Grateful For 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

This was our last Thanksgiving in Tallahassee. Since we moved to Florida, we’ve still been able to celebrate Thanksgiving with family, but this year, it was just the two of us. When I think about Thanksgiving, I usually imagine lots of family and lots of food (not to mention the potentially miserable travel conditions). To be honest, when I first realized it was going to be “just us” this year, the whole idea of Thanksgiving-for-two had me feeling a little sad, but Bret comforted me by saying this would probably be one of our only Thanksgivings like this, and now that it’s all said and done, I can tell you we really enjoyed this special, simple holiday.

We watched the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade together in the morning. We were going to have a quick breakfast before it started – some fruit or cereal – but we were low on both. I was disappointed that Bret finished off the cereal while I was in the shower, but, not to worry, he just whipped up an avocado omelet for me.

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Isn’t he the best?! It was delicious and so thoughtful and it made me feel happy and comfortably full so we weren’t in a rush to cook our big meal.

When choosing our Thanksgiving menu, Bret had one request: mashed potatoes. I wanted cranberry sauce and pie. Over the past couple of years we made turkey, tofurkey, quinoa stuffing, green bean casserole, butternut squash, and a bunch of different sides. This year, we wanted yummy food with minimal work. This is what we came up with…

I made cranberry sauce and apple pie – both from scratch.

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Bret made mashed potatoes from scratch, and cornbread, too.

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And then we baked the delicious (meatless!) holiday roast and microwaved some frozen Brussels sprouts.

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Boom, Thanksgiving is served.

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…with apple pie and vanilla ice cream for dessert:

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The whole meal was sweet and simple and stress-free. We are happy to have lots of leftovers just for us.

After we ate, I convinced Bret to set up the camera so we could take a family Thanksgiving/Christmas photo. I just thought we needed one. Never mind the fact that I already ordered our Christmas cards last week … just consider this our Thanksgiving picture…with a Christmas tree in the back ground… 🙂

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And then came my favorite part: reading all of the entries from our Grateful Jar. This is a new tradition I started last year. I put a jar out on November 1, cut out some pretty scrapbook pages to write on, and then we write down things we’re grateful for  all month, keep the in the jar, and read them all on Thanksgiving Day.

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I like to read them all at once, spread them out on the table, and look for trends. To sum up, this year I’m grateful for my sister, texting my sister, phone calls with my sister, and the fact that my sister is visiting me in Tallahassee soon. (Hi Mallory!)

I’m also grateful for:

  • My Job. My new (old) job in DC is a life-saver. After two stressful years at my job in Florida, being back in a role where I feel valued and appreciated, knowing I am making a difference, and working on projects that I enjoy… it is something I’ll never take for-granted. Plus, the ability to work from home while Bret finishes up his Ph.D. is the biggest blessing because I get the best of both worlds: working with some of the best people in DC, and living with the best guy in Florida.

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  • Bret. Through all of the current stresses and uncertainties in our life, he is such a source of comfort and strength. Even though this semester has been especially busy and at times overwhelming, he is goes out of his way to make time for me and do sweet selfless thoughtful things. I know that I can tell him anything. I trust him completely. He makes me laugh every day. Basically, living life is so much more fun together and I know wherever life takes us, we’ll be together and that’s all that really matters.

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  • Velveeta. She is my real life stuffed animal. I just can’t imagine life without her.

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  • Video chat. Thanks to this wonderful piece of technology, I get to SEE and talk to some of my best friends and family members every week. It makes living far away a lot easier.
  • My Family. When I say “family” I mean my sister and parents, of course, and Bret and Velveeta and Sadie, but I also mean my incredible parents-in-law who are always so encouraging and supportive and wonderful and all of Bret’s extended family that is my family now, too. I feel so fortunate to have so many great people in my ‘family’. Even though we live far away from everyone now, being able to stay in touch is something to be grateful for.

Now, we’re watching Modern Family and relaxing and loving this holiday. I hope you all had a happy thanksgiving with your families and friends. Bret and I can not wait to see BOTH of our families next month!