...a day to myself, to listen to Christmas music, string fresh evergreen on my mantle, and hang new favorite farmhouse stockings in front of the fireplace. I felt like a little elf preparing Santa's workshop and loved moseying around in my slippers making this pretty house twinkle.
...picking the kids up from school early, stuffing hand-print turkeys in backpacks, and grabbing all the snow gear knowing we wouldn't be back for five whole days. The anticipation that settles around a good break from the norm, watching Mila walk in her snowpants, and talking about Mrs. W's circle time and Aubrielle on the way home from school.
...pulling up to our driveway and smiling every single time. The lit up porch and that big ol' tree in the window invite us like a big hug. Closing the garage door for the night, putting shoes and coats away in our baskets and on our hooks, and Mila immediately shrieking, "Daaaaddddyyy!!!" whether he's home or not. There's no place like home.
...turkey crafts with the kids, the way Mila watched Cruz and tried to copy his actions, leaning in real close until her nose almost touched the paper. Popcorn stringing with Cruz, and three new superhero ornaments that looked just right on his Christmas tree.
...a traditional Thanksgiving Eve dinner out, this year to Olive Garden for my favorite salad and bread sticks. Waiting for daddy at Barnes and Noble, being the only three in the kids section, nestled in our own little corner reading silly books and laughing at Mila performing on stage. Daddy's voice surprising us from a faraway bookshelf, two new coloring books to keep them busy while we drank wine and fought over the pepperoncini in the salad bowl.
...reading books with Mila and tucking her in next to her pretty Christmas tree. She makes no fuss at bedtime and loves to be tucked in with her growing collection of cozies. The satisfaction of two sleeping kids at the end of the day and the contentment of sinking into the couch for Christmas shopping or Fixer Upper reruns. Flannel sheets that wrap you up in a hug at the end of every night.
...A day at home preparing to host our first Thanksgiving. The smell of sage, sausage, and rosemary cooking on the stovetop, and Adele crooning from the Crosley. Mila and Cruz helping me make stuffing, Cruz stirring and Mila picking out the cranberries. A dining table expanded to fit my whole family, and decorating the table like a Christmas tree, piece by piece until it took on new life.
...My favorite part of Thanksgiving - my family, one by one, arriving with side dishes and hugs, and all the right holiday fuzzies straight out of a movie scene. Congregating around the kitchen island with glasses of Stella, Grandma tasting Beau's gravy and helping him carve his turkey, Mila entertaining Papa Curt, and grabbing baby Harper out of her car seat as soon as Jordan and Kelli make their way in.
...Candles lit, a sweet prayer from Grandpa Merle, and a never-ending train of dishes passed family style. Satisfaction on my husband's face as everyone complimented his turkey, and the memorable flavors of Thanksgiving dancing with every bite. Grandma's carrots, my favorite stuffing, and mashed potatoes that looked just like Ree Drummond's. Fourteen new thankful leaves added to our tree, thankful for everything from grandbabies to Tom Brady to red wine, and "earth".
...Homemade apple pie and whipped cream shooters, a Bears primetime win, the kiddos playing spy games throughout the house, and Mila giving lots of kisses on the top of Harper's head.
Thankful for a sweet Thanksgiving, spent around our table with the people we love.