I love the holidays--since I was a little kid, eating all the yummy goodness (especially my mom’s stuffing), baking cookies for santa, reading letters from “santa” whose handwriting strangely resembled my grandfather’s, decorating the chirstmas tree, checking the stocking, all the Christmas carols that have become part of my background humming since December 1st, now decorating our house and getting the kids ready for their cookie baking.
But…back to savoring Thanksgiving for a minute. I’ve been grateful that Thanksgiving week end has fallen on my week end since our separation/divorce years ago (we share the day, the kids go over 10-3)…but since it’s a long week end, it’s also a good time to take a mini vacation.
This year, hubby’s brother and sister-in-law and their first grader twins flew out to see us. The cousins had such a blast together! (They first met the summer before last, when we all went to see them after we got married).
I’d give a blow-by-blow of all the things that we did, but I’m still in the midst of a happy, blissful, heart-full moment of the special time with my family.
Here are some of the things I’m thankful for:
· Watching sea turtles swim so close to shore, you could almost touch them. And watching my brother-in-law carry my niece, nephew, and DD2, each in turn, into the water to take a closer look.
· My niece and DD2, while a year apart, nearly the same size, and two peas in a pod with their sunshine smiles and laughter and giggles, digging themselves into the sand, then holding hands so I could take a picture.
· Getting to know my sister-in-law, since we didn’t get a chance to meet the last time we made the trek to see our families the summer before last.
· Taking my brother in law surfing (twice) and watching him catch lots of waves; seeing him super stoked afterwards.
· My hubby so happy and peaceful with his family here—due to respective career moves for both BIL and hubby, they hadn’t spent a Thanksgiving holiday together in more than 15 years!!!
· Holding hands with my niece and nephew while crossing the street.
· Seeing all four kids oohing and aahing over the napping seals on the beach, a rare sighting.
· Introducing a favorite dessert to my SIL and the twins, called Shave Ice, and then driving back for more the next day because they loved it so much. (My new flavor is rootbeer and coconut cream, with ice cream on the bottom!)
· DD1 had her first snorkeling experience—and she loved it!! She snorkeled twice in the ocean, and twice in the pool. I still remember when we saw a gigantic parrot fish, with a little black spot on it, and when we swam back to the shallow part of the beach and stood up, she yelled, “It was so HUGE!!”
· All four kids made a choo-choo train with floaties and noodles in the grand pool where the cousins were staying.
· Cooking a turkey thanksgiving dinner and eating leftovers all week end—turkey sandwiches are hubby’s and BIL’s favorite!
· The adults ate the thanksgiving feast first this year, because the kids were busy playing in the girls’ room upstairs. So we enjoyed a quiet dinner, then I set out the feast for them. And we said our prayers, and I asked each kid to say something they are thankful for. DD1: food!, DD2: my mommy and my whole family and my whole stepfamily (swoon), Niece: my mommy! And Nephew: water!
· All the countless moments in between, the laughter, the cuddles, the silly jokes, climbing on rocks near the ocean, eating meals together, adult night out to dinner while the kids had a pizza party with my babysitter, hugs, love, telling each other we love you before saying goodbye.
They left on a jet plane last night, and while they are flying thousands of miles away, the experiences we shared this past week are nestled into my heart.