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Holidays Are Really Becoming Enjoyable

Before I start my blathering about Thanksgiving, I want to send out a congratulations to Jac. on her new baby girl! Welcome to the world, little one!


As I said previously, Thanksgiving was lovely. Truly, it was.

The Pumpkin was fully recovered from her surgery, and spent her Wednesday off from school at my mom’s “helping” her cook and decorate. When I called my mom in the afternoon and asked if the Pumpkin was truly helping or hindering, she laughed and said, “Both!” I know how that goes, and in fact I got to experience it once again on Thanksgiving when we baked together.

Because of my love of and skill for baking, I bring a pie for family holidays. Londo makes the best mashed potatoes and mashed sweet potatoes I’ve ever had (except possibly tied with his mom’s mashed potatoes), so I insist encourage him to make that for our holidays. I let Londo have the kitchen first, and it worked out that the Pookie needed an early nap so I was able to bake with the Pumpkin while he napped and Londo was done hogging using the kitchen.

The Pumpkin is getting better and better about waiting to “help” until I’ve got things set up and waiting for my instructions before touching things. Generally. What we got into an “argument” about was that she kept trying to eat the pie dough before I had rolled it. I told her she could have some of what was left after I rolled the crusts so we would be sure to have enough for the pie, but she kept sneaking pieces. Not so sneakily. I got frustrated enough that I got her down from the chair she was standing on and told her she couldn’t help anymore. After that, she listened. Mostly.

I tried a new recipe for the pie filling, which is very similar to the way I usually make my apple pies. It was delicious! And overall, it was enjoyable to bake with my little girl. It was really nice to be able to announce to the extended family that the Pumpkin and I made the pie together!

We went to my parents’ house for the family gathering and dinner. I am so fortunate that my sister and brother and their families live right around us, as do members of my extended family. Holidays and gatherings at my parents’ house is full of family, friends, great food, good conversations and lots of love and laughter.

For the last few years, though, there has been an added element to our holidays. Make that elementS plural. The Young Kids. First my sister’s daughter, who turns 5 (FIVE!) in February, then my brother’s twins who turn 5 (FIVE!) in May, then my daughter (four in March), my son (18 months in December) and my sister’s son (1 last September). Plus my brother’s oldest, who will be SIXTEEN in December!!!

The Young Kids bring with them chaos, more laughter, yelling, crying, more love, clinginess, playfulness, toys, cuteness, and did I mention the chaos?

But this year… this year… the chaos wasn’t as chaotic? The yelling wasn’t as loud? My daughter is capable of playing on her own more, and my baby toddler is not as clingy to me. The cousins and my daughter are fine going off to play or hanging out in the family room with toys or sitting around the appetizers on counter stools. My sister’s son actually took a nap during the commotion in the kids room upstairs. And my son? He spent the whole time happily toddling around, mostly pushing cars in the doll stroller, going around and around the circuit of my parent’s main floor. Only twice did I “lose” him, and only once was he into something he shouldn’t have been.

When Londo realized I was looking for him (for a second time), he joined in the search and found him coming up the stairs from the basement. Um, whoops. We didn’t know he could go DOWN stairs! We still think he shouldn’t be doing that alone. And from now on I’ll watch him more carefully when he’s near the stairs at my parent’s house. Probably. (Londo, if you are reading this, I totally will! I only put probably for comedic effect!) (If you aren’t Londo, than I really did mean probably. But don’t tell him that. Heh.)

There was some yelling and I did have to search out my nieces at one point and herd them back into the kitchen/family room area. And there certainly was commotion. But it was the wonderful kind of commotion that you (or at least I) expect and even want from a family gathering.

For the actual dinner, we set up the pre-schoolers at the kitchen table, calling it The Kids’ Table, while we adults went into the dinning room for dinner (with my toddler with us in a high chair—my sister’s boy was still napping). I have such fond memories of the kids’ table at the family gatherings at my grandmother’s house, that I was excited for my kids to start that tradition. My sister, BIL, brother and SIL were an easy sell. Although it didn’t last too long, it was a great first attempt at having a separate kids’ table. I can’t wait until we can set the toddlers up at the kids table with the pre-schoolers. I think they will have so much fun.

It’s just amazing to watch my kids and my siblings’ kids grow up and become more and more capable and more interesting. From my daughter running into the family room when we first arrived yelling “Hello, everybody!” to my nieces playing on their own to my son and sister’s son following after their older boy cousin to the kids eating at The Kids’ Table.

It was a lovely Thanksgiving.


Melba said…
AMEN to the kid's table, sista! Best. Thing. EVER!
Jac. said…
Ah, (blush) thank you! We are so happy.

I have really fond memories of sitting at a kid's table with my cousins too. DS has no cousins around but we have a couple of close friends with twins his age and when they come over we set the kids up to eat at a little table in the living room while the adults eat at the dining table. For some reason, DS always eats so much better when his friends are around (which is saying something because he's generally a very good eater).
Cloud said…
It sounds great. We rarely had a kids table growing up- either there weren't enough kids (i.e., my Dad's side of the family) or there were so many people that we had to go buffet style (i.e., my Mom's side of the family). I'm not sure what will end up happening for our kids!
MommyEm said…
This is the type of Thanksgiving that I long for every year. Since my parents' divorce, my sister and I being on either Coast, and all other relatives spread around the country, our Thanksgiving is quiet. I will probably never have that type of Thanksgiving again since my hubby is a single child and isn't close to his cousins, my sister doesn't have kids and we probably won't ever move back near my folks. It all makes me profoundly sad each year. Sorry for the doom and gloom on such a happy post. You are truly blessed.
mom2boy said…
Fond memories of the kids table at my aunt's house. Sounds like you all had a great holiday! Here's to Christmas bringing more of the same.

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