I had hoped to snap picture after picture at our Thanksgiving get togethers but I was too wrapped up in the happenings. And you know what? I am perfectly ok with that!
My family celebrated the Saturday before Thanksgiving Day because of other holiday plans. I made my Grandma's stuffing and my fabulous Caramel Apple Pie. We had more food than we knew what do do with but it was oh so good!
As I sat on the smaller couch next to my oldest niece, Alissa, I took in everything around me. Things like:
*The fact Alissa is 13,sitting next to me having an adult conversation
*TJ running all around and being his normal fun loving 18 month old self.
*Justen teaching Peyton how to play Texas Hold'em.
* Peyton clinging to Justen because he is one of her best friends
* My siblings, parents and Jared all joking around and talking
* Playing games and laughing so hard you almost pee yourself
* Having the love of my life sitting next to me
* Alissa now playing the games with the adults because she's no longer a little kid (how'd that happen?)
* Endless hugs and kisses from TJ
* Justen telling me I'm beautiful
* Jessica's first turkey (it was awesome!!)
Thanksgiving Day was spent at Nana's house (Jared's Grandma). My parents joined us for the evening and again... so.much.food. I made the turkey. Scary. I made one turkey about 7 years ago and that's the extend of my holiday turkey making. To brine or not to brine... that was the question. So i kind of tweaked the brine recipe from the Pioneer Woman. I basically made the exact brine but reduced the salt to about 1/4 C instead of a cup and a half.
I'm glad I did. The turkey was incredible! Can I say that about my own cooking? oh well. It really was fantastic! :) I used a brining bag and put Mr. Thomas Turkey in there on Wednesday morning. I was cooking it at Nana's house so I just left it in the brine all the way to Nana's. Any idea how a brining bag fairs in a car? Not so great. Especially if you don't secure the twist tied opening so it doesn't hang over the pan. Know why? It drips. It drips for the entire 40 minutes you're driving and for the full 10 minutes you're in the grocery store. It makes your car smell of oranges, apple juice, garlic and rosemary. It drenches your seat (because you weren't smart enough to put it on the floor). yeah... secure the brining bag if you plan to travel with it.
Besides that, it was a wonderful holiday. Some of my favorite parts:
*Having my parents join us
*Nana and Grandma Loretta. They are such sweet women and have filled the void in my heart. I miss both of my grandma's. I love having both of Jared's in my life.
*My parents getting along so great with Jared's family
*Jared's cousin Nicole, Step-sister Britt and nephew Trace being present. We don't see them enough.
*The fact that even if we tell Grandma Loretta to just bring one pie; she brings 5 pies, stuffing, sausage and a ham.
I love both of my families. I feel like this year I was finally able to take in everything and realize how blessed I am. I've always known I am blessed but it really sank in deep this year. I couldn't have asked for a better holiday. I think of my friends, family, co-workers and I can't help but just say "Thank You Lord". Sometimes I wish I could say more than that because a simple thank you just doesn't seem to be enough.