The leftovers are gone and vacation is officially over. It’s hard to get back to work after a wonderful week off! We spent most of our time in Illinois celebrating Thanksgiving with my family. This year was a real treat because, in addition to my parents and my sister’s family, my cousins were in town with their kids. We were so busy catching up and enjoying ourselves that I didn’t do a very good job documenting our trip!
It’s been years since there’s been a baby in the family, so we all had a blast playing with Sarah Anne. She is an absolute angel and didn’t mind being picked up by complete strangers. We spent some time babysitting so my cousins could enjoy some rare time out on the town just the two of them.
It was also great to spend time playing with our niece and nephew, although they were more interested in spending time with their cousins than hanging out with James and me. The older we get, the less cool we become!
My dad’s birthday was the day before Thanksgiving, so we kicked off our visit celebrating his 66th year. Most of the gifts were, of course, Cubs themed. James and I also brought home a few special birthday beers for my dad, including Alpha Klaus. It’s one of our favorite seasonal brews! We also got to try his latest home brew creation, a Tank 7 clone. It was so good and my dad was nice enough to send us home with a few bottles.
We prepped as much of our Thanksgiving feast as we could the day before in order to make life easier on the actual holiday. I was in charge of the sweet potato rolls, corn casserole and maple-walnut cranberry pie. My sister brought an amazing cheese plate and salad, and my mom somehow made the rest of the meal: turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberries, sweet potatoes, pumpkin pies and — my favorite — green bean casserole. My niece and nephew made all of us adorable place cards for the second year in a row.
After we had seconds (ok, maybe it was thirds …), my parents broke out my grandparents’ old slides and projector. I spent many weekends at my grandparents’ house in LaSalle growing up and I loved when they would get out their slides. It was so fun to hear them talk about my dad’s childhood and all of the amazing experiences their family had. This time my dad was the narrator and he had us laughing nonstop with his commentary. It was really neat to see pictures of him as a kid, as well as some pictures of my sister and cousin Peter at my grandparents’ house in the ’80s.
After spending time with my family, we headed back to Indiana and up north for a Thanksgiving celebration with James’ family over the weekend. It was such a quick and fun trip that I didn’t take a single picture. We had a blast catching up with James’ cousins, aunts, uncle and parents. I have to get my mother-in-law’s recipe for chicken and noodles — they were my favorite part of the meal!
Now we’re trying to recuperate from the busy week and get back into our normal routine. It will be hard because December is always a ridiculously busy month. I’m hoping to score some cheap airline tickets as part of Cyber Monday. Are you taking advantage of any online sales? Chime in by posting a comment below!