Tuesday, December 3, 2013

delightful | the thanksgiving recap

It really is a wonderful holiday.  And now I could insert all kinds of cliche comments about family & friends, turkey & pumpkin pies and how great it is to be living in a tropical climate in November.

But that would be a lie.  The tropics part, that is. 
Everything else would be true.  We hosted 18-ish out of town guests (from Pennsylvania, Alabama, Florida & Wisconsin).  Our great room was like a hotel lobby.  Rolling suitcases, piles of winter coats, boots, shoes and probably 4 calling birds in there somewhere.  Later in the evening it started to resemble a park full of homeless people, that is, if your local park had upholstered couches instead of benches & feather duvets instead of newspapers...  Anyway.  We were packed out for the weekend & wouldn't have it any other way!  It's so fun to have crazy around you 24/7.  At one point mom asked me if I'd remembered to deliver fresh towels to people.  Um... that would be a no ma'am.  Besides, it would have been hard to find all of the nooks & crannies that were being used as guest rooms.

Pantry, check, kids toy room, check, couch #54, check.

Dinner was amazing this year!  We cooked 3 turkeys (okay, we cooked 2 turkeys, my uncle cooked the 3rd one) that were grown on our organic farm.  Those birds were so tender that when we pulled them out of the oven the meat was falling off the bone.  Literally.  Great for us, not so great for photo ops.  Which may seem strange to you, but is a very real life tradition of my mother's people.  We never cut into a turkey unless we've first photographed the yard bird.  I will never understand it, but according to legend, my Great-Grandmother Mimi has an entire album of "THE TURKEY". According to Mimi (my grandmother, the darlin'est woman alive) EVERY photo looks the same. Same platter, same size turkey, same Polaroid tint to the photo. They call these types of things "family archives". And they're precious. Kind of like the jello salad recipe from my dad's people. But I think I'll save that story for another day.
Friday was spent in debate of shopping. Do we want to be trampled to death or should we stay home. I suggested that we visit a local outlet mall to check out the sales. "Besides, I've never seen their parking lot full, it'll be a breeze to get in & out of". Those were my last words. Listen, I've never seen such parking in my life. Until then, I'd assumed that the surrounding corn fields were for agricultural purposes, I'd no idea that they were remote parking lots. The line for Coach was wrapped around the corner, UGG had its own security detail!!!  We hit about 3.5 stores & decided lunch sounded like a good idea. Chicago dogs to be precise. But the dog place was attached to a gas station & my brother refuses to eat food from a gas station so we went to the fine dining establishment that is "The Brat Stop".  Exactly.  I'm also failing to see how this could be better.  The Brat Stop happens to be over the border in Wisconsin and serves what the rest of the world would call a "sausage". Only here, we call it a "braaaht". Tacky cannot begin to describe this place, I'm quite sure they decorate for all seasons at once, the doors had bamboo shoots etched into the glass & the plaster ceiling either looked wet or like it would attack. We ordered cheese fries and assorted meats for table. It was pretty nasty, but we got a good story out of it. 
downtown christmas tree
One of our favorite traditions is the lighting of the square. Every year, the day after thanksgiving, the town my dad was born in (the same square Brooke & I had our shop on) has a huge event to kick off the season. For months, the city works to wrap the trees in lights and on this night they gather together, sing carols & then flip the switch for all of the lights!  It's downright delightful. Our gang ended up being about 20 people this time & then we headed back to the house for more food & late night chats.
Phil & Esther joined us for the weekend since he has family in the area. On Saturday they were meeting up with his grandmother in Chicago & invited us along.  This was my second downtown trip in two weeks, but I wasn't about to decline. I love cities!  We had a blast! The drive down was great, 3 girls, 4 guys & 1 baby. What's not to love?!?  Phil happens to be a great tour guide & our 1st stop was Little Goat Cafe.  If you know anything about the restaurant scene in Chicago, then you know about the trio of Goat restaurants.  The main restaurant is impossible to get into, but the cafe is is more grab & go with coffee, pastries & an extreme side of hipness.  Most of us stuck with our usual drinks, but a few veered off the straight & narrow with a goat milk latte.  I had a sip of Josh's & I could still taste the delicate aroma of a goat's patootie 20 minutes later.  Eeeewww!

We did deep dish pizza downtown, because, it's Chicago!  It was so amazing, it's worth the hour-long wait to get a table.  I was fun to walk through all of the Christmas decorations, see the Bean, and watch the skaters in the park.
It was one of the busiest Thanksgiving weeks I've ever had, but we had an absolutely wonderful time.  I did suggest that next year we move this "friendsgiving" to an tropical island.  The US Virgin Islands, maybe?  Perfect.  I'll just pop a pineapple ham into the spit & you can find me out by the pool with a diet coke.

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