I've celebrated Thanksgiving many different ways over the last eight years. 2007 was the very last time I'd had the "traditional" Thanksgiving with my mom, brothers, and grandmother. In 2008 I spent Thanksgiving with my dad and his then girlfriend in upstate NY just south of the border of Canada. In 2009 I was in Pennsylvania celebrating with my friends, their parents, and grandparents. In 2010 it was spent with that same family, but instead of the traditional meal, we ate ourselves through the city of Las Vegas and our Thanksgiving meal was a feast at an amazing buffet. 2011 was spent in just the same manner, the only difference was that Derek came along too since we were married. 2012 was my very first Thanksgiving with my in-laws in Idaho. In 2013 we had a fabulous Friendsgiving with a couple of Derek's co-workers and our really good friends Chad and Emily while we were in NC. Last year (which might have been one of my all time favorites), was spent with Derek's fourth cousins that we never knew existed until we randomly met while we were attending the same church meetings as them in North Carolina.
This year was another great one to add to the books. This was the first Thanksgiving that we did in our home as a family of four. No friends, no other family, just us. I didn't worry about cooking everything from scratch. We had frozen rolls, and boxed stuffing. We didn't set a time table for anything, and just went with the flow. When it was time to eat dinner, Jay didn't want to stop playing, and so Derek and I just started the meal without him while Em finished up her nap. By the end of the meal everyone was gathered around the table and it was just great to be there, in the moment with the people I love most.
The weather was unusually warm and we wound up spending the majority of the weekend outside raking the thousands of leaves that had fallen into our yard. Lets talk about the fact that there is not one tree in our front yard, and there were probably enough leaves to cover my husbands entire car if we really tried. And yes, that 1992 geo prism is ours, and it's a trooper. We got it for free 18 months ago and still haven't had to put a single penny into it.
Anyways... back to playing outside... We played outside for hours. This was Jay's first time being able to play outside in fall leaves. His first fall he was still an infant (although there is this picture of him here in leaves). The year after that we were in NC in an apartment with no yard, making this year the first opportunity for it to happen. It was amazing to see how instinctively he knew that the leaves were meant for jumping and playing in. He had a blast hiding under all the leaves and then popping up with a loud, "BOO!". His face had the biggest smile, and I'm pretty sure he's going to be disappointed once Derek and I finally get around to bagging them all up.
Em loved playing in the leaves too. Derek held her in the big pile and she loved running her hands across them and scattering them all around. We did have to pull a few out of her mouth but overall I think it was a fairly positive experience.
While I do love when we get the chance to spend the holiday's with friends and extended family, it was such a nice reminder that we can be content, and happy with just slowing down and keeping things simple. I think in a day and age where there is Instagram and Pinterest showing and telling us how we can make our lives "perfect", it's good to be able to step-back and simplify things and know that you can still be content, and happy with your life and those around you.