As I was putting the kids to bed tonight, I started thinking about everything I was thankful for. I'm not the best at putting my thoughts into words, but here goes...
First of all, I am thankful for my husband, daughter, and son. Each day they give me a reason to get out of bed and try to make myself a better person. My daughter has taught me that when given the choice between "A" and "B", that you can choose "C". She helps me think outside the box with her creative lead each day. She models what it is like to be a genuine person, thoughtful, insightful, and real. My son reminds me to loosen up a bit, he is free, emotional, and funny. He delights in the small stuff, and helps me slow down when I get too crazy. He is also persistent, active, and curious. Then, there is Chris. He is my rock. He is there when we need him, just when I think the chaos is getting overwhelming, he brings order to our world. He is dedicated to our family, working hard each day at a job he doesn't love so that we can live a comfortable life. He is honest, goofy, and talented. We are all so thankful for each other. Athena said she is thankful for our family, but more for Oli's family which made me laugh. I am thankful for the rest of my family as well. We are so lucky to be surrounded by moms, dads, grandmas, great grandmas, aunts, uncles, cousins, brothers, and sisters. So very lucky. We have wonderful friends who I know I can count on too.
Today we had a lovely Thanksgiving at my cousin's house, who conveniently just lives a canyon away from us. The kids had a fabulous time visiting with their cousins. I honestly only saw Athena when it was time to eat in the 4+ hours we were there. She told me on the drive home that we need to go to their house more often so she can play with her cousin's dolls. Her cousin's dolls even have crutches! (which is a favorite theme in her play right now) This alone, made it one of the best Thanksgivings since we have had kids. I really got to sit back and relax quite a bit, the kids just got along so well. Then, there was the food. It was fantastic. Most of my family eats the traditional fare, but are well used to my vegan ways. Lucky for me, I have a rockin' veghead sister in law who I can always count on for tasty food. My mom also likes to contribute to the vegan cause, and cooks up a few dishes herself. Plus, the rest of my family knows to leave off the butter on the steam veggies, etc., so that we can eat them too. So, here is what was on the menu this year. I made the "Festive Chickpea Tart" which turned out well. I got very good reviews from my taste testers, it was especially yummy with a little cranberry sauce. I also brought along a "Celebration Roast" by the Field Roast people. It was pretty good, but a little salty (maybe that was my broth though?). Athena requested roasted potatoes, and I couldn't deny her that so I made a big tray of that including some sweet potato for Rowan (his favorite) and the rest of us. My mom made the vegan stuffing, every year I count on this from her as she makes the best stuffing! She also makes a sweet potato casserole that she veganized many years ago. She used to bring 2 versions of it to Thanksgiving each year (vegan and traditional) and then one year she just brought the vegan one and no one really noticed so now that is what she does. It is super sweet with candied nuts and brown sugar, almost a dessert. She also made a green salad, and left off the cheese so that we could partake. My bro/sil brought a pumpkin soup (which ended up being my favorite dish), a sweet potato/corn/green bean medley, festive carrots, and fresh baked bread with roasted garlic. Finally, for dessert I brought along pumpkin pie brownies and chocolate pumpkin pie (From E, D, and B, V) served with vanilla coconut based ice cream. Wow! I *think* I liked the brownies better, but it was a close call. The chocolate pumpkin pie is definitely a good choice if you don't have much prep time as it comes together in a snap.
After our big extravaganza, we stopped at a soggy playground for a bit to run around with the kids. A fantastic day.