Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays, after Christmas and before Halloween. All of Mark’s extended family gathers for the holiday at his grandparents’ house…around 35 of us in total. I’ve only missed one since Mark and I started dating.

This year the celebration lasted 4 1/2 days. Tuesday evening we went over to Mark’s parents to have dinner with Scott, Sarah, and Kevin, who had all just gotten into town. Bonus: playing with Otto, Scott & Sarah’s dog. Wednesday we split the day between there and Mark’s grandparents’ house. Thursday started early, with the boys watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade while I put the finishing touches on my cranberry salad (a Thanksgiving tradition in my family for as long as I can remember) and made some mini cinnamon rolls. We left for Mark’s grandparents’ as soon as the parade was over.

Now, we do 3 different kinds of turkeys every year. First is Grandma’s oven-roasted turkey. Second is Uncle Don’s fried turkey (my favorite). Third is usually Uncle Jim’s infa-red turkey, but this year he bought a smoker, so we had smoked turkey. All of the cousins rotate hanging out around the fryer, and cousin Nick has a mini fryer just for making snacks. Fried mac & cheese was a hit this year, and of course the fried oreos are always popular. Inside, I helped Miles and one of his cousins make Christmas ornaments.

Once the turkeys are finished cooking, everyone lines up to get a piece (or 3!) of the fried turkey skin. YUM! Dinner itself always starts off with Grandma’s homemade Italian wedding soup (she makes great meatballs!) before digging into the turkey and sides. Once we’ve all recovered from dinner, it’s time to get out the Black Friday ads. Aunt Paula brings multiple copies of all the ads. She’s also scoped out the layout of several stores in the days prior to Thanksgiving. We all make our Christmas lists, pass them around to whomever has our name in the family gift exchange, and figure out our shopping plan for the next day. It’s not about the big fancy deals for us…it’s more of a female bonding ritual.

Black Friday always starts with Kohl’s, between 4:30 and 5:00 am. After Kohl’s we meet at McDonalds for breakfast, then hit this Target that is always basically empty. After that point we split up: some go home and go back to bed, others hit other stores. The rest of the day is full of board games and leftovers.

Saturday is THE football game of the year and Julian’s birthday party, but I’ll save that for another post.

Below, some pictures from our fun weekend. What did you do for Thanksgiving?

frying a turkey

Cooking the turkeys. Usually we do it outside, but there was way too much snow this year.


We had 4 tables worth of people this year!

We had 4 tables worth of people this year!


We have always referred to this as the "stinky boy room" because for years, this is where all the male cousins would play videogames together Thanksgiving weekend and yes, smell up the room. My, how times have changed!

We have always referred to this as the “stinky boy room” because for years, this is where all the male cousins would play videogames together Thanksgiving weekend and yes, smell up the room. My, how times have changed!


Us with Marks parents, grandparents, brothers, and Sam and Sarah

Us with Marks parents, grandparents, brothers, and Sam and Sarah


Sam (Kevin's girlfriend), Sarah, and I taking a breakfast break during Black Friday shopping

Sam (Kevin’s girlfriend), Sarah, and I taking a breakfast break during Black Friday shopping

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