Pin It This weekend was planned to be dedicated toward preparing for Thanksgiving. It’ll be our first Thanksgiving hosting the holiday dinner at our house! How super exciting is that? I told Spencer yesterday that I’ve never been so exciting for Thanksgiving in my life. When you’re a kid, well, thanksgiving just isn’t all that exciting - just one holiday closer to Christmas… And when you’re an adult, well, it’s really just a big pain in the neck; especially if you have children. And if you have children over whom you share custody, forget about it! It’s supposed to be a time to relax and enjoy family… But which family? You certainly can’t choose just one set of parents to visit, so we’re all forced to go trotting all over hell and high water with exhausted, uncomfortably dressed children to eighteen different celebrations. Then you have to schedule it out with each set of cooking mothers, all the while my two brothers with their wives are doing the same thing between two sets of parents and Spencer’s 3 siblings are all doing the same to his. If you’re lucky enough to get two times close enough apart, one of them is starting early, which you’re rushing to get through and leaving early from, only to get to a second one where you pick at a few things for the sake of being polite and leave at some ridiculous time of night with a stomach ache and cranky children who probably skipped their nap, only to get a few hours of sleep before having to return to work early the next morning.
I’m dedicating this year to making Thanksgiving everything that it’s supposed to be for our family and for our guests. I’m not shooting for the stars or anything, since it’s my first time. I’m only having my brother, his wife, their kids and my grandmother over. And the menu is staying pretty simple. Turkey, cornbread stuffing, homemade mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, corn, peas, cranberry sauce, rolls and of course, gravy. For desert, a pumpkin spice roll and homemade pumpkin pies. The only things that I haven’t already made before are the turkey and the desserts, so I don’t think that the cooking part will be too terribly difficult. Mostly, though, I just want it to be a fun, relaxing day for everyone. Spencer and I bought a kegerater so that we’ll have beer on tap for the men (and the cook) to enjoy throughout the day while the food is cooking. It’s in the basement with the big screen T.V. where we want to set the kids up with either the parade on T.V. or some cool videogames. We’ll keep the zune going with music from the basement and we’ll also set out a bunch of coloring books and crayons for the kids to occupy themselves with, too. That should keep them for the most part out of the kitchen, and right where my brother and Spencer are going to be, anyway so that they’ll be kept watch over. We’re going to have little candy dishes set up throughout the house for the kids to munch on, as well as some bar-type snacks for anyone who’ll be drinking, and of course, coffee for my grandmother. We’re lucky that we’re hosting this year out of necessity, because it takes some of the pressure off, just making it fun. The only reason we’re doing it is because my parents (who host a big dinner every year) are going to Indiana, leaving my brother’s family and especially my grandmother with nowhere else to go. If I were making a big deal of hosting my first thanksgiving and asking people to make one more stop on their list of holiday dinners to go to, I’d feel a lot more obligated to make it worth their while for the short, aggravating time that they’d be here before they’d have to leave to go somewhere else. But since this is going to be where everybody spends their entire day, I want to make it the best that it can possibly be. No pressure to be polite to in-laws and socialize with extended family, no pressure to make sure that all of the kids look perfectly pristine, no rushing, no hassle… just a good time.
So this weekend we busted our butts to get as much done in preparation as we could. We borrowed my mom’s really nice, long dining room table and we have that one, plus our normal 4-seater dining room table set up in our dining room right now. We started out the weekend by finishing the paint job in the dining room. Spencer installed new shoe molding around all of the baseboards, then installed a chair rail, then we puttied all of the nail holes and patched up a hole that had been cut out of the wall before Spencer bought the house, and we painted the whole room. We stained and put up new outlet covers and threshold plates, and Spencer installed a much nicer dimmer in the dining room than the one that we had before, whose switch kept falling off. We painted shelves and did a small amount of redecorating. We bought most of the food and a few new things to spruce up the place, like new placemats (vinyl ones for the kids so that they don’t mess up the nice bamboo ones that we use), candles, a set of nice, matching, inconspicuously plastic glassware, and some cooking utensils that we didn’t have already. Back at home, we cleaned and repainted the bathroom ceiling, scrubbed the floors and I spent a good, long while taking up paint splatter left on the hardwood floor from before Spencer bought the house. I also cleaned out the fridge, the basement and the coat closet, and we finally moved Matthew’s playpen out of the dining room and down to the basement. It was tough to get so much done this weekend because we had out first major Christmas shopping trip Saturday night while Mary was spending the night with her mom, and on Sunday I had my confirmation at church, which we celebrated with cake afterwards. We didn’t get everything done that we were planning to, but I’m still surprised at how much we were able to accomplish, considering. Just cleaning up from all of the painting and sanding and sawing and nailing projects that we had going on was a feat.
Now that the projects are done, I can focus on the fun part: just making it pretty! I want the house to shine, like something from out of a magazine. I set the table up already (yes, that’s how overzealous I am) just to see how it will all look when everyone starts filing in. We have flowers and candles and pretty placemats. I love it. I’ve been looking up tips on what little touches can be done to add “flair” to your home on the holidays and I’ve been doing just about everything that I have time to. One thing that my friend Katy did for a picnic themed party that she had at her house was wrapped the silverware in napkins and fastened them closed with cute stickers. I got little fall decorative napkins and I think I’ll do the same thing, but obviously with Thanksgiving themed stickers. We’re also going to set out our nice, wine glasses that take up space in our china cabinet that we have never, ever come even close to using before and use them for everybody’s water glass. How precious!?
We finished up the weekend by having dinner in our newly finishing dining room and snuggling up with the kids to watch The Grinch in our room. I can’t believe that Monday morning is here again already. There are still a lot of things left to do. At work and at home. This week at work I’m going to be doing a lot of painting again. The kids’ father is home from work so that’ll give me some time to finish off the last of the murals and shelf painting that I’ve started. Since he’ll be able to help occupy the kids especially while they’re off from school for the holiday, I really want to get all of my projects completed within the next few days. As far as Thanksgiving we still need a few things that I’m going to be giving my sister-in-law a list to go get for us. I’m going to make the desserts ahead of time, and we still need to go buy a booster seat for Matthew now that he’s completely outgrown his high chair. I can’t wait to see how it all turns out.