We had quite an incredible Thanksgiving, at home, just our little family this year, 2018. No travel, not two dinners, one for his side and one for mine, just one dinner in our dining room with candles lit and sweet memories made.
For someone (me!) who has had serious nightmares about having to one day cook a turkey then calming myself by saying, “No, Mandy (my older sister) will do it. She could totally cook a turkey.” I’m still impressed with myself. HA! I mean it, though! Not only did I have to plan ahead, create a menu that had to be dairy and gluten free, I really wanted everything to taste SO good! I figured I’d flop at some point, but I didn’t. God showed up in so many ways and I’m so grateful.
I had to make a plan (planning is not my thing but as I’ve grown up, I have realized, to my dismay, planning must happen at times and it’s good and makes for a smooth event when necessary!) and figure out when to make the beans, the rolls, the mashed potatoes, the gravy, the pie….yes! I made all of those things and you guys, everyone loved everything! I’m still pinching myself!
The rolls were exciting because I found a recipe that made really yummy-looking rolls that were dairy and gluten free! I didn’t think they could possibly be that good, but, my kids LOVED them and with my little taste-test, I surprised myself!
I then tried my best at making potato rolls for Andy and I (all the gluten and dairy) and they didn’t taste as good as my Mother-in-laws and that wasn’t surprising but what was surprising is that they tasted really good and I did it! I made a dish that completely intimidated me- it can only get better from here, right?!
I made a few gluten and diary free pies and they were a hit. The best green bean casserole I have ever had (no pics, sorry!), gravy and the turkey! The turkey gave me heart palpitations but somehow, it made it into the oven and 3+ hours later, we had [not-dry] turkey and it was delish!
I remember, shortly after we decided to stay in town, I just thought to myself, “You can do this. You are capable of cooking a yummy, dairy and gluten free Thanksgiving dinner!”
Keeping that attitude all week while shopping for ingredients and while cooking (man was all that cooking exhausting!) really helped. I just wanted to enjoy my family, the football games on in the background and not needing to get dressed up and travel. We laughed lots and cried a little too…
Andy had the idea to have everyone write out what they are thankful for. Eisley went all out and typed hers out with a picture of a turkey and put some jokes in for each of us to laugh. So sweet! Everyone else wrote on 2X4 index card and we went around the table sharing. Eisley made one for Zekey, too and my heart melted and my eyes filled with tears. So grateful
I cried (no sobbing was involved, not this time at least) when I looked over and saw an empty table setting for our Zekey….it doesn’t feel right keeping it bare. Gosh, is he missed….
Why no traveling this year? Well, I think there were many reasons but the truest reason is we just needed to be our little family and not feel a pull to be somewhere else. Living 2.5 hours away isn’t far enough but sometimes it is too far. It’s a funny place to be.
We are in a season of just trying to figure out what ‘making home’ in Westerville looks like, home for our kids, home for us, especially looking ahead as we have only 5 years until our biggest goes to college. We have moved so many times in our married life and it’s made it very hard to really settle, but I think we finally are settling and it’s not easy figuring out but the tension getting there is worth it.
I’m sure next year, we’ll be back in Toledo with extended family and it will be sweet but this year is one for the books, the memory bank, if you will and I’m so glad we did it.
We woke up the next morning and I got to finally shop Black Friday in Columbus and my kiddos even joined me (with the promise of a Starbucks, of course!)
We were tired and some may have realized they wouldn’t do it next year but we did have a good time and I’m so glad they came with me!