Due to all the traveling we’ve done this year, Shane and I decided to forego our usual Thanksgiving trip to Minnesota and instead spend the holiday closer to home, in Portland with my brother’s family. We arrived on Thursday morning, and from the moment we set foot inside Mitch and Kathryn’s cozy home, the blessings of family were lavished upon us. Morgan looked up at me with her big brown eyes and I scooped her up in my arms; Elise giggled her three year-old giggle and we quickly started making our play plans. Mitch put the turkey in the oven and Kathryn and I got caught up with each other’s latest goings-on. Goodness, these people are special to me – and their home has become a place full of so much comfort and joy for Shane and I.
Since we won’t see the girls at Christmas, and since Elise saw the gifts we’d brought and couldn’t contain her excitement, we opened presents that afternoon. The blocks we bought for Morgan were a huge hit with both kids – Elise is an expert tower-builder, and Morgan is the queen of destruction (you can guess what happened about three seconds after I snapped this photo).
Post-presents, we put the finishing touches on the big Thanksgiving feast. Elise has taken after her parents and loves to cook – she was eager to help with meal preparations and whipped up an extra-special soup for Uncle Shane with a few miscellaneous cupboard finds: oregano, raisins, and dried chili peppers in warm water. Shane is smiling on the outside, but inside, he’s thinking, “How do I get out of having to eat this?!”
Morgan also loves being a part of the cooking action – she excels at: trying to climb in the dishwasher, finding anything that fell off the cutting board, and opening cupboard doors and drawers. But seriously, how you not want this face in your kitchen?
We ate until our stomachs couldn’t hold a single bite more, and after the dishes were washed and the kids were tucked into bed, I stretched out on the sofa and thanked my lucky stars for apple pie and baby girls.
We all went out together on Friday morning to do a little shopping, and then spent the rest of the afternoon cozied up indoors. Living room tea parties, rounds of Candyland, and snuggle time with little Morgan. Lovely.
We spent this morning at Cathedral Park before hitting the long dusty trail back to Seattle. After spending the previous 48 hours lounging and eating, it felt good to get out for a walk. Elise skipped among the leaves and Morgan enjoyed the view from her stroller.
As I reflect this weekend on things that I am thankful for, family both near and far, is at the top of my list.