Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Alright, I’m sorry I’ve been somewhat neglecting posting; the holiday season has begun and I’m starting to get busy! However, I wanted to run through some highlights of Thanksgiving weekend.  I survived both meals and the Turkey Trot.  Ben opted out of running the race because he pulled a muscle in his chest and has been having issues just walking.  This was my 10th Turkey Trot (9th for the local YMCA since we ran Chicago last year); however, it definitely wasn’t my fastest, by a long shot.  In fact, looking up at the records, I think it was my slowest.  My mom and I ran together and chatted most of the race.  It was about 40 degrees and really ideal weather.  My dad also ran the race.  It’s one of my favorite family traditions and ways to start the holiday season.

After the race (and meeting my sister at Starbucks since she was still sleeping while we were running);, the chaos began.  I got to my in-laws around 1ish for our first meal of the day (Ben was already there).  Both sides of his family were there, so it was a big crowd (20+) compared to what they’re used to (10ish).  The food was good.  I have to say, one thing I love that mother in law makes, that my parents don’t, is green bean casserole.  Yum!  After trying to “lightly” stuff my face (I was starving having had only ate a banana and running five miles but wanted to save room for meal #2); we hung out with Ben’s family and then cleared out with everyone else around 5pm.

We went to my parent’s house. I had found out that morning at Starbucks that our Thanksgiving celebration was just going to be our nuclear/immediate family (minus my brother and SIL who stayed in Chicago due to work).  This was a huge shock since we usually celebrate with my mom’s side of the family which includes both of my grandparents, my mom’s six brothers and sisters and all of their children.  Apparently my grandparents didn’t want to wait until 6pm to eat (what we’d decided on so that Ben and I could spend time with both families) so my uncle took them out to eat.  When Ben and I got to my parents, the turkey was in the oven and my mom and sister had just left for to go to my grandparents house to visit.  We spent some time over there too and then came back to my parents to eat.

I know I am biased, but my dad is a fabulous cook.  We had a simple meal (Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, homemade gravy and broccoli), but it was delicious.  Somehow I found room in my stomach to help myself to this second meal and also seconds! Yeesh.  After dinner we decided to play a game called Ticket to Ride, which my aunt had lent us when we went to my grandparents.  I tried reading the instructions, but before I got very far, it was mutually agreed that we needed more wine to start.

So, it may have been the bottles of wine we had, or it may have been the game, but we ended up loving it and playing until midnight (usually my mom goes to bed at 10pm, this is a big deal).  I can try to explain the game, but I know it won’t sound very intriguing….essentially the board is a map of the US with all of these routes between major cities, which are different lengths and colors  Each player gets a color of trains.  Then, based on which routes you draw and which train cards you draw, you connect different routes on the board and get points.  This isn’t the best explanation, but I promise you, it’s a fun game.  We looked into buying it, but it’s $50…so I think I’ll wait until we find a sale.  Although, this is a back-up gift idea for my parents if we don’t come up with anything else.

Friday we cut down the family Christmas tree.  This is another one of my favorite holiday traditions too.  My parents house is set on a hill which is slightly wooded but has a huge wall of windows (maybe 12” long and 8” high of windows).  In addition, they have about 13 foot vaulted ceilings in the living room.  The combination of the tall ceiling and the ability to see the tree from the road below, have lead us the tradition of pretty much getting the largest tree we can find.  We loaded up my sister’s car (aka the “crappiest” car out of everyone’s so it’s okay if the roof gets sappy and the weight of the tree causes the roof to sink), including Oscar, and headed to the tree farm.

I’m proud to say that this year, I was the lucky winner to pick out the winning tree.  Of course it happened to be on the opposite end of the farm and at the bottom of a hill, but none the less, it was perfect.  Here we are before cutting down the tree (Ben took the pic.  Because of his chest aches, he couldn’t help at all and refused to be in it)
Huge tree right? Yep; it took us a few tries (twice taking more off the trunk and one "haircut" on top) in order to get the tree to be short enough for the living room.  Unfortunately I don't have a pic of it up and decorated, but I can post that in the near future.

The rest of the weekend was low key. I had my hair trimmed and colored, went with one of my high school girl friends to the mall and just kind of hung out.  It was great to be home but as always, it went by quickly and there were a few people I didn’t have the chance to see that I wish I would have.  One major surprise to myself though was that I didn’t buy anything, especially being Black Friday.  The only thing I spent money on was my hair. So I’m still coming in under budget this week.  Yay!

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