Tuesday, November 29, 2011

THANKFUL, part 1

Gobble gobble! Who had a good Thanksgiving break? Mine was just right. Lots of family, lots of food, a little football - just right!
I got to Birmingham a little later than planned on Tuesday but was happy just to be there. Last week it was announced that we were all getting one extra day to take to be with our family, a very unexpected blessing. So rather than drive home Wednesday, I got there Tuesday! Five whole days off!

Wednesday, Mom and I ran errands, including a quick trip to see my sister and her husband, who had thoughtfully brought her some lunch, before she got off work and they headed west to stay with his family. It had been more than five weeks since I had seen her or little bumpus mumpus. I got to feel a few good kicks (guess he liked his lunch) while we were there and then we continued about our low key day.

When we got back to the house, it was time for to make my contribution to Thanksgiving: two Salted Caramel Cheesecake Pies. I'll give you a minute to soak that in. My sister always advises me NOT to try new recipes for groups of people or guests: always test them out first, she says. Here's how it usually turns out: I never follow that advice and plan to make the dish anyway. Mid-prep, I always panic for a minute and rue the day I found whatever recipe I am surely ruining. Then, once it's all said and done and I taste the end result, I declare myself the best chef ever. In this case, that cycle did not fail. Cheesecakes are tricky little things. They never look done but you have to turn off the oven anyway. It's nerve-wracking. The caramel was super easy to do but the cheesecake made me all kinds of nervous. My mom finally got me to step away from the oven by taking me to Outback. Oven? What oven?
Thursday, we began the day with a little parade watching before heading out to the first stop of the day. Last Thanksgiving, while we were in DC, my cousin was giving birth to a little baby boy. Of all the days to come early, Tristan decided to make his way into this world the same day as the Iron Bowl. He ended up arriving a little after midnight the following day, but people that know my die-hard Auburn family can appreciate that the nurse had to turn my cousin's in-room TV off to keep her calm! Or maybe it was to keep my uncle calm. Either way, Thanksgiving will now include celebrating little Tristan's birthday and I couldn't be happier. I have only met this little guy twice, once last Christmas and again this summer, but boy did he love his cousin Lindsay. He gave me lots of snuggles and cute little smiles.
Then it was time for cake! He seemed to like the whole cake and icing combo and took his time enjoying every ounce of sugar. He did not seem to like the sink bath that quickly followed.
Later in the evening, when we ran back by their house so Jennie and Jamie could see all of them, he reached for his fun cousin Lindsay as soon as I walked in the door he reached for me. Smitten!

From the party, we headed to see the other side of my family, who were congregating at the lake. After some good food (cough MY CHEESECAKE PIE cough), I joined the men behind the barn and shot clay pigeons. Raise your hand if you got two in a row! Watch the video for proof. I am sad the part where I yelled "PULL!" is not on film but oh well.

It was home for final preparations and then Jennie and Jamie as well as Fred rolled in. We had dinner together and enjoyed Pie Number Two before calling it a day.

Contrary to what I told you a few weeks ago, I did not participate in any Black Friday shopping this year. Sat it out altogether. Once I saw that what was on sale did not interest me in the least (an iPod touch that had the same memory as what I have now), I decided not to even get out. So I slept in Friday before heading out in the pretty weather to help my sister with her Christmas card photo. We got a great one highlighting l'petit chéri and even got a few of the four of us, thanks to that handy timer function:
I followed them home to see the little guy's nursery, which is absolutely adorable. Blue and green and perfect all over. There's still lots to be done, but seeing that crib ready to go made my tiny heart grow three sizes larger. I attempted to help hang curtains but proved no help at all, so I settled in to do what I do best: eat leftovers and watch TV.

I briefly went back to my mom's house, only to hop back in her car to go to dinner and movie with J & J. We saw Tower Heist and I loved it. It was off to bed quickly thereafter because the next day...


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