash and Jersee dip their chocolate chip cookies in ranch dressing, lick salt from the palms of their hands, and race Hot Wheel cars through perfectly placed fake snow on the window sill of the restaurant. Laughing at their cuteness and realizing that the peace we feel with one is only temporary...
...Breathing in the smells of another late-night fire, a single glass of wine, and an episode or two of Mad Men. The sights of the last piece of garland lit in the living room, a smoldering fire, and a simple prayer of thanks before bed.
...Enjoying Saturday mornings in pajamas after yet another FULL NIGHT'S sleep, the (four) of us crowded in our bed, drinking bottomless cups of coffee and tea, and competing to see who can make Cruz smile more. Mornings of laundry and groceries, as Beau reunites with his XBox and Cruz sleeps on his chest in the man cave downstairs.
...Enjoying a tree trimming tradition on Saturday night, complete with potato soup and potato skins, pico de gallo and a Baby's First Christmas ornament. Tiny mittens hung and popcorn strung, Frank Sinatra's serenade, and Elf in Espanol.
...Relaxing in church with a baby who just feels like cuddling. A batch of chocolate covered cherries, a clean fridge, and a Bears win.
Cruz loved Thanksgiving. He was awake most of the day Thursday, slept pretty much all of Friday, smiled all morning Saturday, and was lazy lazy on Sunday. He had lots to say to his family members, especially his Grandpa Ray, and found his first fire to be one of the coolest things ever. He chilled out under the Christmas tree, wore his snowsuit for the first time, and helped me string popcorn for his very own Christmas tree. As the weekend winds down and I begin to look ahead to a busy week of preparing for Cruz's baptism on Sunday, I am overwhelmed with 'thanks.' Thanks for a few more weeks at home before heading back to school, thanks for this little boy that seems to get more fun every day, and thanks for this new chapter of our lives that makes the holidays so special.