Today we prepare for our tour around Wisconsin. This will be Henry's first Thanksgiving. I know he will devour any food that we let him try and his chuckle will make many smile. Before we can enjoy a fabulous turkey dinner with those we love we have a journey to make in our good ol' mini van. Today my job is to pack us up so Ed can load the car tomorrow morning. Ed's family celebrates Thanksgiving around the Appleton area and my family will celebrate on Saturday at my parents. So this year Ed is able to travel with us and we will leave early in the morning and drive 4 - 5 hours to Aunt Katy's. Charley has been hopping around excited to see his "cousins" all week. He loves them. He thinks he sees kids that look like them at parks and he points out things that his cousins play with when we see them in the stores. He looks up to them. Next Thanksgiving he will have a real first cousin to look forward to seeing since the "cousins" he sees this year are his second cousins.
We haven't travelled with Henry for many months so it will be interesting to see what kind of traveller he will be. It was questionable on whether Ed was going to have to work on Friday and I am so glad he is able to come with. Of course the travel companion is a blessing but it is also not thanksgiving without daddy.
This year we will head to my parents on Thursday evening (it will be hard to leave the Kolbe's without a good Canasta game in) and spend the weekend there. We don't get there very often because it is a bit farther so when we go I am always anxious to use my time wisely. Chatting with my mom, playing games with everyone, enjoying the area of Lake Geneva, boat rides with dad (although this time of year that isn't an option). It is always good to be "home". This year my brother, sister and her husband will all be there for the whole weekend so it will be a full house with lots of fun.
We will celebrate Thanksgiving with my family on Saturday. We recently made this our tradition so that those of us with other families or farther to travel can be everywhere and do everything.
I am thankful for many things...but one of the things I am most thankful for ...to have two fantastic families that love our children. Two places that are warm, cozy, and welcoming that allow us all to gather. I love the food traditions, the game traditions, and catching up on everyone's lives. This year a little more chaotic travelling with two children but also that much more filled with excitement. But we are lucky to be able to swing both families at Thanksgiving and Christmas. We ponder the idea of switching off years and making things a little less hectic but I really can't imagine not eating potato dumplings at the Kolbe's or missing out on Penny Poker and mom's stuffing. We eat dinner as a family every night at our house. So staying home to have a cozy Thanksgiving with just the four of us just doesn't make my heart flutter...it is the noisy kitchen, the potluck of food that is cooked with love to share, it is the occasional disagreement or fight, it is the laughter, the standing around the kitchen while the cooks sneak in a second or third glass of wine, and above all else -it is the family that makes holidays a time to anticipate.
I hope you celebrate your way home this year and whether it is quiet with your family or chaotic with extended family...enjoy, be thankful, and step back and listen. It is in the noise and sounds where warmth begins to warm your heart from the inside out. Thank you Aunt Katy and Mom for hosting ... once again! You amaze us!